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MEDIA REPORTS

INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

This page was updated on: 01/13/10

 

2006

 

Intergovernmental Organization Media Reports Archives: 2010; 2009; 2008; 2007; 2005; 2004; 2003; 2002

 

DECEMBER 2006

IOC ACTS TO IMPROVE TSUNAMI WARNING SYSTEM
A new partnership between the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the global satellite communications leader, INMARSAT, was announced on 26 December 2006. The partnership provides free satellite communication links to 50 sea-level sensors in the Indian Ocean, making this part of the tsunami warning system the most advanced real-time network in the world.

Link to further information
UNESCO press release, 26 December 2006

UNGA CONSULTATIONS ON ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE RESUME
On 6 December 2006, at UN Headquarters in New York, the Co-Chairs for the environment-related commitments in the World Summit Outcome document, Peter Maurer (Switzerland) and Enrique Berruga (Mexico), resumed the consultations of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on environmental governance. These consultations constitute a separate process from that of the High-level Panel on System-wide Coherence, which also addressed environmental governance. This is the second round of the UNGA consultations. The first round was concluded in July 2006 and the results from these consultations will serve as the starting point for the upcoming discussions. To ensure that all delegations have a chance to express their positions, at least two meetings are scheduled to take place. The first meeting will be held in New York in mid-January 2007. Delegations were asked to prepare their responses to a questionnaire that covers four areas: implementation at the country level; enhancement of global governance; funding; and partnerships. It was also announced that the Co-Chairs will share member states’ positions on environmental governance at the Global Minsterial Enrivonment Forum in Nairobi in early February 2007. The second round of consultations is expected to be concluded in May or June 2007.

Links to further information
Reform the UN press release, 19 December 2006
Environmental Governance Questionnaire, 6 December 2006
Co-Chairs Summary, 6 July 2006

UNDP AND UNEP JOIN FORCES TO ASSIST CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION
On 15 November 2006, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced a partnership to assist developing countries to adapt to climate change. The partnership is a contribution to the “Nairobi Framework,” an initiative to help developing countries, especially in Africa, to participate in the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). It will focus on reducing the vulnerability of poor countries and build their resilience to the effects of climate change, in addition to enhancing the capacity of both the public and private sectors in sub-Saharan Africa to successfully access the CDM and participate in emerging carbon finance funds.

Link to further information
UNDP press release, 15 November 2006

UNEP LEADS COTE D’IVOIRE CLEAN UP
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched an international mission to support the Cote D’Ivoire in finalizing its strategic plan for dealing with the toxic waste dumped in that country in August 2006.  UNEP’s 14 December 2006 announcement indicated that the finalized waste plan will address current concerns and, in cooperation with other UN entities and the international community, provide a basis for long-term remediation. A Trust Fund will also be established to provide a mechanism for governments to immediately assist the Cote D’Ivoire financially. UNEP’s Green Customs initiative is also organizing a workshop in West Africa in early 2007 to provide training on environmental issues for customs officials.

Link to further information
UNEP News Release, 14 December 2006

VIET NAM BECOMES PILOT COUNTRY IN UN REFORM PROGRAMME
Viet Nam has been selected as the first pilot country in the “One UN” reform programme, which will seek to avoid fragmentation and duplication of work between different UN agencies and ensure coherency and efficiency by consolidating a single UN presence in the countries in which it is involved. The Viet Nam pilot programme will comprise six participating agencies: the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), UN Volunteers (UNV) and the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The first joint programme is scheduled to be running by the end of January 2007. Later in December 2006, six other pilot countries will be announced. 

Link to further information
Alert press release, 8 December 2006

UNGA PRESIDENT ON STATUS OF UN REFORM
In a letter to all Member States, dated 1 December 2006, UN General Assembly President Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa outlines the current status of the different UN reform agendas. Regarding System-wide Coherence, she intends to begin informal consultations on how to proceed with consideration of the High-level Panel’s report. She also emphasizes that the recent adoption by the UNGA of a resolution strengthening the Economic and Social Council was a significant step forward. On Environmental Governance, she refers to a letter sent on 22 November 2006 from the two Co-Chairs, Ambassador Berruga (Mexico) and Ambassador Maurer (Switzerland), which outlines plans to resume consultations in mid-January 2007.

Link to further information
Letter from UN General Assembly President, 1 December 2006

UNGA CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION TO SUSTAINABLY MANAGE FISH STOCKS
The UN General Assembly (UNGA) discussed draft resolutions on oceans and the law of the sea and on fisheries on 8 December 2006. In the latter, which was adopted by consensus, the Assembly called on States to take immediate action, individually and through regional organizations, to sustainably manage fish stocks and protect vulnerable deep sea ecosystems from harmful fishing practices. The UNGA also called on all States to act in a precautionary manner and apply an “ecosystem approach” to the conservation, management and exploitation of fish stocks. The Assembly identified bottom trawling and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing as the most destructive fishing practices and threats to vulnerable marine ecosystems, to the detriment of sustainable fisheries, as well as the food security and the economies of many States, particularly developing States. A number of countries and conservation organizations expressed disappointment that the text did not include a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling, but highlighted that contains provisions that could bring an end to the destruction of deep sea ecosystems on the high seas by bottom trawl fishing over the coming years.

The omnibus text on oceans and the law of the sea includes: definitions of the terms “marine genetic resources” and “maritime security and safety;” a call to reconvene the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group on marine biological diversity beyond national jurisdiction in 2008, and to complete, within two years, the “assessment of assessments,” which would lead to a regular process for global reporting on the state of the marine environment; and a request to the Secretary-General to prepare a study on assistance available to help developing States realize the benefits of sustainable development of marine resources.

Links to further information
UN News Service, 8 December 2006
UN Press Release, 7 December 2006
Deep Sea Conservation Coalition Press Release, 8 December 2006 

UNEP LAUNCHES RESPONSIBLE PROPERTY INVESTMENT GROUP
The UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) has launched a working group on responsible property investment. The group will seek to “embed environmental thinking in the heart of… property investment portfolios” with the aim of encouraging the financial services sector to play a pivotal role in halting climate change and supporting sustainable investment. The new group was launched in Paris on 8 December.

Link to further information
UNEP FI information

NOVEMBER 2006

SECRETARY-GENERAL ANNAN PROPOSES WAY FORWARD ON PANEL REPORT
In a note on 20 November 2006, Secretary-General Kofi Annan transmited the High-level Panel’s report on System-wide Coherence to the UN General Assembly (UNGA), advocating a process of informal consultations to build a broad understanding of the report’s objectives, contents and proposals. While UNGA will play a critical role in this process, he recommended that the Economic and Social Council and its commissions, the governing bodies of UN organizations, as well as conferences and meetings of regional groupings be given the opportunity to contribute to the discussions. Annan suggested that the consultations conclude in a formal plenary meeting of UNGA, some time in 2007, and that the UNGA President subsequently initiate consultations in “a working group” mode, in order for UNGA to consider a resolution on the Panel’s report.

Link to further information
Report by the High-level Panel on System-wide Coherence preceded by a Note by the UN Secretary-General, 20 November 2006

ENVIRONMENTAL NGOs TO CONSULT ON UN COHERENCE REPORT
Environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have reacted to the environmental reforms proposed by the High-level Panel on UN System-wide Coherence and have launched a process for a coordinated civil society response.

WWF praised the Panel’s recommendations on environmental integration at the country and headquarter level, commenting that this “promises to put environment firmly at the centre of development decision making.” WWF also agreed with the recommendations to establish a UN Sustainable Development Board and upgrade the UN Environment Programme, and considered the Panel’s report as “a step in the right direction.”

The Stakeholder Forum commented that “tto a certain extent, the Panel's recommendations could be described as ‘management by re-labelling,’” noting that the suggestion by NGOs to establish a Council in the General Assembly for sustainable development – rather than a Sustainable Development Board – had not been taken up by the Panel.

In the absence of a formal consultative process to engage NGOs in the follow-up to the Panel’s report, the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service, the Stakeholder Forum and the Brazilian Forum of NGOs and Social Movements for the Environment and the Development have called for a coordinated civil society response to the Panel’s recommendations. NGO views will be consolidated by the end of December 2006 on options for: a strengthened UN Environment Programme; the roles of UN agencies, programmes and funds for environment and sustainable development; efficiencies and substantive coordination of major MEAs; the Global Environment Facility; an independent and authoritative assessment of the current UN system of international environmental governance; and ECOSOC, the Commission on Sustainable Development and the proposed UN Sustainable Development Board.

Links to further information
Webcast of Panel meeting with NGOs, 9 November 2006
WWF press release, 9 November 2006
Stakeholder Forum press release, 9 November 2006
Stakeholder Forum opinion article, BBC News, 11 October 2006
Stakeholder Forum website on UN reforms

HIGH-LEVEL PANEL RECOMMENDS REFORMING THE UN GENDER ARCHITECTURE
A major outcome of the United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on UN System-Wide Coherence was the recommendation in its report, “Delivering as One,” to consolidate the existing UN women’s agencies into a new organization. The report calls for combining the UN Office of the Special Adviser to the Secretary General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAG), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), and the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in a new organization for women’s issues.  The news was welcomed by women’s groups around the world, which had actively lobbied governments and Panel members for this outcome. They expressed hope that the agency would strengthen the UN’s capacity, leadership and resources to mainstream gender equality. 

Links to further information
UN Department of Public Information Press Conference, 9 November 2006
WEDO Press Release, 9 November 2006
Delivering As One Press Release, 9 November 2006

FAO TEAMS UP WITH MAURITANIA TO FIGHT LOCUSTS
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has joined forces with the Mauritanian government to test an environmentally friendly organic product to fight locusts. Should the new product, called "Green Muscle," prove successful, advocates anticipate a reduction in the use of chemical pesticides on agricultural land.

Link to further information
IRIN press release, 13 November 2006

UNEP LAUNCHES TREE PLANTING CAMPAIGN, RELEASES RAINWATER REPORT
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a tree planting campaign and unveiled a report on rainwater during the negotiations on climate change held in Nairobi from 6-17 November 2006. A UNEP-led campaign was launched to plant one billion trees in 2007 to help mitigate the build-up of carbon dioxide. “The Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign” highlights the importance of voluntary collective action to fight climate change and will encourage all sectors of society to take small but practical steps to this end. The campaign is backed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai, Prince Albert II of Monaco and the World Agroforestry Centre-ICRAF. UNEP also released a report, compiled with
the World Agroforestry Centre, that shows the enormous potential in harvesting rainwater in Africa. The report concludes that the rainfall contribution in Africa is “more than adequate to meet the needs of the current population several times over,” and it also underlines the importance of harvesting rainwater as a buffer against climate change related extreme weather events.

Links to further information
UNEP press release, 8 November 2006
UN news release, 13 November 2006

UNDP WORKS IN CHINA, SHARES COMMUNICATIONS TOOL  
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has announced a new partnership for environmental activities in China, and has made available an online tool on projects. Norway and UNDP have announced a new partnership to support China in promoting environmental protection, awareness and biodiversity. The US$1 million partnership framework is designed to raise public awareness and build knowledge on environmental challenges facing China by reinforcing two ongoing UNDP programmes – the China Environmental Awareness Programme and the EU-China Biodiversity Programme.

A new communications tool consisting of project write-ups featuring 35 projects from the UNDP-GEF portfolio is available on the UNDP-GEF website. The write-ups provide project descriptions, facts and figures, and selected results. The aim is to eventually present some 200 project write-ups on the website, covering all the GEF focal areas, regions and size of projects.

Link to further information
UNDP Environment and Energy News Update # 15, Oct-Nov 2006

UNITAR TO SUPPORT EFFORTS TO STRENGTHEN CAPACITIES FOR DEMOCRATIC ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), within the framework of its cooperation with the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD), will be in a position to support three Central American countries to prepare a National Profile, organize a National Priority Setting Workshop and priorities and to develop a draft National Action Plan to strengthen capacities for democratic environmental governance. The projects are meant to make a contribution to the implementation of Principle 10 of the 1992 Rio Declaration, and the deadline for submitting applications is 30 November 2006.

 

Link to further information
Information and Application Information

 

OCTOBER 2006

 

UNEP PUTS ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH ONLINE

The UN Environment Programme and other partners have unveiled an initiative to spread environmental research. UNEP, Yale University, and leading science and technology publishers unveiled on 30 October 2006 an initiative to make global scientific research in the environmental sciences available online to the developing world. Through this initiative – Online Access to Research in the Environment (OARE) – peer-reviewed environmental journals will be made available to public and non-profit environmental institutions in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Eastern Europe. Access for institutions in the 70 poorest countries will be free, and at a nominal charge for 38 lower/middle-income countries.

 

Link to further information
UNEP press release, 30 October 2006

 

UNDP, ENERGY COMPANY LAUNCH ALTERNATIVE ENERGY INITIATIVE

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the multinational energy company Total S.A. have agreed to collaborate in Asia and the Pacific region to provide access to clean and sustainable energy. The partnership will also promote a better business environment through transparent governance, including improving governments’ managerial skills and practices, supporting entrepreneurship, training youth, and sharing information and improving dialogue with civil society networks. UNDP and Total have already worked together for four years in Latin America and Africa on country-specific issues including sustainable development, sustainable energy and promoting a good business environment, but this is the first regional partnership agreement between the two.

 

Link to further information
UNDP press release, 12 October 2006

 

UNESCO PROMOTES SCIENCE PARKS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

The UN scientific organization has signed a partnership agreement for the creation of science parks in developing countries. On 2 October, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) signed a tripartite agreement with the Korean International Cooperation Agency and Daejeon Metropolitan City to create funds-in-trust to support developing countries to manage science and technology parks, particularly in the areas of communication technology and biotechnology. A regional network and pilot projects will be developed in Africa, the Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

Link to further information
UNESCO press release, 2 October 2006

 

SEPTEMBER 2006

 

UN SECOND COMMITTEE TO DISCUSS FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT

Financing for development, strengthening disaster relief efforts and the impact of commodity prices on developing economies are among the topics the UN General Assembly’s Second Committee (Economic and Financial) will consider during the Assembly’s current sixty-first session. According to the Committee’s organization of work, issues slated for review include macroeconomic policy questions, such as those directed at the international financial system, debt and commodities; follow-up to and implementation of the outcome of the International Conference on Financing for Development; humanitarian and disaster relief assistance; information and communication technology; and globalization and interdependence.

 

Links to further information
UN news release, 20 September 2006

UN General Assembly 61st Session webpage, September 2006

 

UNESCO ANNOUNCES BBC LINK, WORK IN AFRICA AND ASIA

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is set to provide environmental education programmes to Asia and Africa, and to continue its support to World Heritage in Lebanon. UNESCO has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to provide television programmes on technology and science, including on ecology and earth sciences, in Africa and Asia. Under the memorandum, UNESCO acquired the rights to 46 titles in the BBC Horizon series for distribution in 41 African and nine Asian developing countries free of charge. In addition, the most recent UNESCO expert mission to Lebanon concluded that the country’s cultural heritage was mostly spared during the recent conflict, but called for urgent measures to protect the World Heritage site of Byblos and its Phoenician ruins from the effects of an oil spill. UNESCO announced that the World Heritage Fund could set aside US$70,000 in emergency spending to support Lebanon.

 

Links to further information
UN news stories:

22 September 2006

18 September 2006

 

GRASSROOTS DESERTIFICATION INITIATIVES HONORED

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has recognized two grassroots initiatives that combat desertification and land degradation in developing countries. The 2006 Sasakawa Prize, sponsored by UNEP and the Nippon Foundation of Japan, has been awarded to Rodrigo Vivas Rosas, leader of the Inter-institutional Consortium for Sustainable Agriculture, an alliance of 16 organizations and 6,500 people promoting the sustainable use of water in Colombia; and to the Tenadi Cooperative Group, which has ensured drinking water and prevented the movement of dunes through forestation in Mauritania.

 

Links to further information
UNEP press release, 28 September 2006

Sasakawa Prize information

 

UNEP PARTNERS WITH GOOGLE EARTH

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has teamed up with Google Earth to provide online images of the planet and its environmental hotspots. UNEP has established a partnership with Google Earth, Google’s 3D virtual world browser, to offer online satellite images to illustrate the 2005 hardcover publication “UNEP: Atlas of our Changing Environment.” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner expressed the hope that the initiative will provide “a new way of visualizing the dangers facing our planet today” raising the awareness of millions of internet-users around the world.

  

Link to further information

UNEP press release (September 2006)

 

UNICEF, BARCELONA FOOTBALL CLUB TEAM UP ON CHILDREN’S DEVELOPMENT

UNICEF and Futbol Club Barcelona have announced a global partnership to help children in the developing world. The partnership will include donations from Barcelona of at least €1.5 million per year, and Barcelona will feature the UNICEF logo on its 2006-2007 jersey, the first time ever that the club has featured a logo. The first beneficiaries of the partnership will be children in Swaziland who are affected by HIV/AIDS.

 

Link to further information

UNICEF press release (7 September 2006)

 

AUGUST 2006

 

UNESCO WORK IN LEBANON

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has sent an initial mission to assess the status of cultural heritage and education in Lebanon. Following the cease-fire between Israel and Hizbollah, four experts from UNESCO undertook a mission to Lebanon to determine UNESCO’s support to the country’s early recovery efforts, particularly with regard to cultural heritage and education. Among other things, the experts will visit Lebanon’s World Heritage sites, including Byblos that has been affected by the oil spill.

  

Links to further information

UN press releases (August 2006):

UNESCO experts arrive in Lebanon to plan early recovery efforts

UN environment agency set to begin aerial surveillance of Lebanese oil spill

 

 

UN LAUNCHES ASIA-PACIFIC ENVIRONMENT CENTERS

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), along with several other organizations, has launched two new environmental centers in Asia and South Pacific. In cooperation with the Asian Development Bank, Asian Institute of Technology and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, UNEP has launched a new think tank on technology, good practices, policy strategy and management promoting the sustainable use of natural resources and environmental efficiency, which will be located at the Asian Institute.

As well, UNEP also recently launched a new center–The Eco-Peace Leadership Center–to strengthen civil society networks in Asia and the Pacific and enhance leadership skills for the conservation and restoration of the environment in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The new initiative was launched jointly with the Eco-Peace Leadership Center Foundation, a collaborative effort of Asian Pacific universities, civil society organizations, government and enterprises. The new center will develop and provide environmental education programmes to strengthen research, technical and managerial skills of civil society in the region.  

Links to further information

UNEP press release, 17 August 2006

UN News Center story, 7 August 2006

 

UNDP SEEKS NOMINATIONS FOR 2006 EQUATOR PRIZE

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has launched the official call for nominations for outstanding community projects that reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in the developing world. The biennial Equator Prize honors community-based organizations, biodiversity-based businesses, indigenous groups and NGOs located within the equatorial belt and achieving remarkable results in their grassroots efforts to promote sustainable economic development and achieve the Millennium Development Goals. The closing date for nominations is 31 October 2006.

 

Links to further information

UNDP website, August 2006

 

UNESCO CONCERNED ABOUT MIDDLE EAST WORLD HERITAGE

The Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Koïchiro Matsuura, has expressed alarm at the threatened heritage sites in Israel and Lebanon. This is the third urgent appeal from UNESCO asking parties to the conflict to spare World Heritage Sites and their surroundings. Matsuura guaranteed UNESCO’s assistance in assessing the condition of these sites and provide expertise for their rehabilitation when the situation allows.

 

Links to further information

UNESCO press release (11 August 2006)

 

JULY 2006

 

UNEP SUPPORTS POLAR EXPEDITION

The UN Environment Programme is supporting a scientific expedition in the Arctic. As part of the International Polar Year (commencing March 2007), UNEP supports the polar schooner Tara, which set out on 11 July 2006 from Lorient, France, on a two year expedition to the Arctic, to carry out scientific observations on how the Arctic environment is changing and make these findings available to scientists, policy makers and the general public.

 

Links to further information

UNEP press release, July 2006

Tara website

 

NEW UN COMPLEX OPENED IN BONN

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan participated in the 11 July 2006 opening of a new campus to house UN offices in Bonn, Germany. The “Langer Eugen” formerly housed the west German parliament and will now unite a number of UN agencies that are located in that city, including the Secretariats of the Convention on Migratory Species and the Convention to Combat Desertification.

 

Link to further information

UN News Report (July 2006)

 

JUNE 2006

 

UNEP LAUNCHES URBAN TRANSPORT PROJECT TO CUT CO2 EMISSIONS

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a project, funded by the Global Environment Facility, that aims to curb greenhouse gas emissions by at least 100,000 tonnes a year in some of the most polluted cities on the globe. Announced on the day of the opening of the World Urban Forum III in Vancouver, the project aims to bring high-quality public transport to Concepción, Guatemala City and Panama City, and to lead to the creation of modern bus networks, cycle ways and pedestrian areas. The cities will work with others in the region through a new information network called “NESTLAC” –Network for Environmentally Sustainable Transport in Latin American Countries.

 

Link to further information

UNEP press release (19 June 2006)

 

INCOMING UNEP HEAD STRESSES POVERTY-ENVIRONMENT LINKS

Poverty, development and environment need to be addressed collectively, according to an interview with incoming UNEP head Achim Steiner by the BBC. The article, published online, also considers the current political situation facing UNEP in light of the current UN reform process.

 

Link to further information

BBC article, 12 June 2006

 

UNESCO OFFERS POST-EARTHQUAKE SUPPORT FOR HERITAGE SITES

UNESCO has offered to provide Indonesia with assistance in emergency heritage preservation, education, post-trauma support for children and communication, in the aftermath of the earthquake of 27 May 2006 that killed thousands of people on the island of Java. UNESCO’s participation in the international relief effort is included in the Indonesia Earthquake Response, and will require US$930,000. Part of the assistance programme will be devoted to assess damage and remaining risks for the 10th century Prambanan Temple Compounds which were inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1991.

 

Link to further information

UNESCO press release (7 June 2006)

 

MAY 2006

 

UNESCO FUND FOR AFRICA’S HERITAGE LAUNCHED

UNESCO has launched a fund to support of sub-Saharan States to improve the preservation of their cultural and natural heritage, with US$3.5 million funding from South Africa The African World Heritage Fund will support African States Parties to the UNESCO World Heritage Convention prepare national inventories of their heritage sites and prepare nomination dossiers for inscription onto the World Heritage List, since sub-Saharan Africa is under-represented on the list. Other activities eligible for funding include conservation and management of heritage properties, and rehabilitation assistance for properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Fund will be run by a Board of Trustees including two experts for each of the African Union's five regions and three additional members with permanent observer status, with UNESCO and the African Union as observers.

 

Links to further information

UN Press Release (May 2006)

UNESCO website

 

APRIL 2006

 

UNDP LINKS BIODIVERSITY AND MDGS AT CBD COP-8

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) have been focusing its environmental activities on ensuring that biodiversity considerations are integrated in processes designed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), according to a recent briefing. At the same time, it has also been supporting the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), multilateral and bilateral organizations, NGOs, other civil society organizations and the private sector in incorporating the MDGs in their efforts.

 

During the eighth meeting of the CBD Conference of the Parties, held in Curitiba, Brazil, from 20-31 March 2006, UNDP hosted a side event on “Incorporating Biodiversity into National MDG Strategies: Lessons from Experience,” to share countries’ lessons and insights on how to integrate biodiversity targets and commitments into national development plans and strategies, with a view to inform national MDG-based national development strategies to be developed in response to commitments made at the 2005 UN World Summit. UNDP also highlighted, during the 20th Session of the Global Biodiversity Forum (24-25 March, Curitiba, Brazil), the importance of reducing the rate of biodiversity loss to achieve not only MDG-7 – ensuring environmental sustainability – but also all other MDGs, thus emphasizing the opportunity to integrate the 2010 biodiversity target into the MDGs at the next session of the General Assembly.

 

Links to further information

UNDP - Energy & Environment

UNDP - Energy & Environment

 

MARCH 2006

 

WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE CONCERNED ABOUT LAKE BAIKAL, RUSSIA

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has reiterated its alarm for the conservation status of the World Heritage site of Lake Baikal. The Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee, Ina Marãiulionytò, has sent a letter to the Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin on 24 March 2006, urging the re-examination of the proposed routing of an oil pipeline through the site. Lake Baikal is the oldest and deepest lake in the world, contains 20% of the world's total unfrozen freshwater reserve, and hosts one of the world's richest and unique freshwater fauna.

 

Link to further information

UNESCO press release, 24 March 2006

 

UNEP SELECTS 2006 CHAMPIONS OF THE EARTH
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has selected, for the second consecutive year, its “Champions of the Earth,” awarding individuals that UNEP credits with making an impact at the policy level. UNEP’s 2006 Champions of the Earth are:

  • Tewolde Gebre Egziabher of Ethiopia, who campaigns for community rights in Africa and against the patenting of life forms;

  • Tommy Koh of Singapore, who chaired the Earth Summit and the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea;

  • Mikhail Gorbachev of the Russian Federation, who is prominent in the field of international environmental politics;

  • Rosa Elena Simeon Negrin of Cuba, who has worked on issues affecting small island developing states;

  • the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), which promotes women’s economic, social and gender rights within sustainable development;

  • Mohamed El-Ashry of Egypt, former head of the Global Environment Facility; and

  • Massoumeh Ebtekar, Iran’s first female vice-president and a champion of cleaner production in the petrochemical industry.

Link to further information

UNEP press release, 23 March 2006

 

FELLOWSHIP FOR WORLD HERITAGE SITE MANAGERS LAUNCHED

UNESCO has launched a fellowship programme to build the capacity of World Heritage Site managers. On 7 March 2006, UNESCO’ World Heritage Centre signed a partnership agreement with the French not-for-profit organization "Vocations Patrimoine, l’Héritage du Futur", aimed at enhancing the management capacities of professionals currently working, or intending to work in the future, at World Heritage sites.

 

Link to further information

UNESCO press release, 16 March 2006

 

ANNAN URGES “RADICAL OVERHAUL” OF UN MANAGEMENT STRUCTURES, PRACTICES

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has called for a major overhaul of UN management structures and practices. Annan warned that “years of skimping on investment in staff and operating systems” and outmoded management policies had taken their toll, leaving the UN “barely able to conduct its work effectively and efficiently.” However, he argued that, in spite of the need for dramatic reform, the organization was more efficient and effective than it was ten years ago.

 

Link to further information

UN press release, 7 March 2006

 

FEBRUARY 2006

 

RAPID RESPONSE FACILITY FOR NATURAL WORLD HERITAGE SITES LAUNCHED

The UNESCO World Heritage Centre, United Nations Foundation, and Fauna and Flora International have launched a Rapid Response Facility (RRF) for natural sites inscribed on the World Heritage List for biodiversity values. The Rapid Response Facility is designed to make funds up to US$30,000 available within three weeks from requests concerning sudden and significant threats and emergencies affecting Natural World Heritage Sites and surrounding areas of influence. In addition, the Facility aims to provide bridging funds in sites where longer-term funding is being sought, and catalyze innovative financing as part of long-term support programmes. The Facility Secretariat is to be hosted by Fauna and Flora International.

 

Link to further information

UNESCO press release, 23 February 2006

Rapid Response Facility webpage

Facility Small Grant application guidelines

 

UNEP LAUNCHES GREEN CONSTRUCTION INITIATIVE

UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE) has launched a new initiative aimed at achieving the worldwide adoption of sustainable construction practices. The Sustainable Building and Construction Initiative (SBCI) will seek to encourage major building companies to use natural resources sustainably, utilize energy efficiently, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste generation, and avoid the illegal plundering of sand. The initiative will also seek to help ensure that buildings are routinely designed, constructed and maintained from an environmentally sustainable viewpoint over their entire life span and to increase the inclusion of sustainability considerations and requirements in legislation and building standards. Companies that have already signed up to the initiative include Lafarge, Skanska and Arcelor. UNEP DTIE will host the SBCI secretariat.

 

Link to further information

UNEP Press Release, 21 February 2006

 

HIGH-LEVEL UN PANEL ON DEVELOPMENT, HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE AND THE ENVIRONMENT ESTABLISHED

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has announced the formation of a high-level panel to explore how the United Nations system could work more coherently and effectively in the areas of development, humanitarian assistance and the environment. The announcement, which was made on 16 February 2006, follows the call in the Outcome Document adopted at the 2005 World Summit for the Secretary-General to commission work on how to improve United Nations system-wide coherence across the various development and humanitarian-related agencies. The study is intended to lay the groundwork for a restructuring of United Nations operational work, complementing other major reform initiatives currently under way at the United Nations. The 15 member panel will be co-chaired by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, Luísa Dias Diogo, Prime Minister of Mozambique, and Norway’s Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg. The panel is expected to complete its work by mid-2006, to allow for formal presentation of its recommendations to the UN General Assembly in September 2006.

 

Link to further information

UN press Release, 16 February 2006

 

JANUARY 2006

 

UNESCO CONVENTION ON “INTANGIBLE” CULTURAL HERITAGE TO ENTER INTO FORCE

The Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage is set to enter into force following its thirtieth ratification in January 2006. The treaty, which was adopted in October 2003 by the UNESCO General Conference, will enter into force on 20 April 2006, The Convention aims to safeguard oral traditions and expressions, performing arts, social practices, rituals and festive events, knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe, as well as know-how linked to traditional crafts. The States Parties to the Convention commit themselves to taking the necessary measures to safeguard the intangible heritage present in on their territory and to establish one or more inventories of this intangible heritage with the participation of the communities and groups that create, maintain and transmit this heritage. The Convention establishes two lists: the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, and the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding; as well as the creation of a Fund for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

 

Links to further information

UNESCO press release, 20 January 2006

Text of the Convention

 

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