#5 Sargassum Webinar
On 10th June 2021, the UNEP’s Global Partnership on Nutrients Management (GPNM) and UNEP’s Science Division in collaboration with Cartagena Convention, Abidjan convention, IOC UNESCO and other country representatives organized the Fifth Sargassum webinar, entitled “The Sargassum Challenge: Opportunities for collaboration between West Africa and the Wider Caribbean Region”.
This webinar, which was the fifth and last of the series, focused on exploring opportunities for collaboration between West Africa and the Wider Caribbean region on tackling the Sargassum influx. Notably, in 2018, the Caribbean witnessed the largest macro algae bloom recorded in history, an 8, 850 km long mass extending from the central Atlantic and Caribbean Sea to West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico. Belts of Sargassum, circulated by ocean currents, regularly wash ashore in these regions, where they rot on the beaches which is detrimental to people, ecosystems and economies
Over 545 registered for this webinar, with 250 participating in the 2-hour long interactive webinar. Discussions included, amongst others, opportunities for collaboration on Sargassum science, assessment and monitoring, mainstreaming Sargassum policy at the regional and global levels and the launch of Sargassum White Paper for the Caribbean.
Photo credit: Karen Parker
The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October – 12 November 2021. The COP26 summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
On 27-29 April 2021 the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) supported the British High Commission in Colombo and the Government of Sri Lanka in organizing a virtual pre-COP26 event: Nitrogen for Climate and Green Recovery. This included launching the #NitrogenforNetZero initiative which seeks to mobilize action on nitrogen for climate in preparation for COP-26. Leticia Carvalho, Head of UNEP's Marine and Freshwater Branch participated in the opening session of this pre-COP26 event.
Pre - UN Food Systems Summit
In September 2021, UN Secretary-General António Guterres will convene a Food Systems Summit as part of the Decade of Action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Summit will help establish the future direction for food systems in our world and inspire action to help all people get there. With only 10 years remaining, many of the 17 SDGs remain far out of reach.
The Summit process will draw on the best evidence, ideas, and experiences from around the world to inform new, more sustainable directions for food systems. 2021 Food Systems Pre-Summit is organized on 26-28 July 2021 in Rome, Italy. The Global Partnership on Nutrients Management (GPNM) will jointly organize an affiliated event on 28th July entitled: Sustainable Nitrogen Management for Sustainable Food Systems. More information available Here.
Background pic credits: WBCSD news articles
UNEP Foresight Briefs
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) launched its 24th edition of UNEP’s Foresight Brief focusing on floating sargassum seaweed and aims to support the sargassum paradigm shift from a ‘brown tide’ hazard to a ‘golden jewel’ opportunity.
Ongoing research shows that the Sargassum seaweed itself is not harmful; floating Sargassum at sea is beneficial as a unique habitat. However, it is the mass stranding of Sargassum on coastlines and ensuing decomposition that is highly detrimental, to people, ecosystems, and economies.
Notably, in 2021, an estimated 5.1 and 4.6 million metric tonnes of Sargassum have been observed in the tropical Atlantic in January and February respectively with a stark increase to 10.1 million metric tonnes in March.
This clearly shows the importance of conservation and restoration of our oceans and its entire ecosystem – as highlighted during 2021 World Environment Day on 5 June, under the theme of “Ecosystem Restoration” and the 2021 World Oceans Day on 8 June, under the theme “The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods”
Tessa Goverse is the new Chief of Pollution-free Ecosystems Unit with the Marine and Freshwater Branch, effective 1 June 2021. The Unit was formerly named Global Programme of Action (GPA). Tessa joined UNEP in 2000 as part of the Global Environment Outlook team, further served in a number of roles throughout her twenty years of career in UNEP. Before her appointment to her new role, she served as Coordinator of the Chemicals, Waste and Air Quality sub-programme.
Habib El-Habr retires from UNEP after 32 years of service. Prior to his retirement, Habib was the Coordinator, Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land Based Activities (GPA) from June 2016 - April 2021. Before then, he worked as a senior officer in various positions within UNEP.
Lydiah Jwan joined the GPA team in May 2021 as an intern. She will be supporting the Global Partnership on Nutrients Management (GPNM) for the next six (6) months. Currently enrolled at the African Leadership University, she hopes to graduate in the coming few months with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and Trade with a concentration on environmental sustainability. Welcome to the team, Lydiah!
Jinrui Wang joined the GPA team in April 2021 as an intern. She will be supporting the Global Partnership on Nutrients Management (GPNM) for the next six (6) months. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Translation and Interpretation and two Master’s degrees - a) Master’s degree in Translation and; b) Master’s degree in Public Administration. Welcome to the team, Jinrui!