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MEDIA REPORTS

INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

This page was updated on: 01/13/10

 

2009

 

Intergovernmental Organization Media Reports Archives: 2010; 2008; 2007; 2006; 2005; 2004; 2003; 2002


DECEMBER 2009

UNEP PROVIDES TRAINING TO YEMENI RESEARCHERS TO COMBAT WATER SCARCITY
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has extended the Online Access to Research in the Environment (OARE) project to Yemen, with a view to transferring scientific knowledge that may contribute to fighting climate change, food crises and water scarcity. UNEP, the World Health Organization, Yemen’s Environmental Protection Authority and the Ministry of Water and Environment trained 30 Yemeni researchers, scientists, planners and lecturers in the use of OARE to support the country as it faces increasing environmental challenges due to climate change. According to a recent World Bank report, Yemen, whose economy largely depends on the fishing and oil industries, is facing a steep decline in fish stock and production.

The OARE project started in 2007, when UNEP, in partnership with the WHO, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Yale and Cornell Universities, international publishers and private sector groups built one of the largest electronic collections of scientific knowledge in environmental and related areas.

Link to further information
UN press release, 30 December 2009

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL CALLS ON LEADERS TO ATTEND THE MDG SUMMIT

On 21 December 2009, following the approval of the UN General Assembly resolution (A/64/L.36) that calls for a summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) parallel to the Assembly’s annual General Debate, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on world leaders to attend the summit in order to boost efforts to achieve the development goals. Ban emphasized that evidence shows that the goals can be achieved by 2015 if backed by the right set of policies, adequate resources and political commitment. He noted that in the run-up to 2015, efforts need to be redoubled given the threat of climate change and the effects of the economic and financial crisis. He also noted that the 2010 MDG Summit to be held in September, at UN Headquarters, provides the opportunity to deliver on long-standing development promises to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people, particularly in Africa.

 

The MDGs include eight time-bound and quantifiable goals on poverty and hunger eradication; achievement of universal primary education;  gender equality; reduction of child and maternal mortality; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; environmental sustainability; and global partnership for development. 

 

Links to further information

UN News Centre, 21 December 2009

UN Secretary-General’s statement, 21 December 2009

UN GA press release, 21 December 2009

UNEP AND ICLEI LAUNCH CARBONN
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has announced a joint initiate with the Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI) to create the Bonn Center for Local Climate Action and Reporting - carbonn. According to UNEP, carbonn aims to facilitate the access of local governments to climate benchmarking instruments. carbonn will assist local governments report and compare their commitments, policies, programs and performance in greenhouse gas emission reductions. It will also play a role in developing standards and providing guidance on local emissions accounting and reporting.

Link to further information
UNEP press release, 14 December 2010

 

SIMULTANEOUS EXCOP TO THE BASEL, ROTTERDAM AND STOCKHOLM CONVENTIONS, ADVISORY COMMITTEE REPORT RELEASED

The report of the second meeting of the Advisory Committee for the Simultaneous Extraordinary Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties (ExCOP) to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions has been released. The meeting took place in Bangkok, Thailand, on 24 October 2009, and discussed the issues to be considered by the ExCOP, the consultative process on financing options for chemicals and wastes, and the voluntary trust fund budget. The Advisory committee concluded that matters related to the consultative process on financing options for chemicals and wastes would be considered by the UN Environment Programme Governing Council Special Session, as opposed to the ExCOP. 

 

Link to further information

ExCOP Advisory Committee report

 

UNDP, IEA AND WHO REPORT UNDERLINES NEED FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AGREEMENT TO ADDRESS ENERGY POVERTY
On 23 November 2009, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Health Organization (WHO), with the support of the International Energy Agency (IEA), released a new report titled “The Energy Access Situation in Developing Countries: A Review Focusing on the Least Developed Countries and Sub-Saharan Africa.” The report indicates that over 1.5 billion people currently lack access to electricity. 

 

At the launch of the publication at UN Headquarters in New York, US, Olav Kjorven, Assistant Administrator and Director of Development Policy at UNDP, highlighted the need to ensure that any new climate agreement adequately addresses energy poverty. Noting that over three billion people rely on highly polluting solid fuels for cooking, he stated that “For a climate deal to work, it also has to be a development deal.” IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol added that improving energy access for the disenfranchised would not have a significant impact on the environment, citing a recent study that found that if everyone in the world got access to electricity, carbon dioxide emissions would rise by only 0.9%.

 

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 23 November 2009
UNDP press release, 23 November 2009
UN press conference transcript

 

UNFPA REPORT FOCUSES ON WOMEN, POPULATION GROWTH AND CLIMATE CHANGE
On 18 November 2009, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) launched “The State of World Population 2009 Report on Facing a Changing World: Women, Population and Climate Change.” At the launch of the report, UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid noted that the report focuses on the impacts of climate change on the most vulnerable, such as the 1.5 billion poor people living under US$1 dollar a day, and on poor women who are most likely to lose their livelihoods and to die of natural disasters. The report stresses that policies, programmes and international agreements should take into account the special and unique needs and potential of women as agents for change. It makes the case that access to reproductive health services, including family planning and lower fertility rates, can contribute to climate mitigation and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The report also focuses on investments that can empower women and girls, such as education and health interventions, which can reduce poverty and contribute to addressing climate change.

 

Links to further information
UNFPA press release, 18 November 2009
UNFPA state of the world population 2009

NOVEMBER 2009

UNEP LAUNCHES CONTAMINATED SITES ASSESSMENT IN NIGER DELTA

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Governor of Rivers State, Nigeria, have launched an assessment of the impacts of oil production in the Ogoni region of the Niger Delta. The assessment, requested by the Government of Nigeria, will take one year and will focus on environmental contamination from oil field and installations in Ogoniland. The findings of the environmental assessment will be used to make recommendations on the appropriate levels of remediation required to rehabilitate the land to a condition that is environmentally acceptable. Funding for the assessment is being provided by Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).

 

Link to further information

UNEP press release, 27 November 2009

 

UNEP LAUNCHES CLEAN UP PROGRAM IN SUDAN

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a £1 million project, funded by the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), to begin building a sustainable waste management system for Juba, Sudan. The project was launched with a clean-up that saw over 16,000 volunteers taking to the streets to tackle the growing health hazard caused by public dumping of waste in the town.

 

Link to further information

UNEP press release, 23 November 2009

 

UNEP LAUNCHES ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME EXHIBITION

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in collaboration with Bangkok’s Emporium Shopping Complex and the Asian Regional Partners Forum on Combating Environmental Crime (ARPEC), organized the ARPEC Exhibition from 17-23 November 2009, at the Emporium Shopping Complex in Bangkok, Thailand. The exhibition aimed to raise public awareness about environmental crimes that affect people’s livelihoods, the global economy, and the world’s ecosystems. The exhibition included video presentations of five of the most prominent crimes committed, including: illegal trade in wildlife; illegal trade in ozone depleting substances; dumping and illegal transport of hazardous waste; illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing; and illegal logging and the associated timber trade.

 

Link to further information

UNEP press release, 17 November 2009
 

UNDP AND SPAIN SIGN NEW PARTNERSHIP TO BOOST EFFORTS TO ADDRESS POVERTY AND CLIMATE CHANGE
On 10 November 2009, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark and Spanish Secretary of State for International Cooperation Soraya Rodriguez signed a multi-year Strategic Partnership Agreement primarily supporting UNDP projects targeting poverty and addressing climate change. The close to €400 million partnership will help finance projects that aim to reduce poverty and vulnerability by supporting interventions that improve environmental management and service delivery at the national and local levels, increase access to new financing mechanisms and enhance capacity to adapt to climate change. 

The earlier agreement signed between Spain and UNDP dates back to 2006, when the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Achievement Fund was established to manage €528 million – the largest contribution from a single bilateral donor into the UN system. Currently, the MDG Achievement Fund has financed about 130 projects across 50 countries in five regions. The Fund has six thematic funding windows including gender equality and women’s empowerment; culture and development; economic governance; youth, employment and migration; conflict prevention and peace building; and environment and climate change.

 

Under the thematic window for environment and climate change, 16 Joint Programmes have been approved so far, and are being implemented in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Jordan, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Senegal and Turkey, with an estimated total budget of $90 million.


Links to further information

UNDP press release, 10 November 2009

MDG Achievement Fund

UNEP AND UNCTAD LAUNCH ONLINE COURSE ON ORGANIC PRODUCTION
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) launched the first online training course on organic production and export. Operating under the auspices of the UNEP-UNCTAD Capacity Building Task Force on Trade, Environment and Development (CBTF), the course has received over 600 applications from 80 countries and territories, and will run from 2-27 November 2009. The course aims to build the capacities of participants to understand organic farming and its benefits, and enable them to overcome production and export challenges. It will also provide step-by-step guidance for conversion to organic farming, and monitor benchmarks for quality assurance to meet the standard and certification requirements for accessing local and international markets.

Link to further information
UNEP press release, 2 November 2009
UNITAR website

OCTOBER 2009

UNIDO LAUNCHES INITIATIVES IN SOUTH AFRICA AND TUNISIA
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), with funding from the Government of Switzerland, has launched activities to boost energy efficiency in South African industry and promote environmentally-friendly production in Tunisia, as part of UNIDO’s Green Industry Initiative. The Initiative aims to create national capacities in cleaner production, strengthen dialogue between industry and governments, and promote investments for development and transfer of cleaner technology. The project in Tunisia is aligned with a new programme that UNIDO is carrying out in cooperation with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and will contribute to UNIDO’s Green Industry initiative.

Link to further information
UN press release, 15 October 2009

UNEP WASTE MANAGEMENT PROJECT LAUNCHED IN SOUTHERN SUDAN
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), in partnership with the UK Government, has launched a significant waste management project in southern Sudan. The project was launched with a clean-up in Juba, which will be replicated across southern Sudan, coupled with a sustained awareness-raising campaign to encourage the citizens of Juba to adopt an environmentally friendly attitude towards the disposal of waste in the city. Under the project, the UNEP office in Juba will provide technical support to the Government to manage its forests and other valuable natural resources in a sustainable manner, and work to build the capacity of Government ministries to address environmental issues affecting Southern Sudan and implement the 24 recommendations of UNEP's Post-Conflict Environmental Assessment.

Link to further information
UNEP press release, 15 October 2009

UNWTO ASSEMBLY ENDORSES ROADMAP FOR RECOVERY
The 18th session of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly convened in Astana, Kazakhstan, from 5-8 October 2009. The session concluded with the endorsement of the Roadmap for Recovery in response to the economic crisis and its effect on the travel and tourism sector, and the election of a new Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai (Jordan). The Roadmap identifies the sector’s importance in global economic resilience, stimulus and transformation to a green economy. It calls on world leaders to place tourism and travel at the core of stimulus packages and the long-term green economy transformation, and to give special attention and support for developing states in terms of capacity building, technology transfer and financing.

Link to further information
UNWTO press release, 8 October 2009

UNDP’s HUMAN DEVELOPMENT REPORT EXAMINES MIGRATION
On 5 October 2009, at a ceremony in Bangkok, Thailand, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark launched the Human Development Report (HDR) 2009 on “Overcoming barriers: Human mobility and development.” The 2009 issue of this annual report focuses on migration within and beyond borders, trends in growth and inequality, and short term and seasonal migration. UNDP Administrator Clark stressed that the report challenges many of the stereotypes surrounding the debate on migration. The report indicates that about 1 billion people are migrants, with the majority – 740 million – moving internally within their own countries. The report also indicates that less than three out of ten transnational migrants move from a developing country to a developed one.

The report notes that although demographic trends will continue to play a significant role in shaping pressures for migration movements, climate change phenomena will also come into play. It estimates that about 200 million to 1 billion people will be forced to migrate as a result of climate change. Nevertheless, the report cautions that this figure does not take into account the effect of adaptation measures that individuals, communities and countries may put into place. The report emphasizes that the effect of environmental factors on migration patterns are directly related to livelihood opportunities and public policy responses combined.

The 2009 HDR also calculates the human development index, which combines measures of life expectancy, literacy, school enrollment rates and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, for 182 countries and territories. Norway, Australia and Iceland are top ranked this year, with Niger, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone at the bottom of the ranking.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 5 October 2009
UN News Centre, 5 October 2009
UNDP Human Development report 2009

WORLD HABITAT DAY FOCUSES ON “PLANNING OUR URBAN FUTURE”
On the occasion of World Habitat Day, celebrated on 5 October 2009, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted that the theme for this year, “Planning our Urban Future,” reflects the urgency of major urban challenges caused by rapid urbanization, including expansion of the informal sector and the role of cities in causing or mitigating climate change. He said that governments at all levels are failing to address these challenges and called for better and equitable urban planning that can rely on good urban governance and the involvement of the urban poor on decisions that affect their lives. He stressed the need to mobilize financing for urban development and to secure safer and more environmentally friendly public transport options, housing security, public services.

In her message on World Habitat Day, UN Human Settlements Programme (UNHABITAT) Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka stressed that urbanization and climate change are inseparable, noting that urban planning offers the best solution to reduce emissions through economies of scale and large-scale urban initiatives. Tibaijuka noted that there is a need to integrate the brown agenda, focused on the built environment, and the green agenda, focused on the natural environment. She noted also that climate change mitigation can be accomplished through the selection and improvement of building materials, development of distributive power and water systems, sustainable transport, reducing slums and striving for carbon-neutral cities. As part of the celebration of World Habitat Day, UNHABITAT released the Global Report on Human Settlements 2009, which focuses on the new role for urban planning for the future of sustainable cities.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 5 October 2009
UNHABITAT World Habitat Day 2009

UNEP AND FAO LAUNCH WEBSITE FOR BASEL, ROTTERDAM AND STOCKHOLM SIMULTANEOUS EXCOP
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have launched a dedicated website for the Simultaneous Extraordinary Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, scheduled to convene from 22-26 February 2010, in Bali, Indonesia. The website includes new information about the Advisory Committee on the ExCOPs and the Consultative Process on Options for Financing Chemicals and Wastes.

Link to further information
ExCOP website

GEF, UNEP AND PARTNERS LAUNCH RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECT INSURANCE SCHEME
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) have backed a global renewable energy insurance facility, which will offer an innovative mechanism for insuring renewable energy projects in developing countries. The facility was launched by Munich, RSA Insurance Group (RSA), and CarbonRe. It will be operated via an internet website and will offer standard and customized insurance solutions for renewable energy projects in developing countries.

Link to further information
The Global Renewable Energy Insurance Facility website

SEPTEMBER 2009

UNEP ANNOUNCES NEW CLIMATE NEUTRAL NETWORK MEMBERS
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has announced that sixteen new umbrella organizations, including cities, cooperatives, railways, postal services, industry and civil society associations, have joined the Climate Neutral Network – an initiative to promote global action to de-carbonize our economies and societies. The announcement came on “Go Carbon Neutral Day,” 23 September, which was held as part of Global Climate Week, 21-25 September 2009.

Link to further information
UNEP press release, 23 September 2009

UNEP CALLS FOR “CHAMPIONS OF THE EARTH” NOMINATIONS
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has announced that nominations are now open for the sixth cycle of the Champions of the Earth award. There are four award categories: policy leadership, science and innovation, entrepreneurial vision, and inspiration and action. In 2010, each Champion will be receive US$40,000. The award ceremony will be hosted in Seoul, Republic of Korea, alongside the annual Business for the Environment conference, on 22 April 2010.

Link to further information
UNEP press release, 15 September 2009

CBD SECRETARIAT STRENGTHENS COOPERATION WITH UNEP-WCMC, UNWTO
The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP-WCMC) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation that sets out a work programme of cooperation between the CBD and UNEP-WCMC. The multi-year programme of work builds on an agreement established in March 2006, on the existing collaboration between UNEP-WCMC and the CBD Secretariat and Parties, in order to bring the technical and capacity-building expertise within UNEP-WCMC to bear on the improved implementation of the Convention and enhance the preparation of the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to be held from 19-29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan.

On the margins of the third World Climate Conference, the CBD Secretariat signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), aiming to raise public awareness of the inter-relationship between biodiversity and tourism. Both parties will work towards maximizing tourism’s positive contribution to conserving biodiversity and enhancing the quality of life of local people.

Links to further information
CBD communiqué, 3 September 2009
CBD-UNWTO joint press release, 4 September 2009

TEEB UPDATE HIGHLIGHTS ECOSYSTEM PRESERVATION’S KEY ROLE IN COUNTERING CLIMATE CHANGE
Investing in the restoration and maintenance of the Earth’s ecosystems can play a key role in countering climate change and climate-proofing vulnerable economies, says a new climate issues update by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) project, which was launched by Germany and the European Commission and is hosted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

The issues update was launched by TEEB study leader Pavan Sukhdev, with German Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel, European Commission Director-General for Environment Karl Falkenberg, and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. The update indicates that ecosystems represent one of the biggest untapped allies against climate change, and underlines the need for an agreement on funding for forests and for addressing damage caused by rising temperatures and ocean acidification to coral reefs.
Investing in ecosystem-based measures such as financing Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) could assist in combating climate change and also be a key anti-poverty and adaptation measure. Coral reefs, on the other hand, have a key role to play in coastal defense against a predicted rise in storm surges and other extreme weather events.

Links to further information
UNEP press release, 2 September 2009

TEEB website

UNEP LAUNCHES SEAL THE DEAL WEBSITE
 The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a website – Seal the Deal (http://www.sealthedeal2009.org/) – to support the UN-led Seal the Deal climate change campaign. Users are encouraged to support the Seal the Deal campaign by signing an online, global petition that will be presented by civil society to governments of the world in Copenhagen in December 2009. The website also includes climate news and a forum for public discussion.

Link to further information
Seal the Deal website

AUGUST 2009

UN GLOBAL COMPACT TO SET UP CLIMATE CHANGE THINK TANK ON US CONTAMINATED SITE
The UN has announced that one of the US’ most polluted sites will be redeveloped as a green technology complex. When completed in 2012, the complex will house a climate change think tank called the UN Global Compact Sustainability Center, which will work to identify green solutions to global environmental challenges and provide a conference centre and UN offices. 

The Hunters Point Shipyard, located on San Francisco Bay, US, was once the US military’s largest facility for applied nuclear research. A US$500-million clean-up project is headed by the UN Global Compact group and the US Environmental Protection Agency. The UN Global Compact was launched in 2000 and is supported by six UN agencies, including the UN Environment Programme.

Link to further information
UN press release, 11 August 2009

JULY 2009

UNEP AND ICRAF DEVELOPING CARBON MEASURING METHODS
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), a research center of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), are partnering in a project to provide the basis for widespread adoption of agroforestry and other sustainable forms of agriculture. The Carbon Benefits Project, launched in May 2009, is developing a standard and reliable method for accurately measuring, monitoring, reporting and projecting how much carbon each kind of land use is storing. This global project makes use of the latest remote sensing technology and analysis, soil carbon modeling, ground-based measurements and statistical analysis.

Link to further information
UNEP press release

UN EXECUTIVE HEADS CALL FOR COPENHAGEN TO BE TURNING POINT FOR A GLOBAL GREEN ECONOMY
The United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB), which groups the executive heads of the organizations of the UN system, issued a statement saying that the solidarity of the international community is being tested and economic recovery should be “the turning point for an ambitious and effective international response to the multiple crises facing humanity.” They further noted “the most representative testing case is when governments meet to seal the deal on climate change in Copenhagen in December 2009. Let Copenhagen be the turning point for ushering in a global green economy.” Their joint statement was issued as an initiative of CEB’s High-level Committee on Programmes (HLCP).

Link to further information
Joint statement

FAO COUNCIL AGREES TO HOLD THIRD WORLD FOOD SUMMIT IN NOVEMBER
The Council of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) agreed at its 15-19 June 2009 meeting in Rome, Italy, to hold the third World Food Summit in November 2009. The Summit will seek to strengthen commitment from world leaders to eradicate hunger by 2025 and to address the root causes of the present situation through the full implementation of the Human Right to Food.

Links to further information
FAO 136th Council meeting documents
UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service news story, 23 June 2009

JUNE 2009

UNWTO RELEASES STUDY ON LOW CARBON TRAVEL
The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has released the report ‘Towards a Low Carbon Travel and Tourism Sector,’ a study developed as a result of collaboration between the UNWTO, the World Economic Forum, the International Civil Aviation Organization, the UN Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Tourism and Travel business leaders. The study supports global approaches regarding emission trading for aviation and calls for proceeds to be used to set up a ‘Green Fund for Travel and Tourism’ to help finance the trillion dollar mitigation projects identified within the industry.

Link to further information
UNWTO website

UNEP SIGNS MOU ON GREEN GAMES WITH RUSSIAN SOCHI OLYMPIC ORGANIZERS
In an effort to green the 2014 Sochi Olympics, UNEP has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Russian Olympic organizers to help and advise them on making the Games environmentally friendly. Environmental education schemes will also be organized, and a series of conferences will allow international experts to monitor and analyze key environmental indicators before and after the Games.

Link to further information
UNEP press release

UNEP MERCURY PROGRAMME SUPPORTS COUNTRY EFFORTS
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Mercury Programme has announced that available funding from the UNEP Mercury Trust Fund will be used to support partnerships, projects and activities aiming to assist developing countries and countries with economies in transition in understanding the nature and magnitude of the mercury problem, and in developing tools and strategies to mitigate mercury pollution. The maximum amount per project is US$100,000, however projects under US$50,000 may be given preference, as may also be the case for projects with an element of co-funding from other sources and/or substantial in-kind contributions. 

Link to further information
UNEP Mercury Programme website

UNWTO REPORTS DECLINE IN INTERNATIONAL TOURISM
According to the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), international tourism demand has deteriorated further due to the impact of the global economic recession. International tourist arrivals declined at a rate of 8% between January and February this year, leaving the overall volume at the same level as recorded in 2007. At the same time, influenza A(H1N1) is also starting to impact the sector. The impact is being closely monitored by UNWTO in collaboration with the World Health Organization.

Link to further information
UNWTO website

MAY 2009

UNWTO COUNCIL RECOMMENDS NEW SECRETARY-GENERAL
The Executive Council of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recommended Taleb Rifai (Jordan), for the position of Secretary-General, for the Period 2010-2013, at its meeting in Bamako, Mali, on 7 May 2009. The recommendation will be presented for ratification by the UNWTO General Assembly, meeting in October 2009 in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Link to further information
UNWTO press release, 7 May 2009

APRIL 2009

UNEP ORGANIZING ENVIRONMENTAL LAW AND DIPLOMACY COURSE
The University of Joensuu, Finland, and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) are jointly organizing a two-week course on international environmental law-making and diplomacy. The course will seek to transfer past experience in the field of international environmental law to current and future negotiators of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). The course will take place from 28 June-10 July 2009, in Kenya. The application deadline is 8 May 2009.

Links to further information
University of Joensuu website
UNEP training website

UNEP ANNOUNCES 2009 CHAMPIONS OF THE EARTH
On 22 April 2009, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced seven innovators of positive environmental change as UN UNEP 2009 Champions of the Earth at a gala event in Paris, France. This year’s winners were: Norwegian Environment Minister Erik Solheim; tropical forest and climate campaigner Kevin Conrad; photographic and public awareness pioneer Yann Arthus-Bertrand; wind power entrepreneur Tulsi Tanti; biomimicry specialist Janine Benyus; recycling innovator Ron Gonen; and the Ethiopian youth organization Tena Kebena. This year, the awards moved away from geographical distribution to recognize achievements in the areas of Policy Leadership, Science and Innovation, Entrepreneurial Vision, Inspiration and Action, and Next-Generation Champions.

Link to further information
UN press release

UN OBSERVES EARTH HOUR
With the goal of mobilizing support for a UN agreement to address climate change, the UN observed Earth Hour on 28 March 2009, by turning off the lights at UN facilities worldwide. Earth Hour, which first took place two years ago, is an initiative of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and was observed by more than 1000 cities and close to a billion people this year.

Link to further information
UNEP press release, 20 March 2009
UNEP Earth Hour website

MARCH 2009

PROJECT TO STRENGTHEN WATERBIRD AND WETLAND CONSERVATION IN NORTH AFRICA
A new three-year project on “Strengthening waterbird and wetland conservation capacities in North Africa (WetCap)” is embarking on its first year of implementation. Within the framework of this project, capacity-building activities will take place in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt and Mauritania. The WetCap project is linked to the ongoing UNEP-GEF African-Eurasian Flyway Project (“Wings over Wetlands”). It will be implemented under the umbrella of the UNEP Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA), in cooperation with BirdLife International, SEO/BirdLife, Wetlands International and the Ramsar Convention.

Link to further information
UNEP press release, 23 March 2009

World Water Day Observed

On the occasion of World Water Day, which was observed on 22 March 2009, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) highlighted the potential benefits of investing in the world’s freshwaters, including the potential benefits to the global economic recovery and to accelerating a response to climate change. UNEP further underscored the opportunities for businesses, noting that the market for supply, sanitation and water efficiency is expected to be nearly US$660 billion by 2020, and that global economic benefits of US$38 billion annually could be reaped from investing US$15 billion annually in halving by 2015 the number of people without sustainable access to safe water and basic sanitation.

 

Link to further information
UNEP press release, 22 March 2009

 

UNEP’s Carbon Finance Initiative Proceeds
Carbon Finance for Agriculture, Silviculture, Conservation and Action against Deforestation (CASCADe), which is coordinated by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UNEP Risø Centre in partnership with the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development and the French National Forestry Office, recently selected four projects to move forward, pending formal approval of their Project Idea Notes. The initiative, which began in December 2007, seeks to enhance expertise in generating carbon credits, primarily in land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) and bioenergy, and focuses on the following countries: Benin, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Mali and Senegal.

Link to further information
CASCADe Website

UNEP and Partners Launch “50 by 50” Global Fuel Economy Initiative

At the Geneva Motor Show, which convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 5-15 March 2009, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Energy Agency, the International Transport Forum and the FIA Foundation presented their “50 by 50 Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI),” which will seek to halve car emissions by 2050. In 2009, the GFEI intends to undertake regional assessments, programme launches, four national pilot projects and a fuel economy information sharing campaign.

Links to further information
50 by 50 Initiative website
IEA Press Release, 4 March 2009
UN Press Release, 4 March 2009
CN Net Press Release, 4 March 2009

CO-CHAIRS ON SYSTEM-WIDE COHERENCE APPOINTED
The Permanent Representatives of Namibia, Kaire Munionganda Mbuende, and Spain, Juan Antonio Yáñez-Barnuevo, have been appointed the Co-Chairs to facilitate the process of consultations on System-wide Coherence, including to further discussions on the resolution adopted on 15 September 2008 (62/277).

Link to further information
GA president’s letter

FEBRUARY 2009

UN PEACEKEEPERS BOOST FOOD SECURITY WITH ‘IDEAL VILLAGE’ PROJECT
Peacekeepers in the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) have launched the “Bangla-Bong Ideal Village” project, which aims to use food security as a strategy for building and strengthening the peace process. The village comprises 150-acres of agriculture land, with poultry, a fish pond, school and community-based farms. 

Link to further information
UN News Centre, 26 February 2009

UNEP’S CN NET RECORDS 100th PARTICIPANT

The City of Copenhagen, which will host the UN Climate Change Conference in December 2009, became the 100th participant in the Climate Neutral Network (CN Net). CN Net is an initiative of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) that promotes low-carbon economies and involves cities, companies, non-governmental organizations, countries and UN agencies. Other recent additions to CN Net include Microsoft, Daejeon, South Korea, the Norwegian County of Aust-Agder, Deutsche Bank and News Limited.

 

Links to further information

UNEP press release, 19 February 2009
UN press release, 19 February 2009

 

UNite to Combat Climate Change Campaign Organizes Kilimanjaro Climb

In cooperation with the UN’s UNite to Combat Climate Change campaign and as a part of the Kilimanjaro Initiative’s fourth annual ascent to the “rooftop of Africa,” ten underprivileged youth from urban areas in Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana summited Mount Kilimanjaro. This year’s climb is intended to raise awareness of climate change.

 

The Kilimanjaro Initiative, which has brought close to 100 people to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro since 2006, is supported by the UN Federal Credit Union, the UN Environment Programme, the UN Human Settlements Programme and the UN Office on Sport for Development and Peace. The Initiative aims to encourage young people to have self-belief and to enable youth to take on a constructive role in their communities.

 

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UNEP press release, 5 February 2009

 

Informal Consultations on Draft UNGA Resolution on Security and Climate Change Held

In closed meetings convened by the Permanent Mission of Tonga and the Pacific Small Island Developing States, informal consultations were held on 6 February 2009 and 12 February 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on the UN General Assembly (UNGA) draft resolution on “Security and climate change” (A/63/L.8). The threat posed by climate change to security and prosperity emerged at the Sixth UK-Caribbean Ministerial Forum in July 2008, and has gained prominence in the UNGA with this draft resolution, which calls on the UN Security Council to consider and address the security threat posed by climate.

 

Links to further information

UN Journal, 6 February 2009

UN Journal, 12 February 2009

Draft Resolution

 

UNEP’s CN Net Announces New Members: Sporting Events
The UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Climate Neutral Network (CN Net) has added new participants, including the 2014 Sochi Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the FIFA 2010 World Cup, “Rally Norway,” the Norwegian Grand Prix and the Norwegian Golf Federation. These sporting events and organizations will work to neutralize their carbon footprint through greening of the events and offsetting of the remaining carbon emissions, including from travel. CN Net, which now has over 100 participants, was launched in February 2008 during UNEP’s Governing Council in Monaco, and is an online forum set up by UNEP, in cooperation with the UN Environment Management Group, to tackle the challenge of increasing greenhouse gases.

 

Link to further information
UNEP Press Release, 11 February 2009

Marrakech Process: Second Newsletter Released
The second newsletter for the Marrakech Process has been released. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs are the lead agencies for this global multi-stakeholder process to promote sustainable consumption and production (SCP). The newsletter reports on an event held at UNEP’s Governing Council meeting held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 18 February 2009, titled “Building Resource Efficient Economies and Sustainable Societies,” and contains sections on: the first public draft of the 10 Year Framework of Programmes for sustainable consumption and production; the second meeting of the Marrakech Process Advisory Committee held in October 2008, in Paris, France; national and regional activities and progress on SCP; the December 2008 launch of a UN Inter-Agency Network to increase awareness of the Marrakech Process and its activities; and other stakeholder contributions to the Marrakech Process.

Link to further information
Second Newsletter for the Marrakech Process, February 2009

CO-CHAIRS OF UNGA CONSULTATIONS ON IEG REPORT ON STALLED PROCESS
The Co-Chairs of the informal consultations of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on the institutional framework for the UN’s environment work, Peter Maurer (Switzerland) and Claude Heller (Mexico), reported on 10 February 2009 at UN Headquarters in New York, US, that they had “found themselves in a situation, in which the attempt to move to a decision increased the difficulties in finding consensus.” They reported that, “Given the opposing views on some fundamental issues, the Co-Chairs [estimated] the chance of reaching a substantive decision during the 63rd session of the General Assembly to be very small.” They recommended that interested parties use upcoming intergovernmental meetings to continue discussions, including the 25th session of the Governing Council of UNEP.

Link to further information
Co-Chairs’ report

UNEP CHEMICALS ANNOUNCES MERCURY PROJECT
The UNEP Chemicals Mercury Programme has announced a project to reduce mercury supply and investigate mercury storage solutions in Kyrgyzstan. The project was developed jointly with UNITAR and UNEP-GRID Arendal, and is supported by Switzerland and the US. The project was prompted by a request by Kyrgyzstan for assistance to consider options for phasing-out mercury mining. A desk study being published by UNEP-GRID Arendal will be used for information in the international forum and as a starting point for the development of, and consultation on, the economic growth plan. The project is expected to shift Kyrgyzstan’s economy in the Ferghana valley region away from primary mercury mining to more economically and environmentally sound and sustainable productive activities.

Link to further information
Project document

JANUARY 2009

UN Secretary-General DISCUSSES CLIMATE in Davos
In two events at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underlined the threat of climate change, called on the world’s leaders to use the current economic crisis to launch a new Global Compact entailing a “Green New Deal,” and called for a positive outcome from the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. In addition, he called for investment in renewable energy and technological development as a means of addressing the economic crisis, and highlighted the need for long-term thinking.

Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, also participated in sessions in Davos, discussing the need for countries to agree on reduction targets for carbon dioxide this fall. In a session on “biofuelling the future,” Steiner discussed the many factors that must be taken into consideration when thinking about the tradeoffs inherent in a possible transition towards biofuels.

Links to further information
UN Press Release, 29 January 2009
UNEP Press Release, 29 January 2009
UN Secretary-General’s Remarks, 29 January 2009
 

UNEP’s CN Net Announces New Members
The Australian cities of Sydney and Brisbane, in addition to Greenfest, an Australian music festival, Clean Up the World, an Australian community-based environmental campaign, and BalanceCarbon, an Australian carbon management company, have joined the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Climate Neutral Network (CN Net). Sydney, Australia’s biggest city, became Australia’s first carbon neutral local government in 2007. Brisbane, Australia’s third largest city, aims to become carbon neutral by 2026.

Link to further information
UNEP Press Release, 26 January 2009

Documentary on the UN Calls for Global Efforts to Tackle Climate Change
A new documentary on the work of the UN, entitled “Planet UN,” had its world premiere at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The film calls for unprecedented and concerted global efforts to confront threats such as the food, energy and financial crises, climate change and nuclear threats. The film features interviews with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other senior UN officials, and is directed by French documentary-maker Romuald Sciora.

Link to further information
UN Press Release, 21 January 2009

IFAD ANNOUNCES FINANCING FOR RURAL, LAND DEGRADATION PROJECTS
The Executive Board of the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has approved US$258 million in new funding to reduce rural poverty in 16 developing countries, as noted by IFAD President Lennart Båge. It is estimated that 75% of the world’s poorest people, around 1 billion, live in rural areas and are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. IFAD hopes to support economic activities for an estimated 60 million of people through the projects. IFAD has also announced it will provide US$16 million, in the form of a US$8 million loan and US$8 million grant, to support the second phase of a rural rehabilitation and development project in Niger. The project will establish local funds to finance the collective investments of 56 rural communes and empower them to decide on their agricultural priorities, in-line with the Government’s push for greater decentralisation. The project also seeks to reduce or reverse land degradation by promoting sustainable land management.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 15 January 2009
UN News Centre, 19 December 2008

UN secretary-general: Climate Change is the “One True Existential Threat to Our Planet”
In his first press conference of the year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted 2009 as “the year of climate change.” He stressed that the climate change conference in Copenhagen is only 11 months away, and indicated that he would engage world leaders, including in the US, on the key issues in the negotiations, beginning later this month at the World Economic Forum in Davos and working toward a high-level meeting on the margins of the UN General Assembly’s general debate in September.

Link to further information
UN Press Release, 12 January 2009

UNEP’s Global Green New Deal Gains Momentum with Investments from Japan and South Korea
In an effort to spur economic growth, Japan and the Republic of Korea have both announced plans to invest billions of dollars in green projects. Japan plans to provide zero-interest loans to environmentally-friendly companies, and ultimately to create up to one million jobs. The Republic of Korea plans to invest 38 billion dollars in 36 projects, which it hopes will create 960,000 jobs. Speaking about the countries’ plans, Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), highlighted that the announcements echoed the UN Secretary-General’s call in Poznań, in December 2008, for a Green New Deal as the best chance for securing a climate agreement in Copenhagen in December 2009.

Link to further information
UNEP Press Release, 9 January 2009

UNEP Champion of the Earth Begins Antarctic Expedition
Prince Albert II of Monaco has begun a month-long visit to Antarctica to assess the impact, and raise awareness, of climate change. His trip includes visits to scientific outposts and with top scientists. Prince Albert received the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Champion of the Earth Award in 2008. He announced that he will invest in renewable energies to offset the greenhouse gas emissions from his visit.

Link to further information
UNEP Press Release, 9 January 2009

GEF DEVELOPS FIVE NEW PROGRAMMATIC APPROACHES
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has highlighted its shift in the focus of its portfolio to a programme-based approach, in an effort to secure larger-scale and a more sustained impact on the global environment. In this regard, five new programme approaches approved by the GEF Council during its 34th Council meeting in November 2009 include: a GEF Strategic Programme for West Africa on Biodiversity, led by the World Bank, to scale-up biodiversity conservation and sustainable use in the region in support of poverty alleviation and growth; a GEF Strategic Programme for West Africa on Energy led by UNIDO, to scale up investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency in the region; a Framework for Promoting Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Buildings led by UNDP, aimed at promoting low-energy and low-emissions buildings, with projects submitted by UNDP and some by UNEP; a programme to Reduce Industry’s Carbon Footprint in Southeast Asia through Compliance with a Management System for Energy, led by UNIDO, which aims to promote sustainable energy efficiency improvement in the industrial sector through training at the level of systems and facilitating the introduction of energy management standards, involving five national projects in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia; and a Strategic Programme for Sustainable Forest Management in the Congo Basin led by the World Bank, aimed at strengthening the protection and sustainable management of forest ecosystems, and also contributing to long-term innovative finance architecture for sustainable forest management in the region by supporting payment schemes for ecosystem services, public-private partnerships and the establishment/strengthening of trust funds. 

Links to further information
GEF Press Release, 9 January 2009
GEF Council documents

FAO SIGNS AGREEMENT TO COLLABORATE IN MEDITERRANEAN REGION
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has announced a new partnership with a Mediterranean intergovernmental organization to promote crops and improve fisheries, among other activities. The collaboration is with the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM), which was founded in 1962 and has 13 Mediterranean member countries: Albania, Algeria, Egypt, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Portugal, Tunisia and Turkey. Among the activities envisioned for the partnership will be efforts to: expedite the modernization of irrigation in the region; prevent forest fires; and control pest entrance and spread in the region by introducing harmonized protocols of pest monitoring.

Link to further information
UN News Centre, 8 January 2009

UNECE, FAO LAUNCH INDICATORS DATABASE FOR SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF EUROPEAN FORESTS
The Timber and Forestry programme of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) have released a new web-based resource tool to enable researchers, policymakers, practitioners and the general public to access data on Europe�s forests. The database includes information on the balance of carbon in forest ecosystems, forest health condition, status of forest biodiversity, aspects of production, and protected forest areas, as well as social and economic aspects of the forestry sector.

The database is a comprehensive research tool based on the report �State of Europe�s Forests 2007,� and includes information collected by hundreds of individuals and dozens of agencies. It makes information available for 27 quantitative indicators, structured by six criteria for sustainable forest management endorsed by the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe.

In line with the structure of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management, the data illustrate trends of chosen variables for the years 1990, 2000 and 2005. It is expected that this series will be continued. The interface enables online review and simple analysis, but also allows selective extraction of the requested data in different formats.

Links to further information
Indicators Database
UNECE Press Release

FAO RELEASES FORESTS AND CLIMATE CHANGE VIDEO
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (UN), with the Forestry Commission of the United Kingdom, has produced a 17-minute video on �Forests and Climate Change: a Convenient Truth.� The video shows how forests can contribute to the mitigation of climate change, stressing the importance of reversing forest loss. The video explains how society can combat climate change by conserving and managing existing forests, by tackling causes of deforestation and by planting new forests. It stresses the use of wood as a renewable energy source and as a raw material. A section on adaptation notes how the world�s changing climate will affect the health and composition of forests and stresses the importance of adapting and planning ahead for the changes. The DVD is available in all UN languages, as well as Italian.

Links to further information
FAO Press Release
The Video

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