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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 Adaptation Fund Board (AFB) accepted the offer by Germany to confer legal capacity and host the AFB in Bonn. The latest meeting of the AFB took place on 16-18 November 2009, in Bonn, Germany. Additional AFB actions included: adoption of Operational Policies and Guidelines; approval of the creation of a standing Accreditation Panel for accrediting the proposed National Implementing Entities (NIE) and Multilateral Implementing Entities (MIE); agreeing to issue a call for experts to serve on the Panel; and inviting the Kyoto Protocol parties to submit nominations for National Implementing Entities (NIEs) for accreditation and to access fund resources directly. Link to further information Adaptation Fund press release, 18 November 2009

The 36th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council took place in Washington DC, US, from 10-12 November 2009, and adopted a new allocation framework, the System for a Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR), to be applied to the fifth replenishment of the GEF Trust Fund (GEF-5). Resources in the focal areas of biodiversity, climate change and land degradation will thus be distributed following STAR criteria. Every country will receive a minimum allocation of $4 million, from whichUS$2 million would be used for climate change, $1.5 million for biodiversity, and $0.5 million for land degradation. The maximum a country may get is $300 million for these three focal areas. The Council also approved a work programme comprising 34 project concepts worth US$159.29 million, and decided its next meetings would convene the weeks of 29 June 2010 and 15 November 2010. The fourth meeting for the GEF-5 Replenishment also took place in the same venue on 13 November 2009. Participants welcomed the Russian Federation as new donor to GEF-5, and continued discussions on the level of funding and focus of GEF-5. The next meeting to discuss GEF-5 is, subject to confirmation, scheduled for February 2010 in Rome. On 12 November 2009 the Council of the Least Developed Countries Fund and Special Climate Change Fund (LDCF/SCCF) also met and approved projects in Brazil and Jordan. Links to further information Council meeting summary of the Chairs GEF replenishment meeting summary of the Chairs GEF Council and LDCF/SCCF Council meeting and documents

October 2009


The Fifth GEF Biennial International Waters Conference, co-hosted by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Government of Australia, gathered over 300 of the world's leading water specialists to identify practical measures for coping with climatic variability. The Conference, held from 24-29 October 2009, at the Australian Great Barrier Reef, featured new research results on protecting coral reefs, adapting to the accelerated warming of coastal oceans, and adjusting to the movement of fisheries away from warming, polluted waters. During the event, a recent global assessment financed by the GEF was presented showing that Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) are warming much more rapidly than expected and are over-fished and over-fertilized. The study found that 61 of the world's 64 large marine ecosystems show a significant increase in sea surface temperatures in the last 25 years, contributing to decreasing fisheries catches in some areas and increasing catches in others. The Conference also cautioned that the impacts of climate change on land and water resources increases the relevance of groundwater as the world's largest store of freshwater, and the primary source of drinking water for nearly half the world's population. As most aquifers are transnational, the importance of managing them as shared transboundary resources was also emphasized. Links to further information GEF press release, 29 October 2009 GEF press release, 26 October 2009 GEF press release, 19 October 2009

The third meeting for the fifth Global Environment Facility Replenishment (GEF-5) was held at the World Bank office in Paris, France, on 14-15 October 2009. Participants welcomed the Fourth Overall Performance Study (OPS4) and supported a strong GEF replenishment. In response to participants' requests for ambitious but realistic scenarios, the GEF Secretariat will develop scenarios reflecting increases of 50, 75, and 100% over GEF-4. Most participants expressed openness to an asymmetric approach to increasing allocations for focal areas and themes, provided the level for each focal area is at least maintained relative to GEF-4 levels. In this context, most participants expressed the need to increase the focus on and increase allocations for climate change, but others noted the need for increased allocations to POPs and ODS, and the desirability of GEF involvement in a broader chemicals program, including mercury. Some participants also expressed support for a stronger focus on biodiversity, sustainable forest management, land degradation and international waters. Participants supported maintaining the small grants programme at a level comparable to the one pledged for GEF-4. Several participants also highlighted the importance of enhancing private sector engagement, with some noting that a broader private sector window than the Earth Fund may be desirable. A revised programming document will be prepared by the Secretariat by end-October. Link to further information Summary of the Co-Chairs

September 2009


The World Trade Organization Public Forum convened from 28-30 September 2009, and featured a panel on climate change policies and trade rules that looked into the question of whether the interpretation of WTO agreements ensures sufficient policy space to adopt effective climate-change measures. The panel was organized by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and Friends of the Earth Europe (FOEE), and examined the challenges and opportunities of the link between climate and trade, and addressed questions related to: the contribution of the liberalization of energy services to key energy reforms and/or measures to combat climate change; the impact of trade rules on efforts to establish necessary energy sector reforms or measures to combat climate change; and the role of intellectual property rights in measures to combat climate change. Link to further information WTO programme and audio of events

The G-20 Summit hosted by US President Obama convened from 24-25 September 2009, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During the meeting, leaders reviewed progress made since the Washington and London Summits and discussed further actions to assure a sound and sustainable recovery from the global financial and economic crisis. Agenda items related to climate change included how to finance global carbon emission reductions and how to help developing nations adapt to climate change. According to press reports, little progress was made and the G-20 did not commit to specific contributions, but issued a statement outlining the need to scale up public and private financial resources to support mitigation and adaptation in developing countries. Leaders pledged new efforts to reach an agreement in Copenhagen and to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels. The G-20 leaders reportedly directed their finance ministers to return to the issue later in the year. Links to further information Time press article G-20 Pittsburgh Summit home page

The G-20 finance ministers met at the Treasury in London, from 4-5 September 2009, for the second meeting this year of the G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. The first meeting, held in Horsham near Sussex in April, prepared the ground for the London Summit in April. The weekend meeting was aimed at building on the momentum achieved at the April London summit and the commitment to tackle the global downturn with a global solution and to prepare an agenda and lay the groundwork for the next G-20 leaders' summit on 24-25 September 2009, in Pittsburgh, US. According to press reports, differences between developed and developing countries prevented G-20 finance ministers from agreeing measures to curb climate change. Finance ministers from developed countries were reported to have sought progress on climate change financing at the meeting, but met resistance from ministers from emerging nations including China and India, who fear the proposals could stifle their economic growth. The meeting communiqué notes the urgent need to combat climate change and indicates the ministers will work toward a successful outcome at the fifteenth UNFCCC Conference of the Parties scheduled to take place in Copenhagen in December. Links to further information HS Treasury web page G-20 communiqué Reuters press release, 5 September 2009

2 September 2009: Addressing the Second Latin American and Caribbean Dialogue towards Copenhagen, Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), offered a “neutral ground for dialogue to help the region advance towards common positions.” The meeting, held at ECLAC headquarters in Santiago, Chile, was attended by Ricardo Lagos, UN Special Envoy on Climate Change, Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, Vice Chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention (AWG-LCA), and Alberto Van Klaveren, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chile, as well as government ministers and representatives of environment, foreign affairs, finance and economy ministries from some 20 countries in the region. In preparation for the Copenhagen conference, ECLAC is also preparing reports on the economics of climate change in the region's countries, assessing the present and future costs of climate change in productive sectors. Link to further information ECLAC press release

July 2009


The Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) has organized a meeting of the network on Sustainable Energy, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management to discuss national and sectoral climate change strategies. The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) participated in a panel on the economics of climate change in Latin America and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) participated in a panel on international and national financing alternatives for climate change. Link to further information Agenda

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

Held from 29 June-3 July 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland, the 14th session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) focused on the renewal of its mandate for the 2010-2011 biennium, without reaching agreement on a roadmap for future work. At the basis of discussions was a proposal by the African Group suggesting that the future work of the Committee should comprise “text-based negotiations,” conclude with the adoption of an “internationally legally binding instrument/s,” and be undertaken through a “defined work programme and time frame, including the holding of intersessional work sessions.” The WIPO General Assembly will take up the matter of the Committee's mandate at its 47th meeting, to be held from 22 September-1 October 2009. Links to further information WIPO press release, 6 July 2009 IP Watch, 30 June 2009 IP Watch, 3 July 2009 IP Watch, 6 July 2009

June 2009


The second meeting for the fifth replenishment of the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund (GEF-5) addressed several issues that will guide GEF-5, including a strategy to enhance engagement with the private sector, a corporate programs strategy, and a results-based management framework. Participants expressed a preference for the adaptation to climate change programming strategy to remain subject to voluntary funding and distinct from the GEF replenishment. The meeting, which took place in Washington DC, US, from 25-26 June 2009, also agreed that the proposed strategies for focal areas for the GEF-5 replenishment are broadly appropriate and encouraged a more country-focused and programmatic approach, welcoming the idea of GEF-specific national business plans. Participants agreed in principle that two NGO representatives, to be selected by the GEF NGO Network and representing a recipient country and a non-recipient country, could be invited to replenishment meetings as observers. Contributing Participants also agreed to consider a proposal for the participation of non-donor recipient country representatives in the replenishment meetings. The next replenishment meeting is scheduled for October 2009. Link to further information Summary of the Co-Chairs

The World Trade Organization, Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade, convened on 25-26 June 2009, and debated 48 trade concerns raised by members. Three of these concerns related to the European Community's chemical policy, the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACH). Recent activities by the European Community restricting the marketing and use of organostannic compounds and new controls on dimethyl fumarate were questioned by the Japanese delegation. The US delegation questioned the requirements for REACH accreditation. Link to further information WTO 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 Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council met from 22-24 June 2009, in Washington, DC, US, and approved a work programme including 60 projects amounting to US$248.84 million. Twenty projects were approved within the climate change focal area. These related mostly to energy efficiency, and assigned US$61.1 million in GEF grants in 23 countries. The Council also adopted a Memorandum of Understanding with the Conference of the Parties acting as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol to provide Secretariat services to the Adaptation Fund Board. In approving this MoU, the Council clarified that the accountability of the Head of the Adaptation Fund Board Secretariat referred to in paragraph 3 of the MoU applied solely to issues pertaining to the Adaptation Fund and the use of its resources. Link to further information Joint summary of the Chairs

Donald Copper, Executive Secretary, Stockholm Convention, and co-Executive Secretary, Rotterdam Convention, addressed the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council on 22 June 2009. Cooper updated the GEF Council on the outcomes of the fourth session of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention, including the decision on guidance to the financial mechanism. In his address, Cooper highlighted the importance of the GEF making financial resources available in a manner that is predictable, in terms of the level of funding, and that is distinct, in that it is to be used for Stockholm Convention implementation activities. Noting that the core funding for persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in the fifth GEF replenishment (GEF-5) was currently indicated to be US$600 million, he said Parties may find that amount to be insufficient, considering the results of the Stockholm Convention needs assessment as well as the listing of nine new POPs. Link to further information Stockholm Convention website

The Adaptation Fund (AF) met for its sixth meeting in Bonn, Germany, from 15-17 June 2009, and was informed about the first sales of CERs on behalf of the Fund. The meeting advanced in completing its Operational Guidelines, which are expected to be adopted at the next meeting and will enable the Fund to initiate the accreditation process and call for project proposals. Two countries put forward offers to confer legal capacity and to host the Adaptation Fund Board: Germany and Barbados. A decision in this regard is expected to be taken at the next Board meeting, for endorsement by the Kyoto Protocol parties at their December meeting in Copenhagen. The Board also established two Committees, the Ethics and Finance Committee and the Project and Program Review Committee, and thanked the students from the Marienschule, a High School in Euskirchen, Germany, for collecting and donating Euros 117.09 as the first voluntary contribution to the Fund. The next Board meeting will convene Bonn on 14-16 September 2009. Link to further information AF press release, 6 July 2009

The final statement issued by the G8 Finance Ministers' Meeting, held in Lecce, Italy, from 12-13 June 2009, noted ministers discussed the economic, financial and developmental aspects of climate change. The statement noted that climate change “is a global issue that requires a global and balanced solution and [we] advocate an ambitious, efficient, effective and fair outcome of the UNFCCC process. Financial and investment needs will be substantial in the future, thus making it imperative that all resources be used in the most effective way to achieve true emission reductions, that they be channeled through highly efficient, coordinated and equitable instruments, and that market-based mechanisms play a central role to drive private finance.” Ministers further noted that while developed countries should continue to play a leading role, all but the least developed countries should commit to measurable, verifiable and reportable mitigation actions and financial participation. “Adaptation is a development challenge and, therefore, international financing should primarily target the poorest countries, be fully integrated in their development strategies and follow the principles of aid effectiveness.” Link to further information G8 press release

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


The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in cooperation with the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (NGLS) and other partner organizations, organized a Public Symposium on the Global Economic Crisis and Development in Geneva, from 18-19 May 2009. The symposium aimed to provide a platform for participants to discuss the causes and effects of the current global financial crisis and to provide recommendations for policy changes needed to avoid such crisis in the future. Specifically, the debate focused on the effects on developing countries in the area of trade, investment, food security and jobs. UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi stressed the need to give voice to the voiceless. Juan Somavia, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), advocated for a global jobs pact to address unemployment and provide an economic stimulus package, in line with the Green Jobs agenda. A report prepared by ILO and the International Institute for Labour Studies, which was used as a background document to the symposium, focuses on the benefits of the green economy, which is likely to be more job-rich than carbon intensive economies. The report notes that, for some countries, a job-creation strategy includes green jobs but not plans to save existing jobs. Recommendations included building on the rapid growth in South-South trade and related economic cooperation in recent years. The recommendations will be forwarded to the UN General Assembly and to the UN Conference on the World Financial Crisis and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development, to be held later in June in New York. Links to further information UNCTAD Public Symposium Public Symposium Programme ILO report: The Financial and Economic Crisis: A Decent Work...

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has co-organized, with the Clean Air Institute and the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, a conference that sought to build consensus on the required policy response to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transport in the developing world. The event convened from 12-16 May 2009, in Bellagio, Italy, and concluded with the adoption of the Bellagio Declaration on Transportation and Climate Change. The Declaration recognizes that the transport sector, being the fastest growing sector in terms of GHG emissions, needs to increase its contribution to mitigation efforts, and it stresses that a new global climate agreement should be reached in December 2009 in Copenhagen to reflect this message. The Bellagio Declaration also calls on the international climate change and transport community to embrace three key principles: effective climate action is incomplete without addressing the overall system performance of the transport sector; climate action in the transport sector should recognize co-benefits; and more effective carbon finance mechanisms and associated procedures should catalyze sustainable transport policies, programmes and projects. Link to further information The Bellagio Declaration

April 2009


The Global Environment Facility's Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (GEF-STAP) met in Rome, Italy, from 28-30 April 2009, to review GEF methodologies and the emerging strategies for the fifth GEF Replenishment (GEF-5). The meeting addressed GEF-5 draft strategies and the role of the GEF within sustainable forest management, land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD). Other topics addressed included oceans and over-fishing, biofuels and biodiversity, improved chemicals management and new and cross-cutting focal area objectives for consideration in GEF-5 and beyond. The meeting also provided an opportunity for GEF Agencies to provide expert advice to the Panel within a set of priorities relevant to development of GEF-5 strategies. Link to further information GEF STAP meeting website

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) held an expert meeting on the “Trade and Investment Opportunities and Challenges under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)” in Geneva, Switzerland, from 27-29 April 2009. The event included presentations by academics, research institutions and country experts who explored ways to facilitate participation from developing countries and least developed countries in the CDM, and provided examples of how to overcome existing obstacles to greater CDM investment flows. Experts concluded that the CDM's achievements over the past four years far outweigh its difficulties and flaws. As a result, they asked UNCTAD to assist in streamlining further investments under the programmatic CDM and in supporting developing countries in developing nationally appropriate mitigation actions (NAMAs) to include innovative policy approaches related to reduced deforestation, clean energy production and use, and clean transport. Link to further information Expert meeting website

The annual High-Level Meeting of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) with the Bretton Woods Institutions, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which convened on 27 April 2009, in New York, US, addressed the global economic crisis and perspectives for UN responses. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the Group of 20's commitment to a ‘green' recovery and the establishment within the UN of “a system-wide mechanism for monitoring vulnerability, and sounding the alert when necessary/” He noted recovery should be pursued in a way that promotes sustainable development, and added that, “indeed, this crisis, devastating as it is, is also an opportunity to move towards a Green New Deal.” Links to further information UN News Center, 27 April 2009 Meeting website

The Joint World Bank Group (WBG) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) Development Committee met on 26 April 2009, in Washington, DC, US, and highlighted that “hard earned progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is now in jeopardy.” The Committee “welcomed the WBG's efforts to ensure a timely crisis response while maintaining its focus on long term development challenges, including those posed by climate change and the need to accelerate progress towards the MDGs.” A Civil Society Forum preceded the Bretton Woods Institutions Spring Meetings on 23 April. Link to further information World Bank/ IMF Spring meetings

In the framework of the G8 Italian Presidency, the G8 Environment Ministerial Meeting convened on 22-24 April 2009, in Siracusa, Italy. The G8 Ministers, joined by high-level representatives of Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, Egypt, Indonesia and the Republic of Korea discussed: the development and deployment of low carbon technologies in the context of the current financial and economic crises; actions to address climate change; and biodiversity. Among the Chair's conclusions to be submitted to the July G8 summit are: the need for recovery and stimulus packages to include public spending and investments in more efficient production and use of energy, as well as in low carbon technologies, to address both economic development and emissions reduction; and the need to urgently address climate change and agree on a post-2012 regime in Copenhagen covering all the elements of the Bali Action Plan. In this respect, the Chair will note the importance of increasing mutual confidence, and “being proactive in order to avoid to remain locked in waiting others' first move.” A document on biodiversity, the Carta di Siracusa on Biodiversity, highlighting that biodiversity has a relevant economic value and can contribute to cope with the global economic crisis will also be forwarded to the G8, calling for a post-2010 framework on biodiversity. Link to further information G8 Environment Ministers Summit

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Earth Fund Board, a private sector advisory group to the GEF Council, met on 8 April 2009, to provide strategic guidance to the Global Environmental Facility. Since it was first launched last year, the Fund has attracted several partners and is expected to grow to as much as $150 million in its first round of financing. Inaugural members of the board include: Claude Jouven, former CEO of the French subsidiary of Citicorp and now a board member of the Social Investment Forum; Hassan Lamrani Karim, the CEO of Safari Group; and Yue Zhang, CEO of the Broad Air Conditioning Co. Link to further information GEF press release, 8 April 2009

The World Bank's “Energy Week 2009” focused on the theme “Energy, Development, and Climate Change.” During the week, policy-makers and practitioners analyzed issues related to: energy innovations for clean transport; securing a climate sensitive energy supply; integrating wind energy development; and scaling up energy efficiency for climate change mitigation. In her opening address, World Bank Vice President Katherine Sierra highlighted the demand for strong investment in green energy made by Lord Stern, who proposed that countries should be spending about 20% of their stimulus packages on green measures, and Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, who called for a Global Green New Deal with investments of one per cent of global GDP in five key sectors. Link to further information World Bank Energy Week 2009

The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) held its 63rd session from 30 March-1 April 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland, during which participants discussed the effects of the economic crisis and the role the UNECE can play in increasing trade facilitation, as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation. Participants underscored that the linkages between the environmental and economic crises provide an opportunity for adopting a new paradigm of sustainable growth, and noted the need to promote energy security as well as policies aimed at reducing energy dependence. The Commission endorsed the “Environment for Europe” reform plan as developed by the Committee on Environmental Policy on 29 January 2009. The Commission also elected Belgium as Chair and Serbia and Kyrgyzstan as Vice-Chairs of the sixty-fourth session. Links to further information Meeting website UNECE press release

March 2009


The Boards of Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) held their 50th and 24th Annual Meetings, respectively, in Medellín, Colombia, from 29-30 March 2009. At the meeting, finance ministers and central bank presidents from IDBs 48 member countries discussed the current financial crisis and addressed the IDB's reform. In line with IDB's new efforts to promote energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emission reductions, a project was approved on 27 March to provide Brazil's Usiminas steel company a loan amounting to US$200 million, to finance investments in a new power cogeneration plant and related equipment to produce electricity using excess heat and gases that originate in the production of the steel, allowing the Belo Horizonte-based company to cut its production costs and reduce carbon emissions This is the first of a two-phase project. After the second phase, the new cogeneration plant will supply all of the energy needs for the new Santana do Paraíso plant. These investments will also contribute to the site's 99% gas recovery and 98% water recycling. Links to further information IDB annual meeting website IDB press release, 27 March 2009

A GEF STAP workshop convened on 23 March 2009, in Washington, DC, US, to consider how to measure the success of GEF investments and to catalyze change through experimental project design. Participants evaluated novel project designs to improve GEF's impact on the ground, heard presentations focused on how experimental designs can help to improve positive impacts on the environment, and showcased examples of experimental designs (e.g., stratification, randomized rollout, randomized encouragement, and randomized saturation to measure spillover effects) from a variety of social policy fields (e.g., environmental, poverty alleviation, education, health). The debate and discussions focused on opportunities and constraints for using such designs in the context of the GEF. Link to further information GEF STAP website

The “International Policy Dialogue on Financing the Climate Agenda: The Development Perspective” took place in Berlin, Germany, from 19-20 March 2009. The event was convened by the Development Policy Forum, InWEnt, Germany, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), in cooperation with the United Nations Foundation and with the support of the KfW Banking Group. Three main sessions addressed: the climate agenda as an integral part of sustainable development; new sources of financing to combat and adapt to climate change; and institutional and instrumental challenges in climate financing. Among the main themes highlighted during the closing session were the need to: move beyond technical negotiations in light of the urgency of the problem; scale- up support for developing countries immediately and significantly; and fully integrate climate goals into development policy. Link to further information IISD RS coverage

Representatives from thirty developed and developing countries met in Paris, France, to discuss the fifth replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), with several calling for a substantial increase in the replenishment of the GEF. The First Meeting of Contributing Participants towards the GEF's Fifth Replenishment (GEF-5) convened from 17-18 March 2009, and considered, inter alia, innovative sources of funding, including the possibility to obtain carbon credits for GEF projects that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, the effective exchange rates to be used in determining GEF-5 contributions, and the future strategic positioning of the GEF. They discussed key themes to be considered during the replenishment negotiations, including: institutional reform and governance; a focus on effectiveness, efficiency and results; private sector engagement; new sources of financing; resource allocation framework; and scope and mandate of GEF focal areas. Participants agreed to group the issues raised under two broad themes: Institutional Reform, and Governance and Programming for GEF-5. In addition, they requested that the GEF Secretariat prepare: a note on broadened access to GEF resources, including a proposed pilot on direct access; a note on mainstreaming the replenishment of LDCF and SCCF; a consolidated note by all the GEF Agencies on the issues raised in the strategic positioning paper; and information on co-financing and procurement. These themes will be discussed in depth at the next replenishment meeting, to be held from 25-26 June 2009, in Washington, DC, US. Link to further information GEF-5 Replenishment Meeting

On 13 March 2009, environment and fisheries ministers from six Asia Pacific countries considered a draft Regional Action Plan for the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) on coral reefs, fisheries and food security, which establish a framework to tackle coastal and marine resource degradation in the Coral Triangle ecosystem. Ministers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste are working to ensure the sustainable management of the Coral Triangle, a region abundant in marine life and biodiversity holding more than 75% of the known corals and over 3,000 species of fish. So far, the Coral Triangle Initiative, supported by the Global Environment Facility and the Asian Development Bank has generated commitments or pledges of around US$400 million. The Plan is expected to be endorsed by heads of state at a CTI Leaders Summit in Manado, Indonesia, in May 2009. A World Ocean Conference will take place prior to the CTI Summit. Link to further information ADB press release, 13 March 2009

The second design meeting on the World Bank's Forest Investment Program (FIP), a part of its Climate Investment Framework (CIF), took place on 5-6 March 2009, in Washington DC. The FIP's main objective is to pilot and demonstrate new approaches to forest management that lead to major impacts in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from forests. Among the issues discussed were the participation of indigenous peoples and local communities, and the establishment of a Sub-Committee for the FIP to oversee the operations and activities of the Pilot Program. Link to further information World Bank CIF website

Lord Nicholas Stern and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) hosted a seminar on 5 March 2009, titled “Development in a More Hostile Climate,” during which country-level studies of the economic impact of climate change in Brazil, Mexico and South East Asia were presented. The meeting included discussions of the threats to development posed by climate change, strategies for overcoming risks and the role of partnerships and multilateral institutions in responding to climate investment challenges faced by developing countries. The event was complementary to a symposium titled “US Climate Action: A Global Economic Perspective,” organized by Lord Stern and the World Resources Institute. Link to further information IDB press release

February 2009


The Sub-Regional Workshop for Global Environment Facility (GEF) Focal Points for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) took place from 11-13 February 2009, in Dubrovnik, Croatia. The meeting gathered 24 GEF Focal Point participants from 16 countries, together with representatives of the GEF. Issues addressed during the meeting included the GEF 5 replenishment, technology transfer, and follow-up and evaluation of the GEF Small Grants Programe. An update on funding under the resource allocation framework (RAF), the status of the Adaptation Fund and co-financing strategies were also addressed, as were several case-studies from the region addressing national communications and specific projects. Tools and resources available to support focal points, including tools to monitor and track portfolios, also were presented. Link to further information GEF Country Support Programme website (no punctuation in this part)

An alternative to the World Economic Forum, the World Social Forum is held annually in developing countries as a forum for debates and information-sharing among social movements and organizations. This year's World Social Forum was held in the Amazonian city of Belém, Brazil, from 27 January-1 February 2009, and was attended by five Latin American presidents, Presidents Lula of Brazil, Chavez of Venezuela, Morales of Bolivia, Lugo of Paraguay and Correa of Ecuador. During the event, several assemblies were held with wide participation of social actors, including one on alternatives for the protection of the Amazonian rainforest, and another on the theme “together for climate justice in Copenhagen.” Links to further information World Social Forum 2009 website Climate Justice Assembly Declaration Choike press release, 30 January 2009

January 2009


The Trust Fund Committees for the World Bank's Climate Investment Funds met on 27-30 January 2009, and gave a clear signal on the need for prompt action on adaptation by identifying which countries will be offered funding under a pilot program within the US$6 billion Climate Investment Funds. Bangladesh, Bolivia, Cambodia, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Tajikistan and Zambia have been invited to participate in the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), which will provide about US$500 million for scaled up action and transformational change in integrating climate resilience in national development planning. The criteria used to identify the countries include the level of vulnerability to climate change hazards and risks, country preparedness to move towards climate resilient development plans, and country distribution across regions and types of hazards. Two other programs were also discussed: the Forest Investment Program, a program to pilot and demonstrate investments to support the REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) efforts of developing countries, with its next design meeting planned for 5-6 March 2009, in Washington, DC; and the Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program, where a small multi-stakeholder working group will convened from 9-10 March 2009, to prepare a draft design document. Links to further information World Bank Press Release, 30 January 2009 Carbon Investment Funds website

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2009 opened in Davos, Switzerland, on 28 January 2009, under the overall theme “Shaping the Post-Crisis World.” Over 2,500 participants and 40 heads of state and government participated in the meeting, where business, civil society and government leaders shared ideas on how to shape the post-crisis agenda, from economic reform to climate change. Participating in the event, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underlined that, within the current multiple crises, climate change is the “only one truly existential threat” and called on the world's leaders to use the current economic crisis to launch a new Global Compact entailing a “Green New Deal.” One of the key panels, titled “Rising to the Challenge of Copenhagen,” addressed the challenges that countries must address while negotiating a climate agreement during 2009. The panel, moderated by Thomas L. Friedman (Foreign Affairs Columnist, The New York Times), included Jacques Aigrain (Swiss Re CEO), Yvo De Boer (UNFCCC Executive Secretary), Al Gore (former US Vice-President and 2007 Nobel Laureate), Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Prime Minister of Denmark), and Jeroen van der Veer (Royal Dutch Shell CEO). Al Gore commented that the new US administration is very serious about the climate change issue and ready to assume a leadership role. He highlighted that “President Obama is the greenest person [in the White House]. He is pushing hard for a dramatic and bold move in the right direction. If other governments do the same, then we can make the change to a low-carbon future.” Anders Fogh Rasmussen stressed that targets, adequate funds and a transparent verification scheme are needed for countries to reach long-term goals. He emphasized that industrialized countries should reduce their emissions by 80% in 2050, and should help developing countries adapt to climate change through technology transfer and a global fund. The Davos Forum's programme featured other events related to climate change. Panelists addressed the climate challenge amid the present economic crisis in events on: controlling climate change; dealing with deforestation and addressing the scientific challenges of resolving climate problems; rising to the challenge of Copenhagen; climate issues in Africa; the electric vehicle conundrum; climate justice; emissions trading; the politics of water; science for world leaders; the challenge of sustainable mobility; and the right to food. Links to further information World Economic Forum website UN Secretary-General in Davos OECD's Angel Gurria's speech on “Managing our future water n... “Rising to the challenge of Copenhagen” event summary Davos 2009 session summaries

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) hosted its “Multi-Year Expert Meeting on Enterprise Development Policies and Capacity-Building in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI)” from 20-22 January 2009. Experts gathered in Geneva, Switzerland, for the first year of the expert meeting, during which the emphasis was placed on STI capacity-building, including aspects such as STI policy and institutional development, STI regulatory framework and the encouragement of technology-based businesses, including through technology transfer. The meeting focused on three approaches to encourage entrepreneurship: support to entrepreneurship infrastructure; promote research-industry-government collaboration; and foster access to finance. The outcomes of the meeting will serve as input to develop best practices on how to set up and sequence the implementation of an entrepreneurship development policy and to promote the design and implementation of STI policies that can contribute to poverty reduction. Link to further information Meeting website

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...