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international environment and sustainable development negotiations


Recent Meetings

Intergovernmental Orgs


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

December 2009

DELEGATES DISCUSS THE FUTURE OF SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION AND UN'S ROLE

From 1-3 December 2009, delegates gathered at the High-Level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation to deliberate the challenges faced by developing countries in furthering socio-economic development – including economic recovery, food security and climate change issues – and to review 30 years of progress since the 1978 UN Conference on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries held in Buenos Aires. The conference featured round table discussions on “Strengthening the role of the United Nations system in supporting South-South and triangular cooperation” and “South-South and triangular cooperation for development: complementarities, specificities, challenges and opportunities.” On the final day, delegates adopted the Nairobi Outcome Document, which recognizes the increasing relevance of South-South cooperation, as developing countries increase human development and become major players in the global economic system. The document emphasizes economic growth through regional common markets, custom unions, and the relevance of capacity building projects among developing countries, including low income and middle income countries, as well as developed countries in triangular cooperation. The document also emphasizes that South-South cooperation is not a replacement for North-South cooperation, and encourages the assessment of existing experiences to enhance national coordination mechanisms and sharing of lessons learned. It stresses that the principles guiding South-South cooperation differ from those of official development assistance (ODA), since the former should be free of conditionality. The document reaffirmed the importance of multilateral and regional organizations as catalysts for cooperation and highlighted the role of the Special Unit for South South Cooperation, hosted by UNDP, calling countries to support it. UNDP Administrator Helen Clark welcomed the outcome document and emphasized that by identifying complementarities and performing needs-capacity of countries, it would be possible to build innovative and inclusive partnerships. The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also hosted a meeting with experts from more than 20 countries in Geneva, from 14-16 December 2009, to discuss South-South, ‘triangular' cooperation to help agricultural development and food security. Links to further information UN press release, 2 December 2009 UN press release, 3 December 2009 UN News Centre, 14 December 2009
UNGA Approves Sustainable Development Resolutions, Establishes Preparatory Process for Rio+20

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

November 2009

FAO Governing Conference Approves IUU Treaty

The Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, a new treaty that aims to close fishing ports to ships involved in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, has been approved by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) governing Conference. Once it enters into force, it will be the first ever legally binding international treaty focused specifically on this problem. It will also be the only treaty to enlist so-called “non-flag states” in the fight against IUU fishing, alongside flag states that are primarily responsible for the conduct of vessels flying their flags on the high seas. The Agreement will enter into force following the 25th ratification. The first eleven FAO members – Angola, Brazil, Chile, the European Community, Indonesia, Iceland, Norway, Samoa, Sierra Leone, the United States and Uruguay – signed the treaty immediately following its approval by the Conference. [Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Elimi...] [UN FAO press release, 25 November 2009]
WORLD FOOD SECURITY SUMMIT DISCUSSES CHALLENGES TO FOOD SECURITY AND AGRICULTURE

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

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Swedish Government co-hosted a climate change conference on 11 November 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya, to raise awareness of the implications of climate change for Kenya's economy and vulnerable groups. With a population of one billion people and an area covering over 30 million square kilometres, Africa requires varied and complex solutions to climate change. But the question of how to adapt and build a sustainable green economy for the future is the common challenge for developing countries including Kenya. The conference focused on the hope of African countries for an inclusive, fair and effective outcome in the Copenhagen climate negotiations that prioritizes adaptation and recognizes that the continent has an urgent need for support. Link to further information UNEP press release, 11 November 2009
UNWTO LEADERS CALL FOR GREEN ECONOMY SUPPORTING GLOBAL POLICIES

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

October 2009

Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development Agrees on Initiative to Convene Global Commodities Forum

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

October 2009: The Ad hoc Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) to Prepare for the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on Mercury convened from 19-23 October 2009, in Bangkok, Thailand. The OEWG agreed to recommend rules of procedure to the INC, as well as intersessional work for the Secretariat to prepare documentation for the first meeting of the INC, to be held in Stockholm, Sweden, from 7-11 June 2010, including options for structure of the instrument and a description of options for substantive provisions. Delegates also took part in information sessions on supply and storage of mercury, artisanal and small-scale gold mining, and products and process. Link to further information IISD RS meeting coverage
UNEP FINANCE INITIATIVE 2009 GLOBAL ROUNDTABLE CONVENES

The UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) convened its 2009 Global Roundtable in Cape Town, South Africa, from 22-23 October 2009. The purpose of the meeting was to explore ways towards achieving sustainable financial markets and economies. The Roundtable was intended to help frame discussions on international climate policy expected to impact the financial sector and international carbon markets. Several reports were launched at the meeting, including, “Catalysing Low Carbon Growth in Developing Economies: public finance mechanisms to scale up private sector investment in climate solutions.” The report was prepared based on case studies and made several recommendations including: country risk cover; low-carbon policy risk cover; and the public sector taking subordinated equity positions in low-carbon funds. Link to further information UNEP FI website
UNEP-SPONSORED MEETING ADDRESSES SCIENCE-POLICY INTERFACE ON BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES

Held from 5-9 October 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya, the second Ad Hoc Intergovernmental and Multi-stakeholder Meeting on an Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-II) discussed the findings of a gap analysis on the existing science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services, options to strengthen such interface, and possible functions and governance structures of an intergovernmental science-policy platform. Most delegates expressed support for a new mechanism that carries out assessments able to generate and disseminate policy-relevant advice, and agreed that a new mechanism should complement multilateral environmental agreement bodies, not replace them. Many countries also recognized that a new mechanism should harness local and traditional knowledge as a tool for conservation. Delegates agreed that the UNEP Executive Director should report at the 11th special session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC-11/GMEF) in February 2010 on the meeting's outcome, and that the UNEP GC should request to convene a third and final meeting to negotiate and decide whether to establish an IPBES. Link to further information IISD RS coverage
UNESCO GENERAL CONFERENCE CONVENES

The 35th session of UNESCO's General Conference opened at the organization's headquarters in Paris, France, on 6 October, and will convene until 23 October. The Conference will determine the Programme and Budget of UNESCO for 2010-2011 and elect a Director-General for the Organization. The session will also feature a Ministerial Forum on strategies to overcome the economic crisis and two ministerial roundtables, one on education another on responsible ocean governance. Link to further information UNESCO website
SECRETARY-GENERAL HIGHLIGHTS POTENTIAL OF ICT TO MITIGATE CLIMATE CHANGE

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

2 October 2009: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) co-hosted the Governors' Global Climate Summit 2, which convened in Los Angeles, California, from 30 September-2 October 2009. The Summit aimed to broaden cooperative efforts by subnational governments and their role in implementing strategies that can promote a green economy. It included 21 different panels featuring discussions on energy efficiency, low carbon fuels, green buildings, clean technology, job creation, water management, deforestation, sustainable development, training opportunities and adaptation strategies. In a declaration issued at the close of the meeting, leaders present committed to work together to pursue clean transportation and mobility, support national climate change legislation, and include forests in climate policy development. Participants further acknowledged the need for adaptation efforts and recognized the role of subnational governments in the discussions on the next global climate agreement being negotiated in Copenhagen. [UNDP Newsroom] [Governors' Global Climate Summit 2 website]

September 2009

UNESCO CONVENES BROADCASTER MEDIA AND CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) convened the first UNESCO Broadcast Media and Climate Change conference in Paris, France, from 4-5 September 2009. The conference considered a global consensus on climate change, and developed ways to facilitate the use of materials between developing and developed country broadcasters. Participants, representing approximately 1000 broadcasters, agreed on “The Paris Declaration on Broadcast Media and Climate Change,” which aims to strengthen regional and international collaboration, and encourage production and dissemination of audiovisual content to give a voice to marginalized populations affected by climate change. The Declaration details that an increased public understanding of the urgency of climate change is essential to reduce its negative impacts and to avert human suffering. It also underlines that access to relevant information on climate change is vital for human survival, and that there are significant social, economic and environmental benefits in taking action to combat the effects of climate change. Links to further information UNESCO press release Paris declaration
FAO-ORGANIZED NEGOTIATIONS ON TREATY ON ILLEGAL, UNREPORTED AND UNREGULATED FISHING FINALIZED

More than 90 countries have agreed to a treaty to address “pirate” fishing. The Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing is aimed at combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The first ever global pact on this subject, which intends to block illicit fish catches from entering international markets, and focuses on ending such violations as unlicensed fishing, using illegal gear, disregarding fishing seasons, catching prohibited or undersized species, and fishing in closed areas. Under the treaty, foreign fishing boats will be required to request permission to dock from specially designated ports ahead of time, transmitting information on their activities and the fish they have on board. The treaty also mandates regular inspections and outlines a set of standards that will be used during those inspections, including reviews of ship papers, surveys of fishing gear, examining catches and checking a ship's records. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) organized the negotiations leading to the agreement on the treaty, and the FAO's Director-General will act as legal depository for countries' ratifications. The text will be reviewed by FAO's Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters at its next meeting (23-25 September 2009), following which it will be considered during FAO's Council meeting in September and the FAO Conference in November for final review and formal adoption. Link to further information FAO news release, 1 September 2009

August 2009

UNEP YOUTH CONFERENCE DEMANDS ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

The largest ever youth gathering on climate change, the TUNZA International Youth Conference, convened in Daejeon, Republic of Korea, from 17-23 August 2009. The final statement from the Tunza International Youth Conference, entitled “Listen to our voices: the future needs leadership,” requests governments and citizens take action on climate change and commits themselves to work to address climate change. In the statement, delegates requested governments to, inter alia, agree on a more fair, just and action oriented post-Kyoto agreement adopted and implemented by all countries. It requested citizens to, inter alia, commit to sustainable lifestyles to reduce individual carbon footprints. Delegates also committed to, inter alia, exchange information, connect and promote best practice activities on climate change. Another outcome from the Conference includes a plan for young people to organize rallies in 100 cities across the world, as part of a major push to persuade governments to seal a meaningful deal at the UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen. The Conference was organized by UNEP, with support from several UN entities including UNICEF, UNFPA, FAO, WMO, UN-HABITAT, UNDESA, UNESCO and the Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity. Links to further information TUNZA Youth Statement UNEP press release, 23 August 2009
UN-WATER PLANS FOURTH REPORT

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

July 2009

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

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

The Executive Committee of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol, at its 58th meeting, approved Iraq's country programme strategy to eliminate substances that harm the ozone layer. The Government of Iraq is planning to eliminate ozone depleting substances (ODS) such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from its refrigeration and foam industries by 1 January 2010, in accordance with the target set under the Montreal Protocol. The Multilateral Fund will provide Iraq with approximately US$6.3 million to finance the phase out of CFCs, halons, carbon tetrachloride and trichloroethane. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) will work together with the Government of Iraq and Iraqi enterprises to consider replacement technologies and to explore whether new ozone friendly technologies with additional climate benefits can be used to ensure the finance Iraq receives addresses both the ozone and climate protection fronts. Due to ongoing security restrictions, UNEP and UNIDO staff were unable to enter Iraq, and instead worked with national Iraqi experts in workshops and meetings outside Iraq. [Multilateral Fund website]
UN SECRETARY-GENERAL LAUNCHES MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS REPORT 2009

On 6 July 2009, at the opening of the High-Level Segment of the 2009 UN Economic and Social Council's (ECOSOC) substantive session in Geneva, Switzerland, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the Millennium Development Goals Report 2009. The report assesses the progress towards the MDGs and warns that, despite the successes of some developing countries, overall progress has been too slow in order to meet the goals by 2015. The UN Secretary-General stressed that the food security crisis in 2008 has reversed a two-decade trend toward eliminating hunger. He noted that, with the right policies, backed by adequate funding and strong political commitment, countries are achieving significant results. Yet, he underscored that delays in delivering aid, combined with the impacts of the financial crisis and climate change, are slowing progress. He highlighted that the United Nations system is establishing a Global Impact and Vulnerability Alert System (GIVAS), which aims to fill the information gap that currently exists between the point when a global crisis impacts vulnerable populations and when solid quantitative information and analysis reaches decision makers. The GIVAS will focus on tracking vulnerabilities that are caused or exacerbated by external shocks. Partners supporting this initiative will include national governments, UN agencies, academic institutions and civil society organizations. Links to further information UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's remarks to ECOSOC UN News Centre, 6 July 2009 Report

June 2009

SECOND SESSION OF IRENA PREPCOM SELECTS ABU DHABI AS INTERIM HEADQUARTERS

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

A high-level forum organized by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) convened in Geneva, Switzerland, on 29 June 2009, and concluded with the adoption of a joint declaration stressing the need to tackle the challenge of radioactive waste in Central Asia. The meeting brought together over 100 representatives from the Central Asian region, international organizations and donors to discuss problems associated with the uranium tailing deposits left over from mining during the Cold War in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. These deposits contain more than 800 million tons of radioactive and toxic waste and many are located in densely populated and natural disaster prone areas. The outcomes of the forum included agreement to strengthen regulatory frameworks and national capacity to address the problem, as well as a call for public-private partnerships, and to explore opportunities to further exploit the tailings for economic gain. Link to further information UN press release, 29 June 2009
GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE FORUMS CONVENE

The first meeting of the UN Environment Programme's (UNEP) consultative group of ministers on international environmental governance convened from 27-28 June 2009, in Belgrade, Serbia. Participants adopted an outcome document stressing that any reform of environmental governance must be based on the principle that the form follows the substance. The next meeting will convene in Rome, Italy in the last quarter of 2009. Immediately following the UNEP meeting, the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), together with the Global Environmental Governance Project, UNEP and the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Center, convened the Global Environmental Governance Forum, under the theme “Reflecting on the Past, Moving into the Future,” in Montreux, Switzerland, from 28 June-2 July 2009. The Forum brought together past, present, and future architects of the environmental governance system to devise options for a blueprint for reform of contemporary international environmental institutions, in light of the original vision for the system's form and function. The outputs generated through the Forum are expected to offer an input for future international policy discussions to develop a more effective and coherent international environmental governance architecture. Links to further information Global Environmental Governance Project website UNITAR website
UN SUMMIT ON THE FINANCIAL AND ECONOMIC CRISIS CALLS FOR FISCAL REFORMS TO ENCOURAGE GREEN INVESTMENTS

The UN Conference on World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development, organized under the coordination of the UN General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, took place from 24-26 June 2009, in New York, NY, at UN Headquarters. The Summit aimed to identify emergency and long-term responses to mitigate the impact of the crisis, especially on vulnerable populations, and to initiate a dialogue on the transformation of the international financial architecture. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a multi-pronged approach that incorporates investment in access to education and green growth, and support to subsistence farmers. Twenty-one UN agencies, including the UN Environment Programme, the UN Development Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Multilateral Environmental Agreements, and the World Bank, backed a common statement on the need for a world-wide transition to a low carbon, green economy that can stimulate job creation and reduces the threats from current crises related to food, water and climate change. The statement highlighted the need for fiscal reforms that can facilitate green investments, and phasing out subsidies that finance excessive use of fossil fuels in agriculture and fisheries, as well as the need to support affordable energy alternatives for the poor. The Conference adopted a draft outcome document that emphasizes the opportunity presented by the crisis to promote green economy initiatives, and states that the crisis should not delay the necessary global response to climate change and environmental degradation, taking into account the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. The outcome document also emphasizes the need to reform the international financial and economic system and architecture, and to further strengthen the UN development system's comprehensive crisis response in support of national development strategies. Links to further information Draft outcome document of the conference UN Interagency statement on the green economy, 25 June 2009 UN News Centre, 26 June 2009 UN News Centre, 25 June 2009 UN Conference on World Financial and Economic Crisis and its...
CENTRAL ASIAN CUSTOMS OFFICERS DISCUSS BORDER ENFORCEMENT

The Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection and the China Customs Administration, in cooperation with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), convened a dialogue on issues related to illegal trade in Urumqi, China, from 23-25 June 2009. Customs and Ozone Officers from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan participated in the dialogue, which provided the opportunity to exchange information between neighboring countries. The training sought to raise awareness of Customs Officers on their important role in protecting the ozone layer and preventing illegal trade with ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and to provide information on commonly used smuggling schemes. The meeting agreed 25 recommendations related to the implementation of policy measures, including bans on placing virgin CFCs on the market, labelling requirements for refrigerant cylinders, registration and certification schemes for technicians and companies dealing with ODS, log-book keeping for importers, exporters and dealers of ODS. and mandatory proof of origin for ODS imports. Link to further information OzonAction media briefing
VIENNA ENERGY CONFERENCE 2009 DISCUSSES ENERGY IN THE CONTEXT OF CURRENT CRISES

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

10 June 2009: Held from 9-10 June 2009, in Frankfurt, Germany, under the title “Gentle Giants in need,” a conference was organized by the German Government, the Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Frankfurt Zoo to mark the UN Year of the Gorilla and the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species. The meeting adopted the “Frankfurt Declaration,” in which participants highlighted major threats to gorillas and their habitats, and conservation strategies, and appealed to governments, the international community and industrial companies to enhance activities to reduce threats to the remaining gorilla populations in the wild. [UNEP/CMS press release, 10 June 2009] [The Frankfurt Declaration]

May 2009

UNESCO MAN AND THE BIOSPHERE COUNCIL DESIGNATES NEW RESERVES

Meeting from 25-29 May 2009, in Jeju, Republic of Korea, the 21st session of the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme decided to add 22 new sites from 17 countries to UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves, which now counts 553 sites in 107 countries. The new sites include the first Biosphere Reserves in two countries, Malaysia and Syria, and a sacred site in North Korea. Link to further information UNESCO release, 26 May 2009
G8 ENERGY MINISTERS LAUNCH ENERGY EFFICIENCY PARTNERSHIP

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

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

April 2009

UN CONFERENCE ON DISASTER RISK REDUCTION PROPOSES ACTIONS TO MAINSTREAM GENDER

The International Conference on Gender and Disaster Risk Reduction, organized by the UN International Strategy for Risk Reduction (UN/ISDR), was held from 20-22 April 2009, in Beijing, China. Over 200 participants, including ministers and parliamentarians from 50 countries, gathered to discuss how women and men can participate equally in driving early warning systems, risk assessments, preparedness exercises and national and local plans to implement disaster risk reduction policies. UN Assistant Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction Margareta Wahlström noted that progress in mainstreaming gender perspectives into disaster risk reduction remains inadequate and that women should not be regarded as victims, but they should play an active role in preventing and managing disasters. The recommendations on actions needed to mainstream gender into disaster risk reduction processes will inform the Beijing Declaration for Action and the Hyogo Framework for Action to be implemented by 2015. Links to further information UN News Centre, 17 April 2009 International Conference on Gender and Disaster Risk Reducti...
UNWTO HIGHLIGHTS CONTRIBUTION OF THE TOURISM SECTOR TO THE GREEN ECONOMY

UNWTO Assistant Secretary-General Geoffrey Lipman told the Boao Forum for Asia on Tourism and the Financial Crisis, which convened from 17-19 April 2009, Hainan, China, that business and leisure travel can play a role in the G20-led economic recovery. UNWTO is also calling for recognition of the potential for the tourism sector to contribute to the long-term transformation to a Green Economy, based on reduced carbon outputs, clean energy and new technologies. Lipman explained the tourism sector accounts for 5% of carbon emissions and that these should be fixed in line with new norms, to be developed at the UNFCCC in Copenhagen in late 2009. Link to further information UNWTO website
ASEAN WORKSHOP FOCUSES ON HARMONIZATION OF REPORTING TO BIODIVERSITY-RELATED CONVENTIONS

Held from 15-17 April 2009, in Hanoi, Vietnam, a workshop on harmonization of reporting to biodiversity-related conventions gathered representatives of seven ASEAN countries and Australia. Its goal was to provide a venue to develop a framework to harmonize national reporting to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and World Heritage Convention. A strong focus was put on building the capacity of the ASEAN countries to improve and streamline national reporting as an output of implementation of global conventions. The workshop was lead by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, in partnership with the Vietnam Environment Administration and with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and the biodiversity-related convention secretariats. Link to further information ASEAN Center for Biodiversity press release
SUPPORT FOR THE UN GLOBAL COMPACT GROWS

According to the UN, 2008 was a record year for the Global Compact in terms of new participants, reinforcing the notion that, in times of economic crisis, there is an increased search for ethics and sustainability. Over 1,400 new participants joined in 2008, and with 5,000 corporate participants from 135 countries, the Compact is now the world's largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative. Environmentally, the Global Compact requires that its members support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges, undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility, and encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally-friendly technologies. Link to further information UN press release
UNGA HOSTS INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE ON FOOD CRISIS AND THE RIGHT TO FOOD

On 6 April 2009, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) hosted an Interactive Thematic Dialogue of the UN General Assembly on the Global Food Crisis and the Right to Food at UN Headquarters in New York, US. UNGA President Miguel d´Escoto Brockmann, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier de Schutter, and the senior adviser to the UNGA President on food policy and sustainable development, David Andrews, called for concerted efforts to refocus the world's attention on the food crisis. The Dialogue gathered economists, agro-ecologists, human rights specialists and government delegates to discuss how a rights-based approach to food could shift the world's agricultural production. Oliver de Schutter noted that the recent reduction of food prices, coupled with the financial crisis, has contributed to the belief that the food crisis is no longer an issue. He further noted that the structural problems of agricultural production have not been addressed, including the dependency of agriculture on oil prices, the climate change impacts, which increase the volatility of food prices, and the unfair trading system, which makes developing countries less competitive. David Andrews underlined that the majority of the world's labour is concentrated in agriculture, with the largest share represented by women. He noted that many small farmers and producers are suffering from hunger themselves, and that international organizations and governments should consult with the hungry and the farmers when proposing solutions to the food crisis. In his closing remarks, d'Escoto stressed the need to ensure that the right to food, a rights-based approach, is taken into consideration in the deliberations of the upcoming UN meetings and processes. He indicated that a Summit on the Food Crisis is likely to be held by the end of the year. Links to further information UNGA website Keynote address of the Special Rapporteur Olivier de Schutte..., 6 April 2009 Concept Note prepared by the Special Rapporteur on the Right... UN News Centre, 6 April 2009 Press conference, 6 April 2009 UNGA press release, 6 April 2009

March 2009

GLOBAL PREPARATORY MEETING PREPARES FOR ECOSOC ANNUAL MINISTERIAL REVIEW

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

The second meeting of the informal consultations of the UNGA plenary on System-wide Coherence convened on 30 March 2009, at UN headquarters in New York, US. Discussions focused on the Secretary-General's paper “Further Details on Institutional Options for Strengthening the Institutional Arrangements for Support of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.” The paper focuses on the composite entity option, but also: lays out other options for gender architecture, including maintaining the status quo, establishing a separately administered Fund/Programme, and consolidating UN gender bodies in a Department of the Secretariat; and highlights the composite entity and Fund/Programme options as having the greatest potential to create a stronger and more coordinated UN system to support countries to advance gender equality and be an effective driver for the UN system. Links to further information President's Options Paper, 5 March 2009 President's letter, 13 March 2009
SEMINAR ON THE EFFECTS OF THE ECONOMIC CRISIS ON EUROPEAN TOURISM CONVENES

The 49th Meeting of the Commission for Europe Technical Seminar on the Effects of the Economic Crisis on European Tourism: Challenges and Responses convened in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 25 March 2009. The meeting considered a subsectoral analysis of tourism in the region as well as policy issues related to the economic crisis and the need to reengineer the tourism industry. Link to further information UNWTO website
INFORMAL CONSULTATIONS ON SYSTEM-WIDE COHERENCE RESUME

The General Assembly held consultations of the plenary on System-wide Coherence on 13 March 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The newly appointed Co-Chairs, Kaire Mbuende (Namibia) and Juan Antonio Yáñez-Barnuevo (Spain), announced the meeting through a letter dated 10 March 2009, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed participants, emphasizing the importance of coherence to improve the UN's efficiency and efficacy, as well as the need to strengthen and simplify the funding system, including through providing predictability. Participants discussed, inter alia: finance; forthcoming substantive papers from the Secretary-General, as requested in Resolution 62/277, on finance and governance; the need to have a strong UN to respond to the economic crisis; and the need to strengthen the UN's approach to gender. Links to further information Co-Chairs' Letter, 10 March 2009 UN Secretary-General's Noon Briefing, 13 March 2009
UNITAR ORGANIZES WORKSHOP ON WATER GOVERNANCE

The UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) organized, jointly with the municipality of Plock, CIFAL Plock and Veolia, a workshop on “Improving water governance for better water services delivery: Learning and sharing experiences” for Central and Eastern European countries. The event took place in Plock, Poland, from 10-12 March 2009 and was attended by 26 participants, consisting of local technical staff, representatives of local authorities, representatives of Ministries, heads of water department, members of the private sector and civil society representing six countries: Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland and Ukraine. Participants heard presentations on water governance best practices and evaluated possibilities of replicability; and elaborated for their city a concrete action plan with measures to be taken to improve local water governance. Link to further information UNITAR press release, 19 March 2009
UNEP ORGANIZED MEETING CONSIDERS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND PEACEKEEPING

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Swedish Defense Research Agency, the UN Department of Field Support, the UN Mission in Sudan, and the Environmental Law Institute held a meeting to consider concrete ways to integrate sustainable practices into peacekeeping and relief operations. The meeting, which convened on 11 March 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya, discussed technologies to ensure water and energy efficiency, and to minimize deforestation, among other agenda items. The UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan, supported by Sweden, is investing USD$5 million to green its operations. Links to further information UNEP Press Release, 11 March 2009 UN News Centre story, 11 March 2009

February 2009

UN-HABITAT HOSTS MEETING OF AFRICAN MAYORS

UN-HABITAT hosted the Regional Conference of Mayors of Capital Cities of Africa from 26-27 February 2009 in Nairobi, Kenya. Focusing on African cities and climate change, the conference included discussions of concerns regarding: sea-level rise in coastal cities; flooding; regional collaboration; access to basic services; finance; and the other urban problems that can inhibit adaptation. Link to further information UNEP Press Release, 27 February 2009
28TH SESSION OF THE WORLD CUSTOMS ORGANIZATION ENFORCEMENT COMMITTEE CONVENES

The 28th Session of the World Customs Organization Enforcement Committee was held from 23-27 February 2009, in Brussels, Belgium. Attended by national level Customs and Revenue Directorates, as well as non-Enforcement Committee members, the meeting included consideration of cooperation between the public and private sectors in addressing environmental crime. Link to further information Green Customs coverage of the meeting
UNEP GC25/GMEF Takes Decisions on Climate, International Environmental Governance and Mercury

Delegates to the 25th Session of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC25/GMEF), which met from 16-20 February 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya, took 17 decisions including on international environmental governance, a significantly increased UNEP budget, support to Africa on climate change, and mercury. In the decision on support to Africa, the GC requests the UNEP Executive Director to work with the UN Economic Commission for Africa to provide technical support to the African Climate Policy Centre once established, and to promote the mainstreaming of climate change into social and economic development processes. On coordination within the UN, the GC welcomes the Executive Director's efforts as chair of the UN Environment Management Group, including in promoting the UN's commitment in moving towards climate neutrality. In addition, the GC approved funding to support climate change activities. Another key outcome of the meeting was a decision to elaborate a legally binding instrument on mercury. It is projected that mercury pollution will rise in part as a result of increased coal-burning in Asia. The decision established an intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) to develop a legally-binding instrument on mercury, and states that the INC is to develop a comprehensive and suitable approach to mercury. The decision represents the first coordinated global effort to tackle mercury. An open-ended working group meeting will be convened in the second half of 2009, to prepare for the work of the INC, which will hold its first meeting in 2010, with the goal of completing its work by GC27 in 2013. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of GC25/GMEF
UNEP Governing Council Convenes

February 2009: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is convening the twenty-fifth session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC-25/GMEF), in Nairobi, Kenya, from 16-20 February 2009. Ministers are considering two themes, Globalization and the Environment: Global Crises: National Chaos? and International Environmental Governance and United Nations Reform – IEG: Help or Hindrance? Delegates are also considering reports on: strengthening the scientific and financial base of UNEP; the Global Environment Outlook; chemicals management, including mercury and waste management; small island developing States; support to Africa in environmental management and protection; South-South cooperation in achieving sustainable development; updated UNEP water policy and strategy; budget and programme of work for the biennium 2008–2009; long-term strategy on engagement of young people in environmental issues; future and current programmes for the development and periodic review of environmental law; and the outcome of the ad hoc intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder meeting on an intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Prior to GC-25/GMEF, youth leaders met in the Global Youth Gathering 11-13 February 2009 in Nairobi, Kenya and developed recommendations for GC/GMEF, including on their involvement in decision-making and on climate change. Also prior to the meeting, the tenth session of the Global Civil Society Forum convened at the UN Office in Nairobi, Kenya, from 14-15 February 2009. An estimated 230 participants attended the Forum, which sought to prepare for GC-25/GMEFand to refine the key statements of civil society at these events. [IISD RS coverage of GC-25/GMEF] [Global Youth Gathering website] [IISD RS coverage of the Global Civil Society Forum]
EMG HOLDS TECHNICAL MEETING

A technical meeting of the UN Environment Management Group (EMG) convened immediately prior to the 25th Session of the UN Environment Programme Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (UNEP GC25/GMEF). Participants discussed possible support to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and recommendations on the modalities for a UN system-wide contribution to 2010 biodiversity targets. Participants identified the need for a joint process on inclusion of environmental and social safeguards for projects. In addition, a progress report on cooperation towards a climate neutral UN and sustainable procurement in the UN was provided. The recommendations from the meeting will be submitted by the Chair of the EMG and Executive Director of UNEP to heads of agencies for their consideration. Link to further information Documents of the technical meeting
UN Commission for Social Development Discusses Social Integration

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

January 2009

FAO CONSULTATIONS MAKE PROGRESS ON DRAFT TREATY TO COMBAT IUU FISHING

The Technical Consultation to draft a legally-binding instrument on port State measures to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing took place at UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy, from 26-30 January 2009. The meeting, which was chaired by Fabio Hazim (Brazil), brought together representatives from over 60 States and put in place the general outlines for an international agreement or treaty on “port State measures” that would deny vessels engaged in IUU fishing access to fishing ports. According to the draft elements of the treaty, fishing vessels that wish to land will be required to request permission from specially designated ports ahead of time, transmitting information on their activities and the fish they have on board, thereby providing authorities an opportunity to assess and detect possible illegalities prior to docking. In addition, information-sharing networks will enable countries to deny port access to any vessel previously reported as involved in IUU fishing by other agreement participants or by regional fisheries management organizations. Final details of the agreement will be laid out in a future round of talks, whose date has yet to be determined. Link to further information FAO press release, 3 February 2009
UNWTO TOURISM RESILIENCE COMMITTEE STRESSES NEED FOR “SMART TOURISM”

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

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

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

The meeting of the Asia-Pacific Business Forum 2009/Climate Game Change – Innovations and Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation convened in Bangkok, Thailand, on 21 January 2009. The Forum was organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The meeting sought to promote new partnerships, ideas and resolve for combating climate change. The Asia-Pacific business sector is expected to face serious risks as a result of climate change, with South and Southeast Asia considered to be climate change “hotspots,” at particular risk from cyclones, flooding, and drought. The outcome of the Forum includes an urgent call for businesses and governments in Asia and the Pacific region to make climate change adaptation central to their core operations. The outcome will be fed into preparations for the UN Climate Change Conference, due to take place in Copenhagen in December this year. Link to further information Press release, 22 January 2009
UNWTO CALLS ON TOURISM SECTOR TO MAINSTREAM GREEN ACTIVITIES

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

Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, UNGA President, opened the meeting of the Commission of Experts on the Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System, held at UN Headquarters, from 4-6 January 2009, underscoring the UN's role as a forum to charter “any legitimate effort to recast the institutions and the rules of the global financial system.” Following its deliberations, the Commission, led by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, issued a statement noting its efforts to identify the underlying factors that have contributed to the magnitude of the crisis and its rapid spread around the world, and recommending urgent actions to be taken. It stated the required reforms should establish regulations that enable simultaneously pursuing long-term objectives, such as sustainable and equitable growth, the responsible use of natural resources, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and more immediate concerns, including addressing the challenges posed by the food and financial crises. The Commission of Experts will meet again in Geneva on March 8-10. Links to further information UNGA President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann's Statement, 5 January 2009 The First Meeting of the Commission of Experts of the UNGA P...