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December 2009


The EU Council meeting on Agriculture and Fisheries, held in Brussels, Belgium, from 14-16 December 2009, reached a partial political agreement on the text of a draft regulation laying down the obligations of operators who place timber and timber products on the market. According to the press release, agreement on the entire text could be reached during one of the Council's forthcoming meetings. The Council adopted the FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) Regulation in December 2005 and gave the Commission a mandate to open negotiations with third countries willing to enter into voluntary partnership agreements. Link to further information ITTO news release, 16 January 2010

From 1-3 December 2009, delegates gathered at the High-Level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation to deliberate the challenges faced by developing countries in furthering socio-economic development – including economic recovery, food security and climate change issues – and to review 30 years of progress since the 1978 UN Conference on Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries held in Buenos Aires. The conference featured round table discussions on “Strengthening the role of the United Nations system in supporting South-South and triangular cooperation” and “South-South and triangular cooperation for development: complementarities, specificities, challenges and opportunities.” On the final day, delegates adopted the Nairobi Outcome Document, which recognizes the increasing relevance of South-South cooperation, as developing countries increase human development and become major players in the global economic system. The document emphasizes economic growth through regional common markets, custom unions, and the relevance of capacity building projects among developing countries, including low income and middle income countries, as well as developed countries in triangular cooperation. The document also emphasizes that South-South cooperation is not a replacement for North-South cooperation, and encourages the assessment of existing experiences to enhance national coordination mechanisms and sharing of lessons learned. It stresses that the principles guiding South-South cooperation differ from those of official development assistance (ODA), since the former should be free of conditionality. The document reaffirmed the importance of multilateral and regional organizations as catalysts for cooperation and highlighted the role of the Special Unit for South South Cooperation, hosted by UNDP, calling countries to support it. UNDP Administrator Helen Clark welcomed the outcome document and emphasized that by identifying complementarities and performing needs-capacity of countries, it would be possible to build innovative and inclusive partnerships. The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also hosted a meeting with experts from more than 20 countries in Geneva, from 14-16 December 2009, to discuss South-South, ‘triangular' cooperation to help agricultural development and food security. Links to further information UN press release, 2 December 2009 UN press release, 3 December 2009 UN News Centre, 14 December 2009
UNGA Approves Sustainable Development Resolutions, Establishes Preparatory Process for Rio+20

December 2009: Following approval by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the UNGA approved a series of draft resolutions on sustainable development in December 2009, including on climate change, harmony with Mother Earth, Mauritius Strategy, the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), agricultural commodities, and implementation of Agenda 21. On climate change, the resolution calls on developed countries to take enhanced commitments under the Kyoto Protocol in subsequent commitment periods, including through new, additional and predictable financial resources, capacity-building and access to and transfer of technology. On harmony with Mother Earth, relevant organizations of the United Nations system and international, regional and subregional organizations are invited to transmit to the Secretary-General their views on the scope and content of a possible declaration of ethical principles and values for living in harmony with Mother Earth. On the Mauritius Strategy, the high-level review of the strategy would be structured around an opening plenary meeting, followed by two multi-stakeholder roundtable sessions, an interactive dialogue on cross-regional perspectives and a closing plenary meeting, with the preparatory committee meeting for the high-level review to be convened during the 18th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development. On the ISDR, the international community is called upon to increase efforts to fully implement the commitments of the Hyogo Declaration and Hyogo Framework for Action and call upon the UN system to support in a timely, sustained manner efforts led by disaster-stricken countries for disaster risk reduction in post-disaster recovery and rehabilitation processes. On commodities, the need for more efforts to address commodity price volatility was underscored, and a call made for a coherent international policy action to address excessive price volatility and mitigate its negative impact on commodity-dependent developing countries by facilitating value addition. On Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the resolution calls for convening a United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil in 2012 (Rio+20). It indicates the event should be focused on a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and the institutional framework for sustainable development, and should result in a focused political document. The Preparatory Committee should meet for three days after the conclusion of the 18th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development in 2010, two days after the CSD's Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting in February 2011, and the three days immediately preceding the Conference in Brazil in 2012. [ UNGA press release, 4 December 2009][UNGA - status of draft proposals UNGA press release, 21 December 2009]

November 2009


The 12th EU-China Summit, held on 30 November 2009, in Nanjing, China, was dominated by discussions on climate change negotiations and cooperation. During the Summit, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao reiterated his country's commitment to reducing carbon dioxide intensity in the economy by 40-50% by the year 2020, stressing that China is still a developing country at a sensitive stage in its industrial development, and that its per capita emissions are still below that of developed countries. In the resulting joint statement, EU and Chinese leaders support the view that climate change is one of the most important global challenges of our time, demanding urgent and cooperative action. They underline the need for substantially scaled-up financial support by developed countries and arrangements to promote technology transfer to developing countries as part of the Copenhagen outcome. They further agree to intensify policy dialogues and practical cooperation on climate change, including on renewable energy, energy efficiency, joint development, demonstration and transfer of climate-friendly technologies, sustainable urban development, capacity building and regional cooperation. The two sides also reaffirm the aim to develop and demonstrate, in China and in the EU member States, advanced near-zero emission power generation technology through carbon capture and storage (CCS). In connection with the summit, a Memorandum of Understanding on CCS between China and the EU was signed. Links to further information EU Presidency press release, 30 November 2009 Joint statement
FAO Governing Conference Approves IUU Treaty

The Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, a new treaty that aims to close fishing ports to ships involved in illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, has been approved by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) governing Conference. Once it enters into force, it will be the first ever legally binding international treaty focused specifically on this problem. It will also be the only treaty to enlist so-called “non-flag states” in the fight against IUU fishing, alongside flag states that are primarily responsible for the conduct of vessels flying their flags on the high seas. The Agreement will enter into force following the 25th ratification. The first eleven FAO members – Angola, Brazil, Chile, the European Community, Indonesia, Iceland, Norway, Samoa, Sierra Leone, the United States and Uruguay – signed the treaty immediately following its approval by the Conference. [Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Elimi...] [UN FAO press release, 25 November 2009]

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) convened a World Summit on Food Security from 16-18 November 2009, at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy. The Summit included a high-level segment and round tables on: challenges imposed by climate change on agriculture and food security; measures to enhance global food security; and global governance reforms for food security. The Summit was attended by 60 Heads of State and government, as well as the Heads of many UN organizations. At the conclusion, world leaders adopted a declaration includes objectives to: face the challenges posed by climate change; renew efforts to halve hunger by 2015; improve international coordination and governance for food security; and reverse the downward trend in funding for agriculture, food security and rural development in developing countries. In order to achieve these strategic objectives, world leaders adopted Five Rome Principles for Sustainable Global Food Security. Links to further information IISD RS coverage of the Summit Summit homepage

The third EU-Russia Summit, which met in Stockholm, Sweden, on 18 November 2009, addressed climate change and energy among its priorities. At the concluding press conference, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev declared that Russia will reduce its emissions by 25% from 1990 levels. Russia had previously said it would reduce its emissions by 10-15% by 2020. Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt noted agreement between the EU and Russia on the two-degree target and the need for emissions reductions from both developed and developing countries in order to reach it. Link to further information EU presidency press release, 18 November 2009

Forty ministers responsible for environment and climate met in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 16-17 November 2009, to prepare for the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP-15) to the UNFCCC, scheduled to be held in December. At the meeting, ministers from Brazil and the Republic of Korea presented recently approved national decisions on emissions reductions. At the close of the meeting, Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren, President-in-Office of the European Environmental Council, reported that the ministers had confirmed willingness to achieve a comprehensive “binding agreement” in Copenhagen including clear commitments for all countries, as well as a clear timetable so that “the agreement will be turned into a legally binding document.” He urged developed countries to put “figures and commitments” on the table, and advanced developing economies to present sufficient measures to be included in an international agreement. Minister Carlgren is convening a special meeting of the EU environment ministers to be held on 23 November 2009, in Brussels, Belgium. Link to further information Meeting announcement

The fifth meeting of the parties to the UNECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), held on 10-12 November 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland, adopted the Guide to Implementing the Convention and Guidance on Water and Adaptation to Climate Change, among other outcomes. The Guide to Implementing the Convention provides explanations of the Convention's legal, administrative, technical and practical requirements as well as examples illustrating good practices in the UNECE region. The Guidance on Water and Adaptation to Climate Change provides step-by-step interdisciplinary methodology on how to develop and implement an adaptation strategy in a transboundary context. UNECE Water Convention parties decided to foster implementation of the Guidance through a programme of pilot projects and the establishment of a platform for exchanging experience on cooperation on adaptation. The meeting also gave the Convention's Legal Board the mandate to explore options for a mechanism to support implementation and compliance. A proposal for such a mechanism will be considered by the sixth session of the Meeting of the Parties in 2012. In addition, the Meeting's first ever high-level segment focused on Central Asia, a priority area of work for the Convention. Panelists stressed the contribution of various projects and initiatives such as the EU Strategy for Central Asia, including the Berlin Water Process, and the Wider Europe Initiative of Finland, as well the need to further coordination. The Meeting of the Parties endorsed the Safety guidelines and good practices for tailing management facilities, which seek to help Governments to provide leadership and create administrative frameworks for the safer development, operation and decommissioning of tailing management facilities. Participants also agreed on a road map to develop the Second Assessment of transboundary rivers, lakes and groundwaters in UNECE region, to be issued at the Seventh Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe” (Astana, Kazakhstan, 2011), and on the workplan for 2010-2012. Link to further information Meeting website

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Swedish Government co-hosted a climate change conference on 11 November 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya, to raise awareness of the implications of climate change for Kenya's economy and vulnerable groups. With a population of one billion people and an area covering over 30 million square kilometres, Africa requires varied and complex solutions to climate change. But the question of how to adapt and build a sustainable green economy for the future is the common challenge for developing countries including Kenya. The conference focused on the hope of African countries for an inclusive, fair and effective outcome in the Copenhagen climate negotiations that prioritizes adaptation and recognizes that the continent has an urgent need for support. Link to further information UNEP press release, 11 November 2009

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Ministers' Summit convened in London, UK, on 10 November 2009. The Summit called for global policies that are supportive of the travel and tourism industry, recalling that tourism is one of the world's top job creators and can be a key driver of recovery and the transformation towards the Green Economy. As the global economy recovers, governments were requested not to impose extra burdens on travel, such as fiscal measures, and to maintain stimulus policies in support of tourism as this in turn will contribute to sustainable economic growth. Link to further information UNWTO press release, 11 November 2009

October 2009


EU leaders met in Brussels, Belgium, on 29-30 October 2009, as the European Council, to finalize the EU negotiating position on climate change, among other issues. They agreed on a climate change package, which fully endorses the European Commission's figures to provide by 2020, developing countries with 100 billion Euros a year to tackle climate change. The EU heads of State and government have also agreed that almost half, or 22-50 billion euro, of that sum should come from international public funding. The EU expressed committed to taking up its fair share of this, on the condition that other countries also contribute. In addition, the EU leaders reached an agreement on internal burden sharing, where there have long been major differences of opinion within the Union. Links to further information EU press release European Commission President's speech
Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development Agrees on Initiative to Convene Global Commodities Forum

29 October 2009: The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Intergovernmental Forum (IGF) on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development convened from 26-29 October 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. This voluntary initiative was established in 2005 by governments interested in promoting the contribution of the sector to sustainable development by enhancing capacities for good governance. It is an outcome of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which met in Johannesburg, South Africa. This meeting focused on further advancing preparations by the Forum and its members for upcoming meetings of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UN CSD) in 2010-11 to review progress on the mining sector's contribution to the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. A key outcome from the meeting included agreement on a new UNCTAD initiative, entitled the Global Commodities Forum (GCF). The GCF will convene in early 2010 to try to develop answers to issues, such as instabilities in commodity markets, and to develop policies that will make the commodity sector a true engine for development. [UNCTAD press release, 30 October 2009]

The Wetland Management Training Course, organized by the Singapore National Parks Board's Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve (SBWR), with funding from the European Union through the Association of South-East Asian Nations Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) and the Singaporean Government, convened from 19-27 October 2009, in Singapore. Participants from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam attended, and consisted of wetland policy makers, managers and staff from wetland sites, including Ramsar sites. Ccourse contents included: the Ramsar Convention, wetlands and water; sustainable use of wetlands, wetland habitat and water management, wetland management planning; wetland species identification, study and monitoring; the control of pests and invasive species; and wetland education and public awareness. Link to further information Ramsar press release, 2 November 2009
Mercury OEWG Agrees Rules of Procedure for INC Process

October 2009: The Ad hoc Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) to Prepare for the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on Mercury convened from 19-23 October 2009, in Bangkok, Thailand. The OEWG agreed to recommend rules of procedure to the INC, as well as intersessional work for the Secretariat to prepare documentation for the first meeting of the INC, to be held in Stockholm, Sweden, from 7-11 June 2010, including options for structure of the instrument and a description of options for substantive provisions. Delegates also took part in information sessions on supply and storage of mercury, artisanal and small-scale gold mining, and products and process. Link to further information IISD RS meeting coverage

The UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) convened its 2009 Global Roundtable in Cape Town, South Africa, from 22-23 October 2009. The purpose of the meeting was to explore ways towards achieving sustainable financial markets and economies. The Roundtable was intended to help frame discussions on international climate policy expected to impact the financial sector and international carbon markets. Several reports were launched at the meeting, including, “Catalysing Low Carbon Growth in Developing Economies: public finance mechanisms to scale up private sector investment in climate solutions.” The report was prepared based on case studies and made several recommendations including: country risk cover; low-carbon policy risk cover; and the public sector taking subordinated equity positions in low-carbon funds. Link to further information UNEP FI website

Held from 5-9 October 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya, the second Ad Hoc Intergovernmental and Multi-stakeholder Meeting on an Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-II) discussed the findings of a gap analysis on the existing science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services, options to strengthen such interface, and possible functions and governance structures of an intergovernmental science-policy platform. Most delegates expressed support for a new mechanism that carries out assessments able to generate and disseminate policy-relevant advice, and agreed that a new mechanism should complement multilateral environmental agreement bodies, not replace them. Many countries also recognized that a new mechanism should harness local and traditional knowledge as a tool for conservation. Delegates agreed that the UNEP Executive Director should report at the 11th special session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC-11/GMEF) in February 2010 on the meeting's outcome, and that the UNEP GC should request to convene a third and final meeting to negotiate and decide whether to establish an IPBES. Link to further information IISD RS coverage

The 35th session of UNESCO's General Conference opened at the organization's headquarters in Paris, France, on 6 October, and will convene until 23 October. The Conference will determine the Programme and Budget of UNESCO for 2010-2011 and elect a Director-General for the Organization. The session will also feature a Ministerial Forum on strategies to overcome the economic crisis and two ministerial roundtables, one on education another on responsible ocean governance. Link to further information UNESCO website

Addressing the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland, on 5 October 2009, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the importance of information and communications technology (ICT) as part of the solution to the threats imposed by climate change. Secretary-General Ban underscored the advances made at the UN Climate Change Summit on 22 September 2009, in New York, and highlighted the use of technology not only to cut emissions and help countries adapt to the effects of climate change, but also to raise awareness about climate change. Secretary-General Ban mentioned the specific example of text messages as a tool to aid farmers to be better informed about weather conditions and monitor the impact of climate change. He noted that the UN has partnered with mobile phone companies to install 5,000 weather stations across Africa. He also advocated for better access to technologies to developing countries to enable them to reduce emissions and waste, create jobs, protect against disasters and promote better standards of living while attaining the Millennium Development Goals. Links to further information UN News Centre, 5 October 2009 UN press release, 5 October 2009
UNEP and UNDP Co-Host Governors' Global Climate Summit

2 October 2009: The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) co-hosted the Governors' Global Climate Summit 2, which convened in Los Angeles, California, from 30 September-2 October 2009. The Summit aimed to broaden cooperative efforts by subnational governments and their role in implementing strategies that can promote a green economy. It included 21 different panels featuring discussions on energy efficiency, low carbon fuels, green buildings, clean technology, job creation, water management, deforestation, sustainable development, training opportunities and adaptation strategies. In a declaration issued at the close of the meeting, leaders present committed to work together to pursue clean transportation and mobility, support national climate change legislation, and include forests in climate policy development. Participants further acknowledged the need for adaptation efforts and recognized the role of subnational governments in the discussions on the next global climate agreement being negotiated in Copenhagen. [UNDP Newsroom] [Governors' Global Climate Summit 2 website]

September 2009


The latest meeting of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) on Energy and Climate convened from 17-18 September 2009 in Washington D.C. The meeting took place at the level of leaders' representatives. The MEF was set up by US President Barack Obama early in 2009, and comprises of 17 major economies of the world including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, the European Union, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russian Federation, South Africa, the UK and the US. The meeting aimed to build on the progress that was made at the leaders' meeting held in L'Aquila, Italy in July, and to explore concrete initiatives and ways of working through the issues necessary to reach a positive resolution of the UNFCCC negotiations leading to Copenhagen. The Forum also seeks to advance the exploration of concrete initiatives and joint ventures on technology cooperation and the supply of clean energy. On 17 September, participants exchanged views about the role of the MEF and how it can contribute to a successful outcome in Copenhagen. Adaptation was then discussed followed by a discussion of ways in which countries' mitigation efforts might be reflected ultimately in an agreement. On 18 September there was a discussion of technology and technology cooperation. An extensive discussion of potential frameworks for measuring, reporting, and verifying efforts undertaken by countries as part of the agreement then ensued. There was also some further discussion of how the mitigation efforts themselves might be reflected in an agreement. The meeting concluded with an exchange about next steps towards a successful outcome in Copenhagen in December 2009. During a special briefing via teleconference, Todd Stern the US Climate Change envoy noted that differences remain on critical issues but suggested that some “narrowing of differences” had occurred on adaptation, technology, the way mitigation actions are reflected and the nature of measurement, reporting and verification. Links to further information US State Department information, 14 September 2009 Transcript of special briefing, 18 September

Environment ministers and senior officials of the European Union met in Strömstad, Sweden, with a view to contributing to the revision of the Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) after 2010. At a High-level Meeting entitled “Visions for Biodiversity Beyond 2010 – People, Ecosystems and the Climate Crisis,” held from 7-9 September 2009, participants endorsed a target to halt global forest cover loss by 2030 and to reduce gross tropical deforestation by at least 50% by 2020 compared to current levels. They further agreed on strategic principles on ecosystem services, a global vision for biodiversity, and climate change and sustainable development. The principles pointed to the need to increase ecosystems' resilience to threats from climate change and to use “REDD+” (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) to create synergies between biodiversity, climate change and development policies, including the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. Link to further information Chair's conclusions

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) convened the first UNESCO Broadcast Media and Climate Change conference in Paris, France, from 4-5 September 2009. The conference considered a global consensus on climate change, and developed ways to facilitate the use of materials between developing and developed country broadcasters. Participants, representing approximately 1000 broadcasters, agreed on “The Paris Declaration on Broadcast Media and Climate Change,” which aims to strengthen regional and international collaboration, and encourage production and dissemination of audiovisual content to give a voice to marginalized populations affected by climate change. The Declaration details that an increased public understanding of the urgency of climate change is essential to reduce its negative impacts and to avert human suffering. It also underlines that access to relevant information on climate change is vital for human survival, and that there are significant social, economic and environmental benefits in taking action to combat the effects of climate change. Links to further information UNESCO press release Paris declaration

More than 90 countries have agreed to a treaty to address “pirate” fishing. The Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing is aimed at combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The first ever global pact on this subject, which intends to block illicit fish catches from entering international markets, and focuses on ending such violations as unlicensed fishing, using illegal gear, disregarding fishing seasons, catching prohibited or undersized species, and fishing in closed areas. Under the treaty, foreign fishing boats will be required to request permission to dock from specially designated ports ahead of time, transmitting information on their activities and the fish they have on board. The treaty also mandates regular inspections and outlines a set of standards that will be used during those inspections, including reviews of ship papers, surveys of fishing gear, examining catches and checking a ship's records. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) organized the negotiations leading to the agreement on the treaty, and the FAO's Director-General will act as legal depository for countries' ratifications. The text will be reviewed by FAO's Committee on Constitutional and Legal Matters at its next meeting (23-25 September 2009), following which it will be considered during FAO's Council meeting in September and the FAO Conference in November for final review and formal adoption. Link to further information FAO news release, 1 September 2009

August 2009


The largest ever youth gathering on climate change, the TUNZA International Youth Conference, convened in Daejeon, Republic of Korea, from 17-23 August 2009. The final statement from the Tunza International Youth Conference, entitled “Listen to our voices: the future needs leadership,” requests governments and citizens take action on climate change and commits themselves to work to address climate change. In the statement, delegates requested governments to, inter alia, agree on a more fair, just and action oriented post-Kyoto agreement adopted and implemented by all countries. It requested citizens to, inter alia, commit to sustainable lifestyles to reduce individual carbon footprints. Delegates also committed to, inter alia, exchange information, connect and promote best practice activities on climate change. Another outcome from the Conference includes a plan for young people to organize rallies in 100 cities across the world, as part of a major push to persuade governments to seal a meaningful deal at the UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen. The Conference was organized by UNEP, with support from several UN entities including UNICEF, UNFPA, FAO, WMO, UN-HABITAT, UNDESA, UNESCO and the Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity. Links to further information TUNZA Youth Statement UNEP press release, 23 August 2009

The 11th meeting of UN-Water convened in Stockholm, Sweden, from 15-16 August 2009. At the meeting, participants discussed the recent launch, distribution and reception of the third edition of the UN World Water Development Report as well as plans for the preparation of the fourth Report. It was agreed that the fourth Report will focus on “Managing Water under Uncertainty and Risk” and will be launched in March 2012 on the occasion of the sixth World Water Forum, to be held in Marseilles, France. Link to further information UNESCO Water Programme website

July 2009

2009 ECOSOC Substantive Session Adopts Four Resolutions and Seven Decisions on Economic and Environmental Questions

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, from 6-31 July 2009, for its annual substantive session. The session commenced with a High-Level Segment and the 2009 Annual Ministerial Review, focused on “Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to global public health.” The High-Level Segment adopted a Ministerial Declaration on implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to global public health, through which ECOSOC recognizes that health and poverty are interlinked and that achieving the health-related goals was central to sustainable development. Among other segments, on 14 July 2009, ECOSOC conducted a round table discussion on the theme “Towards a UN comprehensive response to the challenges of climate change” as part of its Coordination Segment, and on 15 July 2009, the Operational Activities Segment opened with a thematic panel discussion on “The current economic, food and climate change crises and their effects on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals: the role of the UN System's support to national efforts.” On 21 July 2009, during a discussion about special economic, humanitarian and disaster relief assistance as part of its Humanitarian Affairs Segment, ECOSOC participants discussed the increasing need for humanitarian assistance due to natural disasters caused by climate change. Speakers at the General Segment of ECOSOC, on 23 July 2009, noted that climate change presents an additional global challenge “for which extraordinary resources are needed,” and that the financial architecture dealing with climate change should be efficient, effective and equitable. On 29 July, the Economic and Social Council adopted four resolutions and seven decisions on economic and environmental questions, including on sustainable development, human settlements, environment, population and development, United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF), and transport of dangerous goods. The decision related to the UNFF authorizes the holding of a one-day special session of UNFF 9 within existing resources and at the earliest possible date in 2009. A resolution on human settlements requests the Secretary-General to submit a report on the coordinated implementation of the Habitat Agenda for consideration by ECOSOC at its substantive session of 2010. In a resolution on review of UN support for small island developing States, ECOSOC decided to consider the issue at its 2010 session. ECOSOC adopted the report of the seventeenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development and the report of the eighth session of the UNFF, as well as reports on dates for the next sessions for both. [ECOSOC 2009 session newsroom]

A joint informal meeting of EU environment and energy ministers took place in Åre, Sweden, on 24 July 2009. The environment ministers also met on 25 July. The focus of these meetings was how to coordinate the policy agendas on climate change, energy-efficiency, innovation and competitiveness in order to create synergies and ensure growth and sustainability. Ministers heard reports from Denmark's Minister for the Climate and Energy, Connie Hedegaard, on the Greenland Dialogue, an informal meeting of environment ministers that convened in in Ilulissat, Greenland, from 30 June-3 July 2009, and Italy's Environment Minister, Stefania Prestigiacomo, on the G-8 Summit and Major Economies Forum (MEF), which took place in L'Aquila, Italy, from 8-10 July 2009. The EU ministers confirmed that the two-degree target included in the G-8 and MEF outcomes, by which the G-8 and MEF leaders committed to limiting the global temperature increase below a maximum of two degrees compared with pre-industrial levels, is significant and gives new momentum ahead of the continued negotiations in 2009. Participants also noted the need for the EU to take the lead in speeding up the negotiations. On financing and comparable measures, a report was presented on financing, and the “significant short-term need to help developing countries with strategies for development with reduced emissions, and measures for adaptation to a changing climate” was highlighted. The Presidency Summary on enabling an eco-efficient economy highlights the need for a transition to an eco-efficient European economy. The summary also highlights the importance of reaching an international agreement on climate change in Copenhagen in December 2009 in order to create the necessary long-term market conditions to accelerate the transition and for business to capitalize on eco-efficient products and services. The summary states that an international price on carbon will be a key incentive to achieve an eco-efficient economy. The need to implement adequate polices relating to competitiveness, environment, energy, innovation and transport is also noted. Links to further information Swedish Presidency of the EU Informal meeting of environment ministers Presidency Summary: Enabling an eco-efficient economy
UNEP and UNIDO Assisting Iraq to Comply with Montreal Protocol

The Executive Committee of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol, at its 58th meeting, approved Iraq's country programme strategy to eliminate substances that harm the ozone layer. The Government of Iraq is planning to eliminate ozone depleting substances (ODS) such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from its refrigeration and foam industries by 1 January 2010, in accordance with the target set under the Montreal Protocol. The Multilateral Fund will provide Iraq with approximately US$6.3 million to finance the phase out of CFCs, halons, carbon tetrachloride and trichloroethane. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) will work together with the Government of Iraq and Iraqi enterprises to consider replacement technologies and to explore whether new ozone friendly technologies with additional climate benefits can be used to ensure the finance Iraq receives addresses both the ozone and climate protection fronts. Due to ongoing security restrictions, UNEP and UNIDO staff were unable to enter Iraq, and instead worked with national Iraqi experts in workshops and meetings outside Iraq. [Multilateral Fund website]

Leaders of the Group of Eight industrialized countries (G-8) gathered for their annual meeting in L'Aquila, Italy, from 8-10 July 2009. The G-8 countries include Canada, the Russian Federation, France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, together with the European Union represented by the European Council's duty President and by the President of the European Commission. The leaders of additional countries joined them for various sessions, including leaders from the Group of 5 countries (Brazil, People's Republic of China, India, Mexico and South Africa). A number of documents were issued at the conclusion of various discussions, including a Declaration of the Leaders of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) on Energy and Climate. In the Declaration, the MEF leaders note that they “recognize the scientific view that the increase in global average temperature above pre-industrial levels ought not to exceed 2 degrees C,” and indicate that they “will work between now and Copenhagen, with each other and under the Convention, to identify a global goal for substantially reducing global emissions by 2050.” They also state that they are establishing a Global Partnership to drive transformational low-carbon, climate-friendly technologies. They note that individual countries will “spearhead efforts among interested countries to advance actions on technologies such as energy efficiency; solar energy; smart grids; carbon capture, use, and storage; advanced vehicles; high-efficiency and lower-emissions coal technologies; bio-energy; and other clean technologies,” and that lead countries will report by 15 November 2009, on action plans and roadmaps, and make recommendations for further progress. They agree “to further consider proposals for the establishment of international funding arrangements, including the proposal by Mexico for a Green Fund,” and indicate that they will continue to meet in the lead up to the Copenhagen climate change conference. In a forty-page statement on “Responsible Leadership for a Responsible Future,” the G-8 leaders identify their approach to a number of issues, including the economic and financial crisis, energy security and global energy markets, intellectual property rights, climate change, clean energy and technology, and development and Africa. In a document on “Promoting the Global Agenda,” the Leaders of Italy, Brazil, Canada, the People's Republic of China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the President of the European Commission, together with the Leaders of Egypt and Sweden, as President of the European Council, commit to work together on global challenges and to improve international governance. They highlight their commitment “to working together to ensure a green global recovery based on firm and lasting foundations for sustainable, balanced, innovative and inclusive growth in the medium term,” and identify a number of actions related to this objective. They also, together with the leaders of Australia, Indonesia and Republic of Korea and in the presence of the Director General of the World Trade Organization, stress their commitment “to seek an ambitious and balanced conclusion to the Doha Development Round in 2010, consistent with its mandate, building on the progress already made, including with regard to modalities.” Link to further information G8 Summit documents

On 6 July 2009, at the opening of the High-Level Segment of the 2009 UN Economic and Social Council's (ECOSOC) substantive session in Geneva, Switzerland, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the Millennium Development Goals Report 2009. The report assesses the progress towards the MDGs and warns that, despite the successes of some developing countries, overall progress has been too slow in order to meet the goals by 2015. The UN Secretary-General stressed that the food security crisis in 2008 has reversed a two-decade trend toward eliminating hunger. He noted that, with the right policies, backed by adequate funding and strong political commitment, countries are achieving significant results. Yet, he underscored that delays in delivering aid, combined with the impacts of the financial crisis and climate change, are slowing progress. He highlighted that the United Nations system is establishing a Global Impact and Vulnerability Alert System (GIVAS), which aims to fill the information gap that currently exists between the point when a global crisis impacts vulnerable populations and when solid quantitative information and analysis reaches decision makers. The GIVAS will focus on tracking vulnerabilities that are caused or exacerbated by external shocks. Partners supporting this initiative will include national governments, UN agencies, academic institutions and civil society organizations. Links to further information UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's remarks to ECOSOC UN News Centre, 6 July 2009 Report

The second joint meeting of the five tuna regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) took place in San Sebastian, Spain, from 29 June-3 July 2009. The meeting, which follows on from the first such event held in Kobe, Japan, in 2007, brought together representatives from intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as from member States and non-member States of: the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas; the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission; the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission; the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission; and the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna. The meeting was hosted by the EU and included two workshops on the review of the actions agreed in Kobe and on reducing overcapacity in the global tuna fleet. The event concluded with the adoption of a new plan of action for the next two years. Conservation NGOs expressed disappointment with what they labeled as limited progress achieved during the meeting. Links to further information EU press release, 29 June 2009 Meeting website Greenpeace press release, 3 July 2009

June 2009


The second session of the Preparatory Commission of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which convened in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, from 29-30 June 2009, designated Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, as its interim headquarters. Participants also decided that Bonn, Germany, will host IRENA's center of technology and innovation, while the Agency's liaison office for cooperation with other organizations active in the field of renewables would be located in Vienna, Austria. Hélène Pelosse was selected to serve as the first head of the Agency. Link to further information IRENA press release, 29 June 2009

A high-level forum organized by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) convened in Geneva, Switzerland, on 29 June 2009, and concluded with the adoption of a joint declaration stressing the need to tackle the challenge of radioactive waste in Central Asia. The meeting brought together over 100 representatives from the Central Asian region, international organizations and donors to discuss problems associated with the uranium tailing deposits left over from mining during the Cold War in Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. These deposits contain more than 800 million tons of radioactive and toxic waste and many are located in densely populated and natural disaster prone areas. The outcomes of the forum included agreement to strengthen regulatory frameworks and national capacity to address the problem, as well as a call for public-private partnerships, and to explore opportunities to further exploit the tailings for economic gain. Link to further information UN press release, 29 June 2009

The first meeting of the UN Environment Programme's (UNEP) consultative group of ministers on international environmental governance convened from 27-28 June 2009, in Belgrade, Serbia. Participants adopted an outcome document stressing that any reform of environmental governance must be based on the principle that the form follows the substance. The next meeting will convene in Rome, Italy in the last quarter of 2009. Immediately following the UNEP meeting, the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), together with the Global Environmental Governance Project, UNEP and the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Center, convened the Global Environmental Governance Forum, under the theme “Reflecting on the Past, Moving into the Future,” in Montreux, Switzerland, from 28 June-2 July 2009. The Forum brought together past, present, and future architects of the environmental governance system to devise options for a blueprint for reform of contemporary international environmental institutions, in light of the original vision for the system's form and function. The outputs generated through the Forum are expected to offer an input for future international policy discussions to develop a more effective and coherent international environmental governance architecture. Links to further information Global Environmental Governance Project website UNITAR website

The UN Conference on World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development, organized under the coordination of the UN General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, took place from 24-26 June 2009, in New York, NY, at UN Headquarters. The Summit aimed to identify emergency and long-term responses to mitigate the impact of the crisis, especially on vulnerable populations, and to initiate a dialogue on the transformation of the international financial architecture. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a multi-pronged approach that incorporates investment in access to education and green growth, and support to subsistence farmers. Twenty-one UN agencies, including the UN Environment Programme, the UN Development Programme, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Multilateral Environmental Agreements, and the World Bank, backed a common statement on the need for a world-wide transition to a low carbon, green economy that can stimulate job creation and reduces the threats from current crises related to food, water and climate change. The statement highlighted the need for fiscal reforms that can facilitate green investments, and phasing out subsidies that finance excessive use of fossil fuels in agriculture and fisheries, as well as the need to support affordable energy alternatives for the poor. The Conference adopted a draft outcome document that emphasizes the opportunity presented by the crisis to promote green economy initiatives, and states that the crisis should not delay the necessary global response to climate change and environmental degradation, taking into account the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. The outcome document also emphasizes the need to reform the international financial and economic system and architecture, and to further strengthen the UN development system's comprehensive crisis response in support of national development strategies. Links to further information Draft outcome document of the conference UN Interagency statement on the green economy, 25 June 2009 UN News Centre, 26 June 2009 UN News Centre, 25 June 2009 UN Conference on World Financial and Economic Crisis and its...

The Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection and the China Customs Administration, in cooperation with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), convened a dialogue on issues related to illegal trade in Urumqi, China, from 23-25 June 2009. Customs and Ozone Officers from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan participated in the dialogue, which provided the opportunity to exchange information between neighboring countries. The training sought to raise awareness of Customs Officers on their important role in protecting the ozone layer and preventing illegal trade with ozone-depleting substances (ODS) and to provide information on commonly used smuggling schemes. The meeting agreed 25 recommendations related to the implementation of policy measures, including bans on placing virgin CFCs on the market, labelling requirements for refrigerant cylinders, registration and certification schemes for technicians and companies dealing with ODS, log-book keeping for importers, exporters and dealers of ODS. and mandatory proof of origin for ODS imports. Link to further information OzonAction media briefing

The Vienna Energy Conference 2009 convened at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna, Austria, from 22-24 June 2009, and was jointly organized by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Austrian Development Cooperation, the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and the Global Forum on Sustainable Energy (GFSE). The Conference sought to provide a platform for high-level policymakers and private sector and civil society representatives from developing and industrialized countries to discuss energy issues in the context of the current global financial and economic crisis. It served as an opportunity to, among other things: shift the debate on energy and development beyond generalities to identify specific courses of action; initiate and advance regional and international co-operation; celebrate the tenth anniversary of the GFSE; provide inputs to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP15) in Copenhagen; and present new international energy initiatives such as the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Link to further information IISD RS coverage

The third in a series of preparatory sessions for the Major Economies Forum on Climate Change and Energy convened in Cuernavaca, Mexico, from 22-23 June 2009. The Forum is scheduled to take placein L'Aquila, Italy, on 9 July, on the margins of the G-8 Summit. The MEF process seeks to facilitate the dialogue between the largest developed and developing economies, support political leadership to generate positive outcomes at the UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Copenhagen in December 2009, and explore concrete initiatives to increase clean energy sources, reducing greenhouse emissions at the same time. According to a press report, the draft document for the Forum indicates that economies including the US and China are considering setting a goal of halving world greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 when they meet in Italy, and that the MEF will seek to double public investments in low-carbon technology by 2015 and boost funding from public and private sources as well as from carbon markets. The draft was reported to have been put forward by the US and Mexico during the session in Mexico. The two-page draft declaration does not set clear goals but says that developed countries, including the US, the European Union and Japan, would “undertake robust aggregate and individual mid-term reductions in the 2020 timeframe.” The text also indicates that the countries will set up a global partnership aiming to double public sector investments in research and development of low-carbon technologies by 2015. The partnership would seek to remove barriers and create incentives to promote technologies such as energy efficiency, solar energy, smart grids, carbon capture, use and storage, advanced vehicles and bio-energy. The text is also reported to indicate that funds to combat climate change will need to be substantially scaled up, and a fast start funding arrangement, perhaps US$400 million, may be offered to help developing countries. Link to further information Reuters press release, 25 June 2009
Frankfurt Meeting Marks Year of the Gorilla, Calls for Better Protection

10 June 2009: Held from 9-10 June 2009, in Frankfurt, Germany, under the title “Gentle Giants in need,” a conference was organized by the German Government, the Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Frankfurt Zoo to mark the UN Year of the Gorilla and the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species. The meeting adopted the “Frankfurt Declaration,” in which participants highlighted major threats to gorillas and their habitats, and conservation strategies, and appealed to governments, the international community and industrial companies to enhance activities to reduce threats to the remaining gorilla populations in the wild. [UNEP/CMS press release, 10 June 2009] [The Frankfurt Declaration]

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) met on 8 June 2009, but saw little progress towards resolving TRIPS issues in the context of the Doha negotiations. These issues include an amendment to the TRIPS Agreement to require that patent applicants disclose the origin of any genetic resources or traditional knowledge used in the inventions. Originally supported by a number of developing countries, such a proposal has drawn the support of more than 100 WTO Members, including the EU and Switzerland. The US, joined by Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, New Zealand and Taiwan, reaffirmed their opposition, with the US noting that the disclosure requirement is not essential and bringing the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) into the TRIPS Agreement would not make sense. According to the report, Australia, Canada and New Zealand suggested the possibility of shifting discussions on the TRIPS Agreement and the CBD to another forum, possibly the World Intellectual Property Organization. Link to further information Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest, 17 June 2009

May 2009


Meeting from 25-29 May 2009, in Jeju, Republic of Korea, the 21st session of the International Coordinating Council of the Man and the Biosphere Programme decided to add 22 new sites from 17 countries to UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves, which now counts 553 sites in 107 countries. The new sites include the first Biosphere Reserves in two countries, Malaysia and Syria, and a sacred site in North Korea. Link to further information UNESCO release, 26 May 2009

Representatives of the States of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group and the European Community (EC) and its member States met in Brussels, Belgium, from 28-29 May 2009, for the Joint ACP-EC Council of Ministers and adopted a joint declaration on climate change and development. At the international level and the UNFCCC process, participants agreed to, inter alia: cooperate towards the successful conclusion of a post-2012 agreement under the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol, stressing the importance of addressing development issues in the ongoing negotiating process; enhance their consultations in the context of the international negotiations on climate change; mobilize political support for stronger action on climate change; and work together to allow ACP countries to harvest greater benefits from the potential of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). At the level of the EC's development cooperation with ACP States, they agreed to, inter alia: develop and/or shape meaningful cooperation activities, underlining the contribution of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Adaptation Fund and EU development assistance including bilateral actions and the Global Climate Change Alliance; cooperate to help ACP countries to adapt to climate change by reducing risks related to natural disasters and manage them better; and enhance dialogue to improve the integration of climate change considerations into ACP country and regional development and poverty reduction strategies. Link to further information ACP-EC Joint Declaration

The G8 Energy Ministers Meeting convened in Rome, Italy, from 24-25 May 2009, and brought together Energy Ministers from the G8 countries as well as representatives of the emerging economies of Asia, Latin America and Africa. Among other agenda items, the G8 Ministers finalized the operational launch of the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC). Participating Energy Ministers signed the IPEEC Terms of Reference, and senior officials signed a Memorandum of Association with the International Energy Agency (IEA), which will host the IPEEC Secretariat. Partners also agreed on initial tasks for the IPEEC draft work plan, including: the establishment of a Sustainable Buildings Network (SBN) to promote efficiency gains in residential, commercial and industrial buildings; a compilation and summary of national energy efficiency action plans; an inventory and review of international energy efficiency initiatives; and improved methods for measuring and verifying progress towards domestic energy efficiency goals. IPEEC signatories included members of the G8 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Russian Federation, the UK and the US), and emerging economies such as Brazil, China, India, Mexico and the Republic of Korea. Links to further information US Department of Energy press release, 24 May 2009 G8 Energy Ministers website

Held from 15-16 May 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland, a World Health Organization (WHO) Intergovernmental Meeting sought to finalize negotiations on the pandemic influenza preparedness framework. The meeting ended with the understanding that there was agreement on most elements of the framework, however “further work needs to be undertaken on some key remaining elements.” During discussions, Brazil read the Declaration that the the Group of Like-Minded Megadiverse Countries made during the seventh meeting of the Working Group on Access and Benefit-sharing (ABS) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), held from 2-8 April 2009, in Paris, France. The Declaration recognized the sovereign right of States over their biological resources and that viruses and other pathogenic organisms are included in the scope of the CBD, noting that WHO negotiations should be consistent with the CBD objectives and shall not prejudge the outcome of the CBD ABS negotiations. The EU and the US responded that there is no linkage between the CBD and the WHO negotiations. Link to further information Third World Network Info Service, 26 May 2009

The Second Africa Regional Platform (ARP) on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Consultative Meeting convened at UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, from 5-7 May 2009. The event, themed “Accelerate progress in implementing the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) and the Africa Regional Strategy for DRR,” was organized by the Commission of the African Union (AUC) and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR). The overall objective of the Second Consultative Meeting was to review progress made in the implementation of the HFA, promote regional cooperation, strengthen regional mechanisms and programmes, and prepare Africa's participation in the Second Session of the Global Platform for DRR, to be held from 16-19 June 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. Link to further information IISD RS coverage

April 2009


A high-level Conference was organized by the European Commission from 27-28 April 2009, in Athens, Greece, under the title “Biodiversity protection beyond 2010: priorities and options for future EU policy.” The Conference focused on the EU Biodiversity Action Plan, biodiversity and climate change, integration of biodiversity protection and business, the Natura 2000 network of protected areas, economics and finance, and the objectives of biodiversity protection beyond 2010. Link to further information The Conference website

The International Conference on Gender and Disaster Risk Reduction, organized by the UN International Strategy for Risk Reduction (UN/ISDR), was held from 20-22 April 2009, in Beijing, China. Over 200 participants, including ministers and parliamentarians from 50 countries, gathered to discuss how women and men can participate equally in driving early warning systems, risk assessments, preparedness exercises and national and local plans to implement disaster risk reduction policies. UN Assistant Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction Margareta Wahlström noted that progress in mainstreaming gender perspectives into disaster risk reduction remains inadequate and that women should not be regarded as victims, but they should play an active role in preventing and managing disasters. The recommendations on actions needed to mainstream gender into disaster risk reduction processes will inform the Beijing Declaration for Action and the Hyogo Framework for Action to be implemented by 2015. Links to further information UN News Centre, 17 April 2009 International Conference on Gender and Disaster Risk Reducti...

UNWTO Assistant Secretary-General Geoffrey Lipman told the Boao Forum for Asia on Tourism and the Financial Crisis, which convened from 17-19 April 2009, Hainan, China, that business and leisure travel can play a role in the G20-led economic recovery. UNWTO is also calling for recognition of the potential for the tourism sector to contribute to the long-term transformation to a Green Economy, based on reduced carbon outputs, clean energy and new technologies. Lipman explained the tourism sector accounts for 5% of carbon emissions and that these should be fixed in line with new norms, to be developed at the UNFCCC in Copenhagen in late 2009. Link to further information UNWTO website

Held from 15-17 April 2009, in Hanoi, Vietnam, a workshop on harmonization of reporting to biodiversity-related conventions gathered representatives of seven ASEAN countries and Australia. Its goal was to provide a venue to develop a framework to harmonize national reporting to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and World Heritage Convention. A strong focus was put on building the capacity of the ASEAN countries to improve and streamline national reporting as an output of implementation of global conventions. The workshop was lead by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity, in partnership with the Vietnam Environment Administration and with the support of the United Nations Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and the biodiversity-related convention secretariats. Link to further information ASEAN Center for Biodiversity press release

According to the UN, 2008 was a record year for the Global Compact in terms of new participants, reinforcing the notion that, in times of economic crisis, there is an increased search for ethics and sustainability. Over 1,400 new participants joined in 2008, and with 5,000 corporate participants from 135 countries, the Compact is now the world's largest voluntary corporate citizenship initiative. Environmentally, the Global Compact requires that its members support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges, undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility, and encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally-friendly technologies. Link to further information UN press release

On 6 April 2009, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) hosted an Interactive Thematic Dialogue of the UN General Assembly on the Global Food Crisis and the Right to Food at UN Headquarters in New York, US. UNGA President Miguel d´Escoto Brockmann, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier de Schutter, and the senior adviser to the UNGA President on food policy and sustainable development, David Andrews, called for concerted efforts to refocus the world's attention on the food crisis. The Dialogue gathered economists, agro-ecologists, human rights specialists and government delegates to discuss how a rights-based approach to food could shift the world's agricultural production. Oliver de Schutter noted that the recent reduction of food prices, coupled with the financial crisis, has contributed to the belief that the food crisis is no longer an issue. He further noted that the structural problems of agricultural production have not been addressed, including the dependency of agriculture on oil prices, the climate change impacts, which increase the volatility of food prices, and the unfair trading system, which makes developing countries less competitive. David Andrews underlined that the majority of the world's labour is concentrated in agriculture, with the largest share represented by women. He noted that many small farmers and producers are suffering from hunger themselves, and that international organizations and governments should consult with the hungry and the farmers when proposing solutions to the food crisis. In his closing remarks, d'Escoto stressed the need to ensure that the right to food, a rights-based approach, is taken into consideration in the deliberations of the upcoming UN meetings and processes. He indicated that a Summit on the Food Crisis is likely to be held by the end of the year. Links to further information UNGA website Keynote address of the Special Rapporteur Olivier de Schutte..., 6 April 2009 Concept Note prepared by the Special Rapporteur on the Right... UN News Centre, 6 April 2009 Press conference, 6 April 2009 UNGA press release, 6 April 2009

At the initiative of the EU, Heads of delegation of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) gathered in London, UK, from 31 March - 1 April 2009, to consider NEAFC measures to implement the UN General Assembly resolution calling for vulnerable marine ecosystems to be closed for bottom-gear fishing activities. The meeting was attended by the EU, Iceland, Denmark in respect of the Faroe Islands and Greenland, Norway and the Russian Federation. The parties agreed to a proposal by Norway to close some areas to bottom-gear fishing activities, but the group did not accept a more ambitious EU proposal. Links to further information European Commission press release, 25 March 2009 EU press release, 3 April 2009

March 2009


The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) convened, on 31 March 2009, a global preparatory meeting for its Annual Ministerial Review (AMR), to be held during its July 2009 substantive session. The 2009 AMR will focus on “Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to global public health.” ECOSOC President Sylvie Lucas (Luxembourg) opened the one-day March event at UN Headquarters in New York, US, and highlighted that “one of the key messages of the preparatory process so far is that the health community alone will not be able to solve key challenges on the global public health agenda…Multisectoral approaches developed across ministries are needed. The key contribution which ECOSOC can make in July is to bring the different communities together.” She also highlighted additional preparatory events that have taken place, including an e-discussion and national and regional meetings. These deliberations also will serve as an input to the Report of the Secretary-General on the achievements in the area of health, as well as the Ministerial Declaration. In other ECOSOC news, the Council selected the theme for the humanitarian affairs segment of its 2009 substantive session on 26 March 2009. This segment will consider “Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian assistance: present challenges and their impact on the future,” and will convene two panels on “Respecting and implementing guiding principles of humanitarian assistance at the operational level – assisting the affected populations” and “Addressing the impact of current global challenges and trends on the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance.” The Council also decided that the regional segment will consider “Regional perspectives on the global economic and financial crisis, including the impact on global public health,” and an informal event will be organized on 17 July to discuss the transition from relief to development. Links to further information AMR Global Preparatory Meeting website ECOSOC press release, 26 March 2006

The second meeting of the informal consultations of the UNGA plenary on System-wide Coherence convened on 30 March 2009, at UN headquarters in New York, US. Discussions focused on the Secretary-General's paper “Further Details on Institutional Options for Strengthening the Institutional Arrangements for Support of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.” The paper focuses on the composite entity option, but also: lays out other options for gender architecture, including maintaining the status quo, establishing a separately administered Fund/Programme, and consolidating UN gender bodies in a Department of the Secretariat; and highlights the composite entity and Fund/Programme options as having the greatest potential to create a stronger and more coordinated UN system to support countries to advance gender equality and be an effective driver for the UN system. Links to further information President's Options Paper, 5 March 2009 President's letter, 13 March 2009

The General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) held its 33rd session in Tunis, Tunisia, from 23-27 March 2009. Delegates adopted a number of recommendations towards sustainable fisheries management and agreed to set up a GFCM fishing fleet register. Delegates also agreed on the use of at least 40 mm square mesh in trawl fisheries, to avoid accidental catches of small fish and other marine organisms. Links to further information Meeting website EU press release, 3 April 2009

The fifth meeting of the Rotterdam Convention Chemical Review Committee took place from 23-27 March 2009, in Rome, Italy. The candidate pesticides and industrial chemicals sent to the Committee at its fifth session included: endosulfan, azinphos-methyl, methyl parathion, mirex, paraquat, phorate, hexachlorobenzene and hexachlorobutadiene. The Committee concluded that only one notification met the criteria for inclusion in Annex III of the Convention for azinphos-methyl, endosulfan, phorate, hexachlorobenzene and hexachlorobutadiene. The Committee decided to establish groups to draft rationales on how the notifications for azinphos-methyl, endosulfan, phorate, hexachlorobenzene and hexachlorobutadiene met the criteria for inclusion in annex III of the Convention, and the Committee subsequently adopted these rationales. Regarding endosulfan, the Committee was unable to reach consensus on the notifications submitted by the Sahelian countries (Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal) due to differing views on whether all the required criteria had been met. The Committee adopted a decision on endosulfan, the rationale for that decision and a timetable for preparing a decision guidance document (DGD) inter-sessionally, based on the notifications submitted by the Sahelian countries and the EU. The draft DGD will be reviewed at CRC-6 along with any unresolved issues. The Committee also considered and approved the draft DGDs on alachlor and aldicarb that had been prepared inter-sessionally by the task groups. The Committee decided to send the recommendations to include alachlor and aldicarb into Annex III of the Convention together with the draft DGDs to the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Rotterdam Convention. Links to further information Rotterdam Convention website Basel Convention Bulletin, May 2009

The 49th Meeting of the Commission for Europe Technical Seminar on the Effects of the Economic Crisis on European Tourism: Challenges and Responses convened in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 25 March 2009. The meeting considered a subsectoral analysis of tourism in the region as well as policy issues related to the economic crisis and the need to reengineer the tourism industry. Link to further information UNWTO website

EU member states concluded two years of negotiations on 24 March 2009 with the adoption of the “Pesticides Package.” The Pesticides Package enables EU member States to monitor risks related to the use of pesticides. It includes three legislative proposals: the Regulation concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market; the Directive relating to the sustainable use of pesticides; and the Regulation on pesticide statistics. The aim of the proposal is to monitor proper risk indicators related to pesticides usage. Based on the monitoring results, the member States will collect comparable data for the development of harmonised statistics. The current regulation only concerns plant protection products falling under pesticides, but may be extended in the future to cover more areas. The final agreement is expected to be confirmed by the European Parliament on 21 April 2009, and by a Council decision in June 2009. Link to further information EU press release

A subregional workshop on the assessment of waste electronic and electrical equipment in the South Eastern Countries of the Mediterranean convened in Ankara, Turkey, from 16-17 March 2009. The workshop was aimed at sharing experiences in the transposition and implementation of the Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) Directive in old and new EU member countries. The workshop was financed and organized by the Technical Assistance Information Exchange Instrument (TAIEX) of the European Commission (Directorate General for Enlargement) in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Turkey. Participants heard presentations on the status of e-waste legislation, national actions to transpose the EU WEEE Directive, and cases of related implementation experience in older EU countries. Link to further information Basel Convention Bulletin, May 2009

The General Assembly held consultations of the plenary on System-wide Coherence on 13 March 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. The newly appointed Co-Chairs, Kaire Mbuende (Namibia) and Juan Antonio Yáñez-Barnuevo (Spain), announced the meeting through a letter dated 10 March 2009, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed participants, emphasizing the importance of coherence to improve the UN's efficiency and efficacy, as well as the need to strengthen and simplify the funding system, including through providing predictability. Participants discussed, inter alia: finance; forthcoming substantive papers from the Secretary-General, as requested in Resolution 62/277, on finance and governance; the need to have a strong UN to respond to the economic crisis; and the need to strengthen the UN's approach to gender. Links to further information Co-Chairs' Letter, 10 March 2009 UN Secretary-General's Noon Briefing, 13 March 2009

Over 2000 scientists from 80 countries convened in Copenhagen from 10-12 March 2009, for a meeting hosted by the University of Copenhagen. The Congress was conceived as an update of the science of global warming since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report was published in 2007. The meeting's conclusions will be presented to the UN Climate Change Conference in December. The meeting resulted in a summary statement of the scientists' findings for policy makers, which will be published in June 2009. Scientists warned that the impact of climate change is hitting the world faster than previous IPCC predictions. The scientists' six key messages are that recent observations confirm that, given high rates of observed emissions, the worst-case IPCC scenario projects (or even worse) are being realized; recent observations show that societies are highly vulnerable to even modest levels of climate change and temperature rises above 2C will be very difficult for countries to cope with; rapid, sustained and effective mitigation based on coordinated global and regional action is required to avoid “dangerous climate change;”; an effective, well-funded adaptation safety net is required for those people least capable of coping with climate change impacts, and a common but differentiated mitigation strategy is needed to protect the poor and most vulnerable; inaction is inexcusable given the tools and approaches available; and meeting the climate change challenge requires overcoming a number of significant constraints and seizing critical opportunities. Links to further information VOA News Story, 12 March 2009 Guardian News Story, 12 March 2009 International Herald Tribune News Story, 9 March 2009

The UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) organized, jointly with the municipality of Plock, CIFAL Plock and Veolia, a workshop on “Improving water governance for better water services delivery: Learning and sharing experiences” for Central and Eastern European countries. The event took place in Plock, Poland, from 10-12 March 2009 and was attended by 26 participants, consisting of local technical staff, representatives of local authorities, representatives of Ministries, heads of water department, members of the private sector and civil society representing six countries: Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Moldova, Poland and Ukraine. Participants heard presentations on water governance best practices and evaluated possibilities of replicability; and elaborated for their city a concrete action plan with measures to be taken to improve local water governance. Link to further information UNITAR press release, 19 March 2009

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Swedish Defense Research Agency, the UN Department of Field Support, the UN Mission in Sudan, and the Environmental Law Institute held a meeting to consider concrete ways to integrate sustainable practices into peacekeeping and relief operations. The meeting, which convened on 11 March 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya, discussed technologies to ensure water and energy efficiency, and to minimize deforestation, among other agenda items. The UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan, supported by Sweden, is investing USD$5 million to green its operations. Links to further information UNEP Press Release, 11 March 2009 UN News Centre story, 11 March 2009

The first Environment Council of the EU under the Czech Presidency took place on 2 March 2009, in Brussels, Belgium. The Council adopted conclusions further developing the EU position on a comprehensive post-2012 climate change agreement, which is due to be concluded at the UN climate change conference in December in Copenhagen. On mitigation, the Council: emphasizes the EU's determination to take swift action against climate change, as illustrated by its commitment to reduce its emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020; calls on developed countries to propose, as soon as possible and not later than mid-2009, reduction commitments for the medium-term; calls on other non-Annex I parties that are at levels of development and GDP/capita comparable to those of the group of developed countries to consider making similar commitments commensurate with their responsibilities, capabilities and national circumstances; and calls on developing countries, in particular the most advanced among them, to propose ambitious low-carbon development strategies and plans. On the carbon market, the Council proposes to build, preferably by no later than 2015, a robust OECD-wide carbon market through the linking of comparable and compatible cap-and-trade systems, to be extended to economically more advanced developing countries by 2020; and proposes to create new sector-specific mechanisms to enable developing countries to strengthen their mitigation contribution, to access carbon markets and to promote sustainable development. The conclusions also contain provisions on adaptation and proposals to finance the Copenhagen agreement. Links to further information EU press release EU Council conclusions

February 2009


UN-HABITAT hosted the Regional Conference of Mayors of Capital Cities of Africa from 26-27 February 2009 in Nairobi, Kenya. Focusing on African cities and climate change, the conference included discussions of concerns regarding: sea-level rise in coastal cities; flooding; regional collaboration; access to basic services; finance; and the other urban problems that can inhibit adaptation. Link to further information UNEP Press Release, 27 February 2009

The 28th Session of the World Customs Organization Enforcement Committee was held from 23-27 February 2009, in Brussels, Belgium. Attended by national level Customs and Revenue Directorates, as well as non-Enforcement Committee members, the meeting included consideration of cooperation between the public and private sectors in addressing environmental crime. Link to further information Green Customs coverage of the meeting
UNEP GC25/GMEF Takes Decisions on Climate, International Environmental Governance and Mercury

Delegates to the 25th Session of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC25/GMEF), which met from 16-20 February 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya, took 17 decisions including on international environmental governance, a significantly increased UNEP budget, support to Africa on climate change, and mercury. In the decision on support to Africa, the GC requests the UNEP Executive Director to work with the UN Economic Commission for Africa to provide technical support to the African Climate Policy Centre once established, and to promote the mainstreaming of climate change into social and economic development processes. On coordination within the UN, the GC welcomes the Executive Director's efforts as chair of the UN Environment Management Group, including in promoting the UN's commitment in moving towards climate neutrality. In addition, the GC approved funding to support climate change activities. Another key outcome of the meeting was a decision to elaborate a legally binding instrument on mercury. It is projected that mercury pollution will rise in part as a result of increased coal-burning in Asia. The decision established an intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) to develop a legally-binding instrument on mercury, and states that the INC is to develop a comprehensive and suitable approach to mercury. The decision represents the first coordinated global effort to tackle mercury. An open-ended working group meeting will be convened in the second half of 2009, to prepare for the work of the INC, which will hold its first meeting in 2010, with the goal of completing its work by GC27 in 2013. Link to further information IISD RS coverage of GC25/GMEF
UNEP Governing Council Convenes

February 2009: The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is convening the twenty-fifth session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC-25/GMEF), in Nairobi, Kenya, from 16-20 February 2009. Ministers are considering two themes, Globalization and the Environment: Global Crises: National Chaos? and International Environmental Governance and United Nations Reform – IEG: Help or Hindrance? Delegates are also considering reports on: strengthening the scientific and financial base of UNEP; the Global Environment Outlook; chemicals management, including mercury and waste management; small island developing States; support to Africa in environmental management and protection; South-South cooperation in achieving sustainable development; updated UNEP water policy and strategy; budget and programme of work for the biennium 2008–2009; long-term strategy on engagement of young people in environmental issues; future and current programmes for the development and periodic review of environmental law; and the outcome of the ad hoc intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder meeting on an intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Prior to GC-25/GMEF, youth leaders met in the Global Youth Gathering 11-13 February 2009 in Nairobi, Kenya and developed recommendations for GC/GMEF, including on their involvement in decision-making and on climate change. Also prior to the meeting, the tenth session of the Global Civil Society Forum convened at the UN Office in Nairobi, Kenya, from 14-15 February 2009. An estimated 230 participants attended the Forum, which sought to prepare for GC-25/GMEFand to refine the key statements of civil society at these events. [IISD RS coverage of GC-25/GMEF] [Global Youth Gathering website] [IISD RS coverage of the Global Civil Society Forum]

A technical meeting of the UN Environment Management Group (EMG) convened immediately prior to the 25th Session of the UN Environment Programme Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (UNEP GC25/GMEF). Participants discussed possible support to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and recommendations on the modalities for a UN system-wide contribution to 2010 biodiversity targets. Participants identified the need for a joint process on inclusion of environmental and social safeguards for projects. In addition, a progress report on cooperation towards a climate neutral UN and sustainable procurement in the UN was provided. The recommendations from the meeting will be submitted by the Chair of the EMG and Executive Director of UNEP to heads of agencies for their consideration. Link to further information Documents of the technical meeting
UN Commission for Social Development Discusses Social Integration

February 2009: The 47th session of the Commission for Social Development met from 4-13 February 2009, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. Delegates incorporated issues surrounding the global financial crisis, compounded by the challenges of increasing poverty, the food crisis, armed conflict and climate change, into their debate of “Social Integration,” which is the priority theme for the 2009-2010 review and policy cycle. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President Sylvie Lucas (Luxembourg) noted that the Commission for Social Development has the role of guiding international efforts to fight exclusion and promote socially inclusive policies to place people at the centre of development, which could prevent conflict, encourage dialogue and manage coexistence and natural-resource exploitation. The Commission endorsed four draft resolutions on the “Social Dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa's Development” (E/CN.5/2009/L.3); “Policies and Programmes involving Youth” (E/CN.5/2009/L.4); “Promoting full employment and decent work for all” (E/CN.5/2009/L.5); and the “First review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, 2002” (E/CN.5/2009/L.6). The draft resolutions are expected to be considered by ECOSOC, in accordance with resolution 2006/18, to discuss the core themes of the World Summit for Social Development, at its next substantive session in Geneva, in July 2009. Link to further information 47th session of the CSD website

January 2009


The Technical Consultation to draft a legally-binding instrument on port State measures to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing took place at UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy, from 26-30 January 2009. The meeting, which was chaired by Fabio Hazim (Brazil), brought together representatives from over 60 States and put in place the general outlines for an international agreement or treaty on “port State measures” that would deny vessels engaged in IUU fishing access to fishing ports. According to the draft elements of the treaty, fishing vessels that wish to land will be required to request permission from specially designated ports ahead of time, transmitting information on their activities and the fish they have on board, thereby providing authorities an opportunity to assess and detect possible illegalities prior to docking. In addition, information-sharing networks will enable countries to deny port access to any vessel previously reported as involved in IUU fishing by other agreement participants or by regional fisheries management organizations. Final details of the agreement will be laid out in a future round of talks, whose date has yet to be determined. Link to further information FAO press release, 3 February 2009

At the first Meeting of the UN World Tourism Organization's (UNWTO) Tourism Resilience Committee, which convened on 28 January 2009, in Madrid, Spain, participants discussed the need for the sector's short-term response to the economic down-turn to be aligned with long-term commitments to sustainable development, poverty alleviation and climate change mitigation. Link to further information UNWTO Press Release, 28 January 2009

The UN World Tourism Organization's (UNWTO) Tourism Resilience Committee (TRC) is a platform for information and best practice sharing regarding the current economic downturn and its impact on the tourism sector. The TRC's first meeting, which convened on 28 January 2009, in Madrid, Spain, resulted in agreement on the need for: cooperation among tourism stakeholders; improved data collection and analysis; and alignment of the industry's response to the economic crisis with its response to climate change. The Committee held its second meeting on 13 March 2009, in Berlin, Germany at the ITB Travel Trade Show. Participants at this meeting discussed: the impact of the economic situation on tourism, including on the airline industry; the public and private response to the crisis; and the role of the sector in the green economy and in addressing poverty and climate change. Links to further information UNWTO press release, 5 March 2009 TRC website Meeting agenda of the TRC UNWTO Press Release on UNWTO Secretary General's Remarks, 11 March 2009

The High-level Meeting on Food Security for All, held from 26-27 January 2009, in Madrid, Spain, issued a statement that calls for a consultative process on options for a Global Partnership for Agriculture Food Security and Nutrition. Convened by the Government of Spain and the UN, the meeting reviewed progress in addressing the global food crisis since the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) High-level Conference on World Food Security: the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy, held in June 2008. In a statement that was issued at the close of the meeting, based on the Chair's summary of proceedings, participants emphasize, among other measures: identifying financing gaps and additional resources needed; addressing all aspects of food security, including social protection systems and the elimination of competition distorting subsidies; and making social and economic development of rural areas a primary policy objective. Link to further information Meeting website

The meeting of the Asia-Pacific Business Forum 2009/Climate Game Change – Innovations and Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation convened in Bangkok, Thailand, on 21 January 2009. The Forum was organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The meeting sought to promote new partnerships, ideas and resolve for combating climate change. The Asia-Pacific business sector is expected to face serious risks as a result of climate change, with South and Southeast Asia considered to be climate change “hotspots,” at particular risk from cyclones, flooding, and drought. The outcome of the Forum includes an urgent call for businesses and governments in Asia and the Pacific region to make climate change adaptation central to their core operations. The outcome will be fed into preparations for the UN Climate Change Conference, due to take place in Copenhagen in December this year. Link to further information Press release, 22 January 2009

Addressing the European Travel Commission's Transatlantic Conference, which convened on 20 January 2009, in New York, US, Assistant Secretary-General of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Geoffrey Lipman emphasized the potential role of tourism in boosting the economy and called for the tourism sector to mainstream green activities. He stressed the need for: adhering to the Green New Deal; building the “quadruple bottom line” into the sector's policies by adding climate to economic, social and environment considerations of the sustainability equation; increasing public/private sector collaboration to enhance efficiency; accounting for the sector's carbon impact; developing short- and long-term economic tools to support climate adaptation, trade strengthening and technology transfer; and implementing these commitments now and within the future Copenhagen framework. Link to further information UNWTO Press Release, 27 January 2009

Representatives of 20 countries and the European Union attended the Ministerial Conference on Global Environment and Energy in Tokyo, Japan, from 15-16 January 2009. Hosted by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the meeting gathered transport ministers and envoys from the Group of Eight major economies, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, along with Australia, India and South Korea, to participate in talks as part of an effort to develop a climate change agreement for the post-2012 period. A Ministerial Declaration was presented at the close of the meeting, emphasizing future actions in the transportation sector to tackle climate change and air pollution, and calling on the air and maritime industries to act on global warming and address carbon emissions from the unregulated sector by the end of the year. Delegates acknowledged, that while transport is “an important foundation of our society,” it is responsible for “considerable emissions of carbon dioxide,” affecting the climate and public health. They called on the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to “deliver a package of appropriate mechanisms for reducing emissions, preferably by the end of 2009.” The ministers said they would support efforts by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to come up with technology, standards and market-based measures by the end of the year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Declaration also proposes, among other things, a package of effective measures for domestic transport, from which each country will employ best policy practices according to individual circumstances. Links to further information Meeting website Ministerial Declaration

Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, UNGA President, opened the meeting of the Commission of Experts on the Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System, held at UN Headquarters, from 4-6 January 2009, underscoring the UN's role as a forum to charter “any legitimate effort to recast the institutions and the rules of the global financial system.” Following its deliberations, the Commission, led by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, issued a statement noting its efforts to identify the underlying factors that have contributed to the magnitude of the crisis and its rapid spread around the world, and recommending urgent actions to be taken. It stated the required reforms should establish regulations that enable simultaneously pursuing long-term objectives, such as sustainable and equitable growth, the responsible use of natural resources, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and more immediate concerns, including addressing the challenges posed by the food and financial crises. The Commission of Experts will meet again in Geneva on March 8-10. Links to further information UNGA President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann's Statement, 5 January 2009 The First Meeting of the Commission of Experts of the UNGA P...