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
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
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
Second Committee Adopts Texts on Biodiversity
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 draft resolutions on agriculture development and food security, among other biodiversity-related items.
In total, the Committee adopted 40 draft resolutions and three draft decisions during the present Session. The agreed drafts would have the General Assembly: declare 2011-2020 as the UN Decade on Biodiversity and ask the Secretary-General, in consultation with Member States, to lead the coordination of the Decade's activities on behalf of the UN, with the support of the Convention's secretariat and those of other biodiversity-related instruments as well as relevant UN funds, programmes and agencies; call for a one-day high-level session, on 20 September 2011, on “Addressing desertification, land degradation and drought in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication,” with the aim of raising awareness of those issues at the highest level, reaffirming the fulfillment of all commitments to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and its 2008-2018 Strategic Plan, and contributing to preparations for the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, also known as Rio+20); request the Governing Council (GC) of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to convene a plenary meeting providing for the full and effective participation of all member States, particularly developing countries, to determine modalities and institutional arrangements for the Intergovernmental Science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES); and welcome the 26 February Nusa Dua Declaration as a contribution to the UNCSD.
On agriculture development and food security, the Committee would have the UNGA: stress the need to enhance production, productivity and sustainability, while calling for the timely realization of the 2009 G-8 commitment to mobilize US$20 billion over three years for sustainable agricultural development; stress the need to achieve those aims through public and private investment, better access to markets and credit for smallholder farmers, improved land-use planning, crop diversification and commercialization, sound water management, strong agriculture value chains, and rural infrastructure investment, as well as by empowering rural women as critical agents of rural development and food security; call for efforts to boost the agricultural sector's ability to predict, prevent and address the impacts of climate change and extreme weather, recognizing the consequences of the global food crisis for the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in developing countries and the need for Africa to embark on a “green revolution” to boost agricultural productivity, food production and regional food security; and urge Member States and international organizations to pursue policies and strategies to improve the functioning of markets and ensure equitable access for all, while calling on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to promote policies favorable to enhanced agricultural trade. [Summary of 30 November meeting
] [Summary of 1 December meeting
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
ICCAT Extraordinary Meeting Adopts By Catch Measures
27 November 2010: The 17th Extraordinary Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) took place from 17-27 November in Paris, France, bringing together over 500 delegates from 35 contracting parties.
The Commission reviewed the status of tuna stocks and by caught species, including sharks and turtles, in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The contracting parties adopted: new management measures for bigeye and bluefin tunas and North Atlantic swordfish, as well as for the conservation of sharks and sea turtles that are taken as by catch and improved measures for monitoring, surveillance and control. [ICCAT Press release
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
International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime Launched in St. Petersburg
23 November 2010: During the International Tiger Conservation Forum, held from 21-24 November, in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, the Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Secretary-General of ICPO-INTERPOL, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the President of the World Bank and the Secretary-General of the World Customs Organization signed a Letter of Understanding to bring into effect the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC).
CITES Secretary-General John Scanlon said the Consortium's creation “sends a very clear message that a new era of wildlife law enforcement is upon us, one where wildlife criminals will face a determined and coordinated opposition, rather than the current situation where the risks of detection and of facing penalties that match their crimes are often low.”
Also during the Forum, Scanlon addressed the Illegal Tiger Trade session, during which he highlighted CITES' work on tiger conservation and combat of illegal trade. Scanlon noted the belief of the CITES Secretariat that much of today's illegal trade in tigers could be markedly reduced if concerted, collective efforts were made by the law enforcement community against those involved in the destructive crimes. Detailing the complementary skills of the agencies involved in the Consortium, he said that the goal was to introduce a new era to wildlife law enforcement. [Scanlon's Statement
] [CITES Press Release
] [The Letter of Understanding
UNEP Consultative Group on IEG Forwards Recommendations to Governing Council
23 November 2010: The Second Meeting of the Consultative Group of Ministers or High-level Representatives on International Environmental Governance (IEG) convened from 21-23 November in Espoo, Finland.
The Consultative Group was established by the Governing Council (GC) of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in February 2010, following the series of meetings, known as the “Belgrade Process,” by an earlier consultative group. Its first meeting was held in Nairobi in July. In Finland, in response to GC Decision SS.XI/1, the Consultative Group considered “the broader reform of the IEG system, building on the set of options developed during the Belgrade Process, but remaining open to new ideas.”
The Consultative Group identified the following system-wide responses to the challenges in the current IEG system: strengthening the science-policy interface; developing a system-wide strategy for environment in the UN system; encouraging synergies between compatible multilateral environment agreements (MEAs); creating a stronger link between global environmental policy making and financing; developing a system-wide capacity-building framework for environment; strengthening strategic engagement at the regional level to strengthen UNEP Regional Offices; and, for the GC, considering the contribution of UNEP to identifying the implementation and follow up of these approaches.
The Consultative Group also considered institutional forms for implementing the aforementioned responses, with differing views expressed on this matter. In reference to five of the options put forward by the Belgrade Process, the Consultative Group recommended that establishing a new umbrella organization for sustainable development and reforming the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) would be best addressed in the wider sustainable development context. The Group also suggested that existing institutions be “strengthened and enhanced” and that the options of enhancing UNEP, establishing a specialized agency such as a world environment organization, and enhancing institutional reforms and streamlining existing structures were potential options.
Presenting its final report on 23 November, the Group recommended that the GC consider how to “secure political momentum” and “efficient follow-up of the IEG process.” At the GC's request, the Consultative Group will present a final report at the 26th Session of the UNEP Governing Council and Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF) in February 2011, in anticipation of the Council's contribution to the second meeting of the open-ended preparatory committee of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, also referred to as Rio+20), as well as to the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly. [Nairobi-Helsinki Outcome
] [Finnish Government Press Release
] [UNEP Environmental Governance webpage
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
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
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
INTERPOL General Assembly Adopts Resolution on Environmental Crime
8 November 2010: Meeting in Doha, Qatar, from 8-11 November 2010, the General Assembly of INTERPOL has adopted a resolution in support of the organization's Environmental Crime Programme.
The resolution calls upon national law enforcement authorities to recognize that “environmental crime is not restricted by borders and involves organized crime networks which engage in other crime types including murder, corruption, fraud and theft.” It notes that there is a vital need for a global response and that INTERPOL should play a leading role in supporting national and international enforcement. Environmental crime encompasses activities ranging from illegal trade in wildlife, timber and marine species, to transborder movements of hazardous waste and the illicit exploitation of natural resources.
The adopted resolution was welcomed by the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). [The Resolution
] [CITES Press Release
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
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
ECESA Discusses Vision and Expectations for UNCSD
4 November 2010: The Principals of the Executive Committee of Economic and Social Affairs (ECESA) and of other relevant UN entities met at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 4 November, in an effort to define a common UN vision and expectations for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, also called Rio+20).
UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang, Convenor of ECESA and UNCSD Secretary-General, invited the Principals of ECESA to engage in a "frank, interactive dialogue" during which they brainstormed initiatives to be launched at UNCSD. The meeting focused in particular on the two themes of the UNCSD: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD). Participants also discussed potential individual and joint outreach activities that would encourage stakeholder participation. Under-Secretary-General Sha called on UN system entities to make substantive contributions to enrich the preparatory process, such as inputs to the Secretary-General's Report, technical papers on priority themes, expert meetings or briefings, support for national and regional preparatory activities, secondment of staff, and sharing experiences of best practices. [UNCSD News Report
AOSIS Holds Ministerial Consultation on Climate Change in Preparation for COP 16
2 November 2010: The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) held an Informal Ministerial Consultation on Climate Change from 1-2 November 2010 in St. George's, Grenada. The aim of the Ministerial Consultation was to discuss he AOSIS position in preparation for the 16th session of the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to be held in Cancun, Mexico.Participants, including lead negotiators from AOSIS member states and key negotiators from non-AOSIS members, as well as representatives of the UNFCCC Secretariat, the two Ad hoc
Working Groups and other UN bodies, discussed, in relation to AOSIS positioning for Cancun: adaptation and other Cancun outcomes; Annex I and non-Annex I mitigation; financial resources and mechanisms; technology; capacity building; legal form and process beyond Cancun; and the challenges and opportunities of COP 16 in Cancun. [ECLAC News release]
UNCTAD Holds Pre-LDC IV Event on Building Productive Capacities in LDCs
29 October 2010: The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held an event, from 27-29 October 2010, on building productive capacities in Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The event aimed to produce substantive inputs to the preparatory and negotiating process for the Fourth UN Conference on LDCs (LDC IV) in 2011, and in particular, a successor Programme of Action for the LDCs.
The event featured high-level panels from government and international organization representatives. At the wrap-up session, Charles Gore, Special Coordinator for Research and Policy Analysis, Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes at UNCTAD, concluded that the event had raised a number of important issues that would provide substantive inputs into preparation for LDC-IV. Major areas of debate were the national level (including the relationship between the State and the market), the international aspect (international support mechanisms, aid, and investment), and the opportunity for South-South cooperation. The meeting stressed the "obvious but often ignored importance" of LDC-to-LDC cooperation.
During the meeting, delegates discussed the contributions of science, technology and innovation and trade logistics to building productive capacities. Ahmed Abdel Latif, Programme Manager for Intellectual Property and Technology at the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, called for putting innovation and the policies it requires onto the global agenda. He expressed his hope that measures adopted at LDC-IV would be more oriented towards spurring innovation and technology development than was the case with previous LDC conferences.
Noting an increase in recent foreign direct investment (FDI) into LDCs, James Zhan, Director of the Division on Investment and Enterprise at UNCTAD, underlined the need for such investment to be both "in the poor" (viable and sustainable investment in poverty alleviation), for the poor (accessible and affordable products and services) and with the poor (fostering business linkages with domestic small- and medium-sized enterprises).
Carlos Nuno Castel-Branco, Director of the Institute of Economic and Social Studies in Mozambique, called attention to the need for targeted productive capacities development in LDCs. He gave an example from his home country, where per capita GDP had grown over the last seven years by 45%, mainly due to mineral resource extraction, while per capita food production had declined by nine percent over the same period. The result was that two million more people in Mozambique lived below the poverty line than seven years ago, even though statistically they were "richer." Castel-Branco remarked "the aim should not merely be to build productive capacities, but also to build them in appropriate areas."
In a press conference related to the event, Supachai Panitchpakdi, UNCTAD's Secretary-General, identified building productive capacities, the topic of the event, as a key challenge for individual LDCs and international organizations working with them. He said, "it is only through removing the structural deficiencies that these countries can truly integrate into the international system, open up for beneficial trade, and escape the poverty trap." [More information
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
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
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...
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
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
UNCSD Bureau Holds Seventh Meeting
12 October 2010: The Bureau of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, also referred to as Rio+20) conducted its seventh meeting on 12 October 2010. Among other topics, Bureau members learned that the recruitment of two Executive Coordinators has been delayed due to difficulties in mobilizing extra-budgetary resources needed for their recruitment, with funds so far only mobilized to support one Executive Coordinator.
Bureau members were also informed, inter alia
: of the plans of the high-level panel on global sustainability established by the Secretary-General and a possible consultation between the Bureau and this panel; and that a 4 November 2010 meeting of the Principals of all UN system entities, including Specialized Agencies, Regional Commissions, Convention Secretariats, and IFIs, would seek to articulate a common Secretariat vision for sustainable development within the context of Rio+20. The next Bureau meeting is expected to take place on 18 November. [Minutes from the meeting
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
UNWTO Meeting Calls for Greener Tourist Industry
6 October 2010: The Second World Tourism Conference convened in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, from 4-6 October 2010 and was attended by Ministers of Tourism, their representatives and other stakeholders. According to the UN World Tourism Organization, the event focused on ecotourism and environmental protection, and called for a greener global tourism sector. [UNWTO Press Release
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
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
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
FAO Finalizes First Global Guidelines for Aquaculture Certification
1 October 2010: The
Sub-Committee on Aquaculture of the Committee on Fisheries of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has adopted the first global guidelines for aquaculture certification. The Sub-Committee met for its fifth session in Phuket, Thailand, from 27 September-1 October 2010, bringing together over 50 country representatives. The guidelines, which are non-binding, cover animal health, food safety, the environment and socioeconomic issues relating to aquaculture workers. They will be forwarded for approval to the 29th session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries, which will take place from 31 January-4 February 2011, in Rome, Italy. [FAO press release
] [Sub-Committee fifth session website
UNWTO Celebrates World Tourism Day
September 2010: The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) celebrated World Tourism Day on 27 September. Jointly organized by UNWTO, the China National Tourism Administration and Guangdong Province, celebrations were centered in Guangzhou, China. A High Level Dialogue on Tourism, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development was convened as the central event under the theme “Tourism and Biodiversity,” coinciding with the UN International Year of Biodiversity. The dialogue provided a platform to debate how tourism can contribute positively to biodiversity conservation and the quality of life of local populations, while minimizing potentially negative environmental and social impacts. [UN WTO Press Release
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
Global Conference on Aquaculture Carries Out 10-Year Review
September 2010: The Global Conference on Aquaculture 2010, which took place from 22-25 September 2010, in Phuket, Thailand, was co-organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific under the theme “Farming the Waters for People and Food.”
The conference carried out a review of the development and progress in the aquaculture sector since the Conference on Aquaculture in the Third Millennium in 2000. The event brought together national, regional and international organizations and government representatives to appreciate the current state of aquaculture development, evaluate where the sector stands today and face upcoming challenges. [FAO press release
] [Conference Website
African Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture Focus on Agricultural Development
23 September 2010: Hosted by the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the first Conference of African Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture (CAMFA) took place in Banjul, The Gambia, from 20-23 September 2010, under the theme “African Fisheries and Aquaculture: Contributing towards Agricultural Development and Economic Growth.”
The Conference brought together ministers, experts and development partners who reaffirmed the role of fisheries and aquaculture in achieving the 6% annual growth of the wider agricultural sector as envisaged by the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Programme (CAADP). They called for putting in place robust strategies and policies to tackle illegal and unreported activities in Africa's waters.
They called on member States and the AU to constitute fish expert pools to urgently engage in national CAADP processes. Participants also underscored the need to strengthen the policy coherence in national fisheries sector regarding CAADP in order to enhance the role of fish in food security, poverty alleviation and trade development. Keynote speakers at the event included: Sheikh Alhaji Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, President of The Gambia, whose message was read on his behalf by the Vice President, Ajaratou Isatou Nüe-Saidy; Elizabeth Tankeu, Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the AU Commission (AUC); Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, whose statement was read on his behalf by Sloans Chimatiro, Senior Fisheries Advisor, NEPAD Agency; and Jacques Diouf, Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), whose statement was read on his behalf by Musa Saihou Mbenga, Deputy Regional Representative for Africa/Sub-Regional Coordinator for West Africa. [AU Website
] [Conference Brochure
UNGA Holds High-Level Meeting on Biodiversity
22 September 2010: A high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly was held on 22 September 2010, in New York, as a contribution to the International Year of Biodiversity. At the event, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that conserving the planet's species and habitats is central toachieving sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Following a general discussion, thematic panels were held on the way forward in achieving the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the internationally agreed biodiversity goals and targets. Participants highlighted, among others: the need for political impetus and flexibility in the negotiations on a draft protocol on access and benefit-sharing; the opportunity to adopt an ambitious post-2010 strategic plan; and the importance of creating an intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services (IPBES).
A summary of the discussions will be transmitted to the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the CBD, to be held from 18-29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. [UN Press Release
] [High-level Meeting Website
] [Background Document A/64/865
] [IISD RS Coverage]
UN Unveils New Approach to Accelerate Progress on Anti-Poverty Goals
22 September 2010: The United Nations has released a new tool – known as the MDG Acceleration Framework – to support countries in identifying and overcoming barriers in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs include targets to end poverty and hunger, expand access to education, improve maternal and child health, and achieve environmental sustainability.
UNDP Administrator Helen Clark noted that the MDG Acceleration Framework, an innovative approach to speed up progress on the targets, was developed by the UN Development Programme (UNDP
) in collaboration with UN specialized agencies, and it addresses disparities and inequalities as one of the major causes of uneven MDG progress across and within countries. The framework enables governments and development partners to identify systematically the bottlenecks preventing MDG progress, as well as the tested and proven solutions that can help overcome them. Ten countries are piloting the approach, including Belize, Colombia, Ghana, Jordan, Lao PDR, Papua New Guinea, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda. Togo, for instance, is focusing on the lack of access to fertilizers, improved seeds and support to farmers as a major obstacle to progress on the poverty reduction goal. Belize is focusing on improving access to water and sanitation. Jordan and Tanzania are focusing on food security, and Tajikistan on how to facilitate access to energy for the poor.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that the approach provides a foundation to accelerate progress over the final five years to the MDG timeline, and noted the importance of understanding the obstacles to development and how to overcome them.
[UN News Centre
] [MDG Acceleration Framework Report
UN Unveils New Approach to Accelerate Progress on Anti-Poverty Goals
22 September 2010: The UN has released a new tool – known as the MDG Acceleration Framework – to assist countries in identifing and overcoming barriers to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs include targets related to ending poverty and hunger, expanding access to education, improving maternal and child health, and achieving environmental sustainability.
UNDP Administrator Helen Clark noted that the MDG Acceleration Framework, an innovative approach to speed up progress on the targets, was developed by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in collaboration with UN specialized agencies, and it addresses disparities and inequalities as one of the major causes of uneven MDG progress across and within countries. The framework enables governments and development partners to identify systematically the bottlenecks preventing MDG progress, as well as the tested and proven solutions which can help overcome them. Ten countries are piloting the approach, including Belize, Colombia, Ghana, Jordan, Lao PDR, Papua New Guinea, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda. Togo, for instance, is focusing on the lack of access to fertilizers, improved seeds and support to farmers as a major obstacle to progress on the poverty reduction goal. Belize is focusing on improving access to water and sanitation. Jordan and Tanzania are focusing on food security, and Tajikistan on how to facilitate access to energy for the poor.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that the approach provides a foundation to accelerate progress over the final five years to the MDG timeline, and noted the importance of understanding the obstacles to development and how to overcome them. [UN News Centre
] [MDG Acceleration Framework Report
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
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
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
World Water Week Focuses on Water Quality
11 September 2010: World Water Week took place from 5-11 September 2010, in Stockholm, Sweden, under the theme “The Water Quality Challenge.” During the Week, a number of UN and intergovernmental actors organized seminars, side events and workshops.
On 6 September, the UN
World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) presented on the working structure and themes of the next UN World Water Development Report, to be launched in March 2012.
On 7 September,the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the National Water Commission of Mexico (CONAGUA), the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), the World Bank and others co-organized a seminar on water adaptation to climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean. The “Expert and Ministerial Panel on Water Adaptation to Climate Change: Prospects and Challenges for Latin America and the Caribbean Region” brought together ministers from different parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as experts to identify common priorities and opportunities for greater action in water resources management in the face of climate change. The outcomes of the seminar will be documented in a policy paper and the resulting policy recommendations will be presented at a side event at the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP-16), in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of 2010.
In addition, UN-Water held a stakeholder dialogue on “Sick water is threatening the MDGs: A stakeholder dialogue to address capacity development and communication needs,” on 8 September. The session brought together experts and stakeholders to discuss the current situation and challenges related to wastewater production and management. Specifically, participants looked at the ways different agents can provide solutions and response options to improve water quality and ensure sustainable development.
The Week concluded with the adoption of a Statement titled "Our Goals Need Water," which is addressed to the High Level Plenary Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to be held in September 2010, in New York, US. [Expert and Ministerial Panel on Water Adaptation to Climate Change
] [UN-Water Stakeholder Dialogue
] [WWAP Side Event
] [Statement "Our Goals Need Water"
UNDP Holds Consultation for Brazil on Biodiversity and Ecosystems
26 August 2010: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) held a national consultation for Brazil in Brasilia, from 23-24 August 2010. The consultation was part of a regional initiative entitled “Biodiversity and Ecosystems: Why these are Important for Sustained Growth and Equity in Latin America and the Caribbean” to prepare a report on the role of biodiversity in wealth generation and support of well-being in the region. This was the last in a series of similar consultations. Participants heard plenary presentations on the initiative and the regional report, and broke out into working groups to discuss emblematic policies in Brazil, and identify key sectors for promoting investment in biodiversity and ecosystem services, and any existing barriers to such investments. They also recommended inputs to the regional report on arguments to use, ways to convince decision-makers and dissemination strategies. [IISD RS summary report of the consultation
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
UNCSD Bureau Holds Sixth Meeting
July 2010: The Bureau of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, also known as Rio+20) convened for its sixth meeting on 30 July 2010, in New York, US. Among other issues, the Secretariat said it has "invested significant energy into the mobilization of support, participation, and ownership of the entire UN system for the preparatory process." It indicated that the "main vehicle in this regard is EC-ESA Plus, namely a regular meeting of the Principals of all UN system entities, including Specialized Agencies, Regional Commissions, Convention Secretariats, and IFIs. In addition, more frequent meetings would be arranged with the Troika--consisting of Principals of UNDESA, UNDP, and UNEP. Finally, the DESA Task Force has been established to enhance intra-departmental coordination." The Secretariat noted that these mechanisms have started to meet on a regular basis.
The Bureau agreed on the dates for the first two intersessional meetings: 10-11 January 2011, and 14-15 November 2011. A decision on the dates proposed for the third intersessional meeting (6-7 March 2012) was deferred. Bureau meetings are expected to be scheduled once every six weeks, and a brainstorming session between Bureau Members and Heads of Agencies of the UN system will be scheduled.
The Secretariat also informed that a study on benefits and challenges of the green economy is under preparation, in cooperation with UNEP and UNCTAD. The Bureau was invited to suggest names of experts who could serve on the panel that will assist in undertaking this study. [Bureau minutes
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
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
UNEP Convenes IEG Meeting
9 July 2010: In accordance with Decision SSXI/1, the First Meeting of the Consultative Group of Ministers or High-Level Representatives on International Environmental Governance (IEG) met in Nairobi, Kenya from 7-9 July 2010 to discuss broad IEG reforms. The Consultative Group comprised delegates from 60 countries and was co-chaired by John Njoroge Michuki, Minister of the Environment and Mineral Resources of Kenya and Paula Lsehtomaki, Minister for Environment of Finland. The group exchanged views on the proposals for broad IEG reform put forward by UNEP for consideration, and identified nine options of the original 24 proposed by UNEP, that warrant further consideration.
Participants generally agreed that there are gaps in the current environmental governance system although there were different views about the potential solutions. Many countries were in favor of creating a global policy organization with universal membership to set, coordinate and monitor the global environmental agenda. Several advocated for a new specialized UN agency on the environment. Many developing countries suggested that a global policy organization would increase the likelihood of more stable and predictable funding for environment. Others opposed the creation of a new environment organization and argued for an umbrella organization on sustainability. Other countries opposed the creation of any new organization.
While views on a new organization were divided, there was general support for other broad reforms, including the creation of a multi-scaled and multi-thematic global information network, establishing a tracking system on environmental finance, and enhancing UNEP presence within existing country offices.
The Group requested the Executive Director to prepare an analysis on the options to be discussed at the Group's second meeting, which is tentatively scheduled to be held late November 2010 in Helsinki, Finland, and also agreed to a roadmap for its work through the 2011 Governing Council. [
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
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
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
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
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
UNEP and ICTSD Co-organize Meeting on Fisheries, Trade and Development
16 June 2010: The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) co-organized a meeting on fisheries, trade and development, on 16 June 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland. Participants considered the state of play regarding global marine fisheries as well as current management issues. They looked at ways to green the fishery sector, including investment costs and returns related to sustainable fisheries management. Participants also examined: the current fishery negotiations and opportunities with regard to the way forward, from the perspective of key sustainable development issues; key market access issues in the fishery sector and opportunities for win-win solutions for environmentally, socially and economically sustainable development; and sustainable aquaculture trade. [Meeting web site
Mercury INC 1 Begins Work on Legally Binding Instrument
11 June 2010: The first session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to Prepare a Global Legally Binding Instrument on Mercury (INC 1) convened from 7-11 June, in Stockholm, Sweden. Delegates to the meeting exchanged views on key issues to be addressed in the instrument including: objectives; structure of the instrument; capacity-building and technical and financial assistance; compliance; issues of supply, demand, trade, waste and storage; atmospheric emissions of mercury; and awareness-raising and information exchange. Delegates mandated the Secretariat to prepare, for consideration by the INC, “elements of a comprehensive and suitable approach to a legally binding instrument on mercury.” This document is expected to be used as the basis for negotiations by the INC 2, scheduled to convene from 24-28 January 2011, in Chiba, Japan. [IISD RS Meeting Coverage
] [Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of mercury negotiations
] [UNEP Chemicals website
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
Conference on Biological and Cultural Diversity Develops Elements for Programme of Work
10 June 2010: The "International Conference on Biological and Cultural Diversity: Diversity for Development – Development for Diversity" convened from 8-10 June 2010, in Montreal, Canada. Held jointly with the 16th International Economic Forum of the Americas/Conference of Montreal, it was organized in partnership with the CBD Secretariat, UNESCO, UNEP and the University of Montreal. Bringing together civil society, indigenous and local community representatives, policy makers, scientists and intergovernmental and development cooperation agencies, the conference aimed to exchange knowledge and practices linking biological and cultural diversity. Among its outcomes, the conference adopted elements for a programme of work to be jointly implemented by UNESCO, the CBD Secretariat and other partners, on the links between biological and cultural diversity. [CBD press release
, 11 June 2010] [Conference website
] [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
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
Thirteen Sites Added to UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves
4 June 2010: The 22nd session of the International Coordinating Council of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme, which convened from 31 May-4 June 2010, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, added 13 new sites and five extensions in 15 different countries to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The Network now numbers 564 sites in 109 countries. Ethiopia and Zimbabwe inscribed reserves to the network for the first time. Biosphere reserves are areas designated to serve as places to test different approaches to integrated management of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine resources and biodiversity. [UNESCO press release
, 2 June 2010]
UNCSD Workshop Series Underway
May 2010: As part of the UN Division for Sustainable Development's (DSD) Sustainable Development Knowledge Partnership, the DSD co-organized a workshop titled “The Challenge of Sustainablity: A Workshop in Preparation for Rio+20.” The event took place on 8-10 May 2010, in New York, US, in parallel to the Commission on Sustainable Development, and served as an introduction to a UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, also known as Rio+20) workshop series. The workshop sought to foster discussion on the possibility of global sustainable growth based on absolute decoupling of growth from additional inputs of material resources and the desirability of growth. [http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/dsd_aofw_sdkp/sdkp_uncsd_workshop...
CSD 18 Reviewing Transport, Chemicals, Waste, Mining, and Consumption and Production
Delegates to the 18th session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD 18) are meeting from 3-14 May 2010, at UN headquarters in New York, to review the thematic cluster of transport, chemicals, waste management, mining, and the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production patterns (SCP). The CSD meets annually in two-year “Implementation Cycles,” with each cycle focusing on one thematic cluster alongside cross-sectoral issues. Each cycle is comprised of a Review Year and a Policy Year. CSD 18 will thus conduct a review of barriers and constraints in implementation, as well as lessons learned and best practices, in relation to the thematic cluster. CSD 19, in May 2011, will convene as the “Policy Year” for this thematic cluster, when delegates will negotiate policy recommendations based on CSD 18's review of the issues.
CSD 18 delegates are being informed by a number of regional implementation meetings, intersessional meetings and thematic seminars, among other activities and background documents. The UN Regional Commissions, in collaboration with the Secretariat of the CSD, organized Regional Implementation Meetings (RIMs) in order to contribute to the work of CSD 18. The Western Asia RIM took place from 4-6 October 2009, in Cairo, Egypt. The African RIM took place from 27-30 October 2009, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Asia and the Pacific RIM took place from 30 November-1 December 2009, in Bangkok, Thailand. The Latin America and the Caribbean RIM took place from 26-27 November 2009, in Antigua, Guatemala. And the Europe and North America RIM took place from 1-2 December 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Inaugural Meeting of the Regional 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) Forum in Asia, which convened in Tokyo, Japan, from 11-12 November 2009, agreed on a statement on the establishment of the Forum, for the promotion of the 3Rs in the Asia region.
The Workshop on Case Studies in the Sound Management of Chemicals took place from 3-4 December 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. This workshop collected inputs, reviewed and advanced the content for the CSD 18 publication “Practices in the Sound Management of Chemicals.” This publication will be officially launched on 12 May during the High-level Segment of CSD 18, by the CSD Secretariat, the Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention, and the UN Environment Programme Chemicals Branch.
The International Expert Group Meeting: United Nations Forum on Climate Change Mitigation, Fuel Efficiency and Sustainable Urban Transport met in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 16-17 March 2010. Participants developed a number of recommendations related to: trends and issues in urban transport; public transport in urban areas; financing of public transport in developing countries; social and safety concerns; the role of city administrations in the development of urban public transport; technologies for curbing growth of emissions from motor vehicles; innovative transport business models and green growth; policy options for curbing growth of emissions from motor vehicles; urban planning and measures to promote sustainable urban transport; and enhancing policy coherence to address the transport challenges.
The International Consultative Meeting on Expanding Waste Management Services in Developing Countries convened from 18-19 March 2010, in Tokyo, Japan. Participants developed recommendations related to: common issues and challenges in the area of waste management in developing countries; innovative approaches and strategies for integrated waste management; issues with the informal sector; and strengthening partnership to enhance technical and financial cooperation towards sustainable waste management at local level. The meeting acknowledged the Government of Japan's intention to continue its support for similar activities, including the follow-up meeting scheduled to be held in January 2011, as an input to CSD 19.
Links to further information
IISD RS coverage of the meeting
DSD CSD website
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
Mediterranean Dialogue Addresses Environment and Renewable Energy
The First Ministerial Conference on the Environment and Renewable Energy within the framework of the 5+5 Mediterranean Dialogue convened on 26 April 2010, in Oran, Algeria, with representatives from Northern Mediterranean countries (Spain, France, Italy and Portugal) and five Southern Mediterranean countries (Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia). The Conference produced the “Oran Declaration,” which underscores the need for more significant integration of environmental issues into the development strategies adopted by the countries in the region, as well as in their international cooperation policies.
The Declaration, inter alia
, calls for cooperation in renewable energy and energy efficiency, indicating that the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) must constitute a supplementary framework for strengthening agreement between countries in this area. It also addresses the protection of the marine environment, water, waste, desertification and sustainable urban development.
Link to further information
Spanish Government press release
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
UNGA Sets Dates for High Level Dialogue in September 2010
At its meeting on 15 April 2010, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a decision setting the dates for the High-Level Dialogue in September 2010. The general debate of the 65th session of the UNGA will be held from 23-25 September and from 27-30 September 2010. The UNGA also decided to hold the two-day high-level review to assess progress made in addressing the vulnerabilities of small island developing States through the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, pursuant to paragraphs 2 and 3 of General Assembly resolution 64/199, from 24-25 September 2010. Delegates further agreed to hold the high-level meeting as a contribution to the International Year of Biodiversity, pursuant to paragraph 23 of resolution 64/203, on 22 September 2010.
Link to further information
The UNGA Decision
UNEP Hosts Meeting on Environmental Impact Assessment
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) hosted the 30th Annual Conference of the International Association for Impact Assessment from 6-11 April 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland.
The conference looked at the five sectors that have been identified as key green investment opportunities: agriculture, industry, tourism, cities and transportation.
Link to further information
UNEP 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
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
UN Secretary-General Calls on Parliamentarians to Support MDGs, Disarmament and Clean Energy Efforts
The 122nd Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly took place from 27 March-1 April 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand, focusing on the theme of political reconciliation and governance.
In a statement delivered by Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for increased efforts and cooperation between the UN and IPU to achieve the eight universally accepted Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, and to push forward the disarmament and clean energy agenda with the goal to improve the lives of people, particularly the most vulnerable. While acknowledging the challenges faced by countries such as lack of adequate resources and expertise, and governance-related issues, the UN Secretary-General emphasized the need for parliamentarians to support climate change by building the foundation for a green economy. He noted that while the private sector should also play their part, parliaments are responsible to develop legislation that can establish incentives for innovation, promote investments in clean technologies and renewable energy, and develop national plans and goals that integrate the climate dimension.
In September 2010, the UN Secretary-General will host the MDG Summit during the General Assembly High-Level debate, which will focus on ways to accelerate progress towards the development goals.
Links to further information
UN News Centre
, 27 March 2010
122nd Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly
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).
Global Conference on Agriculture Research for Development Discusses Investment Needs
The first Global Conference on Agriculture Research for Development (GCARD), which convened in Montpelier, France, from 29-31 March 2010, examined the need for investment in agricultural research and the roles that can be played by various institutions to increase the impact of new knowledge among the poor.
The event produced a non-binding “Montpelier Roadmap” for how to tailor agricultural research to the needs of the rural poor. It highlights the need for implementation of regional priorities, identified through regional consultations, and suggests that characteristics of a well-functioning agricultural research for development system include mutual and equal accountability among all stakeholders and strengthened relationships among those involved with research, development and farming. The document will be further refined in the coming months.
GCARD was organized by the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), in collaboration with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). It will be a biennial meeting that will replace the triennial GFAR meetings and the annual general meetings of the CGIAR.
At the event, CGIAR introduced its proposed large-scale collective-action programmes through eight thematic areas: climate change and agriculture; agricultural systems for the poor and vulnerable; enabling agricultural incomes for the poor; optimizing productivity of global food security crops; agriculture nutrition and health; water, soils and ecosystems; forests and trees; and agricultural biodiversity.
Link to further information
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
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
ECOSOC AND BRETTON WOODS HIGH-LEVEL MEETING DISCUSSES DEVELOPMENT GOALS
A Special high-level meeting of UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), took place on 18-19 March 2010, in New York, US, under the theme “Building on Monterrey and Doha: towards achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.” Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro underlined that “Now is the time,” and that together with next week's High-level Dialogue of the UN General Assembly on Financing for Development, this meeting would provide crucial inputs to the high-level review of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), scheduled to take place from 20-22 September 2010.
Highlighting the particular situation of the poorest countries, including those that had been pushed by natural disasters and climate change into emergency situations not of their making, she stressed the need for coordinated, comprehensive support.
Link to further information
UNDP EVENT FOCUSES ON CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT
The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Morocco hosted a global event on ‘Capacity is Development' from 17-19 March 2010, in Marrakech.
The event brought together world and community leaders, including development practitioners, from the North and South to discuss policies, institutional reforms and investment decisions that have enabled States and societies to sustain human development. The event focused on the capacity development policies and investments necessary to: impact progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); support post-conflict and fragile States in rebuilding their countries; contribute to ‘climate-proofing' national development goals; and build resilience while reducing vulnerability to external shocks.
The outcomes of the three-day event will help to better understand how investments in capacity development strengthen institutions and promote human development, and the value of strategic partnerships and South-South collaboration to strengthen institutional capacities. Participants at the event developed a series of inputs that are also expected to feed into the High-Level Meeting on the Millennium Development Goals to be held in September 2010, focusing on institutional reforms and investments to build strong and capable institutions to achieve the national development goals, to promote climate-resilient development and rapid and long-term recovery after conflict and disaster.
Links to further information
UNDP ‘Capacity is Development' site
, 17 March 2010
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)
Links to further information
UN-WATER ORGANIZES SEMINAR ON WATER SUPPLY AND SANITATION IN AFRICA
The UN Water Decade Programme on Capacity Development (UNW-DPC), a joint programme of UN Agencies and Programmes cooperating within the framework of UN-Water, coordinated the UN-Water Seminar on “UN-Water's Perspective on Water Supply and Sanitation and Needs for Capacity Development in Africa,” from 15-18 March 2010, in Kampala, Uganda.
The seminar focused on the current programmes and initiatives that UN-Water members and partners are currently implementing in Africa in the area of water supply and sanitation.
The session explored the different approaches and perspectives in search of synergies, needs and gaps in capacity development. The presentations concentrated on the most promising approaches implemented by UN-Water members and partners, highlighting especially the need for institutional capacity development and the establishment of cooperation in order to apply the best available technical, managerial and governance solutions.
Links to further information
UN Secretary-General Calls for an Action Plan to Accelerate MDG Progress to be Endorsed by the MDG Summit
On 16 March 2010, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented his report “Keeping the promise: a forward-looking review to promote an agreed action agenda to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015” (A/64/665). The report was issued, pursuant to UN General Assembly resolution 64/184, to an informal meeting of the UN General Assembly plenary. The report provides information on progress made in achieving the MDGs and calls for a new pact to accelerate the progress in achieving the goals. The report reviews successes, best practices and lessons learned.
Member States generally welcomed the report, with most delegations requesting more time to review the contents and provide comments in due course. The key discussion points focused on a need for greater analysis and disaggregated data, taking into account the specificities of different regional and political groupings of countries (small island developing States, countries in crisis, CARICOM, Africa etc.). The report indicates that achieving the Millennium Development Goals should also contribute to the capacities needed to tackle climate change and that climate-resistant development is imperative. It notes that securing an adequate level of investment is required to overcome the idea of a potential trade-off between development and addressing climate change.
The UN Secretary-General outlined his three-pronged strategy as follows: (i) documenting proven, cost-effective initiatives that can be scaled up; (ii) mobilizing governments; and (iii) public outreach and communication. His expected outcome of the Summit is an agenda of action for the remaining five years that is specific, practical, and results-oriented with concrete steps and timelines as well as defined roles and responsibilities.
Delegations also expressed the view that failure to achieve MDG-8 on global partnership would significantly undermine the progress so far and compromise the achievement of all other development goals. In addition to a political declaration, delegations welcomed the Secretary-General's call for an action-oriented plan to accelerate progress over the next five years.
Consultations are set to start in mid-April and will conclude a month before the Summit. Additional reports and processes will also feed into the consultations, including the World Bank Meeting on Indicators, the UNDP Synthesis Report of 30 National MDG Country Reports, the 2010 MDG Progress Report, the MDG Gap Taskforce Report, the UNGA consultations with NGOs, the ECOSOC Annual Session, and the Stand Up and Take Action Campaign. [IISD RS sources] [UN Secretary-General's background document
] [UNGA resolution A/RES/64/168
DFID, UN AGENCIES AND DEVELOPMENT EXPERTS DISCUSS THE “TURNING POINT ON POVERTY”
The Department for International Development (DFID) of the UK Government hosted a conference on “Agenda 2010: The Turning Point on Poverty,” which took place on 11 March in London, UK.
The meeting gathered around 80 technical experts from UN agencies and academic institutions, key ministers and policy makers from developing countries. The conference focused on some of the most off-track Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – hunger and nutrition, education and health. Participants addressed the conditions needed to enable the MDGs to be met, including economic growth, stable States, empowerment of women and tackling climate change, and highlighted that climate change magnifies existing threats and stresses and threatens to push a greater number of people into poverty. The meeting was opened by the Secretary of State for International Development, Douglas Alexander, UN Development Programme Administrator Helen Clark, and the Vice President of Malawi, Joyce Banda. The meeting produced a Chair's Summary that recognizes the unavoidable impact of climate change and calls on leaders at the MDG Review Summit, to be held in September 2010, in New York, US, to agree on: new public climate finance and complementary ODA; innovative sources of climate finance; policies and incentives to leverage private sector investments; mainstreaming the impacts of climate change into national development planning processes; prioritizing the needs of the poor into finance for adaptation; and integrating environmental sustainability into country programmes and policies to adequately address climate change through sustainable management of natural resources including water, land and forests.
Links to further information
DFID News release
Chair's summary document
AFRICAN MINISTERS DECLARE DECADE FOR SCIENCE IN AFRICA
The fourth ordinary session of the African Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology (AMCOST), a Specialized Technical Committee of the African Union, convened in Cairo, Egypt, from 7-10 March 2010, to discuss, among other issues, the strategies and reports on the implementation of Africa's Science and Technology Consolidated Plan of Action (CPA), and implementation of the African Union Summit and AMCOST Decisions.
The Ministers of science and technology declared 2011–2020 the “decade for science in Africa.” The AMCOST Bureau, which is chaired by Egypt and co-chaired by South Africa, will be responsible for the initiative, with help from the African Union Commission and the New Partnership for Africa's Development.
Links to further information
AMCOST IV website
SciDev.Net News report
, 19 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
STOCKHOLM CONVENTION CONTRIBUTES TO PREPARATIONS FOR CSD 18
The Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention participated in the Thematic Seminar on Chemicals organized by the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) Secretariat on 23 February in New York, US.
The Seminar aimed to present scientific and technical information on the issues under review by the CSD at its 18th and 19th sessions. An e-discussion was opened following the Seminar, to further consider chemicals issues.
Links to further information
Stockholm Convention website
Thematic seminar website
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
NEPAD COORDINATION ON AGRICULTURE PROGRESSES
A number of recent developments have been reported related to the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
At the 14th African Union Summit, which convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 25 January-2 February 2010, leaders agreed in AU Assembly Decision AU/14(XIV) to transform the NEPAD Secretariat into an implementing agency, to be called the NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA). The NPCA is also mandated “to mobilize resources and partners in support of their implementation.”
On 9-10 February 2010, in Bamako, Mali, 60 subregional institutions and international organizations, farmers' and community-based organizations met under NEPAD coordination, to validate the framework document for first pillar of Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) – land and water management. This meeting was the culmination of a 12-month consultation process. In addition, participants agreed to set priorities and action lines on the basis of current scenarios that can be supported by scientific evidence, and to strengthen the links between the content of the framework document and the three Rio Conventions.
And on 16 February 2010, African and Arab Ministers met in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, to agree on a Joint Action Plan (JAP) that would guide their collaboration in agriculture and food security. The Joint Afro Arab Ministerial Meeting on Agricultural Development and Food Security, sought to create a partnership to promote food security and identify ways to achieve best use of land resources through cooperation.
Links to further information
CAADP news report
, 7 February 2010
CAADP news report
, 16 February 2010
Global Mechanism news report
, 2 March 2010
UNEP Releases Draft Report of Issue Management Group on Sustainability
A draft report from the first meeting of the Issue Management Group on Sustainability Management, which convened from 9-10 February 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland, has been posted on the Environmental Management Group (EMG) website.
The mandate of the group includes exploring how sustainable management in the UN system can be developed and reporting to the EMG. Key outcomes of the meeting include agreements to undertake emission reduction plans and greenhouse gas inventories.
Link to further information
UNEP EMG web site
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-HABITAT HIGHLIGHTS KEY CHALLENGES FACED BY AFRICA IN 2010
From 3-6 February 2010, the Winston House in Wilton Park, Sussex, UK, hosted a conference on Sub-Saharan Africa, focused on the challenges faced by Africa half way between the Africa Commission Report tabled at the Gleneagles Summit in 2005 and the target date for completion of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015.
Delegates gathered to discuss the progress made and how countries' priorities have changed as a result of the emerging key global challenges such as the economic crisis and climate change. UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka, as one of the Commissioners for Africa, delivered a presentation on “Balanced Development for Africa: The Cities of the Future - Beyond Chaotic Urbanization,” emphasizing that climate change only makes it more important to confront the challenge of African urbanization.
She noted that urbanization is the second most significant challenge for African countries, after HIV/AIDS, and that rapid urbanization will lead to slum formation, increasing inequality within African cities, and vulnerabilities. She highlighted that UN-HABITAT has been supporting the urban challenge agenda through the African Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (AMCHUD), a forum of national governments to deal with sustainable urbanization. Finally, she called on the international community to invest resources in housing and urban infrastructure.
Links to further information
UN-HABITAT press release
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
UNEP AND UN-HABITAT HOST INTERAGENCY REVIEW OF A DRAFT RAPID ASSESSMENT REPORT ON WASTEWATER MANAGEMENT
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) hosted an interagency meeting to review the draft Rapid Assessment Report (RAR) on Wastewater Management, from 21-22 January 2010, at the UN offices in Nairobi, Kenya.
The preparation of the RAR responds to the call by the Prince of Orange, in his capacity as Chair of the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, for exploring how and where the UN can enhance its cooperation and further contribute to wastewater management. The January meeting brought together experts from UN-Water and GRID-Arendal to: review the draft report and provide additional input; identify and discuss key messages, recommendations and summary; and discuss details relating to the launch and promotion of the publication. The RAR will be launched on World Water Day, 22 March 2010.
Link to further information
UNEP/GPA press release
, 20 January 2010
UN Secretary-General Hosts Regional Organizations to Discuss “Cooperation in Times of Crisis”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hosted a high-level retreat in New York, US, with the heads of fourteen regional organizations, to discuss issues of critical concern to their respective regions and the maintenance of international peace and security. Organized around the theme “Cooperation in Times of Crisis,” the retreat also sought to consider specific areas to strengthen cooperation between the UN and regional organizations. Other issues discussed included poverty, conflict prevention, mediation and management, drugs/narcotics trafficking, trafficking in human beings and terrorism. The event included the Secretaries General of the African Union (AU), Caribbean Community (CARICOM), League of Arab States (LAS), North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Director General for External Relations of the European Commission (EC). [Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat press release
, 21 January 2010]
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