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Recent Meetings

Human Development


Meetings from: 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 

December 2010

WIPO IGC Makes Progress on Traditional Cultural Expressions, Traditional Knowledge

10 December 2010: Held from 6-10 December 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland, the 17th session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) achieved progress on draft articles for the protection of traditional cultural expressions and traditional knowledge, and defined the work to be undertaken by two intersessional working groups on traditional knowledge and genetic resources, which will meet in February and March 2011. The IGC's mandate is to conduct text-based negotiations to reach agreement on an international legal instrument (or instruments) that ensure the effective protection of traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources, without prejudice to the work pursued in other fora. At the session in Geneva, an open-ended drafting group of the IGC streamlined draft articles on traditional cultural expressions developed by an intersessional working group in July 2010. The IGC also reviewed draft articles on traditional knowledge and transmitted them for consideration at the intersessional working group to be held from 21-25 February 2011. The third intersessional working group, to be held from 28 February-4 March 2011, will focus on genetic resources, and the Committee requested it to prepare a draft text of objectives and principles, as well as a draft list of options for future work. The session also witnessed the launch of a fundraising initiative for the WIPO Voluntary Fund for Accredited Indigenous and Local Communities. [WIPO Press release] [Meeting documents]
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]
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]

November 2010

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
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]
FCPF, FIP and UN-REDD to Streamline REDD+ Action

6 November 2010: The governing bodies of the UN-REDD Programme and the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and Forest Investment Program (FIP) met in Washington DC, US, on 6 November, to discuss collaborative approaches for the three initiatives in implementing REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks). During this first joint meeting, representatives of the three initiatives, as well as observers from civil society, indigenous peoples, the private sector and other global partners, came together to advance a common approach for REDD+ assistance centered on individual country-led strategies and a phased approach to REDD+. Alexander Muller, Assistant Director General, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), stressed the need to adopt a coordinated approach "to meet the big challenges of our time: poverty, food security, the degradation of ecosystems and dangerous climate change." In the open dialogue, participants presented experiences, reflected on progress, challenges and opportunities in REDD+ implementation, and considered ways to maximize REDD+ activities at the country level. [UN-REDD Press Release]
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]

October 2010

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]
EU Environment Ministers Adopt Negotiating Position for Cancun

14 October 2010: At their meeting on 14 October 2010, in Brussels, Belgium, the Council of the EU Environment Ministers agreed on a negotiating strategy for the Cancun Climate Change Conference to be held in late 2010. In the Council's conclusions, the Ministers stress the need for a stepwise approach, building on the Kyoto Protocol and the outcomes of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, and paving the way for a global and comprehensive legally binding framework, integrating the political guidance given in the Copenhagen Accord. Ministers note the limited progress made at the Bonn and Tianjin sessions towards identifying elements of a balanced package in Cancun, and emphasize that a very significant increase in the pace of the negotiations will be needed in order to reach a successful and balanced outcome in Cancun. Ministers indicate that decisions to be adopted in Cancun should cover: adaptation; mitigation; technology; capacity building; REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks); agriculture; monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV); finance and market-based mechanisms. They stress the need to anchor all countries' pledges in Cancun, whether made pursuant to the Copenhagen Accord or otherwise, in the context of the UNFCCC, with a view to facilitating the clarification of those pledges, mobilizing support for their implementation and supporting discussions on options to strengthen the collective level of ambition with a view to meeting the 2°C objective. Ministers also express support for a decision in Cancun to establish a registry to start capturing and facilitate matching of actions and support. Ministers commit to make rapid progress towards developing sound guidelines, rules and modalities for REDD+ actions, in order to operationalize the REDD+ mechanism through a decision in Cancun, thereby ensuring its environmental integrity. They indicate that a decision on REDD+ in Cancun should address: securing safeguards, in particular with regard to biodiversity, consistent with the EU's objectives at the Nagoya Biodiversity Conference; recognizing the rights and knowledge of indigenous peoples and local communities; and improving forest governance structures, supported by appropriate MRV requirements. In addition, Ministers note that the Cancun Climate Change Conference should urge the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to develop without delay a global policy framework in a manner that ensures a level playing field and that does not lead to competitive distortions or carbon leakage, in accordance with the principles and customary practices of ICAO and IMO, taking into account the principles and provisions of the UNFCCC in the use of potential revenues. Ministers also underline that the Cancun Climate Change Conference should provide a basis for the introduction of new sectoral or other scaled-up market mechanisms, including through pilot schemes, and the recognition of units resulting from such mechanisms, while preserving environmental integrity. They also: commit to work with all UNFCCC parties to develop guidelines for a coherent and balanced system for MRV, including international consultation and analysis; underline the need to promptly operationalize a Climate Technology Centre and Network; and emphasize their willingness to strengthen bilateral and regional alliances with a view to building bridges between parties that reinvigorate and feed into the UNFCCC, stressing the importance of the partnerships that the EU and its Member States have initiated with other UNFCCC parties on REDD+, MRV and mitigation, transparency of fast-start financing, adaptation and access to renewable energy, in preparing the ground for Cancun. [Council Conclusions]
UN/ISDR Marks International Day for Disaster Reduction

13 October 2010: The UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) marked International Day for Disaster Reduction on 13 October, under the theme “My City is Getting Ready!”  UN/ISDR called on all world leaders, policy makers, chief executive officers, civil society, international financial institutions and donors to join mayors and citizens to make their cities safer against disasters, as part of the organizations Making Cities Resilient Campaign. In a message marking International Day of Disaster Reduction, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted more than a billion people in Asia live within 100 kilometres of the sea, and two-thirds of the population of Latin America and the Caribbean live within 200 kilometres. He predicted serious disasters would continue for years to come due to climate changes and multiplying hazards. He recognized the activities of local governments and communities to protect themselves by building more sustainable towns and cities and commended “those cities that are acting to build resilience to climate, environmental and social risks.” To cities that have not yet joined the Campaign, he asked “Is your city ready?” The aim of the Campaign is to enlist over 1,000 local government leaders to invest more in disaster risk reduction, including: improving urban planning, infrastructure and building safety; reinforcing drainage systems to reduce flood, storm and health threats; installing early warning systems; conducting public preparedness drills; and taking measures to adapt to the increasing impacts of climate change. [UN Secretary-General's statement]
UNFPA Event Focuses on Social Dimensions of Climate Change in Africa

15 October 2010: The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Coordination Mechanism Cluster on Social and Human Development hosted a two-day meeting to examine the human and social dimensions of climate change in the life of African people. The meeting, titled "Climate Change through the Lens of Vulnerability and Human Rights," took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 11-12 October 2010, and preceded the Seventh Africa Development Forum, held at the same venue from 10-15 October. Participants examined how the impoverished, socially excluded and vulnerable groups can engage in, and benefit from, adaptation processes. Fungayi Jessie Majome, Zimbabwe's Deputy Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, indicated that social protection can improve adaptive capacities of the poorest and most vulnerable to climate change. UNFPA representatives stressed that the additional burden of diseases and deaths caused by climate change further strain already weak and under-funded health systems, noting the need to continue strengthening health systems' functioning and preparedness in order to cope with the additional challenges imposed by climate change. [UNFPA Press Release] [Seventh African Development Forum] [Climate Change and Health Care Systems in Africa] [UNECA Press Release] [Climate Change Policy & Practice Story on the Seventh Af...]
UN-REDD Workshop Highlights Community Consent in REDD

7 October 2010: The UN-REDD Programme held a consultation workshop with representatives of civil society organizations and indigenous peoples from Latin American and the Caribbean to facilitate the development of guidance on free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) and recourse mechanisms for national UN-REDD activities. During the meeting, which was held in Panama City, Panama, from 4-7 October 2010, participants heard presentations on,inter alia: the legal foundation of FPIC and recourse; FPIC and recourse in the context of the UN-REDD Programme's specific obligations to international law; and a FPIC consultation workshop held in Viet Nam in June 2010. Participants focused on: assessing the obstacles to accessing effective and timely recourse mechanisms; ensuring information on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+) reaches communities; defining true representation and consent; using local languages; and creating uniform global guidelines for different and distinct regions. Participants agreed that, in addition to the broad guidelines agreed upon at the meeting, each community has its own process for reaching consent that will need to be determined and applied. The workshop was one of a series of workshops to develop definitive FPIC and Recourse guidelines for UN-REDD programmes. A third regional consultation will be held in Africa in November 2010. After the guidelines from the three workshops are merged, the draft document will be released for a public comment and input process. [UN-REDD Press Release]
World Habitat Day Celebrates ‘Better City, Better Life'

4 October 2010:  The 2010 World Habitat Day was celebrated at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 under the theme "Better City, Better Life." The event focused on the potential and problems of urban living in the 21st century and  actions and policies that can improve well-being for the billion people who live in slums and other sub-standard housing around the world. In his statement to mark the Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted that better cities can help mitigate global challenges, such as climate change, by promoting energy conservation and environmental sustainability. In addition, the  World Habitat Awards were presented by UN-Habitat Executive Secretary Inga Bjork-Klevby and Diane Diacon, Director of the Building and Social Housing Foundation, to: the Local Housing Movement Programme, Egypt, which works with low-income communities in Egypt to improve their housing and access to water and sanitation; and the Ekostaden Augustenborg, Sweden, which addresses environmental issues such as flooding and energy inefficiency. The World Expo 2010 was hosted by China's Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development and the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Urban and Rural Construction and Transport. Celebrations to mark World Habitat Day were held in various cities around the world, including Barcelona, Spain, Nakuru, Kenya, and Kathmandu, Nepal. [UN Secretary-General Statement] [UN-Habitat Press Release]

September 2010

CBD Workshop Highlights Biodiversity Benefits from REDD

1 October 2010: The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has circulated the results of the Global Expert Workshop on Biodiversity Benefits of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), which convened from 20-23 September 2010, in Nairobi, Kenya. The Co-Chairs' summary of the workshop highlights that a well designed mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+), if successful, will have significant and unprecedented benefits for biodiversity, as well as for indigenous peoples and local communities. Both biodiversity and the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples were considered as necessary for the success of REDD+, with the permanent storage of carbon depending on well-functioning and resilient forest ecosystems, and on community participation and ownership. The meeting also identified risks to biodiversity and indigenous peoples, and highlighted the need for safeguards, national plans and approaches, and transparent and effective national governance structures. Participants recommended that the CBD explore possibilities for a technical workshop organized jointly by the CBD and UNFCCC Secretariats on how the CBD can support REDD+ safeguards, without prejudice to the negotiations. The Nairobi workshop was convened by the CBD Secretariat in collaboration with the UN-REDD Programme. [Workshop Report, including Co-Chairs' Summary]
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]
Interregional Negotiating Group Continues Negotiations on ABS Protocol

23 September 2010: The Interregional Negotiating Group (ING) on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) met from 18-21 September 2010, in Montreal, Canada, to continue the negotiation of a protocol on ABS under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The ING was established by the CBD's Working Group on ABS to finalize the negotiation of the protocol, with a view to having it ready for adoption by the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10). The meeting's outcome (UNEP/CBD/WG-ABS/9/ING/1) will be transmitted to the ABS Working Group, which will reconvene in Nagoya, Japan, on 16 October 2010, immediately prior to COP 10. The meeting considered outstanding issues on several parts of the draft ABS protocol, including: provisions relating to access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their utilization; the concept of utilization of genetic resources and how it should be defined in the context of the protocol; access and benefit-sharing with regard to traditional knowledge associated to genetic resources as well as in cases where such resources and knowledge are held by indigenous and local communities; compliance and related measures; and institutional clauses. Some progress was achieved towards an improved common understanding on the concept of utilization of genetic resources and its relation to derivatives, as well as on provisions on benefit-sharing and access. The meeting also considered provisions on scope, the relationship with other instruments, access to genetic resources for non-commercial research and access to pathogens in emergency situations, without making much progress. Several key issues remain outstanding and most delegates expressed concern about the prospect for concluding the negotiation of an ABS protocol during COP 10. [IISD RS coverage of the negotiations]
UNECE Considers Policy Framework on Affordable, Healthy and Ecological Housing

27 September 2010: At its 71st session, held from 20-21 September 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland, the Committee on Housing and Land Management of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) considered several items related to climate change.  The Committee discussed the document “Principles and Goals for Affordable, Healthy and Ecological Housing” and decided to set up a working group to explore possible options for a legally binding instrument on affordable, healthy and ecological housing in the UNECE region, with a view to increasing the legitimacy and visibility of the housing sector as a key component of a country's sustainable development. The Committee also adopted an “Action Plan for Energy-efficient Housing in the UNECE Region,” which outlines policy areas for action and contains a range of targets and measures that member States can adapt and implement with a view to removing barriers to energy efficiency and moving towards a low-energy and carbon-neutral housing sector. UNECE member States also considered the outline of a study on “Climate Neutral Cities,” to be prepared by the end of 2010, which is expected to promote an integrated cross-sectoral approach to urban development including housing, land use management, energy efficiency, transportation, waste management and green areas. [UNECE Press Release] [Meeting Website and Documents] [IISDRS Coverage]
UNDP/GEF SGP Announces Global Partnership on Community-Based Adaptation

20 September 2010: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) announced a Global Partnership on Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change (GPCBA) on the occasion of the 2010 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Review Summit of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). The Global Partnership on Community-Based Adaptation (CBA) to Climate Change will build on a CBA programme implemented by the SGP during the past two years, to help poor, vulnerable and marginalized communities adapt to climate change. The Global Partnership on CBA to Climate Change aims to scale-up this approach by encouraging other partners to join. The announcement took place during the event "Biodiversity, Climate Change and MDG Achievement – Scaling Up Local Solutions," which was organized on the occasion of the MDG Review Summit, which took place in New York, US, from 20-22 September 2010. [IISDRS Sources] [GEF SGP Website] [CBA Pilot Projects]
UN Secretary-General Appoints Group of Eminent Persons for LDCs

27 August 2010: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed a Group of Eminent Persons to examine development problems faced by Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The Group will review the effectiveness of the 2001 Brussels Programme of Action, which outlined measures by industrialized countries and the 49 LDCs to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development. The programme includes commitments on: promoting good governance; enhancing the role of trade in development; reducing vulnerability to natural disasters; protecting the environment; mobilizing financial resources; and speeding up implementation of steps to reduce the debt burden on poor countries. The Group will also look into the Brussels Programme of Action in relation new global challenges, including climate change and the food and energy crises. [UN Press Release 25 August] [UN Press Release 27 August]
First High-Level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership Endorses Ministerial Declaration and AEEP Road Map

17 September 2010: The first High-Level Meeting (HLM) of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) took place on 14-15 September 2010, in Vienna, Austria, to discuss energy access, energy security and renewable energy.

The meeting was co-organized by the: African Union (AU) Commission; European Commission (EC); Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, Austria; Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany; and Government of Mauritius. The HLM of the AEEP brought together over 300 participants, including ministers, ambassadors and other high-level decision-makers from 21 European and 23 African countries, and commissioners from the AU and the EU, as well as academics, business leaders and members of civil society from across Africa and Europe.

Participants heard keynote addresses and convened in panel discussions addressing: the future of the AEEP; the role of technology; and politics and markets. High-level participants also: endorsed the HLM Ministerial Declaration and the AEEP Road Map, outlining the AEEP's 2011-2013 programme of work; and launched the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP), aimed at enhancing industrial and business cooperation in the energy sector between the two continents.

Main themes of the HLM included: the need to recognize energy as one of the keys to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); the role of public and private sector finance and new financial instruments; the importance of a stable energy supply for economic and industrial development; the need for capacity building and knowledge creation on the potential of renewables; the role of policies and institutions in shaping stable and conducive investment environments; and the special attention needed to supply energy to the poor. [Conference Website] [IISD RS conference report]

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"]
UNFF Country-Led Initiative Addresses Forest Governance, Decentralization and REDD+

3 September 2010: The Oaxaca Workshop on Forest Governance, Decentralization and REDD+ in Latin America and the Caribbean took place in Oaxaca, Mexico, from 31 August-3 September 2010. This country-led initiative in support of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF) aimed to identify trends, and facilitate sharing of experiences and lessons learned with sustainable forest management (SFM), forest governance and decentralization, and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+). Participants engaged in plenary and roundtable sessions throughout the Workshop to discuss four themes: people, forest governance and forests; landscape change, forest management and REDD+; forest finance and finance for REDD+; and rights, livelihoods and forests. Participants also took part in field trips to nearby community-owned forest-related enterprises, as well as “open spaces” to discuss in more detail: payment mechanisms; forest planning; REDD+ legal frameworks; and indigenous peoples. Participants produced a report summarizing the Workshop's deliberations, which includes recommendations to countries and the ninth session of UNFF, to be held in early 2011. The document is also expected to inform discussions during the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) of the UNFCCC, to be held in late 2010. [IISD RS Coverage of the Meeting] [Workshop Website]

July 2010

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]
Resumed Session of ABS 9 Makes Steps towards Finalization of ABS Protocol

16 July 2010: The resumed ninth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was held from 10-16 July 2010, in Montreal, Canada. The first part of the ninth meeting was held from 22-28 March 2010, in Cali, Colombia, and suspended, with delegates agreeing that the draft protocol text tabled by the Co-Chairs and revised during the session (Cali Annex) was not negotiated. On the basis of the Cali Annex, delegates in Montreal conducted two readings of the text to isolate and resolve outstanding issues and reach consensus on language, with the aim of finalizing the protocol text in time for its possible adoption at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10), to be held from 18-29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. Delegates made a number of important steps towards meeting their mandate, including approving a substantive outcome in the form of a draft ABS protocol, which is no longer a Co-Chairs' text but rather a text negotiated by parties. At the same time, delegates showed their commitment to finalizing the protocol by working intensely and in good spirits through day and night sessions. They made progress in reaching agreement on certain difficult issues, including the relationship with other instruments and compliance with domestic ABS requirements. They also identified the key issues that require further compromises, including scope and the issue of pathogens, derivatives and the concept of utilization of genetic resources, and mechanisms to support compliance. Several sets of brackets remain and, as a result, the Working Group decided to hold another meeting before COP 10, possibly in September 2010. [IISD RS coverage of resumed ABS 9] [Earth Negotiations Bulletin archives of biodiversity meeting...]
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]

June 2010

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. The APMCHUD is a consultative inter-governmental mechanism for the promotion of sustainable housing and urban development in the Asia-Pacific region. The fourth Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development is expected to be held in Jordan in 2012.[UN-HABITAT Press Release] [APMCHUD Website] [Solo Declaration]
RRI Dialogue Addresses Forests, Governance and Climate Change

24 June 2010: The fifth Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change took place on 22 June 2010, in Washington DC, US. The Dialogue provided a forum for representatives from governments and civil society to discuss recent developments in the global architecture for a mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+).   The Dialogue's principal focus was on governance, efforts to protect the rights and interests of local peoples, and the prospects for REDD at the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the UNFCCC. In four sessions, participants: took stock of recent meetings, particularly the Oslo Climate and Forest Conference (May 2010) that saw agreement on an interim REDD+ partnership; addressed challenges in REDD implementation; discussed progress towards a framework of standards and safeguards for forests and climate; and identified critical issues to be addressed and the next steps to be taken in preparation for COP 16. Participants also discussed the role of bilateralism, which some noted could complement multilateral efforts in REDD financing and has the advantage of faster implementation, while others worried about consistency of standards and over-burdening local institutions with both bilateral and multilateral efforts. They also noted discrepancies between statements on safeguards and actual implementation, and discussed the drivers of deforestation and the costs and risks involved with REDD implementation. Regional RRI Dialogues are being planned for El Salvador, Nepal and Ethiopia, to continue discussion prior to COP 16. [IISD RS Coverage of the Dialogue]
UNDP Holds Cape Verde Workshop on Climate Change Risks and Opportunities

UNDPJune 2010: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) organized a workshop from 14-15 June, in Praia, Cape Verde, as part of the project on "Integrating climate change risks and opportunities into national development processes and UN country programming," funded by the Government of Spain. The workshop, which gathered over 30 participants, aimed to enhance the capacity of national stakeholders to understand climate change and integrate climate risks into the national development processes. Specifically, the workshop supported participants in a review of the Cape Verde Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper-II (PRSP) for climate change risks and opportunities. The event also included presentations on local climate, general climate change concepts, and a series of group exercises and discussions sessions. The project will support the evaluation of UN programming documents such as the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), and other multi-agency programmes and projects, as well as national development plans, PRSPs and other strategies for climate risks and opportunities, and propose response options to manage these risks. The Spanish Government has provided US$1.2 million towards the project, which is being implemented in five countries including El Salvador, Nicaragua, Malawi and Colombia. [UNDP Workshop Website]
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

UNDP9 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]
UNCCD Organizes Land Day 2

6 June 2010: The Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) organized Land Day 2 on 5 June 2010, in parallel to the May/June Climate Change Talks in Bonn, Germany. The event sought to heighten the attention of policy- and decision-makers to the importance of land issues in the ongoing climate change negotiations, and to foster a dialogue that could strengthen an agreement regarding the post-2012 period for climate change policy. Discussions were organized around questions related to: how synergetic implementation of the actions mandated under the UNFCCC and UNCCD can be fostered at the country level; how land and soil fit into an agreement for the post-2012 period; and what negotiators need to know about water and land assets in confronting climate change. Among the ideas highlighted during the conclusion were: the importance of cooperation at various levels in order to minimize the proliferation of actions; the need for social innovation to transform success stories into processes with broader national and regional impacts; the need for a change in perception of water sources; the need to give attention to upscaling and downscaling of actions; the role for investment in human resources in order to build the capacity to make long-term change; and the need to focus on poverty eradication and economic growth as primary objectives. [UNCCD Website] [Land Day 2 Website]

April 2010

UNPFII Urges Development Models Based on Indigenous Values

The ninth session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), which convened from 19-30 April 2010, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, considered economic and social issues and their impacts, including the financial crisis, climate change, forests and the actions of multinational corporations, among other issues. The special theme of the session was “Indigenous peoples: development with culture and identity.” In its concluding session, the Forum adopted a draft report that urged the UN system to support indigenous peoples' efforts in formulating their own development models based on their values, cultures and identities. On climate change, the Forum considered the results of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference and the implications for indigenous peoples' local adaptation and mitigation measures (E/C.19/2010/18). The session also considered a study on the impact of climate change adaptation and mitigation measures on reindeer herding (E/C.19/2010/15) and another study on the extent to which climate change policies and projects adhere to the standards set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (E/C.19/2010/7). In addition, climate issues were prominent in discussions on other themes such as land rights, which focused on the anthropogenic impact of climate change, its impacts on forests and the renewed interest in such ecosystems due to their capacity for carbon sequestration, as well as the impact of land use and climate change on reindeer grazing lands. The Forum recommended that its tenth session be held in New York from 16-27 May 2011. It also decided to host a three-day international expert group meeting on indigenous peoples and forests, to report to the ninth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF). Links to further information UN News press release, 30 April UN News press release, 29 April UN News press release, 28 April UNPFII 9 web site
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
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
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

March 2010

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 Meeting website
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 Meeting website Meeting report
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
HIGH LEVEL EVENT ON SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION ADOPTS BOGOTÁ STATEMENT

A High-Level Event on South-South Cooperation (SSC) and Capacity Development was held on 24-26 March 2010 in Bogotá, Colombia. Based on over 110 case stories of SSC, representatives of more than 130 developed and developing countries, multilateral and regional organizations, civil society and parliamentarians adopted the Bogotá Statement Towards Effective and Inclusive Development Partnerships, in which they committed to promote and implement good practices from South-South cooperation and capacity development to “support countries in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and tackling emerging global development challenges, recognizing that gender equality, respect for human rights, and environmental sustainability are cornerstones for achieving enduring impacts on the lives of people, particularly poor and marginalized populations.” The event was held as part of the aid effectiveness agenda and the process leading up to the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in late 2011 in the Republic of Korea. Links to further information Bogotá Statement, “Towards Effective and Inclusive Developme... OECD press release Meeting website
Human Rights Council Adopts Resolution Calling for 2010 Social Forum to Focus on Climate Change and Human Rights

The 13th session of the Human Rights Council, which met from 1-26 March 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland, concluded with the adoption of 28 resolutions, including a resolution (A/HRC/13/L.16) on the organization of the Social Forum, its subsidiary body. The Council decided that the next Social Forum will focus on the negative effects of climate change on the full enjoyment of human rights; on measures and actions to address its impact, targeting the most vulnerable groups, particularly women and children; and on the relevance of international assistance and cooperation to address the impact of climate change on human rights. The Social Forum will meet for three working days and is expected to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, in October 2010. The resolution calls for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) to consult with relevant stakeholders and to submit a background report for the debates to be held at the 2010 Social Forum. The Council also decided the Social Forum should remain open to the participation of representatives of UN Member States and all other interested stakeholders, such as NGOs, small groups and rural and urban associations, anti-poverty groups, peasants' and farmers' organizations, youth associations, community organizations and trade unions. The Social Forum has met for five times since 2002. The Forum was established under the Commission on Human Rights and, in 2006, it became a subsidiary body under the Human Rights Council (see resolution A/HRC/6/13). Links to further information OHCHR News, 25 March 2010 Access to Resolution A/HRC/13/L.16 Resolution A/HRC/6/13
HIGH-LEVEL DIALOGUE DISCUSSES FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT

The Fourth High-level Dialogue of the General Assembly on Financing for Development (FfD) concluded with several references to the role of the combat of climate change in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). This meeting took place at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 23-24 March 2010, and presented an advance discussion on some issues that will be dealt at the MDG Summit in September. Round tables addressed: the reform of the international monetary and financial system and its implications for development, the impact of the current financial and economic crisis on foreign direct investment and other private flows, external debt and international trade, and the role of financial and technical development cooperation, including innovative sources of development finance, in leveraging the mobilization of domestic and international financial resources for development. During the event, countries emphasized that additional assistance was needed to deal with new and emerging issues, including financing of climate change mitigation and adaptation, and said governments should work towards the conclusion of a comprehensive global legal framework within the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Regarding the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it was recognized that Goal 8 (Developing a global partnership) was crucial to mitigate the adverse impact of the confluence of recent crises on development, especially in countries with special financing needs. In this context, it was noted that the international community must fulfill the development promise of the Doha Round, extend measures to enhance access to technology to deal with climate change and increase agricultural productivity. Links to further information Concluding remarks High Level Dialogue on FfD website
UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL CONSIDERS PROPOSAL FOR INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PEASANTS

On 16 March 2010, the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee presented a preliminary report on discrimination in the context of the right to food for consideration by the 13th session of the Human Rights Council, which is meeting from 1-26 March 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland. The report notes that, in addition to the food and financial crisis, climate change is expected to adversely affect the most poor and vulnerable, increasing chronic hunger, particularly in Sub-Sahara Africa and Southern Asia. The report calls on the members of the UN Human Rights Council to consider the development of an International Convention on the Rights of Peasants (ICRP) to adequately protect and fulfill peasant's rights. The Council is expected to adopt a resolution on the issue. The report notes that climate change and biofuels development may affect the four dimensions of food security related to availability of food, accessibility, stability and utilization of food. It also notes that climate change will increase existing inequalities across the world's regions. The report includes the Declaration of Rights of Peasants, Women and Men Peasants of the World, adopted by La Via Campesina, which acknowledges the potential of small-scale peasant agriculture, fishing and livestock to contribute to climate change mitigation and sustainable food production. The right to food, supported by various instruments of international law, is based on the right to have unrestricted access to food in the quantity and quality necessary to meet the needs of a person. Links to further information UNNGLS News story, 18 March 2010 UNHCHR
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 Meeting website
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 UNDP Newsroom, 17 March 2010
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
POVERTY ENVIRONMENT PARTNERSHIP DISCUSSES CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT MAINSTREAMING

The 15th meeting of the Poverty Environment Partnership (PEP 15) convened from 1-5 March 2010, in Lilongwe, Malawi. The event was co-organized by UK Department for International Development, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank, in partnership with the Government of Malawi. Approximately 110 participants attended the meeting, including representatives from bilateral donor organizations, UN Development Programme (UNDP), UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Bank, the European Commission, developing and industrialized country governments, African stakeholders, international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and research institutions. The meeting convened under the theme “Climate and Environment Mainstreaming and the Green Economy to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” with sessions on: climate and environment mainstreaming; development agencies' strategies; the green economy; aid effectiveness and the environment; and supporting African stakeholders to put ideas into practice. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting

February 2010

PARTICIPANTS AT INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE AGREE TO FURTHER DEVELOP THE GLOBAL INITIATIVE ON COMMUNITY-BASED ADAPTATION

The fourth International Conference on Community Based Adaptation (CBA) to Climate Change convened in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from 21-27 February 2010. The conference was organized by the International Institute for Environment and Development, Tanzania's Environment Protection Management Services and the Ring Alliance of Policy Research Organizations, in partnership with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (Communications for Sustainable Development Initiative), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Bank. The Conference brought together over 180 participants from 35 countries, representing governments, non-government organizations (NGOs), intergovernmental organizations, community-based organizations and research institutions, who focused on sharing and consolidating the latest developments in CBA planning and practices, particularly in vulnerable communities, throughout the world. Participants discussed, inter alia: strengthening institutions; water; building adaptive capacity; insurance and microfinance; policy linkages; agriculture; economics; drylands and pastoralism; urban areas; managing and communicating knowledge; scaling up and replicating best practice; vulnerable groups; role of ecosystems in adaptation; disaster risk reduction; methodologies; and funding. A final plenary session discussed next steps for CBA, with participants agreeing to further develop the Global Initiative on Community-Based Adaptation (GICBA), a network that seeks to support CBA-related activities by generating and sharing relevant knowledge. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting
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
COMMISSION FOR SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT ADOPTS RESOLUTION ON PROMOTING SOCIAL INTEGRATION

The 48th session of the UN Commission for Social Development, which convened from 3-12 February 2010, in New York, US, focused on social integration as its priority theme, and examined the obstacles to policies that promote inclusive societies. At this session, the Commission, which has a membership of 46 States, approved a first-ever resolution on promoting social integration, aimed at tackling remaining challenges such as poverty eradication and full employment and decent work for all. The Commission also adopted a text on social dimensions of New Partnership for Africa's Development, to encourage African countries to develop and strengthen governance institutions in order to create an environment conducive to foreign direct investment for the region's development. During a press conference, Commission Chair Leslie Kojo Christian (Ghana) noted that, although progress has been made to empower the disempowered, policies related to social integration have often been developed on a piecemeal basis, with limited participation of concerned groups. He added that threats posed by the economic and climate change crisis will make it more challenging to combat persistent social exclusion. He recalled that, at the 1995 World Summit for Social Development, in Copenhagen, Denmark, governments agreed on a Declaration and a Programme of Action calling for socially integrated societies, including the participation of the world's most vulnerable groups in decision-making processes. Links to further information Statements during the 48th session of the Commission on Soci... UN press release, 19 February 2010 UN press release, 12 February 2010
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 Wilton Park
UN SECRETARY-GENERAL COMMITS TO AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT NEEDS

In his opening address to the 14th Ordinary Summit of the African Union (AU), which convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 25 January-2 February 2010, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pledged to mobilize support to tackle the critical challenges threatening peace and prosperity across Africa, including climate change. He noted that the financial, energy and food crises, as well as climate change, have made development, including the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) more difficult and more urgent. He praised countries that had become associated with the Copenhagen Accord from the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December, and urged others to join them, stressing that nowhere are the linkages between sustainable development and climate clearer than in Africa. Noting that African countries are the least responsible for climate change but are projected to bear most of its impacts, he stressed the need to keep up the momentum towards achieving a binding global climate agreement as soon as possible. Ban also highlighted the need for developing countries to rapidly scale-up their clean energy programmes and their need for significant support to adapt to the consequences of climate change, and the creation of productive employment and decent work for all, in particular for women and young people. He stressed that the Copenhagen Conference mobilized US$30 billion to be devoted over the next three years to adaptation and mitigation efforts in developing countries, and US$100 billion to be allocated per year by 2020 for developing countries' adaptation and scaling-up of clean energy efforts. The Secretary-General also recalled that a high-level panel on development and climate change will be established soon, to address climate change issues comprehensively in the context of sustainable development. He stressed that the September Summit on the MDGs will focus on the achievements made thus far, identify the gaps and challenges for implementation, emphasize priority areas for action and build a coalition for change. Links to further information UN News Centre, 31 January 2010 UN Secretary-General's statement AU Summit website

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]
UN AGENCIES' JOINT EXECUTIVE BOARD MEETINGS FOCUSES ON CLIMATE CHANGE

On 15 January 2010, the Joint Session of the Executive Boards of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the World Food Programme (WFP) was held in New York, US, and focused on the issue of climate change. On behalf of the four agencies, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark spoke on how the UN agencies, within their different but complementary mandates, can support countries in addressing the climate change challenge, through their programmatic activities at the country level to support capacity building to adaptation and mitigation and access to climate financing. She noted that forty per cent of development investment from ODA and concessional lending is sensitive to climate risk and stressed that climate adaptation needs to be inbuilt in national development plans. Helen Clark stressed that UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and WFP will work to ensure that climate change solutions are prominent in the assistance they provide to developing countries, including development and emergency assistance, disaster risk reduction, adaptation and mitigation, joint programming, monitoring and evaluation, and knowledge sharing. She noted that a variety of multi-donor trust funds that can be used to transfer resources to finance adaptation and mitigation are already in place, such as the UN REDD (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) Programme. Another example is the Malawi Climate Change Programme, presented at the meeting, which uses the ‘One UN Fund' to mobilize available resources. She highlighted that the UN Development Group (UNDG) has developed guidelines to support the UN Country Team on how to mainstream disaster risk reduction and environmental sustainability into the programmatic activities at the country level and said specific guidelines on climate change will be issued soon. Link to further information UNDP Newsroom