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MEDIA REPORTS

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

This page was updated on: 01/13/10

 

2009

 

Sustainable Development Media Reports Archives: 2010; 2008; 2007; 2006; 2005; 2004; 2003; 2002

 

DECEMBER 2009

 

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

 

NOVEMBER 2009

 

DEVELOPMENT BANKS ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE, ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLES IN CHINA AND ADAPTATION IN THE PACIFIC

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is providing a total of EUR 134 million in four operations that will contribute to the abatement of 830 thousand tons of CO2 emissions per year in China. The projects include, inter alia, the construction and operation of a sodium carbonate and ammonium chloride co-product plant, using the CO2 currently vented from the existing fertilizer complex. All projects will seek CDM registration for carbon credit generation.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved US$3.47 million in grants to help the 14 Pacific developing countries build up their capacity to respond to challenges posed by climate change. Projects will support the mainstreaming of climate change risk management into each country’s development strategies and programs.

In related news, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a cooperation agreement to share their expertise in support of sustainable development, including on the economics of climate change. The two institutions have agreed to cooperate by sharing knowledge in several areas including sustainable urban development, environmental sustainability and the economics of climate change.

 

Links to further information

EIB press release, 30 November 2009

ADB press release, 24 November 2009

OECD press release, 27 November 2009

 

IISD AND OECD ANNOUNCE NEW SET OF PRINCIPLES FOR MEASURING SUSTAINABILITY

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have announced the development of BellagioSTAMP, a new set of guiding principles to measure and assess progress towards sustainability. The principles respond to calls for greater harmony with the natural environment and for measures to secure the well-being of current and future generations. A set of Bellagio Principles for assessing progress toward sustainability was first published in 1996, but new assessment methods and sustainability challenges overtook the original principles. As a result, BellagioSTAMP has been established by a group of international experts meeting in Bellagio, Italy, organized by IISD and the OECD's Measuring the Progress of Societies initiative. The two organizations presented the tool at a global forum on measuring the progress of societies in Busan.

Link to further information
IISD press release

OCTOBER 2009

FAO BEGINS CONSULTATIONS ON INTERNATIONAL GUIDELINES ON LAND TENURE
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has begun organizing consultations over voluntary international guidelines on governance of tenure to land and other natural resources such as water supplies, fisheries and forests. The consultations and negotiations are expected to take more than one year to complete, and will involve governments, the private sector, farmers, indigenous groups, local authorities, academia and experts led by a secretariat based at FAO headquarters. The guidelines are intended to provide practical guidance to states, civil society and the private sector on responsible governance of tenure.

Link to further information
FAO press release, 27 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
 

UN CHIEF HIGHLIGHTS CONTRIBUTIONS OF RURAL WOMEN TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
On the occasion of International Day of Rural Women, celebrated on 15 October, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the contributions
of rural women, including indigenous women, to sustainable development and the sound management of natural resources. Reminding the world of the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), he noted that rural women are amongst the most vulnerable and deprived of their basic human rights. He indicated that rural women have inadequate access to maternal health care, social security programmes, education, credit and loans, and infrastructure, including clean water, sanitation, transportation and paved roads. He called on all UN member States to ensure that women’s voices are included in decision-making processes and that they fully participate in rural development initiatives.

Links to further information
UN News Centre, 15 October 2009
UN Secretary-General’s statement, 15 October 2009

WATER THINK TANK INITIATIVE AGREEMENT SIGNED
On 10 October 2009, a Partnership Agreement regarding the Water Think Tank Initiative was signed by the four founding members in Monaco: Foundation Prince Albert II of Monaco, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), Veolia Environnement and Plan Bleu. The initiative is an outcome of the Zaragoza conference, which took place during the Water Expo in 2008, and was initiated and announced by Prince Albert II of Monaco and the other partners during the 5th World Water Forum, which convened in Istanbul, Turkey, in March 2009. The initiative will seek to promote integrated and sustainable water resource management in the Mediterranean region, focusing on designing tools and methodologies that take into consideration the needs of Local Authorities in the region.

Link to further information
UNITAR press release, 10 October 2009

UN-HABITAT ANNOUNCES AWARDS FROM “OPPORTUNITIES FUND FOR URBAN YOUTH-LED DEVELOPMENT”
UN-HABITAT member States passed a resolution (GC21/6) during the 21st session of the Governing Council that requested Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka to set up a special fund to support youth-led urban development initiatives. The resulting Opportunities Fund for Urban Youth-Led Development, established with support from the Government of Norway, provides up to US$1 million per year to support youth-led initiatives worldwide and engages the partnership and leadership of young men and women in working towards sustainable urbanization. On World Habitat Day, celebrated on 5 October, the first recipients were announced. From 1,116 applications, 38 recipients were selected from African and Arab States, 21 from Asian States, and 8 from Latin America and the Caribbean States. The next call for proposals will be in February 2010.

Link to further information
UN-HABITAT Opportunities Fund webpage

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

 

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

IDB RELEASES NEW VERSION OF BIOFUELS SUSTAINABILITY SCORECARD
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has released a new version of its Biofuels Sustainability Scorecard, which will enable users to better anticipate the impacts of potential biofuel projects on sensitive issues such as indigenous rights, carbon emissions from land use change, and food security.

Link to further information
Biofuels Sustainability Scorecard

JULY 2009

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

 

UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON THE RIGHT TO FOOD PROPOSES MEASURES TO REGULATE LAND GRABBING
On 11 June 2009,
the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, proposed measures to regulate large-scale international land purchases and leases in developing countries, which are often referred to as “land grabbing.” It is hoped that these measures can inform the negotiations by the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations on agriculture investments. The guidelines are aimed to assist investors and host governments in the negotiation of large-scale land acquisitions, emphasizing transparency and full participation of local communities whose access to land and productive resources may be affected.

Link to further information
UN News Centre, 11 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

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

IFC PROVIDES GUARANTEE FOR SUSTAINABLE FINANCE TRADE DEALS
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, will provide Pakistan’s Allied Bank with guarantees for sustainable finance and energy-efficient trade deals. This product is expected to be replicated with other banks in the IFC Global Trade Finance Program network.

Link to further information
IFC press release

MARCH 2009

 

EC RELEASES REPORT ON SOILS’ ROLE IN CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION

The European Commission (EC) has released a report that underlines the role that soils can play in mitigating climate change. The report “Review of existing information on the interrelations between soil and climate change,” is a synthesis of the best available information on the links between soil and climate change, and highlights that soils contain around twice the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and three times the amount to be found in vegetation. The authors underline the need to sequester carbon in soils, adding that the technique is cost competitive and immediately available, requires no new or unproven technologies, and has a mitigation potential comparable to that of any other sector of the economy.

Links to further information
CLIMSOIL study
Europa press release, 5 March 2009

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

US AND CANADA LAUNCH CLEAN ENERGY DIALOGUE
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and US President Barack Obama announced on 19 February 2009 that their countries would launch a new initiative to further cross-border cooperation on environmental protection and energy security. The
US-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue will commit senior officials from both countries to undertake efforts to collaborate on the development of clean energy science and technologies that will reduce greenhouse gases.

Link to further information
White House press release

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

INTERNATIONAL RENEWABLE ENERGY AGENCY ESTABLISHED
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) held its founding conference in Bonn, Germany, on 26 January 2009, bringing together representatives from over 100 governments. IRENA was set up to promote renewable energy worldwide and help create conditions for renewable energy development. IRENA will focus on providing policy advice for national governments, facilitating technology transfer and capacity building.

On 27 January, the Preparatory Commission convened for the first time, and decided on the Agency’s initial steps, including the procedure and criteria for selecting IRENA’s interim Director-General and interim headquarters. Signatories of IRENA were invited to put forward applications for the interim headquarters and nominations of candidates for the post of interim Director-General until 30 April 2009. The Preparatory Commission is scheduled to decide on the location of the interim headquarters and the interim Director-General in June 2009.

 

Link to further information
IRENA Founding Conference website

 

JANUARY 2009

IBERIAN RENEWABLE ENERGY CENTRE TO BE ESTABLISHED
The Governments of Spain and Portugal have announced that they will establish a joint renewable energy research centre. The Iberian Renewable Energy Centre will be located in Badajoz, Spain, and will help the two nations to improve their expertise in this area.

Link to further information
AFP News release, 22 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

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

DIGITAL MAP OF AFRICA’S DEPLETED SOILS TO BE PRODUCED
The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), a research center of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), will produce a detailed digital soil map of 42 sub-Saharan countries. The project, named the African Soil Information Service (AfSIS), will provide information necessary to overcome soil depletion and improve crop production through better soil management. AfSIS is supported through a four-year grant of US$18 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. The project will use innovative technologies such as remote sensing via satellite and infrared spectroscopy to analyze the chemical and physical properties and organic matter of soil samples. This information will be made available via the Internet and ultimately will become part of a global soil mapping initiative called GlobalSoilMap.net.

Links to further information
CIAT press release
AfSIS website

INTERNATIONAL AWARD FOR SUSTAINABLE WATERSHED MANAGEMENT SEEKS NOMINATIONS

Swiss Re, the world's leading reinsurer, has launched the �ReSource Award 2010,� which is an annual competition for innovative watershed management projects, with a total value of US$150,000. The award seeks to recognize projects that seek to contribute to raising awareness of the ecological, social and economic significance of water sources and watersheds in developing and emerging countries. NGOs, private, scientific or public institutions and similar bodies are encouraged to submit an application prior to 30 April 2009.

Link to further information
ReSource Award website

SEED INITIATIVE CALLS FOR NOMINATIONS
The SEED Initiative has called for submissions to the 2009 SEED Awards for entrepreneurship in sustainable development. This award seeks to recognize innovative ideas from any group in a developing and transition country that is working in partnership with others to generate environmental and social benefits in an entrepreneurial way. SEED Award Winners receive a tailored package of support services to help them to become established and to increase their impact. The SEED Initiative was founded by IUCN, UNDP and UNEP to deliver concrete progress towards the internationally-agreed, aspirational goals in the UN�s Millennium Declaration and the commitments made at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. Nominations should be submitted by 16 March 2009.

Link to further information
SEED Initiative website

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