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December 2008


Among the 34 development-related actions put forward by the Second Committee (Economic and Financial), the UN General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted resolutions regarding the economic ramifications of climate change, and addressing the need for a more equitable international financial system and to bolster developing countries' resilience to financial risk. Resolutions related to water pollution included a resolution regarding the oil slick on Lebanese shores. By a vote, the Assembly requested that Israel compensate Lebanon and Syria for the costs of repairing the environmental damage caused by the destruction of oil storage tanks near Lebanon's Jiyah electric power plant, including restoration of the marine environment. It decided to set up a voluntary trust fund for an eastern Mediterranean oil spill restoration to support integrated, environmentally sound management of the environmental disaster resulting from the destruction. Further, the UNGA adopted a text titled “Towards the sustainable development of the Caribbean Sea for present and future generations,” calling on the UN and the international community to help Caribbean countries and regional organizations protect the sea from degradation due to pollution from ships, illegal dumping or hazardous waste, and to provide them with aid for long-term disaster relief. Link to further information UN Press Release, 19 December 2008

The conference on “Water for Agriculture and Energy in Africa: The Challenges of Climate Change,” took place in Sirte, Libya, from 15-17 December 2008. The conference was organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), as the Chair of UN Water, together with the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Government, and in collaboration with stakeholders including the African Union, the African Ministers' Council on Water Development, the African Development Bank and the Economic Commission for Africa. In preparation for the event, a series of individual Country Investment Briefs were prepared, based on short-, medium- and long-term assessments and considering investment in water control at the village level, extensive irrigation systems and major river basins, both for agriculture and for hydro-electric power generation. During the event, ministers from 53 African countries considered a “Blue Revolution” programme designed to harness Africa's largely untapped water resources for its development. The $65 billion, 20-year programme details the irrigation and hydroenergy investments required in each country in the context of climate change, which is expected to have a considerable impact on Sub-Saharan Africa. At the end of the three-day event, delegates adopted the Sirte Declaration supporting water development in order to fully exploit the potential of Africa's agriculture and energy sectors, to ensure the food security of the continent and to meet its increasing food and energy needs. Links to further information FAO Press Release, 15 December 2008 Conference Website

The 14th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP) and the fourth Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP/MOP 4), along with several subsidiary bodies, drew to a close shortly before 3:00 am on Saturday morning, 13 December 2008. The Conference, which began on 1 December 2008 in Poznan, Poland, concluded with the adoption of the COP and COP/MOP reports. In his closing speech, COP and COP/MOP President Nowicki summarized the meetings' proceedings, highlighting that delegates had been productive and provided momentum towards Copenhagen through their resolution of the legal capacity of the Adaptation Fund Board, agreement on the Poznan Strategic Programme on Technology Transfer, and progress in discussions on REDD and the LDC Fund. Nonetheless, he acknowledged disappointment over the lack of a positive outcome on the share of proceeds issue in the group considering the second review of the Protocol under Article 9. Link to further information IISD RS coverage

The European Council met in Brussels, Belgium, from 11-12 December 2008, and reached agreement on an energy and climate change package. The package was subsequently adopted on 17 December 2008, on the first reading by the European Parliament. The package seeks to lead to the implementation of the energy and climate commitments entered into by the EU in March 2007 and March 2008, especially the target of a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. In its conclusions, the European Council confirmed the EU's commitment to increasing this reduction to 30% within the framework of an ambitious and comprehensive global agreement in Copenhagen on climate change for the period after 2012, on condition that the other developed countries undertake to achieve comparable emission reductions and that the economically more advanced developing countries make a contribution commensurate with their respective responsibilities and capabilities. In March 2010, the Commission will present to the European Council a detailed analysis of the results of the December 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, including the move from a 20% to a 30% reduction. On this basis, the European Council will make an assessment of the situation, including its effects on the competitiveness of European industry and other economic sectors. The plan was welcomed by UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer as a sign of “developed countries' resolve and courage that the world has been waiting for in Poznan.” Links to further information Conclusions of the European Council European Union Press Release, 17 December 2008 UN Press release UNFCCC Press release

The 14th Senior Officials Meeting of the Environment Management Group convened on 10 December 2008, in Poznan, Poland. Participants discussed: implementation of the 2007 commitment by the Chief Executives Board on moving towards a climate-neutral UN, including the development of a Climate Neutral Knowledge Management website that will document individual agency's greenhouse gas emissions and reductions; the cost implications and budgetary modalities of purchasing carbon offsets; and future EMG work, including a possible strategic process and the strategy for implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and the 2010 biodiversity targets. Regarding the issue of a climate-neutral UN, participants discussed the significant contributions of air travel to the UN's climate footprint. They also considered the Issue Management Group on a Climate Neutral UN's agreement for a common approach on whether to use the Radiative Forcing Index as a metric. Link to further information Meeting website

Business Day convened in parallel to the 14th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Poznan, Poland, on 9 December 2008. The event was organized to facilitate dialogue between high-level business and government experts committed to reaching a positive outcome of the Bali Action Plan. Organized by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the event featured panel sessions on a shared long-term vision, mitigation, adaptation, technology, and financing and investing; a high-level session; and discussions with participants. Participants highlighted the business community's concerns and recommendations for a post-2012 framework, and brainstormed ways in which the business community could contribute to the ongoing UNFCCC discussions on this topic. Link to further information IISD RS coverage

The “Development and Climate Days at COP 14” (D&C Days) event took place in Poznan, Poland, from 6-7 December 2008. D&C Days was held in parallel with the fourteenth Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the fourth Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The event featured more than 30 speakers and numerous extended discussions and question-and-answer sessions. Over 300 participants attended the two-day meeting. D&C Days was organized by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), the RING alliance of policy research organizations, the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). The event was held in the context of a growing call for knowledge sharing on the links between climate change and development. The purpose was to provide a platform for individuals and organizations working on the issues of development and climate change to exchange experiences, share the latest science and best practices, and promote linkages between development and climate change. A film festival, showing short films relevant to the topics discussed, ran in parallel to the event. D&C Days at COP 14 facilitated discussions and information sharing among speakers and participants on the complex relationships between climate change, adaptation and development. Link to further information IISD RS Coverage

The second Forest Day event, held in Poznan, Poland, on 6 December 2008, brought together nearly 900 participants from a diverse range of forest stakeholders, academics and decision makers from around the world, to facilitate discussions on the potential to incorporate forests into climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies at both the global and national level. Taking place in parallel with the fourteenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP14) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Forest Day 2 was co-hosted by the Centre for International Forest Research (CIFOR), the Government of Poland and the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), a partnership of 14 forest-related international organizations, chaired by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Following on the positive response to the first Forest Day held on 8 December 2007, in Bali, Indonesia, during UNFCCC COP 13, Forest Day 2 considered cross-cutting themes such as: adaptation of forests to climate change; addressing forest degradation through sustainable forest management; capacity building for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD); and options for integrating REDD into the global climate regime. A drafting committee representing members of the CPF produced a summary of key messages that emerged in the course of the day, to be forwarded to the UNFCCC Secretariat. Key messages included: that climate change adaptation and mitigation are linked, particularly in the context of forests; that it is important to involve women, the poor, and indigenous peoples in the design and operation of forest-related climate change policies; and that forests provide significant co-benefits beyond carbon storage. Differing views were expressed on whether and how these benefits should be monetized and included in a potential regime for REDD. Links to further information IISD RS coverage of Forest Day 2 Forest Day 2 Homepage

On 5 December 2008, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) launched a Strategic Framework for Forests and Climate Change during a side event at the UN Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland. Since April 2008, the members of the CPF have worked to develop a strategic framework for forests and climate change. The Framework proposes a coordinated forest-sector response to the global climate change agenda. It puts forward a case for a tactical role of sustainable forest management (SFM) in achieving long-term climate change mitigation and as a robust framework for effective adaptation. It also emphasizes urgent action for adaptation and more focus on combating forest degradation through SFM, including forest conservation, rehabilitation and restoration. The Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) is an interagency mechanism of 14 international organizations and secretariats dealing with forest issues. It was established following an invitation by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). CPF supports the work of the UN Forum on Forests and the Rio Conventions and seeks to enhance collaboration and coordination on forest issues. Links to further information CPF website on forests and climate change IISD RS Coverage of the launch's side event
Financing for Development Review Conference Expresses Concern over Impact of Climate Change on Development

The International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus took place from 29 November-2 December 2008, in Doha, Qatar. The Conference heard from high-level officials representing over 160 countries, including nearly 40 Heads of State or Government. Among other issues, delegates expressed their “deep concern that the international community is now challenged by the severe impact on development of multiple, interrelated global crises and challenges, such as increased food insecurity, volatile energy and commodity prices, climate change and a global financial crisis, as well as the lack of results so far in the multilateral trade negotiations and a loss of confidence in the international economic system.” Among the outcomes of the Conference, the need to convene a UN summit on world financial structures was highlighted. The conference adopted an Outcome Document that notes new and emerging challenges to financing development, including the impact of the financial crisis and the additional costs of climate change mitigation and adaptation and damage to the earth's environment. The Document also reaffirms governments' resolve to take concerted global action to address all these areas while consistently furthering economic and human development for all. The Outcome Document also notes that “ongoing and potential responses to tackle this phenomenon have major financing for development implications and will incur substantial additional costs on all countries, thus requiring additional resource mobilization, including from the private sector, particularly for developing countries to address the challenges of climate change, in order to support appropriate national adaptation and mitigation strategies and actions.” Countries reiterated “that it is critical to address the pressing needs of developing countries, especially those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change, such as the least developed countries, small island developing States, and other affected countries in Africa.” In this regard, they urged “all parties to engage in the ongoing process in a manner that will ensure an agreed outcome commensurate with the scope and urgency of the climate change challenge.” The States parties to the Kyoto Protocol also welcomed the launching of the Adaptation Fund within the structure of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and looked forward to its early operationalization with full support. Links to further information Official website NGLS meeting website

November 2008


The 10th Global Meeting of the Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans convened from 25-27 November 2008, in Guayaquil, Ecuador, and addressed issues related to: climate change, including adaptation to climate change vulnerability and sea-level rise; preparations for the Regional Ministerial Forum on Climate Change; ecosystem management; cooperation with Multilateral Environmental Agreements; sustainable financing and legal instruments to further the implementation of the Regional Seas' work programme; and operational considerations. At the end of the meeting, delegates adopted a statement regarding climate change that recognizes that its consequences will be profound and long term. The statement underlines the need for multidisciplinary efforts to adapt to, and mitigate the impacts of, climate change on coastal and marine ecosystems, and the services they provide to human well-being. The statement further underscores the importance of collaboration and coordination among international and regional organizations, governments, civil society and the private sector. The meeting concluded that there is an urgent need to strengthen political will, secure sustained financial support, develop the necessary frameworks, and coordinate existing conventions, programmes, projects and activities to ensure effective adaptation to, and mitigation of the impacts of, climate change. The meeting also stressed the importance of incorporating climate change as a cross-cutting issue in sustainable development processes. Recognizing that the global impacts of climate change will need to be dealt with on a regional basis, participants supported the initiative of the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific to convene a high-level regional conference on climate change and its impacts on the coastal and marine environment of the Southeast Pacific. Link to further information Meeting website

The sixteenth Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum economic leaders' meeting was organized under the theme “A New Commitment to Asia-Pacific Development,” and convened in Lima, Peru, from 22-23 November 2008. The meeting concluded with the adoption of a declaration in which the economic leaders commit to enhance their cooperation to improve risk reduction and fight climate change. On disaster risk reduction, preparedness and management, the leaders agree on the need for a greater focus on disaster risk reduction, emergency preparedness and building domestic disaster management capabilities. On climate change, energy security and clean development, the leaders recognize that climate change must be addressed in a comprehensive manner, through international cooperation under the UNFCCC, and that poverty is linked to climate-vulnerability. The economic leaders also express their support to, inter alia, cooperation and capacity building for climate change mitigation and adaptation, including actions that promote the development and deployment of clean technologies. The leaders further commit to: concerted action under the UN to reach “an equitable and effective post-2012 international climate change arrangement” in Copenhagen in December 2009; and promote open energy markets and free energy trade and investment in order to develop renewable sources of energy and disseminate low emission energy technologies. Link to further information The declaration

The first meeting of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on Biodiversity and Climate Change of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) convened from 17-21 November 2008, in London, UK. The meeting focused on two key challenges: identifying the impacts of climate change on biodiversity, including recognizing vulnerable components of biodiversity; and further elaborating the positive and negative links between biodiversity and climate change mitigation. Links to further information The meeting's website CBD Executive Secretary statement

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA), in partnership with the Permanent Mission of Finland to the UN and Heinrich Böll Foundation North America, organized a workshop from 20-21 November 2008, on Gender and Climate Change Finance. The event took place at UN headquarters in New York, US, and brought together climate experts, governments, UN agencies, and civil society organizations to develop a first set of gender-based guidelines to ensure that climate change funds target women and men equitably. Given the fact that women are the most vulnerable to climate change risks due to their limited access to capital, markets, technology and decision-making, and that they have an important role to play in mitigation and adaptation to climate change, the workshop emphasized that women are emerging stakeholders in the upcoming climate negotiations. The workshop noted that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, among the Rio Conventions, is the only one that does not adequately address gender inequalities, and that this omission has been carried forward in the existing climate change finance mechanisms such as the Clean Development Mechanism and the Adaptation Fund, which have not delivered on the needs of women. The gender-based guidelines for climate financing, developed at the workshop, will be taken to the climate change negotiations in Poznan, Poland. Link to further information UNDP Newsroom, 20 November 2008

The Intergovernmental Meeting (IG) on the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia (EANET) held its tenth session in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from 20-21 November 2008. Among other items, participants discussed a draft agreement for the first instrument on a trans-boundary air pollution issue in the East Asia region. Discussions included whether the instrument should be signed or not, and the accompanying legal status and financial contributions that would follow from that decision. Participants decided to task the Working Group on Future Development (WGFD) on the Text of the Instrument to Provide a Sound Basis for Contribution to EANET to further develop the Instrument in accordance with the meeting's conclusions, and to consider and suggest any procedures necessary to obtain signatures. Link to further information Report of the Tenth Session

An African Conference of Ministers in Charge of Environment on Climate Change for Post-2012 convened from 19-20 November 2008, in Algiers, Algeria. The meeting addressed issues related to, inter alia: the Bali Action Plan; the meaning and scope of the concepts of “comparable efforts” and “shared vision” for developing countries; and the concepts of measurable, verifiable and reportable for developed and developing countries. Environment ministers from almost all of Africa's 53 nations attended, and agreed to seek to develop a common climate change position. Delegates signed an “Algiers Declaration,” which seeks to ensure that the continent's voice is heard when the post-2012 agreement is discussed. Through the Declaration, African governments called for the creation of a joint task force to forge a common position that they can bring to climate talks. In a statement to the Conference, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer stressed the need for Africa to be “tied into the international response to climate change” in relation to adaptation and mitigation. Links to further information Guardian.co.uk News Story, 23 November 2008 IISD RS background material Executive Secretary de Boer's statement

The eighth Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the twentieth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (COP-8/MOP-20) took place in Doha, Qatar, from 16-20 November 2008. At this first “paperless” meeting, parties adopted a Doha Declaration and 29 decisions, including on: ratification; compliance; destruction of ozone depleting substances (ODS); essential- and critical-use exemptions; process agents; and financial and administrative matters. The decision on the replenishment of the Multilateral Fund for the triennium 2009-2011, agreeing to replenish the fund with US$490 million, resolved a debate about the resources necessary to support the acceleration of the phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). On another of the important issues considered at COP-8/MOP-20, the destruction of ODS, delegates agreed to request: the Executive Committee of the Multilateral Fund to commence pilot projects; the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) to undertake a cost-benefit analysis taking into consideration both climate and ozone benefits; and the Secretariat to explore funding opportunities. In a related development, officials from the US, the Netherlands and Australia have offered their militaries' assistance in the collection and storage of banks of ODS. The 56th meeting of the Executive Committee of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol convened prior to COP-8/MOP-20, from 8-12 November 2008, in Doha, Qatar. The Executive Committee considered, inter alia: the status of contributions and distributions; business plans; prospects of Article 5 (developing) countries in achieving compliance with the next control measures of the Montreal Protocol; project proposals; the cost structure for determining funding levels for preparation of investment in the accelerated phase-out of HCFCs; and monitoring and evaluation. A contact group on HCFCs discussed the need for incentives for early phase-out, the calculation of closure costs, monitoring and the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism. On HCFCs, the Executive Committee decided to defer decisions on the treatment of swing plants and on the cut-off dates for the production sector. Links to further information IISD RS coverage of COP-8/MOP-20 Report of the Executive Committee meeting UN News Centre, 20 November 2008 UN New Centre, 17 November 2008

The International Conference on Water Resources and Arid Environment and the First Arab Water Forum took place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from 16-19 November 2008. Participants discussed: water resources; water conservation; climate change and its impact on water resources and arid environments; utilization of new technologies in the study of arid environments and their natural resources; the advancement of Arab water policy towards development; and management of water crises in the Arab world. In his inaugural speech, Prince Khalid bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz pointed to the possibility that terrorism targets water resources and called for a water summit similar to the world economic summits. Links to further information Conference website Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia Press Release, 16 November 2008 Saudi Press Agency, 16 November 2008

More than 800 participants from more than 50 states, provinces and countries convened at the Governors' Global Climate Summit from 18-19 November 2008, in Los Angeles, California, US. The Summit sought to help US and international leaders develop cooperative partnerships and promote the collaborative actions needed to combat climate change, and to influence the position their national governments take in the next global agreement on climate change. The summit also featured more than 30 clean-tech companies displaying innovative green technologies including electric cars, solar-powered flashlights and non-toxic cleaning products during the two-day Climate Solutions Showcase. US President-elect Obama delivered a surprise video message to the Summit, promising that his Administration would “engage vigorously” in the climate change negotiations to develop an agreement for the post-2012 period. Richard Kinley, Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, highlighted the role that action at the state level has in contributing to national governments' ability to commit to, and implement, international emission targets and agreements. Links to further information Summit website US President-elect Obama's statement UNFCCC Deputy Executive Secretary Kinley's statement

The International Conference on Mountain Biodiversity, held from 16-18 November 2008 in Khumalatar, Lalitpur, in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal, was hosted by the regional centre International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), in cooperation with IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas, WWF-Nepal, Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment and UNESCO's Man and Biosphere Programme. The Conference discussed ways to fill the lack of systematic data regarding change in the Himalayan region, in order to develop a reliable picture of the present situation, and formulate approaches to respond. Participants also tackled the problems of biodiversity conservation by looking at how climate change is affecting mountain biodiversity, how biodiversity can best be managed for economic goods and ecosystem services from the mountains, and how to achieve long-term continuity in mountain research programmes from the many different organizations involved. The Conference was accompanied by two pre-conference workshops on Mountain Transboundary Protected Areas (10-14 November 2008), and Linking Geodata with Biodiversity Information (15-16 November 2008), and a post-conference workshop on a Research Strategy on Global Change in Mountain Biosphere Reserves (19 November 2008). Links to further information ICIMOD press release, 16 November 2008 ICIMOD press release, 17 November 2008 ICIMOD press release, 19 November 2008 ICIMOD press release, 20 November 2008 Message by the CBD Executive Secretary

The 2008 International Research Conference on Methyl Bromide Alternatives and Emissions Reduction is being held from 11-14 November 2008 in Orlando, US. The annual conference seeks to support the exchange of information on methyl bromide alternatives, and includes posters presented by researchers assessing the viability of a variety of methyl bromide alternatives in both pre- and post-harvest uses. Methyl bromide is an agrictultural chemical that has been largely phased out under the Montreal Protocol. Links to further information Conference website Landscape Management article, 4 November 2008

The Global Indigenous Peoples Consultation on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) convened from 12-14 November 2008, in Baguio City, the Philippines. The consultation was organized by Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education), the UN University Institute of Advanced Studies Traditional Knowledge Initiative, the UN REDD Programme and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat. Participants adopted a global indigenous peoples strategy on reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. The strategy makes reference to a number of overarching principles, including a human-rights approach to all REDD activities, and the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples. With regard to international processes and organizations, recommendations address: coordinating and sharing information with the UN agencies, specialized bodies and initiatives that are considered relevant for implementing action on climate change and indigenous peoples; recognizing the close links between traditional knowledge, biodiversity and climate change, and ensuring close cooperation and more synergy between the CBD and UNFCCC on traditional knowledge and climate change, supporting the establishment of a working group on local-level adaptation with the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples; and establishing a working group/expert body on traditional knowledge and climate change under the joint liaison group of the CBD/UNFCCC/UNCCD. It is also recommended that the UN-REDD programme and other funders develop compliance guidelines, as well as a grievance and recourse mechanism, to ensure that indigenous peoples' rights are observed at the national and international levels. Links to further information The report of the meeting CBD Executive Secretary statement

A workshop addressing the theme “Air Quality and Climate Change: scaling up win-win solutions for Asia” has convened in Bangkok, Thailand, from 12-14 November 2008. Organized by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, the Pollution Control Department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand, and the CAI-Asia Center, in cooperation with the Asian Development Bank, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, the event brought together over 1000 participants. The workshop sought to generate a consensus on how Asian cities can take a more active part in climate change mitigation by adopting a co-benefits approach that integrates urban air quality management activities, energy management and climate change mitigation activities. Links to further information Workshop website IISD RS coverage

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council reelected Monique Barbut as CEO during its biannual meeting, which took place from 11-13 November 2008, in Washington DC, US. Countries also accepted an offer by Uruguay to host the Fourth GEF Assembly in Punta del Este, during the first half of 2010. Among other issues, Council Members approved a “Strategic Program to Scale up the Level of Investment in the Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies,” and projects amounting to US$201.17 million. Donors and recipients participated in initial discussions on the fifth GEF replenishment. The Council also requested the GEF Secretariat and others to present steps to improve the resource allocation framework (RAF) design and indices for the climate change and biodiversity focal areas for GEF-5, and to present scenarios for possible expansion of the RAF to all focal areas for GEF-5 for consideration at the next Council meeting. The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF) and Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF) Council met on 13 November, and Council members were informed of the status of these funds, with pledges for the SCCF amounting to US$106.57 million, and for the LDCF amounting to US$172.44 million. They also approved an approach to monitor performance and outputs, outcomes and impacts of both funds. The meetings were preceded by an NGO consultation on 10 November 2008. Links to further information Council meeting and documents GEF Press Release, 14 November 2008

The high-level conference on “Climate Change: Technology Development and Technology Transfer,” which took place in Beijing, China, from 7-8 November 2008, was co-hosted by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and supported by the UN Foundation. The event brought together over 600 participants including 30 ministerial officials and four UN agency heads, and aimed to promote international technology development and transfer, as well as the negotiation process of the “Bali Roadmap.” In particular, the Conference focused on: the current status and development potential of energy and other climate-related technologies; the current status and trends in technology transfer; barriers to technology transfer; and policy options and possible new mechanisms to enhance international cooperation and technology transfer to developing countries under the UNFCCC. At the end of the Conference, participants adopted the Beijing Declaration, calling for strengthened international cooperation and improved technology transfer to tackle climate change. Another outcome of the Conference is a Chair's Summary for input to the 14th Conference of Parties of the UNFCCC to be held in Poznan, Poland, in December 2008. Links to further information Conference Aide-Mémoire Beijing High Level Conference on Climate Change UN Secretary-General's Statement

The International Conference on “The European Forest-Based Sector: Bio-Responses to Address New Climate and Energy Challenges?” took place from 6-8 November 2008, in Nancy, France. The conference was held under the auspices of the French Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, with the support of the European Commission. It was organized by Ecofor, France. Participants addressed the role of the forest-based sector in light of climate change and the impending energy crisis. The Conference aimed to provide policy makers with objective information regarding the role of the forest-based sector in relation to the physical processes of the carbon cycle, the competition between wood and other materials, and the energy market. Three themes were addressed: forests as carbon sinks; wood-based products: carbon storage and energy conservation; and the forest-based sector – source of renewable energy. During the conference, participants discussed the latest scientific developments in the forest-based sector and options for policy development. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), along with the EU Member States Defense Environment Network, the US Department of Defense, the Institute for Environmental Security, the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Institute for Defense Analysis, and the Environment and Security Initiative, co-sponsored a meeting from 3-5 November 2008 in Paris, France, on “The Importance of Military Organizations in Protecting the Climate: 2008.” The conference, which is the fifth in a series that began in 1991, sought to, inter alia: highlight lessons from the Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer; present military and commercial case studies of climate leadership; discuss progress and challenges in the field; and work towards engaging the military community in mitigating climate change. Participants also considered the importance of cooperation for climate and security, the role of accurate greenhouse gas accounting and specific technologies that can be utilized to reduce emissions. Links to further information International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enfor..., 3 November 2008 Your Defence News, 31 October 2008

October 2008


In a speech delivered in late October at the University of Philippines, in Manila, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon indicated that his “most immediate concern” was that the financial crisis could “eclipse the global effort to address climate change.” He noted that, while developing countries face the same pressures as the US and Europe, they lack the resources to tackle the crisis. To address the global food, energy and financial crises as well as the threat of climate change, he stressed the need to “act in global solidarity” and “take international cooperation to new levels.” The Secretary-General's comments preceded the holding of an Interactive Panel of the UNGA on the Global Financial Crisis, which was held at UN Headquarters on 30 October 2008. The event included keynote presentations from Joseph Stiglitz and a number of other economists, as well as speeches from Member States. Links to further information Secretary-General's speech, 29 October 2008 The Interactive Panel of the UNGA on the Global Financial Cr...

The Second Committee (Economic and Financial issues) of the 63rd UN General Assembly (UNGA) has recently considered a variety of topics related to sustainable development, including climate change, desertification, biodiversity and human settlements. On 28 October 2008, the Committee considered the report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of the Outcome of the UN Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) and strengthening of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) (document A/63/291). The report outlines how the medium-term strategic and institutional plan for 2008-2013 addresses the adaptation and mitigation challenges of climate change in the context of urban development and planning. Discussions in the Second Committee focused, among other issues, on the role of housing finance in the current economic crisis, the need to implement the Habitat Agenda given rapid urbanization. The previous day, on 27 October, the Committee began its general discussion on sustainable development, discussing issues relating to climate change, biodiversity and desertification. Speakers underscored the opportunity to make commitments given the economic and climate imperatives. The discussions were informed by the Secretary-General's note on Implementation of UN environmental conventions, transmitting the reports submitted by the secretariats of the UNFCCC, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (Document A/63/294). The document reports on the work of the UN Climate Change Conference, which took place in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2007, and its follow-up. The Report recommends that the UNGA: take note of the report of the UNFCCC Executive Secretary and the outcomes of COP13 and the third session of the COP to the Convention serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol; pledge its support to the negotiating processes established by the Bali road map; and invite the Executive Secretary to continue to report to it on the work of the Conference. In his report on implementing the UNCCD, the Secretary-General recommends that UNGA underline the importance of the Convention when addressing climate change issues, and envisages that the post-Kyoto arrangement should account for land's potential as a carbon storage reservoir, as well as in mitigating the effects of climate change and strengthening the resilience of affected developing countries. The report outlines actions aimed at delivery of the joint strategic objectives of the three Rio Conventions, namely: raising public awareness; creating capacities; contributing to the improvement of the global environment; and fostering strong scientific backing for sustainable policies derived from their implementation. Links to further information UNGA Press Release, 28 October 2008 Report of the Secretary-General on Habitat II Conference, 14 August 2008 UN Press Release, 27 October 2008 Note by the Secretary-General on the Implementation of UN en..., 15 August 2008

The EU and 24 Asian States have signed a declaration urging agreement on an international framework on climate change at the Copenhagen negotiations in December 2009. The Beijing Declaration on Sustainable Development was agreed and signed during the Seventh Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), held from 24-25 October in Beijing, China. ASEM was launched in 1996 to strengthen “interaction and mutual understanding between the two regions.” The Beijing Declaration states that “developed countries should continue to show strong leadership and take measurable, reportable and verifiable nationally appropriate mitigation commitments, including quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives, including through sectoral approach, where appropriate, as a tool to implement them, and provide financial support and technology transfer to developing countries.” For developing countries, the declaration states that they should take “nationally appropriate mitigation actions in the context of sustainable development, supported and enabled by technology, financing and capacity-building, in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner, with a view to achieving a deviation from business as usual emissions.” The declaration also contains several paragraphs dealing with the Millennium Development Goals and with social cohesion. Links to further information Beijing Declaration on Sustainable Development – official te..., 27 October 2008 Chair's Statement from the meeting, 25 October 2008 EurActiv News Report, 27 October 2008

The Executive Board of the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) has held its 43rd meeting. The Board, which met from 22-24 October 2008, in Santiago, Chile, finalized recommendations on regional distribution of CDM activities. These will be taken up at the Fourth Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, which is taking place in Poznan, Poland, in December. The Board also considered issues relating to afforestation and reforestation projects, the programme of activities under the CDM, registration of new projects, issuance of credits and the CDM registry, and the CDM management plan and resources. Links to further information CLIMATE-L.ORG news report, 25 October 2008 Official CDM Executive Board website, October 2008
Conference Considers Cities' Climate Adaptation

Mayors and senior officials from 36 of the world's largest cities gathered from 22-24 October 2008, in Tokyo, Japan, for talks on how to fight global warming in the latest meeting of the so-called C40 climate initiative. The C40 Large Cities Climate Leadership Group, established in 2005 by London's then mayor Ken Livingstone, includes leaders from the 40 largest cities in the world dedicated to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is estimated that cities worldwide are responsible for 75% of all carbon dioxide emissions. Participants heard a keynote presentation by Martin Parry, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group II Chair, and engaged in a symposium on “The growing threat of climate change and adaptation measures for a low carbon city,” moderated by Takejiro Sueyoshi, Special Advisor to the UNEP Finance Initiative. In his opening remarks, Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara said that the climate change talks during the Group of Eight rich nations Summit in July 2008 in Japan, which called for halving global carbon emissions by 2050, could have achieved more. Toronto Mayor David Miller highlighted the vulnerability of cities and pointed to the so-called ‘urban heat island effect,' in which populated areas heat up in the summer. Participants then engaged in five sessions on: sustainable adaptation measures for temperature rise in cities; adaptation measures for water shortage and deteriorating water source quality from climate change; adaptation measures for the increasing threat of flood and natural disaster from climate change; food problems caused by climate change; and further issues needing adaptation measures. The next Summit is scheduled to take place in Seoul, Korea, from 18-21 May 2009, around the theme “Cities' Achievements and Challenges in the Fight against Climate Change.” Links to further information CLIMATE-L.ORG news report, 25 October 2008 Official meeting website, October 2008

Delegates from 45 countries met in Rome, Italy, from 20-24 October 2008, to discuss collaboration on sustainable forest management issues during the first European Forest Week (EFW), held in conjunction with the joint meeting of the Sixty-sixth session of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Timber Council and Thirty-fourth session of the FAO European Forestry Commission. A variety of stakeholders shared perspectives and solutions to global challenges relating to forests and climate change, energy and water, covering aspects such as improving forest law enforcement and governance in the European neighborhood policy, the new forest policy of the Russian Federation, gender and forestry, the role of wood products in climate change mitigation, and adaptation of forest trees to climate change. At the conclusion of the European Forest Week, the joint meeting adopted its report and annexes reflecting the Chairs' summaries of the discussions on the central themes. The meeting also adopted the Joint Timber Committee and European Forestry Commission Market Statement reflecting the outcome of the market discussions. Concurrent to the events in Rome, over 100 EFW events were organized in 30 countries across Europe, including a one-day conference of the European Economic and Social Committee held in Brussels, Belgium. The European Forest Week was held in fulfillment of a Ministerial Statement adopted by the fifth Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe in Warsaw in November 2007, which declared 20-24 October 2008 the Pan-European Forest Week 2008. Links to further information IISDRS coverage of the meeting European Forest Week Website

From 23-24 October 2008, 51 countries met in Madrid, Spain, at the final preparatory conference for the foundation of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Participants finalized discussions on the Statute of IRENA, as well as on procedures and criteria for selecting IRENA's interim Director-General and interim headquarters, paving the way for IRENA's founding conference, to be held on 26 January 2009, in Bonn, Germany. A Preparatory Commission was established as an interim body of IRENA. Its first meeting will be held on 27 January, the day after the founding conference. Participants at the final preparatory conference also expressed general agreement on the scope of IRENA's initial activities. The work programme will be further developed between the Founding Conference and the second meeting of the Preparatory Commission in June 2009. Emphasis will be placed on providing, upon request, policy advice for national governments, and facilitating technology transfer and capacity building. The agency will work in close coordination with other related international organizations. Link to further information IRENA website

The ninth Regional Consultation Mechanism (RCM) meeting of UN agencies and organizations working in Africa convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 21-22 October 2008. The meeting was co-Chaired by UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro, who warned that the global financial crisis, compounded by food shortages and the effects of climate change, could “derail Africa's prospects” of attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). She underlined that all the global challenges faced by Africa are intertwined and that efforts to address climate change and food security are integral parts of achieving the MDGs. Migiro called on all UN agencies and organizations working in Africa in support of the African Union to work together and coherently at all levels to seek common solutions to these challenges. The participating organizations concluded that there is a “strong need for coordinated UN-wide support in the area of capacity building of the key players in the continent, including at the levels of African Union Commission, Regional Economic Communities, NEPAD Secretariat, and other African organizations.” They called on all RCM clusters to work collectively to assist all stakeholders to build capacity, and to support efforts to enhance the relationships between the UN and African regional and subregional organizations, and to strengthen the RCM Secretariat based at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Links to further information ECA Press Release, 24 October 2008 RCM website Deputy Secretary-General's Statement, 21 October 2008

The Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, the President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and the President of South Africa, Kgalema Petrus Motlanthe, met in New Delhi, India, on 15 October 2008, for the 3rd Summit of the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) Dialogue Forum. The Delhi Summit Declaration addresses a variety of global issues, including the Millennium Development Goals, sustainable development, climate change and food security. On biodiversity, the leaders stressed the importance of a timely and successful conclusion of the ongoing negotiations of a legally binding international regime on access to genetic resources and sharing of the benefits derived from their use and from associated traditional knowledge (ABS). They reaffirmed the urgent need for an adequate legal framework at the international level to prevent biopiracy, ensure that national rules and regulations on ABS are fully respected across borders and recognize the value of biological resources and of traditional knowledge as an additional tool to promote sustainable development. They recognized the positive role of the IBSA Forum in enhancing the coordination within the Group of Like Minded Megadiverse Countries, of which the three countries are members, in the context of ABS negotiations. The 4th IBSA Summit will be held in Brazil on 8 October 2009. Link to further information India's Ministry of External Affairs Press Release, 15 October 2008

More than 40 environment ministers and high-level representatives held talks in Warsaw, Poland, from 13-14 October 2008, to prepare for the 14th Conference of the Parties (COP14) to the UNFCCC, scheduled to take place in December 2008 in Poznan, Poland. Maciej Nowicki, Minister of Environment of Poland and future COP14 President, chaired the meeting, during which participants underscored that Poznan will be a milestone for the new global climate agreement and agreed that the current financial crisis should not hinder efforts to tackle climate change. Discussions focused on progress achieved so far according to Bali Action Plan, and the development of a long-term common vision of cooperation on climate change. It was also agreed that during COP14's high level segment, round tables of ministers and heads of delegation would take place to develop a long-term vision for climate protection. Based on these consultations, Nowicki's negotiating strategy for COP14 will be prepared. Link to further information COP14 News Release, 14 October 2008

The annual meetings of the Boards of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank took place from 11-13 October 2008, in Washington DC, US. Finance ministers from developing and industrialized nations attended the event, which was preceded by a meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) and the Development Committee. The IMFC and seminars during the week addressed the responses to the current economic crisis, as well as the challenges posed by higher food and fuel prices. In the Development Committee's communiqué, finance ministers cautioned that due to the current financial crisis, “Developing and transition countries - many of them already hit hard by current high prices for energy and essential foodstuffs - risk very serious setbacks to their efforts to improve the lives of their populations from any prolonged tightening of credit or sustained global slowdown. The poorest and most vulnerable groups risk the most serious – and in some cases permanent – damage.” The Joint IMF and World Bank Development Committee issued a communiqué supporting the World Bank's stronger role in helping countries deal with the causes and effects of climate change, as well as the recent launch of the new Climate Investment Funds, including a Clean Technology Fund and a Strategic Climate Fund. In particular, finance ministers re-emphasized the primacy of the UNFCCC negotiation process, and “taking account of the Bali Action Plan,” encouraged the World Bank to support climate actions in country-led development processes in a holistic manner, and to “customize support to climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts, as well as capacity building needs, in its member countries.” Regarding funds to address climate change, they encouraged the World Bank to “strengthen its resource mobilization efforts, including facilitating access to additional concessional financing, ensuring complementarity with other financing mechanisms (notably the Global Environment Facility and the Adaptation Fund), supporting the development of market-based financing mechanisms, leveraging private sector resources, and seizing opportunities for innovation.” Ministers also encouraged the World Bank to give increased attention to mobilizing resources for adaptation and play an active role in supporting the development and deployment of clean and climate resilient technologies, and facilitating relevant R&D and technology transfer. Link to further information IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings 2008

The international Conference on “Competitive Cities and Climate Change,” organized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), took place from 9-10 October 2008, in Milan, Italy. The event provided the opportunity for mayors from some of the world's most important and influential cities to both address common challenges and share best practices on climate solutions. During discussions, mayors outlined how market-based systems could save energy, reduce greenhouse gases, and provide “green jobs.” They focused on the relationship between urbanization and climate change, and the implications of climate change for urban policy making, in particular in relation to competitiveness objectives. Link to further information OECD Press Release

The Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four (G24) addressed climate change issues, among others, in the International Monetary Affairs and Development Communiqué developed by ministers during their eightieth meeting, which convened in Washington DC, US, on 10 October 2008. The Communiqué indicates that “Ministers recognized that climate change is a global challenge that requires the widest possible cooperation amongst all countries to reach an effective and appropriate international response, based on common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.” Ministers welcomed the adoption of the Strategic Framework on Development and Climate Change, which articulates the World Bank Group's response to the development challenges posed by climate change, and urged the World Bank Group to give special attention to adaptation to climate variability, mobilizing incremental resources and financing stand-alone adaptation projects. They stressed that provision of additional resources is critical in particular to finance the difference between climate-friendly and least-cost project options. They emphasized that the Bank should play a proactive and prominent role in all aspects related to technology, including on collaborative research on technology development and support of economically viable technologies. Ministers also underscored that promoting energy efficiency through better domestic incentives and country-led strategies represents a “low hanging fruit” and a win-win approach to enhancing energy access while reducing emissions. Link to further information IMF News Report, 10 October 2008

European countries met from 9-10 October 2008, in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova, to discuss practical ways to reduce the impacts of natural hazards through strengthened collaboration among the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) National Meteorological and Hydrological Services and disaster risk management institutions. The meeting was hosted by the Republic of Moldova and organized by the WMO, with the support of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UN/ISDR), the World Bank through the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, and the Group on Earth Observations. The regional conference brought together senior government officials and representatives of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations as well as private entities. The meeting is expected to contribute to international deliberations on disaster risk reduction, notably the third World Climate Conference, to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 31 August to 4 September 2009. Link to further information WMO Press Release, 9 October 2008

A high-level debate on the merits of the Kyoto Protocol's flexible mechanisms and carbon taxes convened at Columbia University in New York, US, on 9 October 2008, under the theme, “The Kyoto Mechanisms: Key to Combating Climate Change?” Much of the two-hour event involved a discussion between Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. These two key speakers and other experts debated the merits of the Kyoto mechanisms and carbon taxes in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Each offered differing prescriptions for where the policy focus might best be placed. While Sachs favored a “simpler” approach focused on taxing upstream sources of fossil fuels, de Boer put market-based mechanisms at the heart of a global approach, while stressing that a mix of policies would be required. The aim of the discussion was to help focus attention on market-based mechanisms, carbon taxes and other policies and measures being considered by policy makers and negotiators working to establish a framework to address climate change. The goal for completing negotiations on a new international climate change agreement is December 2009, when delegates will gather for a major UN conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. The event at Columbia University was organized by the Earth Institute and the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). Link to further information IISD RS coverage

Climate change and human health experts discussed health risks from climate change at a meeting in Madrid, Spain, from 6-8 October 2008, and agreed on a research agenda for the topic. The research plan was developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) with input from researchers in the field, and makes note of five priority research areas: interactions of climate change with other health-related determinants and trends; direct and indirect climate impacts on human health; effectiveness of various strategies to contend with climate-related health impacts; health implications of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies; and means to enhance public health systems. Link to further information WHO Press Release

September 2008


Pascal Lamy, World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General, addressed the 2008 WTO Public Forum, highlighting that “trade opening in environmental goods and services, in particular in climate-friendly technology, can make vital pollution prevention and reduction equipment more accessible to countries in need; thereby easing the climate crisis.” The 2008 WTO Public Forum under the theme “Trading into the Future” met on 25-26 September 2008, and provided an opportunity for civil society to present its views to the WTO and discuss how the trading system may incorporate the needs and aspirations of the international community. A session on mutual supportiveness of trade, climate change and development objectives was moderated by Fiona Harvey, Financial Times, and included Pascal Lamy as a speaker. Climate change was also addressed in a panel organized by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) on “Climate Change, Competitiveness and Trade Policy: Opportunities and Challenges for the Future of the Multilateral Trading System.” Link to further information WTO Public Session Programme, Audio and Documents

The Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, a project of former US President Clinton's William J. Clinton Foundation, closed with the announcement that 250 new commitments had been unveiled during the 23-26 September 2008 meeting, valued at US$8 billion. This meeting, which convened in New York, US, parallel to the opening of the UN General Assembly debate, convened discussions on four themes: education; energy and environment; global health; and poverty alleviation. The 2008 pledges are expected to result in, among other actions: the avoidance of the emission of 44 million metric tons of carbon dioxide; the generation of enough clean energy to power the equivalent of seven million US homes; and the distribution of over one billion liters of safe drinking water. Link to further information Clinton Global Initiative Press Release, 26 September 2008

The Executive Board of the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) held its 42nd meeting in Bonn, Germany, from 24-26 September 2008. The Board took up a range of issues, including accreditation of operational entities, methodological issues, and registration of CDM project activities. Five projects were not approved, and a considerable number of other project applications will be required to be resubmitted in order to demonstrate their “additionality” – the requirement that projects would not have happened under a business-as-usual scenario. Link to further information CDM Executive Board webpage, October 2008 IISD sources

Forest leaders gathered after a seven-month global dialogue to highlight the central role of sustainable forest management (SFM) in combating climate change. The meeting, which convened under the auspices of the World Bank and The Forests Dialogue, met on 17-18 September 2008, and agreed on a set of principles for SFM that will be presented at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona in October 2008, and to the 14th session of the UNFCCC in Poznan, Poland, in December. More than 100 leaders and participants from governments, international institutions, the conservation community, indigenous peoples' groups, forest owners' associations, research agencies, and the private sector, participated in the meeting. Links to further information World Bank Press Release, 17 December 2008 The Forest Dialogue meeting materials

The Africa Commission has held a one-day event on economic and employment issues in the context of climate change. The “Thematic Conference on Employment and Economic Growth: The Challenge of Climate Change,” took place in Nairobi, Kenya, on 18 September 2008. The event was one of a series of meetings initiated by the Danish Government's Africa Commission. The meeting featured plenary discussions and five working groups, which considered: water resources; food security and agricultural productivity; adaptation to climate change in urban areas; economic development and clean energy; and avoiding deforestation. The meeting included some discussions on negotiations under the UNFCCC. The Danish Government will be hosting the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference in December 2009, which is the deadline for the completion of negotiations on an international framework for the post-2012 period. Link to further information IISD RS coverage

Statements have recently been posted from the gathering of forest stakeholders in Washington, DC, US, on 16-17 September 2008, to agree on a new set of principles for sustainable forest management and its central role in combating climate change. The meeting followed seven months of global dialogue with stakeholders, and was convened under the auspices of the World Bank and The Forests Dialogue, of which the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) is a founding member. Link to further information The Forest Dialogue Statements

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) met for its 29th session from 31 August to 4 September 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland. The event marked the IPCC's 20th anniversary, which was commemorated with a high-level event, on 31 August, attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other senior officials. During the 29th session, participants re-elected Rajendra Pachauri as IPCC Chair, and also elected a new IPCC Bureau and Bureau of the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. These elections raised some questions about the Rules of Procedure. In addition to the elections, participants continued discussions on the future of the IPCC, agreed to create a scholarship for young climate change scientists from developing countries with the funds of the Nobel Peace Prize, and asked the Bureau to consider a scoping meeting on disaster risk reduction. Link to further information IISDRS coverage

August 2008


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has marked its 20th anniversary with a high-level event in Geneva, Switzerland. The event, which took place on 31 August 2008, was attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other senior officials. The IPCC is meeting for its 29th session from 31 August to 4 September 2008. Participants are discussing several agenda items, including the IPCC's programme and budget for 2009-2011, use of funds from the Nobel Peace Prize, election of its Bureau and Task Force Bureau, various procedural matters, future IPCC activities and planning for the 5th Assessment Cycle, outreach and matters relating to the UNFCCC. Link to further information IISDRS coverage

An International Symposium on Climate Change and Food Security in South Asia, co-sponsored by Ohio State University, the World Meteorological Organization, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP), the University of Dhaka and the Government of Bangladesh, convened from 25-30 August 2008, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Participants adopted a declaration and recommendations towards minimizing short- and long-term vulnerability of the South Asian region to climate change. The declaration recognizes that agriculture is both suffering from and contributing to climate change and recalls that small-scale subsistence farming is particularly vulnerable to impacts of climate change. Recommendations include: creating a Climate Change and Food Security in South Asia Network and establishing a South Asia Climate Outlook Forum; stimulating multi-disciplinary research and identifying effective mitigation and adaptation options; strengthening cooperation among academic and research institutions, international organizations and NGOs to boost human resource development and capacity building; exploring innovative financial mechanisms to scale up support for adaptation efforts; promoting mitigation and adaptation through payments for ecosystem services such as carbon trading; and strengthening regional mechanisms for implementation of location-specific adaptation and mitigation practices. The declaration further urges development partners and the private sector to fund programs that reflect these recommendations and advance food security in South Asia. Links to further information The symposium website International Herald Tribune, 30 August 2008 UN News Centre, 25 August 2008

Limited progress has been reported from the latest round of UN climate change negotiations. The talks, which were held in Accra, Ghana, from 21-27 August 2008, involved the third session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA 3) and the first part of the sixth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (AWG-KP 6). The Accra talks were part of an ongoing series of meetings leading up to Copenhagen in December 2009.The next major round of talks in this process will take place in December 2008, in Poznan, Poland. The main focus of AWG-LCA 3 in Accra was to continue to exchange ideas and clarify key elements of the Bali Action Plan (decision 1/CP.13), including on a “shared vision for long-term cooperative action,” as well as on mitigation, adaptation, technology and finance. Two in-session workshops were held on cooperative sectoral approaches and sector-specific actions and policy approaches, and on “policy incentives on issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.” The AWG-KP focused on the means for Annex I countries to reach emission reduction targets, with delegates addressing the flexible mechanisms and land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF). The Accra talks resulted in the adoption of conclusions on long-term cooperative action and on the 2009 work programme under the AWG-LCA. Parties also adopted conclusions on spillover effects, LULUCF, the flexible mechanisms, methodological issues, greenhouse gases, sectors and source categories, and means to reach emission reduction targets under the AWG-KP. Parties agreed to compile ideas and proposals on the elements contained in paragraph 1 of the Bali Action Plan for discussion in Poznan. While the talks in Accra were generally viewed as having moved discussions forward, one report suggested that progress had been somewhat limited, and some environmental groups urged a faster pace to future discussions. Links to further information IISDRS coverage Associated Press news story, 28 August 2008 Reuters Africa news story, 27 August 2008 Greenpeace press release on Accra talks, 27 August 2008 Friends of the Earth International updates on REDD discussio..., August 2008

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Secretariat met with Ministers from West African Countries on 25-26 August 2008, in Cotonou, Benin, to develop a regional programme for climate change and biodiversity that provides a more efficient use of resources from the GEF's Resource Allocation Framework (RAF). The proposed programme places a particular emphasis on improving access to energy under the climate change focal area. In her presentation to the meeting, GEF CEO Monique Barbut explained that priority projects will address: energy access for disadvantaged people and rural dwellers; development of mini-hydroelectric dams; development of micro-enterprises to provide energy services; promotion of new and renewable energies; better use of biomass and solar power; and encouraging suitable and appropriate biofuels. Subject to confirmation by countries in the region, GEF funds in the range of US$30-35 million would be earmarked under the proposed energy programme for West Africa, with expected cofinancing in the range of US$80-100 million. Link to further information Ministerial Consultations in Benin

July 2008

Montreal Protocol's 28th OEWG Meeting Convenes

11 July 2008: The 28th Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) of the parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer convened from 7-11 July 2008, in Bangkok, Thailand. The Working Group considered: issues arising out of the progress report of the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP), including essential-use exemptions; a scoping study addressing alternatives to hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and critical-use exemptions for the use of methyl bromide; and banks of ozone depleting substances (ODS). Informal discussions also took place on hydrofluorocarbons, the primary category of replacements for HCFCs, on which an agreement was reached at the 19th Meeting of the Parties in 2007. The Working Group forwarded its recommendations on these and other matters to the Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, which will convene from 16-20 November 2008 in Doha, Qatar. [Advance Copy of the Report of the twenty-eighth meeting of t...]

The annual G8 Summit of industrialized country leaders has resulted in an agreement on the need for a long-term vision for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Summit, which was held from 7-9 July 2008, in Toyako on the island of Hokkaido, Japan, agreed on a declaration that undertook to “consider and adopt… the goal of achieving at least 50% reduction of global emissions by 2050.” The declaration stressed that this goal should be shared with all parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and considered and adopted by all of these countries under the ongoing UNFCCC negotiations. The G8 declaration also urged an ambitious global post-2012 climate regime in which “all major economies would need to commit to meaningful mitigation actions to be bound in the international agreement to be negotiated by the end of 2009.” The declaration recognized that what developed economies do will differ from what developing economies will do, adding that “each of us [in the G8] will implement ambitious economy-wide mid-term goals in order to achieve absolute emissions reductions.” The declaration highlights sectoral approaches, energy efficiency, clean energy, adaptation, technology, finance, market-based mechanisms, and tariff reduction. It also notes growing interest in nuclear power, research and development, and the World Bank's Clean Investment Funds, and endorses the “positive contribution” of the Major Economies Leaders Meeting to the UNFCCC (see related story). While some analysts welcomed the announcement and the apparent shift of the US position on a long-term goal, activists and some developing country politicians expressed disappointment with the outcome, arguing that it could have been stronger. As well as climate change and energy issues, the G8 also addressed questions of the global economy and financial markets, development and Africa, political issues such as the situation in Zimbabwe and a number of other countries, and counter-terrorism. On development issues, leaders renewed their commitment to work with developing countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Discussions focused on health, water and education and resulted in support for a “Toyako Framework for Action.” On Africa, leaders discussed rising food prices, noting a commitment of over US$10 billion since January 2008 to address this “multifaceted and structural crisis.” They also issued a special statement on Global Food Security that included a commitment to ensuring the compatibility of policies for the sustainable production and use of biofuels with food security. In addition, the G8 leaders established an Experts Group to monitor the implementation of commitments in this area. The Experts Group will work with the High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Crisis that is led by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and with other relevant stakeholders. In addition, the G8 declaration agrees to hold a G8 agricultural ministers' meeting and review progress on this issue at the G8 Summit in 2009. Links to further information Chair's Summary of the G8 Leaders' Summit, 9 July 2008 G8 Summit Official Website, July 2008 BBC news article, 9 July 2008 BBC news article, 8 July 2008 CNN news article, 9 July 2008 Greenpeace press release, 9 July 2008 Reuters news article, 9 July 2008 The Toronto Star news article, 9 July 2008

Political leaders from 16 countries and the EU have met in Hokkaido Toyako, Japan, on 9 July 2008, for a Meeting of the Major Economies on Energy Security and Climate Change process. The meeting, which was held alongside the G8 Summit, was part of a process initiated by the US Government in 2007. In Japan, the leaders of the G8 countries plus leaders from Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, South Africa and the EU agreed on a political declaration of major economies, which focused on climate change and energy issues. The meeting followed an earlier gathering of officials held on 21 and 22 June, in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The Seoul meeting prepared the draft text for political leaders at the Hokkaido Toyako meeting, although negotiators were not able to agree on emissions targets for either the medium or long-term – unlike the G8 Summit, where a long-term “vision” was approved (see related article). In their Hokkaido Toyako declaration, leaders affirmed the commitment of major economies from both the developed and developing world to combat climate change, taking into account their “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.” The major economies' declaration underscores the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as the global forum for climate negotiations, welcomes the outcomes from the 2007 Bali Climate Change Conference and highlights the December 2009 deadline to reach an agreement. The declaration also emphasizes the contribution of the Major Economies Meetings to the UNFCCC, stresses the importance of a long-term goal and mid-terms goals, commitments and actions, and underscores the role of carbon sinks, mitigation, adaptation, technology, and financial resources. Finally, the declaration announces that “Our nations will continue to work constructively together to promote the success of the Copenhagen climate change conference in 2009.” Links to further information Declaration of Leaders Meeting of Major Economies on Energy ..., 9 July 2008 CNN news article, 9 July 2008

June 2008


The first-ever international meeting to discuss the role of groundwater in improving livelihoods in Africa under conditions of rapid development and climate change and one of the first conferences in the world to discuss the impacts of development and climate variability and change on groundwater resources recently concluded. “Groundwater and Climate in Africa – an International Conference” took place from 24-27 June 2008, in Kampala, Uganda, and was organized by the University College London (UK), the Directorate of Water Development of Uganda and UNESCO's International Hydrological Programme. The Conference brought together over 300 water scientists, managers and policy makers from 23 African countries and 14 countries from the rest of the world, and featured 96 presentations and over 20 hours of discussion, including two round-table discussions. The outcomes of the Conference include a synthesis of the discussions, to be known as “The Kampala Statement - Groundwater and Climate in Africa,” which will be made available on the Conference website. Link to further information Conference website

The First Intersessional Meeting of the International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Working Group on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions from Ships convened from 23-27 June 2008 in Oslo, Norway. The meeting sought to develop the technical basis for reduction mechanisms that may form part of a future IMO regime to control GHG emissions from international shipping. Participants drafted actual reduction mechanisms for further consideration by the Organization's Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC). In particular, the Oslo meeting made progress on developing a mandatory CO2 Design Index for ships and an interim CO2 operational index. Once finalized, the Design Index will serve as a fuel-efficiency tool at the design stage of ships, enabling the fuel efficiency of different ship designs, or a specific design with different input. Delegates also held extensive discussions on best practices for voluntary implementation and economic instruments with GHG-reduction potential. The MEPC, which is expected to approve the proposed reduction mechanisms, will meet for its 58th session in London, UK, from 6-10 October 2008. IMO is currently working in accordance with a plan that is due to culminate in 2009, with the adoption of a binding instrument. IMO is working to have measures in place to control GHG emissions from international shipping before the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2011. Links to further information IMO's background document on the Working Group IMO press release, 1 July 2008 IMO press release, 16 June 2008

A workshop on methodological issues relating to reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD) has convened at the United Nations University in Tokyo, Japan. The workshop, which was organized by the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), took place from 25-27 June 2008. The workshop was part of a programme of work undertaken by the UNFCCC's Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) in 2008 on methodological issues related to a range of policy approaches and positive incentives for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. The event featured presentations and discussions on the development of methodologies specific to REDD (establishing reference emission levels, scale of implementation, implications and guidance), as well as challenges related to estimating, monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and options for assessing the effectiveness of actions and criteria. Participants also discussed needs and implications related to linking methodologies and policy approaches. Outcomes of the work on methodological issues, including any recommendations on possible methodological approaches, will be reported by SBSTA 29 to the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) at its fourteenth session, to be held in Poznan, Poland, in December 2008. SBSTA 29 is also expected to consider ways to move the process forward, including through possibly holding another workshop, expert meeting and/or informal consultations before SBSTA 30. Link to further information IISD Reporting Services coverage

A regional meeting to consider sustainable energy for Caribbean small island developing States (SIDS) has convened at St. George's University, Grenada. The First Caribbean Sustainable Energy Forum (CSEF) was held from 24-26 June 2008, in conjunction with the Fourth Caribbean Environmental Forum (CEF-4). The meeting was facilitated by the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) together with the German Technical Cooperation Agency (GTZ). The CSEF focused on energy efficiency, energy policy, wind energy production, solar energy, biofuels, advances in renewable energy, and financing of renewable energy projects. Updates on specific energy projects based in Caribbean countries were also presented. The CSEF was organized as a follow-up up to the 2007 meeting on “Energy Efficiency for Developing Countries” of the Global Forum on Sustainable Energy (GFSE), a platform that facilitates international dialogue, produces new opportunities and enhances existing initiatives in the field of sustainable energy. Link to further information IISD Reporting Services coverage

The fourth Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change, which gathered representatives from 16 major countries and the European Union during a 21-22 June 2008 meeting in Seoul, Republic of Korea, prepared a draft text on climate change for consideration at the G8 Summit in Hokkaido, Japan. However, reports indicated that negotiators did not reach a breakthrough on emissions targets for either the medium-term (2020) or long-term (2050). The Major Economies Meeting Process was launched by US President Bush in 2007. Links to further information Reuters article, 23 June 2008 Kyodo news/Japan Times, 23 June 2008

The latest round of talks under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol are underway in Bonn, Germany. The talks, running from 2-13 June 2008, are focusing in particular on the period after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol's first commitment period expires. The meetings include the twenty-eighth sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) of the UNFCCC, taking place from 4-13 June. In addition, the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA 2), and the resumed fifth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP 5) will be held from 2-12 June. These meetings are part of ongoing discussions to enhance international cooperation on climate change. At AWG-LCA 2, three workshops are being held to help delegates address key issues such as adaptation, finance and technology. The AWG-KP has held a roundtable on means for Annex I countries to reach emission reduction targets and will hold a workshop on methodological issues. SBI will consider such issues as capacity building, technology transfer and preparations for the second review of the Protocol under Article 9, while SBSTA's agenda includes items on technology and reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries. Link to further information IISD RS coverage

Four parallel meetings have taken place in Bonn, Germany, under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Kyoto Protocol. The second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA2) and the resumed fifth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP5) took place from 2-12 June 2008. The twenty-eighth sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) of the UNFCCC were held from 4-13 June 2008. The meetings were part of ongoing discussions mandated under the Bali roadmap, which was agreed in late 2007. The roadmap set a deadline of December 2009 to reach an agreement on enhancing international cooperation on climate change, including for the period after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol's first “commitment period” expires. While the Bonn meetings had no major deadlines on substantive issues, it was the first time that the four subsidiary bodies – AWG-LCA, AWG-KP, SBI and SBSTA – had all met in parallel, presenting challenges in terms of the proliferation of issues under discussion and parallel contact groups. Collectively, these meetings resulted in the adoption of 30 conclusions and 4 draft decisions that will be taken up at subsequent meetings. The AWG-LCA, which was launched in Bali, started its substantive work in Bonn, while the AWG-KP began the process of listing issues for further negotiation, particularly on the Kyoto Protocol's market-based mechanisms and on carbon sinks. The SBI advanced preparations for a second review of the Kyoto Protocol under Article 9 in December 2009, and SBSTA made some progress on methodologies for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries (REDD). Link to further information IISD RS coverage

The twelfth session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN-12), which convened from 7-12 June 2008, in Johannesburg, South Africa, adopted the AMCEN Johannesburg Declaration on the Environment for Sustainable Development, in addition to decisions on: implementation of the Action Plan of the Environment Initiative of NEPAD; climate change, including sections on Africa's preparations for developing a common negotiating position on a comprehensive international climate change regime beyond 2012 and on a comprehensive framework of African climate change programmes; AMCEN's Constitution; the status and use of the general trust fund; chemicals and hazardous waste management; environmental education and technology-supported learning; Africa Environment Day; and the Africa Environment Outlook process and the Africa Environment Information Network. Link to further information IISD RS Coverage

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) considered private investment's role in mitigating climate change and how climate change, in turn, influences private investment decisions, during this body's first follow-up to its February 2008 thematic debate on climate change. Panelists at the 9 June 2008 meeting outlined the scope of environmental concerns that affect the market, which they said is marked by more uncertainty than predictable regulation regimes. The panelists offered examples where specific local regulations spurred investment and technological innovation, and agreed on the need to adopt stable regulations to provide incentives for private sector action. Panelists agreed that incentives need to be put in place through stable regulation, which could get companies to move, rather than taxes paying for an overall adaptation and mitigation scheme. In addition, they emphasized the importance of making consistent and clear information on all aspects of climate change factors readily available. Representatives from developing countries highlighted the concept of equal but differentiated responsibilities in relation to panelist's suggestion for a substantial worldwide carbon tax. Sha Zukang, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, pointed out that, while equal but differentiated responsibilities are not a private sector concern, they are a major principle for international organizations. Links to further information Meeting website UN Press release, 6 June 2008 Press summary, 9 June 2008

May 2008


Representatives from 51 African countries, including 40 Heads of State and Government, joined Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda from 28-30 May 2008, in Yokohama, Japan, to develop a framework for African growth at the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV). During the session, Prime Minister Fukuda announced Japan's intention to double its official development assistance (ODA) to Africa by 2012, with up to US$4 billion dollars in ODA to finance infrastructure in African countries. TICAD IV addressed the theme “Towards a Vibrant Africa: a Continent of Hope and Opportunity,” and focused on three priorities: boosting African economic growth; ensuring human security, including the achievement of the MDGs and the consolidation of peace and governance; and addressing environmental issues and climate change. TICAD IV concluded with the adoption of three elements: the Yokohama Declaration, which outlines guiding principles and approaches to African development; and the Yokohama Action Plan and Yokohama Follow-up Mechanism, which provide a road map of interventions needed and measurable targets. Agriculture production and productivity vis-à-vis the current situation of high food prices was discussed, and measures for technology transfer related to the development of improved seeds, access to financial assistance to purchase fertilizers and the importance to organized farmers' groups were highlighted. There was a broad consensus on the risks of climate change to overall African development. The need to ensure affordable and clean energy and adequate technology to boost economic development was considered. The outcomes of TICAD IV are expected to feed into to the G8 Summit to be held in Hokkaido, from 7-9 July 2008. Links to further information UN Press release, 27 May 2008 UN News Centre, 28 May 2007 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, TICAD IV website

The environment ministers from the Group of Eight highly industrialized nations (G8) discussed the need for a long-term emissions reduction goal during their meeting in Kobe, Japan, on 24-26 May 2008. The meeting resulted in ministers expressing “strong political will” that G8 leaders attending the Hokkaido Toyako Summit, from 7-9 July 2008, should go beyond a previous 2007 agreement to “seriously consider reducing global greenhouse gas emissions by at least half by 2050.” However, ministers did not agree on a goal for 2020, according to reports. The environment ministers also agreed to propose that the G8 Summit adopt a call for action on biodiversity, and an action plan on electronics waste (the ‘Kobe 3Rs Action Plan' for reuse, reduce and recycle). Some civil society groups raised concern about conflicts between the 3Rs Action Plan and the Basel Convention, noting that the potential for international trade in used e-products like circuit boards and batteries from industrialized to developing nations could imply a disguised export of prohibited hazardous wastes contained in such products. Links to further information Ministry of the Environment, Japan Hokkaido 2008 G8 Summit website Chair's summary, G8 Environment Ministers meeting AP report, 26 May 2008 “G8 environment ministers seek electronics recycling solutio... Reuters, 26 May 2008

Representatives from 40 donor and developing countries, meeting in Potsdam, Germany, reached an agreement on the creation of two international investment funds that will provide innovative financing for developing countries to pursue cleaner development paths and protect themselves from the impacts of climate change. The investment framework consists of two Climate Investment Funds (CIF): a Clean Technology Fund, designed to accelerate investments in state-of-the-art technological solutions to help developing countries mitigate the rise in greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries; and a Strategic Climate Fund that seeks to help more vulnerable countries adapt their development programs to the impacts of climate change while also addressing issues of forest management and access to green energy. Under the agreement, the World Bank, along with the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Inter-American Development Bank, will help their client countries to access the funds. The next step is for the CIF to be considered by the World Bank Board for approval, so that the funds may be launched in the next few months. Links to further information World Bank Press Release, 23 May 2008 Global Consultations: Towards a Strategic Framework on Clima...

The Global Renewable Energy Forum convened in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, from 18-21 May 2008 to promote dialogue on strengthening interregional bonds and to set up joint actions between countries and regions that aim to reduce poverty and enhance energy security through the use of renewable energy sources. The Forum also aimed to foster business and commercial relationships at the intra- and inter-regional level, and to promote the development of renewable energy sources and related infrastructure in Latin America and in the Caribbean. During the Forum, which was jointly organized by the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Brazilian Ministry of Mines and Energy, Eletrobras and Itaipu Binacional, UNIDO and some participating countries and institutions developed bilateral agreements and memoranda of understanding. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the Forum

Participants at Carbon Expo 2008 gathered to consider trends and the outlook for the carbon market, including beyond 2012. The Expo, which took place from 7-9 May 2008, in Cologne, Germany, was attended by 3000 people from the private sector, governments, civil society, the United Nations and other international organizations. Participants engaged in discussions on the state of the global market, the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and joint implementation (JI), the role of aviation and maritime transport in the carbon market, accounting, monitoring and verification issues, incentives for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD), programmatic approaches, regional markets, carbon capture and storage, and the post-2012 negotiations. On the post-2012 regime, a number of speakers supported continuing the CDM, suggesting various reforms and improvements. Links to further information Carbon Expo website, May 2008 Carbon Expo daily updates, 9 May 2008 Meeting schedule/programme, May 2008

A forum on intellectual property (IP) has examined the links between the IP system and climate change. The European Patent Forum, which took place from 6-7 May 2008, in Ljubljana, Slovenia, considered how patenting and the IP system could bring benefits to the environment and help combat climate change, with participants discussing in particular the need to encourage greater innovation. “The patent system can foster innovation ... but then you'd better have a functioning patent system,” said Alison Brimelow, President of the European Patent Office, in a closing address. ”The patent system is drifting toward dysfunctionality… but I think we are also showing here that regulators are becoming less Olympian...and much more open to dialogue,” she added. In his address, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer noted that intellectual property rights are perceived as a barrier to technology transfer for developing countries in the context of the climate change negotiations. He proposed further discussion on: clarifying where IP rights are a barrier to technology transfer and where they are not; regulating patent regimes to balance reward and access; removing barriers to accessing technologies in the public domain; assessing the impact of higher costs on the dissemination of technologies; and compulsory licensing. The two-day Forum was organized by the European Patent Office, the government of Slovenia (which currently holds the EU Presidency), the Slovenian IP Office and the European Commission. It was attended by participants from 45 countries. Links to further information Forum website, May 2008 EPO conference update, 7 May 2008 Intellectual Property Watch report, 14 May 2008 Yvo de Boer's speech (powerpoint presentation), 7 May 2008

The challenges posed to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by climate change was the focus of a meeting held at UN headquarters in New York. The UN Economic and Social Council hosted a special event on “Achieving the MDGs and coping with the challenges of climate change” on Friday, 2 May. The event included invited speakers from the UN, academia, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the private sector. Two sessions focused on “learning to cope with climate change” and on “reducing the world's carbon footprint.” Several speakers highlighted the risks that climate change poses to development and anti-poverty goals. “In order to achieve the MDGs by the 2015 target date we not only need to step up our efforts particularly targeted at specific MDGs, but also need to step up our efforts to address the challenge of climate change. Otherwise, we risk seeing hard earned fragile economic and social progress reversed by the negative effects of climate change,” warned ECOSOC President Léo Mérorès in his statement. Ogunlade Davidson, co-chair of IPCC Working Group III (which deals with mitigation), said a range of policies should be considered, including taxes, subsidies, trade policies, access to modern energy, bank lending policies and insurance policies. Link to further information UN News, 2 May 2008

An estimated 2000 delegates gathered at UN headquarters in New York, US, from 21 April to 2 May, for the 7th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues – a subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The theme for the session was “Climate change, biocultural diversity and livelihoods: the stewardship roles of indigenous peoples and new challenges.” The Forum noted that indigenous traditional ways of life have been threatened by climate change, that indigenous peoples continue to be the main custodians of knowledge and biodiversity and that indigenous peoples have largely been kept out of the international dialogue on climate change. A text on the main theme of climate change, biocultural diversity and livelihoods (E/C.19/2008/L.2) called on the international community to take measures to mitigate climate change and promote the participation of indigenous peoples in all negotiations on mitigation measures, and also urged consideration of alternative systems beyond the usual mechanisms. Specifically, the text recommended that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) develop mechanisms to facilitate indigenous participation in the upcoming negotiations for the post-2012 period. The text recommended the establishment of a working group under the UNFCCC on local adaptation measures and traditional knowledge. It called on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCCC) to undertake an assessment of threats and opportunities for indigenous peoples arising from mitigation and adaptation strategies. The text was adopted after amendments to reflect the concerns of some indigenous groups about current emissions and deforestation measures. Some indigenous groups emphasized the need to respect their decision to not participate in the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and other carbon funds, and noted that they did not support the framework for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD). Forum Chair Victoria Tauli-Corpuz noted that a report on the measures being undertaken by indigenous peoples to tackle climate change, which could substantially contribute to the objectives of the UNFCCC, will be forwarded to the UNFCCC Secretariat. A text on the implementation of Millennium Development Goals (E/C.19/2008/L.4) was adopted with emphasis on the right to water, as a fundamental human right, and with a recommendation on the need to develop international standards for water's use, management and regulation. The Forum also pledged to pursue a proposal for a world conference on indigenous peoples at the General Assembly. The proposal was made by President Evo Morales of Bolivia, with support from Ecuador, Guatemala and other Latin American countries. Links to further information UN PFII UN News Centre, 18 April 2008 UN Press release, 18 April 2008 UN Press Release, 22 April 2008 UN Press Release, 30 April 2008 UN New Centre, 1 May 2008 UN Press Release, 2 May 2008

The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has convened two special sessions, the first to discuss climate change and the second to discuss the global food crisis. The Special Event on Climate Change and Development, “Achieving the MDGs and coping with the challenges of climate change,” took place on 2 May 2008, at UN headquarters in New York, US. The event, which was funded by the Government of Italy, included panel discussions on “learning to cope with climate change” and “reducing the world's carbon footprint.” The outcomes of the event are expected to serve as input to the forthcoming ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review in July 2008, which will focus on sustainable development. The 20 May 2008 session, which extended into 22 May 2008 due to the large number of UN member states wishing to take the floor, convened at UN headquarters in New York, US. Léo Mérorès, President of ECOSOC, emphasized that “agriculture has to be put back in the center of the development agenda,” adding that “we need to concentrate efforts on minimizing greenhouse emissions, deforestation and global warming, while finding ways to promote investments in agriculture [and] maximize the use of agro-science and technology, with the aim of reducing the costs of production and substantially increasing the productivity and output of every hectare of arable land.” UN General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim also emphasized the need for greater investment in agriculture, calling for the “best science, tools and technologies to optimize efficiency and boost production,…[and] policies that support land and resource ownership.” Kerim also drew attention to the role that high oil prices have played in rising food prices, and emphasized that “A sustainable solution to the crisis must therefore be linked to oil price stability and our efforts to tackle climate change.” Links to further information IISDRS coverage of Special Event on Climate Change and Devel... Special Session on global food crisis website Statements

April 2008


The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) hosted a “Forest Day” event in Yaoundé, Cameroon on 24 April 2008, to help shape the debate on forests and climate change in Central Africa. Participants analyzed the issues surrounding forests and climate change, with the aim of informing climate policies in the region. Debates and presentations centered on, inter alia: reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) and associated markets and governance; pilot projects and their technical, monitoring and data-related challenges; and financing mechanisms. Link to further information CIFOR media release, 24 April 2008

The Global Business for the Environment Summit, jointly organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Global Compact, met in Singapore from 22-23 April 2008 to discuss business-driven solutions for mitigating and adapting to climate change. During the event, UNEP announced that ten new participants joined the Climate Neutral Network (CN Net). The CN Net is an online forum set up by UNEP, in cooperation with the UN Environment Management Group, to tackle the challenge of increasing greenhouse gases. The initiative was launched in February 2008, during UNEP's Governing Council in Monaco. The meeting also revealed the findings of a newly released book entitled Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiversity, which provides a comprehensive view of how human medicines, biomedical research, the spread of infectious diseases, and the production of food depend on biodiversity. Links to further information UNEP press release on CN Net, 23 April 2008 UNEP press release on "Sustaining Life," 24 April 2008 Sustaining life website, Harvard Medical School

A meeting of “Major Economies” was held in Paris, France, from 17-18 April 2008, to continue discussions on climate change. The third in a series of events initiated by US President Bush in 2007 to support climate change negotiations taking place under the framework of the United Nations, the Major Economies Meeting in Paris involved representatives of 16 countries, the European Union, and the UN. Discussions focused on the value of sectoral approaches, long-term and medium-term goals, new technologies, financing, forestry, adaptation and national planning. Delegates also reportedly commented on a new announcement by US President George W. Bush on 16 April, setting a target of stabilizing US greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. While some participants in Paris apparently welcomed the announcement as a step forward, others, including some EU officials, suggested that the target was not ambitious enough. In 2007, the EU proposed a target of 30 percent reductions for developed countries by 2020 compared with 1990 levels, while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report included a scenario for a 25-40 percent reduction by 2020. Responding to questions about targets in a press conference held after the Paris meeting, US official Jim Connaughton said many other developed countries do not support the EU position, and described the Bush proposal as “realistic and achievable.” Links to further information US official post-meeting briefing, 18 April 2008 EurActiv new report, 18 April 2008 ABC news report, 19 April 2008 CNN report, 17 April 2008

African ministers have agreed to a plan to scale-up renewable energy. The agreement was reached at the International Conference on Renewable Energy in Africa, which was held in Dakar, Senegal, from 16-18 April 2008. The Conference focused on the theme “making renewable energy markets work for Africa: policies, industries and finance for scaling up,” and was jointly organized by the Government of Senegal, African Union (AU), German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The Conference aimed to provide visible leadership and commitment to a common strategy for market-based scaling up of renewable energies in Africa. Delegates developed a Plan of Action on Scaling Up Renewables in Africa, which was endorsed by ministers and other high-level officials in a “Dakar Declaration on Scaling Up Renewables in Africa.” The Declaration agrees to an African continental target for governments, with support from development partners, to scale up annual renewable energy investments to US$10 billion between 2009-2014. The Declaration also recommends setting up a ministerial-level policy advocacy group, supported by a coordination unit. Link to further information IISD RS coverage

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) hosted a meeting of senior representatives of member organizations of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) to initiate the elaboration of a strategic framework that would provide a coherent inter-agency response to the climate change agenda. At the meeting, which convened in Rome, Italy, on 17 April 2008, CPF members agreed that the strategic framework would: facilitate countries' preparations for the post-2012 climate regime through information; contribute to the implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNFF and other relevant agreements; and enhance coordinated action on the ground, including integration of relevant climate change aspects into sustainable forest management (SFM) in a cross-sectoral and coherent manner. The strategy would give particular attention to specific needs related to deforestation and forest degradation, and would bring together the collective knowledge and experiences of the CPF members in dealing with complex issues such as forest law compliance, support to livelihoods, and integrating conservation aspects into land use planning. (IISD RS sources).

The World Bank, in conjunction with the Inter-American Development Bank, met with donor countries, on 14-15 April 2008, in Washington DC, to discuss the design of new financing aimed at accelerating climate sensitive investments in developing countries. Representatives from developing countries and as well as representatives from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the UN system's Chief Executives Board, the UN Environment Programme, the UN Development Programme and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development also attended. The Washington meeting came one month after an initial session in Paris, France, where donor countries sketched out their vision of how the new financing might function. As currently proposed, the largest portion of the Climate Investment Funds would channel, through the various multilateral development banks, short-to-medium term financing for rapid deployment of low-carbon technologies. This would fill part of the current gap in financing while a future agreement under the UNFCCC on longer term financing mechanisms is negotiated. The funds would build on and scale up pilots and prototypes supported under the GEF, as well as complement activities under the Clean Development Mechanism. The new financing could also provide incentives to countries to move to a low-carbon development path by, for instance, substantially increasing the share of renewable energy in the total electricity supply. The Washington meeting is expected to be followed by at least one other session with all countries concerned in May, with approval for establishment of the new funds by the World Bank's Board of Executive Directors expected in early July. Links to further information Documents and resources World Bank press release

The annual World Bank Group (WBG) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meetings took place on 12-13 April 2008, in Washington DC, US. At the joint Development Committee, countries reviewed progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as reflected in the fifth Global Monitoring Report, and urged donors to increase their support for the poorest countries' own development priorities. They highlighted the issue of rising food and energy prices and their impact in developing countries and welcomed the call by the World Bank President to the world community to combat hunger and malnutrition through a “New Deal for Global Food Policy,” combining immediate assistance with medium and long-term efforts to boost agricultural productivity in developing countries. Regarding the Concept and Issues Note on the Strategic Framework on Climate Change and Development (SFCCD) for the World Bank Group, participants asked for the SFCCD to elaborate further on the additional financing needs for addressing climate change, the mobilization of private sector funding and the complementarities between existing and new financing mechanisms, as well as the proposed role of the WBG under a division of labor vis-à-vis the UN, and other key international players, including the private sector. Countries also recognized that access to energy remains key to development, and supported WBG goals of promoting clean technology and renewable energy deployment, technology transfer, and research and development. They acknowledged the work underway on the design, governance, and financing of the new Climate Investment Funds, including the Clean Technology Fund, and welcomed the ongoing consultative process for developing a client-oriented SFCCD and looked forward to discussing it at their next meeting. Links to further information Spring meetings website Development Committee Communiqué Civil Society Policy Forum

The Fourth Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, “Advancing Ecosystem Management and Integrated Coastal and Ocean Management by 2010 in the Context of Climate Change,” hosted by the Government of Viet Nam, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and organized by the Global Forum on Oceans, Coasts, and Islands, took place in Hanoi, Viet Nam, from 8-11 April 2008. The event brought together over 430 participants from 71 countries representing governments, UN and other international agencies, NGOs, industry, oceans donors, organized science groups, and networks of museums and aquaria. The Conference provided a review of progress, or lack thereof, in attaining the goals adopted by the world's political leaders at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development relating to oceans management and conservation, in the context of climate change. Throughout the Conference, participants actively engaged in the plenary and discussion sessions. While there was a sense of urgency, most shared a positive outlook given the opportunities for information sharing, collaboration, and networking in and outside the meeting rooms. Links to further information IISDRS coverage

An international seminar entitled “Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in the Tourism Sector: Frameworks, tools and practices,” which primarily focused on developing countries and small island developing States (SIDS), was held from 9-11 April 2008 in Oxford, the UK. The event was jointly organized by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Oxford University's Centre for the Environment and the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and brought together some 30 high-level tourism and environmental officials to discuss capacity building and pragmatic adaptation and mitigation methods for developing countries and SIDS to meet the climate change challenge. One of the seminar's conclusions was that the tourism industry has a key role to play in confronting the challenges of climate change, by reducing its green house gas emissions and by helping the communities where tourism represents a major source of income to adapt to the changing climate. Links to further information Seminar website UNEP press release, 11 April 2008

The 28th session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which met from 9-10 April 2008, in Budapest, Hungary, discussed the future of the IPCC, including key aspects of its work programme such as Working Group structure, main type and timing of future reports, and the future structure of the IPCC Bureau and the Bureau of the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories (TFB). The IPCC plenary agreed to prepare a Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and to retain the current structure of its Working Groups. To enable significant use of new scenarios in the AR5, the Panel requested the Bureau of the Fifth Assessment cycle to ensure delivery of the Working Group I report by early 2013 and complete the other Working Group reports and the Synthesis Report at the earliest feasible date in 2014. The Panel also agreed to the preparation of a Special Report on Renewable Energy to be completed by 2010 and was presented with the Technical Paper on Climate Change and Water. It deferred discussion on the use of its Nobel Peace Prize funds until IPCC 29, which is scheduled to take place from 1-4 September 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland. Link to further information IISD RS coverage

During the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), held on 4-8 April 2008, in Miami, US, Spain signed a letter of intent pledging to contribute US$ 10 million to IDB's Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Initiative, which provides support to Latin American and Caribbean countries for renewable energy, energy efficiency, biofuel development, carbon financing and climate change adaptation. The IDB also approved 20 environmental loans totaling US$ 1.1 billion, primarily for water and sanitation projects. These included: three loans to Peru for US$ 350 million for water resources and sanitation reform and the “Water for Everyone” program; and 81 grants adding to US$ 32.4 million for environmental projects such as disaster risk management, integrated natural resource management, rural development and sustainable agriculture. Links to further information IDB Press Release, 8 April 2008 IDB Press Release, 7 April 2008

G8 Ministers and senior officials responsible for development cooperation met from 5- 6 April 2008, in Tokyo, Japan, along with representatives from Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Republic of Korea, South Africa, the ASEAN Secretariat, the AU Commission, the OECD, UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO and the World Bank. The meeting was held with a view to provide political input and support to the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD IV) in May 2008, the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit in July 2008, the Third High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Accra in September 2008, Ghana, the UN high-level meeting on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in September 2008, and the Follow-up Conference on Financing for Development in Doha in November/December 2008. Ministers addressed the development agenda for the G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit, and held outreach sessions on: expanding partnerships for development; climate change and development; and human security and the achievement of the MDGs. The chair's summary of the meeting expresses the Ministers' commitment to double aid for Africa by 2010 and emphasized that, to realize the goal of halving the proportion of people living in poverty, growth needs to be inclusive and sustainable. On climate change and development, the G8 Ministers recognized the link between these two issues, highlighting that they have to be dealt with in an integrated manner. In particular, they noted the urgency in assisting developing countries, which are most vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change, in their adaptation efforts. In the water and sanitation sector, the Ministers highlighted the need to promote good water governance for sustainable use of water resources and called for a review of the Evian Action Plan to measure its progress. Links to further information G8 Development Meeting Chair's Summary G8 Development Meeting website

The first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWGLCA 1) and the fifth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (AWG 5) attracted over 1000 participants, including more than 100 media representatives, to their “Bangkok Climate Change Talks” in Bangkok, Thailand, from 31 March to 4 April 2008. The AWGLCA focused on developing its work programme for 2008, which was adopted just after midnight on Saturday morning. The work programme aims to further discussions on all elements of the Bali Action Plan at every session of the AWGLCA in a coherent, integrated and transparent manner. It establishes a timetable and elements to be addressed, as well as eight in-session workshops to be held during 2008. The AWG convened an in-session workshop on analyzing the means for Annex I parties to reach their emission reduction targets. In its conclusions, AWG 5 indicated that emissions trading and the project-based mechanisms under the Protocol should continue in the post-2012 period, and be supplemental to domestic actions in Annex I countries. The next round of discussions will convene in Bonn, Germany, beginning on 2 June 2008. Link to further information IISDRS coverage

The International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) finalized and approved proposed amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Annex VI regulations to reduce harmful emissions from ships, as well as to the NOx technical Code, when it met for its 57th session from 31 March-4 April 2008, in London, UK. The draft amendments had been agreed by the IMO's Sub-Committee on Bulk Liquids and Gases (BLG) at its 12th session in February, and are to be adopted at MEPC 58 (London, UK, 6-10 October 2008). In addition, the MEPC considered issues relating to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships. Link to further information IMO press release, 4 April 2008

March 2008


The Board of the Kyoto Protocol's Adaptation Fund met for the first time from 26-28 March 2008, in Bonn, Germany. The Fund, which was set up under the Kyoto Protocol and approved at the Bali Climate Change Conference in December 2007, will finance adaptation projects that assist developing countries to deal with the impact of climate change. The Board, chaired by Richard Muyungi (Tanzania), began its work in developing guidelines and procedures for accessing the Fund. Several specific tasks were proposed to be allocated to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), acting as Secretariat to the Adaptation Fund, including the: management of the daily operations of the Fund and reporting to the Adaptation Fund Board; serving as liaison between the Board and Parties and implementing and executing entities, as necessary for the day-to-day functioning of the Fund; ensuring the implementation of operational polices adopted by the Board through the development of a project cycle, with guidelines addressing eligibility criteria, project identification, development and implementation; operationalizing the project cycle, including review and clearance of qualified project proposals to be presented for Board approval and monitoring implementation progress and periodic reporting to the Board on portfolio performance; and coordinating the formulation and oversight of the implementation of program activities. Links to further information UNFCCC press release, 28 March 2008 GEF press release, 28 March 2008 Adaptation Fund website Documents for the first Adaptation Fund Board Meeting

The UN Human Rights Council held its seventh regular session from 3-28 March 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland. During the meeting, the Council adopted by consensus a resolution sponsored by Germany and Spain, and over 40 co-sponsors, establishing an Independent Expert on human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation. The Independent Expert will work for three years on two primary tasks. First, to identify, promote and exchange on best practices related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation and, in that regard, to prepare a compendium of best practices; and second, to carry out further clarification of the content of human rights obligations, including non-discrimination obligations, in relation to access to safe drinking water and sanitation. On 28 March 2008, the Council adopted by consensus a resolution requesting the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct a detailed study of the relationship between climate change and human rights, to be submitted to the Council prior to its tenth session, and thereafter to make the study, together with a summary of the debate at its tenth session, available to the Conference of Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change. Link to further information UN Office at Geneva press release, 28 March 2008

Japan hosted the Fourth Ministerial Meeting of the Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development from 14-16 March 2008, in Chiba. The Gleneagles Dialogue was launched at the G8 meeting of industrialized countries' Gleneagles Summit in July 2005, and brings together 20 countries plus the European Union to informally discuss ideas and measures outside the formal negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Over 200 participants attended the Chiba meeting, which focused on technology, finance and investment, and the post-2012 international framework. The meeting reportedly included discussions on a Japanese suggestion regarding a sectoral approach to mitigation. South Africa and other developing countries, however, raised questions about the details of such a proposal, including the role of financing and technology transfer, and the use of benchmarks. During a statement on the future framework during the opening session, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair reportedly told delegates that major polluters, including the US and China, should agree to binding emissions targets. A Chair's summary is expected to be prepared from the Fourth Meeting, and the results of the Gleneagles Dialogue will be reported at the 2008 G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit, in July 2008. Links to further information Japanese Ministry of Environment Gleneagles Dialogue 2008 we... Japanese Ministry of Environment News Headline, 17 March 2008 AFP/Google news, 16 March 2008 AFP/WBCSD news, 15 March 2008 Reuters Africa, 15 March 2008

European leaders discussed climate and energy issues at the EU Spring Summit, which took place from 13-14 March 2008, in Brussels, Belgium. According to reports, some EU member states, including Germany and France, raised concerns about the impact of foreign competition on some European industries, should the EU go ahead with its own unilateral greenhouse gas emissions goals. In 2007, the EU set a unilateral goal of cutting emissions by 20% by 2020 compared with 1990 levels. At its latest meeting, the EU also set a deadline for enacting new legislation on climate change by early 2009. In recent days, Japan has also announced plans to cut its greenhouse gas emissions. It is considering 11% cuts by 2020 compared with 2005 levels – a target that differs from those proposed by the EU for industrialized countries. Links to further information BBC news report, 14 March 2008 BBC analysis of EU meeting, 14 March 2008 EurActiv news report, 17 March 2008 Reuters/AlertNet news, 19 March 2008

A regional policy development meeting on ‘Clean Fuels and Vehicles,' organized by the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV) and supported by the UN Environment Programme's Regional Office for West Asia, was held from 12-13 March 2008, in Manama, Bahrain. The event gathered more than 70 representatives from governments, the Arab League, oil companies, the vehicle industry and civil society to discuss cleaner fuels and vehicles, as well as challenges and recommendations towards regional harmonization. Participants also deliberated the goals of PCFV to achieve a global ban on leaded petrol and a worldwide target of less than 50 parts per million for the sulphur content of diesel and petrol fuels. Links to further information PCFV conference page Fia Foundation Press release

Expert group meetings under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) have convened to discuss issues related to the Nairobi Work Programme on Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change (NWP). The first meeting, which gathered experts from 4-7 March 2008, in Mexico City, Mexico, focused on two areas of the NWP - methods and tools, and data and observations. On methods and tools, the workshop resulted in recommendations on assisting in their use and application, advancing dissemination and sharing experiences, and promoting their development and improvement. Regarding data and observations, the meeting produced recommendations on promoting implementation and improvements, improving capacity for data collection, and the management, use and exchange of, and access to, such material. A second meeting on the NWP convened in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, from 10-12 March 2008. This meeting focused on the socioeconomic aspects of the NWP. The workshop generated recommendations regarding: ways and means to improve the availability, accessibility and effectiveness of information on socioeconomic aspects of climate change; integrating socioeconomic information into impact and vulnerability assessments; and the application of socioeconomic information in the context of adaptation planning. The reports of the workshops will be forwarded to the twenty-eighth session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 28), scheduled to convene in June 2008 in Bonn, Germany. Links to further information Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of the Mexico City event Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of the Port of Spain event

The fifty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 52) convened in New York, US, at UN headquartes from 25 February to 7 March 2008. In accordance with its multi-year programme of work for 2007-2009, the Commission considered ‘Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women' as its priority theme. Recommendations from CSW 52 will provide input into the preparations for the Follow-up International Conference on financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus to be held in Doha, Qatar, from 29 November to 2 December 2008. Amongst the recommendations, the Commission called upon Governments to incorporate gender perspective into the design, development, adoption and execution of all policies and budgetary processes, as appropriate; reaffirmed the need for the full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action; promoted the protection of and respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women, including the right to development; encouraged the integration of gender perspectives in aid modalities and efforts to enhance aid delivery mechanisms; and noted that investing in women and girls has a multiplier effect on productivity, efficiency and sustained economic growth and that women's economic empowerment is central to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and to eradicating poverty. The Commission also considered the emerging issue of climate change and how this can affect the trends and approaches to the situation of women and equality between women and men. An interactive expert panel that convened on 28 February highlighted many gender-specific impacts of climate change. Participants noted that women play a vital leadership role in community revitalization and natural resource management, although they tend to be underrepresented in decision-making on sustainable development, including on climate change. Participants suggested, among other actions, greater involvement and participation of women in the current international policy dialogue on climate change; research to obtain more comprehensive data on gender aspects of climate change in relation to both mitigation and adaptation strategies; approaching climate change from a human rights perspective, and taking women's needs into account in technological developments. Links to further information CSW 52 website CSW 52 meeting documents CSW 52 Agreed Conclusions and Resolutions

US President George W. Bush addressed the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC 2008), highlighting security, economic and environmental reasons to reduce fossil fuel dependency, and stating that the US is serious about confronting climate change and that there should be an effective, results-oriented international agreement that includes commitments by every major economy. Participants at the 4-6 March 2008 ministerial meeting in Washington, DC, US, also attended over 25 plenary and workshop sessions to discuss four themes: market adoption and finance; agriculture, forestry and rural development; state and local authorities; and research and development. At the close of WIREC 2008, over 100 pledges had been submitted for the Washington International Action Program, a compilation of domestic and international pledges to accelerate the global uptake of renewable energy, and India offered to host the next International Renewable Energy Conference in early 2010. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of WIREC 2008

February 2008


Emissions trading in the US was the focus of the Carbon Forum America conference and trade show that convened in San Francisco from 26-27 February 2008. The event, which drew 1400 participants and 80 exhibitors, involved conference sessions and side events on such issues as innovation in a global market, renewable energy, low carbon generation technology, carbon capture and sequestration, the agriculture and forestry sectors, legal and accounting issues, and voluntary carbon markets. In a speech on the state of multilateral negotiations, Halldor Thorgeirsson of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat said the negotiating process launched in Bali in December 2007 should result in a future regime that delivers emissions reduction fast enough, is not excessively expensive, and is viewed as equitable by governments. He highlighted the success to date of market mechanisms such as the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Links to further information Official website: post-meeting press release, February 2008 Conference programme and overview Statement by Halldor Thorgeirsson, 26 February 2008

A seminar held in Beijing, China, has focused on the technical and financial aspects of project development to support climate-friendly technologies in Asia. The Climate Technology Initiative (CTI) Industry Joint Seminar on Diffusion of Climate-Friendly Technologies in Asian Countries took place from 21-22 February 2008. The event included sessions on technologies to support energy efficiency in industrial sectors, renewable energy technologies, and project financing. Participants also discussed cooperation among key sectors. The event was organized by the CTI in cooperation with the Bureau of International Cooperation, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the International Center for Environmental Technology Transfer (ICETT). The seminar was attended by 170 participants from the private and public sectors, as well as from multilateral organizations and academia, representing project and technology developers, technology providers, finance providers and policy makers. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of the meeting

A joint meeting of the Near East Forestry Commission and the Africa Forestry and Wildlife Commission, held in Khartoum, Sudan, from 18-22 February 2008, highlighted the links between forests and climate change. About 160 participants from more than 50 countries discussed: the importance of forests in the energy strategies for countries in both regions; the development of guidelines for best forestry practices in arid and semi-arid zones; improvement of the conservation of water and watershed management; and improvement of wildfire management. Participants identified ways to mobilize resources and improve international cooperation to address these critical issues. Link to further information FAO News Release, 18 February 2008

More than 800 participants from governments, UN agencies, business and industry, academia and non-governmental organizations gathered for the tenth special session of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GCSS-10/GMEF) in Monaco, from 20-22 February 2008. The meeting adopted decisions on UNEP's Medium-term Strategy for 2010-2013, the Global Environmental Outlook, chemicals management, mercury and waste management, the sustainable development of the Arctic region, and the International Decade for Combating Climate Change. The approval of the decision that authorizes the Executive Director to use the Medium-term Strategy in formulating UNEP's programme of work and budget was seen by many as a positive step in shaping a regenerated UNEP. In parallel, the GMEF ministerial consultations addressing “Mobilizing for the climate challenge” concluded that, while economic growth is compatible with addressing climate change and investment capital is available, financing adaptation remains limited. The need to establish policy frameworks was also emphasized. Discussions on “International Environmental Governance and UN reform” highlighted converging views on the need to strengthen UNEP in parallel with a dialogue addressing more far-reaching ideas. Prior to GCSS-10/GMEF, the ninth Global Civil Society Forum gathered close to 200 participants on 19 February 2008, at the same venue. The Forum addressed a range of issues, including civil society engagement at GCSS-10/GMEF, the adoption of the “Guidelines for improving the Global Civil Society Forum Cycle,” and “globalization and the environment, mobilizing finances to meet the climate challenge.” Participants also heard a panel discussion on the Medium-term Strategy and engaged in a dialogue with UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. Links to further information IISD RS coverage of UNEP GCSS-10/GMEF Global Civil Society Forum website

A gathering of leaders from the corporate sector has convened at UN headquarters in New York, US. The third Investor Summit on Climate Risk took place on 14 February 2008, bringing together almost 500 institutional investors and other leaders from the private sector to discuss climate change risks and opportunities. The event, which followed two earlier summits held in 2003 and 2005, resulted in pledges of US$ 10 billion of investments in green technologies over the next two years, according to reports. Links to further information Official meeting website, February 2008 UNFIP brief summary, 15 February 2008 UN Webcast Part I, 14 February 2008 UN Webcast Part II, 14 February 2008 Reuters report, 14 February 2008

The need for a global agreement on climate change for the post-2012 period, the importance of collaborative partnerships, and the role of the United Nations system were the focus of discussions during a three-day “thematic debate” in the UN General Assembly (UNGA). The event, which met at UN headquarters in New York, US, from 11-13 February 2008, took as its theme: “Addressing climate change: the United Nations and the world at work.” The meeting, which went one day longer than originally scheduled, drew more than 100 high-level speakers from governments, the UN, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, the media, and other key stakeholders. The event opened with statements from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Secretary-General Ban stressed the priority of reaching a global agreement by the end of 2009 to limit greenhouse gas emissions. “A deal in Copenhagen, on time, and in full, is my priority and that of all the Funds, Programmes and Agencies of the United Nations family,” he said, referring to the UN Climate Change Conference scheduled to take place in Denmark from 30 November to 11 December 2009. On the first day, participants held high-level panel discussions focused on partnerships and on the work of the United Nations. During a panel discussion entitled “Responding to a multifaceted challenge: the UN at work,” the Co-Chairs of the UN General Assembly consultations on International Environmental Governance (IEG), Peter Maurer (Switzerland) and Claude Heller (Mexico), noted that aside from the debate on scientific knowledge and the policy responses to the climate change challenge, the third dimension of IEG was how to organize the international community to respond more efficiently to these challenges. Drawing attention to the lack of coherence and coordination among the UN agencies dealing with the environment, the Co-Chairs underlined that strengthening IEG would be beneficial for all bodies managing environmental issues, including climate change. In addition, the Co-Chairs stressed the need to move the IEG process forward, and expressed their intention to facilitate a draft resolution in the near future. At the conclusion of the first day's sessions, Yvo de Boer, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said countries participating in these talks had the responsibility to turn the outcomes of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali in December 2007, into a success through a “truly comprehensive climate change strategy” that united the developed and developing worlds. De Boer also stressed that finance and technology mechanisms would be an essential component of the negotiations that lay ahead. On the second day, a number of member States made statements. Antigua and Barbuda, speaking for the Group of 77 developing countries and China, said multilateral action should remain “fully rooted in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol,” and that developing countries should receive technology, capacity building and other support “in a measurable, reportable and verifiable manner,” as agreed in the Bali Action Plan. Slovenia, speaking for the EU, urged a global agreement for strong post-2012 action and also outlined the EU's unilateral policy agreements on emissions and renewable energy. Other speakers addressed issues including reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries, the vulnerability of small island developing States, and the role of public-private sector partnerships. On the final day, member States commented on issues including “climate proofing” development assistance, the importance of energy efficiency, market mechanisms, clean technologies, financing for adaptation and mitigation in developing countries, and the need to follow up on the Bali conference by designing and agreeing on an inclusive and effective post-2012 framework for global action. At the close of the meeting, Assembly President Srgjan Kerim reflected on the discussions, noting that the large number of speakers was a “testament to the importance of taking immediate practical action” to combat climate change. He highlighted speakers' comments on the need for both long-term targets and short-term action and said the UN system must respond with policy solutions that could help member States answer some of the questions and issues raised during the discussions. He also announced that he would hold two additional meetings in 2008 that would focus on the concerns of vulnerable countries and on corporate responsibility and sustainability. Links to further information UN press statement/report (day one), 11 February 2008 UN press statement/report (day two), 12 February 2008 UN press statement/report (day three), 13 February 2008 UN press overview of meeting, 14 February 2008

The Expert Panel on Adaptation of Forests to Climate Change, convened as part of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, met from 11-12 February 2008 in New York, US. Building on information provided by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Expert Panel is carrying out a sector-specific assessment of current knowledge concerning, inter alia: the interrelationship between the climate and forest ecosystems; threats and future impacts of climate change on forest ecosystems and socio-economic impacts on the forest sector; and adaptation practices, options and constraints. At this first of three planned meetings in 2008, the Panel began work on an Assessment Report, which will be externally reviewed and published in time for the 8th session of the UN Forum on Forests in 2009 (IISDRS Sources).

Participants at the third World Congress of Biosphere Reserves, which took place from 4-9 February 2008, in Madrid, Spain, and was organized by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), have adopted the Madrid Declaration, which underlines that biosphere reserves can spur efforts “to mitigate and adapt to climate change, and to promote the greater use of renewable energy,” as well as to tackle challenges such as the loss of traditional knowledge and cultural diversity. Conference participants also adopted the Madrid Action Plan, mapping out the Man and the Biosphere Programme's strategy and actions for 2008-2013, which emphasizes the need to use biosphere reserves to demonstrate effective responses to poverty, growing urbanization, climate change and desertification. UNESCO's world network of biosphere reserves now includes 531 reserves spread over 105 countries, following the addition of the Rostowsky Biosphere Reserve in Russia and the Islas Marietas Biosphere Reserve off Mexico's western coast. The Rostowsky reserve provides a habitat for more than 460 species of plants, 30 species of mammals and 200 species of birds, while the Islas Marietas is home to many species of coral, the humpback whale and other mammals, birds and fish. At each reserve listed in the network, local communities try to enhance their socioeconomic development while promoting biodiversity conservation. Links to further information UNESCO news release, 11 February 2008 World Congress on Biosphere Reserves website

The Delhi Sustainable Development Summit 2008 has concluded after three days of talks focused on sustainable development and climate change. The event, which was held from 7-9 February 2008, was opened by Indian Prime Minister Manhoman Singh. Several other heads of state and government attended the Summit, which included sessions on the scientific evidence for climate change, equity and the ethical dimensions of burden sharing, mitigation and adaptation policies for sustainable development, long-term targets and perspectives, green technologies, financing, the private sector's role, and mainstreaming climate change. One of the key issues discussed was the current multilateral talks on climate change. Many speakers reflected on the importance of the Bali road map agreed at the UN Conference on Climate Change in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2007, and the important roles of key countries, including the US, China and India, in the negotiations over the next two years. The Summit was preceded by a one-day event on “Sustainable development and climate change: The business outlook,” which took place on 6 February. Links to further information Official website, February 2008 Opening session webcast, 7 February 2008 Summit Bulletin: Day One, 7 February 2008 Summit Bulletin: Day Two, 8 February 2008 Summit Bulletin: Day Three, 9 February 2008 Business Outlook Bulletin, 6 February 2008

The International Maritime Organization's Sub-Committee on Bulk Liquids and Gases (BLG) held its 12th session from 4-8 February 2008, in London, UK. The Committee agreed on a draft revised Annex VI on the prevention of air pollution from ships to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) and amendments to the NOx Technical Code. These will be submitted to the Marine Environment Protection Committee, which is scheduled to hold its 57th session from 31 March to 4 April 2008 in London, UK. Link to further information IMO press release, 12 February 2008

The Sixteenth Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean met from 27 January-1 February 2008, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The meeting was organized by the Government of the Dominican Republic through the State Secretariat for the Environment and Natural Resources and the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP/ROLAC), in its capacity of Secretariat of the Forum. A Preparatory Meeting of High Level Governmental Experts convened from 27-29 January, to elevate decision proposals to the Ministers and Heads of Delegation present at the Sixteenth Meeting of the Forum, which took place from 30 January-1 February. Issues addressed include the implications that future international environmental negotiations on climate change and biological diversity will have for the region, including in relation to initiatives to improve air quality and fuels. Participants also considered implementation of the decisions adopted by the Fifteenth Meeting of the Forum and the application of the Bali Strategic Plan for Capacity Building and Technology Support. Among the 20 decisions adopted by Ministers were agreements to: redouble regional, sub-regional and national efforts in applying the Latin American and Caribbean Initiative for Sustainable Development (ILAC); maintain the operation of the Interagency Technical Committee under the coordination of UNEP; urge further development and implementation of the Caribbean SIDS programme, and call on UNEP to maintain and further develop its technical programme for Caribbean SIDS and to continue its support to the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC); support the continuation of the Working Group on Environmental Indicators of the Forum; establish a regional network of authorities tasked with addressing atmospheric pollution; approve the Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production; promote capacity building of indigenous peoples; and request the Interagency Technical Committee and the Secretariat of the Forum to, in coordination with the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD, prepare a regional proposal, including specific actions and modalities to facilitate and increase the flow of financial resources for UNCCD implementation at national, subregional and regional levels, consistent with the UNCCD´s 10-years Strategy. Links to further information Meeting website Final Report of the Preparatory Meeting of Experts

January 2008


A second “Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change” has been hosted by the US Government. The meeting, which convened in Honolulu, Hawaii, from 30-31 January 2008, was attended by representatives of leaders from 16 countries, the EU and the UN. Participants focused on how to develop a detailed contribution in taking forward the roadmap and Action Plan agreed in December 2007 during the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali. According to the Chair's summary, participants at the Honolulu event noted that the Major Economies Meetings can assist work carried out to take the Bali Action Plan forward. Delegates reflected on issues that could potentially be addressed by heads of state or government. They also welcomed Japan's plan to host a clean energy technology workshop in Chiba, Japan, in mid-March 2008, suggesting that this could provide a useful opportunity to consult on the Major Economies Meetings. Delegates also welcomed France's offer to host a gathering of leaders' representatives in April 2008. Media reports indicated that the meeting was productive, with some suggesting more “flexibility” in the US position and more openness to discussing objectives and targets. The event took place just days after President George W. Bush's State of the Union speech, in which he proposed committing US$ 2 billion to assisting developing countries deploy clean energy technologies. Links to further information Chair's summary from the meeting, 31 January 2008 Pre-meeting press briefing by US officials Jim Connaughton a..., 25 January 2008 President Bush's State of the Union Address, 28 January 2008 Greenwire / WBCSD report, 1 February 2008 Reuters report, 1 February 2008 Seattle Post-Intelligencer report, 1 February 2008 Xinhua News Agency report, 1 February 2008

The World Economic Forum made climate change one of its major areas of discussion during its latest session in Davos, Switzerland. The event, which convened from 23-27 January 2008, included sessions on “going nuclear to fight climate change?” and on international collaboration in moving “beyond Kyoto,” as well as discussions on “the effectiveness of carbon trading.” In the closing session of the Davos event, business, government and civil society leaders called for “a new brand of collaborative and innovative leadership to address the challenges of globalization, particularly the pressing problems of conflict in the Middle East, terrorism, climate change and water conservation.” As well, Japan's Prime Minister, Yasuo Fukuda, announced a five-year, US$ 10 billion fund to support efforts in developing countries to combat global warming. Japan also plans to create a new multilateral climate change mitigation fund with the US and the UK. The Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, also attended the Davos meeting, where he outlined the scientific basis of climate change and the need for urgent action. Prior to the event, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Yvo de Boer responded to the pre-meeting “Davos question” posed for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. In a video interview, de Boer responded to the question, “What one thing do you think that countries, companies or individuals must do to make the world a better place in 2008?” by highlighting the immediate and long-term risks of climate change, including economic implications. On 25 January 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, U2 rockstar Bono, Queen Rania (Kingdom of Jordan), World Economic Forum Chairman Klaus Schwab, Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, and Cisco CEO John Chambers issued a joint statement at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, vowing to make 2008 a turning point in the fight against poverty and to get back on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon affirmed that 2008 will be the year of the bottom billion, referring to those living on under $1 dollar per day. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for a meeting with the private sector in May to galvanize support towards financing the MDGs. Bono, U2 rockstar, warned that pledges would not be enough and said a binding contract is needed among governments, with the assistance of the private sector. Among other announcements, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced a US$ 306 million package of agricultural development grants “designed to boost the yields and incomes of millions of small farmers in Africa and other parts of the developing world so they can lift themselves and their families out of hunger and poverty.” In his address to the World Economic Forum, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon emphasized that both governments and businesses must play a role in the efforts to achieve the MDGs and to secure safe water for all. The Secretary-General called on business leaders to make water sustainability a corporate priority, and commended the efforts of Nestlé, Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical to address water scarcity and sanitation through initiatives such as The CEO Water Mandate. The CEO Water Mandate was launched at the UN Global Compacts' Leader Summit in July 2007 and represents both a commitment to action and a strategic framework for companies seeking to address the issue of water sustainability in their operations. The first implementation conference for endorsers of the CEO Mandate will convene on 5 March 2008 at UN headquarters in New York, US. Links to further information World Economic Forum 2008 – list of events and summaries World Economic Forum 2008 – statement from the closing sessi... IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri's speech, January 2008 UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer's video presentation ... January 2008 Davos session on Call to Action on MDGs, 25 January 2008 World Economic Forum Press Release, 25 January 2008 AllAfrica.com News Story, 25 January 2008 DFID News release, 25 January 2008 End Poverty 2015 Millennium Campaign, 25 January 2008 BBC News Story, 25 January 2008 UN Secretary General's address, 24 January 2008 The CEO Water Mandate homepage

Delegates to the 122nd session of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Executive Board meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, adopted a resolution on climate change and health (EB122.R4). The resolution, which will be forwarded to the Sixty-first World Health Assembly in May 2008 for adoption, details a comprehensive Organization-wide response to climate change, and outlines a role for WHO in the implementation of the UNFCCC Nairobi Work Programme on Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation to Climate Change. The resolution proposes that the WHO Director-General work in close cooperation with appropriate UN organizations and Member States to develop capacity to assess the risks from climate change for human health and to implement effective response measures, by promoting further research and pilot projects in this area, including work on: health vulnerability to climate change and the scale and nature thereof; health protection strategies and measures relating to climate change and their effectiveness, including cost-effectiveness; the health impacts of potential adaptation and mitigation measures in other sectors such as water resources, land use and transport, in particular where these could have positive benefits for health protection; decision-support and other tools, such as surveillance and monitoring, for assessing vulnerability and health impacts and targeting measures appropriately; and assessment of the likely financial costs and other resources necessary for health protection from climate change. Link to further information Full Text of the WHO EB resolution

The 15th Ordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean (Barcelona Convention) and its Protocols took place in Almeria, Spain, from 15-18 January 2008. Jointly organized by the UN Environment Programme/ Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) and the Spanish Ministry of the Environment, the Meeting brought together ministers and senior officials responsible for the environment and development in 21 Mediterranean countries and the European Community. A ministerial session was held on 16 and 17 January to discuss the challenge of climate change in the Mediterranean. Participants also adopted a series of decisions, including the new Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and adopted the Almeria Ministerial Declaration setting up the MAP future initiatives in the field of climate change. Links to further information Conference website UNEP/MAP Press Release, 21 January 2008

The EU and US have submitted a joint proposal at the World Trade Organization (WTO) calling for trade liberalization in climate-friendly goods and services. The proposal was offered during an informal meeting of the WTO's Committee on Trade and Environment Special Session (CTESS). The proposal calls for the elimination of trade barriers facing goods and services directly related to mitigating climate change, with the ultimate objective of a “zero tariff world for climate friendly goods in the near future and no later than 2013.” It was also presented as a contribution to the 8-9 December 2007 meeting of trade ministers on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali. The proposal has received mixed responses from developing countries. While some have recognized the convenience of boosting trade in climate-friendly technologies to address the most pressing climate change problems, many have suggested that the list of products presented are primarily of export interest to industrialized countries. Brazil has requested that biofuels and biofuel manufacturing equipment be included, along with consideration of a broader category of agricultural environmental goods. Links to further information Bridges Trade BioRes, 18 December 2007 Reuters, 10 December 2007