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
Forest Day Highlights Urgency to Act on REDD+
5 December 2010: Forest Day 4, held on the sidelines of the Cancun Climate Change Conference, addressed the need to press on with a global mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+).
Forest Day 4, organized around the theme "Time to Act," highlighted the urgency of ensuring the survival of the world's forests, their biodiversity and the hundreds of millions of people that depend on them. The 1500 people in attendance discussed how to accelerate the integration of forests into climate protection and adaptation schemes from local to global levels. Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, President of Mexico, addressed the day-long event, and underscored the urgency to "push and push hard for full incorporation of REDD+ into a long-term international climate change agreement."
Participants attended several sessions focusing on forest-related issues such as: biodiversity; mitigation and adaptation; forest governance; monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV); optimizing multiple benefits of sustainable forest management and REDD+; agricultural drivers of deforestation; land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF); and experiences with community-based forest management. Frances Seymour, Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), commented that regardless of whether an agreement on REDD will take place in Cancun, "voluntary commitments and initiatives have a momentum of their own," noting that rural communities were taking matters into their own hands with community-based forest enterprises.
The event was hosted by the Government of Mexico, through the National Forestry Commission, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) and CIFOR. A summary of the event will be made available on CIFOR's website. [Forest Day 4 Website
] [CIFOR Press Release
Agriculture and Rural Development Day Forwards Recommendations to UNFCCC Negotiators
6 December 2010: Participants at Agriculture and Rural Development Day (ARDD) 2010, which convened in Cancun, Mexico, on 4 December 2010, in parallel with the UN Cancun Climate Change Conference, discussed agriculture sector adaptation and mitigation strategies and identified recommendations for UNFCCC negotiators regarding these strategies.
The event featured opening statements by Mexico's Vice-Minister for Rural Development, Ignacio Rivera Rodríguez, and Inger Andersen, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Fund Council Chair and World Bank's Vice President of Sustainable Development. ARDD 2010 was co-hosted by the Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security, CGIAR, the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, and the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA).
A summary from the event was developed, and following revisions based on comments received during concluding discussions, the summary of ARDD 2010 will be presented on 6 December at a Cancun Climate Change Conference side event titled “Enabling Agriculture and Forestry to Contribute to Climate Change Responses.” This side event will also report on the results of Forest Day 4, which convened the day after ARDD 2010, on 5 December.
In messages to the UNFCCC negotiators, participants call for: using fast-track financing to support agricultural adaptation and mitigation activities; including action on food security and hunger in any post-2012 agreement, especially in the Long-term Cooperative Action (LCA) text; taking a decision to set up an agricultural work programme under the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA); REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) to promote sustainable agriculture intensification as a means to halt deforestation; recognizing the synergies and opportunities for adaptation and mitigation co-benefits; and ensuring that a new or revised Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) includes agriculture and other land-use changes.
At the conclusion of ARDD 2010, CGIAR and the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP) launched a strategic partnership titled “Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).” [IISD RS Coverage of ARDD 2010
] [ARDD 2010 Website
UNESCO Marine Heritage Site Managers Discuss Conservation
26 November 2010: Managers from the 43 marine sites on the World Heritage List of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) met for the first time from 1-3 December 2010, in Honolulu, Hawaii, to explore ways of strengthening their conservation. Participants heard keynote addresses from Jean-Michel Cousteau, ocean explorer and marine conservationist, and Greg Stone, senior vice-president and chief scientist for oceans at Conservation International. In addition, an official ceremony was held for inscription of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (US), which was added to the World Heritage List in August 2010, along with the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (Kiribati).
UNESCO underscores that these sites represent the “crown jewels of the ocean,” as places "recognized by the international community for their outstanding beauty, exceptional biodiversity, or unique ecological, biological and geological processes."
The site managers' meeting was co-organized by UNESCO's World Heritage Centre and the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and financed by 10 other national governments, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. [UNESCO Press Release
] [World Heritage Marine Programme Website
Second Committee Adopts Texts on Biodiversity
1 December 2010: In meetings on 30 November and 1 December 2010, the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) concluded its 65th Session, taking action on draft resolutions on agriculture development and food security, among other biodiversity-related items.
In total, the Committee adopted 40 draft resolutions and three draft decisions during the present Session. The agreed drafts would have the General Assembly: declare 2011-2020 as the UN Decade on Biodiversity and ask the Secretary-General, in consultation with Member States, to lead the coordination of the Decade's activities on behalf of the UN, with the support of the Convention's secretariat and those of other biodiversity-related instruments as well as relevant UN funds, programmes and agencies; call for a one-day high-level session, on 20 September 2011, on “Addressing desertification, land degradation and drought in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication,” with the aim of raising awareness of those issues at the highest level, reaffirming the fulfillment of all commitments to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and its 2008-2018 Strategic Plan, and contributing to preparations for the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, also known as Rio+20); request the Governing Council (GC) of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to convene a plenary meeting providing for the full and effective participation of all member States, particularly developing countries, to determine modalities and institutional arrangements for the Intergovernmental Science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES); and welcome the 26 February Nusa Dua Declaration as a contribution to the UNCSD.
On agriculture development and food security, the Committee would have the UNGA: stress the need to enhance production, productivity and sustainability, while calling for the timely realization of the 2009 G-8 commitment to mobilize US$20 billion over three years for sustainable agricultural development; stress the need to achieve those aims through public and private investment, better access to markets and credit for smallholder farmers, improved land-use planning, crop diversification and commercialization, sound water management, strong agriculture value chains, and rural infrastructure investment, as well as by empowering rural women as critical agents of rural development and food security; call for efforts to boost the agricultural sector's ability to predict, prevent and address the impacts of climate change and extreme weather, recognizing the consequences of the global food crisis for the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in developing countries and the need for Africa to embark on a “green revolution” to boost agricultural productivity, food production and regional food security; and urge Member States and international organizations to pursue policies and strategies to improve the functioning of markets and ensure equitable access for all, while calling on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to promote policies favorable to enhanced agricultural trade. [Summary of 30 November meeting
] [Summary of 1 December meeting
UNGA Second Committee Adopts Texts on Disaster Reduction, Climate Effects on SIDS
1 December 2010: In meetings on 30 November and 1 December 2010, the Second Committee (Economic and Financial) of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) concluded its 65th session, taking action on various draft resolutions on sustainable development, including climate-related items.
On disaster reduction, the agreed drafts would have the UNGA: express its “deep concern” over the number and scale of natural disasters and the increasing challenges posed by their consequences, as well as the impact of climate change, which impeded progress towards sustainable development, particularly in developing, least developed, landlocked developing and other vulnerable countries; urge the international community to continue to address ways and means to reduce the adverse effects of natural disasters by implementing the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and encouraging institutional arrangements to enable it to continue its work; emphasize the importance of early warning systems and stress the need to better mainstream disaster risk reduction (DRR) into national development strategies while building and strengthening coping capacities by exchanging experiences and technical knowledge on the subject; and call upon the UN, and invite international financial institutions as well as other regional and international bodies, to integrate the goals of the Hyogo Framework for Action into their strategies and programmes, and help developing countries design and implement DRR measures with a sense of urgency.
On small island developing States (SIDS), the GA would urge the full and effective implementation of the outcome document adopted on 25 September 2010, by the High-level Review Meeting of the UNGA, as well as call upon the international community to enhance support for efforts by SIDS to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change, including by providing dedicated sources of financing, capacity building and technology transfer. [Summary of 30 November Meeting
] [Summary of 1 December Meeting
CBD Secretariat Releases Report of Cairo Workshop on Biodiversity and Finance
10 December 2010: The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has released the report of the Regional Workshop on Biodiversity and Finance in Support of the Nagoya Outcome, held from 29-30 November 2010, in Cairo, Egypt.
The workshop's objectives were to elaborate regional financial responses to the outcomes adopted by the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the CBD. Responses were to include an effective action plan for the Arab region for the strategy for resource mobilization and innovative financial mechanisms, and to provide a platform for developing a common vision, shared commitments and concrete funding action for the Arab countries and their external partners to support implementation of the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan and the associated targets.
The workshop participants agreed to the Arab Regional Statement for Action on the 2020 Biodiversity Targets, Funding Strategies and Innovative Financial Mechanisms, which underscored, inter alia
, the need for all Arab countries to: sign and ratify the Nagoya Protocol as soon as possible, but no later than 2012; raise awareness at all levels of society; develop national policy framework on access and benefit-sharing (ABS) accordingly; update their national biodiversity strategies and action plans as the first step to respond to the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan; appoint resource mobilization focal points by 2012 and develop country-specific resource mobilization strategies; mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem services into sectoral ministries, and mitigate the negative impacts of unsustainable tourism on biodiversity; launch a regional programme with the Rio Conventions to mitigate concurrent challenges of biodiversity loss, climate change and land degradation, and to enhance adaptability of the region to environmental changes; increase the number and coverage of protected areas for marine and coastal ecosystems; conduct national assessments and develop regulations on endangered species; and establish or update a clearinghouse mechanism.
Furthermore, participants highlighted that the Arab Environment Facility provides an innovative example of mobilizing financial cooperation for environmental objectives at the regional level, and that the Arab Union for Protected Areas can assist in expanding the Arab protected areas system. They stressed the need for: an Arab regional biodiversity strategy and action plan and an Arab strategy for resource mobilization; national and regional workshops to promote better understanding of innovative financial mechanisms; valuing Arabic biodiversity and ecosystem services, in order to incorporate them into development sectors and national financing, inviting the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to undertake an Arab TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) initiative; regional workshops on invasive alien species; a regional training workshop to transfer knowledge from the North to the Arab region on ecological footprints and sustainability; and financial resources to enable the Palestine Authority to prepare national reports and undertake the biodiversity planning exercise. [The Report
] [Meeting documents
ICCAT Extraordinary Meeting Adopts By Catch Measures
27 November 2010: The 17th Extraordinary Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) took place from 17-27 November in Paris, France, bringing together over 500 delegates from 35 contracting parties.
The Commission reviewed the status of tuna stocks and by caught species, including sharks and turtles, in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The contracting parties adopted: new management measures for bigeye and bluefin tunas and North Atlantic swordfish, as well as for the conservation of sharks and sea turtles that are taken as by catch and improved measures for monitoring, surveillance and control. [ICCAT Press release
International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime Launched in St. Petersburg
23 November 2010: During the International Tiger Conservation Forum, held from 21-24 November, in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, the Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Secretary-General of ICPO-INTERPOL, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the President of the World Bank and the Secretary-General of the World Customs Organization signed a Letter of Understanding to bring into effect the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC).
CITES Secretary-General John Scanlon said the Consortium's creation “sends a very clear message that a new era of wildlife law enforcement is upon us, one where wildlife criminals will face a determined and coordinated opposition, rather than the current situation where the risks of detection and of facing penalties that match their crimes are often low.”
Also during the Forum, Scanlon addressed the Illegal Tiger Trade session, during which he highlighted CITES' work on tiger conservation and combat of illegal trade. Scanlon noted the belief of the CITES Secretariat that much of today's illegal trade in tigers could be markedly reduced if concerted, collective efforts were made by the law enforcement community against those involved in the destructive crimes. Detailing the complementary skills of the agencies involved in the Consortium, he said that the goal was to introduce a new era to wildlife law enforcement. [Scanlon's Statement
] [CITES Press Release
] [The Letter of Understanding
Tiger Summit Adopts Global Recovery Programme, Endorses St. Petersburg Declaration
24 November 2010: In an historic effort to save tigers from extinction, 13 Government representatives meeting at the International Tiger Conservation Forum endorsed the St. Petersburg Declaration and agreed to double tiger numbers by 2022.
The International Tiger Conservation Forum, which was hosted by Russian Federation Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and World Bank President Robert Zoellick, took place from 21-24 November 2010, in St. Petersburg, Russia. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand and Viet Nam are the tiger range countries that committed towards implementing the Global Tiger Recovery Program, the strategic plan envisaged by the St. Petersburg Declaration. Deliberations regarding the development of an institutional structure to implement the aims and objectives of the Declaration and its Recovery Program are also underway.
The 13 countries have agreed to strengthen international collaboration, improve scientific monitoring to help restore the species' habitats and transboundary corridors, and halt poaching and illegal trade of tigers and tiger products. The Recovery Program underscores the importance of creating incentives for local people to protect tigers and strengthening wildlife law enforcement and legislation in order to achieve the St. Petersburg targets. The program also foresees the involvement of local people in biodiversity protection in an effort to reduce conflicts occurring between tigers and local communities.
Speaking at the Forum, Zoellick announced that the World Bank, through its International Development Association (IDA), hoped to provide US$100 million to save the wild tiger by supporting wildlife habitat protection and stopping the illegal trade in tiger body parts. The Bank's support would amount to almost one-third down payment on the US$350 million that the Global Tiger Recovery Program is estimated to cost. The balance will be sought from governments and other International Financial Institutions.
In an article published in The Guardian
, Zoellick stresses that the crisis facing tigers overwhelms local capabilities and transcends national boundaries. Noting that saving tigers is a global challenge, he calls for a partnership of national governments and organizations "pooling their expertise and passion." Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), drew attention to the CBD new Strategic Plan, including targets to: at least halve and where feasible bring close to zero the rate of loss of natural habitats including forests; place 17% of terrestrial and inland water areas under protection; and restore at least 15% of degraded areas. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), underlined the importance of safeguarding international migration corridors and trans-border habitats. She emphasized that the CMS "is unique in that it can provide a framework to protect not only the animal, but also its habitat."[UNEP Press Release
][Tiger Forum Website
] [World Bank Press Release
] [CMS Press Release
UNEP Consultative Group on IEG Forwards Recommendations to Governing Council
23 November 2010: The Second Meeting of the Consultative Group of Ministers or High-level Representatives on International Environmental Governance (IEG) convened from 21-23 November in Espoo, Finland.
The Consultative Group was established by the Governing Council (GC) of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in February 2010, following the series of meetings, known as the “Belgrade Process,” by an earlier consultative group. Its first meeting was held in Nairobi in July. In Finland, in response to GC Decision SS.XI/1, the Consultative Group considered “the broader reform of the IEG system, building on the set of options developed during the Belgrade Process, but remaining open to new ideas.”
The Consultative Group identified the following system-wide responses to the challenges in the current IEG system: strengthening the science-policy interface; developing a system-wide strategy for environment in the UN system; encouraging synergies between compatible multilateral environment agreements (MEAs); creating a stronger link between global environmental policy making and financing; developing a system-wide capacity-building framework for environment; strengthening strategic engagement at the regional level to strengthen UNEP Regional Offices; and, for the GC, considering the contribution of UNEP to identifying the implementation and follow up of these approaches.
The Consultative Group also considered institutional forms for implementing the aforementioned responses, with differing views expressed on this matter. In reference to five of the options put forward by the Belgrade Process, the Consultative Group recommended that establishing a new umbrella organization for sustainable development and reforming the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) would be best addressed in the wider sustainable development context. The Group also suggested that existing institutions be “strengthened and enhanced” and that the options of enhancing UNEP, establishing a specialized agency such as a world environment organization, and enhancing institutional reforms and streamlining existing structures were potential options.
Presenting its final report on 23 November, the Group recommended that the GC consider how to “secure political momentum” and “efficient follow-up of the IEG process.” At the GC's request, the Consultative Group will present a final report at the 26th Session of the UNEP Governing Council and Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF) in February 2011, in anticipation of the Council's contribution to the second meeting of the open-ended preparatory committee of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, also referred to as Rio+20), as well as to the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly. [Nairobi-Helsinki Outcome
] [Finnish Government Press Release
] [UNEP Environmental Governance webpage
ACP Holds Conference on Climate Change Challenges
23 November 2010: The Department of Sustainable Economic Development and Trade Department of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Secretariat organized a conference on 23 November 2010, in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss climate change challenges confronting ACP countries.
The conference launched a series of debates on sustainable development in ACP States and gathered ACP ambassadors and high-level speakers including Lucas Assunção, UN Commission for Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and Yacob Mulugetta, UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Discussions were organized around the theme “Climate Change and Sustainable Development of ACP States: challenges and financing prospects,” and participants focused on existing financing mechanisms for low-carbon growth, as well as mitigation and adaptation strategies in ACP regions.
Discussions highlighted: the fragility of the majority of ACP States, particularly Small Island Developing States (SIDS), confronted by the problem of climate change; the fast-tracking of resources pledged by the EU to provide developing countries in general, and ACP countries in particular, with resources to tackle climate change challenges; the existence of various common positions among ACP regions and the EU in the area of climate change; and the urgent need to translate into concrete actions ACP-EU Declarations on climate change adopted in May 2009 in Brussels, Belgium, and June 2010 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. A follow-up conference is expected to be scheduled after the Cancun Climate Change Conference, to assess its results and agree on the way forward on climate change both at the regional and the ACP levels. [ACP Press Release
GEF Council Expands Small Grants Programme
18 November 2010: The 39th Meeting of the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Council approved US$134 million for the next phase of the Small Grants Programme (SGP), which awards up to US$50,000 in funds for projects by civil society and community based organizations.
The approved funds are expected to support as many as 3,640 new projects, a 27% increase over the last four-year period. Other projects approved aim to: strengthen governance of invasive alien species in Chile (US$4 million); use leopards to strengthen conservation efforts in Yemen (US$2.4 million); reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through industrial efficiency in Kazakhstan (US$7 million); and phase-out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in aerosol metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) in the Russian Federation (US$2.5 million).
During the meeting, which convened from 16-18 November 2010, at GEF headquarters in Washington DC, US, the Council heard statements from: Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); Paul Horwitz,
representing Marco Gonzalez, Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat; Donald Cooper, Executive Secretary of the Stockholm Convention; and Marcia Levaggi, Manager of the Adaptation Fund Board Secretariat.
Regarding climate change adaptation, the Council reviewed the "Evaluation of the GEF Strategic Priority for Adaptation" (GEF/ME/C.39/4) and "Management Response"
(GEF/ME/C.39/5), and requested the Secretariat to develop and implement screening tools to serve as a first step to ensure the mainstreaming and targeting of adaptation and resilience, to reduce the risks from climate change in GEF focal areas and its activities.
The Council also approved a Results-based Management and Knowledge Management Work Plan for GEF-5, and agreed to establish a pilot process with the goal of building a new framework to expand the number of accredited institutions that are eligible to receive funding to assist countries to prepare and implement projects on the ground. New agencies accredited to the GEF shall be referred to as GEF Project Agencies, while the status of the ten GEF Agencies (the original three Implementing and the seven additional Executing Agencies) shall remain unchanged. [GEF Council Documents
] [GEF Press Release
FAO Holds Expert Meeting on Land Tenure and Mitigation in Forestry and Agriculture Sectors
17 November 2010: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) hosted an expert meeting on "Land tenure issues and requirements for implementing climate change mitigation policies in the forestry and agriculture sectors" in Rome, Italy, from 15-17 November 2010.
The meeting resulted in an outcome document on sets of issues related to the beneficiaries of climate change mitigation policies, land tenure considerations for implementation of mitigation activities, and policy instruments for implementation. Participants highlighted the need for regional meetings to address land tenure configurations specific to regions and countries. The group also discussed the relevance of carbon rights in forestry and agriculture mitigation and debated whether carbon rights must be formalized for effective mitigation. Two commissioned background papers were also presented.
The meeting aimed to provide input into the linkages between tenure and climate change mitigation for work on Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land and other Natural Resources. The meeting was attended by approximately 50 experts in the fields of land-based climate change mitigation and land and resource tenure. It was co-organized by the FAO Land Tenure team, the UN-REDD programme and the Mitigation of Climate Change in Agriculture project (MICCA). [Meeting website
Capacity Building Project Launched for Eastern European States under LRTAP
17 November 2010: Representatives from Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Ukraine convened in Novopolotsk, Belarus, together with the Secretariat staff from the UN Economic Commission for Europe's Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP), from 16-17 November, to discuss strengthening cooperation and activities under LRTAP.
A project aimed at assisting these countries in implementing and ratifying the Convention's three most recent Protocols, on persistent organic pollutants, heavy metals, and multi-pollutant and multi-effects. Aimed at reducing harmful emissions of pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, persistent organic pollutants, and heavy metals within the region, discussions focused on assessing the current status of air pollution monitoring and reporting in each country, and the completion of national strategies on abating air pollution. The joint project is one of a series of initiatives under the Convention aimed at assisting countries with economies in transition in developing the capacity to effectively monitor and reduce air pollutants [http://www.unece.org/press/pr2010/10env_p38e.htm].
Governors' Global Climate Summit Launches R20 Initiative
16 November 2010: At the conclusion of the third Governors' Global Climate Summit (GGCS 3), held from 13-16 November 2010, in Davis, California, US, leaders from around the world announced a subnational public-private alliance on climate change and the green economy titled “R20 – Regions of Climate Action.”
Composed of subnational governments and private and non-government partners, R20 is a global coalition committed to fast-tracking the development of clean technologies, climate-resilient projects and green investment, and influencing national and international policies. It is expected to catalyze partnerships between developed and developing subnational regions on energy efficiency, renewable energy and clean transportation.
During its first year, R20 is expected to facilitate public-private partnerships, share best practices, accelerate the development of green innovations and begin implementing clean energy demonstration projects. Within five years, R20 aims to have at least 20 subnational governments enact comprehensive low-carbon policies and implement projects, using successful models from progressive subnational leaders as a guide. Through these efforts, R20 is expected to expand the global green economy, create new green jobs and build commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
R20 is partnering with the private sector, academia, national governments, international organizations and civil society, as well as with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). [Press Release
UNEP Provides Environmental Training to Peacekeepers
9 November 2010: As part of the Natural Resources Management in Post-Conflict Countries Initiative, developed by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in partnership with the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), UNEP convened a four-day training course for UN Field Mission staff.
Aiming to equip participants with the tools to address environmental issues related to the work and mandate of UN peacekeeping missions, the training was held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 9-13 November, and attended by 25 environmental focal points representing all current peacekeeping missions.
According to UNEP, the 2009 UN Greenhouse Gas inventory indicated that UN Field Missions globally account for 56% of UN total greenhouse gas emissions. A joint study undertaken by UNEP, the UN Department of Field Support (DFS) and United Nations Support Office for the African Union Mission in Somalia (UNSOA) indicated that significant savings in energy and water inputs and waste outputs are achievable bymainstreaming environmental concerns into the design and operation of UN peacekeeping camps. [UNEP Press release
G20 Adopts Seoul Action Plan
12 November 2010: Leaders of the Group of Twenty (G20) met in Seoul, Republic of Korea, on 11-12 November 2010 and adopted: a Leaders' Declaration; the Seoul Action Plan including a commitment to the Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth; and concrete measures summarized in a Multi-Year Action Plan on Development, focusing particularly on the development of infrastructure in developing countries.
According to the Leaders' Declaration, the G20 express: strong commitment to promptly bring the Doha Development Round to a successful, ambitious, comprehensive, and balanced conclusion consistent with the mandate of the Doha Development Round and built on progress already achieved; and resolute commitment to fight climate change, and spare no effort to reach a balanced and successful outcome at the Cancun Climate Change Conference in late 2010.
The Summit document containing the Seoul Action Plan includes sections on fossil fuel subsidies, climate change and green growth. On fossil fuel subsidies, the G20 leaders: reaffirm their commitment to rationalize and phase out, over the medium term, inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, with timing based on national circumstances, while providing targeted support for the poorest; direct finance and energy ministers to report back on progress made in implementing country-specific strategies and in achieving the goals agreed in Pittsburgh and Toronto at the 2011 Summit in France; note the preliminary report of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and request these organizations, together with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), to further assess and review progress made in implementing the Pittsburgh and Toronto commitments and report back to the 2011 Summit in France; and recognize the value of the sharing of knowledge, expertise and capacity with respect to programmes and policies that phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.
On climate change, G20 leaders: reiterate their commitment to take strong and action-oriented measures and remain fully dedicated to UN climate change negotiations; reaffirm the objective, provisions, and principles of the UNFCCC, including common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities; commit to achieving a successful, balanced result at the Cancun Conference that includes the core issues of mitigation, transparency, finance, technology, adaptation, and forest preservation; and support and encourage the delivery of fast-start finance commitments. Those that have associated themselves with the Copenhagen Accord also reaffirm their support for the Accord's implementation. Leaders also acknowledge: the global environmental and economic challenge of ongoing biodiversity loss; the inextricable link between climate change and biodiversity loss; the outcomes of the global study on the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity; and the successful conclusion of the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) held in Nagoya, Japan, on 18-29 October 2010.
On green growth, G20 leaders further: commit to support country-led "green growth" policies that promote environmentally sustainable global growth along with employment creation, while ensuring energy access for the poor; recognize that sustainable green growth, as it is inherently part of sustainable development, is a strategy of quality development, enabling countries to "leapfrog" old technologies in many sectors, including through the use of energy efficiency and clean technology; commit to take steps to create, as appropriate, the enabling environment for the development and deployment of energy efficiency and clean energy technologies, including policies and practices in G20 countries and beyond, including technical transfer and capacity building; support the ongoing initiatives under the Clean Energy Ministerial and encourage further discussion on cooperation in research and development as well as regulatory measures, together with business leaders; and request the Energy Experts Group to monitor and report back on progress at the 2011 Summit in France. G20 leaders also commit to stimulate investment in clean energy technology, energy and resource efficiency, green transportation, and green cities by mobilizing finance, establishing clear and consistent standards, developing long-term energy policies, supporting education, enterprise and research and development, and continuing to promote cross-border collaboration and coordination of national legislative approaches.
In the multi-year development action plan, G20 leaders commit to: develop comprehensive infrastructure action plans and assess ways to integrate environmental safeguards into infrastructure development in an effective and cost efficient manner; establish a G20 panel for infrastructure development and provide independent comment in an iterative process to ensure workability, maximization of the outcomes and a focus on environmental sustainability and transparency; and identify, enhance as needed, and promote the best existing developmental, social and environmental standards for responsible investment in value chains and voluntary investor compliance with these standards. [The G20 Leaders' Declaration
] [The Seoul Summit Document
] [Development Plan of Action
seoul summit logo
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
Third Conference on Drylands, Deserts and Desertification Develops Statement to UNCCD CST
11 November 2010: The third conference on Drylands, Deserts and Desertification, which convened from 8-11 November 2010, at the Sede Boqer's Blaustein Institute for Desert Research at Ben Gurion University in Israel, developed a "Statement on the Synergistic Implementation of the Rio Conventions in the Drylands."
The conference was attended by government and non-government officials, senior representatives of the UNESCO, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) as well as researchers from 63 countries working in areas related to combating desertification and the development of sustainable livelihoods in the drylands.
Among the central topics discussed in a special session sponsored by UNESCO was the potential for synergistic implementation of the Rio conventions in the drylands. Conference participants called upon the UNCCD Committee on Science and Technology (CST) as well as its Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC) to consider the issue of synergies at their upcoming meetings in Bonn, Germany, in February 2011.
Specific proposals also included: recognizing and addressing both the physical and socio-economic drivers that jointly lead to land degradation, climate change and biodiversity loss in the drylands through improved monitoring, assessing and reporting on the interlinkages among desertification, biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development; creating stronger synergies between national reporting schedules and requirements for the three Rio conventions to improve the efficiency and reduce the reporting burdens, particularly on affected developing countries; integrating UNCCD National Action Plans, National Biodiversity Action Plans and UNFCCC National Adaptation Plans of Action, and to mainstream these plans into National Sustainable Development Plans; creating synergies between the UNCCD impact indicators and the newly adopted CBD Strategic Plan and targets; encouraging bilateral and multilateral donors to fund projects and programmes that jointly implement the Rio conventions; and recognizing the importance of payment for dryland ecosystem services and other appropriate incentives to promote a favorable enabling environment for the national and local implementation of the three Rio conventions in the drylands. [Meeting Website
ECLAC Executive Secretary Highlights Low Carbon Growth Opportunities
11 November 2010: Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), delivered a statement at the Latin America and the Caribbean-EU Forum on Fiscal Policy and an Environmentally Sustainable Economy in the Context of Climate Change, which took place in Berlin, Germany, from 10-11 November 2010.
She stated that green fiscal reform "is a serious challenge but also a new opportunity to combine the establishment of solid fiscal foundations with environmental preservation, as long as this can be adequately combined with greater investment in critical areas (such as infrastructure), which could generate decent jobs with environmental sustainability." The seminar revolved around the question of whether innovation, productive convergence and employment can be compatible with sustainable development ("green" and low-carbon). In this context, Bárcena emphasized that climate change and the economic and social costs associated to it are becoming increasingly important. She expressed concern over the trend toward the international homogenization of tax rates, the growing use of "green taxes" and the carbon footprint of exports.
The Forum was convened by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile and ECLAC. [ECLAC Press Release
WTO Trade and Environment Committees Discuss Environmental Goods, Ecolabels and Transport
9 November 2010: Three recent meetings on trade and environment held at World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters have continued existing discussions on: the relationship between multilateral agreements and the WTO; the definition of environmental goods and ecolabels; and the challenges of controlling transport emissions from a trade perspective.
The following environment-related meetings took place at WTO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland: on 8 November 2010, the Committee on Trade and Environment in Special Session (CTESS) held an open-ended informal meeting on all three elements under Paragraph 31 of the Doha Development Agenda; the WTO Secretariat organized a Workshop on the Linkages between Trade, Transport and the Environment during the morning of 9 November 2010; and the Committee on Trade and Environment in Regular Session (CTE Regular) met in the afternoon of 9 November 2010.
At the CTESS meeting, delegates continued to discuss the relationship between the WTO and multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). Both Norway and South Africa drew attention to previously submitted proposals while Switzerland introduced a new submission. Switzerland's paper, the first to be received by the Committee on the topic in over two years, focuses largely on conflict avoidance. Particular concerns were raised regarding the Swiss proposal's implications for the WTO's dispute settlement procedures. Regarding negotiations on environmental goods, delegates stressed the need to address cross-cutting issues such as non-tariff barriers (NTBs), special and differential treatment, and technology transfer. While some were in favor of moving forward into more technical discussions on the basis of identified environmental goods, others were of the view that the Committee should move beyond market access and address other cross-cutting issues. Despite the lack of agreement on how negotiations should proceed, most members agreed on the need to accelerate negotiations on environmental goods.
The WTO Secretariat Workshop on the Linkages between Trade, Transport and the Environment interrogated the complex and multifaceted relationships between these three topics, particularly in the context of air emissions. Expert presentations explored the overarching linkages between trade, transport and environment, as well as offered perspectives from the maritime and aviation transportation industries. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) highlighted that mitigating the environmental impact of transportation requires careful policy instrument mixes, while the World Bank emphasized the importance of transport costs in overall trade costs, and suggested that both technology standards and carbon prices would be needed to drive effective change in the transport sector. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) described measures in place that regulate emissions of nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides from vessels, and highlighted the efforts of the maritime transport industry to develop technical and market based measures to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Finally, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) presented its roadmap for GHG emissions reductions, including the introduction of biofuels into the aviation fuel mix, and improvement of air traffic control infrastructure, without precluding the use of sector-specific market based approaches for climate change mitigation.
At the CTE Regular meeting, discussions focused on technology dissemination and eco-labels. Saudi Arabia made a presentation on the importance of enhancing dissemination of key environmental technologies. It was claimed that eliminating trade barriers, particularly non tariff barriers, would lower costs, increase the availability of technology through commercialization and in turn drive innovation. Members also exchanged national experiences on eco-labels. For example, Singapore introduced four public and two private eco-labelling schemes that it currently has in place, and Chinese Taipei introduced its voluntary public Green Mark Programme used to stimulate green purchases. Finally, members heard from the WTO Secretariat, the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) on work being taken on trade and environment technical assistance, green economy and the role of intellectual property in the transfer of clean energy. [IISDRS Sources]
Forest Carbon Partnership Facility Receives New Pledges
2 November 2010: The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, managed by the World Bank, recently held its Participants Assembly meeting, during which donor countries committed over US$100 million in new pledges.
The meeting, which took place in Washington DC, US, on 1 November 2010, gathered donors and stakeholders who announced new pledges to the two funds that make up the Partnership - the Readiness Fund and the Carbon Fund. Germany announced an additional €4 million to its previous commitment of €50 million; Norway pledged US$50 million to the Carbon Fund over several years; and Finland pledged €4 million, both on the condition that it is approved by the parliaments of their respective countries. These commitments come in addition to the Participation Agreement just completed with the US for US$10 million for the Carbon Fund and a recent pledge by Canada of CAN$40 million for the Readiness Fund.
The Participants Assembly is meeting to review the past year's activities and to discuss strategic directions for the year ahead, including participation in knowledge sharing on key REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) issues and fostering cooperation amongst REDD+ initiatives. The Participants Assembly is followed by two days of meetings by the Participants Committee, which meets three times a year to discuss and assess REDD+ Readiness proposals submitted by the participating REDD countries. This year, Lao PDR and Tanzania are presenting their formal Readiness Preparation Proposals (R-PPs); Viet Nam and Ethiopia are making informal country presentations; and Madagascar and Peru are presenting progress reports on their R-PP development. [World Bank Press Release
FCPF, FIP and UN-REDD to Streamline REDD+ Action
6 November 2010: The governing bodies of the UN-REDD Programme and the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and Forest Investment Program (FIP) met in Washington DC, US, on 6 November, to discuss collaborative approaches for the three initiatives in implementing REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks).
During this first joint meeting, representatives of the three initiatives, as well as observers from civil society, indigenous peoples, the private sector and other global partners, came together to advance a common approach for REDD+ assistance centered on individual country-led strategies and a phased approach to REDD+. Alexander Muller, Assistant Director General, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), stressed the need to adopt a coordinated approach "to meet the big challenges of our time: poverty, food security, the degradation of ecosystems and dangerous climate change." In the open dialogue, participants presented experiences, reflected on progress, challenges and opportunities in REDD+ implementation, and considered ways to maximize REDD+ activities at the country level. [UN-REDD Press Release
UN-REDD Policy Board Approves Funding for Five New Countries
5 November 2010: The fifth UN-REDD Policy Board meeting, which took place in Washington DC, US, from 4-5 November 2010, approved US$15.2 million for five new countries, and confirmed or pledged funds of US$7.4 million.
Cambodia, Papua New Guinea and Paraguay received approvals for US$3 million, $6.4 million and $4.7 million, respectively, after having presented the Board with full national REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks) readiness programmes. Solomon Islands and the Philippines were allocated approximately US$500,000 each for their initial national programmes.
Also during the meeting, Denmark pledged an additional US$6 million to the Programme, and Spain confirmed its US$1.4 million pledge. The Board also endorsed UN-REDD's five-year Strategy, outlining main work areas for the Programme, and heard progress reports from pilot countries currently implementing REDD+ activities with the UN-REDD's support. [UN-REDD Press Release
Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change Conference Produces Roadmap for Action
7 November 2010: The Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change took place from 31 October-5 November 2010 at the World Forum in The Hague, the Netherlands, around the theme "It's Down 2 Earth."
The Conference and its Ministerial Roundtable-sessions initiated a roadmap for action linking agriculture-related investments, food security and climate change. The "living roadmap" contains sections on: policies and strategies for climate-smart agriculture; tools and technologies for climate-smart agriculture; financing for transformational change; forging partnerships for climate-smart agriculture; and the way forward.
Participants convened in plenary and working group sessions throughout the week. The working groups focused on exploring issues, challenges and opportunities and stocktaking of innovations from case studies around the world. The Conference included an investment fair, which had focused discussions on: opportunities and challenges for project investments in Africa; managing carbon emissions through supply chains; creative incentives to reduce the destruction of natural forests from major agricultural commodities; whether large-scale commodity production can be turned from a leading cause of deforestation to a driver of sustainability; and public private partnerships.
The Conference was a follow-up to the Shared Vision Statement agreed at the 17th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD 17) in May 2009, and aimed to further develop the agriculture, food security and climate change agenda. It was organized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation of the Netherlands, in cooperation with Ethiopia, Viet Nam, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, the World Bank, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). A follow-up conference will be hosted by Viet Nam in 2012. [IISD-RS Coverage
] [Conference Website
] [Roadmap for Action
ECESA Discusses Vision and Expectations for UNCSD
4 November 2010: The Principals of the Executive Committee of Economic and Social Affairs (ECESA) and of other relevant UN entities met at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 4 November, in an effort to define a common UN vision and expectations for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, also called Rio+20).
UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang, Convenor of ECESA and UNCSD Secretary-General, invited the Principals of ECESA to engage in a "frank, interactive dialogue" during which they brainstormed initiatives to be launched at UNCSD. The meeting focused in particular on the two themes of the UNCSD: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD). Participants also discussed potential individual and joint outreach activities that would encourage stakeholder participation. Under-Secretary-General Sha called on UN system entities to make substantive contributions to enrich the preparatory process, such as inputs to the Secretary-General's Report, technical papers on priority themes, expert meetings or briefings, support for national and regional preparatory activities, secondment of staff, and sharing experiences of best practices. [UNCSD News Report
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
UN-REDD and Japan Support REDD+ in Asia-Pacific
25 October 2010: The Japan-UN Development Programme (UNDP) Partnership Fund approved a project titled "Promoting Regional REDD+ Approach and REDD+ Readiness in Under-Supported Regions of Asia/Pacific."
The project, which is being applied by the UN-REDD Programme's Asia-Pacific team, aims to harmonize REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, as well as the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) readiness across the region through a regional platform for coordination and collaboration among development partners. It will also provide special assistance at the national level to under-supported countries (Mongolia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga) to reach REDD+ readiness.
This project is the first Tier 2 project of UN-REDD, where activities are funded through sources other than the UN-REDD Multi-Donor Trust Fund. The project will last 17 months. [UN-REDD Press Release
UNEP Convenes Stakeholder Advisory Group on IEG
25 October 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has facilitated the development of a Major Groups and Stakeholder Advisory Group on International Environmental Governance (IEG). The Group consists of 15 core members, selected following the submission of 90 responses to the call for applications.
The Advisory Group participated in its first consultation on 25 October 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland, to assess the IEG options currently under discussion, to examine alternative options, and to identify implementation and communication outreach strategies, among other agenda items. UNEP is also in the process of organizing regional consultations for major groups in preparation of the February 2011 meeting of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environmental Forum. [UNEP Webpage on Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum, Regiona...
StEP Initiative Convenes General Assembly
November 2010: The 2010 General Assembly of the Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP) Initiative, a public-private sector initiative coordinated by the UN University, convened in London, UK, from 18-20 October 2010.
Attended by more than 45 StEP members, the General Assembly also elected a new Steering Committee for the 2011/2012 term. The meeting also heard updates from its five task forces on policy, reuse, recycle, redesign and capacity building. Key outcomes of the meeting included agreed work for these task forces, including: the task force on policy will develop a Green Paper based on the final report of Best E-waste Policies, in order to make sound recommendations on “best” e-waste policies; and the recycle task force will finalize a White Paper on recycling standards in order to provide guidance and recommendations to stakeholders on the development of effective and efficient electronics end-of-life standards. [StEP Website
UNEP and Partners Co-Organize Conference on Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform
14 October 2010: The Global Subsidies Initiative (GSI) of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) co-organized a conference titled "Increasing the Momentum of Fossil-Fuel Subsidy Reform: Developments and Opportunities," which took place from 14-15 October 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland.
Opening the conference, Harsha V. Singh, World Trade Organization's (WTO) Deputy Director-General, highlighted that fossil fuel subsidy reform could accelerate the shift towards renewable, and less polluting, sources of energy. He said fossil fuel subsidy reform represents a powerful tool to mitigate climate change, noting that international climate negotiations could be aided by parallel developments in fossil fuel subsidy reform. In this regard, he highlighted the evaluation of this topic currently by the G20. He also emphasized the need for countries to reflect on the link between trade and climate change, and on the eventual role of WTO rules on an issue such as fossil-fuel subsidies. [Conference Website
] [WTO Statement
African Development Forum Focuses on Climate Change and Development
15 October 2010: The Seventh African Development Forum was held from 12-15 October 2010 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme, "Acting on Climate Change for Sustainable Development in Africa."
The main objective of the Forum, which brought together over 700 participants, was to raise awareness of climate change and also promote effective mainstreaming of climate change concerns into development policies, strategies, programmes and practices in Africa. The Forum was convened by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
The Forum was preceded by several events, including a climate change training workshop for African journalists with the theme "Getting it Right: Reporting Climate Change for Sustainable Development in Africa." The Forum included a High Level Leadership Dialogue that identified key governance and leadership challenges that need to be addressed as part of the global response to the impacts of climate change. Plenary sessions were also held on: climate change impacts; climate change mitigation and adaptation; Africa and the international climate change negotiations; and private sector response to climate change. Other issues, such as food security, economic and human development, security and ecosystem sustainability, were also addressed.
During the Forum, Africa's vulnerability and determination to act were highlighted. Speaking at the conclusion of the Forum, Abdoulie Janneh, UNECA Executive Secretary, urged support for the region's adaptation efforts. He underlined that, "we are not contributing much to this phenomenon of climate change and therefore what we are saying is that those countries that have created this should really come up with the resources necessary."
Also addressing the Forum, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, Coordinator of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change, expressed his suspicion that the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16) in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of 2010, and COP 17, scheduled to take place in South Africa in 2012, "will be a total flop." He cited disagreements between developed and developing countries, and a leadership crisis on environmental issues at the international level. He called on Africa's leadership "to prove its worth" and reach a satisfactory agreement for the continent in the current negotiations.
One of the outcomes of the Forum was the establishment of a partnership on Africa's options for a Green Economy, backed by the AU, the AfDB, the UNECA and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). One of the first activities of the partnership will be the organization of an Africa-wide conference on a low-carbon, resource-efficient Green Economy, to take place in 2011, in response to the call by the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN). The conference will showcase how smart policies and creative investments across sectors, ranging from agriculture and transport to fisheries and forests, can drive green and sustainable growth, job creation and enhanced livelihood in Africa. [UNECA Press Release on the Opening Plenary
] [UNECA Press Release on the High-level Dialogue
] [UNEP Press Release
] [UN Press Release
] [Forum Website
] [ADF Today 14 October 2010
] [Climate Change Policy & Practice Story on the Training W...
POPRC Agrees Recommendation to List Endosulfan
The sixth meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC 6) of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) convened from 11-15 October 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland. POPRC-6 adopted 12 decisions, including on: support for effective participation in POPRC's work; the work programmes on new POPs; and intersessional work on toxic interactions.
POPRC adopted the risk profile for hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and established an intersessional working group to prepare a draft risk management evaluation on HBCD. POPRC also agreed, by a vote, to adopt the risk management evaluation for endosulfan and recommend listing endosulfan in Annex A, with exemptions. The Committee considered a revised draft risk profile on short-chained chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs), agreeing to convene an intersessional working group to revise the draft risk profile on the basis of an intersessional discussion of the application of the Annex E criteria to SCCPs and of information arising from a proposed study on chlorinated paraffins by the intersessional working group on toxic interactions. [Stockholm Convention website
] [IISD RS coverage of POPRC 6
IMO Meeting Adopts Assessment Framework for Ocean Fertilization
20 October 2010: Parties to the treaties regulating the dumping of wastes at sea met from 11-15 October 2010, at the headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), in London, UK, and adopted an Assessment Framework for Ocean Fertilization.
The 32nd Consultative Meeting of Contracting Parties to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972 (London Convention) and fifth Meeting of Contracting Parties to the 1996 Protocol thereto (London Protocol) adopted the Assessment Framework for Scientific Research Involving Ocean Fertilization as resolution LC-LP.2(2010). The Framework, which is designed to assess whether proposals for ocean fertilization constitute legitimate scientific research, was developed by the Scientific Groups under the London Convention and Protocol. The resolution follows previous discussions by parties to the London Convention and Protocol on planned operations for large-scale fertilization of the oceans using micro-nutrients to sequester carbon dioxide. The Assessment Framework provides criteria for an initial assessment of a proposal and detailed steps for completion of an environmental assessment, including risk management and monitoring, and does not contain a threshold below which experiments would be exempt from its assessment provisions. [Website for the London Convention and Protocol
] [IMO Press Release
UNECE, FAO to Explore the Role of Forests in the Green Economy, Call for Comments on Action Plan
16 November 2010: The chair of the Timber Committee of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Linda Langner, and the chair of the European Forestry Commission under the aegis of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Peter Blomback, reported that at a meeting on 15 October 2010, the joint Bureaux of the two bodies decided that the theme of their joint session scheduled for October 2011 will be “Forests in a Green Economy.”
The special session will include discussions on concrete examples and suggested actions in several areas, including: sustainable forest management for a green, sustainable, climate-friendly economy; the forest industry's role in green building; wood energy's contribution to a sustainable energy future; sustainable production and consumption; valuation of forest ecosystem services ("value creation through conservation and sustainable management"); green jobs in forestry; and policy and institutional frameworks conducive to achieving a green economy.
The Bureaux also agreed to develop an action plan, directed at policymakers, on improving and promoting the forest sector's contribution to a green economy. The action plan is expected to address forest-based products, wood energy, sustainable forest management, valuation of ecosystem services, green building, and institutional and policy incentives, providing a concrete contribution to the UNCSD (also called Rio+20) in 2012. As part of the formulation of the action plan, the Bureaux also launched a consultation open to States, intergovernmental organizations, NGOs, the private sector and academic institutions.
The consultation, open until 15 January 2011, is soliciting views on the possible main topics of the action plan; the objectives for increasing the role of the forest sector under each topic; and for each objective, the actions that are already taken and/or should be required to increase the role of the forest sector in achieving a green economy. A draft of the action plan will be developed in the first quarter of 2011 and reviewed during an informal consultation meeting open to all stakeholders on 18-19 April 2011 in Geneva, Switzerland. [UNECE/FAO Action plan and Call for comments
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
UN Secretary-General Vows Support to Guatemala
12 October 2010: The International Cooperation Conference for the Reconstruction with Transformation of Guatemala took place from 11-12 October 2010, in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
In a message delivered by Alicia Bárcena, Executive Director, UN Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon promised UN support to Guatemalans who suffered the effects of volcanic eruptions and torrential rains during 2010. He emphasized that the effects of changing weather patterns and the extreme weather events associated with climate change should underscore the need for concrete action at the upcoming Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC, which will take place at the end of the year in Cancun, Mexico. Disasters in Guatemala have been estimated to affect approximately 560 thousand people, causing economic losses amounting to 4.1% of the country's GDP. [Ban's Message]
APEC Oceans Ministers Discuss Fisheries Management
12 October 2010: Oceans-related Ministers of the members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) discussed "Healthy Oceans and Fisheries Management towards Food Security" on 11-12 October 2010, in Paracas, Peru. The meeting focused on four themes: sustainable development and protection of the marine environment; climate change impacts on the oceans; free and open trade and investment; and the role of oceans in food security.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Ministers adopted the Paracas Declaration, in which they call for: seeking ways to promote cooperation among APEC economies to contribute towards regional assessments in the APEC region and understanding of the marine ecosystem; ensuring sustainable management of the marine environment by encouraging capacity building and information sharing; encouraging APEC economies to reduce both sea and land-based sources of marine pollution and marine debris; gathering and sharing scientific knowledge on climate change and its impacts on coastal and marine ecosystems, fisheries and aquaculture; strengthening disciplines on subsidies in the fisheries sector, taking into account the importance of the fisheries sector for poverty reduction, job creation and food security; and promoting the sustainable management of fisheries and aquaculture resources both domestically and internationally.
APEC oceans-related Ministers are to convey the outcomes of the Paracas meeting to the first APEC Ministerial Meeting on Food Security, which will be held from 16-17 October 2010, in Niigata, Japan, and to the APEC Leaders' meeting scheduled in November 2010, in Yokohama, Japan. [APEC Press Release
] [Paracas Declaration
UNCSD Bureau Holds Seventh Meeting
12 October 2010: The Bureau of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, also referred to as Rio+20) conducted its seventh meeting on 12 October 2010. Among other topics, Bureau members learned that the recruitment of two Executive Coordinators has been delayed due to difficulties in mobilizing extra-budgetary resources needed for their recruitment, with funds so far only mobilized to support one Executive Coordinator.
Bureau members were also informed, inter alia
: of the plans of the high-level panel on global sustainability established by the Secretary-General and a possible consultation between the Bureau and this panel; and that a 4 November 2010 meeting of the Principals of all UN system entities, including Specialized Agencies, Regional Commissions, Convention Secretariats, and IFIs, would seek to articulate a common Secretariat vision for sustainable development within the context of Rio+20. The next Bureau meeting is expected to take place on 18 November. [Minutes from the meeting
UNFPA Event Focuses on Social Dimensions of Climate Change in Africa
15 October 2010: The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Coordination Mechanism Cluster on Social and Human Development hosted a two-day meeting to examine the human and social dimensions of climate change in the life of African people.
The meeting, titled "Climate Change through the Lens of Vulnerability and Human Rights," took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 11-12 October 2010, and preceded the Seventh Africa Development Forum, held at the same venue from 10-15 October. Participants examined how the impoverished, socially excluded and vulnerable groups can engage in, and benefit from, adaptation processes. Fungayi Jessie Majome, Zimbabwe's Deputy Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development, indicated that social protection can improve adaptive capacities of the poorest and most vulnerable to climate change. UNFPA representatives stressed that the additional burden of diseases and deaths caused by climate change further strain already weak and under-funded health systems, noting the need to continue strengthening health systems' functioning and preparedness in order to cope with the additional challenges imposed by climate change. [UNFPA Press Release
] [Seventh African Development Forum
] [Climate Change and Health Care Systems in Africa
] [UNECA Press Release
] [Climate Change Policy & Practice Story on the Seventh Af...
Fifth BASIC Meeting Focuses on Preparations for Cancun
11 October 2010: The fifth ministerial meeting on climate change of Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) was held in Tianjin, China, from 10-11 October 2010, and focused on issues related to the Cancun Climate Change Conference.
In line with the “BASIC-plus” approach, representatives of Yemen (Chair of the G77), Argentina (incoming Chair of G77), Ethiopia (representing Africa), Grenada (Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)) and Egypt (Chair of the Arab Group) attended the meeting as observers. In the joint statement issued at the conclusion of the meeting, ministers emphasized that the outcome of the Cancun Conference should be based on a balance between and within the two negotiating tracks under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, and supported reflecting the elements of the Copenhagen Accord in the negotiating texts for the two tracks. They further stressed that the outcome in Cancun should pave the way for a legally-binding outcome in South Africa in 2011, and should not deviate from the mandate of the Bali Roadmap.
The Ministers also: urged developed countries to commit to more ambitious emission reduction targets under the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol; called for developed countries that did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol to undertake comparable emission reduction targets under the Convention; and noted the significant distinction between the emission reduction commitments by developed countries and nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) by developing countries both in terms of their nature and content.
Ministers underscored that fast-start finance in the immediate future and up to 2012 will be the key to enhance confidence in the multilateral process and enable success in Cancun, underlining that US$30 billion should be made available as soon as possible in a transparent manner. They expressed full support for the establishment of a new fund under the UNFCCC, with public funding being provided by developed countries as its primary source. They further reiterated the need to: deal with adaptation as a matter of urgency in Cancun; ensure that intellectual property rights do not become a barrier to technology transfer; and establish an effective mechanism for technology development and transfer.
Ministers noted that the diversity of views on more ambitious aspirational objectives than keeping the global temperature increase below 2ºC links directly to reaching a political understanding of equity. In this respect, ministers reaffirmed that equitable access to sustainable development will be the foundation of any climate change agreement and the prerequisite for setting up any global emission reduction target, taking into account: developed countries' historical responsibility; developing countries' need for space and time to achieve sustainable development; and the need for developed countries to provide adequate finance, technology and capacity building support to developing countries.
In addition, ministers opposed unilateral actions against developing countries' products and services on climate change-related grounds, considering them incompatible with the UNFCCC and noting that they will seriously jeopardize international collaboration on climate change and international trade. Finally, ministers welcomed India's offer to host the sixth BASIC ministerial meeting on climate change in February 2011. [Joint Statement
UNCTAD Convenes Meeting of Experts on the Green Economy
8 October 2010: The UN Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) convened an ad hoc
expert meeting to discuss "The Green Economy: Trade and Sustainable Development Implications" from 7-8 October 2010, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
The two-day meeting was framed as an input to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) scheduled to take place in 2012. Opening the meeting, Supachai Panitchpakdi, UNCTAD Secretary-General, underscored the urgency of addressing climate change with a well-designed sharing of the burden. He highlighted that the UN High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, of which he is a member, is discussing a goal of US$100 billion per year to aid developing countries to adapt to and mitigate climate change by 2020. Sha Zukang, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, who is serving as Conference Secretary-General for Rio+20, noted expectations for a green economy to hold the key to faster implementation of sustainable development.
During the meeting, speakers: shared experiences with the history leading up to Rio 1992; presented on framework and progress on UNEP's green economy initiative; reviewed the trade implications of a green economy; and addressed the urgency and challenges of transitioning to a green economy in the context of the impending environmental crisis, using climate change as a case study.
The meeting concluded with some ideas about next steps, including: a continued process of clarifying the concept of a green economy and its trade and sustainable implications; analysis of trends and innovative practices currently underway in the real economy and that point towards the transition to a green economy; and identification of concrete areas where the international community can help foster a smooth transition towards a green economy that respects sustainable development principles and works toward poverty eradication. [UNCTAD Press Release
] [Meeting Website
] [UNCSD Press Release
] [Presentation by Tariq Banuri, DSD Director
COFO 2010 Calls for 360 Degree Perspective on Forests
8 October 2010: The 20th session of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) Committee on Forestry (COFO 2010), which convened from 4-8 October 2010, at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy, was dominated by calls for an inter-sectoral approach to address problems facing forests.
COFO participants also urged a “360 degree” perspective that takes into consideration the multiple functions and services that forests provide. In plenary sessions held throughout the week, participants discussed, inter alia
: forest biodiversity, fire and water in the context of climate change; the Global Forest Resources Assessment; emerging opportunities and challenges in forest finance and forest governance; and preparations for the International Year of Forests (IYF) 2011. In the discussions on planned activities for the IYF, Jan McAlpine, Director, UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), said “Forests 2011” should be a celebration of the positive things related to forests and their role for people, highlighting biodiversity, climate and health. She explained that the UNFF, as the focal point for the UN system during IYF, will be working closely with the Secretariats of the Rio Conventions, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), and major groups, as well as artists and filmmakers.
COFO 2010 adopted a final report, which includes requests to FAO to: assist countries in valuing the potential contribution of forests in climate change adaptation and mitigation; strengthen its capacity to share information related to biodiversity conservation in the context of climate change; and continue efforts to develop a report on the state of the world's forest genetic resources. On forests and water in the context of climate change, the Committee recommended that countries intensify work in this area and pay increased attention to socioeconomic issues related to forests and water and financing mechanisms, such as payments for ecosystem services, and recommended that FAO continue to review critical related issues and facilitate information exchange.
In parallel to the meeting and throughout the week, many special events were held as part of the second “World Forest Week.” These events included panel discussions on, inter alia
: phytosanitary standards; new developments in forest finance; linking policy dialogue and implementation; forest governance; reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing couuntries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks (REDD+); and Growing Forest Partnerships. [IISD RS Coverage of COFO 2010
] [COFO 2010 Website
UN-REDD Workshop Highlights Community Consent in REDD
7 October 2010: The UN-REDD Programme held a consultation workshop with representatives of civil society organizations and indigenous peoples from Latin American and the Caribbean to facilitate the development of guidance on free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) and recourse mechanisms for national UN-REDD activities.
During the meeting, which was held in Panama City, Panama, from 4-7 October 2010, participants heard presentations on,inter alia
: the legal foundation of FPIC and recourse; FPIC and recourse in the context of the UN-REDD Programme's specific obligations to international law; and a FPIC consultation workshop held in Viet Nam in June 2010. Participants focused on: assessing the obstacles to accessing effective and timely recourse mechanisms; ensuring information on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable use of forests and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+) reaches communities; defining true representation and consent; using local languages; and creating uniform global guidelines for different and distinct regions. Participants agreed that, in addition to the broad guidelines agreed upon at the meeting, each community has its own process for reaching consent that will need to be determined and applied.
The workshop was one of a series of workshops to develop definitive FPIC and Recourse guidelines for UN-REDD programmes. A third regional consultation will be held in Africa in November 2010. After the guidelines from the three workshops are merged, the draft document will be released for a public comment and input process. [UN-REDD Press Release
UNWTO Meeting Calls for Greener Tourist Industry
6 October 2010: The Second World Tourism Conference convened in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, from 4-6 October 2010 and was attended by Ministers of Tourism, their representatives and other stakeholders. According to the UN World Tourism Organization, the event focused on ecotourism and environmental protection, and called for a greener global tourism sector. [UNWTO Press Release
UNEP Launches “30 Ways in 30 Days” Initiative on Green Economy
5 October 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has announced an initiative to inspire action on reducing emissions and making the transition to a global green economy in the lead up to the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16), to take place in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of 2010.
Under the "30 Ways in 30 Days" initiative, UNEP will be releasing 30 case studies showing that solutions to combat climate change are available, accessible and replicable. The first case study featured was UNEP's Indian Solar Loan Programme, which worked with two of India's banking groups in 2003 to provide low-interest loans for household photovoltaic systems. The programme provided technical support and training, and reimbursed banks for the difference between their normal lending rates and the reduced rate that borrowers paid. Daily climate case studies will be released online at the initiative website from 1 November to 8 December 2010.
The initiative was launched at the Special Business for Environment (B4E) Summit on Climate Change, co-hosted by UNEP, the UN Global Compact, and WWF, and which took place from 4-5 October 2010, in Mexico City, Mexico. [30 Ways in 30 Days Website
] [UNEP Press Release
] [Climate Change Policy & Practice Story on the B4E Summit
B4E Summit on Climate Change Calls for Ambitious Outcome in Cancun6 October 2010: The Special Business for Environment (B4E) Summit on Climate Change, which took place from 4-5 October 2010, in Mexico City, Mexico, was convened to provide perspectives and policy recommendations ahead of the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16) to be held in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of 2010.
Titled "Accelerating solutions through partnership and innovation," the Summit was convened by the UN Global Compact, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Government of Mexico and WWF, and brought together over 300 companies from nearly 30 countries. Participants focused on transformative climate solutions needed to address the mounting climate and inter-related environmental issues, turning crises into opportunity, with a number of companies in the energy, information and communication technologies (ICT), and buildings and construction sectors making commitments to climate action.
The meeting concluded with the adoption of a statement titled "B4E Climate Summit 2010 – A Call To Action," in which business leaders agree that averting a major climate crisis will require the creation of global policy and strong national legal frameworks. Summit participants also called on governments to move forward international negotiations to ensure an ambitious outcome at the upcoming 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16) in Cancun, Mexico, at the end of the year, stressing the need for a global level playing field to mainstream green entrepreneurship. The Call to Action includes a series of perspectives and commitments, urging governments to show leadership in Cancun and domestically, from the following sectors: ICT; building construction and materials; transportation and logistics; food beverage and agriculture; and energy and utilities.
In addition, during the Summit, the Low Carbon Leaders Project, an initiative supported by the UN Global Compact and WWF, launched a report titled: "Low Carbon Leaders – Transformative Solutions Leadership." The report lists 12 examples of "transformative low-carbon solutions" that can provide services in a new and energy efficient way. Some of these solutions have the potential to build inverse relationships between revenues and emissions.
] [UN Global Compact Press Release on the Launch of the Report
] [UN Global Compact Press Release on the Outcome of the Summit
] [B4E A Call to Action
Caring for Climate Establishes Steering Committee
4 October 2010: Caring for Climate, a joint platform by the UN Global Compact and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to advance the role of business in addressing climate change, has established a steering committee.
The advisory body, consisting of senior corporate representatives from diverse sectors and geographic regions, will provide input on the strategic, operational and financial developments of Caring for Climate. The steering committee includes corporate representatives from: Acciona (Spain); CEMEX (Mexico); China Mobile (China); The Coca-Cola Company (US); Deutsche Telekom (Germany); The Dow Chemical Company (US); Eskom (South Africa); Fuji Xerox (Japan); Novo Nordisk (Denmark); Sekem Group (Egypt); and Tata Steel (India).
Caring for Climate is a voluntary global action platform for UN Global Compact participants who seek to demonstrate leadership on the issue of climate change. It has been endorsed by nearly 400 companies in 65 countries. [List of Steering Committee Members
] [UN Global Compact Press Release
UNEP Completes GEO-5 Regional Consultations
5 October 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has completed its scheduled regional consultations for GEO-5. The consultations were convened in Washington DC, US (September 2), Panama City, Panama (September 6-7), Ottawa, Canada (September 9), Bangkok, Thailand (September 16-17), Nairobi, Kenya (September 20-21), Geneva, Switzerland (September 23-24) and Bahrain (October 4-5).
The consultations sought to identify priority environmental issues and challenges for each region. Agreed priorities for North America included land use, energy, freshwater and environmental governance. Priorities agreed for Latin America and the Caribbean region included: biodiversity; climate change; freshwater; soil, land use, land degradation and desertification; seas and oceans; and environmental governance. Priorities for the Asia and Pacific region included: climate change; environmental governance; biodiversity; freshwater; and chemicals and waste. Priority issues for Africa included: climate change; soil, land use, land degradation and desertification; biodiversity; freshwater; and seas and oceans. European priorities included: air pollution and air quality; biodiversity; chemicals and wastes; climate change; and freshwater, water and water resources. Priorities for West Asia included: freshwater; soil, land use, land degradation and desertification; energy; environmental governance; and oceans and seas. [UNEP GEO Meetings webpage
] [IISD RS coverage of selected GEO regional consultations
World Habitat Day Celebrates ‘Better City, Better Life'
4 October 2010: The 2010 World Habitat Day was celebrated at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 under the theme "Better City, Better Life."
The event focused on the potential and problems of urban living in the 21st century and actions and policies that can improve well-being for the billion people who live in slums and other sub-standard housing around the world. In his statement to mark the Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted that better cities can help mitigate global challenges, such as climate change, by promoting energy conservation and environmental sustainability.
In addition, the World Habitat Awards were presented by UN-Habitat Executive Secretary Inga Bjork-Klevby and Diane Diacon, Director of the Building and Social Housing Foundation, to: the Local Housing Movement Programme, Egypt, which works with low-income communities in Egypt to improve their housing and access to water and sanitation; and the Ekostaden Augustenborg, Sweden, which addresses environmental issues such as flooding and energy inefficiency.
The World Expo 2010 was hosted by China's Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development and the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Urban and Rural Construction and Transport. Celebrations to mark World Habitat Day were held in various cities around the world, including Barcelona, Spain, Nakuru, Kenya, and Kathmandu, Nepal. [UN Secretary-General Statement
] [UN-Habitat Press Release
Asia and Pacific Ministerial Conference Focuses on Green Development
27 September 2010: The sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (MCED-6) is convening in Astana, Kazakhstan, from 27 September-2 October 2010, under the theme "Green Development."
The conference, which is jointly hosted by the Government of Kazakhstan and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), aims to renew political commitment for sustainable development, and assess progress to date towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the outcomes of MCED-5, including the Green Growth Strategy. This agenda-setting forum to assess the state of sustainable development, and identify regional perspectives and priorities, is based on the recognition that the region remains particularly susceptible to natural disasters, which are likely to increase in frequency and intensity as a result of climate change.
Opening the Conference, Noeleen Heyzer, UN Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary, stated that pursuing green growth "requires fundamental transformation of our economic structure by integrating ecological costs in market prices, investing in sustainable infrastructure, promoting green business and technology, pursuing sustainable lifestyles and by developing climate resilient societies." Rae Kwon Chung, Director, ESCAP's Environment and Development Division, added that "green growth offers the unique opportunity for developing countries and emerging economies to leapfrog from the conventional and costly - pollute first and clean up later - trap to an ecologically-efficient, inclusive and sustainable growth paradigm." ESCAP underscores that Green Growth is the cornerstone strategy in the Asia Pacific region, helping address the triple challenge of converging economic, resource and ecological crises.
During the ministerial segment on 1-2 October 2010, Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan, and Heyzer will engage in a roundtable dialogue with delegates in preparations for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) to be held in Brazil in 2012. The MCED are held every five years. [UN ESCAP Press Release
] [UN ESCAP Meeting Website
] [ESCAP Executive Secretary's Message
Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development Highlights Green Growth for Pacific Economies
4 October 2010: The Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (MCED 6) convened in Astana, Kazakhstan, from 27 September-2 October 2010. During the meeting, Kiribati's Minister for Finance and Economic Development, Natan Teewe, emphasized the importance of green growth for the economies of the Pacific region.
On behalf of Pacific Island countries at MCED-6, Minister Teewe stated he hoped and expected “that the Green Growth path will generate quality economic growth in our vulnerable economies and fragile islands.”
According to the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP), green growth activities are already evident in the Pacific with initiatives to develop renewable energies, organic farming and eco-tourism underway. Next steps for the Pacific include a feasibility analysis of the green growth approach and development of a road map for implementation.
Ministers have endorsed the establishment of a Pacific Green Growth Partnership to coordinate assistance from regional, sub-regional and international organizations in the Pacific. A key outcome of the MCED-6 meeting was the endorsement of the Astana Declaration and regional implementation plan and the Green Bridge Initiative to encourage cooperation between the Europe and Asia-Pacific regions. [UN ESCAP Pacific Press Release
] [UN ESCAP Press release
Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development Focuses on Green Growth
2 October 2010: The Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (MCED-6), which took place in Astana, Kazakhstan, from 27 September-2 October 2010, concluded with the endorsement of the Astana Declaration and regional implementation plan, and the Green Bridge Initiative to encourage cooperation between the European and Asian regions.
The Astana Declaration outlines the region's commitment for environmentally-sustainable economic growth to reduce poverty, through the stimulation of green growth and other sustainable initiatives including job creation in Asia's energy efficiency and renewable energy sectors. According to Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the Green Growth approach "commits our nations to investment in eco-efficient and clean technologies, and balanced development for shared prosperity, social progress and environmental sustainability."
The Astana Green Bridge Initiative, championed by the Government of Kazakhstan, represents the first international agreement between Europe and Asia and the Pacific for environmental cooperation in the ecological use of natural resources, low carbon development, sustainable urban development, and the promotion of green business and green technology. During the Conference, delegates, including representatives of small island developing States (SIDS) and mountainous States, emphasized that the poorest and least-developed countries are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters and environmental degradation. The representative from Kiribati highlighted the impact of climate change and sea-level rise on the sustainable development of SIDS. He called for "a draft roadmap to implement green growth in the Pacific." [UNESCAP Press Release
] [Conference Website
UNEP Co-Hosts Climate Friendly Chillers Conference
5 October 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), in partnership American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers Inc. (ASHRAE), convened a two-day conference titled "Road to Climate Friendly Chillers - Moving beyond CFCs and HCFCs," in Cairo, Egypt, from 30 September-1 October 2010.
The Conference reviewed technology trends in the air conditioning sector and their impact on the environment, and concluded that renewable energy-powered cooling units are approaching commercial production stage. This would mitigate climate change by helping phase-out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which are potent greenhouses gases (GHGs), since globally, around 1.5 billion refrigerators currently use HCFCs.
The Conference assisted Article 5 (developing country) parties to the Montreal Protocol to identify further potential activities in the chiller sub-sector, as well as to provide environmental and economic information on alternative refrigerants management and chiller replacement strategies. [UNEP Press Release
] [Conference Website
FAO Finalizes First Global Guidelines for Aquaculture Certification
1 October 2010: The
Sub-Committee on Aquaculture of the Committee on Fisheries of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has adopted the first global guidelines for aquaculture certification. The Sub-Committee met for its fifth session in Phuket, Thailand, from 27 September-1 October 2010, bringing together over 50 country representatives. The guidelines, which are non-binding, cover animal health, food safety, the environment and socioeconomic issues relating to aquaculture workers. They will be forwarded for approval to the 29th session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries, which will take place from 31 January-4 February 2011, in Rome, Italy. [FAO press release
] [Sub-Committee fifth session website
IMO MEPC Revises MARPOL, Addresses Emissions From Ships
4 October 2010: The 61st session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which took place from 27 September-1 October 2010, in London, UK, addressed: the mitigation of emissions from maritime transport; revisions to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL); and the implementation of the ballast water and ship recycling conventions.
On the emissions from maritime transport, the Committee noted the desire of some States party to Annex VI (Regulations for the prevention of air pollution from ships) to MARPOL to request the IMO Secretary-General to circulate proposed amendments to that Annex, to make mandatory, for new ships, the Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI) and the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP), which have already been disseminated for voluntary use. The Committee also noted, however, that other States did not support the circulation of such amendments.
Despite the lack of consensus on how to proceed with the next step of IMO's climate change strategy, the Committee made progress on all three elements of its work, namely technical, operational and market-based measures. The MEPC agreed Terms of Reference for an intersessional meeting of the Working Group on GHG Emissions from Ships, to be held in March 2011, to provide an opinion on the need and purpose of market-based measures as a possible mechanism to reduce GHG emissions from international shipping. A report from the intersessional group will be submitted to the 62nd session of the MEPC in July 2011.
Participants also adopted by consensus the revised MARPOL Annex III Regulations for the prevention of pollution by harmful substances carried by sea in packaged form, which is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2014. In other MARPOL develoments, the MEPC approved, with a view to adoption at its next session, amendments to revise and update Annex V of the Convention on Regulations for the prevention of pollution by garbage from ships.
On ships recycling, the Committee agreed to re-establish the intersessional Correspondence Group on Ship Recycling to further develop the draft Guidelines for safe and environmentally sound ship recycling, Guidelines for the development of the Ship Recycling Plan and Guidelines for the authorization of Ship Recycling Facilities. The MEPC also encouraged governments to ratify the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, which was adopted in May 2009, and to review the programme for technical assistance aimed at supporting its early implementation. [IMO press release 5 October
] [IMO press release 6 October
Rotterdam Convention Convenes Consultation on Increasing Capacity for Identification of Severely Hazardous Pesticide Formulations
30 September 2010: The Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention convened a sub-regional consultation in Damascus, Syria, from 28-30 September 2010. The consultation aimed to strengthen the national capacities of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria to prepare proposals for Severely Hazardous Pesticide Formulations (SHPF) under the Rotterdam Convention (Article 6).
Participants included representatives from Ministries of Agriculture, Environment, Health, as well as local nongovernmental organizations and farmers' associations who are involved in collecting information on poisoning and intoxications caused by hazardous formulations. [Rotterdam Convention website
Indonesian-Swiss Country-led Initiative Discusses Basel Convention Effectiveness
28 September 2010: The third meeting of the Indonesian-Swiss Country-Led Initiative (CLI) to improve the effectiveness of the Basel Convention convened from 24-28 September, in Hilterfingen, Switzerland. The meeting reviewed and discussed the elements that could be included in a proposal for a draft Decision to be forwarded to the tenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10), scheduled to convened in October 2011. Participants agreed that, on the basis of the meeting's discussions, the Governments of Indonesia and Switzerland, in cooperation with the CLI members, will collate and restructure the document into a proposal for a draft decision, together with accompanying documentation to explain the elements and the interrelations of those that also should be forwarded to the COP. Documents will be made available on the Basel Convention website to all parties, signatories and stakeholders for comment. [Basel Convention website
UNWTO Celebrates World Tourism Day
September 2010: The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) celebrated World Tourism Day on 27 September. Jointly organized by UNWTO, the China National Tourism Administration and Guangdong Province, celebrations were centered in Guangzhou, China. A High Level Dialogue on Tourism, Biodiversity and Sustainable Development was convened as the central event under the theme “Tourism and Biodiversity,” coinciding with the UN International Year of Biodiversity. The dialogue provided a platform to debate how tourism can contribute positively to biodiversity conservation and the quality of life of local populations, while minimizing potentially negative environmental and social impacts. [UN WTO Press Release
MSI+5 Reaffirms Support to SIDS' Development
26 September 2010: The High-level Review Meeting on the Implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS (MSI+5), convened from 24-25 September 2010, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, as part of the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). During the two-day event, delegates focused on reducing vulnerabilities and strengthening resilience of SIDS, as well as enhancing international support for SIDS. A key outcome of the meeting was the adoption of a political declaration that reasserts the support of the international community to the development of SIDS.
Discussion on enhancing international support to SIDS focused on the need for SIDS to be classified as a special grouping and protection within the global community. According to SIDS, such a grouping would ensure SIDS issues were mainstreamed across the UN system, and help identify opportunities for dedicated financing. During discussions, SIDS also emphasized the need for assistance in renewable energy projects, to avoid reliance on imported fossil fuels.
Discussion on reducing vulnerabilities of SIDS reflected on SIDS' national efforts at mainstreaming sustainable development into national development plans, but that a post-Kyoto agreement is necessary to mitigate the existential threat posed by sea level rise and extreme weather events. [UN Press Release
] [IISD RS Coverage
] [Meeting Website
Global Conference on Aquaculture Carries Out 10-Year Review
September 2010: The Global Conference on Aquaculture 2010, which took place from 22-25 September 2010, in Phuket, Thailand, was co-organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific under the theme “Farming the Waters for People and Food.”
The conference carried out a review of the development and progress in the aquaculture sector since the Conference on Aquaculture in the Third Millennium in 2000. The event brought together national, regional and international organizations and government representatives to appreciate the current state of aquaculture development, evaluate where the sector stands today and face upcoming challenges. [FAO press release
] [Conference Website
GEO-5 Geneva Consultations Identify European Priorities
25 September 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Regional Consultation for Europe took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 23-24 September 2010, bringing together 53 participants representing a range of stakeholders, including UN agencies, government departments, research and academic institutions, the private sector and press from Europe.
This meeting was the sixth in a series of seven regional consultations being undertaken by UNEP as part of the preparation for the production of the fifth GEO (GEO-5). The principal output of these consultations is a final report for each region containing the outcomes of the meeting, including key recommendations, regional priorities, agreed goals and target audiences. This consultation resulted in agreement on key regional environmental issues and challenges as follows: air quality and air pollution; biodiversity; chemicals and waste; climate change; and freshwater. Environmental governance was identified as an overarching issue.
On climate change, participants highlighted the need to consider both mitigation and adaptation activities. Noting that its scope was broader, participants agreed to adopt Article 2 of the UNFCCC as the regional goal for climate change for GEO-5. This article requires stabilization of greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. [IISD RS Summary
] [GEO-5 Website
African Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture Focus on Agricultural Development
23 September 2010: Hosted by the African Union (AU) and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the first Conference of African Ministers of Fisheries and Aquaculture (CAMFA) took place in Banjul, The Gambia, from 20-23 September 2010, under the theme “African Fisheries and Aquaculture: Contributing towards Agricultural Development and Economic Growth.”
The Conference brought together ministers, experts and development partners who reaffirmed the role of fisheries and aquaculture in achieving the 6% annual growth of the wider agricultural sector as envisaged by the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Programme (CAADP). They called for putting in place robust strategies and policies to tackle illegal and unreported activities in Africa's waters.
They called on member States and the AU to constitute fish expert pools to urgently engage in national CAADP processes. Participants also underscored the need to strengthen the policy coherence in national fisheries sector regarding CAADP in order to enhance the role of fish in food security, poverty alleviation and trade development. Keynote speakers at the event included: Sheikh Alhaji Yahya A.J.J. Jammeh, President of The Gambia, whose message was read on his behalf by the Vice President, Ajaratou Isatou Nüe-Saidy; Elizabeth Tankeu, Commissioner for Trade and Industry of the AU Commission (AUC); Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency, whose statement was read on his behalf by Sloans Chimatiro, Senior Fisheries Advisor, NEPAD Agency; and Jacques Diouf, Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), whose statement was read on his behalf by Musa Saihou Mbenga, Deputy Regional Representative for Africa/Sub-Regional Coordinator for West Africa. [AU Website
] [Conference Brochure
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
UNGA Holds High-Level Meeting on Biodiversity
22 September 2010: A high-level meeting of the UN General Assembly was held on 22 September 2010, in New York, as a contribution to the International Year of Biodiversity. At the event, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that conserving the planet's species and habitats is central toachieving sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Following a general discussion, thematic panels were held on the way forward in achieving the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the internationally agreed biodiversity goals and targets. Participants highlighted, among others: the need for political impetus and flexibility in the negotiations on a draft protocol on access and benefit-sharing; the opportunity to adopt an ambitious post-2010 strategic plan; and the importance of creating an intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services (IPBES).
A summary of the discussions will be transmitted to the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the CBD, to be held from 18-29 October 2010, in Nagoya, Japan. [UN Press Release
] [High-level Meeting Website
] [Background Document A/64/865
] [IISD RS Coverage]
EUROBATS MOP-6 Launches Year of the Bat
22 September 2010: The Year of the Bat 2011-2012 was launched during the sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Agreement on the Conservation of Populations of European Bats (EUROBATS).
EUROBATS was concluded under the auspices of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS). The sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties was held from 20-22 September 2010, in Prague, Czech Republic. During the meeting, the Year of the Bat 2011-2012 was launched. The Year is a joint campaign, led by CMS and EUROBATS, and backed by UNEP, which aims to promote conservation, research and education on the world's only flying mammals, with a focus on the ecological benefits that bats provide. [UNEP Press Release
][Year of the Bat Website
Regional Seas Meeting Discusses Pressures to the Marine Environment and Management Responses
22 September 2010: The 12th Global Meeting of the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans, which took place from 20-22 September 2010, in Bergen, Norway, addressed, inter alia
, issues pertaining to: marine and coastal invasive species and ballast water management;the implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA) and the Regional Seas Programmes; transboundary waters assessment programme; ecosystem-based management; and economic valuation of marine and coastal ecosystem services.
Furthermore, the meeting discussed the state of marine biodiversity, along with the key pressures and management response mechanisms. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has been working with all the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans to develop Marine Biodiversity Assessment and Outlook series consisting of a Global Synthesis and 18 Regional reports to be launched in Nagoya, Japan, on 19 October 2010, at the 10th session of the Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 10). The next step will be to translate the conclusions of these regional reports to actions at the policy level. [Meeting website
] [IISD RS Sources]
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
GEO-5 Regional Consultation for Africa Identifies Regional Priorities
22 September 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Regional Consultation for Africa took place in Nairobi, Kenya, on 20-21 September 2010. This was the fifth in a series of seven regional consultations being undertaken by UNEP as part of the preparation for the production of the fifth GEO (GEO-5).
The principal output of these consultations is a final report for each region containing the outcomes of the meeting, including key recommendations, regional priorities, agreed goals and target audiences. The Africa regional consultation resulted, inter alia
, in agreement on regional priority environmental issues and challenges as follows: climate change; soil, land use, land degradation and desertification; freshwater; biodiversity; and oceans and seas.
On climate change, participants clustered relevant issues into the categories of: climate extremes; adaptation; mitigation; financing; governance; climate monitoring and information; and capacity building among stakeholders. The Secretariat was advised to take note of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) list of priorities, which some participants described as representative of the region's needs. Regarding goals, most participants favored UNFCCC Article 3 paragraphs 1-3 on responsibilities, specific needs and special circumstances of parties to the UNFCCC and on precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of climate change, and mitigate its effects. They also requested the authors to reference paragraph (e) of the Delhi Ministerial Declaration on Climate Change and Sustainable Development, which calls for the support of effective and results-based measures for the development of approaches on vulnerability and adaptation. [IISD RS Report
] [Consultations Website
UNECE Considers Policy Framework on Affordable, Healthy and Ecological Housing
27 September 2010: At its 71st session, held from 20-21 September 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland, the Committee on Housing and Land Management of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) considered several items related to climate change.
The Committee discussed the document “Principles and Goals for Affordable, Healthy and Ecological Housing” and decided to set up a working group to explore possible options for a legally binding instrument on affordable, healthy and ecological housing in the UNECE region, with a view to increasing the legitimacy and visibility of the housing sector as a key component of a country's sustainable development.
The Committee also adopted an “Action Plan for Energy-efficient Housing in the UNECE Region,” which outlines policy areas for action and contains a range of targets and measures that member States can adapt and implement with a view to removing barriers to energy efficiency and moving towards a low-energy and carbon-neutral housing sector. UNECE member States also considered the outline of a study on “Climate Neutral Cities,” to be prepared by the end of 2010, which is expected to promote an integrated cross-sectoral approach to urban development including housing, land use management, energy efficiency, transportation, waste management and green areas. [UNECE Press Release
] [Meeting Website and Documents
] [IISDRS Coverage
UNDP/GEF SGP Announces Global Partnership on Community-Based Adaptation
20 September 2010: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) announced a Global Partnership on Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change (GPCBA) on the occasion of the 2010 Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Review Summit of the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
The Global Partnership on Community-Based Adaptation (CBA) to Climate Change will build on a CBA programme implemented by the SGP during the past two years, to help poor, vulnerable and marginalized communities adapt to climate change. The Global Partnership on CBA to Climate Change aims to scale-up this approach by encouraging other partners to join. The announcement took place during the event "Biodiversity, Climate Change and MDG Achievement – Scaling Up Local Solutions," which was organized on the occasion of the MDG Review Summit, which took place in New York, US, from 20-22 September 2010. [IISDRS Sources] [GEF SGP Website
] [CBA Pilot Projects
Meeting Discusses Legacy Pollution in Developing Countries
18 September 2010: The Blacksmith Institute, together with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), convened a conference on legacy waste in developing countries. The event convened from 14-18 September 2010, at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Centre, Italy.
Attended by representatives of environment ministries, donor agencies and UN agencies, the aim of the meeting was to review the scope of toxic pollution in developing countries, using data collected by the Blacksmith Institute in collaboration with UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), with funding from the European Commission and ADB. The meeting also reviewed case studies of remediation efforts and explored steps required in the short-term to long-term to promote awareness of toxic pollution, its health effects and a global response. Key outcomes of the meeting included discussion of the need for a dedicated fund for the clean up and remediation of legacy sites in Least Developed Countries, for emergencies and for technical assistance and capacity building. [Blacksmith Institute Conference Summary
UNFF Expert Group Discusses Forest Financing
17 September 2010: The open-ended intergovernmental Ad Hoc Expert Group (AHEG) on Forest Financing held its first meeting from 13-17 September 2010, in Nairobi, Kenya.
The AHEG is mandated to make proposals to the 10th Session of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), in 2013, on strategies to mobilize resources from all sources to support implementation of sustainable forest management (SFM), the achievement of the global objectives on forests and the implementation of the non-legally binding instrument on all types of forests, including strengthening and improving access to funds and establishing a voluntary global forest fund. More than 160 experts from 60 countries and 20 international and regional organizations, as well as major groups, heard presentations in plenary and parallel sessions on topics including: the cross-sectoral importance of forest financing for achieving internationally agreed development goals; national and regional experiences; policies and strategies on forest financing; the activities undertaken by forest-related financing mechanisms; and the work of the UNFF facilitative process. Experts also explored various national, regional and international actions to mobilize resources for SFM in two breakout groups.
The Co-Chairs' Summary of the meeting includes proposals for intersessional actions and activities including: inviting substantive input on forest financing options; inviting the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) Advisory Group on Finance to undertake a series of studies and analyses related to forest financing; the UNFF Secretariat to undertake a feasibility study on forest financing options; holding an informal consultation; inviting the CPF to hold an organization-led initiative; and requesting the UNFF Facilitative Process to implement all its functions and to continue with its current work on low forest cover countries and small island developing States. The report of the meeting, which takes note of the Co-Chairs' Summary, will be submitted to UNFF 9, to be held in January 2011. [IISD RS Sources; Meeting Website]
GEO-5 Regional Consultation for Asia and the Pacific Identifies Priority Issues
17 September 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Regional Consultation for Asia and the Pacific took place in Bangkok, Thailand, on 16-17 September 2010.
This regional consultation was the fourth in a series of seven regional consultations being undertaken by UNEP as part of the preparation for the production of the fifth GEO (GEO-5). The principal output of these consultations is a final report for each regional consultation, containing the outcomes of the meeting including all key recommendations, regional priorities, agreed goals and key target audiences. The Asia and the Pacific regional consultation focused on: the priority environmental issues and challenges to be the focus of the regional chapter of GEO-5; associated internationally agreed goals for these regional environmental priorities; and policy gaps related to these environmental priorities. The consultations resulted, inter alia
, in agreement on regional priority environmental issues and challenges as follows: climate change, environmental governance, biodiversity, freshwater, and chemicals and waste.
During the discussion and selection of internationally agreed goals for the region related to the environmental priorities selected, most participants emphasized that all aspects of climate change, including mitigation, adaptation, capacity building and finance, are important. By voting, participants selected Article 3, paragraphs 1-3, of the UNFCCC as the regional goal for climate change for GEO-5. This Article requires countries to protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. It further requires developed countries to take the lead in combating climate change, and provides that the specific needs and special circumstances of developing countries should be given full consideration. Finally, it requires countries to take precautionary measures to anticipate, prevent or minimize the causes of climate change and mitigate its adverse effects. Participants also recognized the importance of: the goals contained in Article 2 of the UNFCCC (stabilization of greenhouse (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system); the Bali Action Plan; and the Delhi Ministerial Declaration on Climate Change and Sustainable Development. [IISD RS Summary
][GEO-5 Regional Consultations Website
WTO Public Forum Debates Sustainable Energy Use and Carbon Footprint Standards
17 September 2010: The World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum 2010, held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 15-17 September 2010, included stakeholders in discussions on policies to promote sustainable energy use, as well as measuring, pricing and standards for carbon dioxide emissions.
Session 1 on sustainable energy use and trade debated how to promote energy efficiency, reduce fossil fuel subsidies, and unlock the current environmental goods and services negotiations at the WTO to move the world towards more sustainable energy use. Among the panelists, Richard Bradley of the International Energy Agency (IEA) stressed that the energy system needs to be transformed quickly. He highlighted that non-OECD countries now account for 93% of growth in energy demand, and said massive transformation will have to come through supply side changes, but energy efficiency policies could buy countries time before they can be implemented.
Session 7 on the topic of "Beyond border carbon adjustment measures: Standards, labelling and the issue of emission allowances" noted that the absence of an international agreement on climate change is leading to ad hoc solutions in individual countries, which places additional costs on those countries with the least responsibility for the climate issue, like African countries. They also noted that the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is currently working on an international standard to measure carbon footprints, to be released in 2012. Webcasts of the meeting are available online. [More information
UN Secretary-General Appoints Group of Eminent Persons for LDCs
27 August 2010: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed a Group of Eminent Persons to examine development problems faced by Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
The Group will review the effectiveness of the 2001 Brussels Programme of Action, which outlined measures by industrialized countries and the 49 LDCs to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development. The programme includes commitments on: promoting good governance; enhancing the role of trade in development; reducing vulnerability to natural disasters; protecting the environment; mobilizing financial resources; and speeding up implementation of steps to reduce the debt burden on poor countries. The Group will also look into the Brussels Programme of Action in relation new global challenges, including climate change and the food and energy crises. [UN Press Release 25 August
] [UN Press Release 27 August
First High-Level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership Endorses Ministerial Declaration and AEEP Road Map
17 September 2010: The first High-Level Meeting (HLM) of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) took place on 14-15 September 2010, in Vienna, Austria, to discuss energy access, energy security and renewable energy.
The meeting was co-organized by the: African Union (AU) Commission; European Commission (EC); Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, Austria; Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany; and Government of Mauritius. The HLM of the AEEP brought together over 300 participants, including ministers, ambassadors and other high-level decision-makers from 21 European and 23 African countries, and commissioners from the AU and the EU, as well as academics, business leaders and members of civil society from across Africa and Europe.
Participants heard keynote addresses and convened in panel discussions addressing: the future of the AEEP; the role of technology; and politics and markets. High-level participants also: endorsed the HLM Ministerial Declaration and the AEEP Road Map, outlining the AEEP's 2011-2013 programme of work; and launched the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP), aimed at enhancing industrial and business cooperation in the energy sector between the two continents.
Main themes of the HLM included: the need to recognize energy as one of the keys to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); the role of public and private sector finance and new financial instruments; the importance of a stable energy supply for economic and industrial development; the need for capacity building and knowledge creation on the potential of renewables; the role of policies and institutions in shaping stable and conducive investment environments; and the special attention needed to supply energy to the poor. [Conference Website] [IISD RS conference report]
Cordoba Seminar Focuses on Agrobiodiversity and Climate Change
15 September 2010: Held from 13-15 September 2010, in Cordoba, Spain, the International Seminar on the Role of Agricultural Biodiversity in Addressing Hunger and Climate Change was organized in the framework of the International Year of Biodiversity and in commemoration of World Food Day.
Participants heard presentations by senior representatives of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGR), Bioversity International and the Global Crop Diversity Trust. The Seminar was organized by the Chair of Studies on Hunger and Poverty at the University of Cordoba, Bioversity International, the CBD, FAO, ITPGR, the Government of Spain, and local and provincial authorities. It aimed to: promote awareness raising and dialogue among public institutions, universities, scientists, civil society and the private sector; catalyze action and projects; and contribute to defining priorities and developing policies at all levels.
On the occasion of the seminar, CBD Executive Secretary Ahmed Djoghlaf highlighted the milestones of the International Year of Biodiversity and underscored the linkages between biodiversity loss and climate change. Drawing attention to the report of the CBD Ad Hoc
Technical Expert Group on Climate Change and Biodiversity, he stated that the relationship between biodiversity and climate change goes both ways: the degradation of many ecosystems is significantly reducing their carbon storage and sequestration capacity, leading to increases in emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), while approximately 10% of species assessed so far have an increasingly high risk of extinction for each degree Celsius rise in global mean surface temperature.
Highlighting increasing threats to agricultural biodiversity and the deep connection between biodiversity and human well-being, he added that climate change is destabilizing the global food supply. He also drew attention to the draft post-2010 CBD strategic plan, which addresses both the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss, and links actions to combat it with efforts to combat and adapt to climate change. [The International Seminar at the University of Cordoba Websi...
] [Seminar Programme
][CBD Executive Secretary Statement, 13 September 2010
][CBD Executive Secretary Statement, 14 September 2010
UNCTAD World Investment Forum Opens in China
7 September 2010: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (by videoconference), Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), and former US President Bill Clinton addressed the World Investment Forum in Xiamen, China, highlighting the current challenge of integrating investment policies to encourage the transformation towards a low-carbon economy.
Organized by UNCTAD and the Ministry of Commerce of China, the meeting includes an ‘Investment Showcase' with presentations from individual countries on climate change-related investment. The Forum also features a session on the promotion of green foreign direct investment (FDI) in light of government commitments to combat climate change, the rise of green industries, and the advantages that environmentally-friendly investment can bring in terms of improved knowledge transfer, reduced carbon emissions and upgraded productivity and competitive exports. [World Investment Forum Website
UNEP FI Co-Organizes Meeting on "The Financial Sector Towards COP 16"
9 September 2010: The UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) convened, in partnership with the Mexican Banking Association, a meeting on "The Financial Sector Towards COP 16" on 9 September in Mexico City, Mexico.
The meeting was attended by 55 senior finance executives who exchanged views on the finance sector's role with regard to climate change solutions. Nobel Laureate Mario Molina delivered the keynote address, encouraging the private sector to identify business and investment opportunities, and learn from existing best practices to accelerate progress. On the ongoing climate change negotiations, he stress the need for: an international accord; the establishment of a price on carbon emissions; and the increase of international cooperation and resources allocated to research and new technologies. He concluded by calling for the involvement of all, governments, private sector and society, to address climate change. [UNEP Press Release
UNEP Facilitates Kenyan Action on e-Waste
7 September 2010: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) hosted the National Stakeholders Workshop on e-Waste Management in Kenya on 7 September 2010. Delegates at the workshop, which convened in Nairobi, included representatives from Kenya's Environment Ministry, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Microsoft, the telecommunications industry and UNEP staff. The workshop adopted several recommendations including on: assessment actions; policy and legislative framework actions; policy implementation actions; and local, regional and international support actions. [UNEP Press Release
UNESCO Co-organizes Conference on Oceans and Climate Change
3 September 2010: The International Ocean Institute (IOI), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the State Oceanic Administration of the People's Republic of China co-organized the Pacem in Maribus XXXIII International Conference on Oceans, which took place from 2-4 September 2010, in Beijing, China, under the theme "Oceans, Climate Change and Sustainable Development: Challenges to Oceans and Coastal Cities."
The Conference celebrated the 50th anniversary of the IOC. During the conference, Patricia O'Brien, Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, delivered a message on behalf of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, underlining the importance of the marine environment to human well-being, adding that its role in regulating the global climate is "perhaps the most significant." She drew attention to the vulnerability of coastal communities to climate change, in particular people living in small island developing States (SIDS). She underscored the importance of halting the decline of coastal ecosystems in order to mitigate the effects of climate change. [UN Secretary-General's Statement
] [Conference Announcement
Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole Formulates Recommendations on the Regular Process
3 September 2010: The General Assembly Ad Hoc
Working Group of the Whole held a meeting from 30 August-3 September 2010, in New York, US, to further consider and make recommendations on the modalities for the implementation of the regular process for global reporting and assessment of the state of the marine environment, including socio-economic aspects (the Regular Process). The Working Group considered and heard the views of States on the key features, institutional arrangements and financing of the Regular Process. During the meeting, an interactive dialogue between the Working Group and the Group of Experts, established pursuant to paragraph 180 of General Assembly resolution 64/71, took place to enable the latter to respond and make suggestions on the results of the “assessment of assessments.” The Ad Hoc
Working Group also discussed the objective and scope of the first cycle of the Regular Process, key questions to be answered and primary target audiences, in order to ensure that assessments are relevant for decision-makers. Participants also heard a briefing by the Director of the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of Sea (DOALOS) on the establishment of the voluntary Trust Fund aimed at supporting the operations of the first five-year cycle of the Regular Process. The recommendations of the Working Gourp will be forwarded to the 65th session of the UN General Assembly. [Meeting Agenda
ECLAC Holds Seminar on International Trade's Vulnerability to Carbon Footprint Policies
3 September 2010: The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) organized a seminar to address the vulnerability of Latin America's international trade to carbon footprint policies adopted by developed countries.
The seminar, held in Santiago, Chile, from 2-3 September 2010, was co-sponsored by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Commission (EC). Presentations were made on national legislation and policy, including the French adoption of the "Grenelle de l'Environnment" law, as well as on private sector initiatives regarding measuring the carbon footprint in products in Europe, the US, the UK, Germany and New Zealand. Participants also discussed efforts and tasks ahead by Latin American countries to address this issue. [IISD RS Coverage
] [ECLAC Press Release
CPF Organizations Discuss Climate Change and Forestry at IUFRO Congress
23 August 2010: On the opening day of the XXIII International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) World Congress, held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 23-28 August 2010, the Heads of several member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) presented in a sub-plenary session on biodiversity, climate change and forestry.
Eduardo Rojas-Briales, Assistant-Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), presented on the CPF's objectives and achievements, including the Forest Days at the Conferences of the Parties (COPs) to the UNFCCC. Bill Jackson, Deputy Director General of IUCN, discussed the landscape approach for linking climate change, forest management and the needs of people. Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), highlighted the CBD's global tree-planting initiative, Green Wave. Emmanuel Ze Meka, Executive Director of the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), described the ITTO's programme on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), and enhancing environmental services in tropical forests. He called for financial incentives for sustainable forest management (SFM) and functional markets. Tony Simons, Deputy Director General of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), highlighted how far forestry has come in the international development dialogue in recent years. Jan McAlpine, Director of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), underlined that the UNFF values and creates institutional partnerships beyond the forestry sector to enhance cross-sectoral connections.
The IUFRO World Congress, co-hosted by IUFRO and the Korea Forest Research Institute, brings together over 2700 participants from international organizations, governments, academia, the private sector and civil society. The opening plenary included a welcome address from the President of the Republic of Korea, Lee Myung-Bak. The theme of the Congress is “Forests for the Future, Sustaining Society and the Environment.” [IISD RS Coverage of the IUFRO World Congress
] [IUFRO World Congress Website
UNDP Holds Consultation for Brazil on Biodiversity and Ecosystems
26 August 2010: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) held a national consultation for Brazil in Brasilia, from 23-24 August 2010. The consultation was part of a regional initiative entitled “Biodiversity and Ecosystems: Why these are Important for Sustained Growth and Equity in Latin America and the Caribbean” to prepare a report on the role of biodiversity in wealth generation and support of well-being in the region. This was the last in a series of similar consultations. Participants heard plenary presentations on the initiative and the regional report, and broke out into working groups to discuss emblematic policies in Brazil, and identify key sectors for promoting investment in biodiversity and ecosystem services, and any existing barriers to such investments. They also recommended inputs to the regional report on arguments to use, ways to convince decision-makers and dissemination strategies. [IISD RS summary report of the consultation
UN Launches Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification
16 August 2010: The UN has launched the Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification, which will run from 2010-2020 and will seek to raise awareness and action to improve the protection and management of the world's drylands.
In a statement announcing the launch, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said “Continued land degradation – whether from climate change, unsustainable agriculture or poor management of water resources – is a threat to food security, leading to starvation among the most acutely affected communities and robbing the world of productive land.” The Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is spearheading events to mark the Decade, along with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the UN Department of Public Information (DPI).
The global launch took place in Fortaleza, Brazil, during the Second International Conference on Climate, Sustainability and Development in Semi-arid Regions (ICID 2010). The regional launch for Africa was held in Nairobi, Kenya, at the headquarters of UNEP and in partnership with UNDP. Other regional launches are scheduled to take place in New York, US, in September, for the North American Region, in the Republic of Korea in October, for the Asian Region, and in November for the European region. [UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification ...
] [UN News Release
] [IISD RS Coverage of ICID 2010 and the Launch
New Marine Sites Added to UNESCO's World Heritage List
September 2010: Marine sites in the US and in Kiribati have been added to the World Heritage List of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
During its 34th session, held in Brasilia, Brazil, from 25 July-3 August 2010, the World Heritage Committee added the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the US and the Phoenix Islands Protected Area in Kiribati to the UNESCO World Heritage List. These additions bring the number of marine protected areas on the list to 43. Papahanaumokuakea was inscribed for both its cultural and natural value, while the Phoenix Islands Protected Area was inscribed for its natural value.
In addition, the World Heritage Committee made changes to two of the marine sites of its World Heritage in Danger List, which is designed to highlight threats to the value of listed sites and to encourage corrective action. The Committee removed the Galápagos Islands from the list in recognition of the Ecuadorian Government's efforts to protect the site. The Committee also added the Everglades National Park in the US to the list, as it suffers from diversion of its water to nearby cities. [World Heritage Marine Programme Website
] [Report of the 34th Session of the World Heritage Committee
UNCSD Bureau Holds Sixth Meeting
July 2010: The Bureau of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, also known as Rio+20) convened for its sixth meeting on 30 July 2010, in New York, US. Among other issues, the Secretariat said it has "invested significant energy into the mobilization of support, participation, and ownership of the entire UN system for the preparatory process." It indicated that the "main vehicle in this regard is EC-ESA Plus, namely a regular meeting of the Principals of all UN system entities, including Specialized Agencies, Regional Commissions, Convention Secretariats, and IFIs. In addition, more frequent meetings would be arranged with the Troika--consisting of Principals of UNDESA, UNDP, and UNEP. Finally, the DESA Task Force has been established to enhance intra-departmental coordination." The Secretariat noted that these mechanisms have started to meet on a regular basis.
The Bureau agreed on the dates for the first two intersessional meetings: 10-11 January 2011, and 14-15 November 2011. A decision on the dates proposed for the third intersessional meeting (6-7 March 2012) was deferred. Bureau meetings are expected to be scheduled once every six weeks, and a brainstorming session between Bureau Members and Heads of Agencies of the UN system will be scheduled.
The Secretariat also informed that a study on benefits and challenges of the green economy is under preparation, in cooperation with UNEP and UNCTAD. The Bureau was invited to suggest names of experts who could serve on the panel that will assist in undertaking this study. [Bureau minutes
UNEP Presents List of Banned Products to ECOSOC
July 2010: The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) invited the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to continue updating the chemicals volume of the Consolidated List of Products Whose Consumption and/or Sale have been Banned, Withdrawn, Severely Restricted or Not Approved by Governments and to report to ECOSOC at its substantive session of 2010 (Resolution 2008/13). This list was presented to the 2010 ECOSOC Substantive Session as document E/2010/79, and is available from UNEP Chemicals. [UNEP Chemicals website
] [Consolidated list
UN Secretary-General Addresses Conference of Speakers of Parliament
19 July 2010: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the Inter-Parliamentary Union World Conference of Speakers of Parliament, which was addressing the theme “Parliaments in Time of Crisis: Securing Global Democratic Accountability,” on 19 July 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland.
He called on the more than 140 participants to act on the great challenges of our times, including by ratifying treaties on climate change, nuclear non-proliferation and economic development, and to fund these commitments. Ban underlined that global issues, such as peace and security, human rights, climate change, and the well-being of families and societies are also great local issues. He stressed the need for parliamentarians' leadership in ensuring effective governance to address the financial, food and economic crises, which he noted are compounded by the impact of climate change.
Urging participants to "remind Governments of their international obligations," Ban told them that "with your strong leadership, our future will be much brighter." The Conference will conclude on 21 July 2010. [Ban's Statement
] [Conference Website
Basel Convention Convenes Ship Recycling Workshop
16 July 2010: The Basel Convention Secretariat convened a workshop on Ship Recycling Technology and Knowledge Transfer in Izmir, Turkey, from 14-16 July 2010. A key outcome of the workshop was progress in strengthening the understanding of the Convention's role in the international regulatory regime of ship recycling.
The workshop focused on the situation in Pakistan. The Pakistani delegation attending the workshop included representatives of both Government and industry, seeking to learn from the improvements made in the ship-recycling industry in Turkey in order to enable them to implement the practical, regulatory and institutional changes in Pakistan. [UNEP Press Release
Energy and Climate Change Advisory Group Discusses Public-Private Partnerships
15 July 2010: The UN Secretary-General's High-level Energy and Climate Change Advisory Group met in Mexico City, Mexico, on 15 July 2010, and focused on new public-private partnerships and other ways to support global goals on energy access and energy efficiency.
The Group discussed new public-private partnerships in support of the goals set out in a report it launched in April 2010, namely: universal access to modern energy services that are reliable, affordable, sustainable and, if possible, from low-emissions sources by 2030; and reduce by 40% global energy intensity by 2030. Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Advisory Group, stressed that "Governments alone will not be able to deal with the challenges." He called for "a commitment from all sectors of society, including the private sector, academia and civil society, as well as from international organizations and NGOs."
The meeting was co-hosted by Mexican Energy Minister Georgina Kessel Martínez and Carlos Slim Helú, a Mexican businessman and philanthropist who is also a member of the Group. The Group comprises 20 business leaders, academics and representatives of the UN and civil society. Noting that private companies already have the green energy technology and that many governments are offering financial incentives and support, Yumkella underscored the need to "forge a strong public-private partnership" to tackle the goals set in the Group's report. [UN Press Release
] [UNIDO Press Release
] [Climate Change Policy & Practice Story on the Launch of ...
WMO Commission for Agriculture Addresses Improved Climate Services
21 July 2010: The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Commission for Agricultural Meteorology held its 15th session from 15-21 July 2010, in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
The meeting was attended by about 120 representatives from 62 countries and international organizations, and adopted a programme of work to enhance agrometeorological services to assist the farming community to cope with the increasing impacts of climate variability and climate change. In particular, the Commission for Agricultural Meteorology identified several priorities for its future work until 2014, namely: developing enhanced services for the agricultural, livestock, forestry and fisheries communities and partner agencies; encouraging the development of a knowledge-sharing interface between forecasters/scientists and agricultural decision makers; supporting agrometeorological training at regional, national and local levels; and encouraging the sharing of resources among WMO members and other organizations in order to build synergies and support human health and economic development.
The 15th session of the Commission for Agricultural Meteorology was preceded by the international workshop on “Addressing the Livelihood Crisis of Farmers: Weather and Climate Services,” organized by WMO and a number of partner organizations, which took place from 12-14 July 2010, at the same venue. The workshop was attended by about 150 participants from over 50 countries and resulted in a set of recommendations aimed at exploiting the full potential of weather and climate services for reducing the vulnerability of farming communities. These recommendations were forwarded to the Commission for its consideration. [WMO Press Release on the Commission for Agricultural Meteoro...
] [WMO Press Release on the Workshop
] [Workshop Website
] [15th Session Website
IMO Reviews Progress on Climate Change
14 July 2010: The International Maritime Organization (IMO) held a meeting in London, UK, on 14 July 2010, with representatives from the shipping industry to review, inter alia
, progress on climate change issues.
At the meeting, participants noted progress made by the IMO towards setting up a comprehensive regulatory regime aimed at limiting or reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from ships, through the work of its Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC). Industry representatives confirmed they would continue supporting IMO in its work on climate change through various actions, including those aiming at promoting the Organization's work on technical, operational and market-based measures, as well as at the 61st meeting of the MEPC, to be held from 27 September-1 October 2010, in London, UK, with a view to achieving proportionate, balanced and workable measures.
They further pledged to support the outcome of MEPC 61, when presented to the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16), scheduled to meet in Cancún, Mexico, from 29 November-10 December 2010. [IMO Press Release
Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing Holds Second Meeting
13 July 2010:
The High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, co-chaired by Prime Ministers Meles Zenawi (Ethiopia) and Jens Stoltenberg (Norway), held its second meeting on 12-13 July 2010, in New York, US.
The meeting was attended by the 21 principal members of the Advisory Group on Financing, as well as its two Co-Chairmen. In a press conference held at the conclusion of the meeting, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recalled that the Advisory Group is seeking to identify the sources of longer-term financing for developing countries' efforts in mitigating and adapting to climate change promised by world leaders in Copenhagen in 2009. He also highlighted the agreed goal of scaling up support to reach 100 billion dollars per year by 2020, in addition to 30 billion dollars until 2012.
Ban said several Group members had met with representatives from member States, civil society and private sector, and added that he had also participated in the "very stimulating discussions." Ban stated that he expected the Group will provide him its final recommendations in October 2010, and that its report will feed into the discussions at the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 16) in Cancun, Mexico. The UN Secretary-General underscored the importance of delivering on the climate finance pledges, noting it would strengthen trust between developing and developed countries, and build momentum in the global negotiations.
The UN Secretary-General outlined the challenges ahead for the Co-Chairmen, including: identify the sources of resources; package these resources in a politically viable, economically sound way; and bring this matter into the formal negotiation process. The UN Secretary-General's High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing is scheduled to hold its third meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. [Ban's Press Conference
] [UN Press Release
UNEP Convenes IEG Meeting
9 July 2010: In accordance with Decision SSXI/1, the First Meeting of the Consultative Group of Ministers or High-Level Representatives on International Environmental Governance (IEG) met in Nairobi, Kenya from 7-9 July 2010 to discuss broad IEG reforms. The Consultative Group comprised delegates from 60 countries and was co-chaired by John Njoroge Michuki, Minister of the Environment and Mineral Resources of Kenya and Paula Lsehtomaki, Minister for Environment of Finland. The group exchanged views on the proposals for broad IEG reform put forward by UNEP for consideration, and identified nine options of the original 24 proposed by UNEP, that warrant further consideration.
Participants generally agreed that there are gaps in the current environmental governance system although there were different views about the potential solutions. Many countries were in favor of creating a global policy organization with universal membership to set, coordinate and monitor the global environmental agenda. Several advocated for a new specialized UN agency on the environment. Many developing countries suggested that a global policy organization would increase the likelihood of more stable and predictable funding for environment. Others opposed the creation of a new environment organization and argued for an umbrella organization on sustainability. Other countries opposed the creation of any new organization.
While views on a new organization were divided, there was general support for other broad reforms, including the creation of a multi-scaled and multi-thematic global information network, establishing a tracking system on environmental finance, and enhancing UNEP presence within existing country offices.
The Group requested the Executive Director to prepare an analysis on the options to be discussed at the Group's second meeting, which is tentatively scheduled to be held late November 2010 in Helsinki, Finland, and also agreed to a roadmap for its work through the 2011 Governing Council. [
UNEP Chemicals Convenes Workshop on Infrastructures and Cost Recovery Measures for Chemicals Management
9 July 2010: UNEP Chemicals and the Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) jointly organized a workshop on legal and institutional infrastructures and cost recovery measures for the sound management of chemicals, in collaboration with UNEP Division for Environmental Law and Conventions (DELC) and the Legal Unit of the Joint Conventions Services (JCS) for the Rotterdam, Stockholm and Basel Conventions.
The workshop took place from 7-9 July, in Lusaka, Zambia, and was the second of a series of four country workshops aiming to discuss UNEP DTIE Chemicals Branch draft Integrated Guidance on the Development of Legal and Institutional Infrastructures and Cost Recovery Measures for the Sound Management of Chemicals with national practitioners, to effectively target the needs of developing countries. Key outcomes of the meeting were several proposals for additions to the Integrated Guidance, including: addressing how to seize opportunities to influence the budget planning cycle, and to advance arguments for investing in sound management of chemicals in line with the national policy cycles; case studies illustrating the main elements considered; and a discussion on the value and ways of convincing parliamentarians of the benefits of advancing the sound management of chemicals at the national level. [UNEP Chemicals website
] [IISDRS Sources]
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
ICP 11 Considers Capacity Building in Ocean Affairs
25 June 2010: The 11th meeting of the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (Consultative Process or ICP 11) took place from 21-25 June 2010, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. Delegates discussed capacity building in ocean affairs and the law of the sea, including marine science, as well as inter-agency cooperation and coordination, issues that could benefit from attention in future work of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on ocean affairs and the law of the sea, process for the selection of topics and panelists so as to facilitate the work of the UNGA, and consideration of the outcome of the meeting.
The meeting concluded with the adoption of a Co-Chairs' summary of ICP-11's discussions, which had been prepared by Co-Chairs Amb. Paul Badji (Senegal) and Amb. Don MacKay (New Zealand). The report will be submitted to the UNGA for consideration at its 65th session under the agenda item “Oceans and the law of the sea.” [IISD RS coverage of ICP 11
] [Meeting web site
] [Earth Negotiations Bulletin archives of ICP coverage
62nd IWC Meeting Postpones Decision on Lifting Moratorium
The 62nd Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) took place in Agadir, Morocco, from 21-25 June 2010, and focused its discussions on the future of the Commission. The IWC Chair had drafted a compromise that would suspend the whaling ban. It would legitimize commercial hunting in exchange for a drop in the number of whales actually killed by those claiming exemptions to the ban, namely Japan, Norway and Iceland. On the last day of the meeting, the Commission agreed that while it was very close to agreement on a number of issues within the proposed consensus decision, there remain major issues upon which more work is required, including such matters as the question of the moratorium, numbers of whales that might be taken, special permit whaling, indigenous whaling, sanctuaries and trade. The IWC also received the report of the Scientific Committee on the status of whale stocks, paid special attention to the status of the endangered western North Pacific gray whale, and received reports from a number of countries on animal welfare issues
related to whales and whaling. [IWC press release
, 23 June 2010]
Global Compact Leaders' Summit Adopts New York Declaration by Business
25 June 2010: The third Global Compact Leaders' Summit took place from 24-25 June 2010, in New York, US, and brought together over 1,200 corporate executives, government representatives, civil society leaders and other participants who committed to step up their efforts to build a sustainable and inclusive global economy.
The Summit concluded with the adoption of the New York Declaration by Business, in which Global Compact leaders express their commitment to making the global economy more sustainable and inclusive through implementation of responsible practices. Noting that "market success and political leadership go hand in hand," they express their willingness to do their part and call on governments to, inter alia
: set goals and incentives to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; strengthen climate resilience; and support a clean energy pathway globally, and especially in developing countries.
Following the final closed-door round table discussion on “Achieving Development,” the Summit held a brief “sustainability event” that featured presentations by Dennis Nally, Global Chairman, PricewaterhouseCoopers, who announced a global initiative to tackle climate change. [UN Press Release
] [Global Compact Press Release
] [The Declaration
] [Global Compact Leaders' Summit Website
AMCEN 13 Focuses on Rio Conventions, Prepares for Cancun
25 June 2010: The 13th Session of the African Ministers' Conference on Environment (AMCEN)
took place in Bamako, Mali, from 20-25 June 2010, under the theme “Enhancing the interrelationship between climate change, biodiversity and desertification for sustainable development.” The meeting concluded with the adoption of the Bamako Declaration, which was developed to serve as the continent's new road map for sustainable development and basis for strengthening the common negotiating position on climate change and biological diversity.
The session aimed to provide a platform for environment ministers to deliberate on substantive issues of importance to Africa, including ongoing negotiations on climate change and biodiversity. A ministerial dialogue reviewed progress towards: Africa's development of a common negotiating position on a comprehensive international climate change regime beyond 2012; the development of a comprehensive framework of African climate change programmes; and Africa's preparations for developing a common negotiating position on the international regime on access and benefit-sharing of genetic resources (ABS).
The Ministerial segment on climate change discussed: the outcomes of the meetings of the Conference of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 11 May 2010, and in Bamako, Mali, on 23 June 2010; and the salient aspects of the comprehensive framework of African climate change programmes, including opportunities presented by climate change responses, in addition to the institutional arrangements in Africa for managing and using climate funding provided by the international community. The ministerial dialogue on desertification focused on the links between desertification, land degradation and climate change, particularly on efforts needed to combat climate change in Africa taking into account measures for sustainable land and water management.
At the opening of the session, Buyelwa Sonjica, South African Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, stressed that the AMCEN 13 theme presents a useful approach to expanding the strategic focus of AMCEN to include "other important environmental issues facing the continent - in addition and in relation to the challenges posed by climate change."
Rhoda Peace Tumusiime, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission (AUC), stressed that climate change is a developmental emergency for Africa and urged contextualizing the next round of global climate change negotiations into the development agenda. She underscored that the AUC, in partnership with the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Agency and the EU, is currently engaged in discussions to ensure that agriculture is taken forward in the climate change negotiations. She stressed that Africa does not need to compromise its economic growth due to mitigation efforts, but rather should push for access to affordable technology for a green economy. She reported that the 23rd June CAHOSCC meeting deliberated on how best to organize the coordinating structure of CAHOSCC at ministers and experts levels, and that their recommendations will be considered by the Heads of State and Government during the July Summit in Kampala, Uganda. She also noted an initiative by the UN Secretary-General to set up a High-level Panel on Global Sustainability, to ensure the interconnectivity between food security, climate change, access to water and energy among others, in which Africa will be represented.
AMCEN 13 was preceded by the third meeting of African high-level expert panel on climate change, held on 20 June 2010, which discussed: a draft AMCEN climate change communication strategy; a draft comprehensive framework of African climate change programmes; climate change, clean technology and green growth opportunities; air pollution abatement in relation to other environmentally-friendly initiatives: the case of sustainable transport in Africa; carbon market, innovation and Arabic gum; and the status of the international climate change negotiations.
The UN Environment Progarmme (UNEP) Regional Office for Africa serves as the Secretariat to AMCEN. [AMCEN 13 Website
] [Sonjica's Speech
] [Tumusiime's Speech
IPCC Holds Workshop on Sea-Level Rise and Ice Sheet Instabilities
24 June 2010: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) convened a workshop on Sea-Level Rise and Ice Sheet Instabilities from 21-24 June 2010, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The meeting was held under the auspices of IPCC Working Group I (WG I), which deals with the Physical Science Basis.
Global sea-level rise is among the major long-term consequences of climate change. A reliable projection is required in order to quantify coastal impacts and to assess the sustainability of coastal settlements around the world. In particular, small islands are already now affected by rising sea level and therefore a robust estimate of the future rates of sea-level increase is crucial.
The WG I contribution to the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) will comprehensively assess the physical science basis of climate change, including sea level. The WG I contribution to the AR5 will include a chapter on Observations in the Cryosphere and a separate chapter on Sea-Level Change. The latter chapter will provide an end-to-end assessment of sea-level changes, including causes and regional expression. It will also treat the role of ice sheets and potential ice sheet instabilities as major potential contributors to future sea level. The assessment of regional sea-level change provides important regional information relevant for impacts studies which will be assessed in the WG II contribution to AR5.
The workshop was held early in the assessment cycle so that to provide a platform to discuss the current understanding of sea-level change in a comprehensive way across various scientific disciplines, ranging from oceanography, remote sensing, in situ
observations, ice sheet dynamics and glacier research. About 100 experts from over 40 countries attended the workshop, including members of the newly appointed author teams for the two most relevant chapters of the WG I AR5.
A workshop report will be published in the third quarter of 2010 and will include extended abstracts of presentations and a short summary of the key issues addressed during the meeting. [IISD-RS Sources] [WG I Meeting Information
17th Katoomba Meeting Discusses Payments for Ecosystem Services
24 June 2010: The Katoomba Group, an international network of individuals working to promote and improve capacity related to markets and payments for ecosystem services (PES), held its 17th meeting in Hanoi, Viet Nam, from 23-24 June 2010.
The meeting was co-hosted by several organizations, including two centers of the Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR): the Center for International Forestry Research and the World Agroforestry Center. Participants discussed carbon financing and systems for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), focusing on Southeast Asia. On carbon financing, participants focused on: national-level REDD systems; international, regional and national experiences; engagement of stakeholders, including investors; pilot demonstration sites; and training, capacity building and research agendas.
On forest carbon and REDD architecture, presentations and discussions highlighted: work and experiences in Papua New Guinea, Viet Nam and Indonesia; a comparative analysis of policy implementation and approaches across Southeast Asia; the design of national REDD programmes from the bottom up; public-private partnerships; and the state of emerging environmental markets. Tim Boyle, Asia Pacific regional coordinator for the UN-REDD Programme, presented on UN-REDD's activities with partner countries in the region. Participants also discussed schemes for payments for watershed and marine ecosystem services, and biodiversity markets and market-like structures like biodiversity banking. [2010 Katoomba Meeting XVII
UN-REDD Holds Workshop on MRV
25 June 2010: The UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (UN-REDD Programme), along with the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the Mexican Forestry Commission (CONAFOR), held a workshop titled “Measurement, reporting and verification (MRV), a roadmap for implementation at the country level,” from 22-24 June 2010, in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The workshop brought together representatives from pilot and partner countries of the UN-REDD Programme, as well as other forested countries. Participants shared experiences in implementing MRV systems for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of carbon stocks (REDD+) while identifying current challenges, bottlenecks and data issues.
Over 80 participants from 30 different countries discussed methodological approaches to monitoring land use changes, focusing especially on forest land use changes; developing Green House Gas (GHG) inventories for forests; measuring Reference Emission Levels (REL) and Reference Levels (RL); and estimating emission factors (carbon stock changes) by implementing national forest inventories.
The GEO group offered its support to work jointly with the UN-REDD Programme to make satellite imagery available to countries, which will allow for better integration of MRV systems. The World Bank expert on MRV expressed his willingness to work jointly with the UN-REDD Programme to maximize the resources offered to countries.
Participants agreed to strengthen capacity building towards improved design and operation of MRV systems along the lines of the current cooperation between the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). [UN REDD Press Release
Third Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development Adopts Solo Declaration
24 June 2010: The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) and the Government of Indonesia co-organized the third Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD) in the city of Solo, Indonesia, from 22-24 June 2010.
The Conference gathered government representatives and experts from Asia and Pacific countries to focus on the theme "Empowering Communities for Sustainable Urbanization." It concluded with the adoption of the Solo Declaration, which: announces the creation of a Permanent Secretariat for the APMCHUD in New Delhi, India; expresses concern about the impacts of the economic crisis and climate change on achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); recognizes the role of local stakeholders, including women and children, in achieving sustainable urbanization and tackling climate change; and agrees on an implementation plan to address the challenges of housing and urbanization.
Participants adopted an implementation plan that proposes actions spanning the five areas addressed by Conference working groups, namely: community participation in planning and governance; participatory slum upgrading; delivery of MDGs on water and sanitation; financing sustainable housing and urban development; and the role of community in addressing climate change. On the latter issue, the governments committed to: organize a training programme and develop guidelines to mainstream climate change interventions at the local level; hold a policy seminar with existing regional networks and initiatives on climate change to share experience and knowledge; and identify an institution to serve as a focal point for the exchange of information and experiences on climate change best practices and lessons learned in the region.
is a consultative inter-governmental mechanism for the promotion of sustainable housing and urban development in the Asia-Pacific region. The fourth Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development is expected to be held in Jordan in 2012.[UN-HABITAT Press Release
] [APMCHUD Website
] [Solo Declaration
Ozone OEWG 30 Convenes
18 June 2010: The 30th meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG 30) of the parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer took place from 15-18 June 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland.
At OEWG 30, parties discussed issues related to: the financial mechanism; hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and their alternatives; polyols; and environmentally sound management of banks of ozone-depleting substances (ODS). Parties also considered issues concerning exemptions for ODS uses, including: essential- and critical-use exemptions for 2011 and 2012; transitions to chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-free metered dose inhalers; laboratory and analytical uses of ODS; and use of ODS as process agents. OEWG 30 also considered proposals by the US, Canada and Mexico (UNEP/OzL.Pro.WG.1/30/5) and by the Federated States of Micronesia (UNEP/OzL.Pro.WG.1/30/4) for amendments to the Montreal Protocol to control hydrofluorocarbons (HFC).
Introducing its trilateral proposal, the US stated that parties have been successful under the Montreal Protocol in solving the global environmental problem of ozone depletion, but risk exacerbating the problem of climate change through the transition to HFCs from CFCs and HCFCs. The Federated States of Micronesia highlighted the potential for an HFC phase-down to avoid carbon emissions, noting this would contribute to delaying the adverse impacts of climate change. In the ensuing discussion, a number of delegates stressed that HFCs are the mandate of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, and underscored that since HFCs are not ODS, they are outside the ambit of the Montreal Protocol. An open-ended contact group on HFCs was created, led by Agustín Sánchez Guevara (Mexico) and met twice during the meeting. [Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of OEWG 30
] [Meeting Report
] [Earth Negotiations Bulletin Archives of Ozone Negotiation Co...
UNECE Black Carbon Group Holds First Meeting
28 June 2010: The first meeting of the Ad Hoc
Expert Group on Black Carbon under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) was held in Brussels, Belgium, on 17-18 June 2010.
During the meeting, national experts and policymakers from Europe, North and South America and Asia reviewed the current state of black carbon research, discussed knowledge gaps, and explored future strategies for reducing the pollutant's emissions. By the end of 2010, the Group, chaired by Norway and the US, is expected to provide options for potential revisions to the 1999 Gothenburg Protocol, enabling parties to the Convention to mitigate black carbon as part of a broader particulate matter strategy for health purposes and to achieve climate co-benefits.
The Group was created in 2009 and tasked to identify options for potential revisions to the Convention's 1999 Gothenburg Protocol that would enable parties to mitigate black carbon as a component of particulate matter. Black carbon is an air pollutant formed through the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuel and biomass, which poses significant risks to human health and the environment. [UNECE Press Release
] [Expert Group Website
World Day to Combat Desertification Celebrated
17 June 2010: In statements marking World Day to Combat Desertification, celebrated annually on 17 June, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Executive Secretary Luc Gnacadja have called attention to the interlinkages between soil, biodiversity and climate change.
In his statement, the Secretary-General notes that the " human, environmental and social vulnerability come together with unusual force and symmetry in the world's drylands. Climate change will only exacerbate such pressures." He further suggests that, in this International Year of Biodiversity, "we must remember that drylands are areas of enormous biological diversity and productivity. Thirty per cent of the crops that are cultivated and consumed in every corner of the world originate in drylands. The biodiversity of dryland soil also plays a critical role in transforming atmospheric carbon into organic carbon – the Earth's largest pool of organic carbon."
Executive Secretary Gnacadja's statement highlights that “Enhancing soils anywhere enhances life everywhere” is this year's motto for World Day to Combat Desertification, and states that the theme "places soil health where it needs to be: at the very foundation of our survival and well-being." [UN Secretary-General Ban's Statement
] [Executive Secretary Gnacadja's Statement
Adaptation Fund Board Approves Project Concepts for Financing
24 June 2010: The Adaptation Fund Board approved the first four proposals of concrete adaptation projects at its tenth meeting held in Bonn, Germany, from 14-16 June 2010. The approved project concepts include one by the Centre de Suivi Ecologique, a National Implementing Entity from Senegal, under the direct access modality. At the concluding session, Farrukh Khan, Chair of the Adaptation Fund Board, stated that "we have translated into reality our collective quest for direct access." He added that "this is the first step and the long road is yet before us but what makes the difference is that today we know where we are headed."
The proposal by the Government of Senegal through the Centre de Suivi Ecologique is the first to make use of the ground-breaking direct access modality of the Adaptation Fund. Under this arrangement, a national organization that has illustrated that it meets the fiduciary standards set by the Fund can submit proposals to, and receive funds from, the Adaptation Fund as a National Implementing Entity.
The other three proposals approved by the Board are from the Governments of Nicaragua, Pakistan and the Solomon Islands, with a total proposed value of US$21.8 million. These project concepts were submitted through the more conventional path also available in the Fund, where the UN Development Programme (UNDP) acts as a Multilateral Implementing Entity.
In addition, the Board approved a Results-Based Management and Evaluation Framework that will help enhance the effectiveness of the Adaptation Fund project portfolio. Also, the Adaptation Fund Board accredited four new Multilateral Implementing Entities that had been recommended by the Accreditation Panel. These entities include: the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the UN World Food Programme (WFP). [Adaptation Fund Press Release]
UNEP and ICTSD Co-organize Meeting on Fisheries, Trade and Development
16 June 2010: The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) co-organized a meeting on fisheries, trade and development, on 16 June 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland. Participants considered the state of play regarding global marine fisheries as well as current management issues. They looked at ways to green the fishery sector, including investment costs and returns related to sustainable fisheries management. Participants also examined: the current fishery negotiations and opportunities with regard to the way forward, from the perspective of key sustainable development issues; key market access issues in the fishery sector and opportunities for win-win solutions for environmentally, socially and economically sustainable development; and sustainable aquaculture trade. [Meeting web site
UNDP Holds Cape Verde Workshop on Climate Change Risks and Opportunities
June 2010: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) organized a workshop from 14-15 June, in Praia, Cape Verde, as part of the project on "Integrating climate change risks and opportunities into national development processes and UN country programming," funded by the Government of Spain.
The workshop, which gathered over 30 participants, aimed to enhance the capacity of national stakeholders to understand climate change and integrate climate risks into the national development processes. Specifically, the workshop supported participants in a review of the Cape Verde Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper-II (PRSP) for climate change risks and opportunities. The event also included presentations on local climate, general climate change concepts, and a series of group exercises and discussions sessions. The project will support the evaluation of UN programming documents such as the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), and other multi-agency programmes and projects, as well as national development plans, PRSPs and other strategies for climate risks and opportunities, and propose response options to manage these risks. The Spanish Government has provided US$1.2 million towards the project, which is being implemented in five countries including El Salvador, Nicaragua, Malawi and Colombia. [UNDP Workshop Website
Seminar on Environmentally Sound Management of ODS Banks Convenes
14 June 2010: The Ozone Secretariat convened a seminar on the Environmentally Sound Management of ozone depleting substance (ODS) banks on 14 June 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland, immediately prior to the beginning of the 30th meeting of the Open-Ending Working Group, which is convening from 14-17 June. Participants to the seminar discussed options for mobilizing available funds to destroy ODS including: activities of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol in response to decisions on funding activities related to destruction; using established voluntary market programmes; and leveraging funds under the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management to detail the scope and location of stocks of ODS. [Ozone Secretariat website
] [Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of ozone negotitations
International Polar Year Comes to an End
12 June 2010: The closing ceremony of the International Polar Year 2007–2008 (IPY), the largest polar research and education venture ever undertaken, took place in Oslo, Norway, on 12 June 2010, the final day of the IPY Oslo Science Conference.
The IPY was sponsored by the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), which passed the baton to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, the International Arctic Science Committee and the WMO Executive Council Panel on Polar Observations, Research and Services, to secure the legacy of this initiative. “IPY was founded on the ideas and energy of thousands of scientists, educators, technicians and many more,” said Michel Jarraud, Secretary-General of WMO. Deliang Chen, Executive Director of ICSU, emphasized that "IPY has paved the way for a solid understanding of the polar regions at a critical time for society's relationship with the Earth," and underlining the importance of the collaboration among countries and scientific disciplines for the success of IPY, called for sustaining in the long-term "the energy and partnerships that converged in IPY."
The IPY success story has been captured in a summary report titled "Understanding Earth's Polar Challenges: International Polar Year 2007–2008" from the ICSU-WMO Joint Committee, which oversaw the implementation of the IPY. [WMO Press Release
] [IPY Website
Mercury INC 1 Begins Work on Legally Binding Instrument
11 June 2010: The first session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to Prepare a Global Legally Binding Instrument on Mercury (INC 1) convened from 7-11 June, in Stockholm, Sweden. Delegates to the meeting exchanged views on key issues to be addressed in the instrument including: objectives; structure of the instrument; capacity-building and technical and financial assistance; compliance; issues of supply, demand, trade, waste and storage; atmospheric emissions of mercury; and awareness-raising and information exchange. Delegates mandated the Secretariat to prepare, for consideration by the INC, “elements of a comprehensive and suitable approach to a legally binding instrument on mercury.” This document is expected to be used as the basis for negotiations by the INC 2, scheduled to convene from 24-28 January 2011, in Chiba, Japan. [IISD RS Meeting Coverage
] [Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of mercury negotiations
] [UNEP Chemicals website
IPBES Meeting Recommends Establishment of Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
11 June 2010: The third Ad Hoc
Intergovernmental and Multi-stakeholder Meeting on an Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES III) met from 7-11 June 2010, in Busan, Republic of Korea. Delegates discussed whether to establish an IPBES and negotiated text on considerations for its function, guiding principles and recommendations. The meeting adopted the Busan Outcome, recommending the establishment of an IPBES that would collaborate with existing initiatives on biodiversity and ecosystem services and be scientifically independent. The meeting also recommended that: the UN General Assembly be invited to consider the conclusions of the meeting and take appropriate action for the establishment of an IPBES; and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council should invite UNEP, in cooperation with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN Development Programme (UNDP), to continue facilitating any ensuing process of implementing the IPBES until a secretariat is established. [IISD RS coverage of the meeting
] [IISD RS coverage of previous IMoSEB process
Stockholm Convention Convenes Integrated Vector Management Training Programme
11 June 2010: The Stockholm Convention Secretariat, with support from the World Health Organisation (WHO), convened a training programme on strengthening country capacities to implement Integrated Vector Management (IVM) programmes towards reducing the reliance on DDT in selected countries in Africa. The training took place from 7-11 June, in Nairobi, Kenya. Strengthening in-country decision-making on IVM is one of the five themes of the Global Alliance on DDT implementation strategy towards achieving its goals with specific focus to overcome the complexity and cost of implementing alternatives to DDT. The aims of the training were to support the development of in-country capacity for implementation of all available WHO-recommended tools while facilitating the adoption of new tools with cross sector coordination to implement IVM approaches. Participants included public health officers and environmental health officers and district level staff from Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. [Stockholm Convention website
UNECE Organizes Energy and Climate Meetings
11 June 2010: The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has hosted a series of energy and climate meetings at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The first meeting of the Group of Experts of the Global Energy Efficiency 21 (GEE21) Project convened on 10 June 2010. It was preceded by the 15th Session of the Ad Hoc
Group of Experts on Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation, on 9 June 2010, and followed by the 21th Session of the Steering Committee of the GEE21 Project, on 11 June.
At the first meeting of the Group of Experts of the GEE21 Project, representatives from the five UN regional commissions adopted the programme of work of the Group and mapped out future activities, including the development of regional concepts on energy efficiency and elements for a Global Strategy for Energy Efficiency Market Formation to Mitigate Climate Change. The strategy is expected to reflect the experiences and lessons learned in financing investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, through the work of the UN Regional Commissions, the financial community and other energy sector stakeholders.
The 15th Session of the Ad Hoc
Group of Experts on Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation reviewed: progress in the implementation of the project “Financing Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation” (FEEI); the outcome of the Regional Analysis of Policy Reforms to Promote Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Investments, in particular recommendations to overcome barriers to energy efficiency and renewable energy investments in countries participating in the project; and preparations for a Workshop on Investments in Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Projects to be organized jointly by the UNECE and Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in the framework of the FEEI and GEE21 projects.
The 21st Session of the Steering Committee of the GEE21 Project discussed: the development of the renewable energy sector in the Russian Federation and in countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS): prospects for inter-regional cooperation; increasing energy efficiency for secure energy supplies; the Regional Network for Efficient Use of Energy and Water Resources in South- Eastern Europe; energy efficiency market formation in South-Eastern Europe; removing barriers to energy efficiency improvements in the state sector in Belarus; green procurement for smart purchasing; the Action Plan for Energy Efficient Housing in the UNECE Region; modern and sustainable heat and power from woody biomass in South- Eastern Europe; and Best Practice Guidance on Effective Methane Drainage and Use in Coal Mines. [UNECE Press Release
] [GEE21 Expert Group Meeting Documents
] [FEEI Meeting Documents
] [GEE21 Steering Committee Meeting Documents
Conference on Biological and Cultural Diversity Develops Elements for Programme of Work
10 June 2010: The "International Conference on Biological and Cultural Diversity: Diversity for Development – Development for Diversity" convened from 8-10 June 2010, in Montreal, Canada. Held jointly with the 16th International Economic Forum of the Americas/Conference of Montreal, it was organized in partnership with the CBD Secretariat, UNESCO, UNEP and the University of Montreal. Bringing together civil society, indigenous and local community representatives, policy makers, scientists and intergovernmental and development cooperation agencies, the conference aimed to exchange knowledge and practices linking biological and cultural diversity. Among its outcomes, the conference adopted elements for a programme of work to be jointly implemented by UNESCO, the CBD Secretariat and other partners, on the links between biological and cultural diversity. [CBD press release
, 11 June 2010] [Conference website
] [Meeting documents
Conference Conducts Midterm Review of International Decade for Action Water for Life
10 June 2010: Organized by the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan and the UN, the High Level International Conference on the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the International Decade for Action “Water for Life” 2005-2015, took place from 8-10 June 2010, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Participants focused on six themes: accelerating progress towards water-related internationally-agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals, and ensuring involvement of women; transboundary water cooperation; water quality; water resources and adaptation to climate change and disaster risk reduction; sustainable financing; and Integrated Water Resource Management, energy, agriculture and food security.
It also built on the outcomes of the high-level interactive dialogue of the 64th session of the General Assembly, which was held in New York, US, on 22 March 2010, for World Water Day. The outcome of the High Level Conference consists of a number of conclusions and recommendations contained in the Dushanbe Declaration on Water, which will be submitted to the UN General Assembly at its 65th session by the Government of Tajikistan. [Meeting website
] [The Declaration
UNDP Administrator Speaks on Development Cooperation in Times of Crisis
9 June 2010: UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark delivered a speech at the Conference on Development Cooperation in Times of Crisis and on Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which convened in Madrid, Spain, on 9-10 June 2010.
She stressed that recurrent natural disasters, the global economic recession, the food and fuel crises, and climate change threaten to reverse the progress achieved towards the MDGs. She highlighted progress achieved with the support of the MDG Achievement Fund, established by the Government of Spain, with over 120 initiatives in 49 countries. She explained that the Fund supports the co-ordination of a range of development partners to speed up MDG progress and tackle inequalities, for example by adapting to the inevitable consequences of climate change.
Clark informed that on 17 June, UNDP will launch an International Assessment Report on what it takes to achieve the MDGs. The report draws from country-level evidence and highlights eight common areas and opportunities for priority action, including the need to expand access to energy and promote low-carbon development. She emphasized that a climate deal that generates funding for low-carbon energy and development solutions is essential. In this regard, she noted that the Government of Spain is well placed to share its know-how on mitigation measures and to play an active role in reaching a climate deal.
The International Assessment is expected to inform the negotiations on the MDG Summit outcome document and to complement the Secretary-General's MDG Progress Report. [UNDP Press Release
] [Conference Background
UNECE Energy Efficiency Project to Establish Investment Fund
9 June 2010: The 15th session of Ad Hoc
Group of Experts on Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) met in Geneva, Switzerland, on 9 June 2010. The meeting concluded with agreement to establish a UNECE-sponsored private-public partnership investment fund for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
The fund, to be estabnlished before the end of 2010 for the 12 countries participating in the project Financing Energy Efficiency Investments for Climate Change Mitigation (FEEI), will support projects in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It will function on commercial terms, with a view to fostering market formation and demonstrating that energy efficiency projects can become business-as-usual for the financial sector. It is expected that this initiative will be replicated in other countries of the UNECE region and other regions of the world. [UNECE Press Release
] [FEEI Project Website
World Oceans Day Celebrated
8 June 2010: World Oceans Day, which is celebrated on 8 June, focused on the theme “Our oceans: opportunities and challenges” in 2010. In a message to mark the Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted that ocean ecosystems are facing multiple challenges, including exposure to land and marine based pollution, habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, unsustainable harvests and the introduction of invasive species. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) noted that coastal ecosystem services, which are often overlooked, are valued at around US$25,000 billion per year through areas like food production, storm and flood regulatory services, climate change mitigation and carbon sequestration. Also on World Oceans Day, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched the celebrations of its 50th anniversary. The celebrations provided an opportunity for IOC to take stock of its work in improving understanding of the seas and oceans, and their climate regulating role. In a message for the anniversary, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova underlined the role played by IOC in addressing some of the major global challenges, including: identifying and protecting marine biodiversity; monitoring global climate change; and coordinating tsunami warning systems. [World Oceans Day website
] [UNEP press release
, 8 June 2010] [UN Secretary-General's speech
] [UNESCO press release
, 8 June 2010]
World Environment Day Celebrated
6 June 2010: UN agencies celebrated World Environment Day on 6 June 2010, under the theme “Many Species. One Planet. One Future.” The celebrations included a number of activities, such as the launch of "Greening the Blue," which aims to encourage UN agencies to become climate neutral, solar power activities in Rwanda, and a website devoted to informing youth about climate.
In a statement delivered to mark the Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all UN agencies, funds and programmes to become climate neutral. He launched "Greening the Blue," which showcases ongoing UN activities aimed at making the organization more sustainable and provides advice to staff on how they can contribute. The activity includes greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories of 49 UN organizations, as well as tips and tools for staff on how to reduce their personal carbon footprints.
Rwanda, the global host of World Environment Day 2010, organized celebrations. In support of the Government of Rwanda's pursuit of a low-carbon, green path to economic development, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) World Environment Day Legacy Initiative received the donation of 300 solar home systems by energy company Philips.
Also on the occasion of World Environment Day, the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) launched "Youth Corner," a website dedicated to children and teens to answer frequently asked questions about weather, climate and water. [WMO Youth Corner
] [Greening the Blue Website
] [UNEP Press Release
] [World Environment Day 2010 Website
] [UN Press Release
Joint Tuna RFMOs Workshop Agrees to Expand Certificate Requirements
5 June 2010: The International Workshop on Improvement, Harmonization and Compatibility of Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Measures, Including Monitoring Catches from Catching Vessels to Markets was hosted by Japan and the EU, and took place from 2-5 June 2010, in Barcelona, Spain. The workshop was organized by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) Secretariat and was attended by participants from 32 members and cooperating non-Members of the five tuna regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) (IATTC: Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission; ICCAT: International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas; IOTC: Indian Ocean Tuna Commission; WCPFC: Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission; and CCSBT: Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna) as well as representatives of the Secretariats of the five tuna RFMOs, three inter-governmental organizations, and four non-governmental organizations.
One of the outcomes of the workshop was the agreement that catch documentation schemes should be expanded to tuna species other than southern bluefin tuna and Atlantic bluefin tuna and to sharks. The requirement is considered an effective measure for curbing poaching and overfishing. The new agreement targets the whole tuna family, including bigeye tuna, yellowfin tuna and longfin tuna. The certificate must indicate the quantity, method and place of catch, as well as movement from the time of catch to shipment, and must be verified by the governments of exporting countries. [Meeting website
] [Report of the meeting
Experts Discuss High Seas MPAs
4 June 2010: The Workshop on the Design of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) for Hydrothermal-Vent and Cold-Seep Ecosystems Potentially Threatened by Human Activities in the Deep Sea took place from 1-4 June 2010, in Dinard, France. The event was co-organized by Duke University, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)/GRID-Arendal, and others. The Workshop brought together 31 experts in ocean governance, industry, and marine scientific (natural sciences and social sciences) research from 14 countries, with the objective to: formulate general guidelines for the design of networks of areas for conservation of vent and seep ecosystems; and outline research needs to allow better application of spatially based ecosystem management of vent and seep ecosystems.
The first two days of the Workshop were devoted to brief presentations on background topics relevant to management goals. The subsequent two days progressed through a series of break-out discussions on vent and seep, and plenary sessions. Discussions focused first on design goals, next on human activities within vent and seep ecosystems, and finally on design principles for conservation and knowledge gaps. A preliminary report from the Workshop will be available on-line within the next two months. [IISD RS Sources]
Thirteen Sites Added to UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves
4 June 2010: The 22nd session of the International Coordinating Council of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme, which convened from 31 May-4 June 2010, at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France, added 13 new sites and five extensions in 15 different countries to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. The Network now numbers 564 sites in 109 countries. Ethiopia and Zimbabwe inscribed reserves to the network for the first time. Biosphere reserves are areas designated to serve as places to test different approaches to integrated management of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine resources and biodiversity. [UNESCO press release
, 2 June 2010]
UNECE/FAO Forest Communicators Network Meets in Sweden
28 May 2010: The Forest Communicators Network of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)/UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) met in Gothenburg, Sweden from 26-28 May 2010 for their annual session. Thirty experts from 13 countries and six international organizations participated in discussions on the International Year of Forest 2011, best practices in the field of communication, and the scope and concept of a future European forest communication strategy. Participants heard presentations on activities to promote communication from various European countries, and heard preparations for the Sixth Forests Europe Ministerial Conference, to be held in 2011. [UNECE/FAO Forest Communicators Network Meeting Website
UNCSD Workshop Series Underway
May 2010: As part of the UN Division for Sustainable Development's (DSD) Sustainable Development Knowledge Partnership, the DSD co-organized a workshop titled “The Challenge of Sustainablity: A Workshop in Preparation for Rio+20.” The event took place on 8-10 May 2010, in New York, US, in parallel to the Commission on Sustainable Development, and served as an introduction to a UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, also known as Rio+20) workshop series. The workshop sought to foster discussion on the possibility of global sustainable growth based on absolute decoupling of growth from additional inputs of material resources and the desirability of growth. [http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/dsd_aofw_sdkp/sdkp_uncsd_workshop...
Fifth Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts and Islands Held
The Fifth Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts and Islands took place in Paris, France, from 3-7 May 2010, and was organized around three thematic sessions: ensuring survival; preserving life; and improving governance. The event also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the International Year of Biodiversity 2010. It brought together over 850 participants from 80 countries (63% of which were developing countries and small island developing States), including leaders from governments, UN and other international agencies, NGOs, industry, oceans donors, organized science groups, and networks of museums and aquariums.
A Policy, Science and Technical Symposium was held on the first two days, during which participants attended plenary and concurrent panels that explored the three major themes of the conference through presentations and discussions. On the third day, three special roundtables were held for high-level national officials, ocean parliamentarians, and regional, provincial and local authorities. Concurrently, seven Global Forum Working Groups met throughout the day to discuss specific recommendations for national and international decision makers to advance the global oceans agenda. The last two days of the Conference were dedicated to a Policy Conference on “Charting the Way Ahead,” which featured plenary panels on the major conference themes.
Link to further information
IISD RS coverage of the meeting
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
Caribbean Consultation Considers Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services for Wealth Generation
A consultation for Caribbean nations was held from 26-27 April 2010, in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. The event was organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) as part of a regional initiative entitled, “Biodiversity and Ecosystems: Why these are Important for Sustained Growth and Equity in Latin America and the Caribbean.” The initiative aims to prepare a report on the role of biodiversity in wealth generation and support of wellbeing in the region. The seventh in a series of consultations, the Caribbean consultation discussed emblematic policies in Caribbean nations, and identified key sectors for promoting investment in biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as existing barriers to such investments. Participants also discussed insights from case studies from Paraguay and Indonesia, and recommended inputs to the regional report, ways to convince decision makers and dissemination strategies. In the final plenary, participants recommended key messages and ways to enrich the regional initiative.
Link to further information
IISD RS coverage of the meeting
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
Summit Ponders Private Sector
The UN Business for the Environment Global Summit (B4E Summit) took place in Seoul, Republic of Korea, from 21-23 April 2010. The goal of the meeting was to consider the outcome of COP 15 and discuss the role of business in realizing a low carbon future.
The Summit was hosted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Global Compact, WWF, the Republic of Korea's Ministry of Environment, its Ministry of Knowledge Economy and its Presidential Committee on Green Growth. More than 20 businesses partnered to support the summit. The meeting brought together 1000 individuals from 35 countries, representing multinational corporations, governments, international agencies and NGOs. During the first two days, CEOs and leaders of government, international agencies and NGOs presented their experiences, with plenary discussion panels focused on the green economy and smaller group discussions on key issues in parallel sessions and working groups. On the final day, the working groups reported back to plenary with strategies to address barriers to a low carbon future. A Mexican Government representative presented on the outlook for COP 16 in Cancún, Mexico, and representatives from UNEP, the UN Global Compact and the Republic of Korea presented closing remarks on the way forward.
Link to further information
IISD RS coverage of the meeting
UNICEF Hosts High-Level Sanitation and Water Meeting
The first annual High-Level Meeting of Sanitation and Water for All, hosted by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), took place on 23 April 2010, in Washington, DC, US. The event provided a forum for ministers of finance from developing countries, accompanied by ministers responsible for sanitation and water, to meet with representatives from donor countries and gain a greater understanding of the linkages between water, sanitation and economic growth. During the meeting, the findings from the UN-Water Global Annual Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) report were presented. These include that over 2.6 billion people live without access to improved sanitation facilities, and nearly 900 million people are not receiving their drinking water from improved water sources. These findings highlight where efforts stagnate in achieving Millennium Development Goal Target 7.C, which calls for –reducing by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. It also highlights the post-2015 challenges that need to be addressed by the UN system to collectively support its member States. GLASS is a UN-Water initiative implemented by the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims to provide policy makers at all levels with a reliable, easily accessible, comprehensive and global analysis of the evidence to make informed decisions in sanitation and drinking water.
Link to further information
, April 2010
First Conference of Ministers Responsible for Meteorology in Africa Adopts Nairobi Declaration
The First Conference of African ministers responsible for meteorology adopted the Nairobi Declaration in response to the increasing risks and threats to development posed by climate variability and change. The Conference, which was organized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), in partnership with the African Union Commission, gathered around 30 ministers in Nairobi, Kenya, on 15-16 April 2010.
In their Declaration, the Ministers agree to strengthen National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and enhance inter-regional cooperation. They recognize the importance of weather and climate information services and products for social and economic development in various sectors, particularly agriculture, natural resource management, food security, transport, health, energy and disaster risk reduction.
The Conference also established a high-level mechanism, the African Ministerial Conference on Meteorology (AMCOMET), which is expected to meet every two years to further develop meteorology and its applications in the continent. The Ministerial Conference called on technical and financial partners, and the UN system and its agencies to support AMCOMET and the implementation of the African Strategy and Plan of Action to be developed by this new mechanism.
The Ministerial Conference also took note of the recommendations of the Experts' Segment, which was held earlier in the week and agreed on, amongst other decisions, the creation of a sub-regional structure for climate monitoring and adaptation in Central Africa.
Links to further information
WMO press release
Conference web site
IISD RS coverage of the conference
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
South Asian Illegal Ozone Trade Meeting Convenes
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Government of India convened the Border Dialogue on Monitoring and Controlling Trade in Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) meeting from 8-9 April 2010, in Chalsa, India.
The meeting included a one-day regional dialogue with representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal. This was followed by a one-day capacity building training for customs and enforcement officers to enhance their knowledge and skills in identifying and handling ODS. Representatives from the World Customs Organization's Regional Intelligence Office for Asia and the Pacific and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime also participated in the workshop.
Link to further information
Ozonaction web site
UNIDO Displays Work on Green Industry at Shanghai Expo
23 May 2010: The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is presenting its work on “Green Industry for a better life” at the Shanghai Expo, which itself is themed “Better cities, Better lives.”
The UNIDO presentation took place from 23-28 May in Shanghai, China. During the week, UNIDO hosted events aiming to highlight and discuss its Greening Industry concept as well as highlight work it is doing in urban areas, such as its initiatives in: online educational services; smart building materials; small-scale hydroelectric power; city-level industrial investment programmes; and Environmentally Sound Technologies (EST).
In addition, at the Expo UNIDO signed an agreement with the Shanghai Municipal Economic and Information Commission, the Government of the city's Yangpu District, and the China International Centre for Economic and Technical Exchanges (CICETE) to create the Shanghai International High-Tech Innovation Development Base, which aims to promote high-tech applications for industries, mobilize funding and cooperate with researchers in the private and public sectors on research and development, and knowledge management. [UNIDO Press Release
] [UNIDO Shanghai Expo Website
UN Secretary-General Calls on Parliamentarians to Support MDGs, Disarmament and Clean Energy Efforts
The 122nd Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly took place from 27 March-1 April 2010, in Bangkok, Thailand, focusing on the theme of political reconciliation and governance.
In a statement delivered by Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for increased efforts and cooperation between the UN and IPU to achieve the eight universally accepted Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, and to push forward the disarmament and clean energy agenda with the goal to improve the lives of people, particularly the most vulnerable. While acknowledging the challenges faced by countries such as lack of adequate resources and expertise, and governance-related issues, the UN Secretary-General emphasized the need for parliamentarians to support climate change by building the foundation for a green economy. He noted that while the private sector should also play their part, parliaments are responsible to develop legislation that can establish incentives for innovation, promote investments in clean technologies and renewable energy, and develop national plans and goals that integrate the climate dimension.
In September 2010, the UN Secretary-General will host the MDG Summit during the General Assembly High-Level debate, which will focus on ways to accelerate progress towards the development goals.
Links to further information
UN News Centre
, 27 March 2010
122nd Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly
Coastal and Marine Environment Management Programme Adopted for Eastern and Southern Africa
The sixth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Nairobi Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Western Indian Ocean, organized from 29 March-1 April 2010, by the UN Environment Programme, was held under the theme “Sustaining Progress.” The Conference brought together ministers responsible for the environment and other government delegates from all ten contracting parties, along with experts, representatives of non-governmental organizations and civil society.
At the meeting, delegates adopted a 25-year programme of action aimed at ensuring efficient management of the marine and coastal environment in the larger Eastern and Southern African region. They also adopted a protocol amending the Convention to take into account new provisions on emerging issues, such as climate change and the need for an ecosystem-based management approach.
Links to further information
UNEP press release
, 29 March 2010
UNEP press release
, 1 April 2010
UNEP Convenes Meeting on Existing Environmental Goals and Objectives
The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) convened the Existing Internationally Agreed Environmental Goals and Objectives meeting from 29-31 March in Geneva, Switzerland.
The meeting was attended by over 80 governments who considered the preparation of a compilation of internationally agreed environmental goals and objectives, which includes thematic areas on: air pollution and air quality; biodiversity; chemicals and waste; climate change; energy; environmental governance; forests; freshwater; oceans and seas; and soil, land use, land degradation and desertification (IISD RS sources).
High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing Convenes First Meeting
The High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing met on 31 March 2010, in London, UK, to begin discussions on the climate change financing promised during the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP 15), in December 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
The Advisory Group comprises 19 members appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and is co-chaired by Gordon Brown, UK Prime Minister, and Meles Zenawi, Ethiopian Prime Minister. Additional members to the High-level Advisory Group, which was launched on 12 February, include Bharrat Jagdeo, President of the Republic of Guyana, Jens Stoltenberg, Prime Minister of Norway, US President Barack Obama's chief economic adviser Larry Summers, and financier George Soros. Christine Lagarde, Minister of the Economy, Industry and Employment, France, has replaced Jean-Pierre Landau, Second Deputy Governor, Bank of France, who was originally announced as a member of the Group.
The Group is seeking to raise US$100 billion a year to help developing countries adapt to climate change. The Secretary-General established the Group to study the potential sources of revenue for financing mitigation and adaptation activities in developing countries, and to make progress on this key issue in the course of 2010. The Group is considering several options, including a tax on international financial transactions, a levy on global aviation and shipping and schemes that would raise money from auctioning off “permits” to emit greenhouse gases. The Group is expected to issue its initial outputs before the UNFCCC negotiating session to be held from 31 May-11 June 2010, in Bonn, Germany. The final report will be submitted to the Secretary-General and to the current (Denmark) and next (Mexico) COP Presidents of the UNFCCC by November 2010.
Links to further information
High-Level Advisory Group website
UK Mission to the UN news report
, 31 March 2010
, 28 March 2010
African Meeting Considers Climate Change and Development
The 2010 Joint Annual Meetings of the African Union (AU) Conference of Ministers of Economy and Finance, and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Conference of Ministers of Finance, Planning and Development, took place on 29-30 March 2010, in Lilongwe, Malawi.
The meetings were preceded by the Committee of Experts meeting, which took place from 25-28 March 2010. The Experts meeting considered a report titled “Climate Change and Development in Africa,” which includes policy recommendations on: integrating climate change needs into national decision making, so as to reduce its negative effects on resources, livelihoods and the wider economy; strengthening Africa's coordination and negotiation structures and mechanisms in light of the lessons learned at Copenhagen, to ensure that Africa continues to participate effectively in the international climate change negotiations and to refine its positions for the 2010 negotiations; requesting more reforms in the current governance system for climate change financing and the quick operationalization of the Copenhagen Green Climate Fund; and building countries' institutional, technical and managerial capacities to effectively access and use these funds.
In addition, the report suggested that the Climdev-Africa Programme and its entities be fully and urgently operationalized, to ensure that African negotiators and policy makers at all levels receive the needed support to effectively participate in the upcoming climate change negotiations and to implement on-the-ground adaptation projects. Finally, to ensure the sustainability of ongoing interventions aimed at addressing the climate change challenge in Africa, the report notes the need to develop a sub-programme on climate change and development at UNECA.
Links to further information
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
Human Rights Council Adopts Resolution Calling for 2010 Social Forum to Focus on Climate Change and Human Rights
The 13th session of the Human Rights Council, which met from 1-26 March 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland, concluded with the adoption of 28 resolutions, including a resolution (A/HRC/13/L.16) on the organization of the Social Forum, its subsidiary body.
The Council decided that the next Social Forum will focus on the negative effects of climate change on the full enjoyment of human rights; on measures and actions to address its impact, targeting the most vulnerable groups, particularly women and children; and on the relevance of international assistance and cooperation to address the impact of climate change on human rights. The Social Forum will meet for three working days and is expected to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, in October 2010. The resolution calls for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) to consult with relevant stakeholders and to submit a background report for the debates to be held at the 2010 Social Forum. The Council also decided the Social Forum should remain open to the participation of representatives of UN Member States and all other interested stakeholders, such as NGOs, small groups and rural and urban associations, anti-poverty groups, peasants' and farmers' organizations, youth associations, community organizations and trade unions.
The Social Forum has met for five times since 2002. The Forum was established under the Commission on Human Rights and, in 2006, it became a subsidiary body under the Human Rights Council (see resolution A/HRC/6/13).
Links to further information
, 25 March 2010
Access to Resolution A/HRC/13/L.16
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
Avian Influenza and Wild Birds Task Force Reviews Achievements, Assesses Future Priorities
Convened by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), the third meeting of the Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds was held from 15-16 March 2010, at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy.
The meeting reviewed what has been achieved in addressing the spread of avian influenza, and determined the future role and direction of the Task Force. Focus was set on current activity related to avian influenza surveillance, including most recent research related to epidemiology, known direct and indirect impacts on the conservation of waterbirds and wetlands, and most recent developments with respect to national contingency planning and response strategies. Participants agreed on the following issues to be further developed in the future: standardization of reporting and sampling methodologies to current best science-based practices; use of the flyway approach for continued and broader surveillance of wild bird populations, along with better understanding of migration routes, habitat use, and movements; strengthening of capacity for outbreak investigations that evaluates the source of virus introduction; and reduction of indiscriminate blame of wild birds for poultry outbreaks, in the absence of proper evidence. Established in 2005 to create a liaison mechanism between those international organizations and multilateral environment agreements engaged in activities related to avian influenza, the Task Force comprises representatives and observers from 14 international organizations.
Link to further information
CMS press release
, 24 March 2010
Africa Carbon Forum Hopes to Help Boost Africa
The second Africa Carbon Forum, which was held from 3-5 March 2010, in Nairobi, Kenya, sought to help build on growing interest in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in Africa, and concluded with expectations for a boost in Africa's share of the global carbon market. The Forum was held under the Nairobi Framework, an initiative launched in 2006 to help developing countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, to increase their participation in the CDM. It was organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UNFCCC Secretariat and the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), and brought together about 1,000 members of the public and private sectors.
Highlighting the prospects for the continent, John Kilani, Director of the Sustainable Development Mechanisms programme of the UNFCCC Secretariat, noted the growing number of projects in Africa and a growing number of countries hosting projects. He added that “some project developers are even prepared to pay a premium for offset credits originating from Africa, no doubt because they are confident in the long-term growth prospects for CDM on the continent.”
Also speaking during the Forum, Henry Derwent, IETA President and CEO, commented that, “Africa Carbon Forum 2010 has been a serious and businesslike meeting of people with African emissions reduction projects and people who want to invest in them. Africa's slow start in the CDM business seems now to have been more about finding the right ways to structure projects in the sectors that are Africa's national specialties than about a fundamental incompatibility.” The third Africa Carbon Forum is scheduled to be held in March 2011, in Morocco.
Links to further information
African Carbon Forum website
UNFCCC press release
UNEP press release
UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL SPECIAL SESSION CONCLUDES WITH NUSA DUA DECLARATION
The eleventh Special Session of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GCSS-11/GMEF) convened from 24-26 February 2010, in Bali, Indonesia.
The meeting considered the theme of “environment in the multilateral system.” During the meeting, Ministers agreed to the Nusa Dua Declaration, which underscores the importance of biodiversity, the urgent need to combat climate change and work towards a good outcome in Mexico in November-December 2010, and the key opportunities from accelerating a transition to a low-carbon resource-efficient green economy. The statement also highlights the need to improve the overall management of the global environment, accepting that that the “governance architecture” has become complex and fragmented.
Delegates at the GCSS-11/GMEF also adopted eight decisions on: international environmental governance; enhanced coordination across the UN, including the Environmental Management Group; a follow-up report on the environmental situation in the Gaza strip; the intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services; strengthening the environmental response in Haiti; oceans; the consultative process on financing options for chemicals and wastes; and guidelines on environmental law.
The Sasakawa Prize, which aims to incentivize sustainable and replicable grassroots environmental efforts, was awarded during a side event at the GCSS-11/GMEF. Two grassroots climate-projects operating in Africa and South America were awarded the prestigious UNEP award.
Links to further information
UNEP GCSS website
Sasakawa prize website
IISD RS coverage of the meeting
IFAD Governing Council Convenes 33rd Session
18 February 2010: The Governing Council of the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) held its 33rd session from 17-18 February 2010, in Rome, Italy, to discuss: the Eighth Replenishment of IFAD's resources; IFAD's budget; revisions of IFAD's lending policies and criteria; progress on the performance-based allocation system; progress on the Global Mechanism of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); and a synthesis of the global meeting of the Farmers' Forum 2010. Among other things, the Council called for investment in smallholders to accelerate progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Link to further information
IFAD Governing Council website
UNEP Releases Draft Report of Issue Management Group on Sustainability
A draft report from the first meeting of the Issue Management Group on Sustainability Management, which convened from 9-10 February 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland, has been posted on the Environmental Management Group (EMG) website.
The mandate of the group includes exploring how sustainable management in the UN system can be developed and reporting to the EMG. Key outcomes of the meeting include agreements to undertake emission reduction plans and greenhouse gas inventories.
Link to further information
UNEP EMG web site
UNESCO BIODIVERSITY SCIENCE POLICY CONFERENCE IDENTIFIES PRIORITIES FOR ACTION
Organized in the framework of the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB), the UNESCO Biodiversity Science Policy Conference was held from 25-29 January 2010, at UNESCO headquarters, in Paris, France, immediately following the high-level launch of IYB in Paris from 21-22 January 2010.
The conference gave special attention to the voice of the scientific community so as to highlight new knowledge that could be used in the context of biodiversity-related decisions.
The conference adopted a statement and recommendations, including priorities for and modalities of action on: taxonomy; conservation biogeography; the role of indigenous and local knowledge in biodiversity conservation; biodiversity and gender; priority-setting in conservation; managing biodiversity at the landscape scale; biodiversity and development; and communication, education and public awareness.
Links to further information
The conference website
The statement and recommendations
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]
UNEP FI AND OTHERS CALL FOR STRONGER CLIMATE CHANGE POLICIES
The Investor Summit on Climate Risk convened under the theme “Developing a Low-Carbon Economy: Leveraging Private Investment,” on 14 January 2010, at UN Headquarters in New York, US.
The Summit brought together 450 global investors. At the conclusion of the Summit, four groups representing more than 190 investors, namely the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) and the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), endorsed the Investor Statement on Catalyzing Investment in a Low-Carbon Economy.
In the Statement, the investors call for the adoption of strong climate change policies to scale up investments in building a new low-carbon economy. The Statement highlights that policymakers made only incremental progress at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, and that much remains to be done to address the risks that climate change presents to the global economy and to investments. Investors urged policymakers to negotiate and conclude a legally binding agreement with ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in 2010, and outline various measures to develop and transition to low-carbon technologies, including the adoption of: short- and long-term emission reduction targets; policies that put an effective price on carbon; energy and transportation policies to accelerate deployment of energy efficiency, renewable energy, green buildings, clean vehicles and fuels, and low-carbon transportation infrastructure; financing mechanisms that can mobilize private-sector investment on a large scale; measures and financing to support adaptation in developing and developed countries; and policies requiring corporate disclosure to investors of material climate-related risks and programmes to manage those risks.
Link to further information
UNEP FI press release
, 14 January 2010