IISD Reporting Services (IISD RS) Coverage
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Coverage of Selected Side Events at the First UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) of the
UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

23-27 June 2014, UNEP headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya
 
Daily Web Coverage (Click on the Following Links to See Our Daily Web Pages)
Side Events (ENBOTS) Coverage on Monday, 23 June 2014
 

First UNEA to UNEP

The following side events were covered by ENBOTS on Monday, 23 June 2014


Installation of an elephant skull at the UNEA meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, serves as a reminder to the
alarming state of illegal trade in wildlife

Sustainable Palm Oil: Generating Global Demand and Raising Market Standards

Presented by the Government of Indonesia and
the UNEP-UNESCO Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP)

 
Sri Parwati Murwani Budisusanti,
Indonesia, highlighted that standard
operating procedures for palm oil
production are already being
implemented including protection of flora
and fauna.
Bernice Adiku-Heloo, Deputy Minister of
Environment, Technology and Innovation,
Ghana, pointed to important food by-
products of the oil palm plantations, such
as palm wine, mushrooms and worms, all
delicacies in Ghana.
Elizabeth Clarke, Zoological Society of
London (ZSL), stressed that although palm
oil production is important for development,
to maximize the profits and benefits, it
needs to be done responsibly and
sustainably.
 
   

Doug Cress, GRASP Coordinator, moderated the event, which centered on sustainable palm oil production for development and biodiversity protection. 

Sri Parwati Murwani Budisusanti, Indonesia, explained initiatives to promote sustainability in palm oil. She gave examples of some of the principles, criteria and indicators relating to efforts to increase the international competiveness of Indonesian sustainable palm oil, including permit systems, plantation management strategies, and environmental management and monitoring. She also expounded on “proper criteria” to encourage compliance. Budisusanti indicated that the next aim will be to increase yields from three to four tonnes per hectare to five tonnes by 2020.

Bernice Adiku-Heloo, Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ghana, outlined that 70% of small-scale producers are women who sell their fruit to processors or in the local market. While welcoming the increase in local and foreign investment in the industry, she also lamented that palm oil production comes with social, economic and environment challenges such as poor health and safety standards, high production costs, pollution of water bodies and biodiversity destruction. To address these issues, she underscored that Ghana is embracing the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) as a tool to take palm oil production to a higher level.

Rosemary Addico, Solidaridad, spoke about the work done by the National Interpretation Task Force, in line with the revisions of RSPO’s criteria at global levels including: giving assistance to technical companies to conduct audits; seeking funding for smallholder farmers to get RSPO certification; and giving technical assistance and business advice to farmers.

Darrel Webber, RSPO, highlighted that palm oil is “one of the few crops which bring rural populations out of poverty, if done in an effective way.” He indicated that if palm oil would be taken out of the edible oil equation, the world would need 4-10 times more land to grow the other options. On improving the work of the RSPO, Webber called upon: scientific communities to provide a scientific basis for sustainable palm oil production on the ground; governments to provide information of high conservation value (HCV) areas on a landscape level; buyer countries to address procurement; and consumers to buy responsibly.

Elizabeth Clarke, ZSL, offered solutions to balancing biodiversity conservation needs and productivity of palm oil. These included: policy level strategic spatial planning; multi-stakeholder landscape planning; development of best practice guidance and tools; data analysis techniques through monitoring and management systems; and development of a transparency toolkit.

Participants discussed questions about forest conversion, including the role of secondary forests in HCV areas. Cress explained that HCV includes secondary forests. They also sought clarification on synthetic biological alternatives such as algal oil. In closing participants shared information about lessons learnt in Asia which can be passed on to Africa, and decided that “getting the framework right” is the key.

   
 
   
L-R: Doug Cress, GRASP Coordinator; Sri Parwati Murwani Budisusanti, Indonesia; Bernice Adiku-Heloo, Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ghana; Rosemary Addico, SOLIDARIDAD; Darrel Webber, RSPO; and Elizabeth Clarke, ZSL
   
 
   
More Information:

http://www.un-grasp.org

Contacts:

Douglas Cress, UNEP
douglas.cress@unep.org

   
 
Improving Air Quality in African Cities

Presented by UNEP, Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE)
 
Amb. Martin Kimani, Head of the
Permanent Mission of Kenya to UNEP,
highlighted Kenya’s commitment to
UNEP’s work on air quality.
Bahijjahtu Abubakar, Ministry of
Environment, Nigeria, encouraged the
use of economic incentives to bring local
communities to the discussion table.
Jane Akumu, UNEP DTIE, stressed that
addressing air quality is good for health,
wellbeing and economic development.
 
   
Participants from the side event listening to a presentation from Senegal
   
 
   

Silvester Kasuku, Lapsset Corridor Development Authority, Kenya, moderated the session. He said the session aimed to raise awareness of the impacts of air pollution and support the upcoming decision at UNEA to strengthen UNEP’s focus on air quality.

Referring to rapid infrastructure development in Africa, Ambassador Martin Kimani, Kenya, noted linkages between air quality and transport. He encouraged Africa to lead the air quality conversation and invited attendees to the Africa Sustainable Transport Forum in Nairobi in October 2014.

Jane Akumu, UNEP DTIE, pointed to a 2012 World Health Organization report stating that around seven million deaths occur annually due to air pollution. Identifying industry, commercial activity, transport and road dust, among others, as important sectors impacting air quality in Africa, she identified efforts to address this, including phasing out lead and minimizing sulfur in gasoline.

Bahijjahtu Abubakar, Ministry of Environment, Nigeria, emphasized air pollution challenges faced by rural women in Africa, including health and safety concerns. She introduced Nigeria’s Rural Women Energy Security Initiative to empower women and address energy security.  She pointed to the need for capacity building and education, cleaner cook stoves that use methane capture, and the need for affordable clean technologies.

Assane Diop, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Senegal, introduced the Air Quality Monitoring Centre in Dakar, including its air quality measurement stations and activities to inform the public. 

Geoffrey Wahungu, Director General, National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), Kenya, referred to a draft regulation on air quality in Kenya expected in 2014, which will prioritize tackling air pollutants, set ambient air quality tolerance limits and identify air pollutant measurement methods.   

Responding to the moderator’s invitation, John Thompson, US Department of State, introduced a US proposal on ‘Strengthening UNEP’s Role in Promoting Air Quality,’ which will be presented as a draft decision in the UNEA plenary. He recommended introducing higher prioritization of air quality issues at UNEP and working with partner organizations, and invited delegates to discuss this before it is addressed at UNEA.

Participants discussed several issues, including: methods to ensure compliance; infrastructure maintenance; the merits of rail versus road transport; communication and data sharing across Africa; economic tools to support community engagement; and the need for national and local governments to work together on air quality.

Mounkaila Goumandakoye, Director, UNEP Regional Office for Africa, closed the session underscoring the importance of air quality concerns in Africa, noting that Africa is the fastest urbanizing continent. He urged African leaders to “prepare now” and not wait for the air quality situation to escalate. 

   
 
L-R: Amb. Martin Kimani, Kenya; Silvester Kasuku, Lapsset Corridor Development Authority, Kenya; Mounkaila Goumandakoye,
Director, UNEP Regional Office for Africa; Geoffrey Wahungu, Director General, National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA),
Kenya; Assane Diop, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Senegal; Bahijjahtu Abubakar, Ministry of Environment,
Nigeria; and Jane Akumu, UNEP DTIE
 
More Information:

http://www.unep.org/ccac

Contacts:

Jane Metcalfe, UNEP
jane.metcalfe@unep.org

 
 
   
L-R: Tlou Ramaru, Ministry of Environment, South Africa; Elena Dumitru, Minister Plenipotentiary, Romania; Freya Seath, global NGO focal point in the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on SCP (10YFP); Amb. Sofie From-Emmesberger, Finland; Elliott Harris, UNEP; and Antonio Otávio Sá Ricarte, Minister Counsellor, Brazil
   
 
Elena Dumitru, Minister Plenipotentiary, Romania, said SCP can
generate green jobs, as well as preserve traditional ways of
life and encourage local production.
Elliott Harris, UNEP, noted the long history of SCP in
international agreements, from Agenda 21 in 1992 to the
2002 Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and the Rio+20
outcome in 2012.
 
   

This side event addressed the possibilities for integrating sustainable consumption and production (SCP) under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the role of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes (10YFP) as a means of implementation of the SDGs.

Elliott Harris
, UNEP, moderated the session. He highlighted the need to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, highlighting that the UN International Resource Panel has proposed possible targets for decoupling in the areas of energy, water, land use, and materials.

Elena Dumitru, Minister Plenipotentiary, Romania, shared her experience of green public procurement in Romania, where policy currently requires 5% of all public procurement to comply with green procurement standards, with further multi-year targets to be met and monitored in the future. She said this move is supporting the green markets that are emerging in Romania.

Tlou Ramaru, Ministry of Environment, South Africa, outlined the benefits of treating sustainable consumption and production (SCP) as a cross-cutting issue in the sustainable development goals (SDGs). He said that SCP targets embedded in different sectors could be mutually reinforcing, and that SCP can be a catalyst for improving societal wellbeing as well as supporting a trajectory toward resource efficiency.

Freya Seath, global NGO focal point in the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on SCP (10YFP), and representing the entrepreneurial charity BioRegional, stressed that existing targets and standards on SCP should not be undermined. She called for: implementation of Aichi target 4a on the adoption of SCP plans by 2020; adoption of a life-cycle approach on use and disposal of chemicals; green public procurement; and public education to ensure responsible levels of consumption and reduction of demand for unsustainable products and services.

Antonio Otávio Sá Ricarte, Minister Counsellor, Brazil, said the concept of decoupling represents an unfair burden on developing countries that now bear the burden of production, which developed countries did not face during their period of industrialization.

Sofie From-Emmesberger, Ambassador of Finland, agreed that developed countries and those with high material consumption should provide leadership in promoting a shift in SCP patterns. She expressed concern that contributions to the 10YFP trust fund are still insufficient, and requested UNEP to provide a fundraising strategy.

Participants raised questions about including sustainable transport in the 10YFP; financing to accelerate the transition to SCP; and promoting courses on sustainability at the undergraduate level.

A WWF representative said that achieving resource efficiency is insufficient, and that deeper structural transformation is needed to address subsidy issues and unsustainable supply chains.

A business and industry delegate agreed that regulatory elements will be needed to reinforce the directions set by the 10YFP. He noted that many companies are becoming actively engaged with all three dimensions of sustainability.

A representative of Uganda said that initial discussions of SCP had previously not gone well due to suspicion from developing countries, and stressed that financing and technology are the drivers of change.

From-Emmesberger concurred that structural change is needed to reduce environmental impacts in absolute terms.

Ricarte said that technology transfer can help ensure that new production models do not repeat the mistakes of the past.

Other comments touched on promoting SCP through regional processes, building up ‘the sharing economy,’ and the need to address the prevailing culture of consumerism. Participants discussed whether or not the concept of planetary boundaries could be the basis for the 10YFP, also mentioning the value of other concepts including ecological carrying capacity, and natural capital accounting.

Summing up, Harris noted full consensus on the value of SCP, and that it should be a standalone goal and also embodied in cross-cutting targets.
   
 
 
Sofie From-Emmesberger, Ambassador of Finland,
welcomed moves towards sustainable public
procurement and reducing food losses and waste.
 
Freya Seath called for the Sustainable Development Goals
(SDGs) to include a commitment to implement the 10YFP, and
to support national and regional programmes through
partnerships, as mandated by Rio+20.
 
 
More Information:

http://www.unep.org/10yfp/

Contacts:

Charles Arden-Clarke, 10YFP Secretariat
charles.arden-clarke@unep.org

 
Mainstreaming Poverty Reduction for an Inclusive Green Economy

Presented by UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI) and
the Partnership for Activities on Green Economy (PAGE)

 

Salifou Ouedraogo, Burkina Faso,
Minister for Environment and Sustainable
Development, underscored that his
country has taken measures to integrate
sustainable development, such as
establishing an agency for forest
products to support local communities.

 
Oyun Sanjaasuren, Minister for
Environment and Green Development,
Mongolia, welcomed the country’s
green development policy which was
approved two weeks ago.
 

Nik Sekhran, Environment and Energy Group,
UNDP, emphasized that in order to achieve
the Post-2015 sustainable development
goals, we must work differently.

 
   

The session covered initiatives that foster financial and technical support in integrating poverty eradication and environmental sustainability. Mette Wilkie, Division of Environmental Policy Implementation, UNEP, moderated the discussion.
 
Nik Sekhran, Environment and Energy Group, UN Development Programme (UNDP), pointed out challenges in dealing with poverty eradication and reversing environment decline, observing that even in countries with rising economic growth rates, “sticky poverty” still existed, with large percentages of the population still living under the poverty line. He contended that the world cannot resolve these issues by “tinkering at the margin” or working in silos, but instead must operationalize a paradigm shift in addressing environmental management. Sekhran congratulated the PEI on its pioneering of best practice, with UNEP and UNDP ‘delivering as one’ at the country level.

Laura Martin Murillo, Sustainlabour, explained that historically the labour and environmental spheres have been on opposite sides, with workers thinking they have to choose between jobs and the environment. She outlined that in Peru, instead of dealing with poverty eradication first before attending to environment concerns, they had to address both at the same time by streamlining mining, forestry, water and waste management towards sustainability.

Salifou Ouedraogo, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Burkina Faso, lamented that green economy, being a new concept, was proving difficult for people on the ground to internalize. He outlined the steps Burkina Faso has taken to integrate poverty eradication and environmental planning into sectors such as economics and finance, which included adopting these into law in 2013. He drew attention to his country’s work with Green Africa and the green economy, stating that the two areas Burkina Faso wants to focus on are tourism and water management. He called for proposals to put in place funding mechanisms for this purpose. 

Oyun Sanjaasuren, Minister for Environment and Green Development, Mongolia, introduced her country’s challenges and successes in addressing environmental problems. She asserted that as gross domestic product (GDP) has grown tenfold, Mongolia now has a responsibility to adopt green economy in various sectors. Drawing attention to global warming in Mongolia being three times that of the global average, she explained her country’s involvement in the Partnership for Activities on Green Economy (PAGE.) She called upon PAGE to transfer ‘green knowledge’, capacity and information to allow both private and public sectors to conform to green economy principles.

   
 
   
L-R: Laura Martin Murillo, Sustainlabour; Oyun Sanjaasuren, Minister for Environment and Green Development, Mongolia; Mette Wilkie, UNEP, DTIE; Salifou Ouedraogo, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Burkina Faso; Nik Sekhran, Environment and Energy Group, UNDP
   
 
More Information:

http://www.unpei.org

Contacts:

Charles Avis, UNPEI
charles.avis@unep.org

 
 
   
UNEP’s Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES), in partnership with the Center for Natural
Resources and Development and the Cologne University of Applied Science, introduced the development of its first Massive Open
Online Course (MOOC), which offers two alternative learning tracks: a four-hour track for policy makers, and a longer, 16-hour
‘expert’ track providing more in-depth instruction on the issues. Partipants also heard a video message from Sylvia Heuchemer,
Vice-President, Academic Affairs, Cologne University of Applied Science (CUAS)
   
 
Mahesh Pradhan, UNEP, presented one of the modules for the
online course
 
L-R: Mahesh Pradhan, UNEP; Neville Ash, UNEP; Lars Ribbe, Center for Natural Resources and Development,
CUAS, Germany; and Keith Alverson, UNEP
 
More Information:


http://www.unep.org/training/programmes/gupes.asp

Contacts:

Pablo Fuentenebro, UNEP
pablo.fuentenebro@unep.org

 
 
 
 
Funding for coverage of UNEA-1 has been provided by UNEP
 
UNEP

Related Links
UNEA-1 General Resources

*Assembly Website

*GMGSF-15 Website

*GMGSF-15 Agenda

*Statements and Recommendations by Major Groups and Stakeholders to UNEA-1

*GMGSF Previous Sessions

*GMGSF Website

*UNEA-1 Full Schedule

*UNEA-1 Scenario Note

*UNEA-1 Annotated Agenda

*UNEA-1 Organization

*UNEA-1 Documents

*High-level Segment Ministerial Plenary: The Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals including Sustainable Consumption and Production

*High-level Segment Ministerial Dialogue on Illegal Trade in Wildlife

*Symposium on Environmental Rule of Law

*Symposium on Financing a Green Economy

*Gender Forum


IISD RS Resources

*IISD RS coverage of the First meeting of the UNEP Open-Ended Committee of Permanent Representatives (OECPR), 24-28 March 2014, UNEP headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya

bulletIISD RS coverage of the Twenty-seventh Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC27/GMEF), 18-22 February 2013, UNEP headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya

bulletIISD RS briefing note of GMGSF-14, 16-17 February 2013, UNEP headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya (HTML - PDF)

bulletIISD RS coverage of the Twelfth Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council (GCSS-12/GMEF), 20-22 February 2012, UNEP headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya

*IISD RS archive of sustainable development meetings

*IISD RS summary report of GMGSF-13, 18-19 February 2012, UNEP headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya (HTML - PDF)

*SDG - A mailing list for news on sustainable development policy

*Sustainable Development Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of International Activities Preparing for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development

*SDG - A mailing list focused on internationally-relevant activities related to setting the post-2015 development agenda

*Sustainable Development Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Post-2015 Development Agenda Activities

*Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin on the side (ENBOTS) © <enb@iisd.org> is a special publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). This issue has been written by Resson Kantai Duff, Jennifer Lenhart, and Delia Paul. The Digital Editor is Francis Dejon. The Editor is Liz Willetts <liz@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Funding for coverage of selected side events at UNEA-1 has been provided by UNEP. The opinions expressed in ENBOTS are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and funders. Excerpts from ENBOTS may be used in non-commercial publications only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>. Electronic versions of issues of ENBOTS from UNEA-1 can be found on the Linkages website at <http://www.iisd.ca/unep/unea/unea1/enbots/>. The ENBOTS team at UNEA-1 can be contacted by e-mail at <delia@iisd.org>.
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