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MEDIA REPORTS

INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

This page was updated on: 01/13/10

 

2008

 

Intergovernmental Organization Media Reports Archives: 2010; 2009; 2007; 2006; 2005; 2004; 2003; 2002

 

DECEMBER 2008

UN DISASTER MANAGEMENT EXPERTISE IN DEMAND
In a year-end summary, issued on 23 December 2008, the head of the Emergency Services Branch of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Arjun Katoch, highlighted that in 2008, UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) – which helps disaster-stricken countries to rapidly assess priority needs and coordinate relief on-site – experienced increased demand due to the rise of natural disasters caused by extreme weather. He noted that 67 countries, including Spain and the United Arab Emirates, have joined the UNDAC system to share their expertise on how to better prepare for and manage emergency relief after natural disasters. In 2008, UNDAC sent disaster-management professionals to 16 areas, and organized disaster-awareness training programmes in the Middle East and in Russia, for members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). In 2009, UNDAC is expected to organize a training session for the West African region.

Links to further information

UN News Centre, 23 December 2008
Reliefweb Press Release, 23 December 2008

UNGA PRESIDENT HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE ON WATER AS A HUMAN RIGHT
In a press conference held at UN Headquarters in New York, US, UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann (Nicaragua) said one priority for the Assembly during his tenure would be to define the role of corporations in the area of water in a manner that does not contradict the human right to clean water.  Maude Barlow, Senior Adviser to the UNGA President on water issues, underlined that more children die from water-borne disease every day than from HIV/AIDS, war and traffic accidents combined. Speaking at the 9 December 2008 event, on the eve of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, she called for honoring those with the original vision to create the Declaration, and taking “the next step by adding water as a full covenant to it.” She urged the creation of a binding instrument that would declare water a human right and public trust belonging to all people. Barlow stressed that humanity’s abuse of water through pollution and displacement was among the major causes of climate change and has enormous human health impacts. 

Link to further information
UN Press Release, 9 December 2008

UNEP’s Climate Neutral Network Gains Participants
The UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Climate Neutral Network (CN Net), a coalition of public, private and governmental entities, has gained new participants. The new participants include URBN Hotels, China’s first carbon neutral hotel, Tesco Lotus, Thailand’s largest supermarket chain and Rios Tropicales, a Costa Rican eco-adventure company.

Link to further information
UNEP Press Release, 7 December 2008

UNDP SENDS A MESSAGE FROM DOHA TO POZNAŃ
On 3 December 2008, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Kemal Derviş commended the outcome document from the Financing for Development Conference, held in Doha, Qatar, from 29 November-2 December 2008, for endorsing the call of the UN Secretary-General to reaffirm international commitments to address poverty reduction and achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. The UNDP Administrator highlighted that Doha recognized the centrality of meeting developed countries’ commitment made in Monterrey 2002 to increase official development assistance (ODA) by 0.7 percent of GNP to developing countries by 2015, as essential to resolve the triple crisis posed by financial turmoil, global poverty and climate change. He stressed that the crises are interconnected and called upon negotiators at the UN climate change conference in Poznan to focus on opportunities, such as establishing an effective carbon market and price of carbon, and mechanisms for resource flows to developing countries to finance green growth policies and poverty reduction. He noted that UNDP will continue to support developing countries to build up the capacities required to promote sustainable green growth, while reducing poverty.

Links to further information

UNDP Newsroom, 3 December 2008
UN News Centre, 4 December 2008

UNCCD AND UNU TO EXPAND RESEARCH ON ENVIRONMENTALLY-INDUCED MIGRATION
The Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the UN University (UNU) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to be carried out as a joint work plan, beginning in 2009, to expand research on forced migration due to desertification, land degradation and drought. As a result of the 28 November 2008 MOU, a preliminary policy position paper is expected to be prepared and presented at the 17th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development in May 2009, followed by a joint publication, to be prepared by October 2009 for the ninth session of the UNCCD Conference of the Parties.

Link to further information
UNCCD Press Release

FAO RELEASES PRELIMINARY FINDINGS OF CARBOAFRICA

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has issued preliminary findings of CarboAfrica, an international research project gathering 15 institutions from Africa and Europe. The project aims to quantify, understand and predict the carbon cycle and other GHG gases in Africa. According to Riccardo Valentini, CarboAfrica project coordinator, the evidence so far indicates that Africa seems to be a relevant ‘carbon sink,’ meaning that it takes more carbon out of the atmosphere than it releases. It is estimated that Africa’s GHG emissions from fossil fuels are less than 4% of the world’s total. The preliminary findings of the project were the subject of the Africa and Carbon Cycle Conference held in Accra, Ghana, from 25-27 November 2008.

 

Links to further information
FAO Newsroom, 25 November 2008

CarboAfrica

 

NOVEMBER 2008

UNEP Releases Climate Change Survey Results
A new survey, in line with an earlier poll of youth carried out by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) as a part of UNite to Combat Climate Change campaign, suggests that the environment remains a concern despite the financial downturn. Conducted by the HSBC Climate Partnership, the poll of 12,000 people from 12 countries, including the US, China and Brazil, shows that: 43% of respondents think climate change is a bigger problem than the economy; 75% or respondents want their countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at least as much as other countries; and 55% of respondents want their governments to invest in renewable energy.

Link to further information
UNEP Press Release, 27 November 2008

First Carbon Neutral Airline Joins UNEP’s Climate Neutral Network
The first carbon neutral airline, NatureAir of Costa Rica, has joined the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Climate Neutral Network (CN Net). NatureAir has been climate neutral since 2004 and has improved its fuel efficiency by seven percent in three years. It offsets its remaining emissions by purchasing carbon credits from Costa Rica’s payment for environmental services scheme. Costa Rica itself aims to be climate neutral by 2021, and was among the first four countries to join CN Net.

Links to further information
UNEP Press Release, 20 November 2008
UN News Centre article, 20 November 2008
UN Dispatch article, 20 November 2008

UN Secretary-General HIGHLIGHTS linkages in addressing climate, financial, food and energy issues
In a series of recent speeches, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has continued to highlight the interconnectedness of the climate, energy, food and financial crises, and has also underscored the importance of growing green economies to address climate change. On the occasion of Africa Industrialization Day, he called for strengthening African industry to help overcome the current triple financial, food and climate crises. In remarks on his first visit to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), he reaffirmed WIPO’s unique role within the UN system in promoting intellectual property, innovations and investment in new technology, which he noted are crucial to stimulate economic development and to tackle the current financial, climate, food and oil crisis. In remarks to the governing body of the International Labor Organization (ILO), he stressed the ILO’s role in the effort to address the financial crisis and climate change by focusing on labor-intensive projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help communities adapt to global warming.

The Secretary-General further highlighted the potential of green growth in his statement to the leaders assembled at the Group of 20 (G20) Financial Summit, on 15 November 2008, in Washington, DC, US. He said the green economy should play a role in leaders’ response to the financial downturn, and that renewable energy has the potential to create millions of jobs and spur growth.

Links to further information
WIPO Press Release, 18 November 2008
Secretary-General’s remarks to the ILO, 19 November 2008
UN News Centre article on Africa’s industrialization, 20 November 2008
Secretary-General’s message on Africa Industrialization Day, 20 November 2008
UN Press Release on G20 Summit, 17 November 2008

UNEP Launches Green Star Awards
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), with Green Cross International and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, has launched the Green Star Awards. Honoring people along with public and private organizations, the awards will seek to increase awareness of the need to reduce large-scale environmental emergencies’ impacts by rewarding extraordinary efforts to respond to such emergencies. Speaking about the awards, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner stated that, by investing in the planet’s ecosystem infrastructure, the initiative aims to increase the resilience of communities at risk while increasing awareness of the need for adaptation to climate change. The first Green Star Awards ceremony will take place on 8 May 2009, in Brussels, Belgium.

Links to further information
UNEP Press Release, 17 November 2008
Greenstar Awards Website

UNGA PROMOTES AN INTERACTIVE PANEL ON THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS
UN General Assembly President Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann organized an Interactive Panel on the Global Financial Crisis on October 30, 2008 at UN Headquarters in New York. The Panel aimed to identify recommendations for member states suffering from the global financial crisis, and to provide guidance to the work of the Task Force that Professor Stiglitz, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics and Columbia University Professor, has agreed to chair. UNGA President d’Escoto Brockmann stressed that solutions must come not only from the G8 and G20 countries, but also from the G192, referring to all UN member states and their responsibilities to address the crisis. During the panel discussion, Stiglitz said emerging markets and less developed countries are likely to suffer from the current financial crisis and that any global solution must pay due attention to impacts on these countries and hear their voices. According to Stiglitz, the current crisis provides an opportunity for reassessing and rearranging the global economic arrangements. Other members of the Task Force are Professor Prabhat Patnaik, Jawahawl Nehru University, India, and Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, New School University, Japan.

Other panelists were Pedro Páez, Minister of Economic Policy Coordination of Ecuador and Coordinator of the Bank of the South; Calestous Juma, Professor at the Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University; and, Francois Houtart, Chief Editor of the International Journal of Religion Social Compass. The panel was moderated by Paul Oquist, senior advisor to the UNGA President and Minister and Private Secretary on National Policy to the President of the Republic of Nicaragua.

Link to further information
UN General Assembly report

OCTOBER 2008

UNEP Launches Green Economy Initiative
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a Green Economy Initiative, which seeks to respond to the global economic downturn by focusing economic growth and job creation in environmental industries. The initiative, which was launched on 22 October 2008, in London, UK, is funded by the European Commission, Germany and Norway. It builds on the G8+5 study on the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, which emphasized the economic implications of ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss, as well as their link to poverty. The US$4 million Green Economy Initiative will look to clean and rural energy and technologies, sustainable agriculture, ecosystem infrastructure, reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and sustainable cities to promote its priorities, which include valuing and mainstreaming nature’s services, generating employment through green jobs and policy, and accelerating the transition to a Green Economy via instruments and market signals.

Links to further information
The Independent article, 12 October 2008
UNEP Press Release, 22 October 2008
UN News Centre article, 22 October 2008
Reuters article, 22 October 2008

Newsweek article, 25 October 2008

UNEP Children’s Art Exhibit Focuses on Climate Change
The UN kicked off its “UNite to Combat Climate Change” campaign on 23 October 2008 with the “Paint for the Planet” art exhibition. The exhibition was followed by an auction on 25 October 2008 in New York and on eBay.com. The auction’s proceeds will be donated to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), to be directed towards children affected by climate-related disasters. The exhibit and auction mark the beginning of the “UNite to Combat Climate Change” campaign, the UN’s campaign calling for a definitive agreement at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009. The paintings will travel to climate change meetings for the next 14 months, and will finally be displayed in Copenhagen in December 2009.

In conjunction with the campaign, the UNEP has released results of a survey it says highlights how concerned young people are about climate change. The results show that youth worldwide believe climate change to be a top concern.

Links to further information
Paint for the Planet website
UN News Centre article, 23 October 2008

CNN.com article, 24 October 2008

FINANCIAL CRISIS MUST NOT SLOW CLIMATE ACTION, SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL
Focusing on the financial crisis at the expense of addressing climate change would result in a “double blow,” according to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. In his acceptance speech for
the UN Association-New York Humanitarians of the Year Award, the Secretary-General underlined the enormous benefits that could accrue from making the transition to a low-carbon economy.

“Present circumstances make it hard to talk about ‘smart money.’ But many scientists and other experts believe fervently that clean energy will be the investment wave of the future, and that there are fortunes to be made by putting resources behind wind, solar, biomass and other renewables.  Last year alone, this part of the energy sector attracted nearly $150 billion in investments,” he said.

The Secretary-General also highlighted the great benefits of acting “for people, for the environment and for the bottom line.” He warned that delaying action on climate change would make the world “poorer, more polluted, more prone to natural disasters and less stable.”

Link to further information
UN Press Release, 23 October 2008

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL CONVENES EMINENT ECONOMISTS TO DISCUSS IMPACT OF FINANCIAL CRISIS ON POVERTY
On 23 October 2008, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Kemal Dervis, met with five eminent economists to discuss the impact of the global financial crisis on UN efforts to achieve the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals, financing for development, the international reserve system, trade issues and the regulatory role of multilateral institutions. The participating economists were Joseph Stiglitz and Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University; Kenneth Rogoff  and Dani Rodrik of Harvard University;  and Nancy Birdsall, President of the Centre for Global Development.

Link to further information
UN News Centre, 23 October 2008

NEW CONVENTION ON SHARED TRANSBOUNDARY AQUIFERS SUBMITTED TO THE UNGA
On 27 October 2008, the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) submitted to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) the draft Convention on Transboundary Aquifers, which applies to underground aquifers, most of which straddle national boundaries, and that represent 96% of the planet’s freshwater resources. Many shared aquifers are under environmental threats caused by climate change, increased population pressure, over-exploitation and human-induced water pollution. The draft articles for an international framework convention on transboundary aquifers were adopted by the International Law Commission (ILC) in August 2008. These draft articles represent six years of work by the ILC with the assistance of experts from UNESCO's International Hydrological Programme, and are intended to fill a gap in the law on the protection and management of groundwater resources, which have been neglected as a subject of international law despite the social, economic, environmental and strategic importance of groundwater. The draft treaty requires that aquifer States cause no harm to existing aquifers and cooperate to prevent and control their pollution.

Link to further information
UNESCO Press Release, 22 October 2008

OVER 100 MILLION PEOPLE ‘STAND UP’ WITH UN AGAINST POVERTY
From 17-19 October 2008, almost 117 million people mobilized under the slogan ‘Stand Up - Take Action’ at events in more than 100 countries around the globe, setting a new record. People gathered to demand that world leaders not use the financial crisis as an excuse for breaking the promises they made in 2000 to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Stand Up Global Campaign, managed by the United Nations Millennium Campaign, was first launched in 2006 and aims to raise awareness on poverty and inequality to support the MDGs. Salil Shetty, Director of the UN Millennium Campaign, noted that the new record indicates that millions of people that took part of the campaign this year, almost 2 percent of the world’s population, demonstrated they will not remain seated in the face of poverty and broken promises.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 22 October 2008
UN News Centre, 17 October 2008

Stand Up Against Poverty

UN Global Compact and UNEP Convene First Meeting of ‘Caring for Climate’ Initiative
Representatives of over 150 corporations, civil society organizations, governments and UN agencies gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, on 21 October 2008, for the first meeting of signatories to ‘Caring for Climate,’ a voluntary global action platform jointly launched in 2007 by the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). The meeting aimed to produce business insights and develop a shared path forward in support of an effective post-Kyoto policy framework on climate change. A recent survey among Caring for Climate signatories reveals that a majority of signatories are optimistic about their ability to develop the internal capacity to set targets and reduce climate impact, while expecting: similar leadership from governments; long-term plans for emission reductions; and increased investments in low-carbon technologies.

Link to further information
UN News Centre Story, 21 October 2008

UNWTO Summit: Responding to the Economic Downturn and Staying on Course with the Climate and Poverty Reduction Agenda
The UN World Trade Organization (UNWTO), in partnership with the World Travel Market, will hold a Ministers’ Summit at the World Travel Market in London, UK, on 11 November 2008, under the theme “Responding to the Economic Downturn and Staying on Course with the Climate and Poverty Reduction Agenda.” During the meeting, tourism ministers will consider climate and poverty goals in the context of the economic downturn. Items on the Summit’s agenda include: tourism as a driver of socio-economic progress and poverty alleviation; the UNWTO’s Davos Declaration Process on Climate Change; and TOURpact, the first UN Global Compact Industry Sector Network, which calls on the tourism sector to actively support UN objectives.

Link to further information
UNWTO Ministers’ Summit website

UN AND EU PARTNERSHIP – HIGHLIGHTS OF DEVELOPMENT SUCCESS
The UN Team in Brussels has released its third annual report, which details UN/EU partnership achievements. The report is based on inputs collected from UN Country offices around the world. Emphasis is placed on the support that the UN and EU provide to national development strategies and initiatives related to strengthening national capacities. The report details how UN/EU cooperation has positively impacted people in the areas of humanitarian assistance, sustainable livelihoods, democratic inclusive processes and policy formulation. Special emphasis is given to human rights, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights celebrates its 60th anniversary, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) vis-à-vis emerging challenges such as high food and energy prices and climate change. The report also includes a section on strengthening governance, which details the work of the European Commission at different international fora, in particular the OECD/DAC Environment Working Group. The report also recalls that the 2007 European Development Days focused on climate change, and takes stock of such events.  

Link to further information
Improving Lives: Results from the Partnership of the United Nations and the European Commission in 2007

 

UNEP AND UNWTO announce global sustainable tourism criteria

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), with the UN Foundation and the Rainforest Alliance, have established the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria. The criteria are targeted at establishing a framework to aid tourists and the tourism industry in evaluating the benefits of tourism to local communities, the impacts of tourism on cultural heritage, the extent of harm to the local environment and sustainability.

 

Links to further information

UN News Centre article, 7 October 2008
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article, 10 October 2008

UN Releases text of system-wide coherence resolution
The UN has released the text of Resolution 277, the resolution on system-wide coherence adopted at the end of the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) 62nd session (A/RES/62/277). The operative paragraphs, inter alia; decide the UNGA’s continuing work will focus exclusively on “Delivering as one,” harmonization of business practices, funding, governance and gender equality and the empowerment of women; and request papers from the Secretary-General on funding and governance and on the modalities of the institutional options for strengthening UN work on gender equality.

Link to further information
Resolution, 7 October 2008

UNEP ANNOUNCES PROJECTS TO DEMONSTRATE RETURNS TO INVESTMENTS IN ECOSYSTEMS
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), in cooperation with governments, has announced the launch of large-scale projects aimed at demonstrating that re-investing in damaged ecosystems can generate significant economic, environmental and social returns. The projects will take place in five countries during the run up to the next meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity, in Nagoya, Japan, in 2010.

 

Link to further information
UNEP Press Release, 6 October 2008

NEW ONLINE TOOL ALLOWS MONITORING OF WORLD’S PROTECTED AREAS
A new product allows scientists, environmentalists, park rangers as well as tourists to monitor and explore over 100,000 protected areas via Google Earth. The product, which has been developed by a partnership between UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and IUCN, has resulted in the complete redesign and relaunch of the World Database on Protected Areas. The new system allows users to view information on national parks and protected areas in their web browser, visualize them in Google Earth, download data, and bring together other important data, like species information, into the same portal.

Links to further information
UNEP press release, 6 October 2008

The World Database on Protected Areas

Germany Increases Support to UNEP

During a meeting with UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner, at UNEP’s headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, German Federal Minister for the Environment Sigmar Gabriel announced that his country will increase its funding for the organization’s work on clean energy and climate proofing vulnerable economies.

Gabriel specified that the additional US$18 million will be raised by auctioning emission certificates on the European carbon market, and will be provided over three years. The funds will be used in UNEP projects supporting: developing countries’ clean energy and energy efficiency efforts; adaptation in vulnerable economies; and developing countries’ capacity in international climate negotiations.

 

Link to further information
UNEP Press Release, 3 October 2008

UNEP HOSTS Global Forum for Sport and Environment
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), with the Global Sports Alliance of Japan and Volvo, hosted the 2008 Global Forum for Sport and Environment in Alicante, Spain, from 4-6 October 2008. The theme for this year’s forum was “Climate Change: Changing our Carbon Footprint.” Participants focused on the connection between sport and climate change, and considered how sport organizations and sporting events could reduce their carbon footprints, as well as how sport could be used to raise awareness of climate change.

Link to further information
UNEP Sport and Environment website

 

SEPTEMBER 2008

MDG SUMMIT ENDS WITH US$16 BILLION IN NEW COMMITMENTS 
On 25 September 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the President of the UN General Assembly convened a High-Level Event (HLE) on the Millennium Development Goals at UN headquarters in New York. The HLE brought together Heads of State or Government, as well as leaders of the private sector and civil society to reaffirm existing commitments and announce new ones needed to achieve the MDGs by 2015. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that fresh contributions and commitments to the MDGs could amount to around US$16 billion, which was remarkable given the current financial crisis. Among the commitments, some US$1.6 billion was pledged to enhance food security. Anew initiative, “Purchase for Progress,” to buy surplus crops directly from poor farmers in Africa and Central America, was launched. US$3 billion was committed to launch the Malaria Action Plan and new pledges of almost half a billion dollars were committed for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Commitments relating to child mortality and maternal health reached almost US$2 billion next year, rising to US$7 billion in 2015. The Global Campaign on Health has committed to mobilize an extra US$30 billion by 2015, including the training of more than 1 million health workers. Considering that MDG 5 on maternal health has the lowest record of achievement, an additional US$12 billion was pledged to provide 21 million trained birth attendants to prevent deaths in childbirth. Investments of US$2.2 billion were committed to provide water and sanitation to 30 million people by 2015, and  US$4.5 billion was promised to launch the “Class of 2015: Education for All” multi-stakeholder partnership, which aims to put children into school by 2010. Attention was also given to the threat of climate change in reversing the achievements made on the MDGs, and over US$750 million was pledged by member States, along with renewed commitments to reduce deforestation.

A formal summit on the MDGs to review implementation in 2010 will convene and will monitor the commitments made. The High-Level Event also sent a message to the Doha Review Conference from the highest political level, on strengthening the global partnership for development and building consensus on financing for development. The Doha event will take place from 29 November to 2 December 2008, in Doha, Qatar.

Links to further information
High-Level Event on MDGs, 25 September 2008
UN News Centre, 16 September 2008
IISD RS Coverage
Financing for Development Review Conference

FAO URGES GLOBAL FISHING INDUSTRIES TO CURB SEABIRD KILLINGS

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has urged regions using fishing techniques such as trawl nets and gillnets, to implement safeguards in areas where seabirds are at greatest risk. The call follows the success of strategies to protect seabirds from longline fishing activities. The FAO has indicated that the number of birds killed as a result of Chilean longline fishing dropped from 1,600 in 2002 to zero in 2006, while the number in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica was reported to have fallen from 6,500 in 1996 to zero last year. Following an expert consultation held in Bergen, Norway, in September 2008, best practice guidelines have been outlined that work to extend the International Plan of Action for Reducing Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries – developed by FAO and approved by member countries in 1999 – to include trawl and gillnet fisheries in areas of high seabird density.

Link to further information
FAO Press Release, 22 September 2008

HIGH-LEVEL EVENT ON AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT NEEDS ADOPTS POLITICAL DECLARATION
The High-Level Meeting on Africa’s Development Needs took place at UN headquarters on 22 September 2008, under the theme “Africa’s development needs: state of implementation of various commitments, challenges and the way forward.” The President of the UN General Assembly, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, opened the plenary and noted that, while official development assistance (ODA) has increased from 1.3 % of GDP in 2005 to 1.8 % in 2007, levels of ODA should be further increased to meet the commitments undertaken in Monterrey. He urged G8 members to double ODA for Africa by 2010, as promised at the G8 Summit at Gleneagles, Scotland in 2005. UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, pointed out that no African country will achieve all of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, but that they remain achievable in Africa. He emphasized that the MDG Steering Group assessed that US$72 million per year is necessary to achieve the goals by 2015. The meeting ended with the adoption of a resolution entitled Political Declaration on Africa’s Development Needs (A/63/L.1). Leaders from Africa expressed their determination to achieve the MDGs and reaffirmed that NEPAD provides an agreed foundation. They noted that this framework can only be implemented if the international community fulfills its commitments to tackle the myriad challenges faced by Africa.

Links to further information
Africa’s Development Needs, 22 September
IISDRS Coverage

UNEP LAUNCHES COLLABORATION ON CHEMICAL SAFETY
On 16 September 2008, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection and Dow Chemical of China launched a partnership on emergency preparedness and safety in the Chinese chemical industry. The collaborative project, in line with UNEP’s Bali Strategic Plan on Technology Support and Capacity Building, will build capacity in China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, as well as in the chemical industry.

Link to further information
UNEP Press Release, 16 September 2008

World Tourism Day focuses on Climate Change
T
he World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) World Tourism Day, which focused on the response of the tourism industry to climate change and was hosted in Peru, was observed on 27 September 2008. World Tourism Day kicked-off a year-long campaign during which the UNWTO aims to: raise awareness of the positive role of tourism in sustainable development; advance tourism in the UN global response to the challenges of climate change and poverty alleviation; promote the Davos Declaration Framework for the Tourism Sector and encourage its implementation by all stakeholders at a global level; encourage tourism stakeholders to adapt, mitigate and use new technology; and secure financing for the poorest countries.

Link to more information
World Tourism Day website

CLIMATE CHANGE TO BE A PRIORITY DURING UNGA’s 63rd SESSION
Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, a former foreign minister of Nicaragua and the new President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), opened its 63rd session on 16 September 2008 with a call to democratize the UN in order to deal more effectively with the world’s most pressing problems, including the impact of climate change, widespread hunger and poverty, and unequal access to water. He noted that the session’s main objective would be to democratize the UN and ensure the Assembly has the ability to fulfil its mandate. The President added that UNGA would focus during this session on examining the root causes of major problems, such as the current food crisis and its effect on hunger and poverty.

The previous day, outgoing UNGA President Srgjan Kerim closed the Assembly’s 62nd session, noting that while Security Council reform had been the most difficult issue of the session, climate change and the Millennium Development Goals had been “the closest to his heart.” He recalled the commitments by member States to negotiate within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to fix the common goals for future greenhouse gas emission targets after the Kyoto Protocol expires. He also highlighted the importance of the discussion of public-private partnerships to tackle climate change, underlining that this challenge cannot be resolved solely by intergovernmental negotiations.

 

Links to further information
UN Press Release (new President’s speech), 16 September 2008
UN Press Release (outgoing President’s speech), 16 September 2008

 

UNGA CONSIDERS SYSTEM-WIDE COHERENCE AND International Environmental Governance

A draft resolution on System-wide Coherence (SWC) was considered by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on 15 September 2008. The draft resolution, which was circulated by Paul Kavanagh, Ireland, and Augustine Mahiga, Tanzania, the SWC Co-Chairs, took into account consultations held on 8 September 2008, which focused on the desire to improve the UN system’s capabilities on gender equality, and the related  financing requirements and need for leadership within the UN. The draft decides that the UN’s work on SWC continuing beyond the 62nd session will focus on Delivering as One, Harmonization of Business Practices, Funding, Governance, and Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. Adoption of the draft would leave environment, human rights and humanitarian assistance out of future SWC discussions. Building on the Secretary-General’s papers on gender equality, the draft calls for similar documents from the Secretary-General on Funding and Governance. In addition, the draft calls for a paper with further details on gender equality from the Secretary-General, with a view to focusing on the novel “Composite Entity” concept largely supported in consultations on 8 September 2008.

 

In other UNGA news, a draft resolution on International Environmental Governance was considered by Member States on 12 September 2008. Discussions focused on the relationship between UNGA, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and multilateral environment agreements (MEAs), the institutional framework in the UN, and the implied financing requirements.

 

Links to further information

ReformtheUN article on System-wide Coherence, 12 September 2008

ReformtheUN article on issues for end of 62nd Session, 9 September 2008

Letter from the Co-Chairs on Coherence, 3 September 2008
Revised Draft Resolution on Environmental Governance, 23 July 2008

 

AUGUST 2008

 

TOYOTA JOINS UNEP’S CLIMATE NEUTRAL NETWORK

Toyota Motor Europe has become the first car manufacturer to join the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Climate Neutral Network. This initiative, launched in February 2008, aims to bring together public and private entities that pledge to significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Additional companies that joined the Climate Neutral Network in August included  the Carbon Association of Australasia, CO2focus, EcoSecurities, Green Cabs and Wairau River Wines.

 

Links to further information
Climate Neutral Network release, 18 August 2008

UNEP Press Release, 18 August 2008

UNEP LAUNCHES PLAN TO PROTECT BEES AND BIRDS
In a bid to protect pollinators, which play a role in crop production and biodiversity, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a 5-year programme to disperse best management practices worldwide. Partially funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the US$27 million project, “Conservation & Management of Pollinators for Sustainable Agriculture through an Ecosystem Approach,” aims to develop local and national capacities to protect these economically and environmentally important species.

Link to further information
UNEP Press Release, 8 August 2008

UNGA CONSIDERATION OF SYSTEM-WIDE COHERENCE MOVES FORWARD
Member States received a letter from the UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro on the issue of the institutional dimension of System-wide Coherence and UN work on gender equality and women’s empowerment and the report of the Co-Chairs on the consultations on System-wide Coherence. The report of the Co-Chairs emphasizes the urgency of the need for more coherence, the shared nature of the vision for a coherent UN, and the progress of the “Delivering as One” approach in the pilot countries. The report also commends the work of the Chief Executives Board (CEB) towards harmonizing UN System business practices and calls for: political impetus on “Delivering as One;” empowerment of country-level agency representatives; funding predictability; and improved UN and Bretton Woods Institutions collaboration. On gender equality and the empowerment of women, the report and the Deputy Secretary-General’s letter are optimistic about making a “conceptual breakthrough” on the institutional architecture of the UN System.

Link to further information
Letter on System-wide Coherence
Letter on gender equality and the empowerment of women

JULY 2008

REVISED DRAFT RESOLUTION ON INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE CONSIDERED
A revised version of the draft resolution on strengthening the environmental activities in the UN system was put forward on 23 July 2008. Among other changes, the new draft: focuses on collaboration, rather than hierarchical relationships, between Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN General Aassembly; proposes an “overview” rather than a “strategy” with regard to research activities; highlights UNEP’s presence in the regions rather than on a need for resources; drops the proposal that the Global Environment Fund (GEF) be the financial mechanism for all global MEAs; includes new references to requests for additional resources, as well as to the need to more efficient use of existing resources; and asks for integratingthe Environmental Management Group (EMG) in the Chief Executives Board (CEB). Further consultations on the matter are expected in early September.

Links to additional information
Chairs’ Talking Points, 23 July 2008
Draft Resolution, 23 July 2008

JUNE 2008

UNWTO EXECUTIVE COUNCIL FUNDS ST-EP PROGRAMME
The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Executive Council held its 83rd Session from 13-14 June 2008, in Jeju, Republic of Korea, following the Sustainable Tourism – Elimination of Poverty (ST-EP) Foundation’s Board of Directors meeting, which convened on 12 June 2008. At the Executive Council meeting, the Council agreed to allocate US$500,000 to fund the ST-EP programme, which seeks to promote poverty elimination through sustainable tourism development.

In other ST-EP news, the first ST-EP project in China was launched in Guizhou province. The project seeks to support micro-credit financing for local handicrafts in the province.

Links to further information
Conference website
China ST-EP Programme Launch press release, 26 June 2008

UNGA CONSIDERS GENDER ASPECTS OF SYSTEM-WIDE COHERENCE
The UN General Assembly considered gender aspects of system-wide coherence on 16 June 2008, focusing on a Secretariat “Note on the UN System Support to Member States on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment,” which responded to a request that came out of the 16 May 2008 meeting and outlined the work on gender within the UN System. The meeting concluded with Co-Chairs Augustine Mahiga (Tanzania) and Paul Kavanagh (Ireland) calling for a second paper from the Secretary-General on institutional options to improve the UN’s performance in the area of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

Link to further information
Reform the UN article, 26 June 2008

UNGA PRESIDENT DISCUSSES ‘CLIMATE REFUGEES’
UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Srgjan Kerim, speaking at the first annual meeting of the Global Humanitarian Forum, which convened from 24-25 June 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland, discussed the populations being forced from their homes due to climate-related events and environmental changes. In his address, he emphasized the role of the private sector in addressing climate change, and its need for predicable policy on which to base business decisions. He also underscored the role of the UN in responding to the related challenges presented by climate change and sustainable development.

Links to further information
UN News Centre article, 24 June 2008

Text of UNGA President's remarks, 24 June 2008

UNEP CONSIDERS ENVIRONMENTAL REFUGEES ON WORLD REFUGEE DAY
On World Refugee Day, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) noted the high proportion of refugees that are environmental refugees. Citing the International Federation of the Red Cross, UNEP highlighted that climate change is a bigger cause of population displacement than war and persecution.

Link to further information
UNEP press release, 20 June 2008

UNEP CHILDREN’S CONFERENCE AIMS TO INCREASE AWARENESS
The seventh Tunza International Children’s Conference convened from 17-21 June 2008, in Stavanger, Norway. 700 children attended the biannual conference, which focused on Energy, Biodiversity, Water, and Production and Consumption, and focused on building skills to promote environmental projects in their communities.

Link to further information
UN News Centre article, 17 June 2008

UNEP RELEASES ATLAS DOCUMENTING AFRICAN ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE
A new publication containing photographs, satellite imagery and narrative illustrates changes to the African global environment over the past 36 years. The UN Environment Programme launched Africa: Atlas of Our Changing Environment in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 10 June 2008 at the 12th session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN). The publication documents deforestation, the effects of climate change, and the impact of growing urban centers in Africa. Images highlight dramatic changes, including the shrinking glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro and in Uganda’s Rwenzori Mountains.

Links to further information
UNEP Press Release, 10 June 2008
Africa: Atlas of Our Changing Environment

RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS RECEIVE UNEP PRIZE
Projects from Peru and Lao People's Democratic Republic received the Sasakawa Prize, a prestigious award from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The Prize, which aims to incentivize sustainable and replicable grassroots environmental efforts, focused this year on “moving towards a low carbon economy.” Both of the winning projects, Sunlabob Rural Energy Ltd (Lao) and Practical Action (Peru), aim to bring renewable energy to remote villages.

Links to further information
UNEP Press Release, 4 June 2008
UNEP Sasakawa Prize website

GPA COORDINATION OFFICE TO RELOCATE
In a letter dated 30 May 2008, Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, officially communicated the relocation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Sources (GPA) Coordination Office from The Hague, the Netherlands, to Nairobi, Kenya.  In his letter, Steiner emphasizes the multiple benefits of this move and extends UNEP’s gratitude to the Government of the Netherlands for their invaluable support. The move is expected to take place in August 2008 (IISD RS Sources).

FAO LAUNCHES WEBSITE ON URBAN FORESTRY
The Forest Conservation Service of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has launched a website on urban and peri-urban forestry, entitled “Forests and Trees for Healthy Cities: Improving Livelihoods and Environment for All.” The website aims to promote worldwide collaborative and participatory approaches by allowing users to use interactive tools, such as discussion fora, as well as upload and review documents and other sources of information.

Link to further information
The website

WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY OBSERVED
In advance of World Environment Day, which is observed on 5 June, Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, likened fossil fuel dependence to a “dangerous addiction.” World Environment Day 2008 was hosted by Wellington, New Zealand, under the theme is “Kick the Habit! Towards a Low Carbon Economy.”

Links to further information
Text of Secretary-General's statement, 23 May 2008
Press Release on World Environment Day Event, 23 May 2008

World Environment Day 2008 website

IUCN RED LIST 2008 FOR BIRDS SHOWS CLIMATE CHANGE PUTS BIRDS AT RISK OF EXTINCTION
Long-term drought and sudden extreme weather put additional stress on habitats that many threatened bird species depend on, found the 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species of Birds. The publication established climate change as an accelerant to many of the factors putting birds at risk of extinction, coupled with habitat destruction. The list identifies 1,226 species of birds now threatened, and eight species newly listed as Critically Endangered.

Links to further information
IUCN press release, 19 May 2008
Birds on the 2008 Red List

MAY 2008

UNEP TREE-PLANTING CAMPAIGN RAISES TARGET TO SEVEN BILLION
On 13 May 2008, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Plant for the Planet - Billion Tree Campaign announced that it has raised its target from 1 billion to 7 billion trees. The campaign was initiated by UNEP and the World AgroForestry Centre in November 2006 as a response to the threats of climate change, as well as to the wider sustainability challenges of water supplies and biodiversity loss, with the objective of empowering individuals, organizations and corporations to embrace these challenges. Since its inception, the campaign has catalyzed the planting of more than 2 billion trees in some 150 countries. Trees and forests play a vital role in regulating the climate since they absorb carbon dioxide, making tree planting one of the most cost-effective ways to address climate change.

Links to further information
UNEP press release, 13 May 2008
Billion Tree Campaign website 

YOUNSTERS SAVING RUSSIAN PARK WIN 2008 VOLVO AWARD
The 2008 Volvo Adventure has announced that a project to rescue and revive an environmentally-sensitive urban park in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, threatened with destruction from industry has won the US$10,000 first prize. The winning Green Sail team consists of five students that have worked tirelessly the past two years to save the Dubky Park, its “residents” and ecosystems. This year’s finalists represent a range of countries including, Lebanon, Macedonia, India, Turkey, Brazil, Egypt and Ecuador, and many of their projects are associated with mitigating the effects of climate change. The Volvo Adventure is a global Internet-based environmental competition for young people aged 13 to16 years old. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) serves as the environmental endorsing body for the Volvo Adventure.

Links to further information
UNEP press release, 13 May 2008
The Volvo Adventure website

BUSINESS LEADERS HIGHLIGHT WATER AND SANITATION CRISES
In a letter circulated by the UN Global Compact Office, the CEOs of 19 corporations have called on the Group of Eight (G8) countries to urgently address the emerging global crisis in water and sanitation during their upcoming Hokkaido Toyako Summit on 7-9 July 2008 in Japan. The letter states that the lack of access to clean water and sanitation in many parts of the world has major adverse humanitarian, social, environmental and economic implications, and seriously undermines development goals. In addition, the business leaders urge the G8 leaders to work more actively with the international business community, through initiatives such as The CEO Water Mandate. UN Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate is a voluntary call to action, as well as a strategic framework, for companies seeking to incorporate water sustainability in their operations.

Link to further information
The UN Global Compact letter
The CEO Water Mandate

DELIVERING AS ONE STOCKTAKING SUMMARY MADE PUBLIC
The UN Development Group has released Delivering as One 2007 Stocktaking Summary, which compiles the assessments provided by UN Country Teams, national governments and UN agencies on progress, emerging issues and lessons learnt in the eight pilot countries - Albania, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uruguay and Viet Nam. According to the summary report, the key lessons learnt include the importance of: government leadership and involvement; greater Resident Coordinator accountability; support from headquarter level; resource mobilization; and sharing of country experiences.

Links to further information
Delivering as One 2007 Stocktaking Website

APRIL 2008

IAASTD REPORT SAYS AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES MUST BE REVISED TO BENEFIT THE WORLD’S POOR
Modern agricultural practices must change to better serve the poor if the world is to cope with a growing population and climate change, according to the Synthesis Report of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), released on 15 April 2008. The report is the result of three years of cooperation between nearly 400 scientists. Global and sub-Global “Summaries for Decision Makers” and an “Executive Summary of the Synthesis Report” were approved at an Intergovernmental Plenary that met from 7-12 April 2008, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Synthesis Report integrates the key findings from the Global and five sub-Global assessments, and focuses on eight topics: bioenergy; biotechnology; climate change; human health; natural resource management; traditional knowledge and community based innovation; trade and markets; and women in agriculture. The report primarily addresses how agricultural knowledge, science and technology can be used to reduce hunger and poverty, improve rural livelihoods, and facilitate equitable environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable development. The report suggests that the way to meet this challenge is to put in place institutional, economic and legal frameworks that combine productivity with the protection and conservation of natural resources, while meeting production needs. The IAASTD was sponsored by several UN agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Organization, UN Environment Programme and World Bank.

Links to further information
The IAASTD reports
UN news release, 15 April 2008

CLIMATE-HEALTH LINKS HIGHLIGHTED ON WORLD HEALTH DAY
On the occasion of World Health Day 2008, Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), issued a statement indicating that climate change will erode the foundations of public health, and noting that “climate-sensitive impacts on human health are occurring today.” To address the health effects of climate change, WHO is coordinating and supporting research on the most effective measures to protect health from climate change, with specific attention to vulnerable populations in developing countries.

Links to further information
World Health Day 2008 website
UNEP press release, 7 April 2008

GEF-FUNDED BIOMASS GAS PLANT INAUGURATED IN RURAL INDIA
On 24 March 2008, a biomass gasifier plant that converts wood or agricultural residues into a combustible gas mixture was inaugurated in Boregunte, a remote village in the Karnataka region of southern India. The plant was funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the Government of India, the Government of Karnataka, and the UN Development Programme. It is the second plant commissioned under the Biomass in Rural India (BERI) project, which seeks to promote remote communities’ access to electricity in an environment friendly, carbon neutral way, and it has the capacity of delivering 250 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Additional plants are scheduled to be commissioned in the same region during 2008.

Links to further information
UNDP press release, 24 March 2008
BERI website

CEO WATER MANDATE MEETING RELEASES SUMMARY REPORT
The UN Global Compact and the Pacific Institute have issued a summary report from the working conference of the CEO Water Mandate, which convened from 5-6 March 2008 at UN headquarters in New York, US. Some of the key points offered in the report include: that business water strategies should entail innovation to increase product efficiencies as well as invest in the restoration of ecological systems that affect water flows. The report also underlines the challenges of setting corporate-wide standards for implementation, due to countries’ varying hydrological, cultural and political environments. The CEO Water Mandate was launched in 2007 by the UN Global Compact and is designed as a learning and action platform for companies and other stakeholders committed to making water sustainability a priority. 

Link to further information
The CEO Water Mandate summary report

The CEO Water Mandate

MARCH 2008

FAO SUPPORTS PROJECT TO MANAGE WATER RESOURCES IN AFGHANISTAN
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has announced the launch of a new hydrological station at the Qargha Dam near Kabul on 26 March 2008, as part of an effort to better manage water resources in Afghanistan. The hydrological station is one of a network of 174 hydrological stations and 60 snow gauges and meteorological stations being erected around Afghanistan, attributable to a joint endeavor of FAO, the World Bank and the national Ministry of Energy and Water, to measure water levels, precipitation, temperature and water quality.

Link to further information
The Frontier Post, 26 March 2008

UNDP SUPPORTS PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP TO IMPROVE SANITATION IN RURAL CHINA
The first public-private partnership to improve water access and sanitation in rural China, which is a joint initiative between the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Ministry of Water Resources, China International Center for Economic and Technical Exchange and The Coca-Cola Company, was launched on 20 March 2008. The project, entitled “Water Resources Management and Drinking Water Safety in Rural Regions of China,” aims to improve policy mechanisms by demonstrating sound water resource management approaches on water resources allocation and drinking water safety technologies, such as rebuilding drainage pipelines and using ecologically sustainable agricultural technologies for water conservation. By August 2008, the project will have set up pilots in four primary schools in rural Sichuan and Xinjiang provinces, which will seek to improve sanitary conditions, as well as applying health education on school health management.

Link to further information
UNDP press release, 20 March 2008

GLACIER MONITORING CENTRE REPORTS RECORD THINNING
The world’s glaciers continue to melt away at record speed, according to findings from the World Glacier Monitoring Service, a centre supported by the UN Environment Programme and based at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. Data from close to 30 reference glaciers in nine mountain ranges in Antarctica, Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America and the Pacific indicates that, between 2004-2006, the average rate of melting and thinning more than doubled.

Links to further information
World Glacier Monitoring Service website
UNEP press release, 16 March 2008

UNDP RECEIVES US$ 137 MILLION GRANT FROM JAPAN

With a view to strengthening its partnership with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Japan transferred a grant of US$ 137 million to UNDP on 12 March 2008. According to UNDP, the grant will support projects such as reconstruction assistance in Afghanistan and the response to humanitarian crisis and peace-building in Africa, with a particular focus on African countries that are vulnerable to climate change. US$ 96 million will be earmarked for the latter project.

Links to further information
UNDP press release, 12 March 2008

UNDP-SUPPORTED WIND ENERGY FACILITY OPENS IN ECUADOR
Ecuador officially opened a US$ 10.8 million wind energy facility on the island of San Cristóbal on 10 March 2008, as part of an effort to end the oil dependence of its Galápagos Islands. The San Cristóbal Wind Project is a partnership between Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the US, as well as the Government of Ecuador, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and nine of the world’s largest electric companies. The Project is the first stage of a programme called ‘Renewable electrification of the Galapagos’ (ERGAL), which seeks to lower Ecuador’s energy-related CO2 emissions by introducing photovoltaic and wind energy. ERGAL also seeks to substantially reduce the volume of diesel fuel shipped to the Galápagos for electricity generation, to decrease the risk of an oil spill that could damage the biodiversity in and around the coastal ecosystem of the islands.

Links to further information
People and Planet.net, 10 March 2008
UNDP Ecuador website

UNEP LAUNCHES GREEN PASSPORT CAMPAIGN
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced the start of its Green Passport campaign at the Berlin Tourism Fair, on 7 March 2008. This internet-based campaign will seek to reduce the environmental footprint of tourists by raising their awareness on how to contribute to sustainable development. At the campaign website, travelers will be able to find “green” travel tips, such as choosing responsible service providers, reducing energy consumption and buying locally-made, environmentally-friendly souvenirs. The “Green Passport” campaign launch was co-sponsored by the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Spatial Planning, and the Brazilian Ministries of Environment and Tourism.

Link to further information
UNEP press release, 7 March 2008
Green Passport web site

MDG CARBON FACILITY SET TO LAUNCH FIRST PROJECTS
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has announced an agreement with financial services group Fortis to launch the first projects of the MDG Carbon Facility. Three methane capture projects located in Uzbekistan, Macedonia, and Yemen, and a renewable energy project in Rwanda, will aim to use financing from carbon credits to benefit the environment, as well as to further economic and social development.

“The MDG Carbon Facility enables us to do two things at once: Support sustainable development at ground level and also make a real contribution to worldwide efforts to mitigate emissions,” said Olav Kjørven, UNDP Assistant Administrator and a member of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Climate Change Team. The partnership between UNDP and Fortis covers an initial pipeline of projects that will generate 15 million carbon credits during the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period (2008-2012).

Links to further information
UNDP press release, 21 February 2008
MDG Carbon Facility website

FEBRUARY 2008

UNEP ANNOUNCES CLIMATE NEUTRAL NETWORK
The Climate Neutral Network (CN Net), a new online initiative to address climate change, has been launched by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), in cooperation with the UN Environment Management Group. Four countries – Costa Rica, Iceland, New Zealand and Norway – as well as four cities and five corporations, have teamed up to initiate the CN Net in an effort to unite the growing number of nations, local authorities and companies that are pledging to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The aim of the initiative is to support the sharing of ideas and lessons learned on greenhouse gas emissions reductions or offsets that could help lead to zero net emissions. The initiative was launched during the 10th Special Session of UNEP’s Governing Council in February 2008.

Link to further information
UNEP press release, 21 February 2008

BUSH, BAN TALK CLIMATE CHANGE; CHINA RULES OUT TARGETS
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged US President George W. Bush to take the lead in post-Bali talks to secure a global post-2012 agreement on climate change. During their meeting in Washington, DC, US, on 15 February 2008, Ban reportedly told Bush that he was counting on US leadership.

Meanwhile, a senior Chinese official has reiterated his government’s position that China would not accept binding greenhouse gas emissions targets or limits as part of the current multilateral negotiations. In an interview reported by the Greenwire news service, Ambassador Yu Qingtai indicated that China would continue domestic initiatives but would not be bound by emissions targets.

Links to further information
Reuters/PlanetArk news report, 18 February 2008
Greenwire/WBCSD, 14 February 2008

NORWAY TO FUND CLIMATE CHANGE RESEARCH IN HIMALAYAS
The Norwegian Government has announced that it will provide NOK 25 million in financial support to the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Nepal and its work on climate change in the Himalayan region. The Centre is facilitating the exchange of knowledge and information between Himalayan countries, to improve nature conservation and to adapt to climate change. Norway will also offer financial support for the Norwegian research centres CICERO and UNEP/GRID-Arendal to convey their competence and experience to ICIMOD and their partners.

Link to further information
Norwegian Government news release, 8 February 2008

UNDESA AND UNDP ORGANIZE e-DISCUSSION ON ACHIEVING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

The UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and UN Development Programme (UNDP) are organizing a moderated e-discussion on Achieving Sustainable Development. The discussion, which will take place from 4 February to 14 March 2008, is part of a larger global consultation process for the 2008 Annual Ministerial Review, which will take place in July 2008.

 

Link to further information
e-Discussion website

 

JANUARY 2008

 

UNDP and Cadbury team up for sustainable cocoa farming

Cadbury has announced the establishment of the Cadbury Cocoa Partnership, together with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ghanaian Government, which will seek to secure the sustainable livelihoods of a million farmers in cocoa-growing communities across Ghana, India, Indonesia and the Caribbean. Cadbury is expected to invest US$ 2 million in 2008 to establish the Partnership, with annual funding levels rising to US$ 10 million by 2010. The majority of the funds will be invested in Ghana, where the Partnership is designed to help cocoa farmers increase their cocoa yields, as well as introducing new sources of rural income through microfinance and investing in community-led development ranging from schools to biodiversity protection projects. This public-private partnership will take on a bottom-up model, with farmers, non-governmental organizations, governments and UNDP working together to determine how best to turn plans into sustainable action.

 

Link to further information

UNDP News release, 28 January 2008
MicroCapital Press Release, 29 January 2008

Cadbury Press Release, 28 January 2008

 

ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERS SELECTED FOR UNEP’S 2008 CHAMPION OF THE EARTH PRIZE

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has announced the winners of the 2008 Champion of the Earth, which recognizes individuals for showing extraordinary leadership on environmental issues, ranging from protecting the biodiversity of Yemen’s islands to managing climate-proofing strategies in Sudan and boosting conservation in Barbados. The seven winners from each region of the world include: Atiq Rahman, the Executive Director of the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies; Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand; Prince Albert II of Monaco; Timothy E. Wirth, former US Senator; Balgis Osman-Elasha, a senior researcher at Sudan’s Higher Council for Environment & Natural Resources; Liz Thompson, the former Energy and Environment Minister of Barbados; and Abdul-Qader Ba-Jammal, the Secretary-General of the Yemen People’s General Congress. The prize will be formally awarded at a ceremony in Singapore on 22 April 2008.

 

Link to further information

UNEP Press release, 28 January 2008

TAKING STOCK OF ‘ONE UN’ PILOTS, UNGA PRESIDENT APPOINTS NEW SYSTEM-WIDE COHERENCE CHAIRS
Key potential or emerging results, lessons learnt and recommendations are being developed following the first year of operation of the ‘One UN’ pilot projects, which include Albania, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uruguay and Viet Nam. Several stocktaking reports note that the planning phase was more demanding and time consuming than expected, but that the groundwork now has been laid, with new structures for collaboration in place, including the programmatic framework and the new ‘One funding’ mechanism. In 2008, focus will shift to implementation of the ‘One Programme’ and realization of substantial operational change. The results of the stocktaking exercise will feed into the UN consultations on the recommendations of the High Level Panel on System-wide Coherence.

In related news, UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Srgjan Kerim has appointed Augustine Mahiga (Tanzania) and Paul Kavanagh (Ireland) as new Co-Chairs for the consultations on System-wide Coherence, which will resume on 8 February 2008. The focus of this meeting will be taking stock of last year’s developments. In his letter to UN member States on 11 January 2008, Kerim stressed that “the Co-Chairs should work towards an agreement on the modalities for implementing greater coherence across the UN system,” which calls for a “thorough assessment” of the progress made to date, including the implementation of the ‘One UN’ pilot projects. The Co-Chairs will report their recommendations to Kerim at the beginning of June 2008.

Links to further information
One UN pilot project website, including Stocktaking Exercise Factual Table
UNGA President Srgjan Kerim’s letter, 11 January 2008

GOOD REHABILITATION FORECAST AFTER KOREAN OIL SPILL
A joint UN-European Commission (EC) assessment team is reporting that, due to the speedy reaction by Republic of Korea authorities, the rehabilitation prospects after the oil spill caused by oil tanker Hebei Spirit on 7 December 2007, are good, says. The team has recommended continued monitoring and analysis to determine the impact on the environment, while confirming that emergency assistance is not required for the clean-up activities. The UN Environment Programme and the EC will work together on a “Post Disaster Needs Assessment” to help Korean authorities establish an environmental monitoring methodology.

Link to further information
UN News release, 27 December 2007

UNDP AND GEF INAUGURATE WIND FARMS IN ERITREA
The UN Development Programme (UNDP), in cooperation with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Eritrean Ministry of Energy and Mines, has inaugurated the first wind generated electric power in Assad, Eritrea. The wind power project was initiated in 2003 and it aims at transforming the market for wind energy applications through investments in and replication of new technology. Currently, the project is expected to generate electricity of 600 KWH per annum with a potential up to 750 KWH, contributing to a lower dependence on imported fossil fuels and reducing greenhouse gas emissions through the partial displacement of diesel generating facilities. An additional objective of the project is to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals, especially the goal pertaining to “the protection and sustainable use of the environment.”

Link to further information
UNDP Press release, 18 December 2007

UNEP TREE-PLANTING CAMPAIGN TO CONTINUE DURING 2008
The UN Environment Programme�s (UNEP) Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign, which successfully reached its target to plant one billion trees worldwide during 2007, has now expanded its objective to plant one billion more trees in 2008. It thus continues to encourage communities, business and industry, civil society organizations and governments to enter tree planting pledges online.

Link to further information
UNEP Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign website

BARCLAYS CAPITAL LAUNCHES GLOBAL CARBON INDEX
Barclays Capital has launched a Global Carbon Index that will track the performance of carbon credits associated with the world�s major greenhouse gas emissions trading schemes, initially the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and the Kyoto Protocol Clean Development Mechanism. Commenting on the launch, a Barclays Capital representative said the index will offer investors direct and transparent access to the global carbon arena, which has the potential to become one of the world�s largest and most important commodities markets. Barclays Capital is a signatory to the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), a global partnership between the UNEP and the financial sector.

Links to further information
ClimateBiz Press release, 10 December 2007
UNEP FI website

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