Climate and Atmosphere
UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies Complete their Work in Cancun
4 December 2010: On 4 December 2010, the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies for Implementation (SBI) and Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA) completed their work for their sessions in Cancun, Mexico.
At the end of their 33rd sessions, the subsidiary bodies forwarded a number of draft decisions for adoption at the final plenary, to be held on 10 December 2010. The drafts include decisions on continued, strengthened support to developing countries' efforts in adaptation and mitigation, including concrete technology transfer projects. Patricia Espinosa, President of the Conference and Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Mexico, noted that the draft decisions “show that countries have come to Cancun in good faith to show the world that the multilateral process can deliver as long as a spirit of compromise, cooperation and transparency prevails.”
Among the decisions is a near agreement that carbon capture and storage (CCS) may be an eligible project activity under the Kyoto Protocol Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), provided it complies with stringent risk and safety assessments. This presents ministers who will be providing political guidance to the negotiations with only two clear options on the issue.
Another draft decision aims to broaden the mandate of a Least Developed Countries (LDC) Expert Group and extend its mandate for a five-year term, the longest period given to the Group since its establishment in 2001. The Group provides technical guidance and advice to LDCs on the preparation and implementation of national adaptation programmes of action (NAPAs). Countries also agreed to strengthen education, training and public awareness on climate change through increased funding for such activities, and to engage civil society more strongly in national decision-making and the UN climate change process. [UNFCCC Press Release
] [IISD RS Coverage of the Cancun Climate Change Conference
Climate Change Negotiators Open Talks in Cancun
29 November 2010: The UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun opened on 29 November 2010 and is scheduled to conclude on 10 December 2010. The conference will include the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the UNFCCC and the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 6).
The conference also comprises the 33rd sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies, the 15th session of the Ad Hoc
Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP 15), and the 13th session of the Ad Hoc
Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the UNFCCC (AWG-LCA 13). The focus of the conference is on a two-track negotiating process aiming to enhance long-term international climate change cooperation under the Convention and the Protocol. The original deadline for completing these negotiations was the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, held in December 2009, but as many issues remained outstanding, the mandates of the two AWGs were extended until Cancun, where they are expected to report their respective outcomes to COP 16 and COP/MOP 6. [IISD RS Coverage
] [Conference Programme
Conclusions of High-level Round Table on ITPGR Available Online
December 2010: The moderator's summary of the outcomes of the High-level Round Table on the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR), which convened on 7 December 2010, in Rome, Italy, has been made available online.
The Round Table was hosted by the Government of Italy, with the support of the ITPGR Secretariat, under the title “Leading the Field.” Participants focused on the role of the ITPGR in addressing food security in a time of climate change. Speakers from 60 ITPGR parties emphasized: the need to continue exchanging and using plant genetic resources for food and agriculture to achieve food security, particularly in the context of the increased risks associated with climate change; the Treaty's role in that regard; that all parties should make their relevant plant genetic resources available through the Multilateral System; that the Treaty's Benefit-sharing Fund should be used to assist small-scale farmers to adapt to climate change; and that investing in the Treaty should continue and the Treaty's Core Administrative Budget should be funded adequately.
It was noted that the ITPGR is formally recognized as one of the constituent pillars within the recently adopted Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit-sharing concluded under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and as an international adaptation-financing mechanism by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). [Meeting documents
] [Moderator's summary
Global Business Day Reviews Mexican Dialogue Experience
7 December 2010: Cancún Global Business Day met in Cancún, Mexico, on 6 December 2010, under the theme “Building Bridges.” This fourth Business Day took place in parallel to the UN Cancún Climate Change Conference, which convened from 29 November-10 December 2010. Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, offered a keynote speech that reviewed the state of negotiations, and challenged businesses to exert leverage in three areas: by looking at their value chains; by leveraging change within the sectors in which each business operates; and by leveraging their political constituencies. The approximately 180 participants at Business Day engaged in discussions regarding: the experience of the Mexican Dialogues, a series of events that brought representatives from the private sector and government together in the lead-up to the Cancún negotiations; patterns for diffusion of technology; the forms and strengths of South-South trade and its contributions to a green economy; and the global realities affecting responses to climate change and clean energy growth. The proceedings at Cancún Global Business Day will inform the evaluation by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) of the Mexican Dialogue experience, with a view to deciding how to participate in the preparations for the 2011 Durban Climate Change Conference in South Africa.
Cancún Global Business Day was organized by the WBCSD and the ICC, and was sponsored by CEMEX. [IISD RS coverage of Global Business Day
Development and Climate Days at COP 16 Focus on Scientific Knowledge
5 December 2010: The “Development and Climate Days at COP 16” event was held in Cancun, Mexico, from 4-5 December 2010, in parallel with the the 16th Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the UNFCCC and the sixth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 6).
Development and Climate Days has been a feature of the UNFCCC negotiations since 2002. It provides an opportunity for participants to share information on key development and climate change issues. In Cancun, several hundred participants attended the two-day event, including representatives of governments, international organizations, academia, research institutes, business and non-governmental organizations. The event was organized by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), the RING alliance of policy research organizations, and the Capacity Strengthening of Least Developed Countries for Adaptation to Climate Change (CLACC). Sponsors and supporters of the 2010 event included the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the UK Department for International Development (DfID), and UN University (UNU).
The event featured more than 40 speakers and numerous extended discussions and question-and-answer sessions, with a focus on supporting the production and dissemination of scientific knowledge by practitioners and researchers from developing countries. Sessions addressed the following issues: low-carbon, resilient development; adaptation, including community-based institutions, planning, assessment and financing; climate change communications; the Fairtrade movement and climate change; and climate change and migration. The event also included a film festival on climate and development issues, featuring short films from around the world. [IISD RS Coverage
] [Development and Climate Days at COP 16 Website
Forest Day Highlights Urgency to Act on REDD+
5 December 2010: Forest Day 4, held on the sidelines of the Cancun Climate Change Conference, addressed the need to press on with a global mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+).
Forest Day 4, organized around the theme "Time to Act," highlighted the urgency of ensuring the survival of the world's forests, their biodiversity and the hundreds of millions of people that depend on them. The 1500 people in attendance discussed how to accelerate the integration of forests into climate protection and adaptation schemes from local to global levels. Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, President of Mexico, addressed the day-long event, and underscored the urgency to "push and push hard for full incorporation of REDD+ into a long-term international climate change agreement."
Participants attended several sessions focusing on forest-related issues such as: biodiversity; mitigation and adaptation; forest governance; monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV); optimizing multiple benefits of sustainable forest management and REDD+; agricultural drivers of deforestation; land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF); and experiences with community-based forest management. Frances Seymour, Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), commented that regardless of whether an agreement on REDD will take place in Cancun, "voluntary commitments and initiatives have a momentum of their own," noting that rural communities were taking matters into their own hands with community-based forest enterprises.
The event was hosted by the Government of Mexico, through the National Forestry Commission, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) and CIFOR. A summary of the event will be made available on CIFOR's website. [Forest Day 4 Website
] [CIFOR Press Release
Cancun Oceans Day Discusses Strategy on Oceans and Climate
4 December 2010: The Cancun Oceans Day event convened in Cancun, Mexico, on 4 December 2010, organized by the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, in association with the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Secretaries of Environment and Natural Resources of the Mexican States of Campeche, Quintana Roo, and Yucatan, and the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), Mexico, in collaboration with other partners.
Cancun Oceans Day met in parallel to the UN Cancun Climate Change Conference and aimed to review the “building blocks” of a comprehensive strategy on oceans and climate, addressing mitigation, adaptation, financing, and capacity building. This event was the second Oceans Day in the UNFCCC context, and featured more than 20 speakers and panelists. Over 90 participants registered to attend the one-day meeting, including representatives of governments, international organizations, business, academia, and non-governmental organizations. Cancun Oceans Day was part of the Rio Conventions' Ecosystems and Climate Change Pavilion, organized by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UNFCCC, and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Cancun Oceans Day featured: three panel discussions; two special addresses; and three workshops on developing an integrated approach to climate and oceans and preparation for Rio+20. [IISD RS Coverage
] [Cancun Oceans Day Website
Agriculture and Rural Development Day Forwards Recommendations to UNFCCC Negotiators
6 December 2010: Participants at Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD) 2010, which convened in Cancun, Mexico, on 4 December 2010, in parallel with the UN Cancun Climate Change Conference, discussed agriculture sector adaptation and mitigation strategies and identified recommendations for UNFCCC negotiators regarding these strategies.
The event featured opening statements by Mexico's Vice-Minister for Rural Development, Ignacio Rivera Rodríguez, and Inger Andersen, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Fund Council Chair and World Bank's Vice President of Sustainable Development. ARDD 2010 was co-hosted by the Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security, CGIAR, the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, and the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA).
A summary from the event was developed, and following revisions based on comments received during concluding discussions, the summary of ARDD 2010 will be presented on 6 December at a Cancun Climate Change Conference side event titled “Enabling Agriculture and Forestry to Contribute to Climate Change Responses.” This side event will also report on the results of Forest Day 4, which convened the day after ARDD 2010, on 5 December.
In messages to the UNFCCC negotiators, participants call for: using fast-track financing to support agricultural adaptation and mitigation activities; including action on food security and hunger in any post-2012 agreement, especially in the Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA) text; taking a decision to set up an agricultural work programme under the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA); REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) to promote sustainable agriculture intensification as a means to halt deforestation; recognizing the synergies and opportunities for adaptation and mitigation co-benefits; and ensuring that a new or revised Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) includes agriculture and other land-use changes.
At the conclusion of ARDD 2010, CGIAR and the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP) launched a strategic partnership titled “Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).” [IISD RS Coverage of ARDD 2010
] [ARDD 2010 Website
UNGA Second Committee Adopts Texts on Disaster Reduction, Climate Effects on SIDS
1 December 2010: In meetings on 30 November and 1 December 2010, the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) concluded its 65th session, taking action on various draft resolutions on sustainable development, including climate-related items.
On disaster reduction, the agreed drafts would have the UNGA: express its “deep concern” over the number and scale of natural disasters and the increasing challenges posed by their consequences, as well as the impact of climate change, which impeded progress towards sustainable development, particularly in developing, least developed, landlocked developing and other vulnerable countries; urge the international community to continue to address ways and means to reduce the adverse effects of natural disasters by implementing the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and encouraging institutional arrangements to enable it to continue its work; emphasize the importance of early warning systems and stress the need to better mainstream disaster risk reduction (DRR) into national development strategies while building and strengthening coping capacities by exchanging experiences and technical knowledge on the subject; and call upon the UN, and invite international financial institutions as well as other regional and international bodies, to integrate the goals of the Hyogo Framework for Action into their strategies and programmes, and help developing countries design and implement DRR measures with a sense of urgency.
On small island developing States (SIDS), the GA would urge the full and effective implementation of the outcome document adopted on 25 September 2010, by the High-level Review Meeting of the UNGA, as well as call upon the international community to enhance support for efforts by SIDS to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, including by providing dedicated sources of financing, capacity building and technology transfer. [Summary of 30 November Meeting
] [Summary of 1 December Meeting
CBD Secretariat Releases Report of Cairo Workshop on Biodiversity and Finance
10 December 2010: The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has released the report of the Regional Workshop on Biodiversity and Finance in Support of the Nagoya Outcome, held from 29-30 November 2010, in Cairo, Egypt.
The workshop's objectives were to elaborate regional financial responses to the outcomes adopted by the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the CBD. Responses were to include an effective action plan for the Arab region for the strategy for resource mobilization and innovative financial mechanisms, and to provide a platform for developing a common vision, shared commitments and concrete funding action for the Arab countries and their external partners to support implementation of the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan and the associated targets.
The workshop participants agreed to the Arab Regional Statement for Action on the 2020 Biodiversity Targets, Funding Strategies and Innovative Financial Mechanisms, which underscored, inter alia
, the need for all Arab countries to: sign and ratify the Nagoya Protocol as soon as possible, but no later than 2012; raise awareness at all levels of society; develop national policy framework on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) accordingly; update their national biodiversity strategies and action plans as the first step to respond to the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan; appoint resource mobilization focal points by 2012 and develop country-specific resource mobilization strategies; mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem services into sectoral ministries, and mitigate the negative impacts of unsustainable tourism on biodiversity; launch a regional programme with the Rio Conventions to mitigate concurrent challenges of biodiversity loss, climate change and land degradation, and to enhance adaptability of the region to environmental changes; increase the number and coverage of protected areas for marine and coastal ecosystems; conduct national assessments and develop regulations on endangered species; and establish or update a clearinghouse mechanism.
Furthermore, participants highlighted that the Arab Environment Facility provides an innovative example of mobilizing financial cooperation for environmental objectives at the regional level, and that the Arab Union for Protected Areas can assist in expanding the Arab protected areas system. They stressed the need for: an Arab regional biodiversity strategy and action plan and an Arab strategy for resource mobilization; national and regional workshops to promote better understanding of innovative financial mechanisms; valuing Arabic biodiversity and ecosystem services, in order to incorporate them into development sectors and national financing, inviting the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to undertake an Arab TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) initiative; regional workshops on invasive alien species; a regional training workshop to transfer knowledge from the North to the Arab region on ecological footprints and sustainability; and financial resources to enable the Palestine Authority to prepare national reports and undertake the biodiversity planning exercise. [The Report
] [Meeting documents
Report of the 58th Meeting of the CDM Executive Board Released
26 November 2010: The report of the 58th meeting of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Executive Board, which was held from 22-26 November 2010, in Cancun, Mexico, is now available on the UNFCCC website.
The Board held the meeting to consider issues relating to the operation of the CDM, including those relating to: the accreditation of operational entities; methodologies for baselines and monitoring plans; CDM afforestation and reforestation (A/R) projects; small-scale projects; the CDM programme of activities; the registration of CDM project activities; issuance of certified emission reductions (CERs) and the CDM registry; and the CDM management plan and resources for the work on the CDM.
Regarding the accreditation of operational entities, the Board agreed to re-accredit the entity Colombian Institute for Technical Standards and Certification for the specified validation and verification/certification functions. It also considered a recommendation of the CDM Accreditation Panel relating to the entity Det Norske Veritas Certification AS, which was under spot-check and agreed to exclude sites in India and China from the scope of the spot-check, close the spot-check and confirm the entity's accreditation and designation. On CDM A/R projects, the Board approved the methodology “Afforestation or reforestation of degraded or abandoned agricultural lands.” It also revised the approved methodology “Afforestation/Reforestation with Trees Supported by Shrubs on Degraded Land” by applying the “Tool for estimation of changes in soil organic carbon stocks due to the implementation of CDM A/R project activities” and streamlining it with other approved methodologies. [CDM EB58 Report
ACP Fisheries Ministers Adopt Action Plan
25 November 2010: The second meeting of the fisheries ministers of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States, which took place in Mahe, Seychelles, from 24-25 November 2010, adopted a resolution addressing climate change and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, among other issues.
In the resolution, ACP fisheries ministers: recognize the growing importance of aquaculture in meeting the increased world demand for fish protein in an environment of depleted fisheries resources resulting from overfishing, climate change, pollution and habitat destruction; express concern over the threat and current impacts of climate change on the fisheries and aquaculture sectors; and recognize that the identification and implementation of appropriate adaptation and mitigation measures will represent a high cost for vulnerable States.
Ministers appealed to the ACP States to take steps to further integrate fisheries and oceans into the national and international climate change agendas to secure space for fisheries and oceans in financial instruments that support adaptation and mitigation, including in the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), the Special Climate Change Fund, and the Adaptation Funds. Ministers also urgently requested the international community to agree at the Cancun Climate Change Conference to a package of immediate and concrete action to assist ACP States, in particular those most vulnerable to climate change crises.
Ministers further requested that, in view of their special circumstances, ACP States benefit from a special and preferential treatment in respect of the overall prohibition of fisheries subsidies. They urged: ACP States to pool their technical and financial resources together to better combat IUU fishing; the international community to support financially and technically, through specific programmes, the efforts made at the national and regional levels to prevent, counteract and eradicate IUU fishing; and support international measures for combating IUU fishing such as the listing of IUU vessels by the EU and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), as well as the Global Record of Fishing Vessels, Refrigerated Transport Vessels and Supply Vessels by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
The ACP fisheries ministers further agreed to a five-year strategic plan of action, expressing commitment to a more pro-active approach for the preservation of aquatic biodiversity and the economic value of the fisheries sector. They agreed to devise fisheries management plans and use relevant assessment tools for evaluating the efficiency of (ACP and foreign) fishing fleets. [The Resolution
] [ACP Press-Communiqué
ACP Holds Conference on Climate Change Challenges
23 November 2010: The Department of Sustainable Economic Development and Trade Department of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Secretariat organized a conference on 23 November 2010, in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss climate change challenges confronting ACP countries.
The conference launched a series of debates on sustainable development in ACP States and gathered ACP ambassadors and high-level speakers including Lucas Assunção, UN Commission for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and Yacob Mulugetta, UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Discussions were organized around the theme “Climate Change and Sustainable Development of ACP States: challenges and financing prospects,” and participants focused on existing financing mechanisms for low-carbon growth, as well as mitigation and adaptation strategies in ACP regions.
Discussions highlighted: the fragility of the majority of ACP States, particularly Small Island Developing States (SIDS), confronted by the problem of climate change; the fast-tracking of resources pledged by the EU to provide developing countries in general, and ACP countries in particular, with resources to tackle climate change challenges; the existence of various common positions among ACP regions and the EU in the area of climate change; and the urgent need to translate into concrete actions ACP-EU Declarations on climate change adopted in May 2009 in Brussels, Belgium, and June 2010 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. A follow-up conference is expected to be scheduled after the Cancun Climate Change Conference, to assess its results and agree on the way forward on climate change both at the regional and the ACP levels. [ACP Press Release
Major Economies Forum Supports Package of Decisions in Cancun
18 November 2010: The tenth Meeting at the leaders' representative level of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, held in Crystal City, US, from 17-18 November 2010, expressed full support for agreeing on a package of decisions at the Cancun Climate Change Conference in late 2010.
Participants indicated that a "Cancun package" could include decisions on: adaptation; mitigation; monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV)/International Consultation and Analysis (ICA); finance; and technology. In addition, many participants recommended inclusion of agreement on future Kyoto commitments. Participants noted that the technology mechanism to be established under the international climate change regime should consist of a technology executive committee and a clean technology center and network. They debated which aspects of the two bodies might be left for further discussion after Cancun, with a view to their establishment at the Durban Climate Change Conference in 2011.
On finance, participants discussed fast-start finance, a new green fund and sources of long-term funding, debating whether to note in the Cancun outcome the report of the Advisory Group on Climate Finance and donors' commitment based on the Copenhagen Accord. On adaptation, participants agreed that existing institutions should be strengthened, noting the inherent linkages between adaptation and development. They disagreed on whether a new adaptation institution is needed, in part due to diverging views on what functions it would serve, including with respect to finance.
On MRV and ICA, discussion revolved around a non-paper put forward by Indian Minister Ramesh, outlining general principles as well as scope and application of ICA, its purpose, frequency and its operations. Participants discussed a possible follow-on process, through a dedicated ad hoc
committee, the LCA, or the SBI, aimed at agreeing on operational guidance in Durban. Several countries emphasized that a Cancun outcome would also need to include enhanced MRV for developed countries.
On mitigation, participants discussed how to “anchor” submissions from the Copenhagen Accord in the Cancun outcome, as well as any additional submissions by other parties and a subsequent process to consider them. The importance and role of market mechanisms were also discussed. [US State Department Press Release
GEF Council Expands Small Grants Programme
18 November 2010: The 39th Meeting of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Council approved US$134 million for the next phase of the Small Grants Programme (SGP), which awards up to US$50,000 in funds for projects by civil society and community based organizations.
The approved funds are expected to support as many as 3,640 new projects, a 27% increase over the last four-year period. Other projects approved aim to: strengthen governance of invasive alien species in Chile (US$4 million); use leopards to strengthen conservation efforts in Yemen (US$2.4 million); reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through industrial efficiency in Kazakhstan (US$7 million); and phase-out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in aerosol metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) in the Russian Federation (US$2.5 million).
During the meeting, which convened from 16-18 November 2010, at GEF headquarters in Washington DC, US, the Council heard statements from: Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); Paul Horwitz,
representing Marco Gonzalez, Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat; Donald Cooper, Executive Secretary of the Stockholm Convention; and Marcia Levaggi, Manager of the Adaptation Fund Board Secretariat.
Regarding climate change adaptation, the Council reviewed the "Evaluation of the GEF Strategic Priority for Adaptation" (GEF/ME/C.39/4) and "Management Response"
(GEF/ME/C.39/5), and requested the Secretariat to develop and implement screening tools to serve as a first step to ensure the mainstreaming and targeting of adaptation and resilience, to reduce the risks from climate change in GEF focal areas and its activities.
The Council also approved a Results-based Management and Knowledge Management Work Plan for GEF-5, and agreed to establish a pilot process with the goal of building a new framework to expand the number of accredited institutions that are eligible to receive funding to assist countries to prepare and implement projects on the ground. New agencies accredited to the GEF shall be referred to as GEF Project Agencies, while the status of the ten GEF Agencies (the original three Implementing and the seven additional Executing Agencies) shall remain unchanged. [GEF Council Documents
] [GEF Press Release
FAO Holds Expert Meeting on Land Tenure and Mitigation in Forestry and Agriculture Sectors
17 November 2010: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) hosted an expert meeting on "Land tenure issues and requirements for implementing climate change mitigation policies in the forestry and agriculture sectors" in Rome, Italy, from 15-17 November 2010.
The meeting resulted in an outcome document on sets of issues related to the beneficiaries of climate change mitigation policies, land tenure considerations for implementation of mitigation activities, and policy instruments for implementation. Participants highlighted the need for regional meetings to address land tenure configurations specific to regions and countries. The group also discussed the relevance of carbon rights in forestry and agriculture mitigation and debated whether carbon rights must be formalized for effective mitigation. Two commissioned background papers were also presented.
The meeting aimed to provide input into the linkages between tenure and climate change mitigation for work on Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land and other Natural Resources. The meeting was attended by approximately 50 experts in the fields of land-based climate change mitigation and land and resource tenure. It was co-organized by the FAO Land Tenure team, the UN-REDD programme and the Mitigation of Climate Change in Agriculture project (MICCA). [Meeting website
Governors' Global Climate Summit Launches R20 Initiative
16 November 2010: At the conclusion of the third Governors' Global Climate Summit (GGCS 3), held from 13-16 November 2010, in Davis, California, US, leaders from around the world announced a subnational public-private alliance on climate change and the green economy titled “R20 – Regions of Climate Action.”
Composed of subnational governments and private and non-government partners, R20 is a global coalition committed to fast-tracking the development of clean technologies, climate-resilient projects and green investment, and influencing national and international policies. It is expected to catalyze partnerships between developed and developing subnational regions on energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean transportation.
During its first year, R20 is expected to facilitate public-private partnerships, share best practices, accelerate the development of green innovations and begin implementing clean energy demonstration projects. Within five years, R20 aims to have at least 20 subnational governments enact comprehensive low-carbon policies and implement projects, using successful models from progressive subnational leaders as a guide. Through these efforts, R20 is expected to expand the global green economy, create new green jobs and build commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
R20 is partnering with the private sector, academia, national governments, international organizations and civil society, as well as with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). [Press Release
UNEP Provides Environmental Training to Peacekeepers
9 November 2010: As part of the Natural Resources Management in Post-Conflict Countries Initiative, developed by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in partnership with the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), UNEP convened a four-day training course for UN Field Mission staff.
Aiming to equip participants with the tools to address environmental issues related to the work and mandate of UN peacekeeping missions, the training was held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 9-13 November, and attended by 25 environmental focal points representing all current peacekeeping missions.
According to UNEP, the 2009 UN Greenhouse Gas inventory indicated that UN Field Missions globally account for 56% of UN total greenhouse gas emissions. A joint study undertaken by UNEP, the UN Department of Field Support (DFS) and United Nations Support Office for the African Union Mission in Somalia (UNSOA) indicated that significant savings in energy and water inputs and waste outputs are achievable bymainstreaming environmental concerns into the design and operation of UN peacekeeping camps. [UNEP Press release
G20 Adopts Seoul Action Plan
12 November 2010: Leaders of the Group of Twenty (G20) met in Seoul, Republic of Korea, on 11-12 November 2010 and adopted: a Leaders' Declaration; the Seoul Action Plan including a commitment to the Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth; and concrete measures summarized in a Multi-Year Action Plan on Development, focusing particularly on the development of infrastructure in developing countries.
According to the Leaders' Declaration, the G20 express: strong commitment to promptly bring the Doha Development Round to a successful, ambitious, comprehensive, and balanced conclusion consistent with the mandate of the Doha Development Round and built on progress already achieved; and resolute commitment to fight climate change, and spare no effort to reach a balanced and successful outcome at the Cancun Climate Change Conference in late 2010.
The Summit document containing the Seoul Action Plan includes sections on fossil fuel subsidies, climate change and green growth. On fossil fuel subsidies, the G20 leaders: reaffirm their commitment to rationalize and phase out, over the medium term, inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, with timing based on national circumstances, while providing targeted support for the poorest; direct finance and energy ministers to report back on progress made in implementing country-specific strategies and in achieving the goals agreed in Pittsburgh and Toronto at the 2011 Summit in France; note the preliminary report of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and request these organizations, together with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), to further assess and review progress made in implementing the Pittsburgh and Toronto commitments and report back to the 2011 Summit in France; and recognize the value of the sharing of knowledge, expertise and capacity with respect to programmes and policies that phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.
On climate change, G20 leaders: reiterate their commitment to take strong and action-oriented measures and remain fully dedicated to UN climate change negotiations; reaffirm the objective, provisions, and principles of the UNFCCC, including common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities; commit to achieving a successful, balanced result at the Cancun Conference that includes the core issues of mitigation, transparency, finance, technology, adaptation, and forest preservation; and support and encourage the delivery of fast-start finance commitments. Those that have associated themselves with the Copenhagen Accord also reaffirm their support for the Accord's implementation. Leaders also acknowledge: the global environmental and economic challenge of ongoing biodiversity loss; the inextricable link between climate change and biodiversity loss; the outcomes of the global study on the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity; and the successful conclusion of the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) held in Nagoya, Japan, on 18-29 October 2010.
On green growth, G20 leaders further: commit to support country-led "green growth" policies that promote environmentally sustainable global growth along with employment creation, while ensuring energy access for the poor; recognize that sustainable green growth, as it is inherently part of sustainable development, is a strategy of quality development, enabling countries to "leapfrog" old technologies in many sectors, including through the use of energy efficiency and clean technology; commit to take steps to create, as appropriate, the enabling environment for the development and deployment of energy efficiency and clean energy technologies, including policies and practices in G20 countries and beyond, including technical transfer and capacity building; support the ongoing initiatives under the Clean Energy Ministerial and encourage further discussion on cooperation in research and development as well as regulatory measures, together with business leaders; and request the Energy Experts Group to monitor and report back on progress at the 2011 Summit in France. G20 leaders also commit to stimulate investment in clean energy technology, energy and resource efficiency, green transportation, and green cities by mobilizing finance, establishing clear and consistent standards, developing long-term energy policies, supporting education, enterprise and research and development, and continuing to promote cross-border collaboration and coordination of national legislative approaches.
In the multi-year development action plan, G20 leaders commit to: develop comprehensive infrastructure action plans and assess ways to integrate environmental safeguards into infrastructure development in an effective and cost efficient manner; establish a G20 panel for infrastructure development and provide independent comment in an iterative process to ensure workability, maximization of the outcomes and a focus on environmental sustainability and transparency; and identify, enhance as needed, and promote the best existing developmental, social and environmental standards for responsible investment in value chains and voluntary investor compliance with these standards. [The G20 Leaders' Declaration
] [The Seoul Summit Document
] [Development Plan of Action
seoul summit logo
CIF Meetings Approve Funding for Climate Resilience in Bangladesh, Tajikistan and Niger
11 November 2010: The Climate Investment Funds (CIF) Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) will provide US$50 million grants to the Governments of Bangladesh, Tajikistan and Niger to pilot climate resilience strategies and integrate climate risk into their economic plans.
The CIF meetings took place from 6-12 November 2010, in Washington DC, US, and adopted several grants and concessional loans, adding up to US$270 million for country-wide plans for resilience against climate impacts. In Bangladesh, the PPCR funds will be used to leverage larger investments to shore up the coastal embankment to be higher and better constructed to withstand cyclones and storm surges. The programme, to be managed by the World Bank, will also develop a long-term plan for the country's coastal embankment. It will also supplement US$215 million in financing from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a water supply and sanitation project in the coastal area, and includes funding for farmers in the coastal area to plant crops that are resilient to changes in weather.
In Tajikistan, the CIF grants will boost six proposed projects aimed at improving the country's disaster preparedness and ability to respond to climate change. The projects are backed by the World Bank, ADB and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and will tackle gaps in climate data collection and weather forecasting, while bolstering the capability of key sectors to respond to projected climate change. The project is expected to: develop early warning systems; provide protection against climate impacts for existing energy services, including renewables such as hydropower and water management; develop land management practices that promote sustainable agriculture; and build resilience in vulnerable ecosystems such as in the Pyanj River Basin.
In Niger, the US$50 million grant and an additional US$60 million in concessional financing will support projects and programmes to improve climate resilience and food security, with a special focus on gender and the most vulnerable groups. The strategy calls for: mainstreaming climate resilience into development strategies; expanding sustainable land management initiatives and integrating them into planning and budgeting processes; updating the quality of weather and climate information and making it publicly available; and improving monitoring and evaluation methodologies. [World Bank Press Release
] [CIF Meetings Website
ECLAC Seminar Evaluates Vulnerability of Rural Poor to Climate Change Impacts
10 November 2010: A seminar on "Agriculture and Climate Change: Innovation, Policies and Institutions" warned that over 50% of the rural population in Latin America and the Caribbean is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change on agriculture.The seminar, organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Regional Office of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Inter American Institute of Cooperation for Agriculture (IICA), with the support of the Government of France, cautioned that the areas most adversely affected by this phenomenon are tropical and subtropical regions, where most developing countries dependent on agriculture are located.
Experts highlighted that public policies urgently need to include adaptation and mitigation measures to climate change, and that no other sector has the same potential as agriculture to directly help address climate change in Latin America. Food security aspects also were considered, and the role of the agricultural sector was highlighted, not only due to its primary function of producing food, but also because it provides economic and environmental resources in rural areas, where particularly impoverished populations vulnerable to the different crises, survive. [ECLAC Press Release
Ozone Meeting Concludes Without Progress on Low-Global Warming Potential Alternatives
12 November 2010: The 22nd session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP 22) to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which took place in Bangkok, Thailand, from 8-12 November 2010, adopted 16 substantive and several procedural decisions, including on the terms of reference (ToR) for the evaluation of the financial mechanism.
The annex to the decision (UNEP/OzL.Pro.22/CRP.18) contains the ToRs for the evaluation, which specifies, inter alia
, that the evaluator should analyze other environmental and health co-benefits, including climate, as well as adverse effects resulting from Multilateral Fund (MLF) activities to phase out ozone depleting substances (ODS).
During the meeting, participants considered two draft decisions on amendments to the Montreal Protocol to address Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), presented by the US, on behalf of Canada and Mexico (UNEP/OzL.Pro.22/5), and the FSM (UNEP/OzL.Pro.22/6). On behalf of Canada and Mexico, the US also introduced a draft decision on the phase-out of HFC-23 as a by-product of HCFC-22 (UNEP/OzL.Pro.22/3, XXII/[M]).
General support for the proposals was expressed by the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Philippines, Kenya, and Tuvalu, on behalf of Pacific island countries. Switzerland, Japan, Australia, Gabon, Armenia, Indonesia, Cameroon and the EU supported discussions on the proposals in a contact group, and Venezuela objected to the initiation of a contact group. Brazil, with China, called on parties to consider the proposals submitted in informal consultations only, as HFCs are already covered under the UNFCCC.
An informal group was established and met twice during the week to focus on the proposal by Brazil requesting the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) to assess the quantities and types of high-global warming potential (GWP) substances that are likely to be phased in as alternatives to HCFCs, as well as to identify the affected sectors and the extent to which the funding guidelines on Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) would allow for the selection and financing of low-GWP alternatives to HCFCs by Article 5 parties (UNEP/OzL.Pro.22/CRP.13). Aside from a brief US introduction of its amendment proposal, the informal contact group did not initiate specific discussion on this matter, as several parties objected to discussing this, and no decision was adopted by the MOP.
Although MOP 22 was not able to make progress on low-global warming potential alternatives, or ODS destruction, many delegates identified these issues as key to the long-term future of the Protocol. Although the draft decisions to amend the Montreal Protocol to include HFCs were not successful, their proponents remained committed to addressing HFCs through the Montreal Protocol in the future. [IISD RS Coverage
] [Meeting Website
Third Conference on Drylands, Deserts and Desertification Develops Statement to UNCCD CST
11 November 2010: The third conference on Drylands, Deserts and Desertification, which convened from 8-11 November 2010, at the Sede Boqer's Blaustein Institute for Desert Research at Ben Gurion University in Israel, developed a "Statement on the Synergistic Implementation of the Rio Conventions in the Drylands."
The conference was attended by government and non-government officials, senior representatives of the UNESCO, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as well as researchers from 63 countries working in areas related to combating desertification and the development of sustainable livelihoods in the drylands.
Among the central topics discussed in a special session sponsored by UNESCO was the potential for synergistic implementation of the Rio conventions in the drylands. Conference participants called upon the UNCCD Committee on Science and Technology (CST) as well as its Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC) to consider the issue of synergies at their upcoming meetings in Bonn, Germany, in February 2011.
Specific proposals also included: recognizing and addressing both the physical and socio-economic drivers that jointly lead to land degradation, climate change and biodiversity loss in the drylands through improved monitoring, assessing and reporting on the interlinkages among desertification, biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development; creating stronger synergies between national reporting schedules and requirements for the three Rio conventions to improve the efficiency and reduce the reporting burdens, particularly on affected developing countries; integrating UNCCD National Action Plans, National Biodiversity Action Plans and UNFCCC National Adaptation Plans of Action, and to mainstream these plans into National Sustainable Development Plans; creating synergies between the UNCCD impact indicators and the newly adopted CBD Strategic Plan and targets; encouraging bilateral and multilateral donors to fund projects and programmes that jointly implement the Rio conventions; and recognizing the importance of payment for dryland ecosystem services and other appropriate incentives to promote a favorable enabling environment for the national and local implementation of the three Rio conventions in the drylands. [Meeting Website
ECLAC Executive Secretary Highlights Low Carbon Growth Opportunities
11 November 2010: Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), delivered a statement at the Latin America and the Caribbean-EU Forum on Fiscal Policy and an Environmentally Sustainable Economy in the Context of Climate Change, which took place in Berlin, Germany, from 10-11 November 2010.
She stated that green fiscal reform "is a serious challenge but also a new opportunity to combine the establishment of solid fiscal foundations with environmental preservation, as long as this can be adequately combined with greater investment in critical areas (such as infrastructure), which could generate decent jobs with environmental sustainability." The seminar revolved around the question of whether innovation, productive convergence and employment can be compatible with sustainable development ("green" and low-carbon). In this context, Bárcena emphasized that climate change and the economic and social costs associated to it are becoming increasingly important. She expressed concern over the trend toward the international homogenization of tax rates, the growing use of "green taxes" and the carbon footprint of exports.
The Forum was convened by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile and ECLAC. [ECLAC Press Release
Delhi Ministerial Dialogue Discusses Climate Change Technology Mechanism
10 November 2010: Ministers and representatives from 35 countries, regional groupings and UN organizations met in New Delhi, India, on 9-10 November 2010, to discuss the creation and operationalization of a technology mechanism under the UNFCCC.
Stressing that such mechanism could be a key deliverable at the Cancun Climate Change Conference, as part of a comprehensive and balanced package, participants focused discussions on: structure and governance of the technology mechanism; its work programme and priority activities; and financing of activities supported by or under the mechanism.
According to a Chair's Summary, participants proposed that the mechanism could: address adaptation and mitigation; promote international cooperation both for dissemination and deployment of currently available technologies, as well as the development of newly emerging technologies, particularly those that address developing countries' adaptation and mitigation needs; aim to transfer and share technologies; work to facilitate rapid diffusion of technologies in a cost-effective and affordable manner; and catalyze private-sector activities to meet developing countries' technology needs. Some participants argued that the mechanism should focus initially on technologies that are or could be in the public domain.
Participants agreed that: the technology mechanism should consist of a technology executive committee (TEC) and climate technology centres and networks (CTCN), with the TEC providing advice on technology issues to the Conference of the Parties (COP) and the CTCN being the operational arm of the mechanism. Some participants preferred that the TEC advise COP on activities eligible for financing, including on procedures for accelerated processing of proposals and disbursement of funding; while others favored that the TEC function as a think-tank on technology issues for the COP. Participants recommended that the CTCN focus on strengthening appropriate organizations and national capacities across the world to provide a range of country-driven services, such as: support for the identification of technology needs and priorities, and preparation of projects and programmes; facilitation of technology innovation to fulfil needs and priorities identified that are unable to be met by existing technologies; and human and institutional capacity building for technology utilization, support and outreach.
Views diverged as to the role of intellectual property in the negotiations, with some proposing to reach an agreement on technology mechanism in Cancun, and continue the dialogue on resolving the intellectual property issue at Cancun and beyond. Participants emphasized the importance of finance in enabling the technology mechanism to achieve its objectives successfully, with many suggesting that the COP provide guidance to the financial mechanism for the provision of financial support to activities relating to technology development, transfer and its deployment, taking into consideration advice from TEC and proposals developed by CTCN. Some participants argued that the financial mechanism should be responsible for
the processes related to the development and review of proposals, funding, implementation oversight, monitoring and verification relating to eligible technology development and transfer activities. Some also suggested that the financial mechanism draws upon the expertise and skills of the technology mechanism when appropriate. [Chair's Summary
WTO Trade and Environment Committees Discuss Environmental Goods, Ecolabels and Transport
9 November 2010: Three recent meetings on trade and environment held at World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters have continued existing discussions on: the relationship between multilateral agreements and the WTO; the definition of environmental goods and ecolabels; and the challenges of controlling transport emissions from a trade perspective.
The following environment-related meetings took place at WTO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland: on 8 November 2010, the Committee on Trade and Environment in Special Session (CTESS) held an open-ended informal meeting on all three elements under Paragraph 31 of the Doha Development Agenda; the WTO Secretariat organized a Workshop on the Linkages between Trade, Transport and the Environment during the morning of 9 November 2010; and the Committee on Trade and Environment in Regular Session (CTE Regular) met in the afternoon of 9 November 2010.
At the CTESS meeting, delegates continued to discuss the relationship between the WTO and multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). Both Norway and South Africa drew attention to previously submitted proposals while Switzerland introduced a new submission. Switzerland's paper, the first to be received by the Committee on the topic in over two years, focuses largely on conflict avoidance. Particular concerns were raised regarding the Swiss proposal's implications for the WTO's dispute settlement procedures. Regarding negotiations on environmental goods, delegates stressed the need to address cross-cutting issues such as non-tariff barriers (NTBs), special and differential treatment, and technology transfer. While some were in favor of moving forward into more technical discussions on the basis of identified environmental goods, others were of the view that the Committee should move beyond market access and address other cross-cutting issues. Despite the lack of agreement on how negotiations should proceed, most members agreed on the need to accelerate negotiations on environmental goods.
The WTO Secretariat Workshop on the Linkages between Trade, Transport and the Environment interrogated the complex and multifaceted relationships between these three topics, particularly in the context of air emissions. Expert presentations explored the overarching linkages between trade, transport and environment, as well as offered perspectives from the maritime and aviation transportation industries. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) highlighted that mitigating the environmental impact of transportation requires careful policy instrument mixes, while the World Bank emphasized the importance of transport costs in overall trade costs, and suggested that both technology standards and carbon prices would be needed to drive effective change in the transport sector. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) described measures in place that regulate emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides from vessels, and highlighted the efforts of the maritime transport industry to develop technical and market based measures to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Finally, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) presented its roadmap for GHG emissions reductions, including the introduction of biofuels into the aviation fuel mix, and improvement of air traffic control infrastructure, without precluding the use of sector-specific market based approaches for climate change mitigation.
At the CTE Regular meeting, discussions focused on technology dissemination and eco-labels. Saudi Arabia made a presentation on the importance of enhancing dissemination of key environmental technologies. It was claimed that eliminating trade barriers, particularly non tariff barriers, would lower costs, increase the availability of technology through commercialization and in turn drive innovation. Members also exchanged national experiences on eco-labels. For example, Singapore introduced four public and two private eco-labelling schemes that it currently has in place, and Chinese Taipei introduced its voluntary public Green Mark Programme used to stimulate green purchases. Finally, members heard from the WTO Secretariat, the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) on work being taken on trade and environment technical assistance, green economy and the role of intellectual property in the transfer of clean energy. [IISDRS Sources]
Forest Carbon Partnership Facility Receives New Pledges
2 November 2010: The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, managed by the World Bank, recently held its Participants Assembly meeting, during which donor countries committed over US$100 million in new pledges.
The meeting, which took place in Washington DC, US, on 1 November 2010, gathered donors and stakeholders who announced new pledges to the two funds that make up the Partnership - the Readiness Fund and the Carbon Fund. Germany announced an additional €4 million to its previous commitment of €50 million; Norway pledged US$50 million to the Carbon Fund over several years; and Finland pledged €4 million, both on the condition that it is approved by the parliaments of their respective countries. These commitments come in addition to the Participation Agreement just completed with the US for US$10 million for the Carbon Fund and a recent pledge by Canada of CAN$40 million for the Readiness Fund.
The Participants Assembly is meeting to review the past year's activities and to discuss strategic directions for the year ahead, including participation in knowledge sharing on key REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) issues and fostering cooperation amongst REDD+ initiatives. The Participants Assembly is followed by two days of meetings by the Participants Committee, which meets three times a year to discuss and assess REDD+ Readiness proposals submitted by the participating REDD countries. This year, Lao PDR and Tanzania are presenting their formal Readiness Preparation Proposals (R-PPs); Viet Nam and Ethiopia are making informal country presentations; and Madagascar and Peru are presenting progress reports on their R-PP development. [World Bank Press Release
FCPF, FIP and UN-REDD to Streamline REDD+ Action
6 November 2010: The governing bodies of the UN-REDD Programme and the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and Forest Investment Program (FIP) met in Washington DC, US, on 6 November, to discuss collaborative approaches for the three initiatives in implementing REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks).
During this first joint meeting, representatives of the three initiatives, as well as observers from civil society, indigenous peoples, the private sector and other global partners, came together to advance a common approach for REDD+ assistance centered on individual country-led strategies and a phased approach to REDD+. Alexander Muller, Assistant Director General, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), stressed the need to adopt a coordinated approach "to meet the big challenges of our time: poverty, food security, the degradation of ecosystems and dangerous climate change." In the open dialogue, participants presented experiences, reflected on progress, challenges and opportunities in REDD+ implementation, and considered ways to maximize REDD+ activities at the country level. [UN-REDD Press Release
UN-REDD Policy Board Approves Funding for Five New Countries
5 November 2010: The fifth UN-REDD Policy Board meeting, which took place in Washington DC, US, from 4-5 November 2010, approved US$15.2 million for five new countries, and confirmed or pledged funds of US$7.4 million.
Cambodia, Papua New Guinea and Paraguay received approvals for US$3 million, $6.4 million and $4.7 million, respectively, after having presented the Board with full national REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) readiness programmes. Solomon Islands and the Philippines were allocated approximately US$500,000 each for their initial national programmes.
Also during the meeting, Denmark pledged an additional US$6 million to the Programme, and Spain confirmed its US$1.4 million pledge. The Board also endorsed UN-REDD's five-year Strategy, outlining main work areas for the Programme, and heard progress reports from pilot countries currently implementing REDD+ activities with the UN-REDD's support. [UN-REDD Press Release
AWG-LCA Chair Addresses Pre-COP 16 Ministerial Meeting
5 November 2010: A Pre-COP Ministerial meeting took place in Mexico City, Mexico, from 4-5 November 2010.In her statement to the meeting, Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe, Chair of the Ad Hoc
Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA), indicated that her consultations with parties during the session in Tianjin, China, revealed a shared desire for a balanced outcome and agreement that the Cancun outcome should not prejudge prospects for a legally-binding outcome in the future. She expressed her opinion that the appropriate way to present the LCA outcome to the Conference of the Parties (COP) would be through one draft decision that encompasses the full scope of the AWG-LCA outcome.
Mukahanana-Sangarwe also outlined the state of play on the issues to be reflected in the Cancun outcome, noting that: agreement can quickly be reached on adaptation, REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks), agriculture and technology; the use of market-based mechanisms, other approaches to enhance the cost-effectiveness of mitigation actions, or the issue of capacity building, will need further work; and a long-term global goal for emission reductions could be confirmed.
She underscored the need for progress on the difficult issues at the core of a package in Cancun, namely: mitigation, including measurement, reporting and verification (MRV); and finance, including governance and long-term financing. She stated that, in order for Cancun to deliver an outcome, the apparent deadlock over mitigation commitments by developed country parties under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol need to be addressed.
In concluding, she stressed that "there is now too much to lose to allow disagreements to overshadow the fundamental underlying agreement on most of the important issues," and called for international action on climate change to be accelerated. [AWG-LCA Chair Speaking Notes
Plans for an International Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change Underway
8 November 2010: The Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) programme and the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development have announced plans for a new International Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change.
The announcement was made on 5 November 2010, at a side event held during the Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in The Hague, The Netherlands. The Commission plans to start its work in early 2011 and will identify policy changes and actions for sustainable agriculture in the face of climate change. In particular, the Commission will focus on compiling evidence on sustainable agriculture that meets the triple goals of contributing to food security, poverty reduction and climate change adaptation and mitigation goals. At the side event, participants discussed issues including: the global geographic scope of the Commission; the need to link its work with international, regional and national policy processes; the need to complete its work within a year; the economics of climate change in agriculture; and institutional barriers to the uptake of science. CCAFS is a programme of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). [CCAFS Press Release
Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change Conference Produces Roadmap for Action
7 November 2010: The Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change took place from 31 October-5 November 2010 at the World Forum in The Hague, the Netherlands, around the theme "It's Down 2 Earth."
The Conference and its Ministerial Roundtable-sessions initiated a roadmap for action linking agriculture-related investments, food security and climate change. The "living roadmap" contains sections on: policies and strategies for climate-smart agriculture; tools and technologies for climate-smart agriculture; financing for transformational change; forging partnerships for climate-smart agriculture; and the way forward.
Participants convened in plenary and working group sessions throughout the week. The working groups focused on exploring issues, challenges and opportunities and stocktaking of innovations from case studies around the world. The Conference included an investment fair, which had focused discussions on: opportunities and challenges for project investments in Africa; managing carbon emissions through supply chains; creative incentives to reduce the destruction of natural forests from major agricultural commodities; whether large-scale commodity production can be turned from a leading cause of deforestation to a driver of sustainability; and public private partnerships.
The Conference was a follow-up to the Shared Vision Statement agreed at the 17th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD 17) in May 2009, and aimed to further develop the agriculture, food security and climate change agenda. It was organized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation of the Netherlands, in cooperation with Ethiopia, Viet Nam, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, the World Bank, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). A follow-up conference will be hosted by Viet Nam in 2012. [IISD-RS Coverage
] [Conference Website
] [Roadmap for Action
ALBA Nations Adopt Declaration Opposing Commodification of Nature
5 November 2010: The Ministerial Committee for the Defense of Nature of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas – Treaty of Commerce of the People (ALBA-TCP) adopted a declaration opposing the concept of "green economy," in which nature is seen as "capital" for producing tradable goods and services.
Meeting from 3-5 November 2010, in La Paz, Bolivia, ALBA-TCP members (Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela) declared: that nature has infinite value but not a price, and is not for sale; their absolute rejection of the privatization, monetization and mercantilization of nature; their condemnation of unsustainable models of economic growth; that ecosystem goods and services should be conserved as public goods, respecting the sovereignty of States; that only "the conscious intervention of state and society" will allow for the recuperation of Mother Earth; their hope that agreements to be reached at the Cancun Climate Change Conference will be in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, with no promotion of carbon market mechanisms; and their commitment to addressing the realization of a referendum on climate change and the promotion of the participation of the peoples of the world. [The Declaration
Delhi International Renewable Energy Conference Adopts Declaration
29 October 2010: The Delhi International Renewable Energy Conference (DIREC 2010) took place from 27-29 October 2010, in New Delhi, India, bringing together over 13,000 participants representing governments, international organizations, civil society and the private sector to discuss renewables and energy security, climate change and economic development.
The main Conference themes were explored in plenary sessions as well as in ministerial, multistakeholder and CEO discussions, which followed four tracks: technology and infrastructure; policy; finance; and renewables access and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Hosted by the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, DIREC 2010 also featured parallel workshops on various issues including: solar power, solar water heating systems; wind energy; sustainable habitats; biomethanation; rural empowerment; smart grid technology; biofuels; and clean lighting options. In addition, a renewable energy trade expo showcased the latest technology.
The opening session of DIREC 2010 included four focal areas of discussion on: up-scaling renewables for energy security, climate change and economic development; the road to Cancun (in reference to the upcoming 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the UNFCCC); the green economy and the role of renewables; and Vision 2020 on the role of renewables for energy security, climate change and economic development.
DIREC 2010 concluded with: a panel summarizing key lessons learned from sessions under the four tracks; a high-level segment; and presentation of the Conference's key outcomes, including the DIREC Declaration and 30 new pledges by governments, civil society and the private sector under the Delhi International Action Programme to take concrete actions to up-scale renewable energy.
The DIREC Declaration calls for actions to up-scale and mainstream renewables for energy security, climate change and economic development. Among other elements, it: acknowledges the multiple benefits of renewable energy; commends the goal enunciated by the UN Secretary-General's Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change of universal access to modern energy services by 2030; calls on the UN to designate 2012 as the International Year of Energy Access; reaffirms the importance of investment in, and international cooperation on, research, development and deployment for cost-effective and advanced technologies; recognizes that consistent and sustained government policies have a favorable impact on technology deployment and will increase the uptake of renewable energy; notes that public funds are instrumental in leveraging and incentivizing large-scale private investment in developing countries; and welcomes the Delhi International Action Programme that encourages governments, international organizations, private companies, civil society and others to take voluntary action for up-scaling renewable energy within their jurisdictions or spheres of responsibility. [IISD RS Coverage
] [Conference Website
UN-REDD and Japan Support REDD+ in Asia-Pacific
25 October 2010: The Japan-UN Development Programme (UNDP) Partnership Fund approved a project titled "Promoting Regional REDD+ Approach and REDD+ Readiness in Under-Supported Regions of Asia/Pacific."
The project, which is being applied by the UN-REDD Programme's Asia-Pacific team, aims to harmonize REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) readiness across the region through a regional platform for coordination and collaboration among development partners. It will also provide special assistance at the national level to under-supported countries (Mongolia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga) to reach REDD+ readiness.
This project is the first Tier 2 project of UN-REDD, where activities are funded through sources other than the UN-REDD Multi-Donor Trust Fund. The project will last 17 months. [UN-REDD Press Release
Land Day 3 Considers the Nexus Between Biodiversity and Desertification
23 October 2010: The Secretariats of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) organized Land Day 3 on 23 October 2010, in parallel to the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the CBD, in Nagoya, Japan.
Land Day 3 was part of the Rio Conventions Ecosystem and Climate Change Pavilion, and was co-sponsored by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ - Germany) and the Arid Land Research Center of Tottori University (ALRC). It addressed the theme "The Nexus Between Biodiversity and Desertification." Panel sessions considered: how the synergetic implementation of the CBD and UNCCD fosters action at the country level; how decision makers can ensure an equal sharing of environmental benefits through sustainable use of biodiversity and land; and how scientists can contribute to biodiversity conservation in the drylands of Eastern and Central Asia.
Ambassador Tommy Koh (Singapore), who served as the Chair of the Preparatory Committee of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, also known as the 1992 Rio Earth Summit), delivered the keynote address. Noting that the CBD, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the UNCCD were products of the Earth Summit, Ambassador Koh reflected on how agreement was reached to negotiate the UNCCD, why the global community should care about desertification and why synergies among the three Rio Conventions is important.
Among the issues raised during discussions were: proposals for approaches at the country-level financing that could enhance synergy; the need to bring back small holders who had fallen off the national level agenda on synergy; organic farming as an strategy to foster synergy; the policy failure to promote synergy; how development cooperation could support the development of local business; and an over-expectation that the ABS protocol could capture all the concerns surrounding biodiversity loss.
In his closing remarks, UNCCD Executive Secretary Gnacadja stressed the need to mainstream what others consider to be externalities. He announced that Land Day 4 would take place in Bonn, Germany, in June 2011, and closed Land Day 3 with a quote from The Forgotten Billion,
a new study by UNCCD and the UN Development Programme that claims: “for too long, the drylands have been overlooked by political and business leaders the world over. Now is the time to reverse this history of neglect. Spotlighting drylands offers great untapped potential, certainly in terms of MDG achievement but also because many of our planet's drylands represent some of the last great frontiers for economic development.” [UNCCD Land Day 3 webpage
] [Rio Conventions Ecosystem and Climate Change Pavilion
Oceans Day Adopts Nagoya Oceans Statement
23 October 2010: "Oceans Day" at Nagoya took place on the sidelines of the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), in Nagoya, Japan, to emphasize the importance of marine and coastal biodiversity as a common concern of humankind and its essential role for preserving life on Earth.
The Day brought together over 150 participants from 35 countries representing all sectors of the global oceans community. Building on the discussions on marine and coastal biodiversity held at the Global Oceans Conference 2010, held in Paris, France, from 3-7 May 2010, Oceans Day at Nagoya addressed the major threats to the world's marine and coastal biodiversity, which are exacerbated by climate change.
Participants addressed the status and trends in biodiversity loss and progress made in achieving biodiversity targets, examined various tools and approaches to conserving and sustainably utilizing marine and coastal biodiversity, and discussed potential next steps in advancing the global oceans agenda. Oceans Day featured presentations from panelists organized into thematic panels focused on major issues in marine and coastal biodiversity.
The co-chairs of the Nagoya Oceans Day drafted the Nagoya Oceans Statement, which calls for the high-level government representatives gathered at the CBD COP 10 to: rekindle the political will and commitment of resources to halt marine biodiversity loss; restore degraded marine habitats; and establish global representative and resilient networks of marine and coastal protected areas in the next decade, 2011-2020. The Statement further stresses the need for a new process of setting new marine and coastal biodiversity targets at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development 2012 (UNCSD, or Rio+20) and at the CBD COP 11 in 2012 in order to move the marine biodiversity agenda forward.
Oceans Day at Nagoya was organized by the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, in association with the Secretariat of the CBD, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and the Ocean Policy Research Foundation (OPRF), Japan, with funding support from various governments and intergovernmental and UN organizations. [Nagoya Oceans Statement
] [Nagoya Oceans Day Programme
UNEP and Partners Co-Organize Conference on Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform
14 October 2010: The Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) co-organized a conference titled "Increasing the Momentum of Fossil-Fuel Subsidy Reform: Developments and Opportunities," which took place from 14-15 October 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland.
Opening the conference, Harsha V. Singh, World Trade Organization's (WTO) Deputy Director-General, highlighted that fossil fuel subsidy reform could accelerate the shift towards renewable, and less polluting, sources of energy. He said fossil fuel subsidy reform represents a powerful tool to mitigate climate change, noting that international climate negotiations could be aided by parallel developments in fossil fuel subsidy reform. In this regard, he highlighted the evaluation of this topic currently by the G20. He also emphasized the need for countries to reflect on the link between trade and climate change, and on the eventual role of WTO rules on an issue such as fossil-fuel subsidies. [Conference Website
] [WTO Statement
African Development Forum Focuses on Climate Change and Development
15 October 2010: The Seventh African Development Forum was held from 12-15 October 2010 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme, "Acting on Climate Change for Sustainable Development in Africa."
The main objective of the Forum, which brought together over 700 participants, was to raise awareness of climate change and also promote effective mainstreaming of climate change concerns into development policies, strategies, programmes and practices in Africa. The Forum was convened by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The Forum was preceded by several events, including a climate change training workshop for African journalists with the theme "Getting it Right: Reporting Climate Change for Sustainable Development in Africa." The Forum included a High Level Leadership Dialogue that identified key governance and leadership challenges that need to be addressed as part of the global response to the impacts of climate change. Plenary sessions were also held on: climate change impacts; climate change mitigation and adaptation; Africa and the international climate change negotiations; and private sector response to climate change. Other issues, such as food security, economic and human development, security and ecosystem sustainability, were also addressed.
During the Forum, Africa's vulnerability and determination to act were highlighted. Speaking at the conclusion of the Forum, Abdoulie Janneh, UNECA Executive Secretary, urged support for the region's adaptation efforts. He underlined that, "we are not contributing much to this phenomenon of climate change and therefore what we are saying is that those countries that have created this should really come up with the resources necessary."
Also addressing the Forum, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Coordinator of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change, expressed his suspicion that the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16) in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of 2010, and COP 17, scheduled to take place in South Africa in 2012, "will be a total flop." He cited disagreements between developed and developing countries, and a leadership crisis on environmental issues at the international level. He called on Africa's leadership "to prove its worth" and reach a satisfactory agreement for the continent in the current negotiations.
One of the outcomes of the Forum was the establishment of a partnership on Africa's options for a Green Economy, backed by the AU, the AfDB, the UNECA and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). One of the first activities of the partnership will be the organization of an Africa-wide conference on a low-carbon, resource-efficient Green Economy, to take place in 2011, in response to the call by the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN). The conference will showcase how smart policies and creative investments across sectors, ranging from agriculture and transport to fisheries and forests, can drive green and sustainable growth, job creation and enhanced livelihood in Africa. [UNECA Press Release on the Opening Plenary
] [UNECA Press Release on the High-level Dialogue
] [UNEP Press Release
] [UN Press Release
] [Forum Website
] [ADF Today 14 October 2010
] [Climate Change Policy & Practice Story on the Training W...
IMO Meeting Adopts Assessment Framework for Ocean Fertilization
20 October 2010: Parties to the treaties regulating the dumping of wastes at sea met from 11-15 October 2010, at the headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), in London, UK, and adopted an Assessment Framework for Ocean Fertilization.
The 32nd Consultative Meeting of Contracting Parties to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972 (London Convention) and fifth Meeting of Contracting Parties to the 1996 Protocol thereto (London Protocol) adopted the Assessment Framework for Scientific Research Involving Ocean Fertilization as resolution LC-LP.2(2010). The Framework, which is designed to assess whether proposals for ocean fertilization constitute legitimate scientific research, was developed by the Scientific Groups under the London Convention and Protocol. The resolution follows previous discussions by parties to the London Convention and Protocol on planned operations for large-scale fertilization of the oceans using micro-nutrients to sequester carbon dioxide. The Assessment Framework provides criteria for an initial assessment of a proposal and detailed steps for completion of an environmental assessment, including risk management and monitoring, and does not contain a threshold below which experiments would be exempt from its assessment provisions. [Website for the London Convention and Protocol
] [IMO Press Release
Latin American Carbon Forum Highlights Region's Potential
2 November 2010: Participants to the Fifth Latin American Carbon Forum, which took place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from 13-15 October 2010, expressed concern over barriers to carbon mitigation projects and the lack of progress in the climate change negotiations.
The Carbon Forum was supported by the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), the World Bank Institute (WBI), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Risoe Centre.
During the event, participants highlighted the high level of dynamism in the region with regard to the development and financing of activities to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. They emphasized the importance of the European carbon market or EU Emissions Trade Scheme (EU-ETS), noting it currently represents about 95% of the demand for credits from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Concerned that Phase 3 of the EU-ETS (2013-2020) will be decisive for guaranteeing the continuity of the carbon market, participants stressed the importance of guaranteeing market access during Phase 3. They also noted the need to remove a number of barriers to secure an adequate level of promotion of carbon mitigation projects. They also called for: specialized finance facilities; a greater level of understanding of carbon project management; and enhanced capacities for monitoring and verifying emission reductions.
To achieve a higher number of projects with a larger impact on sustainable development, the following measures were identified as key: strengthening financial institutions; establishing mechanisms to group small projects within larger strategic programmes that reduce transaction costs and guarantee long-term emission reductions; and promoting and increasing capacity for projects in key sectors such as energy, transport, tourism, waste management, agriculture and forests.
To establish the necessary framework and greater clarity for market perspectives in the post-2012 period, both within the UNFCCC and outside, the Forum also underlined the importance of concrete progress at the Cancun Climate Change Conference at the end of the year. [IDB Press Release
] [Forum Website
UNECE, FAO to Explore the Role of Forests in the Green Economy, Call for Comments on Action Plan
16 November 2010: The chair of the Timber Committee of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Linda Langner, and the chair of the European Forestry Commission under the aegis of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Peter Blomback, reported that at a meeting on 15 October 2010, the joint Bureaux of the two bodies decided that the theme of their joint session scheduled for October 2011 will be “Forests in a Green Economy.”
The special session will include discussions on concrete examples and suggested actions in several areas, including: sustainable forest management for a green, sustainable, climate-friendly economy; the forest industry's role in green building; wood energy's contribution to a sustainable energy future; sustainable production and consumption; valuation of forest ecosystem services ("value creation through conservation and sustainable management"); green jobs in forestry; and policy and institutional frameworks conducive to achieving a green economy.
The Bureaux also agreed to develop an action plan, directed at policymakers, on improving and promoting the forest sector's contribution to a green economy. The action plan is expected to address forest-based products, wood energy, sustainable forest management, valuation of ecosystem services, green building, and institutional and policy incentives, providing a concrete contribution to the UNCSD (also called Rio+20) in 2012. As part of the formulation of the action plan, the Bureaux also launched a consultation open to States, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, the private sector and academic institutions.
The consultation, open until 15 January 2011, is soliciting views on the possible main topics of the action plan; the objectives for increasing the role of the forest sector under each topic; and for each objective, the actions that are already taken and/or should be required to increase the role of the forest sector in achieving a green economy. A draft of the action plan will be developed in the first quarter of 2011 and reviewed during an informal consultation meeting open to all stakeholders on 18-19 April 2011 in Geneva, Switzerland. [UNECE/FAO Action plan and Call for comments
ADB, World Bank Workshop Focuses on Resilience to Climate Change in the Pacific
14 October 2010: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank organized a workshop on "Responding to Climate Change in the Pacific: Moving from Strategy to Action," in Nadi, Fiji, on 13-14 October 2010.
The event brought together 14 representatives of the ADB and senior representatives from international and regional agencies, development partners and NGOs. Workshop participants underscored the need to strengthen the climate policy of the Pacific region and improve the coping abilities, in terms of the natural resilience, of peoples and communities, as well as of their social and economic organizations and governance. They also addressed the importance for national governments to lead the response to climate change and their need to receive support and constructive engagement by development partners.
Noting the numerous efforts of development partners, including multilateral banks and the UN system, in supporting countries' resilience to climate change, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, underlined the need to "bring these efforts together because the key to addressing all of these issues is through collaboration." Stressing the vast size and diversity of the region, as well as the magnitude of the climate change challenge, he called for "a common understanding of the challenges before us all and of the prospects and opportunities that are there for our collective and coordinated action." [Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Press Release
EU Environment Ministers Adopt Negotiating Position for Cancun
14 October 2010: At their meeting on 14 October 2010, in Brussels, Belgium, the Council of the EU Environment Ministers agreed on a negotiating strategy for the Cancun Climate Change Conference to be held in late 2010.
In the Council's conclusions, the Ministers stress the need for a stepwise approach, building on the Kyoto Protocol and the outcomes of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, and paving the way for a global and comprehensive legally binding framework, integrating the political guidance given in the Copenhagen Accord. Ministers note the limited progress made at the Bonn and Tianjin sessions towards identifying elements of a balanced package in Cancun, and emphasize that a very significant increase in the pace of the negotiations will be needed in order to reach a successful and balanced outcome in Cancun.
Ministers indicate that decisions to be adopted in Cancun should cover: adaptation; mitigation; technology; capacity building; REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks); agriculture; monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV); finance and market-based mechanisms. They stress the need to anchor all countries' pledges in Cancun, whether made pursuant to the Copenhagen Accord or otherwise, in the context of the UNFCCC, with a view to facilitating the clarification of those pledges, mobilizing support for their implementation and supporting discussions on options to strengthen the collective level of ambition with a view to meeting the 2°C objective. Ministers also express support for a decision in Cancun to establish a registry to start capturing and facilitate matching of actions and support.
Ministers commit to make rapid progress towards developing sound guidelines, rules and modalities for REDD+ actions, in order to operationalize the REDD+ mechanism through a decision in Cancun, thereby ensuring its environmental integrity. They indicate that a decision on REDD+ in Cancun should address: securing safeguards, in particular with regard to biodiversity, consistent with the EU's objectives at the Nagoya Biodiversity Conference; recognizing the rights and knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities; and improving forest governance structures, supported by appropriate MRV requirements.
In addition, Ministers note that the Cancun Climate Change Conference should urge the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to develop without delay a global policy framework in a manner that ensures a level playing field and that does not lead to competitive distortions or carbon leakage, in accordance with the principles and customary practices of ICAO and IMO, taking into account the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC in the use of potential revenues.
Ministers also underline that the Cancun Climate Change Conference should provide a basis for the introduction of new sectoral or other scaled-up market mechanisms, including through pilot schemes, and the recognition of units resulting from such mechanisms, while preserving environmental integrity. They also: commit to work with all UNFCCC parties to develop guidelines for a coherent and balanced system for MRV, including international consultation and analysis; underline the need to promptly operationalize a Climate Technology Centre and Network; and emphasize their willingness to strengthen bilateral and regional alliances with a view to building bridges between parties that reinvigorate and feed into the UNFCCC, stressing the importance of the partnerships that the EU and its Member States have initiated with other UNFCCC parties on REDD+, MRV and mitigation, transparency of fast-start financing, adaptation and access to renewable energy, in preparing the ground for Cancun. [Council Conclusions
UN Secretary-General Vows Support to Guatemala
12 October 2010: The International Cooperation Conference for the Reconstruction with Transformation of Guatemala took place from 11-12 October 2010, in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
In a message delivered by Alicia Bárcena, Executive Director, UN Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon promised UN support to Guatemalans who suffered the effects of volcanic eruptions and torrential rains during 2010. He emphasized that the effects of changing weather patterns and the extreme weather events associated with climate change should underscore the need for concrete action at the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC, which will take place at the end of the year in Cancun, Mexico. Disasters in Guatemala have been estimated to affect approximately 560 thousand people, causing economic losses amounting to 4.1% of the country's GDP. [Ban's Message]
APEC Oceans Ministers Discuss Fisheries Management
12 October 2010: Oceans-related Ministers of the members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) discussed "Healthy Oceans and Fisheries Management towards Food Security" on 11-12 October 2010, in Paracas, Peru. The meeting focused on four themes: sustainable development and protection of the marine environment; climate change impacts on the oceans; free and open trade and investment; and the role of oceans in food security.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Ministers adopted the Paracas Declaration, in which they call for: seeking ways to promote cooperation among APEC economies to contribute towards regional assessments in the APEC region and understanding of the marine ecosystem; ensuring sustainable management of the marine environment by encouraging capacity building and information sharing; encouraging APEC economies to reduce both sea and land-based sources of marine pollution and marine debris; gathering and sharing scientific knowledge on climate change and its impacts on coastal and marine ecosystems, fisheries and aquaculture; strengthening disciplines on subsidies in the fisheries sector, taking into account the importance of the fisheries sector for poverty reduction, job creation and food security; and promoting the sustainable management of fisheries and aquaculture resources both domestically and internationally.
APEC oceans-related Ministers are to convey the outcomes of the Paracas meeting to the first APEC Ministerial Meeting on Food Security, which will be held from 16-17 October 2010, in Niigata, Japan, and to the APEC Leaders' meeting scheduled in November 2010, in Yokohama, Japan. [APEC Press Release
] [Paracas Declaration
UNFPA Event Focuses on Social Dimensions of Climate Change in Africa
15 October 2010: The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Coordination Mechanism Cluster on Social and Human Development hosted a two-day meeting to examine the human and social dimensions of climate change in the life of African people.
The meeting, titled "Climate Change through the Lens of Vulnerability and Human Rights," took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 11-12 October 2010, and preceded the Seventh Africa Development Forum, held at the same venue from 10-15 October. Participants examined how the impoverished, socially excluded and vulnerable groups can engage in, and benefit from, adaptation processes. Fungayi Jessie Majome, Zimbabwe's Deputy Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, indicated that social protection can improve adaptive capacities of the poorest and most vulnerable to climate change. UNFPA representatives stressed that the additional burden of diseases and deaths caused by climate change further strain already weak and under-funded health systems, noting the need to continue strengthening health systems' functioning and preparedness in order to cope with the additional challenges imposed by climate change. [UNFPA Press Release
] [Seventh African Development Forum
] [Climate Change and Health Care Systems in Africa
] [UNECA Press Release
] [Climate Change Policy & Practice Story on the Seventh Af...
Fifth BASIC Meeting Focuses on Preparations for Cancun
11 October 2010: The fifth ministerial meeting on climate change of Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) was held in Tianjin, China, from 10-11 October 2010, and focused on issues related to the Cancun Climate Change Conference.
In line with the “BASIC-plus” approach, representatives of Yemen (Chair of the G77), Argentina (incoming Chair of G77), Ethiopia (representing Africa), Grenada (Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)) and Egypt (Chair of the Arab Group) attended the meeting as observers. In the joint statement issued at the conclusion of the meeting, ministers emphasized that the outcome of the Cancun Conference should be based on a balance between and within the two negotiating tracks under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, and supported reflecting the elements of the Copenhagen Accord in the negotiating texts for the two tracks. They further stressed that the outcome in Cancun should pave the way for a legally-binding outcome in South Africa in 2011, and should not deviate from the mandate of the Bali Roadmap.
The Ministers also: urged developed countries to commit to more ambitious emission reduction targets under the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol; called for developed countries that did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol to undertake comparable emission reduction targets under the Convention; and noted the significant distinction between the emission reduction commitments by developed countries and nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) by developing countries both in terms of their nature and content.
Ministers underscored that fast-start finance in the immediate future and up to 2012 will be the key to enhance confidence in the multilateral process and enable success in Cancun, underlining that US$30 billion should be made available as soon as possible in a transparent manner. They expressed full support for the establishment of a new fund under the UNFCCC, with public funding being provided by developed countries as its primary source. They further reiterated the need to: deal with adaptation as a matter of urgency in Cancun; ensure that intellectual property rights do not become a barrier to technology transfer; and establish an effective mechanism for technology development and transfer.
Ministers noted that the diversity of views on more ambitious aspirational objectives than keeping the global temperature increase below 2ºC links directly to reaching a political understanding of equity. In this respect, ministers reaffirmed that equitable access to sustainable development will be the foundation of any climate change agreement and the prerequisite for setting up any global emission reduction target, taking into account: developed countries' historical responsibility; developing countries' need for space and time to achieve sustainable development; and the need for developed countries to provide adequate finance, technology and capacity building support to developing countries.
In addition, ministers opposed unilateral actions against developing countries' products and services on climate change-related grounds, considering them incompatible with the UNFCCC and noting that they will seriously jeopardize international collaboration on climate change and international trade. Finally, ministers welcomed India's offer to host the sixth BASIC ministerial meeting on climate change in February 2011. [Joint Statement
UNCTAD Convenes Meeting of Experts on the Green Economy
8 October 2010: The UN Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) convened an ad hoc
expert meeting to discuss "The Green Economy: Trade and Sustainable Development Implications" from 7-8 October 2010, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
The two-day meeting was framed as an input to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) scheduled to take place in 2012. Opening the meeting, Supachai Panitchpakdi, UNCTAD Secretary-General, underscored the urgency of addressing climate change with a well-designed sharing of the burden. He highlighted that the UN High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, of which he is a member, is discussing a goal of US$100 billion per year to aid developing countries to adapt to and mitigate climate change by 2020. Sha Zukang, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, who is serving as Conference Secretary-General for Rio+20, noted expectations for a green economy to hold the key to faster implementation of sustainable development.
During the meeting, speakers: shared experiences with the history leading up to Rio 1992; presented on framework and progress on UNEP's green economy initiative; reviewed the trade implications of a green economy; and addressed the urgency and challenges of transitioning to a green economy in the context of the impending environmental crisis, using climate change as a case study.
The meeting concluded with some ideas about next steps, including: a continued process of clarifying the concept of a green economy and its trade and sustainable implications; analysis of trends and innovative practices currently underway in the real economy and that point towards the transition to a green economy; and identification of concrete areas where the international community can help foster a smooth transition towards a green economy that respects sustainable development principles and works toward poverty eradication. [UNCTAD Press Release
] [Meeting Website
] [UNCSD Press Release
] [Presentation by Tariq Banuri, DSD Director
COFO 2010 Calls for 360 Degree Perspective on Forests
8 October 2010: The 20th session of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Committee on Forestry (COFO 2010), which convened from 4-8 October 2010, at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, was dominated by calls for an inter-sectoral approach to address problems facing forests.
COFO participants also urged a “360 degree” perspective that takes into consideration the multiple functions and services that forests provide. In plenary sessions held throughout the week, participants discussed, inter alia
: forest biodiversity, fire and water in the context of climate change; the Global Forest Resources Assessment; emerging opportunities and challenges in forest finance and forest governance; and preparations for the International Year of Forests (IYF) 2011. In the discussions on planned activities for the IYF, Jan McAlpine, Director, UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), said “Forests 2011” should be a celebration of the positive things related to forests and their role for people, highlighting biodiversity, climate and health. She explained that the UNFF, as the focal point for the UN system during IYF, will be working closely with the Secretariats of the Rio Conventions, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), and major groups, as well as artists and filmmakers.
COFO 2010 adopted a final report, which includes requests to FAO to: assist countries in valuing the potential contribution of forests in climate change adaptation and mitigation; strengthen its capacity to share information related to biodiversity conservation in the context of climate change; and continue efforts to develop a report on the state of the world's forest genetic resources. On forests and water in the context of climate change, the Committee recommended that countries intensify work in this area and pay increased attention to socioeconomic issues related to forests and water and financing mechanisms, such as payments for ecosystem services, and recommended that FAO continue to review critical related issues and facilitate information exchange.
In parallel to the meeting and throughout the week, many special events were held as part of the second “World Forest Week.” These events included panel discussions on, inter alia
: phytosanitary standards; new developments in forest finance; linking policy dialogue and implementation; forest governance; reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing couuntries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+); and Growing Forest Partnerships. [IISD RS Coverage of COFO 2010
] [COFO 2010 Website
UN-REDD Workshop Highlights Community Consent in REDD
7 October 2010: The UN-REDD Programme held a consultation workshop with representatives of civil society organizations and indigenous peoples from Latin American and the Caribbean to facilitate the development of guidance on free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) and recourse mechanisms for national UN-REDD activities.
During the meeting, which was held in Panama City, Panama, from 4-7 October 2010, participants heard presentations on,inter alia
: the legal foundation of FPIC and recourse; FPIC and recourse in the context of the UN-REDD Programme's specific obligations to international law; and a FPIC consultation workshop held in Viet Nam in June 2010. Participants focused on: assessing the obstacles to accessing effective and timely recourse mechanisms; ensuring information on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+) reaches communities; defining true representation and consent; using local languages; and creating uniform global guidelines for different and distinct regions. Participants agreed that, in addition to the broad guidelines agreed upon at the meeting, each community has its own process for reaching consent that will need to be determined and applied.
The workshop was one of a series of workshops to develop definitive FPIC and Recourse guidelines for UN-REDD programmes. A third regional consultation will be held in Africa in November 2010. After the guidelines from the three workshops are merged, the draft document will be released for a public comment and input process. [UN-REDD Press Release
Asia-Europe Summit Discusses Climate Change
5 October 2010: The eighth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), which convened in Brussels, Belgium, from 4-5 October 2010, discussed climate change among other issues.
The meeting brought together Heads of States and of Governments of 46 Asian and European countries, the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission and the Secretary-General of ASEAN. Representatives from Australia, New Zealand and the Russian Federation attended the ASEM Summit for the first time and, on this occasion, became ASEM members.
During the meeting, leaders underlined: the centrality and legitimacy of the UNFCCC process; a shared goal of reaching urgently a fair, effective and comprehensive legally binding outcome under the mandate of the Bali Roadmap; and the need to address the remaining gaps on all major issues during the Cancun Climate Change Conference. Leaders then called on developed countries to follow up, in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and of transparency in implementation of these actions, on their commitment to the goal of mobilizing jointly US$100 billion per year by 2020 in order to address the needs of developing countries.
Leaders also stressed that energy efficiency and increased use of renewable energy across all sectors of the economy are major contributions to addressing climate change, while fostering security in energy supplies. They called for making full use of international cooperation, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the UNFCCC, to exchange best practices between developed and developing ASEM partners and stimulate the development, transfer, deployment, dissemination and adaptation of advanced, affordable, safe and environmentally-sound energy technologies and know-how, including aspects of policy and regulation. They underlined the benefits deriving from transparent, competitive and environmentally sustainable energy markets, from consistent legal frameworks at national and international levels and from diversification of sources, routes and types of energy supplies.
In addition, leaders expressed their support for the UN Collaborative Initiative on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+), noting the contribution of the EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade Action Plan (FLEGT) and of parallel Asian initiatives in addressing illegal logging and introducing transparency in forestry operations.
Furthermore, leaders recognized the importance of promoting sustainable forms of production and consumption, including through the promotion of a green, low-carbon economy. They noted the rising interest among ASEM partners for developing carbon markets and supported the objective of scaling up finance and investment through the development of the international carbon market. Leaders committed to intensify ASEM cooperation in raising awareness, in exchanging information and best practices, in training experts in resource efficiency and in making technologies and know-how more widely available. [ASEM 8 Chair's Statement
UNEP Launches “30 Ways in 30 Days” Initiative on Green Economy
5 October 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has announced an initiative to inspire action on reducing emissions and making the transition to a global green economy in the lead up to the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16), to take place in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of 2010.
Under the "30 Ways in 30 Days" initiative, UNEP will be releasing 30 case studies showing that solutions to combat climate change are available, accessible and replicable. The first case study featured was UNEP's Indian Solar Loan Programme, which worked with two of India's banking groups in 2003 to provide low-interest loans for household photovoltaic systems. The programme provided technical support and training, and reimbursed banks for the difference between their normal lending rates and the reduced rate that borrowers paid. Daily climate case studies will be released online at the initiative website from 1 November to 8 December 2010.
The initiative was launched at the Special Business for Environment (B4E) Summit on Climate Change, co-hosted by UNEP, the UN Global Compact, and WWF, and which took place from 4-5 October 2010, in Mexico City, Mexico. [30 Ways in 30 Days Website
] [UNEP Press Release
] [Climate Change Policy & Practice Story on the B4E Summit
B4E Summit on Climate Change Calls for Ambitious Outcome in Cancun6 October 2010: The Special Business for Environment (B4E) Summit on Climate Change, which took place from 4-5 October 2010, in Mexico City, Mexico, was convened to provide perspectives and policy recommendations ahead of the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16) to be held in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of 2010.
Titled "Accelerating solutions through partnership and innovation," the Summit was convened by the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Government of Mexico and WWF, and brought together over 300 companies from nearly 30 countries. Participants focused on transformative climate solutions needed to address the mounting climate and inter-related environmental issues, turning crises into opportunity, with a number of companies in the energy, information and communication technologies (ICT), and buildings and construction sectors making commitments to climate action.
The meeting concluded with the adoption of a statement titled "B4E Climate Summit 2010 – A Call To Action," in which business leaders agree that averting a major climate crisis will require the creation of global policy and strong national legal frameworks. Summit participants also called on governments to move forward international negotiations to ensure an ambitious outcome at the upcoming 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16) in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of the year, stressing the need for a global level playing field to mainstream green entrepreneurship. The Call to Action includes a series of perspectives and commitments, urging governments to show leadership in Cancun and domestically, from the following sectors: ICT; building construction and materials; transportation and logistics; food beverage and agriculture; and energy and utilities.
In addition, during the Summit, the Low Carbon Leaders Project, an initiative supported by the UN Global Compact and WWF, launched a report titled: "Low Carbon Leaders – Transformative Solutions Leadership." The report lists 12 examples of "transformative low-carbon solutions" that can provide services in a new and energy efficient way. Some of these solutions have the potential to build inverse relationships between revenues and emissions.
] [UN Global Compact Press Release on the Launch of the Report
] [UN Global Compact Press Release on the Outcome of the Summit
] [B4E A Call to Action
Caring for Climate Establishes Steering Committee
4 October 2010: Caring for Climate, a joint platform by the UN Global Compact and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to advance the role of business in addressing climate change, has established a steering committee.
The advisory body, consisting of senior corporate representatives from diverse sectors and geographic regions, will provide input on the strategic, operational and financial developments of Caring for Climate. The steering committee includes corporate representatives from: Acciona (Spain); CEMEX (Mexico); China Mobile (China); The Coca-Cola Company (US); Deutsche Telekom (Germany); The Dow Chemical Company (US); Eskom (South Africa); Fuji Xerox (Japan); Novo Nordisk (Denmark); Sekem Group (Egypt); and Tata Steel (India).
Caring for Climate is a voluntary global action platform for UN Global Compact participants who seek to demonstrate leadership on the issue of climate change. It has been endorsed by nearly 400 companies in 65 countries. [List of Steering Committee Members
] [UN Global Compact Press Release
UNEP Completes GEO-5 Regional Consultations
5 October 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has completed its scheduled regional consultations for GEO-5. The consultations were convened in Washington DC, US (September 2), Panama City, Panama (September 6-7), Ottawa, Canada (September 9), Bangkok, Thailand (September 16-17), Nairobi, Kenya (September 20-21), Geneva, Switzerland (September 23-24) and Bahrain (October 4-5).
The consultations sought to identify priority environmental issues and challenges for each region. Agreed priorities for North America included land use, energy, freshwater and environmental governance. Priorities agreed for Latin America and the Caribbean region included: biodiversity; climate change; freshwater; soil, land use, land degradation and desertification; seas and oceans; and environmental governance. Priorities for the Asia and Pacific region included: climate change; environmental governance; biodiversity; freshwater; and chemicals and waste. Priority issues for Africa included: climate change; soil, land use, land degradation and desertification; biodiversity; freshwater; and seas and oceans. European priorities included: air pollution and air quality; biodiversity; chemicals and wastes; climate change; and freshwater, water and water resources. Priorities for West Asia included: freshwater; soil, land use, land degradation and desertification; energy; environmental governance; and oceans and seas. [UNEP GEO Meetings webpage
] [IISD RS coverage of selected GEO regional consultations
World Habitat Day Celebrates ‘Better City, Better Life'
4 October 2010: The 2010 World Habitat Day was celebrated at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 under the theme "Better City, Better Life."
The event focused on the potential and problems of urban living in the 21st century and actions and policies that can improve well-being for the billion people who live in slums and other sub-standard housing around the world. In his statement to mark the Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted that better cities can help mitigate global challenges, such as climate change, by promoting energy conservation and environmental sustainability.
In addition, the World Habitat Awards were presented by UN-Habitat Executive Secretary Inga Bjork-Klevby and Diane Diacon, Director of the Building and Social Housing Foundation, to: the Local Housing Movement Programme, Egypt, which works with low-income communities in Egypt to improve their housing and access to water and sanitation; and the Ekostaden Augustenborg, Sweden, which addresses environmental issues such as flooding and energy inefficiency.
The World Expo 2010 was hosted by China's Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development and the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Urban and Rural Construction and Transport. Celebrations to mark World Habitat Day were held in various cities around the world, including Barcelona, Spain, Nakuru, Kenya, and Kathmandu, Nepal. [UN Secretary-General Statement
] [UN-Habitat Press Release
Asia and Pacific Ministerial Conference Focuses on Green Development
27 September 2010: The sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (MCED-6) is convening in Astana, Kazakhstan, from 27 September-2 October 2010, under the theme "Green Development."
The conference, which is jointly hosted by the Government of Kazakhstan and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), aims to renew political commitment for sustainable development, and assess progress to date towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the outcomes of MCED-5, including the Green Growth Strategy. This agenda-setting forum to assess the state of sustainable development, and identify regional perspectives and priorities, is based on the recognition that the region remains particularly susceptible to natural disasters, which are likely to increase in frequency and intensity as a result of climate change.
Opening the Conference, Noeleen Heyzer, UN Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary, stated that pursuing green growth "requires fundamental transformation of our economic structure by integrating ecological costs in market prices, investing in sustainable infrastructure, promoting green business and technology, pursuing sustainable lifestyles and by developing climate resilient societies." Rae Kwon Chung, Director, ESCAP's Environment and Development Division, added that "green growth offers the unique opportunity for developing countries and emerging economies to leapfrog from the conventional and costly - pollute first and clean up later - trap to an ecologically-efficient, inclusive and sustainable growth paradigm." ESCAP underscores that Green Growth is the cornerstone strategy in the Asia Pacific region, helping address the triple challenge of converging economic, resource and ecological crises.
During the ministerial segment on 1-2 October 2010, Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan, and Heyzer will engage in a roundtable dialogue with delegates in preparations for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) to be held in Brazil in 2012. The MCED are held every five years. [UN ESCAP Press Release
] [UN ESCAP Meeting Website
] [ESCAP Executive Secretary's Message
REDD+ Interim Partnership Holds Technical Workshop
9 October 2010: The REDD+ Interim Partnership held a technical workshop on the REDD+ Database, Analysis of Financing Gaps and Overlaps, and the Effectiveness of Multilateral REDD+ Institutions in Tianjin, China, on 2 October 2010, prior to the UNFCCC Climate Change Talks.
The workshop was followed by a series of informal and plenary meetings of the REDD+ Interim Partnership during the course of the Tianjin Climate Change Talks. During the Technical Workshop, delegates discussed: lessons learned and possible future enhancements from the Voluntary REDD+ Database; analysis of financing gaps and overlaps; effectiveness of the multilateral REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) institutions; as well as country case studies on each of these issues and stakeholders' views on participation.
In the informal and plenary meetings held throughout the week, the Partnership addressed stakeholder participation and began to address the Partnership's work plan. A technical workshop that was planned to meet during the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in Nagoya, Japan, was postponed until the Cancun Climate Change Conference at the end of the year. A Ministerial Meeting of the REDD+ Partnership is still scheduled to take place on 26 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. The REDD+ Interim Partnership also recently launched a new website. [REDD+ Partnership Website
] [Partnership Meeting Documentation
Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development Focuses on Green Growth
2 October 2010: The Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (MCED-6), which took place in Astana, Kazakhstan, from 27 September-2 October 2010, concluded with the endorsement of the Astana Declaration and regional implementation plan, and the Green Bridge Initiative to encourage cooperation between the European and Asian regions.
The Astana Declaration outlines the region's commitment for environmentally-sustainable economic growth to reduce poverty, through the stimulation of green growth and other sustainable initiatives including job creation in Asia's energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors. According to Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the Green Growth approach "commits our nations to investment in eco-efficient and clean technologies, and balanced development for shared prosperity, social progress and environmental sustainability."
The Astana Green Bridge Initiative, championed by the Government of Kazakhstan, represents the first international agreement between Europe and Asia and the Pacific for environmental cooperation in the ecological use of natural resources, low carbon development, sustainable urban development, and the promotion of green business and green technology. During the Conference, delegates, including representatives of small island developing States (SIDS) and mountainous States, emphasized that the poorest and least-developed countries are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters and environmental degradation. The representative from Kiribati highlighted the impact of climate change and sea-level rise on the sustainable development of SIDS. He called for "a draft roadmap to implement green growth in the Pacific." [UNESCAP Press Release
] [Conference Website
UNEP Co-Hosts Climate Friendly Chillers Conference
5 October 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), in partnership American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers Inc. (ASHRAE), convened a two-day conference titled "Road to Climate Friendly Chillers - Moving beyond CFCs and HCFCs," in Cairo, Egypt, from 30 September-1 October 2010.
The Conference reviewed technology trends in the air conditioning sector and their impact on the environment, and concluded that renewable energy-powered cooling units are approaching commercial production stage. This would mitigate climate change by helping phase-out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which are potent greenhouses gases (GHGs), since globally, around 1.5 billion refrigerators currently use HCFCs.
The Conference assisted Article 5 (developing country) parties to the Montreal Protocol to identify further potential activities in the chiller sub-sector, as well as to provide environmental and economic information on alternative refrigerants management and chiller replacement strategies. [UNEP Press Release
] [Conference Website
IMO MEPC Revises MARPOL, Addresses Emissions From Ships
4 October 2010: The 61st session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which took place from 27 September-1 October 2010, in London, UK, addressed: the mitigation of emissions from maritime transport; revisions to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL); and the implementation of the ballast water and ship recycling conventions.
On the emissions from maritime transport, the Committee noted the desire of some States party to Annex VI (Regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships) to MARPOL to request the IMO Secretary-General to circulate proposed amendments to that Annex, to make mandatory, for new ships, the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP), which have already been disseminated for voluntary use. The Committee also noted, however, that other States did not support the circulation of such amendments.
Despite the lack of consensus on how to proceed with the next step of IMO's climate change strategy, the Committee made progress on all three elements of its work, namely technical, operational and market-based measures. The MEPC agreed Terms of Reference for an intersessional meeting of the Working Group on GHG Emissions from Ships, to be held in March 2011, to provide an opinion on the need and purpose of market-based measures as a possible mechanism to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping. A report from the intersessional group will be submitted to the 62nd session of the MEPC in July 2011.
Participants also adopted by consensus the revised MARPOL Annex III Regulations for the prevention of pollution by harmful substances carried by sea in packaged form, which is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2014. In other MARPOL develoments, the MEPC approved, with a view to adoption at its next session, amendments to revise and update Annex V of the Convention on Regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships.
On ships recycling, the Committee agreed to re-establish the intersessional Correspondence Group on Ship Recycling to further develop the draft Guidelines for safe and environmentally sound ship recycling, Guidelines for the development of the Ship Recycling Plan and Guidelines for the authorization of Ship Recycling Facilities. The MEPC also encouraged governments to ratify the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, which was adopted in May 2009, and to review the programme for technical assistance aimed at supporting its early implementation. [IMO press release 5 October
] [IMO press release 6 October
World Bank and IDB Co-Organize Energy Efficiency and Access Forum for Latin America
29 September 2010: An Energy Efficiency and Access Forum, which was jointly organized by the Mexican Government, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank, highlighted that Latin America's power generating capacity may need to double over the next 20 years to meet the growing demand for electricity.
Sri Mulyani Indrawati, World Bank Managing Director, underlined that simply building more infrastructure, in particular new thermal and other power plants, to meet this growing demand "is both unwise and unsustainable." Noting that investments of such magnitude in new capacity are not easily affordable by any regional economy, she argued for using more efficiently the existing energy infrastructure. Energy efficiency would also reduce reliance on greenhouse gas (GHG) producing fuels and support countries' efforts in mitigating and adapting to climate change.
At the Forum, experts noted potential for total financial savings, or avoided energy cost, of global energy efficiency could rise to US$250-US$325 billion annually by 2030. Efforts are already underway in the Latin American region, including loss reduction and light bulb exchange initiatives, such as Brazil's Eletrobras Distribution Rehabilitation Project (US$495 million), Mexico's Lighting and Appliances Efficiency Project (US$350 million), and Uruguay's Energy Efficiency Project (US$7 million) where school children encourage their parents to refrain from wasting energy. [World Bank Press Release
WTO Discusses Carbon Footprint Initiatives
29 September 2010: The World Trade Organization's (WTO) Trade and Environment Committee met in Geneva, Switzerland, and exchanged views on national experiences in carbon footprint schemes.
The representative from New Zealand introduced its national Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Footprinting Strategy across the entire supply chain of a product. Chile presented various approaches in its wine, agricultural and mining sectors to assess and find ways to reduce the carbon footprint of each product. Noting the multitude of differing measurement methodologies, several members called for increased transparency and efforts towards the harmonization of carbon footprinting in order to minimize the possibility of using such schemes as disguised barriers to trade.
At the meeting, Committee members heard a presentation from a representative of the UNFCCC, who provided an overview of the on-going climate negotations. He informed that following the Copenhagen Accord, a set of decisions could be an achievable outcome in Cancun including: the formalization of mitigation pledges; the creation of a fund to finance mitigation and adaptation projects; and the establishment of a system for the measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) of mitigation action and support. [IISD RS Sources]
MSI+5 Reaffirms Support to SIDS' Development
26 September 2010: The High-level Review Meeting on the Implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS (MSI+5), convened from 24-25 September 2010, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, as part of the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). During the two-day event, delegates focused on reducing vulnerabilities and strengthening resilience of SIDS, as well as enhancing international support for SIDS. A key outcome of the meeting was the adoption of a political declaration that reasserts the support of the international community to the development of SIDS.
Discussion on enhancing international support to SIDS focused on the need for SIDS to be classified as a special grouping and protection within the global community. According to SIDS, such a grouping would ensure SIDS issues were mainstreamed across the UN system, and help identify opportunities for dedicated financing. During discussions, SIDS also emphasized the need for assistance in renewable energy projects, to avoid reliance on imported fossil fuels.
Discussion on reducing vulnerabilities of SIDS reflected on SIDS' national efforts at mainstreaming sustainable development into national development plans, but that a post-Kyoto agreement is necessary to mitigate the existential threat posed by sea level rise and extreme weather events. [UN Press Release
] [IISD RS Coverage
] [Meeting Website
GEO-5 Geneva Consultations Identify European Priorities
25 September 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Regional Consultation for Europe took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 23-24 September 2010, bringing together 53 participants representing a range of stakeholders, including UN agencies, government departments, research and academic institutions, the private sector and press from Europe.
This meeting was the sixth in a series of seven regional consultations being undertaken by UNEP as part of the preparation for the production of the fifth GEO (GEO-5). The principal output of these consultations is a final report for each region containing the outcomes of the meeting, including key recommendations, regional priorities, agreed goals and target audiences. This consultation resulted in agreement on key regional environmental issues and challenges as follows: air quality and air pollution; biodiversity; chemicals and waste; climate change; and freshwater. Environmental governance was identified as an overarching issue.
On climate change, participants highlighted the need to consider both mitigation and adaptation activities. Noting that its scope was broader, participants agreed to adopt Article 2 of the UNFCCC as the regional goal for climate change for GEO-5. This article requires stabilization of greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. [IISD RS Summary
] [GEO-5 Website
CBD Workshop Highlights Biodiversity Benefits from REDD
1 October 2010: The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has circulated the results of the Global Expert Workshop on Biodiversity Benefits of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), which convened from 20-23 September 2010, in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Co-Chairs' summary of the workshop highlights that a well designed mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+), if successful, will have significant and unprecedented benefits for biodiversity, as well as for indigenous peoples and local communities. Both biodiversity and the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples were considered as necessary for the success of REDD+, with the permanent storage of carbon depending on well-functioning and resilient forest ecosystems, and on community participation and ownership.
The meeting also identified risks to biodiversity and indigenous peoples, and highlighted the need for safeguards, national plans and approaches, and transparent and effective national governance structures. Participants recommended that the CBD explore possibilities for a technical workshop organized jointly by the CBD and UNFCCC Secretariats on how the CBD can support REDD+ safeguards, without prejudice to the negotiations. The Nairobi workshop was convened by the CBD Secretariat in collaboration with the UN-REDD Programme. [Workshop Report, including Co-Chairs' Summary
AfDB Organizes Roundtable on Climate Change Financing for Africa
22 September 2010: The African Development Bank (AfDB) organized a roundtable on African Perspectives on the issues before the UN High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, where participants highlighted that, for most African nations, the overwhelming challenge posed by climate change is how to adapt to its adverse impacts.
The rountable took place in Tunis, Tunisia, from 21-22 September 2010, and analyzed the issues before by the UN High Level Advisory Group. It brought together some 30 participants, including African negotiators and delegates, African parliamentarians, private sector representatives, policy makers and administrators in the energy, environment and finance fields. Opening the roundtable, Nkosana Moyo, AfDB Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, underscored that the impacts of climate change "which are already becoming visible, are affecting major parts of the economy" and are "pushing back efforts at development and meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).” Moyo said finance to support investments, technology development and transfer, as well as capacity building for both mitigation and adaptation is crucial if Africa is to adequately adapt to climate change impacts and move towards a low-carbon economy.
The UN High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing is currently co-chaired by Prime Ministers Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and Jens Stoltenberg of Norway. It is tasked with studying potential sources of funding for scaling up new and additional resources from developed countries for financing in developing countries. [AfDB Press Release
Major Economies Forum Discusses Prospects for Cancun
21 September 2010: The eighth meeting at the leaders' representative level of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate took place in New York, US, from 20-21 September 2010, and was attended by officials from the 17 major economies, as well as the UN, Barbados, Denmark, Egypt, Singapore and Spain.
Participants discussed how to advance prospects for a successful outcome at the Cancun climate change conference to be held in late 2010. Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa, the incoming President of the Conference of the Parties (COP), emphasized the importance of success in Cancun for the credibility of the multilateral system and stressed the need to agree on a balanced package of decisions in Cancun, recognizing that it will not be possible to agree on all of the details.
Participants expressed concern about the pace of negotiations. Support was expressed for concluding, in Cancun, a balanced package of decisions potentially including: adaptation; mitigation and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+); monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV); finance; and technology. With respect to the breadth and depth of decisions, many participants suggested that they should be "comprehensive but not necessarily exhaustive," and that for more difficult issues, follow-up work may be identified to be undertaken issue-by-issue.
Views were divided on the Kyoto Protocol. Some participants attached great importance to the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol, including for its “rule-based” approach; while others stated that they will not agree to a second commitment period. And yet others expressed willingness to agree to a second commitment period if certain conditions were met concerning an agreement covering the major economies. A range of views was also expressed regarding what equity refers to and how it applies in the context of the international regime on climate change.
Participants recommended that the next round of negotiations in Tianjin, China, scheduled from 4-9 October 2010, should focus on key issues, including through focused break-out groups, and “extract” from the negotiating text what should be decided upon in Cancun. [Chair's Summary
GEO-5 Regional Consultation for Africa Identifies Regional Priorities
22 September 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Regional Consultation for Africa took place in Nairobi, Kenya, on 20-21 September 2010. This was the fifth in a series of seven regional consultations being undertaken by UNEP as part of the preparation for the production of the fifth GEO (GEO-5).
The principal output of these consultations is a final report for each region containing the outcomes of the meeting, including key recommendations, regional priorities, agreed goals and target audiences. The Africa regional consultation resulted, inter alia
, in agreement on regional priority environmental issues and challenges as follows: climate change; soil, land use, land degradation and desertification; freshwater; biodiversity; and oceans and seas.
On climate change, participants clustered relevant issues into the categories of: climate extremes; adaptation; mitigation; financing; governance; climate monitoring and information; and capacity building among stakeholders. The Secretariat was advised to take note of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) list of priorities, which some participants described as representative of the region's needs. Regarding goals, most participants favored UNFCCC Article 3 paragraphs 1-3 on responsibilities, specific needs and special circumstances of parties to the UNFCCC and on precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of climate change, and mitigate its effects. They also requested the authors to reference paragraph (e) of the Delhi Ministerial Declaration on Climate Change and Sustainable Development, which calls for the support of effective and results-based measures for the development of approaches on vulnerability and adaptation. [IISD RS Report
] [Consultations Website
UNECE Considers Policy Framework on Affordable, Healthy and Ecological Housing
27 September 2010: At its 71st session, held from 20-21 September 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland, the Committee on Housing and Land Management of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) considered several items related to climate change.
The Committee discussed the document “Principles and Goals for Affordable, Healthy and Ecological Housing” and decided to set up a working group to explore possible options for a legally binding instrument on affordable, healthy and ecological housing in the UNECE region, with a view to increasing the legitimacy and visibility of the housing sector as a key component of a country's sustainable development.
The Committee also adopted an “Action Plan for Energy-efficient Housing in the UNECE Region,” which outlines policy areas for action and contains a range of targets and measures that member States can adapt and implement with a view to removing barriers to energy efficiency and moving towards a low-energy and carbon-neutral housing sector. UNECE member States also considered the outline of a study on “Climate Neutral Cities,” to be prepared by the end of 2010, which is expected to promote an integrated cross-sectoral approach to urban development including housing, land use management, energy efficiency, transportation, waste management and green areas. [UNECE Press Release
] [Meeting Website and Documents
] [IISDRS Coverage
UNDP/GEF SGP Announces Global Partnership on Community-Based Adaptation
20 September 2010: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) announced a Global Partnership on Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change (GPCBA) on the occasion of the 2010 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Review Summit of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
The Global Partnership on Community-Based Adaptation (CBA) to Climate Change will build on a CBA programme implemented by the SGP during the past two years, to help poor, vulnerable and marginalized communities adapt to climate change. The Global Partnership on CBA to Climate Change aims to scale-up this approach by encouraging other partners to join. The announcement took place during the event "Biodiversity, Climate Change and MDG Achievement – Scaling Up Local Solutions," which was organized on the occasion of the MDG Review Summit, which took place in New York, US, from 20-22 September 2010. [IISDRS Sources] [GEF SGP Website
] [CBA Pilot Projects
WTO Public Forum 2010 Opens
15 September 2010: The World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum 2010 is taking place from 15-17 September 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland, around the theme "The Shaping Forces."
The Forum provides an opportunity for governments, civil society organizations, legislators, trade union representatives, academics, business groups and students to take stock of the latest developments impacting the multilateral trading system. Pascal Lamy, WTO Director General, noted the need to: rebalance the rules of the multilateral trading system in favor of the poor through the completion of the Doha Development Agenda; and to "climb ever higher mountains" by tackling emerging issues such as energy, climate change and electronic commerce. Lamy also commented on the Forum's theme, highlighting that the WTO's multilateral trading system is one of the most advanced engines of global governance. Noting that other institutions have battles over their governance structure and the relative importance of the North and the South, he underscored that the WTO is a fairly democratic institution where "the voice of the small cannot be ignored."
He provided the example of negotiations on agriculture, now at the centre of the WTO's Doha Round of trade negotiations, evidencing the power that the South has gained. He also mentioned the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism where "it is not the size of a country or of its GDP that matters, but the strength of the legal and economic arguments that it succeeds in putting forward." [WTO Press Release
] [WTO Public Forum's Website
GEO-5 Regional Consultation for Asia and the Pacific Identifies Priority Issues
17 September 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Regional Consultation for Asia and the Pacific took place in Bangkok, Thailand, on 16-17 September 2010.
This regional consultation was the fourth in a series of seven regional consultations being undertaken by UNEP as part of the preparation for the production of the fifth GEO (GEO-5). The principal output of these consultations is a final report for each regional consultation, containing the outcomes of the meeting including all key recommendations, regional priorities, agreed goals and key target audiences. The Asia and the Pacific regional consultation focused on: the priority environmental issues and challenges to be the focus of the regional chapter of GEO-5; associated internationally agreed goals for these regional environmental priorities; and policy gaps related to these environmental priorities. The consultations resulted, inter alia
, in agreement on regional priority environmental issues and challenges as follows: climate change, environmental governance, biodiversity, freshwater, and chemicals and waste.
During the discussion and selection of internationally agreed goals for the region related to the environmental priorities selected, most participants emphasized that all aspects of climate change, including mitigation, adaptation, capacity building and finance, are important. By voting, participants selected Article 3, paragraphs 1-3, of the UNFCCC as the regional goal for climate change for GEO-5. This Article requires countries to protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. It further requires developed countries to take the lead in combating climate change, and provides that the specific needs and special circumstances of developing countries should be given full consideration. Finally, it requires countries to take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects. Participants also recognized the importance of: the goals contained in Article 2 of the UNFCCC (stabilization of greenhouse (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system); the Bali Action Plan; and the Delhi Ministerial Declaration on Climate Change and Sustainable Development. [IISD RS Summary
][GEO-5 Regional Consultations Website
Ministerial Meeting Discusses Enhanced Cuba-CARICOM Cooperation
17 September 2010: The third meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs
of Cuba and of the member States of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) convened in Havana, Cuba, on 17 September 2010, to evaluate the progress of their relations and explore new areas to strengthen their cooperation on issues of mutual importance at all levels.
According to the final declaration adopted at the conclusion of the meeting, ministers underscore that climate change constitutes a major threat to mankind and the most important environmental challenge to the development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the low-lying coastal developing States. In this regard, they urge the international community to make the greatest effort to reach, through a transparent and inclusive process under the UNFCCC, an international binding agreement, taking into account the situation and special needs of low-lying coastal and SIDS.
Ministers further reaffirm the principle of common but differentiated responsibility and reiterate their call for developed countries, based on their ecological debt, to contribute the new and additional financial resources required to implement adaptation and mitigation measures. They also emphasize the urgency of promoting global actions to encourage rational and sustainable use of natural resources, and for the preservation and protection of the environment. [The Final Declaration
WTO Public Forum Debates Sustainable Energy Use and Carbon Footprint Standards
17 September 2010: The World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum 2010, held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 15-17 September 2010, included stakeholders in discussions on policies to promote sustainable energy use, as well as measuring, pricing and standards for carbon dioxide emissions.
Session 1 on sustainable energy use and trade debated how to promote energy efficiency, reduce fossil fuel subsidies, and unlock the current environmental goods and services negotiations at the WTO to move the world towards more sustainable energy use. Among the panelists, Richard Bradley of the International Energy Agency (IEA) stressed that the energy system needs to be transformed quickly. He highlighted that non-OECD countries now account for 93% of growth in energy demand, and said massive transformation will have to come through supply side changes, but energy efficiency policies could buy countries time before they can be implemented.
Session 7 on the topic of "Beyond border carbon adjustment measures: Standards, labelling and the issue of emission allowances" noted that the absence of an international agreement on climate change is leading to ad hoc solutions in individual countries, which places additional costs on those countries with the least responsibility for the climate issue, like African countries. They also noted that the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is currently working on an international standard to measure carbon footprints, to be released in 2012. Webcasts of the meeting are available online. [More information
UN Secretary-General Appoints Group of Eminent Persons for LDCs
27 August 2010: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed a Group of Eminent Persons to examine development problems faced by Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
The Group will review the effectiveness of the 2001 Brussels Programme of Action, which outlined measures by industrialized countries and the 49 LDCs to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development. The programme includes commitments on: promoting good governance; enhancing the role of trade in development; reducing vulnerability to natural disasters; protecting the environment; mobilizing financial resources; and speeding up implementation of steps to reduce the debt burden on poor countries. The Group will also look into the Brussels Programme of Action in relation new global challenges, including climate change and the food and energy crises. [UN Press Release 25 August
] [UN Press Release 27 August
First High-Level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership Endorses Ministerial Declaration and AEEP Road Map
17 September 2010: The first High-Level Meeting (HLM) of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) took place on 14-15 September 2010, in Vienna, Austria, to discuss energy access, energy security and renewable energy.
The meeting was co-organized by the: African Union (AU) Commission; European Commission (EC); Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, Austria; Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany; and Government of Mauritius. The HLM of the AEEP brought together over 300 participants, including ministers, ambassadors and other high-level decision-makers from 21 European and 23 African countries, and commissioners from the AU and the EU, as well as academics, business leaders and members of civil society from across Africa and Europe.
Participants heard keynote addresses and convened in panel discussions addressing: the future of the AEEP; the role of technology; and politics and markets. High-level participants also: endorsed the HLM Ministerial Declaration and the AEEP Road Map, outlining the AEEP's 2011-2013 programme of work; and launched the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP), aimed at enhancing industrial and business cooperation in the energy sector between the two continents.
Main themes of the HLM included: the need to recognize energy as one of the keys to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); the role of public and private sector finance and new financial instruments; the importance of a stable energy supply for economic and industrial development; the need for capacity building and knowledge creation on the potential of renewables; the role of policies and institutions in shaping stable and conducive investment environments; and the special attention needed to supply energy to the poor. [Conference Website] [IISD RS conference report]
Cordoba Seminar Focuses on Agrobiodiversity and Climate Change
15 September 2010: Held from 13-15 September 2010, in Cordoba, Spain, the International Seminar on the Role of Agricultural Biodiversity in Addressing Hunger and Climate Change was organized in the framework of the International Year of Biodiversity and in commemoration of World Food Day.
Participants heard presentations by senior representatives of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR), Bioversity International and the Global Crop Diversity Trust. The Seminar was organized by the Chair of Studies on Hunger and Poverty at the University of Cordoba, Bioversity International, the CBD, FAO, ITPGR, the Government of Spain, and local and provincial authorities. It aimed to: promote awareness raising and dialogue among public institutions, universities, scientists, civil society and the private sector; catalyze action and projects; and contribute to defining priorities and developing policies at all levels.
On the occasion of the seminar, CBD Executive Secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf highlighted the milestones of the International Year of Biodiversity and underscored the linkages between biodiversity loss and climate change. Drawing attention to the report of the CBD Ad Hoc
Technical Expert Group on Climate Change and Biodiversity, he stated that the relationship between biodiversity and climate change goes both ways: the degradation of many ecosystems is significantly reducing their carbon storage and sequestration capacity, leading to increases in emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), while approximately 10% of species assessed so far have an increasingly high risk of extinction for each degree Celsius rise in global mean surface temperature.
Highlighting increasing threats to agricultural biodiversity and the deep connection between biodiversity and human well-being, he added that climate change is destabilizing the global food supply. He also drew attention to the draft post-2010 CBD strategic plan, which addresses both the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss, and links actions to combat it with efforts to combat and adapt to climate change. [The International Seminar at the University of Cordoba Websi...
] [Seminar Programme
][CBD Executive Secretary Statement, 13 September 2010
][CBD Executive Secretary Statement, 14 September 2010
UNCTAD World Investment Forum Opens in China
7 September 2010: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (by videoconference), Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and former US President Bill Clinton addressed the World Investment Forum in Xiamen, China, highlighting the current challenge of integrating investment policies to encourage the transformation towards a low-carbon economy.
Organized by UNCTAD and the Ministry of Commerce of China, the meeting includes an ‘Investment Showcase' with presentations from individual countries on climate change-related investment. The Forum also features a session on the promotion of green foreign direct investment (FDI) in light of government commitments to combat climate change, the rise of green industries, and the advantages that environmentally-friendly investment can bring in terms of improved knowledge transfer, reduced carbon emissions and upgraded productivity and competitive exports. [World Investment Forum Website
UNEP FI Co-Organizes Meeting on "The Financial Sector Towards COP 16"
9 September 2010: The UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) convened, in partnership with the Mexican Banking Association, a meeting on "The Financial Sector Towards COP 16" on 9 September in Mexico City, Mexico.
The meeting was attended by 55 senior finance executives who exchanged views on the finance sector's role with regard to climate change solutions. Nobel Laureate Mario Molina delivered the keynote address, encouraging the private sector to identify business and investment opportunities, and learn from existing best practices to accelerate progress. On the ongoing climate change negotiations, he stress the need for: an international accord; the establishment of a price on carbon emissions; and the increase of international cooperation and resources allocated to research and new technologies. He concluded by calling for the involvement of all, governments, private sector and society, to address climate change. [UNEP Press Release
UNESCO Co-organizes Conference on Oceans and Climate Change
3 September 2010: The International Ocean Institute (IOI), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the State Oceanic Administration of the People's Republic of China co-organized the Pacem in Maribus XXXIII International Conference on Oceans, which took place from 2-4 September 2010, in Beijing, China, under the theme "Oceans, Climate Change and Sustainable Development: Challenges to Oceans and Coastal Cities."
The Conference celebrated the 50th anniversary of the IOC. During the conference, Patricia O'Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, delivered a message on behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, underlining the importance of the marine environment to human well-being, adding that its role in regulating the global climate is "perhaps the most significant." She drew attention to the vulnerability of coastal communities to climate change, in particular people living in small island developing States (SIDS). She underscored the importance of halting the decline of coastal ecosystems in order to mitigate the effects of climate change. [UN Secretary-General's Statement
] [Conference Announcement
UNFF Country-Led Initiative Addresses Forest Governance, Decentralization and REDD+
3 September 2010: The Oaxaca Workshop on Forest Governance, Decentralization and REDD+ in Latin America and the Caribbean took place in Oaxaca, Mexico, from 31 August-3 September 2010.
This country-led initiative in support of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) aimed to identify trends, and facilitate sharing of experiences and lessons learned with sustainable forest management (SFM), forest governance and decentralization, and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+). Participants engaged in plenary and roundtable sessions throughout the Workshop to discuss four themes: people, forest governance and forests; landscape change, forest management and REDD+; forest finance and finance for REDD+; and rights, livelihoods and forests. Participants also took part in field trips to nearby community-owned forest-related enterprises, as well as “open spaces” to discuss in more detail: payment mechanisms; forest planning; REDD+ legal frameworks; and indigenous peoples.
Participants produced a report summarizing the Workshop's deliberations, which includes recommendations to countries and the ninth session of UNFF, to be held in early 2011. The document is also expected to inform discussions during the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) of the UNFCCC, to be held in late 2010. [IISD RS Coverage of the Meeting
] [Workshop Website
ECLAC Holds Seminar on International Trade's Vulnerability to Carbon Footprint Policies
3 September 2010: The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) organized a seminar to address the vulnerability of Latin America's international trade to carbon footprint policies adopted by developed countries.
The seminar, held in Santiago, Chile, from 2-3 September 2010, was co-sponsored by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Commission (EC). Presentations were made on national legislation and policy, including the French adoption of the "Grenelle de l'Environnment" law, as well as on private sector initiatives regarding measuring the carbon footprint in products in Europe, the US, the UK, Germany and New Zealand. Participants also discussed efforts and tasks ahead by Latin American countries to address this issue. [IISD RS Coverage
] [ECLAC Press Release
Geneva Dialogue Discusses Climate Finance
4 September 2010: The Geneva Dialogue on Climate Finance took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 2-3 September 2010, to address current themes related to finance in the ongoing UN climate negotiations.
The group of ministers and government representatives from 46 countries and the EU, the Chair of the Ad Hoc
Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA) and the UNFCCC Executive Secretary met in an informal setting at the invitation of the Governments of Switzerland and Mexico. The issues discussed included finance architecture, the new climate fund, the private sector's role and sources of long-term finance.
Addressing the meeting, Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, warned that the world cannot afford escalating disasters of the kind recently witnessed in Pakistan and Russia. She underscored the need for governments to take swift action to lead the world towards a low-carbon future. She called for the ministers' guidance on short-term and long-term funding, and the involvement of the private sector.
During the meeting, a new website called Fast Start Finance was launched. The Dutch initiative aims at enhancing transparency of fast-start financing by providing an overview of contributors and recipients of fast start finance in time for the upcoming 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16), in Cancun, Mexico. The development of the website was initiated by the Government of the Netherlands, with the support of Costa Rica, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Indonesia, the Marshall Islands, Mexico, Norway, the UK and Viet Nam. [Figueres' Statement
] [IISD RS Coverage
] [Fast Start Finance Website
CPF Organizations Discuss Climate Change and Forestry at IUFRO Congress
23 August 2010: On the opening day of the XXIII International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) World Congress, held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 23-28 August 2010, the Heads of several member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) presented in a sub-plenary session on biodiversity, climate change and forestry.
Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant-Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), presented on the CPF's objectives and achievements, including the Forest Days at the Conferences of the Parties (COPs) to the UNFCCC. Bill Jackson, Deputy Director General of IUCN, discussed the landscape approach for linking climate change, forest management and the needs of people. Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), highlighted the CBD's global tree-planting initiative, Green Wave. Emmanuel Ze Meka, Executive Director of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), described the ITTO's programme on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), and enhancing environmental services in tropical forests. He called for financial incentives for sustainable forest management (SFM) and functional markets. Tony Simons, Deputy Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), highlighted how far forestry has come in the international development dialogue in recent years. Jan McAlpine, Director of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), underlined that the UNFF values and creates institutional partnerships beyond the forestry sector to enhance cross-sectoral connections.
The IUFRO World Congress, co-hosted by IUFRO and the Korea Forest Research Institute, brings together over 2700 participants from international organizations, governments, academia, the private sector and civil society. The opening plenary included a welcome address from the President of the Republic of Korea, Lee Myung-Bak. The theme of the Congress is “Forests for the Future, Sustaining Society and the Environment.” [IISD RS Coverage of the IUFRO World Congress
] [IUFRO World Congress Website
ICID 2010 Discusses Climate Change and Sustainable Development in Drylands
23 August 2010: The Second International Conference on Climate, Sustainability and Development in Semi-arid Regions (ICID 2010), which convened in Fortaleza, Brazil, from 16-20 August 2010, brought together participants to discuss climate change and sustainable development in arid and semi-arid regions, and sought to raise the priority of these issues on the agenda of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).
ICID 2010 began with the launching of the UN Decade on Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification. The main theme of ICID 2010, “climate, sustainability and development,” was addressed in four sub-themes, namely: climate information; climate and sustainable development; climate governance, representation, rights, equity and justice; and climate policy processes.
ICID 2010 concluded with a discussion of the primary conference output, the Fortaleza Declaration, which was developed with the goal of raising the profile of issues facing semi-arid regions at UNCSD and during its preparatory process. Among other items, the Declaration calls for: better governance of the drylands, representation of their populations and enhanced livelihoods; the enhancement of climate-sensitive sustainable development interventions in drylands; recognition of potential synergies to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience for the poor; the creation of favorable conditions for sustainable development in drylands through integrated actions to fight land degradation, mitigate drought effects, conserve biodiversity and adapt to climate change; and investment opportunities to exploit the comparative advantage of drylands in renewable energy production. [IISD RS Coverage of ICID 2010
] [ICID 2010 Website
UN Launches Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification
16 August 2010: The UN has launched the Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification, which will run from 2010-2020 and will seek to raise awareness and action to improve the protection and management of the world's drylands.
In a statement announcing the launch, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “Continued land degradation – whether from climate change, unsustainable agriculture or poor management of water resources – is a threat to food security, leading to starvation among the most acutely affected communities and robbing the world of productive land.” The Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is spearheading events to mark the Decade, along with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the UN Department of Public Information (DPI).
The global launch took place in Fortaleza, Brazil, during the Second International Conference on Climate, Sustainability and Development in Semi-arid Regions (ICID 2010). The regional launch for Africa was held in Nairobi, Kenya, at the headquarters of UNEP and in partnership with UNDP. Other regional launches are scheduled to take place in New York, US, in September, for the North American Region, in the Republic of Korea in October, for the Asian Region, and in November for the European region. [UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification ...
] [UN News Release
] [IISD RS Coverage of ICID 2010 and the Launch
August Bonn Climate Change Talks Consider Gap Between Commitment Periods, Forward Drafts to October Talks
6 August 2010: The 11th session of the Ad Hoc
Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA 11) and the 13th session of the Ad Hoc
Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP 13) took place from 2-6 August 2010, in Bonn, Germany, bringing together over 1650 participants.
The AWG-LCA considered a text circulated by the Group's Chair in July 2010 (FCCC/AWGLCA/2010/8). The text was intended to facilitate negotiations in preparation for an outcome at the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the UNFCCC in Cancún, Mexico, in November-December 2010. The text contained sections on various issues, including a shared vision on long-term cooperation, mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and capacity building. Parties proposed many new additions and options to the text.
The AWG-KP focused on the scale of emission reductions from Annex I parties to the Protocol. It also considered legal issues, including a possible gap between the Protocol's first commitment period (2008-2012) and subsequent commitment periods. In addition, delegates addressed land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), the flexibility mechanisms and the potential consequences of response measures of climate change. The AWG-KP closed with an agreement to forward a Chair's proposal (FCCC/KP/AWG/2010/CRP.2) for further discussion at its next session. The text contains various draft decisions for the sixth Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 6), setting out many different options and proposals from parties. These decisions, which are not yet agreed, focus on the following topics: amendments to the Protocol under Article 3.9 (subsequent commitment periods); LULUCF; emissions trading and the project-based mechanisms; methodological issues; and the potential environmental, economic and social consequences of Annex I parties' response measures to climate change.
In a press conference held at the conclusion of the meeting, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres stated that governments made progress towards deciding the shape of a successful result at COP 16, but now need to narrow down the many options for action on climate change presently under negotiation. The AWG-LCA and AWG-KP texts that were developed in Bonn are expected to form the basis for negotiations in Tianjin, China, in October, where delegates will seek to narrow down options and produce outcomes to be considered in Cancún. [IISD RS Coverage
] [UNFCCC Press Release
] [Earth Negotiations Bulletin climate change negotiations arch...
Asia Forest Partnership Meeting Examines Governance Beyond Copenhagen
6 August 2010: The ninth meeting of the Asia Forest Partnership Dialogue, titled "Forest Governance Challenges Beyond Copenhagen," examined the linkages between forest governance and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+).
The Dialogue took place in Bali, Indonesia, from 4-6 August 2010. In plenary sessions, participants heard presentations on: national policy initiatives related to REDD+, including on the REDD-readiness of Indonesia and Viet Nam; progress related to sub-national forest carbon initiatives in Indonesia; and synergies between national and international initiatives related to sustainable forests and REDD+, including on the significance of the US Lacey Act for REDD+ efforts in Southeast Asia; and illegal logging in Indonesia and Cambodia. Participants also met in working groups to discuss the role of various actors who influence decisions on REDD+ and governance, and to address issues of legality and synergies with REDD+. Presentations from the Dialogue are available online. [Meeting Abstracts
UN Secretary-General Addresses Conference of Speakers of Parliament
19 July 2010: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the Inter-Parliamentary Union World Conference of Speakers of Parliament, which was addressing the theme “Parliaments in Time of Crisis: Securing Global Democratic Accountability,” on 19 July 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland.
He called on the more than 140 participants to act on the great challenges of our times, including by ratifying treaties on climate change, nuclear non-proliferation and economic development, and to fund these commitments. Ban underlined that global issues, such as peace and security, human rights, climate change, and the well-being of families and societies are also great local issues. He stressed the need for parliamentarians' leadership in ensuring effective governance to address the financial, food and economic crises, which he noted are compounded by the impact of climate change.
Urging participants to "remind Governments of their international obligations," Ban told them that "with your strong leadership, our future will be much brighter." The Conference will conclude on 21 July 2010. [Ban's Statement
] [Conference Website
Renewables Initiatives Announced at Clean Energy Ministerial
21 July 2010: Ministers and industry leaders from 24 countries representing over 80% of the world's energy and a similar percentage of the world's market for clean energy technologies met in Washington DC, US, on 19-20 July 2010, to participate in the first Clean Energy Ministerial.
The meeting sought to help accelerate the deployment of clean energy technologies to combat climate change. Hosted by US Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the Clean Energy Ministerial took place as part of the Major Economies Forum (MEF), set up in early 2009 to facilitate a positive outcome of climate change negotiations at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The ministerial combined a closed high-level event on 19 July with a public forum on 20 July.
Over 600 participants examined steps governments must take to improve energy efficiency, and called for sharing policies and programmes to develop and deploy energy at scale. They also addressed the need for policies and partnerships to guide private-sector investments and capacity while minimizing public expenditures.
The public forum, which was broadcast live on the web, saw discussions and announcements of new national initiatives on energy efficiency and smart grids, clean electricity, and energy access. Fostered in part by the MEF's Technology Action Plans, published in December of 2009 to address barriers and opportunities for improving renewables deployment, 11 new initiatives were announced by ministers, which together will eliminate the need to build more than 500 mid-sized power plants. The projects will, inter alia
begin smart grid deployment, cut energy waste, and support renewables markets and carbon capture and storage (CCS). [Ministerial Website
] [Steven Chu's Presentation
] [MEF Technology Action Plans (links on right side of page)
] [Department of Energy Press Release with Fact Sheets on Indiv...
] [UNIDO Press Release
Maldives Hosts Second Cartagena Group Meeting
18 July 2010: The Maldives hosted the second meeting of the ‘Cartagena Group/Dialogue for Progressive Action' on 17-18 July 2010, at Bandos Island resort, near Male, as an informal space open to all countries committed to reaching an ambitious outcome through the UNFCCC negotiations, and to becoming or remaining low-carbon.
In a keynote speech, Maldives President Nasheed stressed that re-establishing confidence “must start in Cancun by reaching agreement across all core issues, especially the inter-related issues of mitigation, finance, and monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV)." Tewolde Egziabher, Director-General of Ethiopia's Environmental Protection Authority, announced that Ethiopia aims to become carbon neutral by 2025, by switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy, in particular hydropower, and by implementing a vast reforestation scheme. Faumuina Tiatia, Samoan Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, announced Samoa's plan to become carbon neutral by 2020. Phillip Muller, Marshall Island's Ambassador to the UN, announced the Marshall Islands' pledge to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 40% by 2020, against 2009 levels. The Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Baldwin Spencer, announced his country's intention to cut emissions by one quarter by 2020, from 1990 levels. Andrei Bourrouet, Costa Rican Vice Minister of Environmental Management and Energy, expressed his country's commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2021.
In the Chair's statement of the meeting, the representatives of 27 parties to the UNFCCC participating in the meeting reaffirm their commitment to work together within the UNFCCC process in a positive, proactive and constructive manner to urgently secure an ambitious, comprehensive, fair, balanced and legally-binding agreement on climate change. They confirm that the Copenhagen Accord, while perhaps incomplete, represents an important step forward and offers political direction to guide the ongoing negotiations. They further welcome the fact that a large number of countries have pledged national efforts to mitigate climate change under the Accord and that donors have begun providing fast-start contributions, while recognizing that mitigation ambition needs to be significantly scaled-up.
Participants express their belief that encouraging and completing the transition to a low-emission society, including by providing support for low-emitting countries to continue to develop on a low-emission pathway, not only holds the key to stabilizing the global climate, but also to promoting sustainable development and high growth, eradicating poverty and building a fairer, more equitable society. They agree that, for developing countries to pursue low-carbon growth, significant, predictable and accessible financial support must be provided from developed country parties and the carbon markets.
Participants further express their belief that, beneath the polarized rhetoric in international climate change negotiations, the contours of a deal are discernible, and they have an important role to play in rebuilding trust and confidence, in staking-out the middle ground and inviting others to join. They also decided to meet, where useful, on the margins of UNFCCC inter-sessionals, and to hold a third meeting of the Cartagena Group/Dialogue for Progressive Action in Costa Rica, from 29-30 October 2010. They also welcomed the offers of the Governments of Samoa and Antigua and Barbuda to host future meetings.
Countries participating in the Cartagena Group/Dialogue for Progressive Action include Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Samoa, Spain, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Uruguay, the UK and the European Commission. [Press Release Opening
] [Press Release Outcome
] [Chair's Statement
Energy and Climate Change Advisory Group Discusses Public-Private Partnerships
15 July 2010: The UN Secretary-General's High-level Energy and Climate Change Advisory Group met in Mexico City, Mexico, on 15 July 2010, and focused on new public-private partnerships and other ways to support global goals on energy access and energy efficiency.
The Group discussed new public-private partnerships in support of the goals set out in a report it launched in April 2010, namely: universal access to modern energy services that are reliable, affordable, sustainable and, if possible, from low-emissions sources by 2030; and reduce by 40% global energy intensity by 2030. Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Advisory Group, stressed that "Governments alone will not be able to deal with the challenges." He called for "a commitment from all sectors of society, including the private sector, academia and civil society, as well as from international organizations and NGOs."
The meeting was co-hosted by Mexican Energy Minister Georgina Kessel Martínez and Carlos Slim Helú, a Mexican businessman and philanthropist who is also a member of the Group. The Group comprises 20 business leaders, academics and representatives of the UN and civil society. Noting that private companies already have the green energy technology and that many governments are offering financial incentives and support, Yumkella underscored the need to "forge a strong public-private partnership" to tackle the goals set in the Group's report. [UN Press Release
] [UNIDO Press Release
] [Climate Change Policy & Practice Story on the Launch of ...
WMO Commission for Agriculture Addresses Improved Climate Services
21 July 2010: The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission for Agricultural Meteorology held its 15th session from 15-21 July 2010, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
The meeting was attended by about 120 representatives from 62 countries and international organizations, and adopted a programme of work to enhance agrometeorological services to assist the farming community to cope with the increasing impacts of climate variability and climate change. In particular, the Commission for Agricultural Meteorology identified several priorities for its future work until 2014, namely: developing enhanced services for the agricultural, livestock, forestry and fisheries communities and partner agencies; encouraging the development of a knowledge-sharing interface between forecasters/scientists and agricultural decision makers; supporting agrometeorological training at regional, national and local levels; and encouraging the sharing of resources among WMO members and other organizations in order to build synergies and support human health and economic development.
The 15th session of the Commission for Agricultural Meteorology was preceded by the international workshop on “Addressing the Livelihood Crisis of Farmers: Weather and Climate Services,” organized by WMO and a number of partner organizations, which took place from 12-14 July 2010, at the same venue. The workshop was attended by about 150 participants from over 50 countries and resulted in a set of recommendations aimed at exploiting the full potential of weather and climate services for reducing the vulnerability of farming communities. These recommendations were forwarded to the Commission for its consideration. [WMO Press Release on the Commission for Agricultural Meteoro...
] [WMO Press Release on the Workshop
] [Workshop Website
] [15th Session Website
IMO Reviews Progress on Climate Change
14 July 2010: The International Maritime Organization (IMO) held a meeting in London, UK, on 14 July 2010, with representatives from the shipping industry to review, inter alia
, progress on climate change issues.
At the meeting, participants noted progress made by the IMO towards setting up a comprehensive regulatory regime aimed at limiting or reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships, through the work of its Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC). Industry representatives confirmed they would continue supporting IMO in its work on climate change through various actions, including those aiming at promoting the Organization's work on technical, operational and market-based measures, as well as at the 61st meeting of the MEPC, to be held from 27 September-1 October 2010, in London, UK, with a view to achieving proportionate, balanced and workable measures.
They further pledged to support the outcome of MEPC 61, when presented to the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16), scheduled to meet in Cancún, Mexico, from 29 November-10 December 2010. [IMO Press Release
Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing Holds Second Meeting
13 July 2010:
The High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, co-chaired by Prime Ministers Meles Zenawi (Ethiopia) and Jens Stoltenberg (Norway), held its second meeting on 12-13 July 2010, in New York, US.
The meeting was attended by the 21 principal members of the Advisory Group on Financing, as well as its two Co-Chairmen. In a press conference held at the conclusion of the meeting, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recalled that the Advisory Group is seeking to identify the sources of longer-term financing for developing countries' efforts in mitigating and adapting to climate change promised by world leaders in Copenhagen in 2009. He also highlighted the agreed goal of scaling up support to reach 100 billion dollars per year by 2020, in addition to 30 billion dollars until 2012.
Ban said several Group members had met with representatives from member States, civil society and private sector, and added that he had also participated in the "very stimulating discussions." Ban stated that he expected the Group will provide him its final recommendations in October 2010, and that its report will feed into the discussions at the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16) in Cancun, Mexico. The UN Secretary-General underscored the importance of delivering on the climate finance pledges, noting it would strengthen trust between developing and developed countries, and build momentum in the global negotiations.
The UN Secretary-General outlined the challenges ahead for the Co-Chairmen, including: identify the sources of resources; package these resources in a politically viable, economically sound way; and bring this matter into the formal negotiation process. The UN Secretary-General's High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing is scheduled to hold its third meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. [Ban's Press Conference
] [UN Press Release
GEF Council Approves Major Reforms in New Funding Cycle
2 July 2010: The 38th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council took place in Washington DC, US, from 29 June-1 July 2010, and approved major reforms aimed at helping developing countries to meet international environmental challenges, including those related to climate change and biodiversity.
During the meeting the Council approved major reforms designed to give developing countries and stakeholders more control and access to funds, including: direct access to GEF resources for recipient countries looking to meet various UN convention requirements; streamlined GEF project cycle and a move to a more refined and strategic programmatic investment approach; reformed GEF's Country Support Program with$26 million in funding. The Council also agreed to initiate a process to determine how best to integrate new agencies, including qualified national entities, into the GEF network.
In May 2010, during the sixth meeting of donors for the Fifth GEF Replenishment, held in Paris, France, over 30 countries pledged US$4.34 billion to fund projects with global environmental benefits during the next four years. The meeting of donors also agreed to channel US$1.3 billion to the climate change focal area. The financial pledges included some of the Fast Start Financing discussed at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.
Commenting on the reforms, Monique Barbut, GEF CEO and Chairperson, stated that "the GEF Council has accorded long overdue recognition to the ability of countries to take the lead in the efficient and effective programming of their multilateral assistance." [38th GEF Council Meeting Website
] [Climate Change Policy & Practice Story on the GEF Replen...
] [Joint Summary of the Chairs
World Cities Summit 2010 Focuses on Sustainable Cities
1 July 2010: The World Cities Summit 2010, organized by the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC), took place in Singapore from 29 June-1 July 2010, under the theme "Liveable and Sustainable Cities for the Future."
The Summit focused on the challenges related to urban planning, infrastructure financing, public housing, waste management, urban biodiversity and climate change. Participants discussed how to mitigate risks and build inclusive and harmonious cities. Partners of the Summit included the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). The Summit attracted 25 ministers, as well as 45 mayors and governors from 20 countries, including China and Australia.
At the opening ceremony, Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT Executive Director, acknowledged that 227 million people have moved out of slum conditions since 2000, but warned against the challenges posed by rapid urbanization, the financial crisis and climate change. She noted that vulnerable cities will need to prepare their infrastructure for the impacts of climate change, adding that one meter sea level rise will threaten major cities in Asia, including Mumbai, Kolkata, Shanghai, Osaka-Kobe and Tokyo. She argued for better financing capacity of municipalities to provide for adequate infrastructure in many developing countries and encouraging access to innovative urban infrastructure financing schemes.
On 30 June, the World Cities Summit (WCS) Mayors' Forum was held. The Forum was attended by over 40 mayors and governors, and aimed to provide a strategic platform for mayors to discuss challenges faced by cities, share lessons learned, and deliberate possible joint solutions. The forum addressed leadership and governance in turbulent times, eco-friendly and liveable communities, and promoting communities of best practices among cities.
During the Summit, the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize was awarded to the Bilbao City Hall, Spain, in recognition of its commitment towards a holistic approach to sustainable urban transformation. The main organizer of the Summit, the CLC, is expected to partner with the World Bank, UN-HABITAT and the ADB to develop the WCS Mayors' Forum into a global network that promotes best practices and peer-to-peer learning among cities to support urban sustainability. [UN-HABITAT Press Release
] [World Cities Summit Website
WTO Negotiations on Environmental Goods and Services Continue
1 July 2010: The World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on Environmental Goods and Services continued during a meeting of the Committee on Trade and Environment Special Session (CTE-SS), with proposals to include carbon capture and storage (CCS), natural gas and biofuels among environmental goods.
The informal meeting of the CTE-SS, held on 30 June-1 July 2010, continued receiving countries' submissions on possible environmental goods to be identified for liberalization. Countries make proposals on an individual basis, and there is no agreement yet on the inclusion of any of these products. Argentina and Brazil made a common contribution on the need to give developing countries more flexibility in liberalizing environmental goods and services through a set of criteria on special and differential treatment. Negotiations will continue in September-October 2010. [IISD RS Sources]
Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Discusses Advancing Agreement at COP 16
1 July 2010: The seventh Meeting at the Leaders' representative level of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate took place in Rome, Italy, from 30 June-1 July 2010.
The meeting was attended by representatives from the 17 major economies, UN officials, and representatives from Bangladesh, Denmark, Barbados, Ethiopia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. Participants discussed various issues related to the international climate change negotiations and, according to the Chair's Summary, they emphasized the importance of quickly implementing the Copenhagen Accord's fast-start financing provisions, highlighting that maximum clarity and transparency will build international confidence and be an essential part of a balanced outcome of the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16) to be held Cancun, Mexico, in late 2010.
Participants exchanged ideas on Annex I Parties mitigation and support. They also addressed non-Annex I Parties mitigation, highlighting that it should be party-driven, non-politicized, have a "multilateral anchor" and be based on national communications. Participants discussed whether the targets and actions included in the Copenhagen Accord may be reflected in a future outcome and whether such outcome will be legally binding and contained in a single instrument or two. Extensive discussion focused on progress on measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) at COP 16 with regard to: Annex I Parties mitigation; financial and technological support of non-Annex I Parties mitigation; and non-Annex I Parties mitigation. Participants also emphasized the need to focus adaptation efforts on vulnerable countries.
Follow-up meetings were also announced, including: a Clean Energy Ministerial meeting to be held from 19-20 July 2010, in Washington, DC, US, to follow up on the Technology Action Plans of the Global Partnership launched by G-8 leaders in L'Aquila, Italy, in 2009; and a ministerial meeting on technology to be co-hosted by Mexico and India from 8-9 November 2010. [Co-Chair's Summary
] [Major Economies Forum website
G-20 Toronto Summit Addresses Energy Subsidies, Climate Change and Food Security
27 June 2010: The G-20 Summit convened in Toronto, Canada, from 26-27 June 2010, and concluded with a final Declaration that, among other issues, addresses development and environmental issues, including climate change and energy. In the Declaration, the G-20 leaders reiterate their commitment to a green recovery and to sustainable global growth. They also express commitment to engage in negotiations under the UNFCCC, along with their determination to ensure a successful outcome through an inclusive process at the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the UNFCCC in Cancun, Mexico, from 29 November-20 December 2010. In addition, the G-20 leaders commit to exploring the potential of innovative, results-based mechanisms such as advance market commitments to harness the creativity and resources of the private sector in achieving breakthrough innovations in food security and agriculture development in poor countries, with a view to reporting on progress at the upcoming G-20 Summit to be held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, on 11-12 November 2010. They further establish a Working Group on Development to elaborate, consistent with the G-20's focus on measures to promote economic growth and resilience, a development agenda and multi-year action plans to be adopted at the Seoul Summit. [The Declaration
] [Summit website
Global Compact Leaders' Summit Adopts New York Declaration by Business
25 June 2010: The third Global Compact Leaders' Summit took place from 24-25 June 2010, in New York, US, and brought together over 1,200 corporate executives, government representatives, civil society leaders and other participants who committed to step up their efforts to build a sustainable and inclusive global economy.
The Summit concluded with the adoption of the New York Declaration by Business, in which Global Compact leaders express their commitment to making the global economy more sustainable and inclusive through implementation of responsible practices. Noting that "market success and political leadership go hand in hand," they express their willingness to do their part and call on governments to, inter alia
: set goals and incentives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; strengthen climate resilience; and support a clean energy pathway globally, and especially in developing countries.
Following the final closed-door round table discussion on “Achieving Development,” the Summit held a brief “sustainability event” that featured presentations by Dennis Nally, Global Chairman, PricewaterhouseCoopers, who announced a global initiative to tackle climate change. [UN Press Release
] [Global Compact Press Release
] [The Declaration
] [Global Compact Leaders' Summit Website
AMCEN 13 Focuses on Rio Conventions, Prepares for Cancun
25 June 2010: The 13th Session of the African Ministers' Conference on Environment (AMCEN)
took place in Bamako, Mali, from 20-25 June 2010, under the theme “Enhancing the interrelationship between climate change, biodiversity and desertification for sustainable development.” The meeting concluded with the adoption of the Bamako Declaration, which was developed to serve as the continent's new road map for sustainable development and basis for strengthening the common negotiating position on climate change and biological diversity.
The session aimed to provide a platform for environment ministers to deliberate on substantive issues of importance to Africa, including ongoing negotiations on climate change and biodiversity. A ministerial dialogue reviewed progress towards: Africa's development of a common negotiating position on a comprehensive international climate change regime beyond 2012; the development of a comprehensive framework of African climate change programmes; and Africa's preparations for developing a common negotiating position on the international regime on access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources (ABS).
The Ministerial segment on climate change discussed: the outcomes of the meetings of the Conference of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 11 May 2010, and in Bamako, Mali, on 23 June 2010; and the salient aspects of the comprehensive framework of African climate change programmes, including opportunities presented by climate change responses, in addition to the institutional arrangements in Africa for managing and using climate funding provided by the international community. The ministerial dialogue on desertification focused on the links between desertification, land degradation and climate change, particularly on efforts needed to combat climate change in Africa taking into account measures for sustainable land and water management.
At the opening of the session, Buyelwa Sonjica, South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, stressed that the AMCEN 13 theme presents a useful approach to expanding the strategic focus of AMCEN to include "other important environmental issues facing the continent - in addition and in relation to the challenges posed by climate change."
Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission (AUC), stressed that climate change is a developmental emergency for Africa and urged contextualizing the next round of global climate change negotiations into the development agenda. She underscored that the AUC, in partnership with the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Agency and the EU, is currently engaged in discussions to ensure that agriculture is taken forward in the climate change negotiations. She stressed that Africa does not need to compromise its economic growth due to mitigation efforts, but rather should push for access to affordable technology for a green economy. She reported that the 23rd June CAHOSCC meeting deliberated on how best to organize the coordinating structure of CAHOSCC at ministers and experts levels, and that their recommendations will be considered by the Heads of State and Government during the July Summit in Kampala, Uganda. She also noted an initiative by the UN Secretary-General to set up a High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, to ensure the interconnectivity between food security, climate change, access to water and energy among others, in which Africa will be represented.
AMCEN 13 was preceded by the third meeting of African high-level expert panel on climate change, held on 20 June 2010, which discussed: a draft AMCEN climate change communication strategy; a draft comprehensive framework of African climate change programmes; climate change, clean technology and green growth opportunities; air pollution abatement in relation to other environmentally-friendly initiatives: the case of sustainable transport in Africa; carbon market, innovation and Arabic gum; and the status of the international climate change negotiations.
The UN Environment Progarmme (UNEP) Regional Office for Africa serves as the Secretariat to AMCEN. [AMCEN 13 Website
] [Sonjica's Speech
] [Tumusiime's Speech
IPCC Holds Workshop on Sea-Level Rise and Ice Sheet Instabilities
24 June 2010: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) convened a workshop on Sea-Level Rise and Ice Sheet Instabilities from 21-24 June 2010, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The meeting was held under the auspices of IPCC Working Group I (WG I), which deals with the Physical Science Basis.
Global sea-level rise is among the major long-term consequences of climate change. A reliable projection is required in order to quantify coastal impacts and to assess the sustainability of coastal settlements around the world. In particular, small islands are already now affected by rising sea level and therefore a robust estimate of the future rates of sea-level increase is crucial.
The WG I contribution to the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) will comprehensively assess the physical science basis of climate change, including sea level. The WG I contribution to the AR5 will include a chapter on Observations in the Cryosphere and a separate chapter on Sea-Level Change. The latter chapter will provide an end-to-end assessment of sea-level changes, including causes and regional expression. It will also treat the role of ice sheets and potential ice sheet instabilities as major potential contributors to future sea level. The assessment of regional sea-level change provides important regional information relevant for impacts studies which will be assessed in the WG II contribution to AR5.
The workshop was held early in the assessment cycle so that to provide a platform to discuss the current understanding of sea-level change in a comprehensive way across various scientific disciplines, ranging from oceanography, remote sensing, in situ
observations, ice sheet dynamics and glacier research. About 100 experts from over 40 countries attended the workshop, including members of the newly appointed author teams for the two most relevant chapters of the WG I AR5.
A workshop report will be published in the third quarter of 2010 and will include extended abstracts of presentations and a short summary of the key issues addressed during the meeting. [IISD-RS Sources] [WG I Meeting Information
CIF Strategic Climate Fund Holds Program Meetings
24 June 2010: The Climate Investment Funds (CIF) Sub-Committee meetings took place from 22-24 June 2010, in Washington DC, US. These included meetings of the following target programs of the CIF Strategic Climate Fund (SCF): the Program for Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP); the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR); and the Forest Investment Program (FIP).
Ethiopia, Honduras, Kenya, Maldives, Mali and Nepal were selected by the SREP to undertake the first pilot programmes to scale up renewable energy, transform their energy sectors and shift the market toward renewables.
Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mexico were selected as pilots for the FIP to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), and promote sustainable management of their forests.
Bolivia, Cambodia, Mozambique, Tajikistan and Yemen, which are already undertaking activities under the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), were each awarded US$1.5 million to begin preparation of their national-level Strategic Programs for Climate Resilience (SPCR) and build capacity for their implemention. [CIF Website
] [World Bank Press Release
] [CIF Sub-Committees Meeting Website
UNFCCC Holds Technical Workshop on Costs and Benefits of Adaptation Options
24 June 2010: The UNFCCC Secretariat organized a technical workshop on costs and benefits of adaptation options from 22-24 June 2010, in Madrid, Spain.
The workshop involved approximately 70 representatives from parties, relevant organizations, communities and experts with a view to facilitating the identification of appropriate adaptation practices and measures, and avoiding maladaptation. During the workshop, participants addressed methodological issues, including those related to the assessments of costs and benefits. On the second day, three break-out groups considered assessments of costs and benefits in the following sectors: agriculture and ecosystems/biodiversity; water resources and health; and coastal zones, settlements and infrastructure. The event concluded with a discussion on follow up activities to be undertaken by parties and/or organizations to advance assessments of costs and benefits.
In her closing statement, Workshop Chair Paz Valiente, Deputy Director General of Impacts and Adaptation, Spanish Office of Climate Change, Spanish Ministry of Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs, underlined the complexity of the issue and the need for more methodological work. She noted repeated calls for: taking account of ecosystem services; ensuring that assessment processes do not lead to discounting their importance and role; capacity building on the different tools available and the appropriateness of their use in different contexts; and sharing and disseminating experience to advance understanding of these issues. [IISD RS Sources] [Workshop Website
17th Katoomba Meeting Discusses Payments for Ecosystem Services
24 June 2010: The Katoomba Group, an international network of individuals working to promote and improve capacity related to markets and payments for ecosystem services (PES), held its 17th meeting in Hanoi, Viet Nam, from 23-24 June 2010.
The meeting was co-hosted by several organizations, including two centers of the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR): the Center for International Forestry Research and the World Agroforestry Center. Participants discussed carbon financing and systems for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), focusing on Southeast Asia. On carbon financing, participants focused on: national-level REDD systems; international, regional and national experiences; engagement of stakeholders, including investors; pilot demonstration sites; and training, capacity building and research agendas.
On forest carbon and REDD architecture, presentations and discussions highlighted: work and experiences in Papua New Guinea, Viet Nam and Indonesia; a comparative analysis of policy implementation and approaches across Southeast Asia; the design of national REDD programmes from the bottom up; public-private partnerships; and the state of emerging environmental markets. Tim Boyle, Asia Pacific regional coordinator for the UN-REDD Programme, presented on UN-REDD's activities with partner countries in the region. Participants also discussed schemes for payments for watershed and marine ecosystem services, and biodiversity markets and market-like structures like biodiversity banking. [2010 Katoomba Meeting XVII
UN-REDD Holds Workshop on MRV
25 June 2010: The UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD Programme), along with the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the Mexican Forestry Commission (CONAFOR), held a workshop titled “Measurement, reporting and verification (MRV), a roadmap for implementation at the country level,” from 22-24 June 2010, in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The workshop brought together representatives from pilot and partner countries of the UN-REDD Programme, as well as other forested countries. Participants shared experiences in implementing MRV systems for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+) while identifying current challenges, bottlenecks and data issues.
Over 80 participants from 30 different countries discussed methodological approaches to monitoring land use changes, focusing especially on forest land use changes; developing Green House Gas (GHG) inventories for forests; measuring Reference Emission Levels (REL) and Reference Levels (RL); and estimating emission factors (carbon stock changes) by implementing national forest inventories.
The GEO group offered its support to work jointly with the UN-REDD Programme to make satellite imagery available to countries, which will allow for better integration of MRV systems. The World Bank expert on MRV expressed his willingness to work jointly with the UN-REDD Programme to maximize the resources offered to countries.
Participants agreed to strengthen capacity building towards improved design and operation of MRV systems along the lines of the current cooperation between the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). [UN REDD Press Release
Third Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development Adopts Solo Declaration
24 June 2010: The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and the Government of Indonesia co-organized the third Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD) in the city of Solo, Indonesia, from 22-24 June 2010.
The Conference gathered government representatives and experts from Asia and Pacific countries to focus on the theme "Empowering Communities for Sustainable Urbanization." It concluded with the adoption of the Solo Declaration, which: announces the creation of a Permanent Secretariat for the APMCHUD in New Delhi, India; expresses concern about the impacts of the economic crisis and climate change on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); recognizes the role of local stakeholders, including women and children, in achieving sustainable urbanization and tackling climate change; and agrees on an implementation plan to address the challenges of housing and urbanization.
Participants adopted an implementation plan that proposes actions spanning the five areas addressed by Conference working groups, namely: community participation in planning and governance; participatory slum upgrading; delivery of MDGs on water and sanitation; financing sustainable housing and urban development; and the role of community in addressing climate change. On the latter issue, the governments committed to: organize a training programme and develop guidelines to mainstream climate change interventions at the local level; hold a policy seminar with existing regional networks and initiatives on climate change to share experience and knowledge; and identify an institution to serve as a focal point for the exchange of information and experiences on climate change best practices and lessons learned in the region.
is a consultative inter-governmental mechanism for the promotion of sustainable housing and urban development in the Asia-Pacific region. The fourth Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development is expected to be held in Jordan in 2012.[UN-HABITAT Press Release
] [APMCHUD Website
] [Solo Declaration
RRI Dialogue Addresses Forests, Governance and Climate Change
24 June 2010: The fifth Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change took place on 22 June 2010, in Washington DC, US. The Dialogue provided a forum for representatives from governments and civil society to discuss recent developments in the global architecture for a mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+).
The Dialogue's principal focus was on governance, efforts to protect the rights and interests of local peoples, and the prospects for REDD at the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the UNFCCC. In four sessions, participants: took stock of recent meetings, particularly the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference (May 2010) that saw agreement on an interim REDD+ partnership; addressed challenges in REDD implementation; discussed progress towards a framework of standards and safeguards for forests and climate; and identified critical issues to be addressed and the next steps to be taken in preparation for COP 16. Participants also discussed the role of bilateralism, which some noted could complement multilateral efforts in REDD financing and has the advantage of faster implementation, while others worried about consistency of standards and over-burdening local institutions with both bilateral and multilateral efforts. They also noted discrepancies between statements on safeguards and actual implementation, and discussed the drivers of deforestation and the costs and risks involved with REDD implementation.
Regional RRI Dialogues are being planned for El Salvador, Nepal and Ethiopia, to continue discussion prior to COP 16. [IISD RS Coverage of the Dialogue
Climate Modelers Discuss Greenhouse Gas Reduction Analysis
18 June 2010: The International Conference on Post-Kyoto Climate Change Mitigation Modeling was held following the Second East Asia Climate Forum from 17-18 June 2010 in Seoul, Korea. It provided a forum for climate modeling experts from around the world to discuss greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction analysis. The conference addressed the advancement of GHG reduction modeling in the post-Kyoto GHG emissions reduction regime and facilitated cooperation to improve infrastructure for continued developing country participation in GHG reduction modeling. [IISD RS coverage
Ozone OEWG 30 Convenes
18 June 2010: The 30th meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG 30) of the parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer took place from 15-18 June 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland.
At OEWG 30, parties discussed issues related to: the financial mechanism; hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and their alternatives; polyols; and environmentally sound management of banks of ozone-depleting substances (ODS). Parties also considered issues concerning exemptions for ODS uses, including: essential- and critical-use exemptions for 2011 and 2012; transitions to chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-free metered dose inhalers; laboratory and analytical uses of ODS; and use of ODS as process agents. OEWG 30 also considered proposals by the US, Canada and Mexico (UNEP/OzL.Pro.WG.1/30/5) and by the Federated States of Micronesia (UNEP/OzL.Pro.WG.1/30/4) for amendments to the Montreal Protocol to control hydrofluorocarbons (HFC).
Introducing its trilateral proposal, the US stated that parties have been successful under the Montreal Protocol in solving the global environmental problem of ozone depletion, but risk exacerbating the problem of climate change through the transition to HFCs from CFCs and HCFCs. The Federated States of Micronesia highlighted the potential for an HFC phase-down to avoid carbon emissions, noting this would contribute to delaying the adverse impacts of climate change. In the ensuing discussion, a number of delegates stressed that HFCs are the mandate of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, and underscored that since HFCs are not ODS, they are outside the ambit of the Montreal Protocol. An open-ended contact group on HFCs was created, led by Agustín Sánchez Guevara (Mexico) and met twice during the meeting. [Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of OEWG 30
] [Meeting Report
] [Earth Negotiations Bulletin Archives of Ozone Negotiation Co...
UNECE Black Carbon Group Holds First Meeting
28 June 2010: The first meeting of the Ad Hoc
Expert Group on Black Carbon under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) was held in Brussels, Belgium, on 17-18 June 2010.
During the meeting, national experts and policymakers from Europe, North and South America and Asia reviewed the current state of black carbon research, discussed knowledge gaps, and explored future strategies for reducing the pollutant's emissions. By the end of 2010, the Group, chaired by Norway and the US, is expected to provide options for potential revisions to the 1999 Gothenburg Protocol, enabling parties to the Convention to mitigate black carbon as part of a broader particulate matter strategy for health purposes and to achieve climate co-benefits.
The Group was created in 2009 and tasked to identify options for potential revisions to the Convention's 1999 Gothenburg Protocol that would enable parties to mitigate black carbon as a component of particulate matter. Black carbon is an air pollutant formed through the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuel and biomass, which poses significant risks to human health and the environment. [UNECE Press Release
] [Expert Group Website
World Day to Combat Desertification Celebrated
17 June 2010: In statements marking World Day to Combat Desertification, celebrated annually on 17 June, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja have called attention to the interlinkages between soil, biodiversity and climate change.
In his statement, the Secretary-General notes that the " human, environmental and social vulnerability come together with unusual force and symmetry in the world's drylands. Climate change will only exacerbate such pressures." He further suggests that, in this International Year of Biodiversity, "we must remember that drylands are areas of enormous biological diversity and productivity. Thirty per cent of the crops that are cultivated and consumed in every corner of the world originate in drylands. The biodiversity of dryland soil also plays a critical role in transforming atmospheric carbon into organic carbon – the Earth's largest pool of organic carbon."
Executive Secretary Gnacadja's statement highlights that “Enhancing soils anywhere enhances life everywhere” is this year's motto for World Day to Combat Desertification, and states that the theme "places soil health where it needs to be: at the very foundation of our survival and well-being." [UN Secretary-General Ban's Statement
] [Executive Secretary Gnacadja's Statement
UNFF Bureau Discusses Financing, REDD+ and UNFF 9 Preparations
17 June 2010: The Bureau of the Ninth Session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF 9) held its fourth meeting at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 17 June 2010.
The Bureau appointed officers for the Ad Hoc
Expert Group on Forest Financing and considered the meeting's organization of work. The Bureau was informed of a recent meeting among forest-related regional processes, multilateral development banks and international institutions, organized by the UNFF Secretariat. The meeting had concluded that: forests should be elevated on the agenda of major events; financial resources should be explored beyond REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of carbon stocks); and the importance of UNFF forest financing process should be emphasized. The Bureau took note of a progress report on the Facilitative Process, which included case study reports on identifying gaps, obstacles and opportunities in forest financing in seven small island developing States (SIDS) and low forest cover countries. The Bureau also discussed preparations for UNFF 9, agreeing that the High-level Segment should result in a Ministerial Declaration that can provide input into the Rio +20 Summit.
Several Bureau members expressed concern about attempts to reinterpret the concept of sustainable forest management (SFM) in other fora, and were made aware of the outcome of a meeting of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests on advancing a common message on SFM, which took place in April 2010.
The Bureau was also briefed on a REDD+ coordination meeting, which sought to increase coordination among separate implementation operations in various countries where REDD+ was being implemented. [UNFF 9 Bureau Meeting Minutes
Adaptation Fund Board Approves Project Concepts for Financing
24 June 2010: The Adaptation Fund Board approved the first four proposals of concrete adaptation projects at its tenth meeting held in Bonn, Germany, from 14-16 June 2010. The approved project concepts include one by the Centre de Suivi Ecologique, a National Implementing Entity from Senegal, under the direct access modality. At the concluding session, Farrukh Khan, Chair of the Adaptation Fund Board, stated that "we have translated into reality our collective quest for direct access." He added that "this is the first step and the long road is yet before us but what makes the difference is that today we know where we are headed."
The proposal by the Government of Senegal through the Centre de Suivi Ecologique is the first to make use of the ground-breaking direct access modality of the Adaptation Fund. Under this arrangement, a national organization that has illustrated that it meets the fiduciary standards set by the Fund can submit proposals to, and receive funds from, the Adaptation Fund as a National Implementing Entity.
The other three proposals approved by the Board are from the Governments of Nicaragua, Pakistan and the Solomon Islands, with a total proposed value of US$21.8 million. These project concepts were submitted through the more conventional path also available in the Fund, where the UN Development Programme (UNDP) acts as a Multilateral Implementing Entity.
In addition, the Board approved a Results-Based Management and Evaluation Framework that will help enhance the effectiveness of the Adaptation Fund project portfolio. Also, the Adaptation Fund Board accredited four new Multilateral Implementing Entities that had been recommended by the Accreditation Panel. These entities include: the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the UN World Food Programme (WFP). [Adaptation Fund Press Release]
UNDP Holds Cape Verde Workshop on Climate Change Risks and Opportunities
June 2010: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) organized a workshop from 14-15 June, in Praia, Cape Verde, as part of the project on "Integrating climate change risks and opportunities into national development processes and UN country programming," funded by the Government of Spain.
The workshop, which gathered over 30 participants, aimed to enhance the capacity of national stakeholders to understand climate change and integrate climate risks into the national development processes. Specifically, the workshop supported participants in a review of the Cape Verde Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper-II (PRSP) for climate change risks and opportunities. The event also included presentations on local climate, general climate change concepts, and a series of group exercises and discussions sessions. The project will support the evaluation of UN programming documents such as the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), and other multi-agency programmes and projects, as well as national development plans, PRSPs and other strategies for climate risks and opportunities, and propose response options to manage these risks. The Spanish Government has provided US$1.2 million towards the project, which is being implemented in five countries including El Salvador, Nicaragua, Malawi and Colombia. [UNDP Workshop Website
Seminar on Environmentally Sound Management of ODS Banks Convenes
14 June 2010: The Ozone Secretariat convened a seminar on the Environmentally Sound Management of ozone depleting substance (ODS) banks on 14 June 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland, immediately prior to the beginning of the 30th meeting of the Open-Ending Working Group, which is convening from 14-17 June. Participants to the seminar discussed options for mobilizing available funds to destroy ODS including: activities of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol in response to decisions on funding activities related to destruction; using established voluntary market programmes; and leveraging funds under the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management to detail the scope and location of stocks of ODS. [Ozone Secretariat website
] [Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of ozone negotitations
International Polar Year Comes to an End
12 June 2010: The closing ceremony of the International Polar Year 2007–2008 (IPY), the largest polar research and education venture ever undertaken, took place in Oslo, Norway, on 12 June 2010, the final day of the IPY Oslo Science Conference.
The IPY was sponsored by the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which passed the baton to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, the International Arctic Science Committee and the WMO Executive Council Panel on Polar Observations, Research and Services, to secure the legacy of this initiative. “IPY was founded on the ideas and energy of thousands of scientists, educators, technicians and many more,” said Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of WMO. Deliang Chen, Executive Director of ICSU, emphasized that "IPY has paved the way for a solid understanding of the polar regions at a critical time for society's relationship with the Earth," and underlining the importance of the collaboration among countries and scientific disciplines for the success of IPY, called for sustaining in the long-term "the energy and partnerships that converged in IPY."
The IPY success story has been captured in a summary report titled "Understanding Earth's Polar Challenges: International Polar Year 2007–2008" from the ICSU-WMO Joint Committee, which oversaw the implementation of the IPY. [WMO Press Release
] [IPY Website
UNFCCC Publishes AWG-LCA and AWG-KP June Meeting Reports
28 June 2010: The UNFCCC Secretariat has released the report (FCCC/KP/AWG/2010/7) of the 12th session of the Ad Hoc
Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and the report (FCCC/AWGLCA/2010/7) of the tenth session of the Ad Hoc
Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA), held in Bonn, Germany, from 1-11 June 2010.
In its conclusions, the AWG-KP requests the Secretariat to, inter alia
: organize an in-session workshop at AWG-KP 13 on the scale of emission reductions to be achieved by Annex I parties in aggregate and the contribution of Annex I parties, individually or jointly, to this scale; and organize, before AWG- KP 13, subject to the availability of supplementary resources, a pre-sessional workshop on forest management accounting, including any new available information, taking into account progress made during AWG-KP 12 regarding the use of reference levels. The AWG- LCA did not adopt conclusions at the June session. [AWG-LCA Report
] [AWG-KP Report
] [Climate Change Policy & Practice Story on the UNFCCC Jun...
UNECE Organizes Energy and Climate Meetings
11 June 2010: The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has hosted a series of energy and climate meetings at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The first meeting of the Group of Experts of the Global Energy Efficiency 21 (GEE21) Project convened on 10 June 2010. It was preceded by the 15th Session of the Ad Hoc
Group of Experts on Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation, on 9 June 2010, and followed by the 21th Session of the Steering Committee of the GEE21 Project, on 11 June.
At the first meeting of the Group of Experts of the GEE21 Project, representatives from the five UN regional commissions adopted the programme of work of the Group and mapped out future activities, including the development of regional concepts on energy efficiency and elements for a Global Strategy for Energy Efficiency Market Formation to Mitigate Climate Change. The strategy is expected to reflect the experiences and lessons learned in financing investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, through the work of the UN Regional Commissions, the financial community and other energy sector stakeholders.
The 15th Session of the Ad Hoc
Group of Experts on Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation reviewed: progress in the implementation of the project “Financing Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation” (FEEI); the outcome of the Regional Analysis of Policy Reforms to Promote Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Investments, in particular recommendations to overcome barriers to energy efficiency and renewable energy investments in countries participating in the project; and preparations for a Workshop on Investments in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Projects to be organized jointly by the UNECE and Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in the framework of the FEEI and GEE21 projects.
The 21st Session of the Steering Committee of the GEE21 Project discussed: the development of the renewable energy sector in the Russian Federation and in countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS): prospects for inter-regional cooperation; increasing energy efficiency for secure energy supplies; the Regional Network for Efficient Use of Energy and Water Resources in South- Eastern Europe; energy efficiency market formation in South-Eastern Europe; removing barriers to energy efficiency improvements in the state sector in Belarus; green procurement for smart purchasing; the Action Plan for Energy Efficient Housing in the UNECE Region; modern and sustainable heat and power from woody biomass in South- Eastern Europe; and Best Practice Guidance on Effective Methane Drainage and Use in Coal Mines. [UNECE Press Release
] [GEE21 Expert Group Meeting Documents
] [FEEI Meeting Documents
] [GEE21 Steering Committee Meeting Documents
UNDP Administrator Speaks on Development Cooperation in Times of Crisis
9 June 2010: UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark delivered a speech at the Conference on Development Cooperation in Times of Crisis and on Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which convened in Madrid, Spain, on 9-10 June 2010.
She stressed that recurrent natural disasters, the global economic recession, the food and fuel crises, and climate change threaten to reverse the progress achieved towards the MDGs. She highlighted progress achieved with the support of the MDG Achievement Fund, established by the Government of Spain, with over 120 initiatives in 49 countries. She explained that the Fund supports the co-ordination of a range of development partners to speed up MDG progress and tackle inequalities, for example by adapting to the inevitable consequences of climate change.
Clark informed that on 17 June, UNDP will launch an International Assessment Report on what it takes to achieve the MDGs. The report draws from country-level evidence and highlights eight common areas and opportunities for priority action, including the need to expand access to energy and promote low-carbon development. She emphasized that a climate deal that generates funding for low-carbon energy and development solutions is essential. In this regard, she noted that the Government of Spain is well placed to share its know-how on mitigation measures and to play an active role in reaching a climate deal.
The International Assessment is expected to inform the negotiations on the MDG Summit outcome document and to complement the Secretary-General's MDG Progress Report. [UNDP Press Release
] [Conference Background
UNECE Energy Efficiency Project to Establish Investment Fund
9 June 2010: The 15th session of Ad Hoc
Group of Experts on Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) met in Geneva, Switzerland, on 9 June 2010. The meeting concluded with agreement to establish a UNECE-sponsored private-public partnership investment fund for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
The fund, to be estabnlished before the end of 2010 for the 12 countries participating in the project Financing Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation (FEEI), will support projects in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It will function on commercial terms, with a view to fostering market formation and demonstrating that energy efficiency projects can become business-as-usual for the financial sector. It is expected that this initiative will be replicated in other countries of the UNECE region and other regions of the world. [UNECE Press Release
] [FEEI Project Website
World Oceans Day Celebrated
8 June 2010: World Oceans Day, which is celebrated on 8 June, focused on the theme “Our oceans: opportunities and challenges” in 2010. In a message to mark the Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted that ocean ecosystems are facing multiple challenges, including exposure to land and marine based pollution, habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, unsustainable harvests and the introduction of invasive species. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) noted that coastal ecosystem services, which are often overlooked, are valued at around US$25,000 billion per year through areas like food production, storm and flood regulatory services, climate change mitigation and carbon sequestration. Also on World Oceans Day, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched the celebrations of its 50th anniversary. The celebrations provided an opportunity for IOC to take stock of its work in improving understanding of the seas and oceans, and their climate regulating role. In a message for the anniversary, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova underlined the role played by IOC in addressing some of the major global challenges, including: identifying and protecting marine biodiversity; monitoring global climate change; and coordinating tsunami warning systems. [World Oceans Day website
] [UNEP press release
, 8 June 2010] [UN Secretary-General's speech
] [UNESCO press release
, 8 June 2010]
World Environment Day Celebrated
6 June 2010: UN agencies celebrated World Environment Day on 6 June 2010, under the theme “Many Species. One Planet. One Future.” The celebrations included a number of activities, such as the launch of "Greening the Blue," which aims to encourage UN agencies to become climate neutral, solar power activities in Rwanda, and a website devoted to informing youth about climate.
In a statement delivered to mark the Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all UN agencies, funds and programmes to become climate neutral. He launched "Greening the Blue," which showcases ongoing UN activities aimed at making the organization more sustainable and provides advice to staff on how they can contribute. The activity includes greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories of 49 UN organizations, as well as tips and tools for staff on how to reduce their personal carbon footprints.
Rwanda, the global host of World Environment Day 2010, organized celebrations. In support of the Government of Rwanda's pursuit of a low-carbon, green path to economic development, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) World Environment Day Legacy Initiative received the donation of 300 solar home systems by energy company Philips.
Also on the occasion of World Environment Day, the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) launched "Youth Corner," a website dedicated to children and teens to answer frequently asked questions about weather, climate and water. [WMO Youth Corner
] [Greening the Blue Website
] [UNEP Press Release
] [World Environment Day 2010 Website
] [UN Press Release
UNCCD Organizes Land Day 2
6 June 2010: The Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) organized Land Day 2 on 5 June 2010, in parallel to the May/June Climate Change Talks in Bonn, Germany. The event sought to heighten the attention of policy- and decision-makers to the importance of land issues in the ongoing climate change negotiations, and to foster a dialogue that could strengthen an agreement regarding the post-2012 period for climate change policy.
Discussions were organized around questions related to: how synergetic implementation of the actions mandated under the UNFCCC and UNCCD can be fostered at the country level; how land and soil fit into an agreement for the post-2012 period; and what negotiators need to know about water and land assets in confronting climate change.
Among the ideas highlighted during the conclusion were: the importance of cooperation at various levels in order to minimize the proliferation of actions; the need for social innovation to transform success stories into processes with broader national and regional impacts; the need for a change in perception of water sources; the need to give attention to upscaling and downscaling of actions; the role for investment in human resources in order to build the capacity to make long-term change; and the need to focus on poverty eradication and economic growth as primary objectives. [UNCCD Website
] [Land Day 2 Website
Fifth GEF Replenishment Negotiations Conclude
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) finalized its Fifth Replenishment negotiations, with over 30 countries pledging US$4.25 billion to fund projects with global environmental benefits during the next four years. The sixth meeting of donors for the Fifth GEF Replenishment, held in Paris, France, on 12 May 2010, also agreed to channel US$1.3 billion to the climate change focal area. The financial pledges also include some of the Fast Start Financing discussed at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, and will feature the creation of a Sustainable Forest Management-REDD Plus (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) initiative.
Some of the main areas of work for the GEF during the four-year period starting July 2010 will be to: lower carbon dioxide emissions; expand sustainable management of protected areas and critical landscapes; strengthen multi-State cooperation on transboundary water systems management; reduce persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in land and water; reduce mercury emissions; and expand and protect the Earth's forest cover.
Links to further information
GEF press release
, 12 May 2010
Documents for the Sixth Meeting of the GEF-5 replenishment
Fifth Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts and Islands Held
The Fifth Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts and Islands took place in Paris, France, from 3-7 May 2010, and was organized around three thematic sessions: ensuring survival; preserving life; and improving governance. The event also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the International Year of Biodiversity 2010. It brought together over 850 participants from 80 countries (63% of which were developing countries and small island developing States), including leaders from governments, UN and other international agencies, NGOs, industry, oceans donors, organized science groups, and networks of museums and aquariums.
A Policy, Science and Technical Symposium was held on the first two days, during which participants attended plenary and concurrent panels that explored the three major themes of the conference through presentations and discussions. On the third day, three special roundtables were held for high-level national officials, ocean parliamentarians, and regional, provincial and local authorities. Concurrently, seven Global Forum Working Groups met throughout the day to discuss specific recommendations for national and international decision makers to advance the global oceans agenda. The last two days of the Conference were dedicated to a Policy Conference on “Charting the Way Ahead,” which featured plenary panels on the major conference themes.
Link to further information
IISD RS coverage of the meeting
Petersberg Climate Dialogue Gathers Environment and Climate Ministers
4 May 2010: Germany and Mexico jointly hosted the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Germany, from 2-4 May 2010, with a view to developing, in an informal framework, a political position in time for the next round of formal negotiations under the UNFCCC. The Dialogue was jointly opened by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Mexican President Felipe Calderón. Environment and climate ministers from 43 countries discussed concrete steps to reach an ambitious outcome at the next session of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties, in Cancún, Mexico, and the role of the Copenhagen Accord in achieving this. Working groups addressed different issues, including: mitigation, reporting, adaptation, carbon market, financing, technology and reducing emissions from deforestation.
Participants agreed that: combating climate change remains an urgent challenge; swift, joint action by the international community is indispensable; and concrete implementation of climate protection measures should occur in parallel to the UN negotiations. The environment ministers further agreed on prioritizing in further UN negotiations: reducing greenhouse gas emissions in developed and newly industrializing countries; setting up an international system for monitoring mitigation activities; supporting adaptation measures in developing countries; and financing international climate protection.
During the meeting, Germany, South Africa and the Republic of Korea launched an initiative to support developing countries in elaborating environment- and climate-friendly growth strategies, subject to transparent, measurable and comprehensible implementation. [BMU press release
, 4 May 2010]
UNPFII Urges Development Models Based on Indigenous Values
The ninth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), which convened from 19-30 April 2010, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, considered economic and social issues and their impacts, including the financial crisis, climate change, forests and the actions of multinational corporations, among other issues.
The special theme of the session was “Indigenous peoples: development with culture and identity.” In its concluding session, the Forum adopted a draft report that urged the UN system to support indigenous peoples' efforts in formulating their own development models based on their values, cultures and identities.
On climate change, the Forum considered the results of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference and the implications for indigenous peoples' local adaptation and mitigation measures (E/C.19/2010/18). The session also considered a study on the impact of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures on reindeer herding (E/C.19/2010/15) and another study on the extent to which climate change policies and projects adhere to the standards set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (E/C.19/2010/7). In addition, climate issues were prominent in discussions on other themes such as land rights, which focused on the anthropogenic impact of climate change, its impacts on forests and the renewed interest in such ecosystems due to their capacity for carbon sequestration, as well as the impact of land use and climate change on reindeer grazing lands.
The Forum recommended that its tenth session be held in New York from 16-27 May 2011. It also decided to host a three-day international expert group meeting on indigenous peoples and forests, to report to the ninth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF).
Links to further information
UN News press release
, 30 April
UN News press release
, 29 April
UN News press release
, 28 April
UNPFII 9 web site
South Asian Meeting Adopts Climate Statement
The 16th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit took place from 28-29 April 2010 in Thimphu, Bhutan. The meeting was attended by the SAARC member states of Nepal, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Afghanistan. In addition, representatives of China, Japan, Republic of Korea, the US, Iran, Mauritius, Australia, Myanmar and the European Union attended as observers.
Climate change was the main theme of the Summit and member states adopted the Thimphu Statement on Climate Change, in which they decide to establish an Inter-governmental Expert Group on Climate Change to develop a clear policy direction for regional cooperation as envisaged in the SAARC Plan of Action on Climate Change. The Thimphu Statement also resolves to commission a study, for presentation at the 17th summit, on “Climate Risks in the Region: ways to comprehensively address the related social, economic and environmental challenges.” The SAARC leaders also sought observer status for the regional grouping at the sixteen Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC to be held in Cancún, Mexico, in late 2010.
Link to further information
Meeting web site
Regional Commissions Discuss Forests and Climate Change in Europe, Latin America
The 35th Session of the European Forestry Commission (ECE) met from 27-29 April 2010, in Lisbon, Portugal, to discuss European forests' central role in climate change mitigation and adaptation. The conference considered the role of European forests as carbon sinks, as a major source of renewable energy, and as a provider of ecosystem services such as protection of freshwater resources and reduction of risks from natural disasters. Conference participants further recognized the forest sector's relevance for countries' economic well-being. The Commission decided to engage and intensify the dialogue with water, energy and climate change sectors.
Meanwhile, from 26-30 April 2010, the 31st Regional Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) met in Panama City, Panama, and considered, among other issues, the impacts of climate change on agriculture, forestry and fisheries in the region.
Links to further information
Latin American and the Caribbean FAO Regional Conference web...
UNECE press release
, 30 April 2010
World Bank Spring Meetings Increase Developing Country Voice
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group Spring Meetings, held in Washington DC from 24-25 April 2010, increased voting power in the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) for developing and transition countries by 3.13%, bringing it to a total of 47.19%, and also agreed to continue working towards equitable voting power while protecting the voting power of the smallest poor countries. Within the International Finance Corporation (IFC), voting power for developing and transition nations reached 39.48%. The Development Committee Communiqué also highlighted that only five years from the Millennium Development Goals deadline, efforts must intensify to reach the poor. The Committee also adopted a transformative agenda in the Synthesis Paper-New World, New World Bank Group
, to guide action in the coming years.
Links to further information
2010 spring meetings
Development Committee communiqué
IFC voice reform
IBRD voice reform
Summit Ponders Private Sector
The UN Business for the Environment Global Summit (B4E Summit) took place in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 21-23 April 2010. The goal of the meeting was to consider the outcome of COP 15 and discuss the role of business in realizing a low carbon future.
The Summit was hosted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Global Compact, WWF, the Republic of Korea's Ministry of Environment, its Ministry of Knowledge Economy and its Presidential Committee on Green Growth. More than 20 businesses partnered to support the summit. The meeting brought together 1000 individuals from 35 countries, representing multinational corporations, governments, international agencies and NGOs. During the first two days, CEOs and leaders of government, international agencies and NGOs presented their experiences, with plenary discussion panels focused on the green economy and smaller group discussions on key issues in parallel sessions and working groups. On the final day, the working groups reported back to plenary with strategies to address barriers to a low carbon future. A Mexican Government representative presented on the outlook for COP 16 in Cancún, Mexico, and representatives from UNEP, the UN Global Compact and the Republic of Korea presented closing remarks on the way forward.
Link to further information
IISD RS coverage of the meeting
MAJOR ECONOMIES FORUM DISCUSSES COPENHAGEN OUTCOME
The sixth meeting at the Leaders' representative level of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate took place in Washington, DC, US, from 18-19 April 2010. The event gathered representatives from 17 major economies, the UN, Colombia, Denmark, Grenada and Yemen. Participants discussed the outcome of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference held in December 2009 and looked ahead to the Cancun Climate Change Conference, which will convene at the end of 2010. The Chair's Summary from the event indicates that participants agreed that “smaller, informal discussions such as the Major Economies Forum contributed to success in Copenhagen and can facilitate and enrich the discussions under the UNFCCC,” while highlighting the need for discussions to be representative and transparent.
Looking ahead to the Cancun meeting, participants felt that countries should, at a minimum, agree on a balanced set of decisions informed by the Copenhagen Accord, and that work during the coming year should include the elaboration of the measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) and other transparency provisions of the Accord.
Participants were briefed on the Clean Energy Ministerial, which the US Department of Energy will host on 19-20 July 2010, in Washington, DC, US.
Links to further information
MEF web page
Energy Ministers of the Americas Work on Energy and Climate Partnership
16 April 2010: Energy Ministers of the Americas met in Washington, DC, US, on 15-16 April 2010, under the auspices of the US Department of Energy, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Organization of American States (OAS) to work on a framework for an “Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas” (ECPA). At the meeting, IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno announced the Bank's intention to increase its financing for renewable energy and climate-related projects to $3 billion a year by 2012. The expanded lending will allow the IDB to focus on four broad areas: stepping up renewable energy investments in its poorest member countries; fostering energy integration throughout Latin America and the Caribbean; promoting energy efficiency measures across the region; and helping governments establish climate change mitigation and adaptation frameworks.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton underscored the US' commitment to help governments achieve low carbon economic growth and highlighted new initiatives that the Department of State is sponsoring under ECPA to expand energy and climate cooperation in the Americas. The Secretary also announced the expansion of ECPA climate cooperation to include future initiatives that address sustainable landscapes (forestry and land use) and adaptation.
The meeting, called by US Energy Secretary Steven Chu and gathering 32 Western Hemisphere countries, aimed to deepen regional participation and commitment to ECPA and to advance the goals for the EPCA initiative, which were laid out at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in April 2009 in Trinidad and Tobago. ECPA is comprised of voluntary initiatives focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy, cleaner fossil fuels, infrastructure and energy poverty.
Links to further information
Meeting web site
IDB press release
US State Department press release
Ozone Multilateral Fund Agrees on HCFC Funding Guidelines
The 60th Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Multilateral Fund to the Montreal Protocol convened from 12-16 April 2010, in Montréal, Canada.
The Committee agreed on hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) project guidelines that set out the eligibility and criteria for funding to enable countries to comply with the Montreal Protocol's HCFC phase-out timetable. Specifically, the guidelines set out the principles to be used in regard to the level of funding, and how countries can establish their starting point for aggregate HCFC reductions. Under the guidelines, manufacturing capacity in developing countries will be eligible for funding to convert to non-HCFC technology provided that it was installed before 21 September 2007. Guidelines were also agreed to address the phase-out of HCFC consumption in the refrigeration servicing sector of low-volume-consuming countries to enable them to meet compliance targets. The guidelines also consider funding for the introduction of low global warming potential (GWP) alternatives to HCFCs.
Link to further information
Multilateral Fund Secretariat web site
First Conference of Ministers Responsible for Meteorology in Africa Adopts Nairobi Declaration
The First Conference of African ministers responsible for meteorology adopted the Nairobi Declaration in response to the increasing risks and threats to development posed by climate variability and change. The Conference, which was organized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), in partnership with the African Union Commission, gathered around 30 ministers in Nairobi, Kenya, on 15-16 April 2010.
In their Declaration, the Ministers agree to strengthen National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and enhance inter-regional cooperation. They recognize the importance of weather and climate information services and products for social and economic development in various sectors, particularly agriculture, natural resource management, food security, transport, health, energy and disaster risk reduction.
The Conference also established a high-level mechanism, the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET), which is expected to meet every two years to further develop meteorology and its applications in the continent. The Ministerial Conference called on technical and financial partners, and the UN system and its agencies to support AMCOMET and the implementation of the African Strategy and Plan of Action to be developed by this new mechanism.
The Ministerial Conference also took note of the recommendations of the Experts' Segment, which was held earlier in the week and agreed on, amongst other decisions, the creation of a sub-regional structure for climate monitoring and adaptation in Central Africa.
Links to further information
WMO press release
Conference web site
IISD RS coverage of the conference
South Asian Illegal Ozone Trade Meeting Convenes
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Government of India convened the Border Dialogue on Monitoring and Controlling Trade in Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) meeting from 8-9 April 2010, in Chalsa, India.
The meeting included a one-day regional dialogue with representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal. This was followed by a one-day capacity building training for customs and enforcement officers to enhance their knowledge and skills in identifying and handling ODS. Representatives from the World Customs Organization's Regional Intelligence Office for Asia and the Pacific and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime also participated in the workshop.
Link to further information
Ozonaction web site
Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases Starts Work
The Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, which was launched at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009, convened for its first meeting in Wellington, New Zealand, from 7-9 April 2010. Twenty-eight of the 29 member States attended the meeting, during which they decided to divide work into three components: livestock (led by New Zealand and the Netherlands); cropping (led by the US); and paddy rice (led by Japan). Participants also agreed on a draft charter to be finalized at a ministerial summit to be held in 2011. The Borlaug Fellowship Program, which provides grants to researchers from Alliance member developing countries to work alongside American scientists on climate change mitigation research, was also highlighted at the meeting.
Link to further information
New Zealand press release
, 9 April 2010
Dialogue Takes Place on Forests, Governance and Climate Change
The fourth Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change took place in London, England, on 6 April 2010.
The meeting was attended by approximately 100 representatives of governments, indigenous peoples, civil society, investors and business, and conservation and development organizations from around the world. Participants convened in four panel sessions throughout the day, reviewing the outcomes of the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in December 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark, and the upcoming UNFCCC meeting in April in Bonn, Germany, and addressing the outcomes of the International Conference on the Major Forest Basins, held on 11 March 2010 in Paris, France, and its anticipated follow-up meeting in May in Oslo, Norway. Participants also discussed options and recommended principles and criteria for proposed interim and global architectures for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, plus conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+), and focused on implications of the proposed architectures on adoption and implementation of standards, safeguards and recourse mechanisms. The Dialogue concluded by identifying critical issues to be addressed and next steps to be taken in Oslo, Bonn and at COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico. The fifth Dialogue is scheduled to take place in Washington, DC, in May 2010 and will focus on operationalizing standards and safeguards, and ensuring adequate recourse mechanisms across the suite of REDD initiatives and implementing organizations.
Links to further information
IISD RS coverage of the meeting
UNIDO Displays Work on Green Industry at Shanghai Expo
23 May 2010: The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is presenting its work on “Green Industry for a better life” at the Shanghai Expo, which itself is themed “Better cities, Better lives.”
The UNIDO presentation took place from 23-28 May in Shanghai, China. During the week, UNIDO hosted events aiming to highlight and discuss its Greening Industry concept as well as highlight work it is doing in urban areas, such as its initiatives in: online educational services; smart building materials; small-scale hydroelectric power; city-level industrial investment programmes; and Environmentally Sound Technologies (EST).
In addition, at the Expo UNIDO signed an agreement with the Shanghai Municipal Economic and Information Commission, the Government of the city's Yangpu District, and the China International Centre for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE) to create the Shanghai International High-Tech Innovation Development Base, which aims to promote high-tech applications for industries, mobilize funding and cooperate with researchers in the private and public sectors on research and development, and knowledge management. [UNIDO Press Release
] [UNIDO Shanghai Expo Website
Coastal and Marine Environment Management Programme Adopted for Eastern and Southern Africa
The sixth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Nairobi Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Western Indian Ocean, organized from 29 March-1 April 2010, by the UN Environment Programme, was held under the theme “Sustaining Progress.” The Conference brought together ministers responsible for the environment and other government delegates from all ten contracting parties, along with experts, representatives of non-governmental organizations and civil society.
At the meeting, delegates adopted a 25-year programme of action aimed at ensuring efficient management of the marine and coastal environment in the larger Eastern and Southern African region. They also adopted a protocol amending the Convention to take into account new provisions on emerging issues, such as climate change and the need for an ecosystem-based management approach.
Links to further information
UNEP press release
, 29 March 2010
UNEP press release
, 1 April 2010
UNEP Convenes Meeting on Existing Environmental Goals and Objectives
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) convened the Existing Internationally Agreed Environmental Goals and Objectives meeting from 29-31 March in Geneva, Switzerland.
The meeting was attended by over 80 governments who considered the preparation of a compilation of internationally agreed environmental goals and objectives, which includes thematic areas on: air pollution and air quality; biodiversity; chemicals and waste; climate change; energy; environmental governance; forests; freshwater; oceans and seas; and soil, land use, land degradation and desertification (IISD RS sources).
High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing Convenes First Meeting
The High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing met on 31 March 2010, in London, UK, to begin discussions on the climate change financing promised during the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 15), in December 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The Advisory Group comprises 19 members appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and is co-chaired by Gordon Brown, UK Prime Minister, and Meles Zenawi, Ethiopian Prime Minister. Additional members to the High-level Advisory Group, which was launched on 12 February, include Bharrat Jagdeo, President of the Republic of Guyana, Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of Norway, US President Barack Obama's chief economic adviser Larry Summers, and financier George Soros. Christine Lagarde, Minister of the Economy, Industry and Employment, France, has replaced Jean-Pierre Landau, Second Deputy Governor, Bank of France, who was originally announced as a member of the Group.
The Group is seeking to raise US$100 billion a year to help developing countries adapt to climate change. The Secretary-General established the Group to study the potential sources of revenue for financing mitigation and adaptation activities in developing countries, and to make progress on this key issue in the course of 2010. The Group is considering several options, including a tax on international financial transactions, a levy on global aviation and shipping and schemes that would raise money from auctioning off “permits” to emit greenhouse gases. The Group is expected to issue its initial outputs before the UNFCCC negotiating session to be held from 31 May-11 June 2010, in Bonn, Germany. The final report will be submitted to the Secretary-General and to the current (Denmark) and next (Mexico) COP Presidents of the UNFCCC by November 2010.
Links to further information
High-Level Advisory Group website
UK Mission to the UN news report
, 31 March 2010
, 28 March 2010
African Meeting Considers Climate Change and Development
The 2010 Joint Annual Meetings of the African Union (AU) Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance, and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Development, took place on 29-30 March 2010, in Lilongwe, Malawi.
The meetings were preceded by the Committee of Experts meeting, which took place from 25-28 March 2010. The Experts meeting considered a report titled “Climate Change and Development in Africa,” which includes policy recommendations on: integrating climate change needs into national decision making, so as to reduce its negative effects on resources, livelihoods and the wider economy; strengthening Africa's coordination and negotiation structures and mechanisms in light of the lessons learned at Copenhagen, to ensure that Africa continues to participate effectively in the international climate change negotiations and to refine its positions for the 2010 negotiations; requesting more reforms in the current governance system for climate change financing and the quick operationalization of the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund; and building countries' institutional, technical and managerial capacities to effectively access and use these funds.
In addition, the report suggested that the Climdev-Africa Programme and its entities be fully and urgently operationalized, to ensure that African negotiators and policy makers at all levels receive the needed support to effectively participate in the upcoming climate change negotiations and to implement on-the-ground adaptation projects. Finally, to ensure the sustainability of ongoing interventions aimed at addressing the climate change challenge in Africa, the report notes the need to develop a sub-programme on climate change and development at UNECA.
Links to further information
The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) held its 60th session from 22-26 March 2010, in London, UK, and focused on the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping. The MEPC concluded that more work needs to be done before it completes its consideration of the proposed mandatory application of technical and operational measures designed to regulate and reduce GHG emissions from international shipping.
The MEPC established an intersessional Working Group to build on the progress that had been made during the meeting on technical and operational measures to increase the energy efficiency of ships, and an Expert Group on market-based measures to undertake a feasibility study and impact assessment of the proposals submitted for a market-based instrument for international maritime transport. Both Groups are to report to the MEPC at its 61st session. Participants also: adopted amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL convention); addressed issues relating to the implementation of the International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, and adopted a resolution that requests Administrations to encourage the installation of ballast water management systems on new ships; continued work on developing “Guidelines for safe and environmentally sound ship recycling,” and commenced the development of “Guidelines for the development of the Ship Recycling Plan;” and agreed that the discharge requirements for the Wider Caribbean Region Special Area under MARPOL Annex V “Regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships” would take effect on 1 May 2011.
Link to further information
IMO press release
, 26 March 2010
WORLD URBAN FORUM 5 DEVELOPS RECOMMENDATIONS TO PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE INCLUSIVE CITIES
The fifth World Urban Forum (WUF-5), which took place from 22-26 March 2010, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, under the theme “The Right to the City: Bridging the Urban Divide,” was hosted by the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and the Government of Brazil. The event gathered a record of over 13,700 participants from 150 countries to discuss issues related to the sustainability of cities in the context of rapid urbanization, and a changing climate and environment. During the forum, UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka unveiled the World Urban Campaign, which will provide a platform for action for local communities, neighborhoods and leaders to promote democracy and human rights, and enhance global health, food security and energy efficiency.
On 23 March, congress members of several countries participated in a debate on “Parliamentarians of the world about climate changes and human settlements,” coordinated by Peter Goetz, President of the Global Parliamentarians on Habitat. On 25 March, participants engaged in a dialogue on "Sustainable Urbanization: Cities in a Changing Climate," during which they addressed broad concepts and ideas, and then held thematic open debates on: “Sustainable urbanization: cities in a changing climate,” which presented policies and practices that cities, governments and communities around the world are embracing to address the challenges of climate change; “Reducing vulnerabilities to climate change,” which stressed the need to address climate change impacts within a framework that acknowledges the presence of the urban divide and embraces social inclusiveness; and “Promoting inclusive and environmentally sustainable cities,” which addressed how cities can reduce their carbon footprint and effectively engage the informal sector in low carbon economic growth, while fostering inclusive economic development.
UN-HABITAT, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the World Bank jointly launched a Global Greenhouse Gas Standard for cities, which will provide a global and harmonized protocol for quantifying the amount of greenhouse gases emissions attributable to cities and local regions. It is expected that this common methodology for calculating GHG emissions on a per capita basis will support policy and access to finance, allowing cities to compare their performances.
During the closing ceremony, Tibaijuka called on governments and leaders at all levels to “provide the requisite resources and to make investments that will provide sustainable cities in a changing climate.” Participants also considered the recommendations from the World Urban Forum, which will be presented to the UN-HABITAT Ministerial Governing Council, a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly, scheduled to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, in April 2011. The Rio Declaration endorsed by participants outlines recommendations related to the need to promote civil society participation and governance to build inclusive policies and cities. The sixth World Urban Forum will be hosted by the Government of Bahrain in 2012.
Links to further information
World Urban Forum-5
UN-HABITAT Executive Director's speech
WTO COMMITTEE ON TRADE AND ENVIRONMENT ADVANCES NEGOTIATIONS ON CLIMATE-FRIENDLY GOODS
The World Trade Organization's (WTO) Trade Negotiations Committee meeting took place from 22-26 March 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland.
This stocktaking week on the status of the Doha negotiations evaluated progress in negotiations on environmental goods and services (EGS).
Despite slow progress in the Doha Round, Pascal Lamy, WTO Director General, noted that “everyone is still very much committed to the mandate of the Round and to its successful conclusion.” Manuel A. J. Teehankee, Chair of the WTO's Special Session of the Committee on Trade and Environment, addressed the Trade Negotiations Committee on 22 March, listing the areas that require further attention in order to complete the mandate of paragraph 31 of the Doha Declaration (trade and environment). On the relationship between existing WTO rules and trade-related measures in multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), he said conclusions fall within five main clusters: the importance of national coordination to enhance mutual support; options on how to reflect discussions in an outcome document; dispute settlement or legal principles; technical assistance to developing country members; and general principles. He indicated that further dedicated discussions will be held on these five clusters, in an effort to move to text-based negotiations.
Regarding procedures for regular information exchange between MEA Secretariats and the WTO, and granting of observer status, he noted consensus exists and said text-based consultations will take place on this topic. Finally, on the liberalization of trade in EGS, he said the approach to define the universe of goods and services covered still remain open, with options ranging from adopting an agreed set of environmental goods, undertaking a request-offer process to reduce tariffs to these products, or providing concessions for goods used in environmental projects, like the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). He called on members to review what is on the table and make further specific proposals (IISD RS sources).
Link to further information
Statement by Manuel A. J. Teehankee, at the Trade Negotiatio...
, 22 March 2010
Human Rights Council Adopts Resolution Calling for 2010 Social Forum to Focus on Climate Change and Human Rights
The 13th session of the Human Rights Council, which met from 1-26 March 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland, concluded with the adoption of 28 resolutions, including a resolution (A/HRC/13/L.16) on the organization of the Social Forum, its subsidiary body.
The Council decided that the next Social Forum will focus on the negative effects of climate change on the full enjoyment of human rights; on measures and actions to address its impact, targeting the most vulnerable groups, particularly women and children; and on the relevance of international assistance and cooperation to address the impact of climate change on human rights. The Social Forum will meet for three working days and is expected to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, in October 2010. The resolution calls for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) to consult with relevant stakeholders and to submit a background report for the debates to be held at the 2010 Social Forum. The Council also decided the Social Forum should remain open to the participation of representatives of UN Member States and all other interested stakeholders, such as NGOs, small groups and rural and urban associations, anti-poverty groups, peasants' and farmers' organizations, youth associations, community organizations and trade unions.
The Social Forum has met for five times since 2002. The Forum was established under the Commission on Human Rights and, in 2006, it became a subsidiary body under the Human Rights Council (see resolution A/HRC/6/13).
Links to further information
, 25 March 2010
Access to Resolution A/HRC/13/L.16
HIGH-LEVEL DIALOGUE DISCUSSES FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT
The Fourth High-level Dialogue of the General Assembly on Financing for Development (FfD) concluded with several references to the role of the combat of climate change in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This meeting took place at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 23-24 March 2010, and presented an advance discussion on some issues that will be dealt at the MDG Summit in September. Round tables addressed: the reform of the international monetary and financial system and its implications for development, the impact of the current financial and economic crisis on foreign direct investment and other private flows, external debt and international trade, and the role of financial and technical development cooperation, including innovative sources of development finance, in leveraging the mobilization of domestic and international financial resources for development.
During the event, countries emphasized that additional assistance was needed to deal with new and emerging issues, including financing of climate change mitigation and adaptation, and said governments should work towards the conclusion of a comprehensive global legal framework within the Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Regarding the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it was recognized that Goal 8 (Developing a global partnership) was crucial to mitigate the adverse impact of the confluence of recent crises on development, especially in countries with special financing needs. In this context, it was noted that the international community must fulfill the development promise of the Doha Round, extend measures to enhance access to technology to deal with climate change and increase agricultural productivity.
Links to further information
High Level Dialogue on FfD website
CIF PARTNERSHIP FORUM CONVENES IN MANILA
The Climate Investment Funds (CIF) held several back-to-back meetings from 15-19 March 2010, in Manila, the Philippines, hosted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), where plans were unveiled to mobilize some US$40 billion for country-led low carbon growth.
The series of meetings included a meeting of the CIF Partnership Forum, on 18-19 March 2010, which gathered 400 participants representing governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), intergovernmental organizations, indigenous peoples and the private sector. The Forum was preceded by meetings of CIF committees and subcommittees, and a roundtable with NGOs.
Links to further information
IISD RS coverage of the Forum
World Bank press release
Caribbean Region Reviews MSI Implementation
The Caribbean Regional meeting for the Five Year Review of the Mauritius Strategy for the further implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action (MSI+5) convened in St. George's, Grenada, on 16 and 18 March 2010. The event was hosted by the Government of Grenada and was jointly organized by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) as part of the regional preparatory process for the high-level review to be undertaken by the 65th session of the UN General Assembly, in September 2010.
Participants noted that the continuing global economic and financial crisis has had dire consequences for the regions' economies, and that the regions' challenges are compounded by the global food and energy crises, the negative impacts of climate change and the uneven and uncertain pace of their full insertion into global trade and development processes and persistent structural vulnerabilities. Participants expressed the Caribbean region's concern about the inability to arrive at a far-reaching consensus agreement at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009. They supported efforts through the two-track approach to UNFCCC negotiations to reach a favorable outcome for SIDS at COP 16 in Mexico in December 2010, with legally binding commitments for developed countries.
As a way forward to address identified challenges, participants supported: identifying and assessing adaptation needs, building on the work already begun in adaptation to climate change and mainstreaming climate change adaptation concerns into national sustainable development strategies; addressing the issue of access to low carbon technologies and enhanced technology transfer; promoting energy efficiency and enhancing renewable energy resources and related services; expanding current initiatives to transform existing economies into more environmentally-friendly ones, promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns, and building capacity in valuation and costing of ecosystem resources and ecosystem services; strengthening early warning systems and expanding a risk management framework that would be complemented by insurance and re-insurance schemes; promoting greater regional cooperation in research and development for SIDS-appropriate applications for improved knowledge management through mechanisms such as SIDSNET and the University Consortium for Small Island States (UCSIS); fully operationalizing the Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM); developing the regulatory framework that would support the strengthening of public-public and public-private partnerships for sustainable development; and increasing financing for Caribbean SIDS, specifically targeted to the priority areas identified above. (IISD RS sources)
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Wadden Sea Management Plan Adopted
The 11th Trilateral Governmental Conference, hosted by Germany at Westerland on the Wadden Sea island of Sylt, next to the Danish border, took place from on 17-18 March 2010. The participating Governments adopted a management plan for the entire Wadden Sea region to support action against a number of invasive alien species and in response to major challenges resulting from the effects of climate change in the coastal area, including sea level rise and shore line protection. The Wadden Sea is Europe's largest Wetland of International Importance, covering the coast line of the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. During the 11th Conference, the three Governments agreed on a joint political programme for the coming years geared towards better protection of the common ecosystem. They also agreed to promote their model at the international scale. In addition, Ministers signed a new Joint Declaration and a new administrative Agreement for the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat.
Links to further information
German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conserva...
, 18 March 2010
Ramsar Convention press release
, 7 April 2010
EU MINISTERS ADOPT CONCLUSIONS ON COPENHAGEN FOLLOW-UP
During a meeting on 15 March 2010, in Brussels, Belgium, the Council of the Environment Ministers of the EU adopted conclusions on climate change regarding the “Follow-up to the Copenhagen Conference.” According to the conclusions, EU Ministers express their determination to make rapid progress to develop guidelines, rules or modalities for REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, including conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) actions, as foreseen in the Copenhagen Accord.
They welcome initiatives to facilitate decision making on REDD+ at the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in Cancun, Mexico, including agreeing on: targets to reduce gross tropical deforestation by at least 50% by 2020 compared to current levels; the halt of global forest cover loss by 2030 at the latest; and the necessary finance beyond the fast-start period in line with overall commitments contained in the Copenhagen Accord.
In the conclusions, Ministers also stress the importance of accelerating the development, deployment and diffusion of environmentally-safe and sustainable low-carbon technologies, and call for the allocation in 2010 of resources as part of fast-start finance to actions related to such technologies, including possible pilot actions both on adaptation and mitigation. Ministers also undertake to work with all parties to develop the necessary guidelines on measurement, reporting and verification (MRV) with a view to their adoption by the Cancun Climate Change Conference, drawing on the existing provisions under the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol and subsequent decisions.
In addition, Ministers reaffirm the EU's and its Member States' commitment to contribute EUR 2.4 billion annually over the period 2010-2012. They further underline that the EU and its Member States are ready to present a preliminary state of play on these commitments at the UNFCCC session in Bonn, Germany, to be held from 31 May-11 June 2010, and submit EU-coordinated reports on the implementation of this commitment at the Cancun Climate Change Conference and thereafter on an annual basis. They also encourage other contributors to do so as well.
Link to further information
ADDITIONAL $1 BILLION PLEDGED FOR REDD+ FUNDING
The International Conference on the Major Forest Basins, which took place in Paris, France, on 11 March 2010, brought representatives from 64 countries together to discuss funding for REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, plus conservation, sustainable management of forests, and stock enhancement) activities during 2010-2012.
Donors pledged an additional $1 billion in REDD+ funding, to add to the $3.5 billion pledged in December 2009 by Australia, France, Japan, Norway, the UK and the US.
The conference, which was hosted by the French Government, was opened by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and included speeches from other high-level government officials from, inter alia
, Brazil, Republic of the Congo and Norway. Participants engaged in three sessions on: pledges of initial funding and action for forests; coordination of initial funding and action for forests; and organization of long-term international action concerning REDD+.
Representatives from ten countries, including both developed and developing countries, were appointed to form a REDD+ steering group. Among its first tasks will be to consider how to fairly distribute the billions in early funding among forest countries, which include Brazil, Congo, Indonesia and a host of smaller tropical countries. A second conference will be organized in Oslo, Norway, in May 2010, with a view to delivering to the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico in December 2010, a concrete plan devoted specifically to deforestation.
Links to further information
NPR media release
, 11 March 2010
Conference press kit
GEF STAP MEETING ADDRESSES SCIENTIFIC NEEDS ARISING FROM COPENHAGEN ACCORD
The Global Environment Facility's Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (GEF STAP) met at the International Fund for Agricultural Development's (IFAD) headquarters in Rome, Italy, from 8-10 March 2010.
On 8 March, the meeting was open to representatives from GEF agencies, the GEF Secretariat, GEF Evaluation Office and Conventions, and observers from the GEF Council. Among other issues, the meeting agreed that STAP's advice should be organized into toolkits to be used by the GEF and made available to contracting parties to the conventions supported by the GEF to increase transparency regarding the GEF project cycle (IISD RS Sources).
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Africa Carbon Forum Hopes to Help Boost Africa
The second Africa Carbon Forum, which was held from 3-5 March 2010, in Nairobi, Kenya, sought to help build on growing interest in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in Africa, and concluded with expectations for a boost in Africa's share of the global carbon market. The Forum was held under the Nairobi Framework, an initiative launched in 2006 to help developing countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, to increase their participation in the CDM. It was organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UNFCCC Secretariat and the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), and brought together about 1,000 members of the public and private sectors.
Highlighting the prospects for the continent, John Kilani, Director of the Sustainable Development Mechanisms programme of the UNFCCC Secretariat, noted the growing number of projects in Africa and a growing number of countries hosting projects. He added that “some project developers are even prepared to pay a premium for offset credits originating from Africa, no doubt because they are confident in the long-term growth prospects for CDM on the continent.”
Also speaking during the Forum, Henry Derwent, IETA President and CEO, commented that, “Africa Carbon Forum 2010 has been a serious and businesslike meeting of people with African emissions reduction projects and people who want to invest in them. Africa's slow start in the CDM business seems now to have been more about finding the right ways to structure projects in the sectors that are Africa's national specialties than about a fundamental incompatibility.” The third Africa Carbon Forum is scheduled to be held in March 2011, in Morocco.
Links to further information
African Carbon Forum website
UNFCCC press release
UNEP press release
POVERTY ENVIRONMENT PARTNERSHIP DISCUSSES CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT MAINSTREAMING
The 15th meeting of the Poverty Environment Partnership (PEP 15) convened from 1-5 March 2010, in Lilongwe, Malawi.
The event was co-organized by UK Department for International Development, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank, in partnership with the Government of Malawi. Approximately 110 participants attended the meeting, including representatives from bilateral donor organizations, UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank, the European Commission, developing and industrialized country governments, African stakeholders, international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and research institutions. The meeting convened under the theme “Climate and Environment Mainstreaming and the Green Economy to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” with sessions on: climate and environment mainstreaming; development agencies' strategies; the green economy; aid effectiveness and the environment; and supporting African stakeholders to put ideas into practice.
Link to further information
IISD RS coverage of the meeting
BRAZIL AND US SIGN AGREEMENT ON DEFORESTATION
Brazil and the United States have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together to reduce deforestation as part of an effort to slow climate change.
The MoU was signed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Brasilia on 3 March 2010. Under the agreement , Brazil and the US will establish a Climate Change Policy Dialogue that will meet at least once a year to work towards: developing and implementing pragmatic solutions and policies for reducing emissions, including carbon markets; coordinating “joint efforts on research, development, deployment and dissemination of technologies for combating climate change;” and capacity-building in sectors related to climate change.
Links to further information
Mongabay.com press report
, 7 March 2010
US State Department press release
, 3 March 2010
Memorandum of Understanding
INFORMAL MEETING IN JAPAN ADDRESSES OUTCOMES FROM COPENHAGEN AND PROSPECTS FOR CANCUN
The eighth informal meeting on ‘Further Actions against Climate Change' convened in Tokyo, Japan, from 1-2 March 2010, under the chairmanship of Akihiko Furuya (Japan) and Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado (Brazil).
The meeting was attended by: representatives of 28 countries; the European Commission; UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer; Janos Pasztor, Director of the UN Secretary-General's Climate Change Support Team; Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe, Chair of Ad Hoc
Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action under the UNFCCC (AWG-LCA); and Harald Dovland, Vice-Chair of the Ad Hoc
Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AGW-KP).
Participants addressed the outcomes of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, the expected outcomes of the next Conference of the Parties (COP), and actions under the Copenhagen Accord, which was recognized as containing “political understandings in many areas.” Participants also discussed: ways to make progress on mitigation; monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV); finance; technology; reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD)-plus; and carbon markets. In particular, they discussed: the requirements for, and frequency of submission of, national communications for both Annex I Parties and non-Annex I Parties; fast-start financing; and the establishment of new mechanisms such as the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund, a REDD-plus mechanism, and a Technology Mechanism.
On the upcoming climate negotiations, participants agreed on the need to explore various ways and means to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the discussions under the Ad Hoc
Working Groups and COP, noting that informal consultations among parties could complement, and make substantive contribution to the success of, the UN negotiation. They recognized that informal consultations should be inclusive and transparent, and are not an alternative to the UN process. Participants agreed to hold their ninth meeting in early 2011, in Tokyo, Japan. Countries represented at the eighth meeting included: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, India, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, UK, US, and Yemen.
Links to further information
List of participants
UNFCCC Executive Secretary's statement
PARTICIPANTS AT INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE AGREE TO FURTHER DEVELOP THE GLOBAL INITIATIVE ON COMMUNITY-BASED ADAPTATION
The fourth International Conference on Community Based Adaptation (CBA) to Climate Change convened in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from 21-27 February 2010.
The conference was organized by the International Institute for Environment and Development, Tanzania's Environment Protection Management Services and the Ring Alliance of Policy Research Organizations, in partnership with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (Communications for Sustainable Development Initiative), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Bank. The Conference brought together over 180 participants from 35 countries, representing governments, non-government organizations (NGOs), intergovernmental organizations, community-based organizations and research institutions, who focused on sharing and consolidating the latest developments in CBA planning and practices, particularly in vulnerable communities, throughout the world.
Participants discussed, inter alia
: strengthening institutions; water; building adaptive capacity; insurance and microfinance; policy linkages; agriculture; economics; drylands and pastoralism; urban areas; managing and communicating knowledge; scaling up and replicating best practice; vulnerable groups; role of ecosystems in adaptation; disaster risk reduction; methodologies; and funding. A final plenary session discussed next steps for CBA, with participants agreeing to further develop the Global Initiative on Community-Based Adaptation (GICBA), a network that seeks to support CBA-related activities by generating and sharing relevant knowledge.
Link to further information
IISD RS coverage of the meeting
RAMSAR STRP'S MID-TERM WORKSHOPS ACHIEVE PROGRESS ON URBAN WETLANDS MANAGEMENT, CARBON STORAGE AND G-WOS
The Ramsar Convention's Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) met in Gland, Switzerland, from 22-26 February 2010, for its ‘mid-term workshops' to further progress its 2009-2012 Work Plan.
The event brought together approximately 50 STRP members, invited experts and representatives of observer organizations to review and undertake substantive work on the range of high priority and other tasks requested of it by parties at the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10). Participants worked in parallel thematic work area and task workshops, and plenary sessions, as well as in several pre-sessional workshops on, inter alia
: developing guidance on managing urban wetlands (jointly with UN-HABITAT); carbon storage in wetlands; and developing mechanisms for a Global Wetland Observing System (G-WOS). The Panel achieved major progress and identified which outputs from these tasks would likely lead to draft resolutions and guidances to be submitted to COP 11, to be held in 2012.
Link to further information
Ramsar press release
, 3 March 2010
UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL SPECIAL SESSION CONCLUDES WITH NUSA DUA DECLARATION
The eleventh Special Session of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GCSS-11/GMEF) convened from 24-26 February 2010, in Bali, Indonesia.
The meeting considered the theme of “environment in the multilateral system.” During the meeting, Ministers agreed to the Nusa Dua Declaration, which underscores the importance of biodiversity, the urgent need to combat climate change and work towards a good outcome in Mexico in November-December 2010, and the key opportunities from accelerating a transition to a low-carbon resource-efficient green economy. The statement also highlights the need to improve the overall management of the global environment, accepting that that the “governance architecture” has become complex and fragmented.
Delegates at the GCSS-11/GMEF also adopted eight decisions on: international environmental governance; enhanced coordination across the UN, including the Environmental Management Group; a follow-up report on the environmental situation in the Gaza strip; the intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services; strengthening the environmental response in Haiti; oceans; the consultative process on financing options for chemicals and wastes; and guidelines on environmental law.
The Sasakawa Prize, which aims to incentivize sustainable and replicable grassroots environmental efforts, was awarded during a side event at the GCSS-11/GMEF. Two grassroots climate-projects operating in Africa and South America were awarded the prestigious UNEP award.
Links to further information
UNEP GCSS website
Sasakawa prize website
IISD RS coverage of the meeting
WTO SPECIAL SESSION OF THE COMMITTEE ON TRADE AND ENVIRONMENT DISCUSSES ENVIRONMENTAL GOODS AND SERVICES
The World Trade Organization (WTO) held a Special Session of the Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE-SS), in Geneva, on 19 February 2010, to continue negotiations on the liberalization of environmental goods and services.
The meeting saw a renewed focus on liberalizing trade in climate-friendly products, such as solar energy-related parts and components, wind and hydro-electric energy and gas-turbines, natural gas and clean-diesel vehicles, and products used in Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects. The negotiations on trade and the environment are part of the Doha Development Agenda launched at the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001. The overarching objective is to enhance the mutual support of trade and environmental policies. The negotiations focus on three main themes: the relationship between the WTO rules and multilateral environmental agreements; the collaboration between the WTO and MEA Secretariats; and the elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers on environmental goods and services.
Links to further information
WTO Negotiations on Trade and Environment
“Environmental Goods Attract Renewed Engagement at WTO,”
Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, 24th February 2010
IFAD Governing Council Convenes 33rd Session
18 February 2010: The Governing Council of the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) held its 33rd session from 17-18 February 2010, in Rome, Italy, to discuss: the Eighth Replenishment of IFAD's resources; IFAD's budget; revisions of IFAD's lending policies and criteria; progress on the performance-based allocation system; progress on the Global Mechanism of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); and a synthesis of the global meeting of the Farmers' Forum 2010. Among other things, the Council called for investment in smallholders to accelerate progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Link to further information
IFAD Governing Council website
PAN-AFRICAN WORKSHOP AIMS TO FOSTER CAPACITY FOR DECISION MAKING IN COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT
The Pan-African Workshop on “Decision-Making Support for Coastal Zone Management, Water Resources and Climate Change in Africa” was held in Cotonou, Benin, from 15-17 February 2010.
The event was a joint initiative of, inter alia
, the Global Ocean Observing System in Africa (GOOSAFRICA) sponsored by the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the International Hydrological Programme of UNESCO. Participants included marine, water, climate and environmental scientists and resource managers, from Africa and elsewhere. One of the workshop's objectives was to focus on identifying gaps in Earth observation systems capabilities, as well as scientific and research infrastructures needs, in order to respond to concerns surrounding modeling of coastal oceans, water resources and climate change in Africa while addressing socioeconomic issues and fostering capacities for decision making. The event included a high-level Governance Forum, which aimed to provide a venue for African leaders to consider frameworks for addressing critical water issues in Africa, as well as to assess the results and implications for the economies and populations of Africa subsequent to the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.
Links to further information
Workshop overview and documents
NEW US CLIMATE SERVICE PROPOSED
A new climate service capable of predicting how climate change will affect everything from droughts to sea levels has been proposed by the US Obama Administration.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Service, modeled loosely on the 140-year-old National Weather Service, would provide forecasts to farmers, regional water managers and businesses affected by changing climate conditions. A Web portal launched on 8 February 2010, at http://www.climate.gov/
, provides a single entry point to NOAA's climate information, data, products and services.
NOAA, along with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, ranks as one of the US federal government's key agencies for monitoring the climate and conducting climate research. NOAA has recently been providing more detailed climate-related forecasts, even without the reorganization. The National Integrated Drought Information System, which became law in December 2006, provides drought forecasts and impacts for the West and Southwest for at least a season and up to a year. Researchers are still looking at how best to make regional climate projections and pinpoint future changes in precipitation, as well as determine what cooling effects aerosols have and how to better interpret tree-ring temperature data over the past several hundred years.
Link to further information
TERI'S 10th ANNUAL DELHI SUMMIT LOOKS BEYOND COPENHAGEN
The 10th Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, titled “Beyond Copenhagen: New Pathways to Sustainable Development,” was held in New Delhi, India, from 5-7 February 2010, and organized by the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
The Summit gathered leaders from various regions of the world with a view to formulating strategies to move the sustainable development agenda forward after the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. Themes discussed included: accelerating socioeconomic development as a key to adaptation; the role of technology; building institutions for effective climate governance; and financing opportunities post Copenhagen. A World CEO Forum was also organized in the context of the Summit, under the theme “Vision for a Sustainable Tomorrow: business as a game changer.” This Forum was organized by TERI and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), India, and was attended by Yvo de Boer, UNFCCC Executive Secretary.
Links to further information
CEO Summit Bulletin
UN SECRETARY-GENERAL COMMITS TO AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT NEEDS
In his opening address to the 14th Ordinary Summit of the African Union (AU), which convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 25 January-2 February 2010, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pledged to mobilize support to tackle the critical challenges threatening peace and prosperity across Africa, including climate change.
He noted that the financial, energy and food crises, as well as climate change, have made development, including the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) more difficult and more urgent. He praised countries that had become associated with the Copenhagen Accord from the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December, and urged others to join them, stressing that nowhere are the linkages between sustainable development and climate clearer than in Africa.
Noting that African countries are the least responsible for climate change but are projected to bear most of its impacts, he stressed the need to keep up the momentum towards achieving a binding global climate agreement as soon as possible. Ban also highlighted the need for developing countries to rapidly scale-up their clean energy programmes and their need for significant support to adapt to the consequences of climate change, and the creation of productive employment and decent work for all, in particular for women and young people. He stressed that the Copenhagen Conference mobilized US$30 billion to be devoted over the next three years to adaptation and mitigation efforts in developing countries, and US$100 billion to be allocated per year by 2020 for developing countries' adaptation and scaling-up of clean energy efforts.
The Secretary-General also recalled that a high-level panel on development and climate change will be established soon, to address climate change issues comprehensively in the context of sustainable development. He stressed that the September Summit on the MDGs will focus on the achievements made thus far, identify the gaps and challenges for implementation, emphasize priority areas for action and build a coalition for change.
Links to further information
UN News Centre
, 31 January 2010
UN Secretary-General's statement
AU Summit website
MULTISTAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE CONSIDERS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IMPLEMENTATION
A one-day meeting convened on 1 February 2010 at UN Headquarters, with the goal of accelerating the pace by which decisions of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) are turned into action. Convened by the Division for Sustainable Development of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), this innovation brought together the former and current leadership of the CSD along with major implementing partners to discuss how the Commission could become more results oriented.
With a focus on the issues of agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and and sustainable development in Africa – recent CSD 17 themes – participants noted that the Commission's work has been important to policymaking, especially decisions relevant to the global food, financial and energy crises. Meant to deepen and hasten implementation of such CSD decisions, stakeholders crafted a seven point implementation strategy based on the use of new modalities like ICT, partnerships and the fast tracking of successful practices. This strategy, as well as other outcomes from the meeting, are available on the event website.
Link to further information
Multistakeholder Dialogue website
UNFF 9 CHAIR ADDRESSES ECOSOC MEETING
At a joint meeting of the Bureau of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the Chairpersons of its functional commissions, Arvid Ozols, Chair of the ninth session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF 9), delivered an address on recent achievements of the UNFF with regard to sustainable forest management and its contributions to gender equality and internationally agreed development goals. On 29 January 2010, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, Ozols stated that the theme of the 2010 Annual Ministerial Review, “Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to gender equality and the empowerment of women,” is an integral part of the Forum's work, noting that one of the purposes of the Non-legally Binding Instrument on All Types of Forests is to enhance the contribution of forests in achieving the millennium development goals and, inter alia
, gender equality. He also highlighted that UNFF 9's theme, “Forests for people, livelihoods and poverty eradication,” would include a discussion on the needs of women who are highly dependent on forests.
Link to further information
UNFF 9 Chair's statement
, 29 January 2010
BASIC Group Ministers Call for Additional Meetings before Mexico
The second meeting of Ministers of the four BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) Group countries took place in New Delhi, India, on 24 January 2010. In a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the meeting, the ministers re-emphasized their commitment to working together with all other countries to ensure an agreed outcome at the sixteenth session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (COP 16), which will take place in Mexico in November 2010. They underscored the centrality of the UNFCCC process and reiterated that all negotiations must be conducted in an inclusive and transparent manner. The Ministers called on the COP 15 President (Denmark) to convene meetings of the Ad hoc
Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the UNFCCC (AWG-LCA) and the Ad hoc
Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) in March 2010 and to ensure that the AWGs meet at least five times before the Mexico Conference.
They underscored their support for the Copenhagen Accord, developed during COP 15, while underlining the importance of the Accord as representing a high level political understanding among the participants on some of the contentious issues of the climate change negotiations. They expressed the hope that this would facilitate the two-track process of negotiation under the Bali Roadmap to lead to a successful conclusion of ongoing negotiations in Mexico.
The Ministers expressed their intention to communicate information on their voluntary mitigation actions to the UNFCCC by 31 January 2010.The Ministers also called for the early flow of the pledged US$10 billion in 2010, with a focus on the least developed countries, small island developing States and countries of Africa. The Ministers agreed to meet at the Ministerial level every quarter, and welcomed the offer of South Africa to host the next meeting of the BASIC Ministerial Group in late-April 2010.
Link to further information
INTERNATIONAL BASIN ORGANIZATIONS NETWORK MEETING EXAMINES EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON HYDROLOGICAL CYCLES
The eighth World General Assembly of the International Basin Organizations Network was held in Dakar, Senegal, from 20-23 January 2010, and brought together over 260 water experts from 41 countries who focused on effective management of Africa's 59 trans-frontier river basins and the positive economic benefits of harnessing their waters for hydropower and irrigation.
The meeting aimed to define the most suitable concerted actions needed for adapting the management of basins of local, national and transboundary rivers, lakes and aquifers, as well as of related coastal waters, to the consequences of climate change on the hydrological cycles.
Delegates reaffirmed that freshwater resources are limited and threatened worldwide, and that their better governance, respectful of the environment, is key to sustainable development. The meeting concluded with the adoption of the Declaration of Dakar, in which delegates recognize that, inter alia
: integrated and sound water resources management is more than ever an unquestionable priority when this scarce resource is already a limiting factor for sustainable development in many countries of the world; unprecedented mobilization is essential for humanity to win the water battle and prepare the future; and organizing this management on a basin scale is an effective solution that deserves to be developed, fostered and supported.
Links to further information
Declaration of Dakar
CHATHAM HOUSE ORGANIZES ILLEGAL LOGGING UPDATE AND STAKEHOLDER CONSULTATION
The fifteenth Chatham House Illegal Logging Update meeting took place at Chatham House, London, from 20-21 January 2010.
A keynote address was delivered by Hilary Benn, UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and participants listened to presentations on various issues pertaining to forest law enforcement, governance and trade, and discussed the merits of including industrial logging in development strategies. In addition, the third Chatham House-Rights and Resources Initiative Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change was held on 22 January 2010, and provided an opportunity to discuss the implications of the UN Copenhagen Climate Change Conference held in December 2009.
Links to further information
Illegal Logging.Info website for Illegal Logging Update
Illegal Logging.Info website for Dialogue
ECOSOC ELECTS 2010 PRESIDENT AND VICE-PRESIDENTS
At its organizational meeting, on 19 January 2010, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) elected Hamidon Ali (Malaysia) as President of the Council for 2010. The Council also elected Somduth Soborun (Mauritius), Alexandru Cujba (Republic of Moldova), Heraldo Muñoz (Chile) and Morten Wetland (Norway) as its Vice-Presidents for 2010.
Link to further information
ECOSOC Bureau webpage
WORLD BANK, IDB AND ADB SPONSOR MEETING ON TRANSFORMING TRANSPORTATION TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), among others, co-sponsored an event titled “Transforming Transportation 2010,” which took place in Washington DC, US, on 14-15 January 2010.
An event on climate, sponsored by IADB and ADB and co-organized with EMBARQ/WRI and SLoCaT, addressed the issue “Next Steps After Copenhagen” and looked at how the transport sector will be affected by, and may contribute to, the post-2012 climate change regime. Key messages from the event include that: climate change mitigation efforts need to address emissions from the transport sector in developing countries to reach global emission reduction goals; decision making in the transport sector needs to consider multiple policy objectives, not only greenhouse gas emissions, but also adaptation, and economic and social development; and, as a large and fast-growing source of carbon emissions, the transport sector should have access to financing under international climate change agreements, in order to spur mitigation activities.
Link to further information
UN AGENCIES' JOINT EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETINGS FOCUSES ON CLIMATE CHANGE
On 15 January 2010, the Joint Session of the Executive Boards of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the World Food Programme (WFP) was held in New York, US, and focused on the issue of climate change.
On behalf of the four agencies, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark spoke on how the UN agencies, within their different but complementary mandates, can support countries in addressing the climate change challenge, through their programmatic activities at the country level to support capacity building to adaptation and mitigation and access to climate financing. She noted that forty per cent of development investment from ODA and concessional lending is sensitive to climate risk and stressed that climate adaptation needs to be inbuilt in national development plans.
Helen Clark stressed that UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and WFP will work to ensure that climate change solutions are prominent in the assistance they provide to developing countries, including development and emergency assistance, disaster risk reduction, adaptation and mitigation, joint programming, monitoring and evaluation, and knowledge sharing. She noted that a variety of multi-donor trust funds that can be used to transfer resources to finance adaptation and mitigation are already in place, such as the UN REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) Programme. Another example is the Malawi Climate Change Programme, presented at the meeting, which uses the ‘One UN Fund' to mobilize available resources.
She highlighted that the UN Development Group (UNDG) has developed guidelines to support the UN Country Team on how to mainstream disaster risk reduction and environmental sustainability into the programmatic activities at the country level and said specific guidelines on climate change will be issued soon.
Link to further information
INVESTORS CALL FOR STRONG NATIONAL CLIMATE POLICIES
The world's largest investors convened in New York, US, at UN Headquarters on 14 January 2010, at the Investor Summit on Climate Risk.
The meeting was hosted and organized by Ceres, the UN Foundation and the UN Office for Partnerships.
The 2010 Investor Summit, themed “Climate Risk: Developing a Low-Carbon Economy, Leveraging Private Investment,” served as the first high-level forum for investors to meet and discuss the implications of the climate negotiations held in Copenhagen in December 2009. The Summit explored how the rapid global shift to clean technologies and energy efficiency can stimulate economic growth, and highlighted how investors can participate in the low-carbon transition.
Participating investors released a statement on “Catalyzing Investment in a Low-Carbon Economy,” calling on the US and other governments to move quickly to adopt strong national climate policies that will spur low-carbon investments to reduce emissions causing climate change. Saying “we cannot wait for a global treaty,” US, European and Australian investor groups representing US$13 trillion in assets called on the US Congress and other global decision-makers “to take rapid action” on carbon emission limits, energy efficiency, renewable energy, financing mechanisms and other policies that will accelerate clean energy investment and job creation. Investors emphasized that there are competitive advantages for countries with comprehensive climate and energy policies.
To catalyze investment, the investor statement calls on national governments to immediately adopt or support:
• Short- and long-term carbon emission reduction targets;
• An effective price on carbon emissions that helps shift investment towards low-carbon solutions;
• Energy and transportation measures to vastly accelerate deployment of energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean vehicles and fuels;
• New financing mechanisms that can mobilize private-sector investment on a large scale, especially in developing countries;
• Measures and financing to support climate-related adaptation in developed and developing countries; and
• Requirements for full corporate disclosure of material climate-related risks and strategies to manage those risks.
While emphasizing the importance of national policy action, the statement also calls on international negotiators to adopt a legally binding agreement this year with comprehensive long-term measures for carbon reductions, forest protection, adaptation to warming temperatures, finance and technology transfer.
Link to further information
Investor Summit on Climate Risk webpage