ECOSYSTEMS DIVISION OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2016 dispatch

DIRECTOR’S MESSAGE

Dear Colleagues,

First, let me wish you a Happy New Year and all the best to you and your families. I hope you had the chance to spend some time off with friends and family.

2016 was a year of incredible achievements aimed at safeguarding the world's ecosystems and the plants and animals they contain. I am thinking of the ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change and the amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase out hydroflourocarbons - a powerful greenhouse gas - agreed in Kigali , but also the strong political commitments demonstrated at the conferences of the parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and to the Convention on Biological Diversity and the designation of the largest ever protected marine areas off Hawaii and surrounding Antarctica, the initiation of the process to clean up Ogoniland in Nigeria after decades of oil spills and the exciting news that China will prohibit all domestic trade and processing of ivory by the end of 2017. UN Environment and Ecosystems Division staff have contributed in various ways to many of these by creating awareness of the need for action and we should all feel proud of this. Congratulations!

2017 opened with the new Secretary-General taking office and changing politics around the world that will give us, as an organization, plenty of new opportunities and challenges.

The UN Environment Leadership Team met last week to discuss how the Organization will tackle the challenges and take advantage of new opportunities. We discussed eight thematic areas where we think we should step up our efforts - in line with the 2030 Agenda and our Medium Term Strategy: pollution, oceans, environmental security, the urban agenda, working with faith-based organizations, green economy & finance, biodiversity and communications. There were also discussions on management, finance and partnerships, particularly with the private sector .

As a Division, we will spearhead many of these themes and I look forward to sharing our plans with you as they unfold. While 2016 saw a large number of events related to biodiversity, 2017 looks to be the year of oceans with major summits in New York and Malta. There will also be a strong focus on pollution throughout the year leading up to the UN Environment Assembly in December. In addition, we will be finalising the pans and projects for the implementation of the next Medium Term Strategy 2018-2021, so it will be a busy and exciting year.

Thank you again for all the great work in 2016 - I look forward to be working with you all in 2017!

Operations and Programme Delivery Branch (OPDB)

  • 22 legal instruments were approved with a total value of $9,138,678

UN ENVIRONMENT - World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC)

- Protected Planet Report 2016

The latest update to the Protected Planet Report 2016 shows that there are now just under 15,000 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) spread across 18.5 million square kilometres of ocean and sea. Over 13% of terrestrial waters are now protected, and dramatic progress has been made towards achieving one of the goals of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The new figures were launched at the CBD CoP13 in Cancun, alongside the launch of Protected Planet 2016. The latest in the successful Protected Planet series, this report assesses how protected areas contribute to achieving the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and relevant targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.

- PARCC West Africa project

PARCC West Africa was a full size GEF-funded project focused on the impacts of climate change on protected areas (PAs). The main objective of the project was to develop strategies and tools to increase the resilience of PAs to climate change and build capacity in the region to implement these new approaches. In the project, resilience of protected areas was defined as their ability to cope with climate change impacts in ways that maintain their essential functions and capacity for adaptation. A key aspect of protected area resilience is their capacity to retain biodiversity, which the project assessed in terms of the expected turnover of species in the future, taking into account both species biological traits and spatial distributions. On the basis of these results, systematic conservation planning systems were used to help inform conservation priorities in the design of new PAs for each of the five project countries. Furthermore, adaptation strategies and policy recommendations were developed for climate adaptation and management at the national and regional level. The results of the PARCC project have been integrated into the Protected Planet website. We are now looking into the possibilities of expanding the project into a new phase in West Africa, and at replicating the PARCC concept in other regions of the world.

- A new analysis (http://wcmc.io/AfricaOilGas) by UNEP-WCMC highlights where current and future oil and gas developments pose a potential threat to areas of biodiversity importance in Africa. This will enable governments, donors, civil society, businesses and investors to prioritise efforts to manage biodiversity, and provides insight into potential risks and opportunities associated with certain developments.

Across Africa, 20% of oil and gas contract blocks overlap with protected areas and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs). Of particular concern are the large proportions of Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) sites overlapping with existing contract blocks, as these areas represent the last refuge for species threatened with global extinction.

This analysis builds on earlier UNEP-WCMC collaborations with extractive sector industries and governments in Africa.

Marine and Coastal Ecosystems Branch

Nairobi Convention

Partnership on Science to Policy Forum, 11 – 14 October 2016, Seychelles

The Nairobi Convention in partnership with the Government of Seychelles, United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre(UNEP-WCMC), Indian Ocean Commission(IOC), Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies(IASS-Postdam), Institute of Sustainable Development and International Relations(IDDRI), German Corporation for International Cooperation(GIZ), the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development(BMZ) of Germany, and Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) organized a series of meetings running from 11-14 October 2016. The meetings included:

  1. The Partnership on Science to Policy Forum on 11-12 October 2016 that was held in Seychelles. The forum was attended by the Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Change of Seychelles, Secretary of State in charge of the Ocean, Government of Madagascar, Directors of Environment and Fisheries, representatives of research institutions and universities, senior experts, regional partners and non-governmental organizations from the Contracting Parties. The Forum discussed the terms of reference including the definition, and objectives, and discussed the operating principles, the composition and the deliverables of the platform. The workshop determined that the products of the Science Policy Platform would be subject to the Nairobi Convention process for decision making discussed at the Bureau and by the Conference of Parties. The meeting also discussed the role of science in the implementation of 2030 Agenda including the delivery of SDG14 targets, and the role and contribution of tertiary institutions.
  2. Area Based planning tools and regional cooperation for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on 13-14 October, 2016 in Seychelles. The meeting discussed the area-based planning tools that can be used in the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of the Contracting Parties to the Nairobi Convention and areas beyond national jurisdiction and developing capacity for engagement in area based planning processes. Supporting countries in the pilot region in achieving long term development objectives, such as the Sustainable Development Goals through provision of cross sectorial and regional support, the meeting also discussed the regional engagement to support action towards attaining the SDGs, in particular SDG 14.

Third negotiations meeting on the Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management, 21-24 November 2016, Zanzibar

As part of the ongoing process in the development of the Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management, the Contracting Parties to the Nairobi Convention, technical and legal experts convened in Zanzibar, Tanzania on 21-24 November 2016 to review the current status of the draft Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management. This was the third negotiations meeting on the ICZM Protocol. The delegates agreed on some of the articles of the draft protocol, however, there were articles that required further negotiations. The Nairobi Convention will hence plan for the Fourth Negotiations meeting on the Draft Protocol in 2017 to finalize all the outstanding issues in the articles discussed.

Sub-regional Training for Civil Society Organizations, November 24-26, Zanzibar

A Sub-regional Training for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on Marine Spatial Planning and Oil and Gas was organized by the Nairobi Convention in partnership with WWF- Madagascar on 24-26 November 2016 in Zanzibar. The training brought together Civil Society Organizations from the 4 countries of the Northern Mozambique Channel (NMC) Region which include: Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique and Tanzania.

Northern Mozambique Channel Meeting, November 25, Zanzibar

A meeting on the Northern Mozambique Channel was convened by the Nairobi Convention and WWF-Madagascar on 25 November 2016 in Zanzibar, Tanzania. The meeting explored the funding developed for the NMC countries through GEF national allocations and also reviewed NMC project proposal to be submitted to French Global Environmental Facility (FFEM) for consideration and funding in 2017. Further, the meeting identified a roadmap for participation of Tanzania, Madagascar, Mozambique and Seychelles at the SDG14 Technical Group preparatory meeting on 15 February 2017 in New York and the UN high level conference on SDG14 on 5-9 June 2017 in New York and planned for the launch of the first Western Indian Ocean Economy report in January 2017.

Session for Oil and Gas Experts in Western Indian Ocean (WIO), November 28-29, Zanzibar

The Nairobi Convention also organised for a short session of Oil and Gas experts in WIO on 28 -29 November in Zanzibar that held discussions on developing the ongoing agenda on environmental management for oil and gas development. The session proposed a regional oil and gas capacity building programme for the Western Indian Ocean to be approved by Contracting Parties in 2017.

The outputs of these meeting are building towards the implementation of the Strategic Action Programme for the Protection of the Western Indian Ocean from land-based sources and activities (WIOSAP) and SDG 14.

Cartagena Convention

Regional Workshop on Port Reception Facilities and Waste Management from October 5-7, 2016 in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Secretariat in collaboration with its Regional Activity Centre for the Oil Spills Protocol – RAC REMPEITC Caribe and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) convened a Regional Workshop on Port Reception Facilities and Waste Management from October 5-7, 2016 in Trinidad and Tobago. The main objective was to examine levels of compliance with the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). Several recommendations were made including follow-on steps to be undertaken in order to assist the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Wider Caribbean Region to develop a detailed proposal for implementing regional arrangements for the management of waste at ports

Intergovernmental Scientific Technical and Advisory Committee Meetings for Protocols concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (7th SPAW STAC) and Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities (3rd LBS STAC) in Miami, Florida from 31st October-4th November 2016.

The Secretariat held its bi-annual Intergovernmental Scientific Technical and Advisory Committee Meetings for Protocols concerning Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife (7th SPAW STAC) and Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities (3rd LBS STAC) in Miami, Florida from 31st October-4th November 2016. These meetings were organized with financial support from the UNDP/GEF project “CLME+: Catalysing Implementation of the Strategic Action Programme for the Sustainable Management of Shared Living Marine Resources in the Caribbean and North Brazil Shelf Large Marine Ecosystems”. Funding was also provided by the USA and the GEF Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management (CReW) project. Over 60 pollution and marine biodiversity experts met and reviewed the achievements of the pollution and marine biodiversity sub-programmes of UN Environment’s Caribbean Environment Programme for 2015-2016, identified priorities and discussed the draft work-plan and budget for the 2017-2018 biennium. The meeting documents and presentations can be accessed at: http://www.cep.unep.org/meetings/2016-meetings/3rd-lbs-stac/

Annual Conference and 25th Anniversary Exhibition held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago from October 24-28, 2016.

The GEF Caribbean Regional Fund for Wastewater Management (CReW) Project supported the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association’s Annual Conference and 25th Anniversary Exhibition held in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago from October 24-28, 2016. The Secretariat, as executing agency for the CReW project, partnered with UN Environment’s Global Programme of Action (GPA) to launch the first ever Caribbean Node for Wastewater Management during the Conference. This will provide support to the implementation of the Global Wastewater Initiative. The Conference and Exhibition brought together over 400 regional experts, policy makers, development partners and Ministers, as well as the private sector to address water, waste and wastewater challenges in the Caribbean. CWWA will host the Caribbean Node which will serve to improve coordination on wastewater management projects in the Caribbean and assist in building capacity for improving water quality, watershed management, groundwater assessment and wastewater management while promoting greater engagement of the private sector. For further information on the conference, please see the website: http://www.cwwa.net/new/index.php/cwwa-2016

Sixty-ninth (69th) Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Annual Conference in Grand Cayman; 8th to 11th November 2016.

The Secretariat participated in the Sixty-ninth (69th) Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Annual Conference in Grand Cayman from 8th to 11th November 2016. Biodiversity and Pollution Programme Officers delivered presentations on marine litter, research priorities for pollution, Marine Protected Areas, Sargassum and information management. Two sargassum related events were held during the Conference. The first was a meeting among coastal managers, researchers, representatives of NGOs and the fisheries sector. The second was a technical session that provided the latest information on the origin of the sargassum influx, genetic properties of the algal species and fauna, as well as predictions of future landing areas. The presentations of the technical session are accessible at: http://www.car-spaw-rac.org/?GCFI-69th-session,697

Technical Fact Sheets on the work of the Caribbean Environment Programme are now available in Spanish and French. These include information on Solid Waste, Marine Litter, Wastewater and Land-Based Sources of Marine Pollution. They can be downloaded at: http://www.cep.unep.org/factsheets/

Visit of Mr.Erik Solheim, Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Environment, November 30, Jamaica

The Secretariat welcomed the visit of Mr.Erik Solheim, Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Environment and high level officials of the Government of Jamaica including: Honourable Daryl Vaz, Minister without portfolio, Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and Ambassador Marcia Gilbert-Roberts, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade to the opening of the UN Environment Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean. At the official opening, Mr. Solheim stated that environment and economic development should be at the top of the agenda and applauded the Jamaican Government for coupling development and the economy as a single ministry. Please see press release at: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/UN-praises-Jamaica-for-marriage-of-economy--environment

Caribbean Coral Restoration Workshop, November 15-17, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

The Caribbean Coral Restoration Workshop organized by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was convened from November 15-17, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The workshop promoted collaboration and technology transfer among coral restoration practitioners/scientists and managers. A community of practice was established to address the evolving role of active coral reef ecosystems. Experiences of coral restoration projects and the inclusion of land and water-based nurseries in coral reef restoration techniques to the level of reef ecosystem recovery use were among the issues discussed.

National Wastewater Workshop, November 18-19, 2016, Curacao

The Secretariat participated in a National Wastewater Workshop held in Curacao from November 18-19, 2016 which was organized by the Government of Curaçao and the Curaçao Business Council for Sustainable Development, with support of Fundashon TAS, the Faculty of Engineering (UoC) and CaribDA. It highlighted the condition of public sewerage and wastewater treatment systems, standalone systems (residential, hotels), recycled water for agricultural use and future regulations for businesses and industry. Mr. Christopher Corbin, Programme Manager of the Pollution sub-programme was one of the featured speakers and presented on the strategies of improving wastewater management in the Caribbean. He emphasized the need to strengthen the financial sustainability of water and wastewater management utilities and explore opportunities for wastewater reuse.

2nd Forum of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean, 28 November - 1 December 2016, Tangier, Morocco

The Secretariat participated in the 2nd Forum of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean in Tangier, Morocco, from 28 November to 1 December 2016 convened by the Network of Marine Protected Areas managers in the Mediterranean (MedPAN, RAC/SPA). Over two hundred participants shared their experiences and developed a joint work program to improve, by 2020, the protection of the Mediterranean Sea. This is against the background of commitments to the 2020 targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity. One of the highpoints of the forum was the opportunity to assess the progress made over the four days and what’s left ahead according to the Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas Roadmap developed at the 2012 Forum and adopted by the Barcelona Convention in February 2016. For more information on the forum, visit: http://www.medmpaforum.org/ressources

Global Programme of Action for the Protection of Marine Environment from Land Based Activities (GPA) December 2016: Partners join forces to improve wastewater management and sanitation in Africa

The African Development Bank, in partnership with the UN Environment and GRID-Arendal, launched a three-year project on the 5 December 2016 to address poor management practices. The project will focus on the interconnectedness of wastewater streams with the provision of sanitation services and safe drinking water. Lack of adequate sanitation facilities remains a challenge for many countries in Africa, resulting in water borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid. The project is expected to result in a shift towards good practices while providing opportunities for private and public sector investment in wastewater management and safe drinking water delivery in Africa https://www.afdb.org/en/news-and-events/article/partners-join-forces-to-improve-wastewater-management-and-sanitation-in-africa-16584/

November 2016: The 43rd session of the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Pollution (GESAMP)

GESAMP is an advisory body consisting of specialized experts having the principal task of providing scientific advice on marine pollution problems to UN agencies concerned with management of the marine environment. The meeting was held from 14-18 November 2016 at UN Environment’s headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Among the issues discussed and included for future work were emerging pharmaceutical and endocrine disruptors’ from wastewater and their impact on the marine environment. The group of experts put forward a request to the wastewater programme of the GPA to develop a scoping paper on emerging issues with a focus on pharmaceutical and endocrine disruptors from wastewater for GESAMP’s consideration. Plans are underway to have this scoping paper developed; eventually the paper will be presented during the 4th Intergovernmental review of the GPA in 2017

November 2016: Wastewater: A Widespread Threat and Misused Resource

The GPA wastewater video by Jim Toomey, received honorable mention in the Ocean Issues category for the blue oceans festival (http://www.blueoceanfilmfestival.org/) in St Petersburg in Florida in November 2016. This was produced in collaboration with UN Environment – North American office. The video provides the general public with scientific information about urgent issues facing our oceans today, as well as recommended actions to address them. Animation and humor has been used to illustrate the importance of oceans to human well-being and the environment.

Link to the video http://unep.org/gpa/news/JimToomeyWastewater.asp

October 2016: Launch of the Caribbean Hub of the Global Wastewater Initiative (GW2I)

A GW2I Regional platform for the Caribbean was recently launched in Trinidad and Tobago on 27th October 2016 during the High Level Forum of Caribbean Ministers responsible for Water (HLF) held on an annual basis. The platform, the second for the GW2I, is being hosted by the Caribbean water and wastewater association; it is already working to support further GW2I agenda in the region.

7th International Nitrogen Initiative Conference (INI2016), 5-8 December 2016, Melbourne, Australia.

The meeting was under the theme ‘Solution to improve nitrogen use efficiency for the world’ with over 300 scientific papers and posters were presented. The overarching message from the conference was the need for countries to continue to pay close attention to the issue of excess reactive nitrogen in the environment and urgently take policy and technical measures to lessen the impact, in consideration of population projections and stressors, notably climate change. The conference culminated with the shaping and announcement of the Melbourne Declaration. At the conference the ‘Towards an international Nitrogen Management System (INMS) ‘project was launched.

The 4 year project, implemented by UN Environment and executed by the Center for Ecology and Hydrology and the INI, is supported by a grant from the Global Environment Facility to the tune of US$ 6 million, with partnership engagements valued at an estimate US$ 56 million, through joint research efforts. The Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM) will be engaged in the project through its many partners, under the aegis of UN Environment.

The 43rd session of Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Pollution (GESAMP) 14-18 November 2016, Nairobi, Kenya. The GESAMP is an advisory body consisting of specialized experts having the principal task providing scientific advice on marine pollution problems to UN agencies concerned with management of the marine environment. Representation was made on behalf of the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM), with active discussions on nutrients and their impacts on the marine environment. Emerging issues were defined and included for future work of the GESAMP, particularly as it concerns nutrient pollution and climate change influences. GESAMP agreed to consider a study on the recent Sargassum proliferation in the mid-Atlantic which would consolidate ongoing research efforts in the Caribbean and West Africa regions on the phenomenon.

The 69th Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute (GCFI) conference, 7 - 11 November 2016 in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. The conference focused on applying fishers’ knowledge and marine science to solve problems by bringing multiple users of ocean resources together to make informed and coordinated decisions. The Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM) supported a research scientist from the Oceanography Faculty of the Federal University of Para’ in Brazil to attend the event and discuss Sargassum ecology and role of land-based influences (nutrient loading) on sustaining Sargassum blooms. The session summary can be accessed here; the summary video provides insights from the researchers on the status of Sargassum science and management.

Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Branch (BESB)

GEF Biodiversity and Land Degradation Unit

Incept meeting for Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Co-benefits (SLM CCMC) project

Jointly with the Science Division, UN Environment and the Natural Resources Ecology Laboratory of Colorado State University, Biodiversity Unit organized an inception meeting and launch of the GEF funded “Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change Co-benefits (SLM CCMC)” project in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA on 29 August to 3 September 2016, The meeting provided an opportunity for the stakeholders to discuss, inform and enhance their understanding of the project, roles and responsibilities and their respective contributions to the implementation of the project. The launch was attended by the project partners including the World Bank, Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Voluntary Carbon System (VCS), World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT), Land Potential Knowledge (LandPKS) and Institut des Reserches et Developpement (IRD). The objectives of the SLM CCMC project is to create an environment which will make it easier for land management project managers to realise the climate change co-benefits of sustainable land management practices. The project builds on the successful development and implementation by UNEP of two key GEF projects: GEF Soil Organic Carbon Stocks and Change (GEFSOC) in 2002-2006 and Carbon Benefits Project (CBP) in 2008–2012.

The Restoration Initiative (TRI) – Fostering innovation and integration in support of the Bonn Challenge, GEF Global Programme led by IUCN and jointly implemented with FAO and UN Environment, Global Launch Workshop

Douala, Cameroon, October 31-November 2, 2016.

The workshop focused on developing a common vision and understanding of TRI among programme team members including representatives form 10 partner countries and the GEF Agencies. Participants were there to contribute to the development of a common vision for TRI, to increase their understanding of the program’s design and supportive elements and its approach to forest landscape restoration, and to help shape the programme’s ongoing development. The diversity of countries participating in TRI and the broad array of interventions supported present both opportunities and challenges in designing a cohesive and aligned programme. A major part of the focus of the three-day workshop was therefore to inform participants of the ways in which, operating together as a programme, the initiative will generate benefits beyond what would be expected from a series of stand-alone projects – that is, the results of TRI will be greater than the sum of its parts.

5th International Steering Committee Meeting of the GEF project Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use for Improved Human Nutrition and Well-being (BFN Project for short), jointly implemented by UN Environment and FAO

Antalya, Turkey 24-26 November 2016

The meeting focused largely on reviewing progress in achieving project objectives and delivery of outputs at the national and global level. Preliminary observations were made available by the Mid-term Review consultant on her country visits, with the evaluation helping to guide the project in its final phase. Notable achievements at the policy level reported include publishing in Brazil of Ordinance 163/2016, which defines and supports measures for the production and sale of native ‘neglected and underutilized’ species of nutritional value that recognizes the importance of socio-biodiversity, contributions by BFN Sri Lanka to the revision of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) and strides in the approval of the first ever Biodiversity Conservation Policy for Busia County, Kenya. At the global level, milestones include the development of the BFN online course on mainstreaming biodiversity to be hosted on the BFN website www.b4fn.org and the BFN Mainstreaming Toolkit launched at COP13 of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

1st Project Steering Committee meeting of the GEF Connect project: Mainstreaming biodiversity into the heart of government decision making

Cancun, Mexico, December 9 2016

All Project Steering Committee members were represented, including representation from UN Environment, GEF Secretariat, CBD, Governments of Ghana, Mozambique and Uganda, IIED and UNEP-WCMC. The main objective of the meeting was to agree on project management and implementation arrangements at national and Global levels. The Project Steering Committee (PSC) Terms of Reference were discussed and approved following some further amendments, and the composition of the PSC was agreed. The plan of activities and budget for year one was also approved by the PSC, together with an outline of the reporting requirements. The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss how any ongoing project work around mainstreaming built upon the mainstreaming work of the GEF Secretariat.

Project Development Inception Meeting of the HERD project

Jointly with IUCN and the UN Environment Biodiversity Unit organised the inception meeting of the GEF funded HERD Project (Healthy Ecosystems for Rangeland Development (HERD) in Amman, Jordan on 17-18 October 2016. The meeting provided an opportunity to discuss the proposed framework. The stakeholders presented their comparative expertise which helped to determine the roles and responsibilities of all actors and their potential contribution to the Project.

Project Launch and Inception Meeting of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Protected Area project

UN Environment Europe Office, the executing partner of the GEF funded Bosnia-Herzegovina Protected Area Project, organised the inception meeting on 4 October 2016 in Sarajevo Bosnia-Herzegovina. “Achieving Biodiversity Conservation through Creation, Effective Management and Spatial Designation of Protected Areas and Capacity Building”, shortly Bosnia-Herzegovina protected areas project will be executed jointly with Federal Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the Ministry of Spatial Planning, Construction and Ecology of Republika Srpska.

Project Launch Meeting of the Macedonia Protected Area project

Macedonia’s Biodiversity project was launched on 12 October 2016, in Skopje, Macedonia. “Achieving Biodiversity Conservation through Creation and Effective Management of Protected Areas and Mainstreaming Biodiversity into Land Use Planning”, shortly Macedonia biodiversity project has a total of 25.6 million project budget. 3.7 million of this amount is the GEF grant. The objective of the project is to support the expansion of national protected areas system and enabling capacity conditions for effective management and mainstreaming of biodiversity conservation into production landscape.

Steering Committee Meeting of the ABS India Project

The project on “Strengthening the Implementation of the Biological Diversity Act and Rules with focus on its Access Benefit Sharing” provisions deals with assessing and quantifying the economic value of biological diversity present at the local, state and national levels using appropriate methodologies to determine benefit sharing which will help in better implementation of the act and inform national decision makers on prioritizing conservation action. The Project has gained significant experience in implementation of ABS mechanism in the past three years. Some of the achievements include documentation of tradable bio-resources, economic valuation of biological resources, and piloting of ABS agreements amongst others. At the moment around 314 Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) and 258 Local Biodiversity Funds have been constituted and 56 Peoples Biodiversity Registers (PBRs) were documented and 94 ABS agreements have been signed with accessing entities. The sixth steering committee meeting was held on 21 December 2016 in New Delhi, India.

GEF ECW Pacific Islands, Nadi, Fiji, 4 -7 October 2016

SM represented UNEP GEF at the five day GEF ECW Pacific Islands held in Nadi, Fiji. It was attended by 130 delegates from the 17 countries of this constituency including also NGOs and Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and nine GEF implementing agencies. The ECW brought together GEF focal points, focal points from the main Conventions (Biodiversity, Desertification, Climate Change and Persistent Organic Pollutants), representatives from civil society, the GEF Secretariat and the GEF Implementing Agencies. It provided an opportunity for the GEF partners to discuss and review policies and procedures and to share lessons and experiences from development and implementation of GEF projects and their integration within national policy frameworks.

Inception Workshop and 1st Regional Steering Committee Meeting for the GEF Ridge to Reef Programme, Nadi, Fiji, 10-14 October, 2016

S/M represented UNEP GEF at this five day meeting organised by UNDP that is the lead GEF IA with FAO and UNEP for this programme. The meeting discussed the GEF-5 Pacific Ridge to Reef Programme goals and objectives including expected outcomes and outputs, programme structure, interlinked GEF Pacific R2R STAR projects and the GEF Pacific R2R International Waters, modality of implementation. SM also continued working with the UNEP GEF Palau FSP Project Manager and team and the GEF OFP of Palau in preparing the inception workshop and launch of the project. The UNEP GEF Palau FSP is funded under the GEF-5 R2R Programme with STAR resources. It was formerly launched on 30 October 2016.

Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, SPREP, Apia, Samoa, 15 -19 October, 2016

SM also paid a visit to SPREP to follow up in implementation of UNEP GEF. SPREP and UN Environment have an MoU between the two organizations. The visit began with a courtesy call on the Director General, Mr Kosi Latu and his Deputy Mr Roger Cornforth. Both were appreciative of this long awaited visit and expressed their keen interest to explore opportunities for a more productive and closer relationship with UN Environment. Ways on how this could be achieved were discussed starting with a planned meeting between the Director General of SPREP and the Executive Director of UN Environment Mr Eric Solheim on the margins of CBD COP 13 in Cancun, Mexico in December 2016. Strengthening links with the substantive divisions of UN Environment through regular contact with their Heads/Directors was suggested by SM. Another area explored was in strengthening collaboration in the implementation of the Strategic Priorities of the UNEP Office, the UN Environment SPREP partnership and the Samoa Pathway earlier endorsed by UN Environment Assembly, UNEA-2.

Project closure meeting: “Implementation of National Biosafety Frameworks under the Biosafety program”

In October 2016, the closure meeting of the above mentioned project took place in Lima, Peru.

The project comes to an end with important achievements that have contributed to the improvement of Peru´s Biosafety capacities. The main objective of the project was the implementation of the Cartagena protocol on Biosafety. During the past 5 years, the country had revised legal instruments, trained personnel and created technical guidelines and tools that will support the day to day activities of the national competent authorities. In addition, the project has established important cooperation agreements with other countries in the region (i.e Cuba) that will add to the sustainability of the project results.

The Thirteenth meeting of Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity; and concurrent; (iii) eighth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety; and (iv) second meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization.)

Cancun, Mexico, 2-17 December 2016

Representatives from the Biodiversity and Land Degradation GEF team were part of UN Environment delegation at the meetings and contribute to key agenda items and discussions; hold and participate in side events to share UN Environment’s knowledge and experiences gathered and to enhance the visibility of UN Environment and showcase its work; follow closely discussions on Resource mobilization and financial mechanism under the Convention and its Protocols; Raise awareness among governments, civil society and the private sector of the role of UN Environment in promoting coordination across biodiversity related conventions so that governments can meet the 2020 Global (‘Aichi’) Biodiversity Targets as efficiently and effectively as possible.

The following side events were organised or hosted jointly with other organisations by the GEF BD/LD unit:

Panel discussion: Planetary Health: Strengthening the Science policy Interface for Sustainable Development which took an in-depth look at emerging partnerships, initiatives and opportunities for engagement for integrative approaches that seeks to maximize ecosystems and human health co-benefits from the perspective of sustainable development, with reference to the UN Environment thematic report Healthy Environment, Healthy People. Contact Person for Feedback and Follow-up: Marieta Sakalian

Innovative ways of doing development for agriculture sustainably. The side event highlighted the approaches taken jointly by the GEF Secretariat, IFAD, FAO, and UN Environment within the framework of the $110 Million Integrated Approach Pilot Fostering Sustainability and Resilience for Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa to assist 12 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to respond to challenges related to food security, climate change while also dealing with the biodiversity crisis. Contact Person for Feedback and Follow-up: Marieta Sakalian

Mainstreaming biodiversity for healthy diets and nutrition showcased how Brazil, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Turkey, have worked together supported by UN Environment under the umbrella of the Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition project and the CBD Cross-Cutting Initiative on Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition to mainstream biodiversity for healthy diets and nutrition creating better enabling environments to promote biodiversity for healthier diets and the role of biodiversity for food and nutrition in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Contact Person for Feedback and Follow-up: Marieta Sakalian

Mainstreaming Biodiversity in production sectors, The side event promoted the work of UN Environment as a Global Environment Facility (GEF) Implementing Agency on mainstreaming of biodiversity into agriculture production systems in 57 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Contact Person for Feedback and Follow-up: Marieta Sakalian

CEPA Fair on Biosafety - A joint CBD/UNEP initiative on national experiences with the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety – 4 – 17 December 2016

The event contributed to the biosafety segment of the CEPA Fair and featured National/Regional Experiences on the Implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. It presented one best practice and lesson learned from each region in implementing the Cartagena Protocol, including raising awareness of and mainstreaming biosafety into other sectors over the last 10 years. Contact Person for Feedback and Follow-up: Alex Owusu-Biney

The UNEP-GEF Regional Caribbean Biosafety Project side event (15 December 2016) organized in collaboration with the University of West Indies to show case the progress, lessons learnt and best practices in the context of SIDS in taking a harmonized approach in the implementation of National Biosafety Frameworks as a direct example of implementation of the Article 14 of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Contact Person for Feedback and Follow-up: Marianela Araya

Biosafety Clearing-House III (BCH III) Inception and training on obligations workshop (11 December 2016): A project inception and a hands-on training on obligations to enhance Parties capacity to implement the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety was organised in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The meeting marked the official launch of the Project at the Global level. The Biosafety Clearing House III countries are ready to engage and participate actively starting 2017. Contact Person for Feedback and Follow-up: Alex Owusu-Biney

Strengthening Biosafety Management System in India: Sharing of Indian Experience (16 December 2016), the meeting was organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India to showcase UN Environment’s support and partnership in elaborating several technically sound tools to support biosafety decision making which can be replicated in the Asia Region. Key critical decision making tools including Guidelines on Risk Assessment: 8 Biology Documents - Papaya, Mustard, Pigeon Pea, Chickpea, Rubber, Tomato, Sorghum and Potato (the first of its kind outside the OECD) and technical monitoring tools were showcased. The Executive Secretary of the SCBD and the Director of the Law Division participated in the meeting. Contact Person for Feedback and Follow-up: Alex Owusu-Biney

OUR WORK IN THE NEWS:

A book “Community Innovations in Sustainable Land Management: lessons from the field in Africa,” that examines ways to enhance and expand community-based land management initiatives while developing a methodology to upscale that work at local and regional levels was launched at UN Environment HQ on 28 September 2016 by Mr Erik Solheim, UN Environment Executive Director. Also present at the launch were the Director of Ecosystems Division and the Chief of the Strategic Donor Partnerships and Global Funds Coordination, Corporate Services Division. The book was produced by the 4-year Stimulating Community Initiatives in Sustainable Land Management (SCI-SLM) project, and is the main output of a Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded medium-sized project that implemented pilot projects in four African countries. The project was funded under the GEF Strategic Investment Programme (SIP) which had been initiated in May 2007. The USD 2 million project was implemented through UNEP, and executed through the University of KwaZulu Natal Centre for Environment and Development in coordination with four partner countries. Individual country programmes were implemented by South Africa, Uganda, Ghana and Morocco with methodological support provided by the Centre for International Cooperation, Vreij University Amsterdam. In Ghana, the main partner was University of Development Studies; Targa Aide an NGO with links to the University of Hassan II in Morocco; Department of Environmental Affairs, Ministry of Environment & Tourism in South Africa and Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Forestry in Uganda. The book with 19 contributors and co-edited by Mohamed F. Sessay who task managed the development and implementation of the project is published by Earthscan/Routledge. Please read it at: http://unep.org/stories/Ecosystems/Communities-first.asp

The article titled “Dugong conservation project makes waves” was co-written by Task Manager Max Zieren. Popularly known as “sea cows”, dugongs are an endangered species. They feed exclusively on seagrass in shallow coastal areas of the Indo-West Pacific. The Dugong and Seagrass Conservation Project focuses on the dugong range states of Indonesia, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mozambique, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste and Vanuata. “What’s really exciting about this project is that the combines in an innovative way policy, education, conservation, research, alternative livelihood schemes – and new technology such as drones and social media – to drive changes on the dugong conservation front”, Max is quoted. Please read more on the successes of this project on http://web.unep.org/stories/story/dugong-conservation-project-makes-waves

The article “Conservation agreements help preserve Andean ecosystems”, co-written by Task Manager Robert Erath, was published on International Mountain Day. Andean ecosystems are under threat from unsustainable agricultural and rangeland management practices, fire, deforestation and overexploitation of natural resources. To overcome this challenge, Peru and Ecuador have put in place Conservation Agreements to help stem damage of the Andean region’s globally significant carbon stocks and biodiversity. This is one of the main achievements of the UN Environment – Global Environment Facility project “Multiplying environmental and carbon benefits in high Andean ecosystems”. Read more on the achievements of this project on http://web.unep.org/stories/story/conservation-agreements-help-preserve-andean-ecosystems

The article “People serve forest, forest serve people” tells the story of how some villages are to receive payments for their stewardship of community forests – an important step towards replicating this elsewhere in the country and beyond. The payments are based on new tools under development by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) that will soon be available for all FSC certified forests. It will be the first time communities will be able to claim and receive extra payments for protecting specific services and benefits provided by community forests under a new expanded forest certification system which measures and independently verifies those claims. Under the Forest Certification for Ecosystem Services (ForCES project), led by FSC in collaboration with UN Environment, 73 community forest user groups in the Charwawati Landscape are carrying out activities to enhance carbon sequestration and protect water resources. Read how the project is establishing incentives for the communities to conserve the forests at http://web.unep.org/stories/story/people-serve-forests-forests-serve-people

Task Manager Ersin Esen wrote article titled “Biodiversity management – Indian style” highlighting the outcomes of a UNEP-GEF project “Strengthening the Implementation of the Biological Diversity Act and Rules with a Focus on its Access and Benefit Sharing Provisions”. Please read it at http://web.unep.org/stories/story/biodiversity-management-indian-style

PROJECT DEVELOPMENT:

The GEF Biodiversity Land Degradation Unit has been responsible for securing US$ 8,492,863 (excluding fees and preparation grants) over the period October – December 2016. This income is divided in two sections depending on its development stage:

CEO Endorsed projects: These projects have been developed from project concepts into comprehensive project documents and / or GEF CEO endorsement requests. During the reporting period, five (5) projects have been endorsed by the GEF Secretariat, resulting in the approval of US$ 7,122,854 worth of projects. These projects are now cleared for project implementation by UN Environment as the Implementing Agency. The projects are listed below:

Ivory Coast:

Title of project: Assessment of Land Degradation Dynamic in Coffee-Cocoa production and Northern Ivory Coast to promote Sustainable Land Management practices and Carbon Stock Conservation

Objective: To maintain functionality of cocoa-coffee production zones in the central and reverse land degradation trend in northern parts of the country by creating an enabling capacity and policy environment through development of community land use plans and facilitating access to good sustainable land management practices.

GEF grant (excluding fee): US$ 1,726,027

Senegal:

Title of project: Promoting Sustainable Land Management Practices to Restore and Enhance Carbon Stocks through Adoption of Green Rural Habitat Initiatives

Objective: To support scaling up of SLM practices in land use planning and promote technology that enhance carbon stock, reduce emission either from forest destruction for services or building materials production and generate revenue for local communities through increase productivity and green jobs

GEF grant (excluding fee): US$ 1,319,635

Congo:

Title of project: Creating of Loungo Bay Marine Protected Area to Support Turtles Conservation in Congo

Objective: To ensure conservation of the marine biodiversity through participative protection of the marine turtle habitat

GEF grant (excluding fee): US$ 712,329

Guatemala:

Title of project: Strengthening and Expansion of Capacities in Biosafety that Lead to a full Implementation of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety in Guatemala

Objective: To advance the process of implementation of the Cartagena Protocol through an innovative approach that promotes a strong link between biosafety and biodiversity

GEF grant (excluding fee): US$ 1,995,000

Regional (Colombia, Mexico, Peru):

Title of project: Generating Enhanced Political Will for Natural Resource Management and Conservation

Objective: Create and strengthen conservation caucuses of Members in national congresses of Colombia, Mexico, and Peru to build political will for enhanced management of natural resources for development and conservation

GEF grant (excluding fee): US$ 1,369,863

Project Identification Forms (PIF)/Concepts approved: One project identification form has been approved and funds released for further development:

Malawi:

Title of project: Enhancing Sustainability of Protected Area Systems and Stabilizing Agro-production in Adjoining Areas through Improved Invasive Alien Species Management

Objective: To prevent new invasions and reduce the current impacts of invasive alien species (IAS) in protected areas and adjoining agro-ecosystems in Malawi

Indicative GEF grant (excluding fee and Preparation Grant): US$ 1,369,863

Ecosystem Services Economics Unit (ESEU)

Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) study in Asia

The Ecosystem Services Economics unit carried out an Inception workshop for the Economics of Land Degradation study in Asia from 14-16 November in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The workshop aims were to gather experts from the region to discuss and find approaches to carry out the ELD Asia study and report. The workshop brought together experts in the domain of Land Degradation from 15 different countries in the region. The ELD Asia report aims to assess the economics of Land Degradation Neutrality in Asian regions to design response options for Sustainable Land Management and attain selected targets under SDGs. The next steps include a stakeholder engagement workshop to share preliminary results and determine the policy questions in May 2017 and finally a launch at the UNCCD COP in September 2017

ELD study in India

As a follow up from ELD Asia the ESE unit was invited to participate in the ELD India workshop which took place on 2nd December 2016. Dr. Pushpam Kumar delivered a key note speech sharing the methodology and approach for estimating costs and benefits of sustainable soil management. He suggested an approach appropriate for Panchayat level analysis as the action of the SLM are centered around this decision making units in India. ELD India would closely work with the ELD initiative and UN Environment led ELD Asia report.

ESP Conference

ESE unit participated in the Ecosystem Services Partnership African Conference with the title Ecosystem Services for SDGs in Africa, on November 21-25 in Nairobi, Kenya 2016. The conference started off with opening remarks and keynotes from Dr. Pushpam Kumar and Prof. Judi Wakhungu.

The ESE unit also facilitated a session on Natural Capital and Macroeconomics and also developed a policy brief based on the wrapping up discussions from the last day on Enabling the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals through Ecosystem Services in Africa, which creates the link to the decision making processes and the ecosystem services research.

Soil and Science Conference

Dr. Pushpam Kumar delivered a lead speech on November 30, presenting the incentive design for the financing of sustainable soil management during the Global Soil Week, organized by ISS, Postdam and ICRAF, Nairobi.

Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) Conference

This year’s Annual Science Conference, held on 17-18 November 2016 in Nairobi, Kenya, focused on synthesizing learning across projects to answer questions related to how ecosystem services influence human well-being in different ecosystems/location and for different socio-economic groups. Dr. Pushpam Kumar delivered a key note speech emphasizing the need for an ecosystems approach and discussed the pathways to mainstream this approach in development policies of the countries with highest prevalence of poverty.

Post Conflict and Disaster Management Branch (PCDMB)

Hurricane Matthew hits Haiti

On Tuesday 4 October, Hurricane Mathew hit Haiti’s western peninsula close to the UN Environment Port Salut project office and programme activities. The disaster has caused the loss of over 1000 human lives, total or partial loss of harvests and damaged infrastructure. Aid was slow to arrive due to major access problems. The UN Secretary-General visited Haiti on 15 October and observed first-hand the level of need as well as the degrading security situation in the country. UN Environment helped in providing immediate assistance to affected populations in several ways, including support and strategic guidance on a number of fronts, supporting the restoration of water supplies, damage assessments, cash for work programmes, and transport assistance. A UN Environment Solidarity Fund has been established for staff members to support the UN Environment Haiti country team members who were materially affected by the disaster. A comprehensive quantitative Post-Disaster Environmental Assessment of the affected area is currently underway, using a combination of satellite imagery and ground-truthing. Re-programming is ongoing.

UN Environment provided immediate assistance to the people affected by the Hurricane Matthew, which hit Haiti’s western peninsula in October 2016. Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unep_dc/29604912103/in/album-72157673701273451/

#EnvConflictDay 2016

The annual International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict took place on 6 November. This year marks the 15th Anniversary of UN General Assembly resolution 56/4 creating the observance of the day. Communications efforts took place around the globe, using the hashtag #EnvConflictDay on social media. Reach through the UN Environment social media channels alone was 771,505 and engagement was 12,611. Head of UN Environment Erik Solheim and UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien made a joint statement, in addition to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s annual statement. A round up of communications related to the day can be found here.

UN Environment’s communications efforts brought to light the environmental impacts of armed conflict on #EnvConflictDay. Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unep_dc/8475416553/in/album-72157648713072909/

Afghanistan Resilience Consortium at the 2016 Brussels Conference on Afghanistan

UN Environment is a founding member of the Afghanistan Resilience Consortium (ARC) which released a position paper for the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan. The paper calls on Government and international partners to allocate greater political, technical, and financial resources to building the country’s resilience to natural hazards and climate change. Afghanistan is facing one of the world’s most serious humanitarian and environmental crises, with millions of people in need of assistance and an even greater number at risk from natural hazards and climate change. The position paper provides concrete recommendations to the Government of Afghanistan and its international partners. More information here.

Millions are at risk from natural hazards and climate change in Afghanistan. Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unep_dc/13448044553/in/datetaken-public/

Promoting gender responsive approaches to natural resource management for peacebuilding

The Joint UN Programme on Gender, Natural Resources and Peacebuilding, collaboration between UN Environment, UN Women, UN Development Programme and the UN’s Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) is now starting. The programme looks at promoting gender-responsive approaches to natural resource management for peacebuilding. The programme’s initial pilot project is taking place in North Kordofan, Sudan, where it will build communities’ capacity to manage key natural resources – acacia forest stands – in a sustainable and conflict-sensitive manner that benefits women and men equally. The multi-agency team that will be implementing the project is now in place and a signing ceremony took place in Sudan on 12 December between the partners.

Gender-responsive approaches can improve natural resource management and support peacebuilding. Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unep_dc/23645356340/

Rural Livelihoods and Climate Change in Afghanistan

Published in the lead up to the Marrakech Climate Conference (COP22), a joint publication between UN Environment, the World Food Programme, and Afghanistan’s National Environmental Protection Agency raises crucial issues about how the world’s least developed countries are experiencing climate change. The publication “Climate Change in Afghanistan: What Does it Mean for Rural Livelihoods and Food Security?” draws specific attention to the country’s agricultural base, upon which the vast majority of the population relies for daily subsistence. Millions of farmers and pastoralists are already feeling the impacts of climate change in Afghanistan. More information here.

Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction in Action

UN Environment uses field-based demonstration activities to show and document the effectiveness of ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction. Knowledge and lessons generated from the field projects are used for evidence-based advocacy to influence national, regional and global agendas on disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and sustainable development. Three interactive country-level case studies, from Afghanistan, DR Congo, and Haiti are now available. The reports feature human-interest stories, reflections from project partners, as well as short videos that provide the reader with first-hand experience of the context and project activities and impacts. This work was promoted as part of this year’s #LivetoTell campaign around the 13 October International Day of Disaster Reduction. Find out more about this work here.

UN Environment’s work on ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction was brought to light in the global campaign for the International Day of Disaster Reduction. Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unep_dc/16595821648/in/album-72157666462734406/

The Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit (JEU)

Response to Chemical hazards in Mosul in Iraq, October-December 2016

Military operations to retake Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have continued through the last months of 2016. With up to one million vulnerable people, humanitarian responders are preparing and providing humanitarian assistance. Adding to the complexity of the situation, environmental pollution from burning oil wells and industrial facilities poses risks to human health, the environment and livelihoods. At the request of OCHA Iraq, JEU put responders on the ground in touch with hazardous materials experts, providing technical advice on the best way forward for dealing with the impacts of the burning oil wells and the fire at Al-Mishraq facility. The JEU, in cooperation with UNOSAT, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNEP, OCHA and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, has since then been providing remote advice to humanitarian responders on the possible environmental and health impacts of the recent events, and is working to mobilize the deployment of environmental experts to assess the impacts and provide mitigation possibilities locally. In December 2016, an Environmental Field Advisor (EFA) was mobilized through OCHA SBPP with support of the Danish Emergency Management Agency. The tasks of the EFA were to provide advice and support to humanitarian actors on the potential health and environmental impacts of chemical threats linked to the retake of Mosul city. Additionally, the EFA was to provide advice on best way forward for reducing risk posed by such threats to humanitarian actors and the civilian population

FEAT included in European Commission exercises, October 2016

The JEU is contributing to a more effective response to natural disasters by supporting four EU-funded field exercises for emergency flood responders over the course of 2016 and 2017. The purpose of the exercises is to test civil protection mechanisms related to water emergencies, such as high capacity pumps and rescue boats. The first exercise was held in Riga, Latvia, from 27 to 30 October. JEU supported the exercise with one environmental expert, who advised on the use of FEAT 2.0 in the exercise scenario (tar pits and chemicals). As a result of the work, FEAT was included into EU Civil Protection Team (CPT) disaster management decision making process so environmental impacts from chemical releases are identified and prioritized for appropriate notification and mobilization of EU and International impact mitigation resources.

Deployment of Environmental Field Advisor to Jordan, November 2016 – April 2017

Since the beginning of the Syria crisis, Jordan has witnessed a massive influx of over one million refugees, over 80 per cent of which are living in and sharing the already scarce environmental resources with their host communities. In order to address environmental risks, the use of an Environment Marker was approved to be used as part of the Jordan Response Plan (JRP) project review. To provide technical assistance to the operationalization of the Environment Marker and develop capacity among the Sector Task Teams of the JRP, the JEU mobilized an Environmental Field Advisor (EFA) through the OCHA Stand-By Partnership Programme (SBPP) and with the support of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency. The EFA was deployed in November 2016 and will support the implementation of the response plan by identifying and mitigating environmental risks that could affect the effectiveness of the response and jeopardize long-term recovery for a period of six months.

Central Asia Seminar on Environmental Risk, November 2016

A seminar on environmental risks was organized by the Centre for Emergency Response and Disaster Risk Reduction (CEDRR), the OCHA Regional Office for Caucasus and Central Asia and the UNEP Sub-regional Office for Central Asia, with support of the JEU. The seminar was held on the base of the Regional Centre for Emergency Response and Disaster Risk Reduction, in the city of Almaty, November 22, 2016. The objectives of the seminar were to review the issues of environmental and technological risks and consider how they relate to existing national and sub-regional frameworks and projects on disaster risk reduction. Representatives of state authorities from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan responsible for technical issues of environmental safety, environmental protection and civil protection, participated in the seminar together with CEDRR experts and representatives of international organizations. An Armenian facilitator presented the use of FEAT in Armenia to his Central Asian counterparts. Seminar participants have requested UN agencies and partners to follow up on the topics of the seminar and conduct a wider regional event and FEAT training in 2017.

Disaster Waste Management Workshop, November 2016

At the initiative of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), JEU co-organized a workshop on disaster waste management (DWM) from 23-24 November 2016 in Geneva. A total of 24 participants from a broad range of organisations came together to share experiences and identify opportunities for improving management of disaster waste in disaster and crisis response. Representatives from UN agencies (UNEP, UNHCR, UNDP, WHO, OCHA, Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat), NGOs (Disaster Waste Recovery, MSF), clusters (Health, Early Recovery and Inter-Cluster Coordination), the private sector (Veolia Foundation) and senior officials from the national and municipal governments of Haiti, Nepal, Jordan and Turkey attended. The workshop concluded with identification and prioritisation of joint actions to be taken. These are aimed at improving operational coordination, strengthening preparedness, partnerships, advocacy, communications and DWM funding modalities. A proposal to establish an informal technical working group on DWM was discussed.

Interoperability Workshop for JEU Response Providers, November 2016

Key environmental emergency response partners gathered in Geneva, 28-19 November 2016, to develop practical ways of further strengthening the delivery of international assistance to countries affected by environmental disasters. Representatives of the European Commission, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States attended the meeting together with representatives of UNEP and OCHA. Follow-up activities were identified in the areas of: 1) sequencing of tools and expertise; 2) leveraging additional actors; 3) engaging local actors in response; 4) administrative rules for deployment, and, 5) strengthening preparedness. As a result of the workshop, JEU updated its Standard Operating Procedures on response, developed guidance on the functioning and sequencing of the alert process, compiled information packages for experts and committed to increase its efforts to identify regional environmental emergency expertise and organize twice-annual webinars for experts to exchange information on past missions.

Environmental Education and Training Unit (EETU)

• Marking the Paris Climate Change Agreement, 14 November 2016, Nairobi, Kenya. United Nations Environment, in partnership with the University of Nairobi, marked the entry into force of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

The student-led celebration attended by about 700) students and faculty revitalized the role of universities as living labs, centres of excellence in research and innovation to address sustainability challenges; advocated for low carbon campus development; and called for the accelerated transition to clean energy sources, all in line Kenya’s national goals in addressing climate change. More info: http://web.unep.org/training/news/unep-university-nairobi-mark-paris-climate-change-agreement.

The Relevance of Green University Networks in promoting a Sustainable Future, 14 November 2016, Marrakesh, Morocco. Held on the UNFCCC Education Thematic Day, universities from across Morocco presented examples of their contributions to sustainability including switching to solar energy, solar heating for campus swimming pools, and expanding curricula on sustainable development. UN Environment recognized the role of Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection in building sustainable, in-country capacity to address the challenges of climate change mitigation and adaptation in Morocco. The event moderated by Jacqueline McGlade, Director of the Science Division, culminated in the launch of the Morocco Green Universities Network is in line with the UNEA2/3 Resolution on environmental education, the Global Action plan on Education for Sustainable Development – of which UN Environment is a Partner, Sustainable Development Goal Target 4.7 on education for sustainable development, and Article 6 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and Articles 11 and 12 of the Paris Climate Agreement on climate change education.

Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES) Strategic Meeting, 28 – 29 November 2016, Nairobi, Kenya. Organized as a follow up to the GUPES Steering Committee Meeting, which took place at MIT, in Boston on 13 September 2016, the GUPES Strategic Planning Meeting reviewed and discussed the GUPES Priority Areas for 2017 and beyond, based on the GUPES survey and analysis carried out prior to the meeting. In addition to this, other colleagues from UN Environment were invited to join the meeting and present work relevant to GUPES. The finalised report will be disseminated to the GUPES community and focuses on elevating the role of universities as key drivers of societal change.

• Completion of the Ecosystem Approach and Systems Thinking MOOC. Following the successful launch of the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on 12 September 2016, the MOOC was officially closed on 1 December 2016. It built capacity on current and emerging issues such as fisheries’ collapse, climate change, biodiversity loss, infectious diseases, and inequitable access to resources will be among the greatest challenges of our time. The MOOC was developed in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 4, Target 4.7: education for sustainable development; and second United Nations Environment Assembly Resolution 3: Investment in human capacity for sustainable development through environmental education and training. Disseminated through the GUPES, UN Environment’s flagship programme on environmental education, the MOOC recorded over 3,117 participants from 148 countries. More info: www.environmentacademy.org/courses/

Website UN Environment Education and Training has launched a new dynamic interactive website. Please feel free to share you upcoming events for increased dissemination and collaboration. More info: http://web.unep.org/training/

UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative (PEI)

Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop explores how to raise revenues for sustainable development from resource extraction

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals requires financing from all available sources. Resource-rich countries have an opportunity to raise significant public finances to support the Sustainable Development Goals from resource extraction. However, a key challenge facing many resource-rich countries is how to mobilize and effectively use volatile revenues from resource extraction, while addressing social and environmental externalities of mining activities. In some of these countries, the fiscal regime, governance structures and capacities affect the scale and use of revenues from the sector.

The third regional workshop of the Green Fiscal Policy Network (UN Environment, International Monetary Fund and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)), “Financing for the Sustainable Development Goals: The role of fiscal reforms, revenue management and sovereign wealth funds in the extractive sector”, explored how to raise and use revenues from the extractive sector to support the Sustainable Development Goals, while reducing some of the negative environmental and social impacts of mining activities.

Attended by 50 participants, including representatives from Australia, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Norway, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Vietnam, the workshop was organized in collaboration with the UN Development Programme – UN Environment Poverty-Environment Initiative Asia-Pacific on 7-8 December 2016, in Bangkok, Thailand.

See more at: http://www.greenfiscalpolicy.org/about-the-network/2016-workshop/

Soil loss an enemy to Malawi’s development

Every year, soil erosion in Malawi reduces agricultural productivity by 6% putting less food on the table for many households. A 2011 Poverty-Environment Initiative study estimated that if soil erosion would be tackled 1.88 million people could have been lifted out of poverty between 2005 and 2015.

In an effort to determine the best approach to combat soil erosion the Government of Malawi in collaboration with the UNDP-UNEP Poverty-Environment Initiative and the Food and Agriculture Organization has undertaken a soil loss assessment to update the 1992 soil loss baseline.

The study found that the average national soil loss rates in 2014 were 29 ton per hectare per year. The soil erosion problems in the north of the country arise from the fragile and shallow soil types, lack of good soil management practices, steep slopes, and high erosive rainfall aggravated by a change in land use from natural forest to agriculture due in part to population pressure. See more at: http://unpei.org/latest-news/soil-loss-an-enemy-to-malawi%E2%80%99s-development#sthash.ioOuwSQB.dpuf

Massive soil erosion in Malawi reduces agricultural productivity by 6% per annum, study finds (Image courtesy of JICA).

Africa Regional Meeting adopts actions for new programme on the poverty-environment nexus for the Sustainable Development Goals

The Poverty-Environment Initiative of the UN Development Programme and UN Environment organized an Africa Regional meeting in Naivasha, Kenya, from 21 to 25 November 2016. The meeting brought together government representatives from ministries of finance, planning, environment and key natural resource sectors from seven countries across the region (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Rwanda.

The meeting agreed on 14 action points to further poverty-environment mainstreaming in the concerned countries, strengthen aspects of project management and prepare for the closing of the current Poverty-Environment Initiative projects and preparation of a new programme with a focus on the poverty-environment nexus for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal implementation.

The presentations and resource material from the meeting can be accessed at: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/qmqh1mskgtueh8f/AACmsc0Sr9VXtNgKCe4EfB4va?dl=0

Towards a Common Vision for Agenda 2030 in Central Asia

The Conference 'Towards a Common Vision for Agenda 2030 in Central Asia', jointly organized by UN Development Program and UN Environment has delivered a joint regional vision of action towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Representatives of the five Central Asian countries, UN Development Programme Focal Points, and regional organizations with the support of Regional Environment Center for Central Asia (CAREC), participated in the event, which was held from 2 to 4 November 2016 in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The Conference adopted a non-binding Resolution, which, inter alia, calls for cooperation in the transition to a green and a circular economy making best use of already existing regional frameworks, initiatives and programmes…in support of the transition to more environmentally friendly, inclusive growth based on gender equality and human rights.” See more at: http://unpei.org/conference-towards-a-common-vision-for-agenda-2030-in-central-asia-set-to-deliver-joint-regional-vision-of-action-towards-the-sustainable-development-goals#sthash.s2AWwEUn.dpuf

Green Economy Academy promotes social inclusion

Poverty-Environment Initiative contributed its expertise on integrated implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, gender equality and social inclusion to the 2nd edition of the Green Economy Academy, organized within the framework of the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) and hosted by the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization in Turin, Italy, from 3 to 14 October 2016. The Poverty-Environment Initiative is a PAGE partner globally and also at country level in Burkina Faso, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Peru. In his opening address to the Green Economy Academy, Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment, called for a massive shift to more inclusive economies to realize the Sustainable Development Goals. See more at: http://www.un-page.org/events/2016-green-economy-academy-3-%E2%80%93-14-october-2016-turin-italy

UNEP-International Ecosystem Management Partnership (IEMP)

Flagship Programme on Climate, Ecosystems and Livelihoods (CEL) launched at COP 22: November, 2016

Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Executive Director, UN Environment joined by several ministers and heads of UN and government agencies announced CEL during the opening ceremony of The High-Level Forum on South-South Cooperation on Climate Change at COP 22. The decade-long(2016-2025)programme aims to seize the ‘power of integration’ for the SDGs, and will be led by UNEP-IEMP. CEL is a crucial element of long-term cooperation between China and UN Environment to achieve the SDGs. Ministers such as those from Mauritania and Seychelles also extended their unstinted support to CEL.

(Photo: Ibrahim Thiaw announcing CEL in Marrakech, Morocco © Jialin He)

The High-Level Forum on South-South Cooperation on Climate Change at COP 22: November, 2016

The High-Level Forum on South-South Cooperation on Climate Change was hosted by UNEP-IEMP and Southern Climate Partnership Incubator (SCPI). It brought together top UN and government officials and ministers from more than a dozen countries. Speakers at the Forum emphasized on the growing importance of South-South cooperation for the effective implementation of SDGs and the Paris Agreement. They further commended China’s role in reinforcing and boosting SSC. EbA South received appreciation and acknowledgement in the Forum’s distinguished dialogue, particularly from ministers of the countries where the project is piloted.

(Photo: Dr Jian Liu, Director, UNEP-IEMP speaking at the ‘Keynote Session: Pragmatic South-South cooperation to build the capacity of developing countries’ © Jialin He)

Advanced Training Workshop on Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) in Arid Areas: October, 2016

The 14-day workshop was co-organized by UNEP-IEMP and the Chinese Ecosystem Research Network (CERN). Twenty-five participants from 14 developing countries attended the training workshop. It is a part of the training workshop series launched by National Development and Reform Commission of China (NDRC) for developing countries to implement the capacity building initiatives announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping at COP 21. The workshop focused on the long-term monitoring and good practices of ecosystem-based adaptation in arid and semi-arid areas, climate change vulnerability assessment and resilience building. It forged collaboration between UNEP-IEMP and Mongolia, Senegal and Pakistan in addressing dry-land management.

(Photo: Participants of the Advanced Training Workshop on Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) in Arid Areas in Beijing, China © CERN Secretariat)

Ph.D study on “Urban Green Space (UGS) Recreational Service – A Case Study of Beijing Olympic Forest Park.”: November 2016

UNEP-IEMP’s Ph.D candidate Jialin He successfully completed her doctorate on “Urban Green Space (UGS) Recreational Service – A Case Study of Beijing Olympic Forest Park.” The study was conducted from 2012 to 2016. It recommends using the proposed conceptual model as a framework to conduct UGS recreational service assessment. Such assessment will help brief the policy makers with the information on the status of UGS use, scope and ways of improvement to enable better UGS management

(Photo: Jialin He (second from right) with other team members during a survey conducted at the Beijing Olympic Park © Cao Hui)

Second phase of the study entitled ‘Valuation of Ecosystem Services in Thar Coal Field in Pakistan’: December 2016

This second phase was conducted from November 29, 2016- December 10, 2016. During the mission, a detailed assessment was undertaken in 100 households of 9 villages of block II of Thar Coal Field in Pakistan. It aimed to a) assess the determinants of households’ willingness to pay for improved water services for the valuation of provision of water b) identify and assess socio-economic activities which are significantly influenced by mining activities. This phase was a follow up of preliminary scoping study done in June early this year where the most important ecosystem services were identified and prioritized.

(Photo: Locals being interviewed in Thar Coal Field during the survey ©Hina Aslam)

Ecosystem Division mission-statement

"UN Environment’s Ecosystems Division engages with governments and other partners to develop and promote ecosystem-based solutions for sustainable development".

Celebrating Milestones

  1. Barcelona/MED great success in securing financial mobilization
  2. NOWPAP up and running with new recruitment in place and successful outcome of the IGM
  3. Milestone event between Regional Sea Programmes and the Fisheries bodies, building up momentum for enhanced collaboration and multi stakeholder engagement
  4. Ecosystem Services Economics unit played an important role providing input to the development and adoption of the Natural Capital Resolution at UNEA 2,
  5. The Economics of Land Degradation in Africa report was produced and the results were up taken by member states at AMCEN to develop the Desertification resolution for UNEA 2The ELD Asia study was started with an expert meeting in Central Asia, this work will strengthen the collaboration between ELD Initiative/ GIZ, UN Environment and UNCCD and will provide some important results for the region and the countries to feed into their attainment of the SDG target 15.3 on Land Degradation Neutrality

JANUARY – MARCH 2017

  1. January, 2017 UNEP-NFSC Bilateral Meeting, Beijing
  2. January, 2017 Global Wastewater Initiative (GW2I), steering committee meeting- Online
  3. January, 16-20 RAC REMPEITC-Caribe PPR Subcommittee on Pollution Prevention and Response, London
  4. January, 16-20 Capacity-building Workshop for the small island developing States of the Caribbean region towards achieving Aichi Biodiversity Target 9 on invasive alien species, Jamaica
  5. January 23-24 International Fertilizer Industry Association (IFA) joint agriculture meeting, Rome, Italy
  6. January 22-24 Fourth World Ocean Summit, Bali, Indonesia
  7. January, 23-27 Regional Response Team Meeting and Sub-regional IMO Environmental Sensitivity Index Map Train-the-Trainer Workshop, Puerto Rico
  8. 2/2/2017 World Wetlands Day. Theme for 2017: Wetlands for Disaster Risk Reduction.
  9. Feb 7-10 Senior Maritime Authority Meeting, followed by High-level Symposium, Bridgetown Barbados
  10. Feb 7-14 Launch of Trash Free International Pilot Project in Jamaica
  11. Feb 15-16 Joint Prepcom on UN Ocean Conference on Oceans, New York, USA
  12. Feb 15-16 February Preparatory meeting UN Conference to support the implementation of SDGs, Newyork, USA
  13. Feb 20-24 Sustainable Ocean Initiative (SOI) Capacity Building Workshop for the Wider Caribbean and Central America, Costa Rica
  14. February 22-23 IdentiPlast 2017: 13th International Conference on the Recycling and Recovery of Plastics, Vienna, Austria
  15. February 22-24 World Ocean Summit 2017, Bali, Indonesia
  16. February 26 – March 3 ASLO 2017 Ocean Sciences Meeting, Honolulu, Hawaii, US
  17. March 13-17 17th Intergovernmental Meeting and 14thConference of Parties (LBS & SPAW COPs), French Guiana
  18. March21-23 WIDECAST Annual Meeting, Curacao
  19. March 22 World Water Day- GW2I under the umbrella of UN Water is organizing the World Water Day to be held in South Africa, 22 March 2017.
  20. March 23-24 Final GloBallast Program Task Force Meeting, India

STAFF UPDATES

ARRIVALS

Jing Zhang

Jing Zhang joined DEPI's Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land Activities (GPA) marine litter unit as an intern in September 2016. He is from China, and currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Marine Conservation at the University of Miami, where he also received his Bachelor degree in Marine Affairs and Policy

Dr. Robin Bidwell

Dr. Robin Bidwell CBE joined the WCMC Board of Trustees as Chair in November 2016. Robin has a distinguished career in the private, public and non-profit sectors and was awarded a CBE in 1999 for Services to the Environment

Ms. Alessandra Lotto

Ms. Alessandra Lotto started to intern with the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit in October 2016 and will support the unit for six months. She is currently completing her master's Degree in International Relations, at Webster University Geneva. While doing her Masters, Alessandra worked as Admissions Office Assistant at the same university and, being a member of the Webster Humanitarian Association; she developed and organized several events related to Humanitarian action such as the 21st International Humanitarian Conference. Alessandra supports us on environmental emergency response and preparedness, including organizing two workshops for response providers and meetings in conjunction with the humanitarian networks and partnership week. Alessandra is from Italy and she speaks Italian, English, and French

Ms. Daniela Brum

Ms. Daniela Brum will support the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit as part of her internship for three months from January to March 2017. Daniela is a nurse (Federal University of Rio Grande, Brazil), post graduated in Public Health (Federal University of Florianopolis, Brazil), in Urgency, Emergency and Trauma (Inga College, Brazil) and finished a Joint Master’s Degree NOHA in International Humanitarian Action (University of Deusto, Spain; University of Groningen, Netherlands and Fordham University, USA) with focus on Disaster Analysis and Intervention. Prior to her engagement with JEU, she worked as coordinator and nurse for more than 8 years in public health with the Brazilian government. While doing her Masters, Daniela worked as gender-based violence in emergencies intern with UNFPA in New York. Daniela is from Brazil and speaks Portuguese, English and Spanish.

DEPARTURES

Pamela Mubuta

Pamela Mubuta is leaving the team in order to pursue new opportunities with the Executive Office. Pam has served for eight years as the Programme Assistant, where she held the entire institutional knowledge of the unit and has ensured its smooth running. Some of her highlights include the technical support towards UNEA-1 and UNEA-2, the World Environmental Education Congress 7 and 8 in Morocco and Gothenburg respectively among others. Pam is known for her kind spirit and her hard work and will be sorely missed by the entire team.

Sussy Nchogu

Sussy Nchogu leaves the Ecosystems Division after four exciting and rewarding years of service as a Monitoring and Communication Specialist. She was responsible for tracking, recording, updating and closing project implementation agreements ( legal instruments), managing the legal instruments' database; Drafting quarterly and ad hoc reports; and Providing communication support to DEPI's Programme of Work (PoW), specifically the DEPI Dispatch, now the Ecosystems Dispatch. She can be reached at snchogu@gmail.com

Ms. Xinwei Jiang, Ph.D Candidate, UNEP-IEMP has moved to Canada to pursue her further studies at Concordia University. UNEP-IEMP family wishes her all the success in her future endeavors.

Brian with his adopted buffalo at KWS Nairobi orphanage

Brian Waswala exits UN Environment to continue with his studies and wildlife conservation career after four productive and fabulous years of service as an Environmental Education and Training Specialist. He has greatly contributed to UN Environment’ educational and capacity development programmes; the Eye on Earth’s Environmental Education Special Initiative; among other environmental education agenda. Brian is a shining example of what a UN Volunteer can accomplish and we expect to see much more of him as his career continues to grow from strength to strength. He can be reached on brianmarv@gmail.com

Elizabeth Atambo

Elizabeth Atambo joins the Ecosystems Division as an intern. Her focus is nutrient pollution, sustainable development, monitoring and evaluation. Elizabeth recently completed a BSc. in Environment Resource Conservation from Kenyatta University, Kenya

Rui Zhang

Rui Zhang has left the Environmental Education team after supporting the Unit through a period of change. Rui recognized the value of partnerships for education, a trait which is reflected in the legacy she leaves behind among partners that value and respect UN Environments place in supporting education for sustainable development. One of Rui’s many achievements includes guiding the adoption of the first UNEA resolution on Environmental Education.

FAREWELL PARTY TIME !!!!

Ecosystems Division incoming and outgoing staff parties (Photo credits Anthony Sirengo,Serah and Jacob)

For any queries please contact: john.sagimo@unep.org or cristian.mazzei@unep.org

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