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MEDIA REPORTS

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

This page was updated on: 01/13/10

 

2007

 

Sustainable Development Media Reports Archives: 2010; 2009; 2008; 2006; 2005; 2004; 2003; 2002

 

DECEMBER 2007

UN LAUNCHES INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF SANITATION
International Year of Sanitation, which was launched on 21 November 2007, will seek to accelerate progress for the 2.6 billion people around the world who do not have access to proper sanitation facilities. At the launch, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that, “For every dollar spent on improving sanitation it is estimated that at least nine dollars are saved in costs related to health, education, and social and economic development.” The International Year will include regional conferences on sanitation, including one focusing on school sanitation, and will encourage public and private partnerships.

Link to further information
International Year of Sanitation website

NOVEMBER 2007

BLACK SEA OIL SPILL CALLED ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER
On 11 November 2007, after a severe storm hit the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea, at least ten ships sank or ran aground, including one tanker believed to be carrying about 1200 tones of oil. The resulting oil spill has killed thousands of seabirds and fish in what officials say could be the worst environmental disaster in the region in years.

Link to further information
BBC press release, 13 November 2007

UNEP ESTABLISHES SCIENCE PANEL TO BOOST RESOURCE EFFICIENT GROWTH
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced the establishment of an International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management on 9 November 2007, at the World Science Forum in Budapest, Hungary. The Panel’s overall aim is to provide scientific assessments on the use intensity, security of supplies and environmental impacts of selected products and services on a global level, with a view to boosting resource efficient growth and innovation. The Panel will be supported by a Secretariat hosted by the Sustainable Consumption and Production Branch of UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, based in Paris, France.

Link to further information
UNEP press release, 9 November 2007

ENVIRONMENTAL DATABASE MADE ACCESSIBLE FOR MORE DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced on 16 November 2007 that more than 100 developing countries now have access to one of the world’s largest online databases of environmental science research. The “Online Access to Research in the Environment” (OARE) project, coordinated by UNEP, Yale University, the International Association of Scientific Technical and Medical Publishers, and over 340 international publishers and scientific societies, was launched in 2006 to offer this free or low-cost service to 70 of the world’s least developed countries. The objective of the project is to assist in bridging the North-South scientific and digital divide, and to strengthen environmental institutions in developing nations.

 

Links to further information

OARE press release, 6 November 2007
OARE official website

OCTOBER 2007

BIGGEST US PENSION FUND CALLS FOR DISCLOSURE OF CLIMATE RISK
The US’ biggest pension fund, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (Calpers), has called for the US Securities and Exchange Commission to force publicly traded companies to disclose their climate-related risks. They joined other institutional investors, environmental groups and New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in asking for four main disclosures to analyze a company’s business risk and opportunities from climate change, including emissions, climate risk and emissions management, physical risks of climate changes and regulatory risks.

Link to further information
ENN/Reuters News Release, 31 October 2007

FOUR NATIONS INITIATIVE ISSUES REPORT ON UN GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT
The Four Nations Initiative (4NI), which involved Chile, South Africa, Sweden and Thailand, has issued proposals on improved governance and management of the UN Secretariat, from the perspective of UN member states. The four countries released their final report on 13 September 2007 at a meeting to which all UN member and observer states were invited. “
Towards a Compact: Proposals for Improved Governance and Management of the United Nations Secretariat” is based on six months of consultations with member states and UN Secretariat representatives, and contains 32 specific proposals on improved governance and management of the UN Secretariat. It discusses questions of accountability and transparency in connection to three central work processes of the UN, the mandate cycle, the planning and budgetary process and human resources, and offers proposals and ideas on how to improve dialogue and arenas between the member states and between member states and the UN Secretariat.

Links to further information
The report: Towards a Compact: Proposals for Improved Governance and Management of the United Nations Secretariat

The 4NI website

NEW ZEALAND TO HOST 2008 WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY
On 1 October 2007, the UN Environment Programme announced that New Zealand, which is one of the first countries to pledge a carbon-neutral future, will be the main host of World Environment Day on 5 June 2008. The global 2008 celebrations will focus on solutions and opportunities for countries, companies and communities to "kick the habit" and de-carbonize their economies and life-styles.

Link to further information
UNEP Press release, 1 October 2007

SEPTEMBER 2007

BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT PROPOSES RIO+20 EVENT IN RIO
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has proposed convening a summit on the environment in Rio. The announcement came on 25 September 2007, during Lula’s statement in the UN General Assembly’s annual high-level debate. The proposed 2012 event would take place two decades after Brazil hosted the UN Conference on Environment and Development in the same city, and the same year that the current commitments under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Kyoto Protocol are set to expire.

Link to further information
UN News Release, 25 September 2007

ENERGY EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENTS KEY TO LOWER ENERGY USE – IEA REPORT
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a report entitled “Energy Use in the New Millennium: Trends in IEA Countries,” which examines recent trends in energy use and carbon emissions in IEA countries. The book indicates that, while improvements in energy efficiency have limited increases in energy use and carbon emissions, recent gains in energy efficiency are currently only about half the rate seen in the 1970s and 1980s. The study was undertaken by IEA to support the G8 Gleneagles “Plan of Action for Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development.” Among the study’s findings are: appliances and air conditioning are on track to become the most significant sources of carbon emissions from households; in many countries, the benefits of more efficient vehicles have been eroded by increased congestion, changes in driver behavior and new in-car amenities; and efficiency improvements are having a substantial impact in manufacturing.

Link to further information
IEA Press Release, 10 September 2007

CHINA ANNOUNCES RENEWABLE ENERGY SUPPORT AND TARGETS
Shang Yong, China’s Vice-Minister of science and technology, informed the International Solar Energy Society's (ISES) Solar World Congress in Beijing China, on 18 September 2007, that his government will promote multilateral agreements to encourage governments to support renewable energy. The proposal reportedly calls for the establishment of international joint laboratories and research and development centers on renewable energy along with exchanges between scientists and engineers in the field.

In related news, China also announced in September that it will strive to use renewable energy for 10 percent of its energy in 2010, and 15 percent in 2020.

Links to further information
SciDev.Net News Release, 5 September 2007

SciDev.Net news release, 19 September 2007

AUGUST 2007

CANADA, MEXICO AND US TO CONDUCT JOINT RESEARCH ON ENERGY
On 23 July 2007, in Victoria, Canada, ministers from Canada, Mexico and the US signed an agreement to do joint scientific research on energy-related issues, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, nuclear energy, fossil fuels and electricity.

Link to further information
SciDev.Net News Release, 6 August 2007

JUNE 2007

WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY STATEMENTS CALL FOR ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
World Environment Day – 5 June 2007 – was celebrated globally under the theme “Melting Ice – A Hot Topic?” To mark the day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon wrote an opinion column for The International Herald Tribune in which he noted that “Solutions to global warming proposed by developed nations cannot come at the expense of less fortunate neighbours on the planet.” Leaders of several UN agencies and their partners urged the G8 leaders to adopt emissions targets during their 6-8 June 2007 meeting, with senior officials from the UN Development Programme, the Convention on Biodiversity and the World Conservation Union encouraging G8 leaders “to protect the diversity of life on earth and support adaptation and mitigation of climate change” and the heads of more than 20 financial service companies who are members of the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative calling on G8 leaders to adopt deep emission reduction targets no later than 2009.

Links to further information
UN news reports, 5 June 2007

UN news reports, 5 June 2007

ADB AND UN SECRETARY-GENERAL’S ADVISORY BOARD ON WATER AND SANITATION AGREE TO COLLABORATE
The UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation is mandated to promote global action on water and sanitation issues, while the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is a regional development finance institution. In a joint statement the two bodies agreed to collaborate on various activities to increase investments and results in water supply and sanitation, disaster management, and integrated water resources management in Asia. This collaboration is expected to help both institutions reach their objective of achieving the Millennium Development Goals related to water and sanitation in the region.

Link to further information
ADB Press Release, 1 June 2007

MAY 2007

ASIA-PACIFIC FORUM ANNOUNCES SHOWCASE PROGRAMME, AWARDS
The Asia-Pacific Forum for Environment and Development (APFED) Secretariat has announced a call for proposals for “showcase projects” that promote sustainable development in the region. Successful applications will be awarded grants of up to US$30,000 each. The deadline is 15 July 2007.

APFED also is inviting applications for the Ryutaro Hashimoto Awards for organizations that have contributed to the promotion of sustainable development in the region. The deadline for applications is 16 June 2007

Links to further information
APFED Showcase Programme

APFED Ryutaro Hashimoto Awards

UNEP, UNDP AND WORLD BANK TO STRENGTHEN COOPERATION ON ENERGY ACCESS
At a Ministerial luncheon during the Commission on Sustainable Development at UN Headquarters, New York, US, on 10 May 2007, representatives from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank expressed their commitment to strengthen their cooperation on energy access, with a view to supporting poverty reduction and sustainable development. The cooperation will build on existing partnerships such as the UNEP/UNDP Poverty Environment Facility and collaboration between UNDP and the World Bank on strategies for reducing poverty.

Links to further information
UNPD Press release, 10 May 2007
IISD RS coverage of the side event

UN INITIATIVE ON RESPONSIBLE INVESTMENT GAINING MOMENTUM
The Principles of Responsible Investment, an initiative of the UN Global Compact and the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), has announced that, on its first anniversary, it
has attained over 180 leading institutional signatories, representing more than US$ 8 trillion in assets under management. The Principles of Responsible Investment are voluntary and provide a framework for analyzing environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues in the investment process. The newly established PRI Engagement Clearinghouse is the first global collaborative forum for investors to work together and share knowledge to take action on ESG issues.

Link to further information
Principles of Responsible Investment Press release, 29 April 2007

APRIL 2007

BIOFUEL IN THE NEWS
The issue of biofuels and concerns about impacts related to its production have appeared in a number of recent news reports. In his opening statement to the Global Business for Environment Summit (B4E) on 19 April 2007, in Singapore, Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, highlighted the need for norms and standards and “perhaps market instruments and certification” to ensure that biofuels meet sustainability criteria that satisfy the demands of consumers. He added that UNEP is working through the G8 and other fora “to try and devise a fair, equitable and sustainable biofuels industry.”

On 26 April 2007, the European Commission said that its members’ decision to increase tenfold its consumption of vehicle biofuel by 2020 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would increase the pressure on virgin land, especially in Asia. The Commission has indicated that binding measures to deter the clearing of forest or peat bogs for fuel crops such as palm oil and methods that are energy intensive will accompany the biofuel legislation it expects to adopt in 2008.

On 27 April 2007, a committee in the Netherlands unveiled criteria for growing biofuels in ways that do not damage the environment or release more greenhouse gases than they save. The Cramer Commission report suggests that the Netherlands adopt a system to track products from plantation to power plant, and proposes that the production of biomass should not contribute to deforestation, deplete reservoirs of carbon captured in the earth, compete with food crops, degrade soil or water supplies, upset biodiversity or displace local populations.

Links to further information
UNEP News Release, 19 April 2007
MSNBC/Financial Times story about European Commission, 26 April 2007
ABC News/Associated Press story about the Netherlands, 26 April 2007

UN PUBLIC INFORMATION TO FOCUS ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND MDGS
Recently appointed UN Under-Secretary-General Kiyotaka Akasaka has outlined the priorities of the Department for Public Information for 2007, stating that attention will be paid to four themes: peace and security; climate change; development and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); and human rights. Akasaka also drew attention to the wide reach of the UN website, which logs over 50 million unique visits annually, and the important work of the UN Information Centres operating in various countries.

Link to further information
UN News release, 30 April 2007

MARCH 2007

3 MILLION EURO AVAILABLE FOR CLEAN ENERGY PROJECTS
The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), which was established at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 and includes over 200 partners including 35 governments, has announced a call for tenders for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in developing countries and emerging market economies. The Partnership also seeks bidders for the production of a REEEP Report on Energy Efficiency and to commission work around risk reduction investment in renewable and energy efficiency.

Link to further information
REEEP Press Release, 1 March 2007

INTERNATIONAL BIOFUELS FORUM LAUNCHED AT UN
The International Biofuels Forum, a joint project of Brazil, China, India, South Africa, the United States and the European Commission, was launched at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 2 March 2007. The forum will seek to expand the world market for alternative fuels and to structure the dialogue among the biggest producers and consumers of biofuels to establish common norms and standards, and work towards the commoditization of biofuels. A further objective is to identify ways to encourage investment in countries with the potential to develop alternative fuels. The International Biofuels Forum will meet regularly for one year and plans to convene an international biofuel conference in Brazil in 2008.

Links to further information
UN News Release, 2 March 2007
Wired News press release, 3 March 2007

FEBRUARY 2007


EU ENERGY MINISTERS DISCUSS BIOFUELS AND RENEWABLES
Energy ministers from the European Union debated the European Commission’s “energy and climate change package” in mid-February and agreed to raise biofuels use to a minimum of 10% by 2020. They rejected a proposal to adopt an EU-wide binding target for renewables. The package is expected to be discussed with a view to adoption at a March summit.

Link to further information
Euractiv.com News (from WBCSD website), 19 February

GLOBAL ENERGY ASSESSMENT LAUNCHED
The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), together with its international partners, launched the Global Energy Assessment (GEA) on 29-30 January 2007. This initiative will seek to redefine the global energy policy agenda through multi-year and multi-stakeholder activities designed to identify integrated solutions for ameliorating existing and emerging threats associated with global energy challenges. The GEA Secretariat showcased the initiative during the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting for the 15th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development at its 26-2 March 2007 meeting.

Link to further information
GEA website

INTERNATIONAL POLAR YEAR LAUNCHED
The International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008 officially began on 1 March 2007. Events to mark this date included an official opening ceremony at Palais de la Découverte, a science museum in central Paris, France. IPY New Zealand held a launch event at Scott base, Antarctica, attended by the New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and Sir Edmund Hillary.  To assure full and equal coverage of the Arctic and the Antarctic, IPY 2007-8 will actually cover two full annual cycles, from March 2007 to March 2009. It represents the largest polar research programme in 50 years, with a major focus on global warming, and will involve over 200 projects with scientists from over 60 nations examining physical, biological and social research topics.

Links to further information
IPY website
UN News Release, 26 February 2007

E-DISCUSSION LAUNCHED IN PREPARATION FOR ECOSOC MINISTERIAL
The UN Development Group�s (UNDG�s) is hosting a month-long e-discussion on �Strengthening Efforts to Eradicate Poverty� in March 2007. This discussion will feed into the Economic and Social Council�s (ECOSOC) annual ministerial substantive review (AMR), which was mandated by the 2005 World Summit to assess progress made towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and implementation of other goals and targets agreed at the major UN conferences and summits over the past 15 years. The two-day AMR will convene during ECOSOC�s high-level segment in July 2007, with a number of activities feeding into it. In addition to the e-discussion, a global AMR preparatory event is planned to take place in New York in March 2007 and three tentative country-led meetings are planned in Mexico, Bangladesh and Morocco in the first half of 2007.

Link to further information
NGLS invitation to participate in e-discussion

UNWTO SETS UP INTERNET PLATFORM FOR TOURISM ETHICS INFORMATION EXCHANGES
The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) announced on 1 February 2007 that it will collaborate with WISeKey to deliver YouTourist, an e-Tourism Social Network to allow tourists to exchange information based on the UNWTO�s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. The Code sets out guidelines for safeguarding the resources that tourism depends on, to ensure that its benefits are equitably shared in the spirit of the Millennium Development Goals.

Link to further information
UNWTO News Release, 1 February 2007

JANUARY 2007

DESPITE GLOBAL ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN, DEVELOPING COUNTRIES EXPECTED TO GROW IN 2007 � UN REPORT
Jose Antonio Ocampo, UN Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, has highlighted a new UN report�s finding that developing countries will continue to grow despite a slow down in the world economy�s growth. He said the global economic slowdown should not jeopardize the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals during the 10 January 2007 launch of the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2007. He added that the Report emphasizes that, after three consecutive years of high economic growth, the global economy is expected to unwind due to the cooling of the housing market in the US. The slow economic growth in the US, projected to be 2.2 percent in 2007, followed by the protracted economic recovery of Japan and Europe, will moderate consumer demand. Nevertheless, the report points out that East Asian economies will continue to lead economic growth, particularly the Chinese economy.  The report indicates that coordination of economic policies could build greater confidence in the stability of financial and foreign-exchange markets and help avoid negative growth effects.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 10 January 2007
World Economic Situation and Prospects 2007
UNDESA Press release, 11 January 2007

Launching of the Report �  webcast

ECOSOC PRESIDENT OUTLINES 2007 GOALS
In a press briefing on 18 January 2006 to outline the UN Economic and Social Council�s (ECOSOC) goals for 2007, newly-elected President Dalius Čekuolis (Lithuania) suggested ways to rejuvenate ECOSOC by involving a larger variety of people, such as government ministers, activists, academics and business executives, in its work. In the year ahead, ECOSOC will be tasked with two major new functions: the Annual Ministerial Review that will assess ECOSOC�s progress in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); and the biennial Development Cooperation Forum, which involves outreach to non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders with which ECOSOC interacts. Čekuolis noted that the new functions would help to strengthen accountability in delivering and implementing the MDGs, and better coordinate the actors engaged in the development agenda.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 18 January 2007
Press Conference by New ECOSOC President, 18 January 2007 

CSD RELEASES REVISED SET OF INDICATORS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The UN Division for Sustainable Development (UNDSD) has announced the release of the third, revised set of indicators of sustainable development prepared for the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). New features of this third revision include the creation of a new set of 50 core indicators. The revisions were finalized in 2006 by an expert group of indicator experts from developing and developed countries and international organizations. These revised indicators will be incorporated into the 3rd edition of the �Blue book� on CSD indicators, which is expected to be published in 2007.

Link to further information
CSD Indicators of Sustainable Development.

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