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Third Quarter 2018 ACP MEAS programme

The following newsletter provides quarterly updates on the programme on Capacity building related to multilateral environment agreements in African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries (the ACP MEAs Programme). With a focus on institutional and national capacity building for the synergistic implementation of certain MEAs, the programme combats biodiversity loss and promotes the sound management of chemicals and waste.

Coordinated globally by UN Environment, the programme is possible through a partnership between the European Commission and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States Secretariat (ACP Secretariat) and the regional hubs: the African Union Commission (AUC, Africa Hub), the Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM, Caribbean Hub), and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP, Pacific Hub), as well as global implementing partner, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), along with select NGOs and collaborating centers.

This past quarter, the programme delivered on a number of capacity building efforts. In the African region, the focus was on strengthening the national policy architecture by sensitizing stakeholders on integrating biodiversity into national planning in Sudan, developing a national strategy to manage persistent organic pollutants in Burkina Faso, and revising the strategy on integrated management of waste and hazardous chemicals in Zambia. Technical support was provided through CARICOM, the Caribbean Hub of the programme, for the development of the treaty on conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction. And in the Pacific, aside from launching the national environment management strategy in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, empowering Pacific media to share ocean stories, providing environmental impact assessment training in Tuvalu, the Pacific Hub held a major event in Samoa to reflect on the successes, experiences and lessons learnt in the four-year duration of the programme.

Africa Hub

Sensitization of stakeholders for the integration of biodiversity into national planning processes in Sudan

More than 90% of the area of Sudan is classified as desert and semi-desert, with an ever-increasing rate of desertification caused by climatic and anthropogenic pressures. Sudan’s biodiversity is particularly threatened by the unique set of human pressures such as civil conflict, over-grazing, and environmental pressures including drought, especially in the semi-desert and savanna ecological zones.

It is in this context that ACP MEAs is currently supporting the General Secretariat of the Sudan National Biodiversity Council to increase the uptake of biodiversity issues in national planning processes. A sensitization workshop was held for stakeholders on August 13 and 14, 2018 at the National Assembly of Sudan in Khartoum. The event saw the participation of government officials and Parliamentarians, and an especially strong engagement from Sudan’s Minister of Environment, Dr. Hassan Abdelgader Hilal.

Participants at the sensitization workshop held on 13 and 14 August, 2018. Photo Credit: AUC

Development of a strategy to manage persistent organic pollutants in Burkina Faso

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) – toxic chemicals emerging from human industrial processes – have been particularly threatening to humans and wildlife in a number of African countries. Their impacts on the environment are noticeable but given the many and varied socio-economic development needs, strategies for the sound management of POPs remain a low priority.

It is in this context that ACP MEAs has been supporting Burkina Faso – through its Ministry of Environment, Green Economy and Climate Change – in developing a strategy that reflects the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to use of POPs and how they can be effectively managed. It is expected that a comprehensive national strategy for integrated management of POPs in Burkina Faso, that provides new guidelines for their environmentally sound management, will be in place in the coming months.

Participants at the meeting held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Photo Credit: AUC

A pre-validation workshop was held on the 14th September 2018 in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, with about 20 participants in attendance to consider the contents of the draft report on the National Integrated Management Strategy. A thorough analysis of the current situation regarding the use of POPs was undertaken, the outfitters, sources, distribution mechanisms, potential users and the nature of these products was identified, and an analysis of the current mechanism of coordination of the structures involved in the management of persistent organic pollutant was undertaken. At the workshop, a draft national strategy for the management of persistent organic pollutants in Burkina Faso was presented and the validation of the completed strategy is planned to be held at the end of October 2018.

Review and update of a strategy for integrated management of waste and hazardous chemicals in Zambia

Zambia, like many other African countries faces a range of environmental problems among which includes, poor waste management, especially in urban settings. In 2004, a National Waste Management Strategy was prepared to address waste management needs for Zambia. However, the strategy requires updating and revision to respond to Zambia’s current waste management needs as well as a strengthening of the existing institutional and policy framework(s) in Zambia.

ACP MEAs through its Africa Hub is currently supporting the government of Zambia through the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) to review the strategy. An updated strategy is expected to be finalized by the end of November 2018. The revision is intended to strengthen institutional frameworks in the implementation of waste management in Zambia, which will ensure efficiency and quality provision of waste management services by ZEMA, lead agencies and other stakeholders.

Caribbean Hub

Technical support to the development of the treaty on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction

From 30 July to 1 August, 2018, the Second Caribbean Community Regional Workshop on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction took place in Belize City, Belize. The workshop was attended by CARICOM negotiators based in New York and experts from the capitals of CARICOM countries. The Caribbean Hub’s interim Project Coordinator participated as a technical expert.

The workshop was intended as a primer for the first substantive session of the intergovernmental conference (IGC) to elaborate the text of an international legally binding instrument (ILBI) under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). The IGC, which was held from 3-17 September 2018 in New York, supported the development of the new instrument to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction in keeping with the purposes and objectives of UNCLOS.

The Belize workshop discussed the following topics:

  • Marine genetic resources including questions on sharing of benefits
  • Measures such as area-based management tools, including marine protected areas
  • Environmental impact assessments and
  • Capacity building and the transfer of marine technology

One of the key objectives of the ACP MEAs programme is to strengthen institutional and technical capacity in the region. And thus, through this engagement, the Caribbean Hub Programme Coordinator will continue to deliver technical support on behalf of CARICOM on BBNJ issues, particularly in the area of marine genetic resources.

Pacific Hub

Pacific Hub meets to share successes, experiences and lessons learnt

The Pacific Hub held a two-day regional meeting of representatives from 12 Pacific island countries to share success stories, experiences, lessons learnt and results of the ACP MEAs programme as its second phase nears its end. The meeting was held on the 17th and 18th of September, 2018, at the SPREP headquarter in Apia, Samoa.

From Left to Right: Mr Sefanaia Nawadra, Head, Pacific Sub-regional Office, UN Environment, Honorable Fiame Naomi Mata’afa, Deputy Prime Minister of Samoa, Dr Vicky Hall, Officer-in-Charge, SPREP, Ms. Easter Galuvao, Director, Environmental Monitoring and Governance, SPREP. Photo credit: SPREP

Over 20 regional participants traveled to the ACP MEA's Pacific Hub at SPREP headquarters to review key results and exchange information and experiences on achievements of the ACP MEAs programme on effective engagement at Conference of Parties for various multilateral environmental agreements (MEA COP meetings); strengthening environmental policies and legislation including ways to improve compliance and enforcement; the value of undertaking a State of Environment Reporting to inform planning and decision making including environmental policies and strategies; and using the Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment processes to support sustainable development planning and integration of environmental considerations in key development sectors. The Pacific Voyage was acknowledged as an effective vehicle for raising the profile of the Pacific through the ACP MEAs programme particularly at MEA COP meetings.

In her opening remarks, the Deputy Prime Minister of the Independent State of Samoa said “Using the Blue Pacific narrative that the Leaders endorsed at their meeting in Samoa last year, you would be well placed to build on and strengthen the successes of the European Commission-funded ACP MEAs programme and Inform project to deliver on national and regional priorities”.

The Pacific Hub meeting was held jointly with the review meeting of the UNEP-GEF Inform Project, a project which the ACP MEAs programme contributed substantially by leveraging GEF funding to build capacity on MEA reporting. The two projects are executed by SPREP and delivered jointly as the two complement each other. Tonga Director of Environment, Ms. Lupe Matoto have attended the preparatory COP meetings and have made contributions to key COP decisions and resolutions through the Pacific Voyage platform, “The one Pacific voice approach is an effective coordination mechanism to amplify Pacific voices to raise our issues and make meaningful interventions.” Read full story here.

Empowering Pacific media to share our ocean stories

A series of ocean toolkits for Pacific media developed by SPREP were launched on the 24th July, 2018 in Suva, Fiji, in the margins of the Workshop on Strengthening Media Capacity on Climate change Reporting in the Pacific. The toolkit aims to raise awareness and understanding of media journalists on ocean and related issues particularly in the context of the Pacific, which has the world’s largest ocean covering nearly one third of the earth’s surface.

“The media is crucial in terms of passing information and raising awareness about the causes of climate change or pollution and what can be done about it. These issues can be complex, that’s why it’s useful to have these types of tools with Pacific perspectives,” said Mr Christoph Wagner, Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union for the Pacific, at the launch of Our Pacific Ocean, Our Stories media tool kit. The resource is aimed to promote to the media, written stories on our oceans to highlight this vast and valuable resource supporting biodiversity, and addressing climate change issues. Read full story here.

Launch of National Environment Management Strategy for the Republic of the Marshall Islands

A soft launch of the Republic of Marshall Island’s National Environmental Management Strategy (NEMS) 2017 – 2022 was held in the margins of the Inform project inception meeting in Majuro in August. NEMS is a commitment by the Republic of the Marshall Islands to conserve and improve its environment for current and future generations, promote sustainable development and integrate environment conservation and the proper governance of development efforts. SPREP’s contribution in the formulation of RMI’s SoE Report and NEMS was made possible with funding support through the European Union- ACPMEA project implemented by UN Environment and executed by SPREP. Click here for the RMI NEMS document.

Launching the National Environment Management Strategy in the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Photo credit: SPREP

Tuvalu trained on Environment Impact Assessment process

The Tuvalu Department of Environment hosted a training workshop on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process in July and was a timely intervention as the Government of Tuvalu recently endorsed the Environment Protection Amendment Regulations 2017. The workshop was attended by representatives from Foreign Affairs, Trade, Waste Management, Health, Tourism and Labor, the private sector and NGOs. Participants were eager to see more use of the EIA process applied to new development projects across Tuvalu. The training on the EIA process for Tuvalu was supported through the ACP MEAs Programme, an initiative of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States funded by the European Union, implemented by United Nations Environment and executed SPREP.

Ongoing session at the environmental impact assessment training held in Tuvalu. Photo credit: SPREP

This newsletter has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the views, policies or official opinion of the European Commission, UN Environment or contributing organizations. For more information on ACP MEAs please contact: Mr. Mamadou Kane (Mamadou.Kane@un.org), Ms. Anjana Varma (anjana.varma@un.org)

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Anjana Varma
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All background photos are from Unsplash.com and are copyright- and royalty-free. All foreground photos used are courtesy of African Union Commission, CARICOM, and SPREP.

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