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Sustainable Development


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December 2009

AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT DAY DISCUSSES LINKS BETWEEN CLIMATE CHANGE AND AGRICULTURE

The Agriculture and Rural Development Day event convened at the University of Copenhagen, in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Saturday, 12 December 2009. The event took place in parallel with the United Nations Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, and was co-hosted by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security, the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, and the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Copenhagen. The event was attended by over 350 participants, including representatives from governments, UN and international agencies, business, NGOs, academia and farmers. The key objectives of the meeting were to build consensus on ways to fully incorporate agriculture into the post-Copenhagen climate agenda and to discuss strategies and actions needed to address climate change adaptation and mitigation in the agriculture sector. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the event
UNGA Approves Sustainable Development Resolutions, Establishes Preparatory Process for Rio+20

December 2009: Following approval by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the UNGA approved a series of draft resolutions on sustainable development in December 2009, including on climate change, harmony with Mother Earth, Mauritius Strategy, the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), agricultural commodities, and implementation of Agenda 21. On climate change, the resolution calls on developed countries to take enhanced commitments under the Kyoto Protocol in subsequent commitment periods, including through new, additional and predictable financial resources, capacity-building and access to and transfer of technology. On harmony with Mother Earth, relevant organizations of the United Nations system and international, regional and subregional organizations are invited to transmit to the Secretary-General their views on the scope and content of a possible declaration of ethical principles and values for living in harmony with Mother Earth. On the Mauritius Strategy, the high-level review of the strategy would be structured around an opening plenary meeting, followed by two multi-stakeholder roundtable sessions, an interactive dialogue on cross-regional perspectives and a closing plenary meeting, with the preparatory committee meeting for the high-level review to be convened during the 18th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development. On the ISDR, the international community is called upon to increase efforts to fully implement the commitments of the Hyogo Declaration and Hyogo Framework for Action and call upon the UN system to support in a timely, sustained manner efforts led by disaster-stricken countries for disaster risk reduction in post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation processes. On commodities, the need for more efforts to address commodity price volatility was underscored, and a call made for a coherent international policy action to address excessive price volatility and mitigate its negative impact on commodity-dependent developing countries by facilitating value addition. On Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the resolution calls for convening a United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil in 2012 (Rio+20). It indicates the event should be focused on a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and the institutional framework for sustainable development, and should result in a focused political document. The Preparatory Committee should meet for three days after the conclusion of the 18th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development in 2010, two days after the CSD's Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting in February 2011, and the three days immediately preceding the Conference in Brazil in 2012. [ UNGA press release, 4 December 2009][UNGA - status of draft proposals UNGA press release, 21 December 2009]

November 2009

GHANA HOSTS WORKSHOP ON MINING REGIMES IN AFRICA

From 25-27 November 2009, Ghana hosted a workshop on mining regimes in Africa as part of a consultative process for a review report on various mining regimes. The workshop was organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in collaboration with the Department of Industry and Mines of the ECOWAS Commission, Third World Network-Africa and the NEPAD and Regional Integration Division at the Economic Commission for Africa. Agenda items included: Africa's Mining Vision, the framework Report on Africa's Mining Regimes, the ECOWAS Mining Directive, Corporate Social Responsibility, human rights, artisanal and small scale mining, and the African Legal Support Facility, an African Development Bank establishment that seeks to offer the overall framework for assisting African countries in natural resources development. Link to further information Ghana News Agency, 22 November 2009
EAST ASIAN SEAS CONGRESS CONCLUDES WITH AGREEMENT RECOGNIZING THE LEGAL PERSONALITY OF PEMSEA

The East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress 2009 convened from 23-27 November in Manila, Philippines. The event, hosted by the Philippines Government and organized by Partnerships in the Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), a regional programme supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), provided a region-wide platform for dialogue, knowledge exchange, capacity building, strategic action and cooperation for the sustainable management and development of the East Asian seas. Over 1,400 participants attended the Congress, representing governments, UN agencies, industry, academia and youth. The Congress featured several events: The International Conference on Sustainable Coastal and Ocean Development (23-26 November), the Meeting of the EAS Partnership Council (25 November) and the Ministerial Forum on Strengthening the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Strategy for Seas of East Asia (SDS-SEA) (26 November). Twenty-eight thematic workshops and seminars, as well as a Youth Leaders Forum, Corporate Social Responsibility Forum and Legislators' Dialogue were held during the International Conference, examining issues ranging from ocean policy and legislation to the impacts of climate change on coastal and ocean areas. The Congress concluded with the signing of the Agreement Recognizing the Legal Personality of PEMSEA by eight East Asian nations, which transforms PEMSEA into a fully-fledged international body to work for sustainable development of the region's coastal and marine areas. Eleven Ministers and high-level delegates also signed the Manila Declaration on Strengthening the Implementation of Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) for Sustainable Development and Climate Change Adaptation in the Seas of the East Asia Region. On the final day of the event, delegates participated in field visits to ICM sites showcasing local government efforts in implementing ICM. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
WORLD FOOD SECURITY SUMMIT DISCUSSES CHALLENGES TO FOOD SECURITY AND AGRICULTURE

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) convened a World Summit on Food Security from 16-18 November 2009, at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy. The Summit included a high-level segment and round tables on: challenges imposed by climate change on agriculture and food security; measures to enhance global food security; and global governance reforms for food security. The Summit was attended by 60 Heads of State and government, as well as the Heads of many UN organizations. At the conclusion, world leaders adopted a declaration includes objectives to: face the challenges posed by climate change; renew efforts to halve hunger by 2015; improve international coordination and governance for food security; and reverse the downward trend in funding for agriculture, food security and rural development in developing countries. In order to achieve these strategic objectives, world leaders adopted Five Rome Principles for Sustainable Global Food Security. Links to further information IISD RS coverage of the Summit Summit homepage
US AND CHINA IDENTIFY AREAS FOR COOPERATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE, ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT IN JOINT STATEMENT

On 17 November 2009, US President Barak Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao issued a Joint Statement based on their discussions in Beijing, China. A section on “Climate Change, Energy and Environment” indicates that the two leaders underscored that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time and “are convinced of the need to address climate change in a manner that respects the priority of economic and social development in developing countries and are equally convinced that transitioning to a low-carbon economy is an opportunity to promote continued economic growth and sustainable development in all countries.” They “resolve to take significant mitigation actions and recognize the important role that their countries play in promoting a sustainable outcome” from the climate change negotiations, and indicate that the outcome should “include emission reduction targets of developed countries and nationally appropriate mitigation actions of developing countries,” as well as “scale up financial assistance to developing countries” and promote technology development, dissemination and transfer. The Joint Statement also outlines areas for cooperation between the two countries on several initiatives and projects, including: building on the US-China Memorandum of Understanding to Enhance Cooperation on Climate Change, Energy and Environment, which was formally signed during the November Presidential visit; the Ten Year Framework on Energy and Environment Cooperation (TYF) and a new U.S.-China Energy Efficiency Action Plan under the TYF; a Protocol between the US Department of Energy and the Ministry of Science and Technology and the National Energy Administration of the People's Republic of China on a Clean Energy Research Center; the launch of a US-China Electric Vehicles Initiative; work to promote 21st century coal technologies and large-scale carbon capture and sequestration demonstration projects; a Memorandum of Cooperation between the US Environmental Protection Agency and the National Development and Reform Commission of China and to Build Capacity to Address Climate Change; the launch of the US-China Renewable Energy Partnership; the establishment of the US-China Energy Cooperation Program (ECP); and the launch of a US-China Shale Gas Resource Initiative. Links to further information The US-China joint statement US-China clean energy announcements
ASEAN-US FIRST LEADERS' MEETING ADDRESSES CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the US held their first Leaders' Meeting on 15 November 2009, in Singapore, addressing climate change and energy, among other issues. The meeting was co-chaired by Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, in his capacity as Chair of ASEAN, and US President Barack Obama. In the resulting joint declaration, the Leaders agree to work closely to ensure that the agreed outcome in Copenhagen incorporates long-term cooperative actions to address climate change. Recognizing the critical importance of adaptation, they agree to strengthen collaboration in research on climate impacts and in the development and implementation of appropriate policies and measures. The Leaders also stress that access to diverse, reliable, affordable and clean energy is critical for sustainable economic growth, and agree that accelerated deployment of clean energy technology and energy efficiency measures would diversify energy supplies and strengthen their energy security. According to the joint statement, the US proposed that the US Secretary of Energy and the ASEAN Energy Ministers meet in 2010 to explore cooperation in renewable and alternative energy, such as hydropower and biofuels. The second ASEAN-U.S. Leaders' Meeting is also scheduled for 2010. Links to further information ASEAN press release Joint statement
UNWTO LEADERS CALL FOR GREEN ECONOMY SUPPORTING GLOBAL POLICIES

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Ministers' Summit convened in London, UK, on 10 November 2009. The Summit called for global policies that are supportive of the travel and tourism industry, recalling that tourism is one of the world's top job creators and can be a key driver of recovery and the transformation towards the Green Economy. As the global economy recovers, governments were requested not to impose extra burdens on travel, such as fiscal measures, and to maintain stimulus policies in support of tourism as this in turn will contribute to sustainable economic growth. Link to further information UNWTO press release, 11 November 2009

October 2009

ITU COUNCIL ADDRESSES CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION

During its 2009 annual session, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Council addressed issues related to climate change and environmental protection, among others. The ITU Council convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 20-30 October 2009. During the meeting, the ITU Council agreed to transmit a message requesting inclusion of the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in climate change mitigation and adaptation in the outcome of the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, to be held in December 2009. The Council also took up preparations for two major events next year: the World Telecommunication Development Conference (WTDC), 24 May-4 June 2010, in Hyderabad, India; the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference, in Veracruz, Mexico, in October 2010; and World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, 17 May 2010, in Shanghai at the World Expo. Link to further information ITU press release, 3 November 2009
Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development Agrees on Initiative to Convene Global Commodities Forum

29 October 2009: The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Intergovernmental Forum (IGF) on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development convened from 26-29 October 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. This voluntary initiative was established in 2005 by governments interested in promoting the contribution of the sector to sustainable development by enhancing capacities for good governance. It is an outcome of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which met in Johannesburg, South Africa. This meeting focused on further advancing preparations by the Forum and its members for upcoming meetings of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UN CSD) in 2010-11 to review progress on the mining sector's contribution to the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. A key outcome from the meeting included agreement on a new UNCTAD initiative, entitled the Global Commodities Forum (GCF). The GCF will convene in early 2010 to try to develop answers to issues, such as instabilities in commodity markets, and to develop policies that will make the commodity sector a true engine for development. [UNCTAD press release, 30 October 2009]
NEW DELHI CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AND TRANSFER

The high-level conference on “Climate Change: Technology Transfer and Development” took place in New Delhi, India, from 22-23 October 2009, under the auspices of the Government of India and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The conference brought together representatives from governments, industry and civil society to help formulate a roadmap for technology in the context of climate change mitigation and adaptation to support the UNFCCC process. It sought to advance understanding on key actions needed to accelerate technology development and transfer in all countries in accordance with their national needs, to help pave the way for a successful outcome in Copenhagen. The Chair's summary from the meeting, inter alia, highlights the need to address concerns regarding technology transfer and development, insufficient R&D, and the barriers arising from inadequate funding, weak capacity, market failure and policy distortions. The need to ensure that technologies are affordable is emphasized along with scaling up their rate of deployment and diffusion in developing countries, to make renewable energy technologies more affordable through international cooperation and international financing. In the context of intellectual property rights (IPRs), the summary notes the need to discuss the ideal regime, in the context of providing broader and more universal access to IPRs and knowledge. The summary also acknowledges wide recognition of the need for a special mechanism under the UNFCCC for technology transfer, development and deployment, supported by a special fund and a mechanism to oversee the functioning of the IPR regime for climate and development goals. The meeting also developed a final statement, which indicates participants “believe that there is an urgent need to accelerate the large scale global deployment of environmentally-sound and climate-friendly technologies and to minimize the time lag between their initial development, transfer and deployment particularly in the developing countries,” and suggests creating centres or networks of centres to stimulate deployment of technologies. Links to further information Conference website UNDESA meeting website Chair's summary
FAO COMMITTEE ON WORLD FOOD SECURITY ADOPTS REFORMS

Delegates to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Committee on World Food Security (CFS) have adopted reforms designed to focus the Committee's vision and role on the global coordination of efforts to eliminate hunger and ensure food security for all. As a result of the reforms, a wider range of organizations working with food security and nutrition will participate in the Committee, including: UN bodies including the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Security Crisis; civil society and non-governmental organizations; international agricultural research institutions, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, regional development banks and the World Trade Organization. The reformed Committee will receive advice from a high level panel of experts on the subject of food security and nutrition. It will provide a platform for discussion and coordination, and seek to promote greater policy convergence including through the development of international strategies and voluntary guidelines on food security and nutrition. Link to further information FAO press release, 20 October 2009
GLOBAL FORUM DISCUSSES

Co-organized by the Ministry of Energy of Mexico and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Global Renewable Energy Forum 2009 took place from 7-9 October 2009, in León, Mexico. The Forum, which took as its theme “Scaling up Renewable Energy,” was organized to provide a platform for proactive dialogue to strengthen inter-regional cooperation and encourage innovative multi-stakeholder partnerships aimed at scaling-up renewable energy in Latin America and elsewhere. The event also highlighted the leadership required to promote renewable energy and facilitate the development of supportive policy frameworks aimed at strengthening clean energy initiatives. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
UNWTO GENERAL ASSEMBLY DISCUSSES TOURISM AND GREEN ECONOMY

The 18th session of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly convened in Astana, Kazakhstan, from 5-8 October 2009, and brought together some 360 delegates from 112 countries and called on governments to place travel and tourism at the core of stimulus packages and the long-term transformation towards a green economy. Participants adopted an “Astana Declaration” that stresses: the relevance of the tourism sector for job creation, trade, infrastructure and development; the critical role of travel and tourism in the post-crisis recovery from the global economic crisis; and the need to support developing countries with capacity building, technology transfer and financing. The Assembly also elected UNWTO Secretary-General ad interim Taleb Rifai as Secretary-General for 2010-2013. And Vanuatu became a full member of the UNWTO, which has now 161 member States. Links to further information UN News Centre, 9 October 2009 UNWTO website
SECRETARY-GENERAL HIGHLIGHTS POTENTIAL OF ICT TO MITIGATE CLIMATE CHANGE

Addressing the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland, on 5 October 2009, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the importance of information and communications technology (ICT) as part of the solution to the threats imposed by climate change. Secretary-General Ban underscored the advances made at the UN Climate Change Summit on 22 September 2009, in New York, and highlighted the use of technology not only to cut emissions and help countries adapt to the effects of climate change, but also to raise awareness about climate change. Secretary-General Ban mentioned the specific example of text messages as a tool to aid farmers to be better informed about weather conditions and monitor the impact of climate change. He noted that the UN has partnered with mobile phone companies to install 5,000 weather stations across Africa. He also advocated for better access to technologies to developing countries to enable them to reduce emissions and waste, create jobs, protect against disasters and promote better standards of living while attaining the Millennium Development Goals. Links to further information UN News Centre, 5 October 2009 UN press release, 5 October 2009

September 2009

UNECE COMMITTEE ON HOUSING AND LAND MANAGEMENT DISCUSSES CLIMATE NEUTRAL CITIES

The seventieth session of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Committee on Housing and Land Management (CHLM) convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 23-25 September 2009. The meeting was opened by a one-day seminar on climate neutral cities, which discussed: approaches to sustainable land management and the mitigation of climate change in cities; and green building and reduction of emissions in buildings. During the remaining two days, the CHLM discussed: matters arising from the sixty-third UNECE session; the work of the CHLM Bureau; the report of the Housing and Urban Management Advisory Network (HUMAN); outcomes of the seminar on climate neutral cities; implementation of the programme of work for 2008-2009 and the draft programme of work for 2010-2011; building and construction safety; and cross-sectoral activities. Delegates elected a new Chair and Bureau, and agreed that the next session of the CHLM, to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2010, will include a high-level ministerial segment to address emerging issues such as climate change and the financial crisis. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
IFAD EXECUTIVE BOARD APPROVES OVER US$200 MILLION IN GRANTS

The 97th meeting of the Executive Board of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), which convened from 14-15 September 2009, in Rome, Italy, approved grants and loans totaling US$217.82 million for projects in 15 countries. The projects included funding to: enable Chad's water network to support the seasonal movement of shepherds and livestock; encourage small-scale water resources management to increase yields in Bangladesh; and strengthen water harvesting and soil conservation measures in Lebanon. Grants were also awarded to international research centers and intergovernmental organizations, including the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development's Development Marketplace 2009 on Climate Adaptation, and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification's (UNCCD) Global Mechanism for its programme to design Integrated Financing Strategies for UNCCD Implementation in selected countries in Asia- Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean. Links to further information IFAD press release Executive Board meeting documents
GREEN INDUSTRY CONFERENCE OUTLINES STEPS TO REDUCE ASIA

The International Conference on Green Industry in Asia, titled “Managing the transition to resource efficient and low carbon industries,” concluded with the adoption of a non-binding Declaration and Framework of Action outlining steps to reduce the resource intensity and greenhouse gas emissions of industries in Asia, and to track the progress towards a low-carbon industrial future. The event was co-organized by the Government of the Philippines, the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP). It convened from 9-11 September 2009, in Manila, the Philippines. Issues discussed included cleaner production, eco-friendly products, energy and environmental services, decent jobs for green growth, and financing green industries in Asia. Participants adopted a non-binding Ministerial Declaration and Plan of Action, both aimed at promoting cleaner production and green production in Asia. In the Plan of Action, Ministers and heads of delegations agreed, inter alia, to establish: a consultative mechanism among governments, business, industry, academic and research institutes and civil society; a network of green industries; a portal for best practices, tools and methodologies; a network of universities and research centers for technological innovation towards the green industry; a communications strategy to enhance awareness and knowledge towards the attainment of green industry performance tools; and an expert group in the Asia-Pacific region to help promote the sharing of knowledge, expertise and know-how on green industry. Links to further information UNIDO News release Conference website IISD RS coverage

August 2009

AGROFORESTRY CONFERENCE PROMOTES SUSTAINABLE LAND USE

The Second World Congress on Agroforestry took place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 23-28 August 2009. Under the theme “Agroforestry – the future of global land use,” participants heard talks and took part in technical sessions and policy dialogues on food security and livelihoods, conservation and rehabilitation of natural resources, and policies and institutions. Keynote speakers addressed, inter alia, how agroforestry can play an important part in the battle against climate change, encourage conservation, and promote a paradigm of multi-functional agriculture. During a symposium on agroforestry systems in Africa, participants noted that more work needed to be done in promoting germplasm supply, sensitizing farmers to agroforestry's multiple benefits, and studying different types of farmer adoption and gender roles in agriculture. Link to further information Conference website
UN-WATER PLANS FOURTH REPORT

The 11th meeting of UN-Water convened in Stockholm, Sweden, from 15-16 August 2009. At the meeting, participants discussed the recent launch, distribution and reception of the third edition of the UN World Water Development Report as well as plans for the preparation of the fourth Report. It was agreed that the fourth Report will focus on “Managing Water under Uncertainty and Risk” and will be launched in March 2012 on the occasion of the sixth World Water Forum, to be held in Marseilles, France. Link to further information UNESCO Water Programme website

July 2009

2009 ECOSOC Substantive Session Adopts Four Resolutions and Seven Decisions on Economic and Environmental Questions

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, from 6-31 July 2009, for its annual substantive session. The session commenced with a High-Level Segment and the 2009 Annual Ministerial Review, focused on “Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to global public health.” The High-Level Segment adopted a Ministerial Declaration on implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to global public health, through which ECOSOC recognizes that health and poverty are interlinked and that achieving the health-related goals was central to sustainable development. Among other segments, on 14 July 2009, ECOSOC conducted a round table discussion on the theme “Towards a UN comprehensive response to the challenges of climate change” as part of its Coordination Segment, and on 15 July 2009, the Operational Activities Segment opened with a thematic panel discussion on “The current economic, food and climate change crises and their effects on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals: the role of the UN System's support to national efforts.” On 21 July 2009, during a discussion about special economic, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance as part of its Humanitarian Affairs Segment, ECOSOC participants discussed the increasing need for humanitarian assistance due to natural disasters caused by climate change. Speakers at the General Segment of ECOSOC, on 23 July 2009, noted that climate change presents an additional global challenge “for which extraordinary resources are needed,” and that the financial architecture dealing with climate change should be efficient, effective and equitable. On 29 July, the Economic and Social Council adopted four resolutions and seven decisions on economic and environmental questions, including on sustainable development, human settlements, environment, population and development, United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), and transport of dangerous goods. The decision related to the UNFF authorizes the holding of a one-day special session of UNFF 9 within existing resources and at the earliest possible date in 2009. A resolution on human settlements requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on the coordinated implementation of the Habitat Agenda for consideration by ECOSOC at its substantive session of 2010. In a resolution on review of UN support for small island developing States, ECOSOC decided to consider the issue at its 2010 session. ECOSOC adopted the report of the seventeenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development and the report of the eighth session of the UNFF, as well as reports on dates for the next sessions for both. [ECOSOC 2009 session newsroom]
MAJOR ECONOMIES FORUM ISSUES DECLARATION ON ENERGY AND CLIMATE AT G-8 SUMMIT

Leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized countries (G-8) gathered for their annual meeting in L'Aquila, Italy, from 8-10 July 2009. The G-8 countries include Canada, the Russian Federation, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, together with the European Union represented by the European Council's duty President and by the President of the European Commission. The leaders of additional countries joined them for various sessions, including leaders from the Group of 5 countries (Brazil, People's Republic of China, India, Mexico and South Africa). A number of documents were issued at the conclusion of various discussions, including a Declaration of the Leaders of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) on Energy and Climate. In the Declaration, the MEF leaders note that they “recognize the scientific view that the increase in global average temperature above pre-industrial levels ought not to exceed 2 degrees C,” and indicate that they “will work between now and Copenhagen, with each other and under the Convention, to identify a global goal for substantially reducing global emissions by 2050.” They also state that they are establishing a Global Partnership to drive transformational low-carbon, climate-friendly technologies. They note that individual countries will “spearhead efforts among interested countries to advance actions on technologies such as energy efficiency; solar energy; smart grids; carbon capture, use, and storage; advanced vehicles; high-efficiency and lower-emissions coal technologies; bio-energy; and other clean technologies,” and that lead countries will report by 15 November 2009, on action plans and roadmaps, and make recommendations for further progress. They agree “to further consider proposals for the establishment of international funding arrangements, including the proposal by Mexico for a Green Fund,” and indicate that they will continue to meet in the lead up to the Copenhagen climate change conference. In a forty-page statement on “Responsible Leadership for a Responsible Future,” the G-8 leaders identify their approach to a number of issues, including the economic and financial crisis, energy security and global energy markets, intellectual property rights, climate change, clean energy and technology, and development and Africa. In a document on “Promoting the Global Agenda,” the Leaders of Italy, Brazil, Canada, the People's Republic of China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the President of the European Commission, together with the Leaders of Egypt and Sweden, as President of the European Council, commit to work together on global challenges and to improve international governance. They highlight their commitment “to working together to ensure a green global recovery based on firm and lasting foundations for sustainable, balanced, innovative and inclusive growth in the medium term,” and identify a number of actions related to this objective. They also, together with the leaders of Australia, Indonesia and Republic of Korea and in the presence of the Director General of the World Trade Organization, stress their commitment “to seek an ambitious and balanced conclusion to the Doha Development Round in 2010, consistent with its mandate, building on the progress already made, including with regard to modalities.” Link to further information G8 Summit documents
UNESCO HOLDS MEETING ON SANITATION AND THE RIGHT TO WATER

On 7-8 July 2009, the International Hydrological Programme (IHP) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), through its “From Potential Conflict to Cooperation Potential” (PCCP) associated programme, in cooperation with UNESCO's Social and Human Sciences sector and the UNESCO Centre of the Basque Country, hosted a meeting of 13 external experts and eight organizers to discuss the human right to water and challenges related to access to safe sanitation. The main objective of the meeting, which took place in Paris, France, was to elaborate upon recommendations concerning the fulfillment of this right, which will contribute to each of the participating institutions' ongoing work in this area. To this end, participants discussed the content of the human right to water, strategies and indicators for fulfillment, and “good practices.” In addition, the outputs of the meeting will contribute to a working document discussing the human right to water that will serve the Member States of UNESCO and will be distributed during its 35th Session of the General Conference, to be held from 6-23 October 2009, in Paris, France. Link to further information Meeting website
AU SUMMIT DISCUSSES INVESTING IN AGRICULTURE FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH AND FOOD SECURITY

African Union Heads of States met from 1-3 July 2009, in Sirte, Libya, within the framework of the 13th Ordinary Session of the Summit of the African Union (AU). Meeting under the theme: “Investing in Agriculture for Economic Growth and Food Security”, speakers focused on agriculture and food security, climate change, and peace and security in Africa. The Summit concluded with an agreement to establish an AU Authority. Link to further information AU Summit website

June 2009

SECOND SESSION OF IRENA PREPCOM SELECTS ABU DHABI AS INTERIM HEADQUARTERS

The second session of the Preparatory Commission of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which convened in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, from 29-30 June 2009, designated Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, as its interim headquarters. Participants also decided that Bonn, Germany, will host IRENA's center of technology and innovation, while the Agency's liaison office for cooperation with other organizations active in the field of renewables would be located in Vienna, Austria. Hélène Pelosse was selected to serve as the first head of the Agency. Link to further information IRENA press release, 29 June 2009
IHA WORLD CONGRESS DISCUSSES ADVANCING SUSTAINABLE HYDROPOWER

The 2009 International Hydropower Association (IHA) World Congress on Advancing Sustainable Hydropower convened in Reykjavik, Iceland, from 23-26 June 2009. This event is the second IHA World Congress to be held, two years after the inaugural event in Antalya, Turkey, and attracted nearly 300 participants. It provided a forum for dialogue among hydropower companies, investment and development banks, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other stakeholders involved in the development and operation of hydropower projects. Participants attended sessions on a wide variety of topics, including: energy policy; water policy; linkages between hydropower and climate change; hydropower development; investment and financing; and hydropower markets. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
UNFPA HOSTS MEETING ON POPULATION DYNAMICS AND CLIMATE CHANGE

The UN Population Fund and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), in collaboration with the Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), held a workshop from 24-25 June 2009, in London, UK, in the context of the 15th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). The expert group meeting focused at how age structure, household size and spatial distribution affect per capita emissions, and how it should be integrated into climate change modeling particularly in the context of adaptation and mitigation. The meeting concluded with a panel discussion on how to integrate population issues in the UN's “Delivering as One” approach at the country level. UNFPA's agenda on climate change includes the provision of evidence-based arguments to shed light on population dynamics and climate change. The 2009 edition of UNFPA's flagship publication, State of the World Population , which is expected be released on 18 November 2009, focuses on gender, population and climate change. Links to further information Expert Group Meeting on Population Dynamics and Climate Chan... Agenda, Expert Group Meeting on Population Dynamics and Clim... UNFPA Population and Climate Change working concept note
VIENNA ENERGY CONFERENCE 2009 DISCUSSES ENERGY IN THE CONTEXT OF CURRENT CRISES

The Vienna Energy Conference 2009 convened at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, from 22-24 June 2009, and was jointly organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Austrian Development Cooperation, the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and the Global Forum on Sustainable Energy (GFSE). The Conference sought to provide a platform for high-level policymakers and private sector and civil society representatives from developing and industrialized countries to discuss energy issues in the context of the current global financial and economic crisis. It served as an opportunity to, among other things: shift the debate on energy and development beyond generalities to identify specific courses of action; initiate and advance regional and international co-operation; celebrate the tenth anniversary of the GFSE; provide inputs to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen; and present new international energy initiatives such as the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Link to further information IISD RS coverage
SECOND SESSION OF GLOBAL PLATFORM FOR DISASTER RISK REDUCTION PREPARES FOR MID-TERM REVIEW OF HYOGO FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION

The Second Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) convened from 16-19 June 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. Approximately 1,785 participants attended the session, including representatives from over 140 governments, 54 intergovernmental organizations and 43 non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The meeting represented the primary multi-stakeholder forum for all parties involved in DRR and aimed to raise awareness on reducing disaster risk, share experiences and guide the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) system. The meeting included high-level plenary sessions, roundtable discussions and an informal plenary to prepare for the Hyogo Framework for Action mid-term review. A Chair's Summary from the meeting will help set the agenda for the global DRR community to prepare for the mid-term review and the UN climate change negotiations in Copenhagen in December 2009. Link to further information IISD RS coverage

May 2009

AFRICAN MINISTERS ADOPT NAIROBI DECLARATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

African Ministers attending the third special session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) on Climate Change, which convened from 25-29 May 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya, adopted the Nairobi Declaration. The Declaration highlights major challenges and opportunities in the negotiations for a more equitable climate regime, and provides African countries with a platform to make a strong case for support at the climate change conference in Copenhagen, in December 2009. The Declaration states that increased support to Africa should be based on the continent's priorities, which include adaptation, capacity building, financing and technology development and transfer. It further stresses the need for African countries to implement climate change programmes in a way that helps achieve sustainable development, particularly in terms of alleviating poverty and attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), with an emphasis on the most vulnerable such as women and children. African Ministers suggested that the Group of Eight implement the recommendation to create a regional climate centre in Africa for the improvement of climate risk management and the implementation of the regional strategy for disaster-risk reduction. Link to further information UNEP press release
G8 ENERGY MINISTERS LAUNCH ENERGY EFFICIENCY PARTNERSHIP

The G8 Energy Ministers Meeting convened in Rome, Italy, from 24-25 May 2009, and brought together Energy Ministers from the G8 countries as well as representatives of the emerging economies of Asia, Latin America and Africa. Among other agenda items, the G8 Ministers finalized the operational launch of the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC). Participating Energy Ministers signed the IPEEC Terms of Reference, and senior officials signed a Memorandum of Association with the International Energy Agency (IEA), which will host the IPEEC Secretariat. Partners also agreed on initial tasks for the IPEEC draft work plan, including: the establishment of a Sustainable Buildings Network (SBN) to promote efficiency gains in residential, commercial and industrial buildings; a compilation and summary of national energy efficiency action plans; an inventory and review of international energy efficiency initiatives; and improved methods for measuring and verifying progress towards domestic energy efficiency goals. IPEEC signatories included members of the G8 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, the UK and the US), and emerging economies such as Brazil, China, India, Mexico and the Republic of Korea. Links to further information US Department of Energy press release, 24 May 2009 G8 Energy Ministers website
THIRD C40 LARGE CITIES SUMMIT ADDRESSES ACHIEVEMENTS AND CHALLENGES IN FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE

The third Summit of the C40, a group of the world's largest cities committed to tackling climate change, was held in Seoul, South Korea, from 18-21 May 2009. Under the theme “Cities' Achievements and Challenges in the Fight Against Climate Change,” the Summit brought together mayors, company executives and leaders from 40 cities and 17 affiliate municipalities around the world to share their policies and good practices in addressing global warming. The C40 Large Cities Climate Leadership Group was established in 2005 by London's then mayor Ken Livingstone, to take action on climate change. C40 previously met in London in 2005, and in New York in 2007. Links to further information C40 Seoul Summit C40 goals to UNFCCC
ADB-BACKED CONFERENCE CALLS ON TRANSPORT SECTOR TO CURB EMISSIONS

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has co-organized, with the Clean Air Institute and the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, a conference that sought to build consensus on the required policy response to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transport in the developing world. The event convened from 12-16 May 2009, in Bellagio, Italy, and concluded with the adoption of the Bellagio Declaration on Transportation and Climate Change. The Declaration recognizes that the transport sector, being the fastest growing sector in terms of GHG emissions, needs to increase its contribution to mitigation efforts, and it stresses that a new global climate agreement should be reached in December 2009 in Copenhagen to reflect this message. The Bellagio Declaration also calls on the international climate change and transport community to embrace three key principles: effective climate action is incomplete without addressing the overall system performance of the transport sector; climate action in the transport sector should recognize co-benefits; and more effective carbon finance mechanisms and associated procedures should catalyze sustainable transport policies, programmes and projects. Link to further information The Bellagio Declaration
CSD 17 OPENS HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT

The 17th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD 17) is meeting for its annual session from 4-15 May 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. At the end of the first week, delegates met past midnight in two Working Groups to negotiate the session's decisions on agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa. Negotiations have continued into the second week of the session, and these issues are also being discussed by ministers and heads of delegations and UN agencies during a High-Level Segment. Ministerial Roundtables taking place this week are focusing on: responding to the food crisis through sustainable development; realizing a sustainable green revolution in Africa; and integrated management of land and water resources for sustainable agriculture and rural development. The results from the Ministerial Roundtables will be collated in a Ministerial Vision Statement. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of CSD 17
CSD ADOPTS DECISION OUTLINING POLICIES FOR AGRICULTURE, DESERTIFICATION, DROUGHT, LAND, RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND AFRICA

Delegates to the 17th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD17), which convened from 4-15 May 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, focused on the thematic cluster of agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa. CSD17 negotiated policy recommendations based on CSD16's review of the issues and the development of a draft Chair's Negotiating Text during an Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting, which convened in February 2009. Delegates adopted a “Text as prepared by the Chair” by acclamation during the closing plenary. In addition to negotiating policy options related to the thematic cluster of issues, CSD17 delegates also engaged in dialogues with Major Groups and the policy research community, and a High-level Segment and Ministerial Roundtables focused on the food crisis, a sustainable green revolution in Africa, and integrated management of land and water resources for sustainable agriculture and rural development. The results from the Ministerial Roundtables were summarized in a Shared Vision Statement, which was annexed to the CSD17 report. The CSD17 Organization of Work also included, for the first time, a tripartite dialogue among Heads of UN agencies, Chairs of Executive Boards/Governing Councils of UN agencies, and ministers. These closed and informal discussions took place prior to the morning sessions of the first two days of the High-level Segment. A Partnerships Fair, Learning Center and side events also took place during the two weeks. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
SECOND AFRICA REGIONAL PLATFORM ON DISASTER RISK REDUCTION HYOGO FRAMEWORK FOR ACTION IMPLEMENTATION

The Second Africa Regional Platform (ARP) on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Consultative Meeting convened at UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, from 5-7 May 2009. The event, themed “Accelerate progress in implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) and the Africa Regional Strategy for DRR,” was organized by the Commission of the African Union (AUC) and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR). The overall objective of the Second Consultative Meeting was to review progress made in the implementation of the HFA, promote regional cooperation, strengthen regional mechanisms and programmes, and prepare Africa's participation in the Second Session of the Global Platform for DRR, to be held from 16-19 June 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. Link to further information IISD RS coverage

April 2009

WMO WORKSHOP RECOMMENDS CLIMATE CHANGE-FOOD SECURITY NETWORK

The international workshop on Adaptation to Climate Change in West African Agriculture, held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, from 27-30 April 2009, brought together experts and decision makers to discuss and recommend climate change adaptation options for the agriculture, livestock, forestry and fisheries sectors in West Africa. The event was jointly sponsored by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and partner organizations. The aim of the meeting was to formulate recommendations and identify knowledge gaps and opportunities for policy makers, researchers, international organizations and NGOs to implement programmes designed to minimize West Africa's short- and long-term vulnerability to climate change. Key recommendations from the workshop include integrating climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies into national and regional development programmes, and improving water resource management with the primary focus on enhancing food security in the region. Participants also recommended developing a comprehensive and action-oriented database of adaptation options for serving the needs of smallholders. In addition, they agreed on the need to establish a West and Central African network on climate change and food security, and a technical secretariat to develop a comprehensive communication plan to facilitate efficient exchange of information related to climate change. Links to further information Workshop website Workshop recommendations
US HOSTS PREPARATORY MEETING OF MAJOR ECONOMIES FORUM

The US Government hosted the first preparatory meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate from 27-28 April 2009, in Washington, DC, US. The event was attended by Leaders' representatives and other officials from seventeen major economies, as well as the UN and Denmark, as host of the December 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. Mike Froman, US Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs, served as the Chair of this first of three preparatory sessions expected to convene prior to the Leaders Meeting, which will take place in Italy in July 2009. Froman indicated that the Forum seeks to build political momentum to reach a positive outcome in the international climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, as well as to build political support for the development of key transformation technologies to help address the climate change issues. Among other agenda items, John Holdren, US President Obama's science advisor, discussed the science of climate change and what countries need to do in their own national action plans to address emissions reductions, following which representatives from Mexico and South Africa responded with views on their own national plans. US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu then presented on technologies and policies needed to accelerate the transformation to a clean energy economy, following which Australia responded on carbon capture and storage and India responded on energy efficiency, particularly in buildings. The heads of delegation also visited the White House and met with President Obama. The Chair's Summary of the meeting indicates that “Participants commented on the potential for the Major Economies Forum to support the development of transformational technologies critical to mitigating climate change globally. Many in the group noted that the forum could provide valuable support and impetus at a political level for the development of critical technologies and supported exploring cooperation on innovation and policies to enable deployment of technologies, including carbon capture and storage, clean coal, buildings, energy efficiency, solar energy and biofuels, among others. The role of legal and regulatory systems in facilitating enabling environments was also raised. Delegations were invited to submit concrete proposals for cooperation to facilitate discussions at the next preparatory meeting.” The next meeting is expected to convene in Paris, France, in May 2009, during which the Leaders' representatives will focus on the Copenhagen process, including mitigation, adaptation and finance, as well as on issues regarding development of transformational technologies and the deployment and transfer of technology. Links to further information US State Department briefing, 28 April 2009 Chair's summary
ECOSOC, BRETTON WOODS INSTITUTIONS, UNCTAD AND WTO MEET

The annual High-Level Meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with the Bretton Woods Institutions, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which convened on 27 April 2009, in New York, US, addressed the global economic crisis and perspectives for UN responses. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the Group of 20's commitment to a ‘green' recovery and the establishment within the UN of “a system-wide mechanism for monitoring vulnerability, and sounding the alert when necessary/” He noted recovery should be pursued in a way that promotes sustainable development, and added that, “indeed, this crisis, devastating as it is, is also an opportunity to move towards a Green New Deal.” Links to further information UN News Center, 27 April 2009 Meeting website
G8 ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS SEND CONCLUSIONS TO JULY SUMMIT

In the framework of the G8 Italian Presidency, the G8 Environment Ministerial Meeting convened on 22-24 April 2009, in Siracusa, Italy. The G8 Ministers, joined by high-level representatives of Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, Egypt, Indonesia and the Republic of Korea discussed: the development and deployment of low carbon technologies in the context of the current financial and economic crises; actions to address climate change; and biodiversity. Among the Chair's conclusions to be submitted to the July G8 summit are: the need for recovery and stimulus packages to include public spending and investments in more efficient production and use of energy, as well as in low carbon technologies, to address both economic development and emissions reduction; and the need to urgently address climate change and agree on a post-2012 regime in Copenhagen covering all the elements of the Bali Action Plan. In this respect, the Chair will note the importance of increasing mutual confidence, and “being proactive in order to avoid to remain locked in waiting others' first move.” A document on biodiversity, the Carta di Siracusa on Biodiversity, highlighting that biodiversity has a relevant economic value and can contribute to cope with the global economic crisis will also be forwarded to the G8, calling for a post-2010 framework on biodiversity. Link to further information G8 Environment Ministers Summit
FAO HOLDS ROUNDTABLE ON ECOLABELLING AND CERTIFICATION IN THE FISHERIES SECTOR

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Government of the Netherlands co-organized a Roundtable on Ecolabelling and Certification in the Fisheries Sector in The Hague, from 22-23 April 2009. The Roundtable brought together representatives from organizations involved in fisheries certification, the fisheries value chain elements and NGOs, and aimed to inform participants about how the industry adapts to the increasing pressures for standards, to understand stakeholder expectations with respect to the role of public authorities and private standards in the field of standards and the role and place of standards in the market for fish and fish products. Links to further information Round table introduction Round table programme
G8 AGRICULTURE MINISTERS ADOPT DECLARATION ON THE WORLD FOOD EMERGENCY

The Ministers of Agriculture of the G8 countries and Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa, Argentina, Australia and Egypt convened from 18-20 April 2009, in Cison di Valmarino, Italy, to discuss food security and the prevention of future food price crises under the theme “The World Food Emergency.” The meeting was also attended by the heads of UN agencies that are members of the UN Secretary General's High-Level Task Force on Food Security and other intergovernmental bodies. The ministers adopted a Declaration containing proposals, including on: placing agriculture and food security at the core of the international agenda; increasing public and private investment in sustainable agriculture, rural development and environmental protection to tackle climate change impacts and ensure sustainable management of water, forests and other natural resources; sound agricultural policies and strategies to underpin these investments; and sustainably increasing renewable energy production from biomass without compromising food security, with strong emphasis on the development and commercialization of second generation biofuels. The Declaration will be forwarded to the G8 Heads of State summit to be held in Italy in July 2009. Links to further information Final declaration FAO press release Bioversity International press release
Summit of the Americas Addresses Energy and Environmental Sustainability

Addressing the Fifth Summit of the Americas, which took place in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, from 17-19 April 2009, US President Barack Obama proposed the creation of a new Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas “that can forge progress to a more secure and sustainable future.” The proposed partnership would promote renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the promotion of energy efficiency and investments in infrastructure and renewable sources of energy. At the conclusion of the Summit, a 97-paragraph Declaration of Commitment of Port of Spain was presented. A section on energy security commits the leaders to aim to develop cleaner, more affordable and sustainable energy systems, and to promote access to energy and energy efficient technologies and practices in all sectors. A section on environmental sustainability recognizes “the adverse impacts of climate change on all countries of the Hemisphere, in particular, Small Island Developing States, countries with low-lying coastal, arid and semi-arid areas or areas liable to floods, drought and desertification, developing countries with fragile mountainous ecosystems and land-locked countries.” [Fifth Summit of the Americas website]
NATO SUMMIT DECLARATION STRESSES ENERGY SECURITY, DANISH PM ELECTED AS NEW SG

Heads of State and Government of the member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) met in Strasbourg, France, and Kehl, Germany, from 3-4 April 2009, and adopted a Declaration on Alliance Security. In the Declaration, NATO members stressed that the issues of a stable and reliable energy supply, diversification of routes, suppliers and energy sources, and the interconnectivity of energy networks remain of critical importance. Members tasked the Council in Permanent Session to prepare an interim report for the Foreign Ministers' meeting in December 2009 and a further report on the progress achieved in the area of energy security for consideration at the next Summit. The 28 NATO Heads of State and Government also selected Danish Prime Minister (PM) Anders Fogh Rasmussen as NATO's next Secretary General (SG). He will take up these duties on 1 August 2009, which will mean the Danish Government will change prior to the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December. Link to further information NATO summit website
WORLD BANK HOLDS ENERGY WEEK

The World Bank's “Energy Week 2009” focused on the theme “Energy, Development, and Climate Change.” During the week, policy-makers and practitioners analyzed issues related to: energy innovations for clean transport; securing a climate sensitive energy supply; integrating wind energy development; and scaling up energy efficiency for climate change mitigation. In her opening address, World Bank Vice President Katherine Sierra highlighted the demand for strong investment in green energy made by Lord Stern, who proposed that countries should be spending about 20% of their stimulus packages on green measures, and Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, who called for a Global Green New Deal with investments of one per cent of global GDP in five key sectors. Link to further information World Bank Energy Week 2009
UNECE'S 63RD SESSION CALLS FOR A NEW PARADIGM OF SUSTAINABLE GROWTH

The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) held its 63rd session from 30 March-1 April 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland, during which participants discussed the effects of the economic crisis and the role the UNECE can play in increasing trade facilitation, as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation. Participants underscored that the linkages between the environmental and economic crises provide an opportunity for adopting a new paradigm of sustainable growth, and noted the need to promote energy security as well as policies aimed at reducing energy dependence. The Commission endorsed the “Environment for Europe” reform plan as developed by the Committee on Environmental Policy on 29 January 2009. The Commission also elected Belgium as Chair and Serbia and Kyrgyzstan as Vice-Chairs of the sixty-fourth session. Links to further information Meeting website UNECE press release

March 2009

GLOBAL PREPARATORY MEETING PREPARES FOR ECOSOC ANNUAL MINISTERIAL REVIEW

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) convened, on 31 March 2009, a global preparatory meeting for its Annual Ministerial Review (AMR), to be held during its July 2009 substantive session. The 2009 AMR will focus on “Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to global public health.” ECOSOC President Sylvie Lucas (Luxembourg) opened the one-day March event at UN Headquarters in New York, US, and highlighted that “one of the key messages of the preparatory process so far is that the health community alone will not be able to solve key challenges on the global public health agenda…Multisectoral approaches developed across ministries are needed. The key contribution which ECOSOC can make in July is to bring the different communities together.” She also highlighted additional preparatory events that have taken place, including an e-discussion and national and regional meetings. These deliberations also will serve as an input to the Report of the Secretary-General on the achievements in the area of health, as well as the Ministerial Declaration. In other ECOSOC news, the Council selected the theme for the humanitarian affairs segment of its 2009 substantive session on 26 March 2009. This segment will consider “Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian assistance: present challenges and their impact on the future,” and will convene two panels on “Respecting and implementing guiding principles of humanitarian assistance at the operational level – assisting the affected populations” and “Addressing the impact of current global challenges and trends on the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance.” The Council also decided that the regional segment will consider “Regional perspectives on the global economic and financial crisis, including the impact on global public health,” and an informal event will be organized on 17 July to discuss the transition from relief to development. Links to further information AMR Global Preparatory Meeting website ECOSOC press release, 26 March 2006
EU CONCLUDES NEGOTIATIONS ON PESTICIDES PACKAGE

EU member states concluded two years of negotiations on 24 March 2009 with the adoption of the “Pesticides Package.” The Pesticides Package enables EU member States to monitor risks related to the use of pesticides. It includes three legislative proposals: the Regulation concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market; the Directive relating to the sustainable use of pesticides; and the Regulation on pesticide statistics. The aim of the proposal is to monitor proper risk indicators related to pesticides usage. Based on the monitoring results, the member States will collect comparable data for the development of harmonised statistics. The current regulation only concerns plant protection products falling under pesticides, but may be extended in the future to cover more areas. The final agreement is expected to be confirmed by the European Parliament on 21 April 2009, and by a Council decision in June 2009. Link to further information EU press release
First TICAD Ministerial Follow-up Meeting Develops Communique

March 2009: Ministers and delegations from Japan and African countries met in Gaborone, Botswana, from 21-22 March 2009, at the First Ministerial Follow-Up Meeting on the outcomes of the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV). In a joint Communiqué, Ministers underlined that sustainable economic growth in Africa requires full cognizance of the challenges posed by climate change in Africa, and urged the international community to increase the level of support extended to African countries for the implementation of adaptation and mitigation measures. [MOFA TICAD IV Ministerial Follow-Up Meeting website] [The communiqué]
FIFTH WORLD ISLAMIC ECONOMIC FORUM ADOPTS DECLARATION ON FOOD AND ENERGY SECURITY

The fifth World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), which met in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 1-4 March 2009, adopted the Jakarta Declaration on Food and Energy Security and Stemming the Tide of the Global Financial Crisis. The Declaration, among other things, recommends that delegate countries should: reduce regulatory barriers such as food subsidies, which would hinder sustainable food production and trade; develop policies to ensure a proper balance between food production for human consumption and energy usage; support energy conservation and carbon emission reduction programs; reinforce efforts for research and development of non-carbon fuels and other alternative energy sources; call for effective regulations in the global financial industry to mitigate risk and failure; and support the establishment of Islamic Banking training centers with harmonized standards to expand shariah compliant finance instruments such as micro-credits. Links to further information WIEF Jakarta Declaration

February 2009

IPM PREPARES FOR CSD17

The Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting (IPM) for the 17th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD17) took place from 23-27 February 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The IPM's role was to provide a forum to discuss policy options and possible actions to enable the implementation of measures and policies concerning agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa – the thematic issues under consideration during the CSD16/CSD17 two-year “implementation cycle.” The IPM discussed each thematic area and delegates proposed policy options and actions for adoption at CSD17. Delegates also considered inter-linkages, cross-cutting issues and means of implementation, as well as small island developing states. The IPM's deliberations were reflected in a Chair's Negotiating Text that was distributed on the final afternoon of the meeting. The document was developed with the expectation that it could form the basis for further discussions and negotiations during CSD17, scheduled to convene from 4-15 May 2009, at the same venue. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of CSD17 IPM
D-8 MINISTERS ADOPT INITIATIVE TO ADDRESS FOOD SECURITY

Ministers from the Developing-8 (D-8) countries met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from 25-27 February 2009, for a three-day D-8 Ministers' Meeting on Food Security. D-8 is an arrangement for development cooperation among Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey. The meeting concluded with the adoption of the Kuala Lumpur Initiative to Address Food Security, which outlines five initiatives for strategic cooperation between member countries related to the production of fertilizers, animal feed, the formation of a seed bank, standards and trade, and marine and fisheries. They agreed that each initiative would be championed by appointed countries, with Turkey and Iran selected for the seed bank programme; Malaysia and Indonesia for animal feed; Egypt for fertilizers; Iran and Turkey for standards and trade issues; and Indonesia for marine and fisheries. Link to further information D-8 press release
UN Commission for Social Development Discusses Social Integration

February 2009: The 47th session of the Commission for Social Development met from 4-13 February 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. Delegates incorporated issues surrounding the global financial crisis, compounded by the challenges of increasing poverty, the food crisis, armed conflict and climate change, into their debate of “Social Integration,” which is the priority theme for the 2009-2010 review and policy cycle. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President Sylvie Lucas (Luxembourg) noted that the Commission for Social Development has the role of guiding international efforts to fight exclusion and promote socially inclusive policies to place people at the centre of development, which could prevent conflict, encourage dialogue and manage coexistence and natural-resource exploitation. The Commission endorsed four draft resolutions on the “Social Dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa's Development” (E/CN.5/2009/L.3); “Policies and Programmes involving Youth” (E/CN.5/2009/L.4); “Promoting full employment and decent work for all” (E/CN.5/2009/L.5); and the “First review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, 2002” (E/CN.5/2009/L.6). The draft resolutions are expected to be considered by ECOSOC, in accordance with resolution 2006/18, to discuss the core themes of the World Summit for Social Development, at its next substantive session in Geneva, in July 2009. Link to further information 47th session of the CSD website
EXPERT MEETING ADVISES GREAT GREEN WALL PROJECT ON SPECIES AND MANAGEMENT SYSTEM ISSUES

Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal and Coordinator of the Environment component of NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa Development), presided over a meeting on 11-12 February 2009, in Dakar, Senegal, within the framework of the implementation of the major project of the “Green Great Wall.” The project seeks to plant an erosion barrier stretching across these desert countries, and is being overseen by the African Union, the Sahel and Sahara Observatory and the Community of Sahel-Saharan Nations (CEN-SAD). Experts at the meeting were encouraged to identify vegetal species, systems of management, production methods for local species and valorization most appropriate on drylands along the Great Green Wall, from Dakar to Djibouti (through Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti). Links to further information The Great Green Wall website Le Soleil News Report
MEETING ON AFRICAN AGRICULTURE FORWARDS DECLARATION TO CSD17

The High-Level Meeting on African Agriculture in the 21st Century, which took place in Windhoek, Namibia, from 9-10 February 2009, was a ministerial-level meeting convened in preparation for the 17th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD17), which is taking place in May 2009, in New York, US. The current CSD two-year cycle is considering agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification, and Africa. The objective of the event in Windhoek was therefore to consider how African governments and other stakeholders can meet those challenges. At the close of the meeting, delegates adopted the Windhoek High-Level Ministerial Declaration on African Agriculture in the 21st Century, which notes a number of recommendations for consideration by CSD 17, including an increase in financial support for agriculture on the continent; the empowerment of women farmers; the availability of credit and other financial services to farmers; and increased North-South and South-South cooperation. Link to further information IISD RS coverage

January 2009

CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP ASSESSES EFFECTIVENESS OF NATIONAL POLICIES ON IRRIGATION WATER MANAGEMENT

The Capacity Development Workshop on Improving Agricultural Productivity, Water Use Efficiency and Strengthening Rural Livelihoods, took place from 28-30 January 2009, in Bangkok, Thailand. The event was organized by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA/DSD) in collaboration with the UN-Water Decade Programme on Capacity Development (UNW-DPC) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and brought together representatives from governments, local authorities, UN Agencies, and academia to share lessons learned and best practices in combating rural poverty. Specifically, the workshop provided an assessment of the effectiveness of existing national policies and strategies on rural development, irrigation water management and agriculture development in reducing rural poverty, and identified the necessary interventions and adjustments in the existing policies and strategies to promote sustainable agriculture, including irrigation management and rural development. The outcomes of the workshop will serve as inputs to the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting of 17th session of the CSD in 2009. Link to further information Workshop website
UNWTO TOURISM RESILIENCE COMMITTEE STRESSES NEED FOR “SMART TOURISM”

At the first Meeting of the UN World Tourism Organization's (UNWTO) Tourism Resilience Committee, which convened on 28 January 2009, in Madrid, Spain, participants discussed the need for the sector's short-term response to the economic down-turn to be aligned with long-term commitments to sustainable development, poverty alleviation and climate change mitigation. Link to further information UNWTO Press Release, 28 January 2009
UNWTO TOURISM RESILIENCE COMMITTEE DISCUSSES ROLE OF TOURISM INDUSTRY IN ECONOMIC RECOVERY

The UN World Tourism Organization's (UNWTO) Tourism Resilience Committee (TRC) is a platform for information and best practice sharing regarding the current economic downturn and its impact on the tourism sector. The TRC's first meeting, which convened on 28 January 2009, in Madrid, Spain, resulted in agreement on the need for: cooperation among tourism stakeholders; improved data collection and analysis; and alignment of the industry's response to the economic crisis with its response to climate change. The Committee held its second meeting on 13 March 2009, in Berlin, Germany at the ITB Travel Trade Show. Participants at this meeting discussed: the impact of the economic situation on tourism, including on the airline industry; the public and private response to the crisis; and the role of the sector in the green economy and in addressing poverty and climate change. Links to further information UNWTO press release, 5 March 2009 TRC website Meeting agenda of the TRC UNWTO Press Release on UNWTO Secretary General's Remarks, 11 March 2009
HIGH-LEVEL MEETING ON FOOD SECURITY CALLS FOR EXPLORING OPTIONS FOR A GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY

The High-level Meeting on Food Security for All, held from 26-27 January 2009, in Madrid, Spain, issued a statement that calls for a consultative process on options for a Global Partnership for Agriculture Food Security and Nutrition. Convened by the Government of Spain and the UN, the meeting reviewed progress in addressing the global food crisis since the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) High-level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy, held in June 2008. In a statement that was issued at the close of the meeting, based on the Chair's summary of proceedings, participants emphasize, among other measures: identifying financing gaps and additional resources needed; addressing all aspects of food security, including social protection systems and the elimination of competition distorting subsidies; and making social and economic development of rural areas a primary policy objective. Link to further information Meeting website
UNWTO CALLS ON TOURISM SECTOR TO MAINSTREAM GREEN ACTIVITIES

Addressing the European Travel Commission's Transatlantic Conference, which convened on 20 January 2009, in New York, US, Assistant Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Geoffrey Lipman emphasized the potential role of tourism in boosting the economy and called for the tourism sector to mainstream green activities. He stressed the need for: adhering to the Green New Deal; building the “quadruple bottom line” into the sector's policies by adding climate to economic, social and environment considerations of the sustainability equation; increasing public/private sector collaboration to enhance efficiency; accounting for the sector's carbon impact; developing short- and long-term economic tools to support climate adaptation, trade strengthening and technology transfer; and implementing these commitments now and within the future Copenhagen framework. Link to further information UNWTO Press Release, 27 January 2009
TRANSPORT MINISTERS DISCUSS CLIMATE CHANGE MEASURES

Representatives of 20 countries and the European Union attended the Ministerial Conference on Global Environment and Energy in Tokyo, Japan, from 15-16 January 2009. Hosted by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the meeting gathered transport ministers and envoys from the Group of Eight major economies, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, along with Australia, India and South Korea, to participate in talks as part of an effort to develop a climate change agreement for the post-2012 period. A Ministerial Declaration was presented at the close of the meeting, emphasizing future actions in the transportation sector to tackle climate change and air pollution, and calling on the air and maritime industries to act on global warming and address carbon emissions from the unregulated sector by the end of the year. Delegates acknowledged, that while transport is “an important foundation of our society,” it is responsible for “considerable emissions of carbon dioxide,” affecting the climate and public health. They called on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to “deliver a package of appropriate mechanisms for reducing emissions, preferably by the end of 2009.” The ministers said they would support efforts by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to come up with technology, standards and market-based measures by the end of the year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Declaration also proposes, among other things, a package of effective measures for domestic transport, from which each country will employ best policy practices according to individual circumstances. Links to further information Meeting website Ministerial Declaration