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December 2010

WIPO IGC Makes Progress on Traditional Cultural Expressions, Traditional Knowledge

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

7 December 2010: Cancún Global Business Day met in Cancún, Mexico, on 6 December 2010, under the theme “Building Bridges.” This fourth Business Day took place in parallel to the UN Cancún Climate Change Conference, which convened from 29 November-10 December 2010. Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, offered a keynote speech that reviewed the state of negotiations, and challenged businesses to exert leverage in three areas: by looking at their value chains; by leveraging change within the sectors in which each business operates; and by leveraging their political constituencies. The approximately 180 participants at Business Day engaged in discussions regarding: the experience of the Mexican Dialogues, a series of events that brought representatives from the private sector and government together in the lead-up to the Cancún negotiations; patterns for diffusion of technology; the forms and strengths of South-South trade and its contributions to a green economy; and the global realities affecting responses to climate change and clean energy growth. The proceedings at Cancún Global Business Day will inform the evaluation by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) of the Mexican Dialogue experience, with a view to deciding how to participate in the preparations for the 2011 Durban Climate Change Conference in South Africa. Cancún Global Business Day was organized by the WBCSD and the ICC, and was sponsored by CEMEX. [IISD RS coverage of Global Business Day]
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]

November 2010

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]
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][Zoellick's Article][Djoghlaf's Statement][Tiger Forum Website] [World Bank Press Release] [CMS 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]
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][GGCS Website]
G20 Adopts Seoul Action Plan

12 November 2010: Leaders of the Group of Twenty (G20) met in Seoul, Republic of Korea, on 11-12 November 2010 and adopted: a Leaders' Declaration; the Seoul Action Plan including a commitment to the Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth; and concrete measures summarized in a Multi-Year Action Plan on Development, focusing particularly on the development of infrastructure in developing countries. According to the Leaders' Declaration, the G20 express: strong commitment to promptly bring the Doha Development Round to a successful, ambitious, comprehensive, and balanced conclusion consistent with the mandate of the Doha Development Round and built on progress already achieved; and resolute commitment to fight climate change, and spare no effort to reach a balanced and successful outcome at the Cancun Climate Change Conference in late 2010. The Summit document containing the Seoul Action Plan includes sections on fossil fuel subsidies, climate change and green growth. On fossil fuel subsidies, the G20 leaders: reaffirm their commitment to rationalize and phase out, over the medium term, inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, with timing based on national circumstances, while providing targeted support for the poorest; direct finance and energy ministers to report back on progress made in implementing country-specific strategies and in achieving the goals agreed in Pittsburgh and Toronto at the 2011 Summit in France; note the preliminary report of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and request these organizations, together with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), to further assess and review progress made in implementing the Pittsburgh and Toronto commitments and report back to the 2011 Summit in France; and recognize the value of the sharing of knowledge, expertise and capacity with respect to programmes and policies that phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. On climate change, G20 leaders: reiterate their commitment to take strong and action-oriented measures and remain fully dedicated to UN climate change negotiations; reaffirm the objective, provisions, and principles of the UNFCCC, including common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities; commit to achieving a successful, balanced result at the Cancun Conference that includes the core issues of mitigation, transparency, finance, technology, adaptation, and forest preservation; and support and encourage the delivery of fast-start finance commitments. Those that have associated themselves with the Copenhagen Accord also reaffirm their support for the Accord's implementation. Leaders also acknowledge: the global environmental and economic challenge of ongoing biodiversity loss; the inextricable link between climate change and biodiversity loss; the outcomes of the global study on the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity; and the successful conclusion of the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) held in Nagoya, Japan, on 18-29 October 2010. On green growth, G20 leaders further: commit to support country-led "green growth" policies that promote environmentally sustainable global growth along with employment creation, while ensuring energy access for the poor; recognize that sustainable green growth, as it is inherently part of sustainable development, is a strategy of quality development, enabling countries to "leapfrog" old technologies in many sectors, including through the use of energy efficiency and clean technology; commit to take steps to create, as appropriate, the enabling environment for the development and deployment of energy efficiency and clean energy technologies, including policies and practices in G20 countries and beyond, including technical transfer and capacity building; support the ongoing initiatives under the Clean Energy Ministerial and encourage further discussion on cooperation in research and development as well as regulatory measures, together with business leaders; and request the Energy Experts Group to monitor and report back on progress at the 2011 Summit in France. G20 leaders also commit to stimulate investment in clean energy technology, energy and resource efficiency, green transportation, and green cities by mobilizing finance, establishing clear and consistent standards, developing long-term energy policies, supporting education, enterprise and research and development, and continuing to promote cross-border collaboration and coordination of national legislative approaches. In the multi-year development action plan, G20 leaders commit to: develop comprehensive infrastructure action plans and assess ways to integrate environmental safeguards into infrastructure development in an effective and cost efficient manner; establish a G20 panel for infrastructure development and provide independent comment in an iterative process to ensure workability, maximization of the outcomes and a focus on environmental sustainability and transparency; and identify, enhance as needed, and promote the best existing developmental, social and environmental standards for responsible investment in value chains and voluntary investor compliance with these standards. [The G20 Leaders' Declaration] [The Seoul Summit Document] [Development Plan of Action] seoul summit logo
CIF Meetings Approve Funding for Climate Resilience in Bangladesh, Tajikistan and Niger

11 November 2010: The Climate Investment Funds (CIF) Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR) will provide US$50 million grants to the Governments of Bangladesh, Tajikistan and Niger to pilot climate resilience strategies and integrate climate risk into their economic plans. The CIF meetings took place from 6-12 November 2010, in Washington DC, US, and adopted several grants and concessional loans, adding up to US$270 million for country-wide plans for resilience against climate impacts. In Bangladesh, the PPCR funds will be used to leverage larger investments to shore up the coastal embankment to be higher and better constructed to withstand cyclones and storm surges. The programme, to be managed by the World Bank, will also develop a long-term plan for the country's coastal embankment. It will also supplement US$215 million in financing from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a water supply and sanitation project in the coastal area, and includes funding for farmers in the coastal area to plant crops that are resilient to changes in weather. In Tajikistan, the CIF grants will boost six proposed projects aimed at improving the country's disaster preparedness and ability to respond to climate change. The projects are backed by the World Bank, ADB and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and will tackle gaps in climate data collection and weather forecasting, while bolstering the capability of key sectors to respond to projected climate change. The project is expected to: develop early warning systems; provide protection against climate impacts for existing energy services, including renewables such as hydropower and water management; develop land management practices that promote sustainable agriculture; and build resilience in vulnerable ecosystems such as in the Pyanj River Basin. In Niger, the US$50 million grant and an additional US$60 million in concessional financing will support projects and programmes to improve climate resilience and food security, with a special focus on gender and the most vulnerable groups. The strategy calls for: mainstreaming climate resilience into development strategies; expanding sustainable land management initiatives and integrating them into planning and budgeting processes; updating the quality of weather and climate information and making it publicly available; and improving monitoring and evaluation methodologies. [World Bank Press Release] [CIF Meetings Website]
ECLAC Seminar Evaluates Vulnerability of Rural Poor to Climate Change Impacts

10 November 2010: A seminar on "Agriculture and Climate Change: Innovation, Policies and Institutions" warned that over 50% of the rural population in Latin America and the Caribbean is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change on agriculture.The seminar, organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the Regional Office of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Inter American Institute of Cooperation for Agriculture (IICA), with the support of the Government of France, cautioned that the areas most adversely affected by this phenomenon are tropical and subtropical regions, where most developing countries dependent on agriculture are located. Experts highlighted that public policies urgently need to include adaptation and mitigation measures to climate change, and that no other sector has the same potential as agriculture to directly help address climate change in Latin America. Food security aspects also were considered, and the role of the agricultural sector was highlighted, not only due to its primary function of producing food, but also because it provides economic and environmental resources in rural areas, where particularly impoverished populations vulnerable to the different crises, survive. [ECLAC Press Release]
INTERPOL General Assembly Adopts Resolution on Environmental Crime

8 November 2010: Meeting in Doha, Qatar, from 8-11 November 2010, the General Assembly of INTERPOL has adopted a resolution in support of the organization's Environmental Crime Programme. The resolution calls upon national law enforcement authorities to recognize that “environmental crime is not restricted by borders and involves organized crime networks which engage in other crime types including murder, corruption, fraud and theft.” It notes that there is a vital need for a global response and that INTERPOL should play a leading role in supporting national and international enforcement. Environmental crime encompasses activities ranging from illegal trade in wildlife, timber and marine species, to transborder movements of hazardous waste and the illicit exploitation of natural resources. The adopted resolution was welcomed by the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). [The Resolution] [CITES Press Release]
ECLAC Executive Secretary Highlights Low Carbon Growth Opportunities

11 November 2010: Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), delivered a statement at the Latin America and the Caribbean-EU Forum on Fiscal Policy and an Environmentally Sustainable Economy in the Context of Climate Change, which took place in Berlin, Germany, from 10-11 November 2010. She stated that green fiscal reform "is a serious challenge but also a new opportunity to combine the establishment of solid fiscal foundations with environmental preservation, as long as this can be adequately combined with greater investment in critical areas (such as infrastructure), which could generate decent jobs with environmental sustainability." The seminar revolved around the question of whether innovation, productive convergence and employment can be compatible with sustainable development ("green" and low-carbon). In this context, Bárcena emphasized that climate change and the economic and social costs associated to it are becoming increasingly important. She expressed concern over the trend toward the international homogenization of tax rates, the growing use of "green taxes" and the carbon footprint of exports. The Forum was convened by the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of Germany, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile and ECLAC. [ECLAC Press Release]
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]
ALBA Nations Adopt Declaration Opposing Commodification of Nature

5 November 2010: The Ministerial Committee for the Defense of Nature of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas – Treaty of Commerce of the People (ALBA-TCP) adopted a declaration opposing the concept of "green economy," in which nature is seen as "capital" for producing tradable goods and services. Meeting from 3-5 November 2010, in La Paz, Bolivia, ALBA-TCP members (Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela) declared: that nature has infinite value but not a price, and is not for sale; their absolute rejection of the privatization, monetization and mercantilization of nature; their condemnation of unsustainable models of economic growth; that ecosystem goods and services should be conserved as public goods, respecting the sovereignty of States; that only "the conscious intervention of state and society" will allow for the recuperation of Mother Earth; their hope that agreements to be reached at the Cancun Climate Change Conference will be in accordance with the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, with no promotion of carbon market mechanisms; and their commitment to addressing the realization of a referendum on climate change and the promotion of the participation of the peoples of the world. [The Declaration]
ECESA Discusses Vision and Expectations for UNCSD

4 November 2010: The Principals of the Executive Committee of Economic and Social Affairs (ECESA) and of other relevant UN entities met at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 4 November, in an effort to define a common UN vision and expectations for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, also called Rio+20). UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang, Convenor of ECESA and UNCSD Secretary-General, invited the Principals of ECESA to engage in a "frank, interactive dialogue" during which they brainstormed initiatives to be launched at UNCSD. The meeting focused in particular on the two themes of the UNCSD: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD). Participants also discussed potential individual and joint outreach activities that would encourage stakeholder participation. Under-Secretary-General Sha called on UN system entities to make substantive contributions to enrich the preparatory process, such as inputs to the Secretary-General's Report, technical papers on priority themes, expert meetings or briefings, support for national and regional preparatory activities, secondment of staff, and sharing experiences of best practices. [UNCSD News Report]

October 2010

UNCTAD Holds Pre-LDC IV Event on Building Productive Capacities in LDCs

29 October 2010: The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held an event, from 27-29 October 2010, on building productive capacities in Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The event aimed to produce substantive inputs to the preparatory and negotiating process for the Fourth UN Conference on LDCs (LDC IV) in 2011, and in particular, a successor Programme of Action for the LDCs. The event featured high-level panels from government and international organization representatives. At the wrap-up session, Charles Gore, Special Coordinator for Research and Policy Analysis, Division for Africa, Least Developed Countries and Special Programmes at UNCTAD, concluded that the event had raised a number of important issues that would provide substantive inputs into preparation for LDC-IV. Major areas of debate were the national level (including the relationship between the State and the market), the international aspect (international support mechanisms, aid, and investment), and the opportunity for South-South cooperation. The meeting stressed the "obvious but often ignored importance" of LDC-to-LDC cooperation. During the meeting, delegates discussed the contributions of science, technology and innovation and trade logistics to building productive capacities. Ahmed Abdel Latif, Programme Manager for Intellectual Property and Technology at the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, called for putting innovation and the policies it requires onto the global agenda. He expressed his hope that measures adopted at LDC-IV would be more oriented towards spurring innovation and technology development than was the case with previous LDC conferences. Noting an increase in recent foreign direct investment (FDI) into LDCs, James Zhan, Director of the Division on Investment and Enterprise at UNCTAD, underlined the need for such investment to be both "in the poor" (viable and sustainable investment in poverty alleviation), for the poor (accessible and affordable products and services) and with the poor (fostering business linkages with domestic small- and medium-sized enterprises). Carlos Nuno Castel-Branco, Director of the Institute of Economic and Social Studies in Mozambique, called attention to the need for targeted productive capacities development in LDCs. He gave an example from his home country, where per capita GDP had grown over the last seven years by 45%, mainly due to mineral resource extraction, while per capita food production had declined by nine percent over the same period. The result was that two million more people in Mozambique lived below the poverty line than seven years ago, even though statistically they were "richer." Castel-Branco remarked "the aim should not merely be to build productive capacities, but also to build them in appropriate areas." In a press conference related to the event, Supachai Panitchpakdi, UNCTAD's Secretary-General, identified building productive capacities, the topic of the event, as a key challenge for individual LDCs and international organizations working with them.  He said, "it is only through removing the structural deficiencies that these countries can truly integrate into the international system, open up for beneficial trade, and escape the poverty trap." [More information]
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]
Latin American Carbon Forum Highlights Region's Potential

2 November 2010: Participants to the Fifth Latin American Carbon Forum, which took place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, from 13-15 October 2010, expressed concern over barriers to carbon mitigation projects and the lack of progress in the climate change negotiations. The Carbon Forum was supported by the Latin American Energy Organization (OLADE), the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), the World Bank Institute (WBI), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Risoe Centre. During the event, participants highlighted the high level of dynamism in the region with regard to the development and financing of activities to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. They emphasized the importance of the European carbon market or EU Emissions Trade Scheme (EU-ETS), noting it currently represents about 95% of the demand for credits from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Concerned that Phase 3 of the EU-ETS (2013-2020) will be decisive for guaranteeing the continuity of the carbon market, participants stressed the importance of guaranteeing market access during Phase 3. They also noted the need to remove a number of barriers to secure an adequate level of promotion of carbon mitigation projects. They also called for: specialized finance facilities; a greater level of understanding of carbon project management; and enhanced capacities for monitoring and verifying emission reductions. To achieve a higher number of projects with a larger impact on sustainable development, the following measures were identified as key: strengthening financial institutions; establishing  mechanisms to group small projects within larger strategic programmes that reduce transaction costs and guarantee long-term emission reductions; and promoting and increasing capacity for projects in key sectors such as energy, transport, tourism, waste management, agriculture and forests. To establish the necessary framework and greater clarity for market perspectives in the post-2012 period, both within the UNFCCC and outside, the Forum also underlined the importance of concrete progress at the Cancun Climate Change Conference at the end of the year. [IDB Press Release] [Forum Website]
ADB, World Bank Workshop Focuses on Resilience to Climate Change in the Pacific

14 October 2010: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank organized a workshop on "Responding to Climate Change in the Pacific: Moving from Strategy to Action," in Nadi, Fiji, on 13-14 October 2010. The event brought together 14 representatives of the ADB and senior representatives from international and regional agencies, development partners and NGOs. Workshop participants underscored the need to strengthen the climate policy of the Pacific region and improve the coping abilities, in terms of the natural resilience, of peoples and communities, as well as of their social and economic organizations and governance. They also addressed the importance for national governments to lead the response to climate change and their need to receive support and constructive engagement by development partners. Noting the numerous efforts of development partners, including multilateral banks and the UN system, in supporting countries' resilience to climate change, Tuiloma Neroni Slade, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, underlined the need to "bring these efforts together because the key to addressing all of these issues is through collaboration." Stressing the vast size and diversity of the region, as well as the magnitude of the climate change challenge, he called for "a common understanding of the challenges before us all and of the prospects and opportunities that are there for our collective and coordinated action." [Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Press Release]
APEC Oceans Ministers Discuss Fisheries Management

12 October 2010: Oceans-related Ministers of the members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) discussed "Healthy Oceans and Fisheries Management towards Food Security" on 11-12 October 2010, in Paracas, Peru. The meeting focused on four themes: sustainable development and protection of the marine environment; climate change impacts on the oceans; free and open trade and investment; and the role of oceans in food security. At the conclusion of the meeting, Ministers adopted the Paracas Declaration, in which they call for: seeking ways to promote cooperation among APEC economies to contribute towards regional assessments in the APEC region and understanding of the marine ecosystem; ensuring sustainable management of the marine environment by encouraging capacity building and information sharing; encouraging APEC economies to reduce both sea and land-based sources of marine pollution and marine debris; gathering and sharing scientific knowledge on climate change and its impacts on coastal and marine ecosystems, fisheries and aquaculture; strengthening disciplines on subsidies in the fisheries sector, taking into account the importance of the fisheries sector for poverty reduction, job creation and food security; and promoting the sustainable management of fisheries and aquaculture resources both domestically and internationally. APEC oceans-related Ministers are to convey the outcomes of the Paracas meeting to the first APEC Ministerial Meeting on Food Security, which will be held from 16-17 October 2010, in Niigata, Japan, and to the APEC Leaders' meeting scheduled in November 2010, in Yokohama, Japan. [APEC Press Release] [Paracas Declaration]
UNCSD Bureau Holds Seventh Meeting

12 October 2010: The Bureau of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, also referred to as Rio+20) conducted its seventh meeting on 12 October 2010. Among other topics, Bureau members learned that the recruitment of two Executive Coordinators has been delayed due to difficulties in mobilizing extra-budgetary resources needed for their recruitment, with funds so far only mobilized to support one Executive Coordinator.  Bureau members were also informed, inter alia: of the plans of the high-level panel on global sustainability established by the Secretary-General and a possible consultation between the Bureau and this panel; and that a 4 November 2010 meeting of the Principals of all UN system entities, including Specialized Agencies, Regional Commissions, Convention Secretariats, and IFIs, would seek to articulate a common Secretariat vision for sustainable development within the context of Rio+20. The next Bureau meeting is expected to take place on 18 November. [Minutes from the meeting]
Fifth BASIC Meeting Focuses on Preparations for Cancun

11 October 2010: The fifth ministerial meeting on climate change of Brazil, South Africa, India and China (BASIC) was held in Tianjin, China, from 10-11 October 2010, and focused on issues related to the Cancun Climate Change Conference. In line with the “BASIC-plus” approach, representatives of Yemen (Chair of the G77), Argentina (incoming Chair of G77), Ethiopia (representing Africa), Grenada (Chair of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS)) and Egypt (Chair of the Arab Group) attended the meeting as observers. In the joint statement issued at the conclusion of the meeting, ministers emphasized that the outcome of the Cancun Conference should be based on a balance between and within the two negotiating tracks under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, and supported reflecting the elements of the Copenhagen Accord in the negotiating texts for the two tracks. They further stressed that the outcome in Cancun should pave the way for a legally-binding outcome in South Africa in 2011, and should not deviate from the mandate of the Bali Roadmap. The Ministers also: urged developed countries to commit to more ambitious emission reduction targets under the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol; called for developed countries that did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol to undertake comparable emission reduction targets under the Convention; and noted the significant distinction between the emission reduction commitments by developed countries and nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) by developing countries both in terms of their nature and content. Ministers underscored that fast-start finance in the immediate future and up to 2012 will be the key to enhance confidence in the multilateral process and enable success in Cancun, underlining that US$30 billion should be made available as soon as possible in a transparent manner. They expressed full support for the establishment of a new fund under the UNFCCC, with public funding being provided by developed countries as its primary source. They further reiterated the need to: deal with adaptation as a matter of urgency in Cancun; ensure that intellectual property rights do not become a barrier to technology transfer; and establish an effective mechanism for technology development and transfer. Ministers noted that the diversity of views on more ambitious aspirational objectives than keeping the global temperature increase below 2ºC links directly to reaching a political understanding of equity. In this respect, ministers reaffirmed that equitable access to sustainable development will be the foundation of any climate change agreement and the prerequisite for setting up any global emission reduction target, taking into account: developed countries' historical responsibility; developing countries' need for space and time to achieve sustainable development; and the need for developed countries to provide adequate finance, technology and capacity building support to developing countries. In addition, ministers opposed unilateral actions against developing countries' products and services on climate change-related grounds, considering them incompatible with the UNFCCC and noting that they will seriously jeopardize international collaboration on climate change and international trade. Finally, ministers welcomed India's offer to host the sixth BASIC ministerial meeting on climate change in February 2011. [Joint Statement]
UNCTAD Convenes Meeting of Experts on the Green Economy

8 October 2010: The UN Conference for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) convened an ad hoc expert meeting to discuss "The Green Economy: Trade and Sustainable Development Implications" from 7-8 October 2010, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The two-day meeting was framed as an input to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) scheduled to take place in 2012. Opening the meeting, Supachai Panitchpakdi, UNCTAD Secretary-General, underscored the urgency of addressing climate change with a well-designed sharing of the burden. He highlighted that the UN High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, of which he is a member, is discussing a goal of US$100 billion per year to aid developing countries to adapt to and mitigate climate change by 2020. Sha Zukang, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, who is serving as Conference Secretary-General for Rio+20, noted expectations for a green economy to hold the key to faster implementation of sustainable development. During the meeting, speakers: shared experiences with the history leading up to Rio 1992; presented on framework and progress on UNEP's green economy initiative; reviewed the trade implications of a green economy; and addressed the urgency and challenges of transitioning to a green economy in the context of the impending environmental crisis, using climate change as a case study. The meeting concluded with some ideas about next steps, including: a continued process of clarifying the concept of a green economy and its trade and sustainable implications; analysis of trends and innovative practices currently underway in the real economy and that point towards the transition to a green economy; and identification of concrete areas where the international community can help foster a smooth transition towards a green economy that respects sustainable development principles and works toward poverty eradication. [UNCTAD Press Release] [Meeting Website] [UNCSD Press Release] [Presentation by Tariq Banuri, DSD Director]
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]

September 2010

World Bank and IDB Co-Organize Energy Efficiency and Access Forum for Latin America

29 September 2010: An Energy Efficiency and Access Forum, which was jointly organized by the Mexican Government, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank, highlighted that Latin America's power generating capacity may need to double over the next 20 years to meet the growing demand for electricity. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, World Bank Managing Director, underlined that simply building more infrastructure, in particular new thermal and other power plants, to meet this growing demand "is both unwise and unsustainable." Noting that investments of such magnitude in new capacity are not easily affordable by any regional economy, she argued for using more efficiently the existing energy infrastructure. Energy efficiency would also reduce reliance on greenhouse gas (GHG) producing fuels and support countries' efforts in mitigating and adapting to climate change. At the Forum, experts noted potential for total financial savings, or avoided energy cost, of global energy efficiency could rise to US$250-US$325 billion annually by 2030. Efforts are already underway in the Latin American region, including loss reduction and light bulb exchange initiatives, such as Brazil's Eletrobras Distribution Rehabilitation Project (US$495 million), Mexico's Lighting and Appliances Efficiency Project (US$350 million), and Uruguay's Energy Efficiency Project (US$7 million) where school children encourage their parents to refrain from wasting energy.  [World Bank Press Release]
WTO Discusses Carbon Footprint Initiatives

29 September 2010: The World Trade Organization's (WTO) Trade and Environment Committee met in Geneva, Switzerland, and exchanged views on national experiences in carbon footprint schemes. The representative from New Zealand introduced its national Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Footprinting Strategy across the entire supply chain of a product. Chile presented various approaches in its wine, agricultural and mining sectors to assess and find ways to reduce the carbon footprint of each product. Noting the multitude of differing measurement methodologies, several members called for increased transparency and efforts towards the harmonization of carbon footprinting in order to minimize the possibility of using such schemes as disguised barriers to trade. At the meeting, Committee members heard a presentation from a representative of the UNFCCC, who provided an overview of the on-going climate negotations. He informed that following the Copenhagen Accord, a set of decisions could be an achievable outcome in Cancun including: the formalization of mitigation pledges; the creation of a fund to finance mitigation and adaptation projects; and the establishment of a system for the measuring, reporting and verification (MRV) of mitigation action and support. [IISD RS Sources]
AfDB Organizes Roundtable on Climate Change Financing for Africa

22 September 2010: The African Development Bank (AfDB) organized a roundtable on African Perspectives on the issues before the UN High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, where participants highlighted that, for most African nations, the overwhelming challenge posed by climate change is how to adapt to its adverse impacts. The rountable took place in Tunis, Tunisia, from 21-22 September 2010, and analyzed the issues before by the UN High Level Advisory Group. It brought together some 30 participants, including African negotiators and delegates, African parliamentarians, private sector representatives, policy makers and administrators in the energy, environment and finance fields. Opening the roundtable, Nkosana Moyo, AfDB Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, underscored that the impacts of climate change "which are already becoming visible, are affecting major parts of the economy" and are "pushing back efforts at development and meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).” Moyo said finance to support investments, technology development and transfer, as well as capacity building for both mitigation and adaptation is crucial if Africa is to adequately adapt to climate change impacts and move towards a low-carbon economy. The UN High Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing is currently co-chaired by Prime Ministers Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia and Jens Stoltenberg of Norway. It is tasked with studying potential sources of funding for scaling up new and additional resources from developed countries for financing in developing countries. [AfDB Press Release]
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]
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]
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]
WTO Public Forum 2010 Opens

15 September 2010: The World Trade Organization (WTO) Public Forum 2010 is taking place from 15-17 September 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland, around the theme "The Shaping Forces." The Forum provides an opportunity for governments, civil society organizations, legislators, trade union representatives, academics, business groups and students to take stock of the latest developments impacting the multilateral trading system. Pascal Lamy, WTO Director General, noted the need to: rebalance the rules of the multilateral trading system in favor of the poor through the completion of the Doha Development Agenda; and to "climb ever higher mountains" by tackling emerging issues such as energy, climate change and electronic commerce. Lamy also commented on the Forum's theme, highlighting that the WTO's multilateral trading system is one of the most advanced engines of global governance. Noting that other institutions have battles over their governance structure and the relative importance of the North and the South, he underscored that the WTO is a fairly democratic institution where "the voice of the small cannot be ignored." He provided the example of negotiations on agriculture, now at the centre of the WTO's Doha Round of trade negotiations, evidencing the power that the South has gained. He also mentioned the WTO's dispute settlement mechanism where "it is not the size of a country or of its GDP that matters, but the strength of the legal and economic arguments that it succeeds in putting forward." [WTO Press Release] [WTO Public Forum's Website]
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] logo: WTO
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]
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]

July 2010

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]
GEF Council Approves Major Reforms in New Funding Cycle

2 July 2010: The 38th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council took place in Washington DC, US, from 29 June-1 July 2010, and approved major reforms aimed at helping developing countries to meet international environmental challenges, including those related to climate change and biodiversity. During the meeting the Council approved major reforms designed to give developing countries and stakeholders more control and access to funds, including: direct access to GEF resources for recipient countries looking to meet various UN convention requirements; streamlined GEF project cycle and a move to a more refined and strategic programmatic investment approach; reformed GEF's Country Support Program with$26 million in funding. The Council also agreed to initiate a process to determine how best to integrate new agencies, including qualified national entities, into the GEF network. In May 2010, during the sixth meeting of donors for the Fifth GEF Replenishment, held in Paris, France, over 30 countries pledged US$4.34 billion to fund projects with global environmental benefits during the next four years. The meeting of donors also agreed to channel US$1.3 billion to the climate change focal area. The financial pledges included some of the Fast Start Financing discussed at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. Commenting on the reforms, Monique Barbut, GEF CEO and Chairperson, stated that "the GEF Council has accorded long overdue recognition to the ability of countries to take the lead in the efficient and effective programming of their multilateral assistance." [38th GEF Council Meeting Website] [Climate Change Policy & Practice Story on the GEF Replen...] [Joint Summary of the Chairs]
WTO Negotiations on Environmental Goods and Services Continue

1 July 2010: The World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on Environmental Goods and Services continued during a meeting of the Committee on Trade and Environment Special Session (CTE-SS), with proposals to include carbon capture and storage (CCS), natural gas and biofuels among environmental goods. The informal meeting of the CTE-SS, held on 30 June-1 July 2010, continued receiving countries' submissions on possible environmental goods to be identified for liberalization. Countries make proposals on an individual basis, and there is no agreement yet on the inclusion of any of these products. Argentina and Brazil made a common contribution on the need to give developing countries more flexibility in liberalizing environmental goods and services through a set of criteria on special and differential treatment. Negotiations will continue in September-October 2010. [IISD RS Sources]

June 2010

G-20 Toronto Summit Addresses Energy Subsidies, Climate Change and Food Security

27 June 2010: The G-20 Summit convened in Toronto, Canada, from 26-27 June 2010, and concluded with a final Declaration that, among other issues, addresses development and environmental issues, including climate change and energy. In the Declaration, the G-20 leaders reiterate their commitment to a green recovery and to sustainable global growth. They also express commitment to engage in negotiations under the UNFCCC, along with their determination to ensure a successful outcome through an inclusive process at the 16th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the UNFCCC in Cancun, Mexico, from 29 November-20 December 2010. In addition, the G-20 leaders commit to exploring the potential of innovative, results-based mechanisms such as advance market commitments to harness the creativity and resources of the private sector in achieving breakthrough innovations in food security and agriculture development in poor countries, with a view to reporting on progress at the upcoming G-20 Summit to be held in Seoul, Republic of Korea, on 11-12 November 2010. They further establish a Working Group on Development to elaborate, consistent with the G-20's focus on measures to promote economic growth and resilience, a development agenda and multi-year action plans to be adopted at the Seoul Summit. [The Declaration] [Summit website]
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]
CIF Strategic Climate Fund Holds Program Meetings

24 June 2010: The Climate Investment Funds (CIF) Sub-Committee meetings took place from 22-24 June 2010, in Washington DC, US. These included meetings of the following target programs of the CIF Strategic Climate Fund (SCF): the Program for Scaling Up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP); the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR); and the Forest Investment Program (FIP). Ethiopia, Honduras, Kenya, Maldives, Mali and Nepal were selected by the SREP to undertake the first pilot programmes to scale up renewable energy, transform their energy sectors and shift the market toward renewables. Brazil, Democratic Republic of Congo and Mexico were selected as pilots for the FIP to reduce deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), and promote sustainable management of their forests. Finally, Bolivia, Cambodia, Mozambique, Tajikistan and Yemen, which are already undertaking activities under the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), were each awarded US$1.5 million to begin preparation of their national-level Strategic Programs for Climate Resilience (SPCR) and build capacity for their implemention. [CIF Website] [World Bank Press Release] [CIF Sub-Committees Meeting Website]
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]
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]
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]

May 2010

Fifth GEF Replenishment Negotiations Conclude

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) finalized its Fifth Replenishment negotiations, with over 30 countries pledging US$4.25 billion to fund projects with global environmental benefits during the next four years. The sixth meeting of donors for the Fifth GEF Replenishment, held in Paris, France, on 12 May 2010, also agreed to channel US$1.3 billion to the climate change focal area. The financial pledges also include some of the Fast Start Financing discussed at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, and will feature the creation of a Sustainable Forest Management-REDD Plus (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries conservation, sustainable forest management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks) initiative. Some of the main areas of work for the GEF during the four-year period starting July 2010 will be to: lower carbon dioxide emissions; expand sustainable management of protected areas and critical landscapes; strengthen multi-State cooperation on transboundary water systems management; reduce persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in land and water; reduce mercury emissions; and expand and protect the Earth's forest cover. Links to further information GEF press release, 12 May 2010 Documents for the Sixth Meeting of the GEF-5 replenishment
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...]

April 2010

World Bank Spring Meetings Increase Developing Country Voice

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group Spring Meetings, held in Washington DC from 24-25 April 2010, increased voting power in the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) for developing and transition countries by 3.13%, bringing it to a total of 47.19%, and also agreed to continue working towards equitable voting power while protecting the voting power of the smallest poor countries. Within the International Finance Corporation (IFC), voting power for developing and transition nations reached 39.48%. The Development Committee Communiqué also highlighted that only five years from the Millennium Development Goals deadline, efforts must intensify to reach the poor. The Committee also adopted a transformative agenda in the Synthesis Paper-New World, New World Bank Group, to guide action in the coming years. Links to further information 2010 spring meetings Development Committee communiqué IFC voice reform IBRD voice reform
Energy Ministers of the Americas Work on Energy and Climate Partnership

16 April 2010: Energy Ministers of the Americas met in Washington, DC, US, on 15-16 April 2010, under the auspices of the US Department of Energy, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Organization of American States (OAS) to work on a framework for an “Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas” (ECPA). At the meeting, IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno announced the Bank's intention to increase its financing for renewable energy and climate-related projects to $3 billion a year by 2012. The expanded lending will allow the IDB to focus on four broad areas: stepping up renewable energy investments in its poorest member countries; fostering energy integration throughout Latin America and the Caribbean; promoting energy efficiency measures across the region; and helping governments establish climate change mitigation and adaptation frameworks. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton underscored the US' commitment to help governments achieve low carbon economic growth and highlighted new initiatives that the Department of State is sponsoring under ECPA to expand energy and climate cooperation in the Americas. The Secretary also announced the expansion of ECPA climate cooperation to include future initiatives that address sustainable landscapes (forestry and land use) and adaptation. The meeting, called by US Energy Secretary Steven Chu and gathering 32 Western Hemisphere countries, aimed to deepen regional participation and commitment to ECPA and to advance the goals for the EPCA initiative, which were laid out at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in April 2009 in Trinidad and Tobago. ECPA is comprised of voluntary initiatives focused on energy efficiency, renewable energy, cleaner fossil fuels, infrastructure and energy poverty. Links to further information Meeting web site IDB press release US State Department press release

March 2010

HIGH LEVEL EVENT ON SOUTH-SOUTH COOPERATION ADOPTS BOGOTÁ STATEMENT

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

The World Trade Organization's (WTO) Trade Negotiations Committee meeting took place from 22-26 March 2010, in Geneva, Switzerland. This stocktaking week on the status of the Doha negotiations evaluated progress in negotiations on environmental goods and services (EGS). Despite slow progress in the Doha Round, Pascal Lamy, WTO Director General, noted that “everyone is still very much committed to the mandate of the Round and to its successful conclusion.” Manuel A. J. Teehankee, Chair of the WTO's Special Session of the Committee on Trade and Environment, addressed the Trade Negotiations Committee on 22 March, listing the areas that require further attention in order to complete the mandate of paragraph 31 of the Doha Declaration (trade and environment). On the relationship between existing WTO rules and trade-related measures in multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), he said conclusions fall within five main clusters: the importance of national coordination to enhance mutual support; options on how to reflect discussions in an outcome document; dispute settlement or legal principles; technical assistance to developing country members; and general principles. He indicated that further dedicated discussions will be held on these five clusters, in an effort to move to text-based negotiations. Regarding procedures for regular information exchange between MEA Secretariats and the WTO, and granting of observer status, he noted consensus exists and said text-based consultations will take place on this topic. Finally, on the liberalization of trade in EGS, he said the approach to define the universe of goods and services covered still remain open, with options ranging from adopting an agreed set of environmental goods, undertaking a request-offer process to reduce tariffs to these products, or providing concessions for goods used in environmental projects, like the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). He called on members to review what is on the table and make further specific proposals (IISD RS sources). Link to further information Statement by Manuel A. J. Teehankee, at the Trade Negotiatio..., 22 March 2010
HIGH-LEVEL DIALOGUE DISCUSSES FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT

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

A Special high-level meeting of UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), took place on 18-19 March 2010, in New York, US, under the theme “Building on Monterrey and Doha: towards achieving the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.” Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro underlined that “Now is the time,” and that together with next week's High-level Dialogue of the UN General Assembly on Financing for Development, this meeting would provide crucial inputs to the high-level review of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), scheduled to take place from 20-22 September 2010. Highlighting the particular situation of the poorest countries, including those that had been pushed by natural disasters and climate change into emergency situations not of their making, she stressed the need for coordinated, comprehensive support. Link to further information Meeting website
CIF PARTNERSHIP FORUM CONVENES IN MANILA

The Climate Investment Funds (CIF) held several back-to-back meetings from 15-19 March 2010, in Manila, the Philippines, hosted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), where plans were unveiled to mobilize some US$40 billion for country-led low carbon growth. The series of meetings included a meeting of the CIF Partnership Forum, on 18-19 March 2010, which gathered 400 participants representing governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), intergovernmental organizations, indigenous peoples and the private sector. The Forum was preceded by meetings of CIF committees and subcommittees, and a roundtable with NGOs. Links to further information IISD RS coverage of the Forum World Bank press release
GEF REPLENISHMENT NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) convened a meeting to discuss the fifth replenishment of its Trust Fund, during which participants considered replenishment options between US$3.6-4.6 billion for the period 2010-2014. Participants at the fifth meeting of the GEF Replenishment, which convened in Rome, Italy, from 9-10 March 2010, did not reach a final agreement on the replenishment level. These negotiations will continue at the next replenishment meeting to be held in Paris, France, on 7 April 2010. Other issues addressed during the meeting were policy recommendations to: enhance country ownership, including a more flexible approach for the allocation of GEF resources; and improve the efficiency of the GEF partnership, including a results-based management framework and a streamlined project cycle. Link to further information GEF-5 meeting documents
GEF STAP MEETING ADDRESSES SCIENTIFIC NEEDS ARISING FROM COPENHAGEN ACCORD

The Global Environment Facility's Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (GEF STAP) met at the International Fund for Agricultural Development's (IFAD) headquarters in Rome, Italy, from 8-10 March 2010. On 8 March, the meeting was open to representatives from GEF agencies, the GEF Secretariat, GEF Evaluation Office and Conventions, and observers from the GEF Council. Among other issues, the meeting agreed that STAP's advice should be organized into toolkits to be used by the GEF and made available to contracting parties to the conventions supported by the GEF to increase transparency regarding the GEF project cycle (IISD RS Sources). Link to further information Meeting agenda
UNITAR/UNU-IAS EXECUTIVE WORKSHOP ON NANOTECHNOLOGY AND MANUFACTURED NANOMATERIALS CONVENES

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the United Nations University, Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), convened an executive workshop on nanotechnology and manufactured nanomaterials in Tokyo, Japan on 8 March 2010. The workshop addressed the risks and benefits of nanomaterials including the potential human health and environmental risks from the production and use of manufactured nanomaterials and their applications, as well as current Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and global activities addressing the risks and benefits of manufactured nanomaterials. Link to further information UNITAR website

February 2010

WORLD BANK HOLDS CONSULTATIONS ON NEW ENVIRONMENT STRATEGY

The World Bank is undertaking a consultative process towards the adoption of its new corporate Environment Strategy. According to the Bank, the new Strategy will take into account a set of principles, realities and challenges faced in the implementation of environmental activities such as climate change and urbanization. As part of the consultation process, meetings were held during February in Spain, Antigua and Barbuda, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Kazakhstan, India, Jordan, United States, Tunisia, Nepal, Mexico, Sri Lanka, India, Afghanistan, Australia and France. The results of the consultations with stakeholders across the world will be accumulated in the new World Bank Group Environment Strategy, which is expected to be finalized by December 2010. Link to further information World Bank Environmental Strategy Consultations
WTO SPECIAL SESSION OF THE COMMITTEE ON TRADE AND ENVIRONMENT DISCUSSES ENVIRONMENTAL GOODS AND SERVICES

The World Trade Organization (WTO) held a Special Session of the Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE-SS), in Geneva, on 19 February 2010, to continue negotiations on the liberalization of environmental goods and services. The meeting saw a renewed focus on liberalizing trade in climate-friendly products, such as solar energy-related parts and components, wind and hydro-electric energy and gas-turbines, natural gas and clean-diesel vehicles, and products used in Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects. The negotiations on trade and the environment are part of the Doha Development Agenda launched at the Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha, Qatar, in November 2001. The overarching objective is to enhance the mutual support of trade and environmental policies. The negotiations focus on three main themes: the relationship between the WTO rules and multilateral environmental agreements; the collaboration between the WTO and MEA Secretariats; and the elimination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers on environmental goods and services. Links to further information WTO Negotiations on Trade and Environment “Environmental Goods Attract Renewed Engagement at WTO,” Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, 24th February 2010

January 2010

WORLD BANK, IDB AND ADB SPONSOR MEETING ON TRANSFORMING TRANSPORTATION TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), among others, co-sponsored an event titled “Transforming Transportation 2010,” which took place in Washington DC, US, on 14-15 January 2010. An event on climate, sponsored by IADB and ADB and co-organized with EMBARQ/WRI and SLoCaT, addressed the issue “Next Steps After Copenhagen” and looked at how the transport sector will be affected by, and may contribute to, the post-2012 climate change regime. Key messages from the event include that: climate change mitigation efforts need to address emissions from the transport sector in developing countries to reach global emission reduction goals; decision making in the transport sector needs to consider multiple policy objectives, not only greenhouse gas emissions, but also adaptation, and economic and social development; and, as a large and fast-growing source of carbon emissions, the transport sector should have access to financing under international climate change agreements, in order to spur mitigation activities. Link to further information Meeting website
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