IISD Reporting Services (IISD RS) Coverage
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Coverage of Selected Side Events at the First UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) of the
UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

23-27 June 2014, UNEP headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya
 
Daily Web Coverage (Click on the Following Links to See Our Daily Web Pages)
Side Events (ENBOTS) Coverage on Thursday, 26 June 2014
 

First UNEA to UNEP

The following side events were covered by ENBOTS on Thursday, 26 June 2014:


Nhattan Nguyen, World Organzation of the Scout Movement, admiring the posters from
UNEP's International Children's Painting Competition on the Environment.

 
 

Pushpam Kumar, UNEP/DEPI, described UNEP’s Valuation
and Accounting of Natural Capital for Green Economy
(VANTAGE) programme to support a shift towards natural
capital accounting.

 

Farooq Ullah, Executive Director, Stakeholder Forum, called
Future Earth an opportunity to help understand how science can
be demand driven, looking at societal needs and finding
appropriate applications.

 
 

Hartwig Kremer, UNEP/DEWA, referred to Future Earth as an umbrella programme on
“actionable science” for sustainability, co-designed with scientists and stakeholders.

 
   

Hartwig Kremer, UNEP Division of Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA), moderated the session. He referred to Future Earth as a science-policy-technology interface that builds on existing earth system science, mentioning partner organizations DIVERSITAS, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), the International Human Dimensions Programme (IHDP) and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) as partners of a single umbrella programme.

Recognizing that science often operates in silos, Cheikh Mbow, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), stressed a need for improved interaction among scientists, and among scientists, policymakers and local communities to enable a transition towards sustainability. Mbow underscored Future Earth’s role in promoting the co-design, co-production and co-development of science to support decision making.

Farooq Ullah, Executive Director, Stakeholder Forum, emphasized the need to move from consultation towards collaboration, wherein science moves from a one-way data collection method, to a more collaborative research process based on dialogue. He reminded delegates, however, that these processes are not linear and that co-design of science may need to go through several stages before co-production and co-dissemination of science can take place.

Arab Hoballah, UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE), emphasized the need to decouple economic growth from resource consumption, and requested researchers to provide scientific evidence on decoupling to support decision makers. He pointed to the difference between relative and absolute decoupling, recommending that developed economies should strive for the latter, while developing economies should strive for relative decoupling whereby their resource consumption continues, but at a lower rate.

Underscoring the unprecedented growth rate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), trade and investment, Pushpam Kumar, UNEP Division for Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI), called for mainstreaming natural capital into economic discussions: as a concept, in projects and strategies, and within policies. He pointed to UNEP’s Inclusive Wealth Index, which balances man-made capital with natural and human capital.

During discussion, delegates addressed, among other issues: translating the language of science to engage stakeholders; practicing the science-policy interface in different research areas; finding synergies across disciplines, bearing in mind that problems are not confined by disciplinary boundaries; spreading the message of a green, inclusive GDP and considering how to do so, knowing that many indicators will reflect negative results; addressing the rebound effect which results from increased efficiency; and focusing on lifestyle and behavior.

   
 

Arab Hoballah, UNEP/DTIE, stated that decoupling does not
mean no growth, but growth with improved efficiency,
acknowledging UNEP’s Global Initiative for Resource-Efficient
Cities.

Cheikh Mbow, ICRAF, stated that Future Earth links around
60,000 scientists, and will promote actionable science focused
on global development, a dynamic planet and a transformation
towards sustainability.

 

Participants heard proposed research themes for Future Earth.

 
 
   
More Information:

http://www.futureearth.info

Contacts:

Hartwig Kremer, UNEP
hartwig.kremer@unep.org

   
 
 

Irungu Houghton, Kenya Dialogues Project, SID, suggested that for Africa to develop sustainably, “we have to be environmentalists.”

Ali Hersi, SID, asked how Africa could achieve equitable distribution
of wealth while pursuing the path to sustainability.

 
   

Ali Hersi, Society for International Development (SID), introduced the event, which centered on the challenge of inequalities affecting Africa’s economic growth and the path towards sustainability. The event highlighted issues raised at the Pan-African Conference on Inequalities in the Context of Structural Transformation, held in April 2014 in Accra, Ghana.

Referring to a Mo Ibrahim report ‘Africa Ahead: The Next 50 Years,’ Irungu Houghton, Kenya Dialogues Project, SID, illustrated what Africa could be in half a century, with a younger work force, more democratic space and greater urbanization, but also highlighted possible fracturing from resource wars, inequalities and ethnic conflicts. He underlined the discrepancy between a growing GDP and a stagnating industrial base, with GDP growth concealing the scores of people who are not seeing economic growth. He asserted that, “If we keep the gap, it is a recipe for social division and lack of social cohesion.”

Drawing on points made by Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama at the Accra conference, Houghton proposed that part of the answer to closing the gap between the rich and the poor is through adding value to agricultural produce and other products, and supporting rural and urban producers, thereby creating employment. He underscored the importance of ensuring that ‘the paradigm of growth’ does not follow the previous failed models. On this theme, he linked growth in the industrial countries to individual wealth, which, he submitted, leads to rapid infrastructural development, “but very little social growth.”

Responding to Hersi’s question on the role of sustainability as multi-faceted growth is being sought in African nations, Houghton outlined some of the challenges in creating sustainability. On external challenges, he suggested: poor regulation of resource prospecting and extraction; ‘land grabs’ that appropriate land and water resources for foreign use through the expansion of export agriculture; and inadequate biosafety protocols leading to imports of harmful substances and the use of harmful genetically modified organisms (GMO) technology. On domestic challenges, he cited the lack of an enabling environment for local green companies, which are often unable to compete with international corporations on price.

Participants discussed issues including: potential solutions to promote equity; adaptation to climate change; technological leapfrogging; renewable energy; and corruption as an “abhorrent impediment” to achieving sustainability.

   
 
 
UNEP, the Sustainable Development Goals and Business

Presented by the Business Green Economies Dialogue Project in partnership with the International Organisation of Employers and the International Council of Chemical Associations
 
   
L-R: Weru Macharia, IOE; Isabelle Coche, International Fertilizer Association; Lena Perenius, ICCA; and Norine Kennedy, USCIB
   
 

While acknowledging agriculture is at
the top of the international agenda,
Isabelle Coche, International Fertilizer
Association, noted that the business
world faces challenges in understanding
and engaging with the multiplicity of
public sector and civil society initiatives.

Weru Macharia, IOE, asserted that high
level targets for sustainable development
need to be clear and concise, to be
understood by the business world.

Norine Kennedy, USCIB, asserted that
business will make “a big contribution”
to SCP.

 
   


Brian Flannery, Chair of the Green Economies Dialogue (GED), moderated the session, which highlighted the importance of UNEP to business and the need to catalyze private sector contributions to economic, social and environmental objectives via the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 development agenda.

Flannery outlined the GED’s work in calling for academic papers on green economy topics relating to trade, investment, energy, and innovation, observing that discussions on these topics differ in different countries. He said this shows that implementation of sustainable development will need to reflect national priorities and circumstances. He underscored the private sector’s part in creating goods and services that meet demand, and the government’s role in building societal capacity, creating enabling frameworks and establishing a suitable regulatory environment. He suggested that business investors looking to enter the green economy space would like “not absolute certainty, but sufficient clarity, that they can propose and implement projects that will be completed.”

Martina Otto, Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) Secretariat, gave chemicals as an example of a sector that has become a prime advocate of sustainability. She also pointed to sustainable energy and utilities as sectors that could prove to be good business opportunities. On the work of the CCAC, she said businesses could generate “accessory health benefits” through the reduction of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs).

Simon Darlington, Alstom, explained how green infrastructure creates jobs, giving the example of the manufacture of new trains, which would create 35,000 jobs in South Africa. He detailed his company’s role in highlighting gaps in absorption capacity, technology transfer and government policy.

Discussant Patricia Beneke, UNEP, underscored the role of the SDGs in setting overarching objectives such as poverty eradication, and protection and management of the national resource base, and she singled out business as being the necessary driver to promote sustainable production and consumption (SCP) and sustainable industrialization. She pointed to enabling factors such as innovation, trade, and rule of law that can drive the partnership between industry and the world of environmental policy making.

Co-moderating the event, Norine Kennedy, US Council For International Business (USCIB), cautioned that, “sticking to the status quo will not work if we want to remain competitive in any attribute of sustainability.”

Lena Perenius, International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), described the role of chemicals in energy efficiency, stating that this is one of the most cost-efficient ways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. She gave examples of case studies from her organization’s work in increasing sustainability partnerships through the Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency (SPIRE); addressing accidents in warehouses and transportation; and working with small, medium and microenterprises.

Isabelle Coche, International Fertilizer Association, spoke about agriculture and food security post-2015, in particular, the challenge of facing high food demand vis-à-vis the impacts of biodiversity loss and water stress.

Weru Macharia, International Organisation of Employers (IOE), said that there is potential for business to enhance the quality of employment and stimulate entrepreneurship, creating a “win-win-win” for social, economic and environmental purposes.

Discussant Helen Marquard, the SEED Initiative, drew attention to the role of green microenterprises, innovation and partnerships, as the gap closes between industry and the environment.

   
 
   

On enhancing the green business environment, Brian Flannery, Green Economies Dialogue, drew attention to investment inhibitors
such as missing infrastructure, delays in issuing permits, and inadequate human resource capacity and skills. L-R: Brian Flannery,
Chair, GED; Martina Otto, Deputy Head, CCAC; and Simon Darlington, Alstom

   
 
   
Participants in discussions about the green economy and SCP within business initiatives.
   
 
More Information:

http://www.green-dialogue.org

Contacts:

Brian Flannery, GED
bpflann@gmail.com

Norine Kennedy, USCIB
nkennedy@uscib.org

 
Eye on Earth project showcase

Presented by Abu Dhabi Global Environment Data Initiative

 
Gerard Cunningham, UNEP/DEWA, moderated the side event.
 

Damon Stanwell-Smith, UNEP/WCMC,
stressed the importance of sharing
information between regions, referring
to the Eye on Oceans and Blue Carbon
SI.

 

Lalanath de Silva, WRI, described the
Environmental Democracy Index, which
focuses on access to information, public
participation and access to justice.

 

Pablo Fuentenebro, UNEP/DEPI,
acknowledged the importance of
working with the different thematic SIs
within the Eye on Earth.

 
   

Gerard Cunningham, UNEP Divsion on Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA), welcomed participants to the Eye on Earth, a platform for sharing environmental, social, and economic data and information.

Derek Gliddon
, Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), described the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI), saying it aims to enhance data collection and data sharing to support planning and decision making on sustainable development. He introduced the Eye on Earth as a mechanism to support and synergize existing sustainability efforts by working in partnership at local, regional and global levels, noting several Special Initiatives (SIs) of AGEDI.

David Stanners, European Environment Agency (EEA), presented the Global Network of Networks (GNON) SI, explaining that while much data exists, there is a need to bring it together. He said that networking is about connecting people, data and information to inspire a new form of governance, while explaining GNON’s role in identifying gaps in existing networks and facilitating interaction.

Lalanath de Silva, World Resources Institute (WRI), presented the Access for All SI and the Environmental Democracy Index. He identified the role of the SI in promoting information access, citizen engagement and access to justice, pointing to benchmarking activities in 54 countries on environmental democracy.

Deborah Chapman, University College Cork, Ireland, presented the Eye on Water Security SI and global monitoring of freshwater resources, noting that where water is scarce, security is important. She noted several objectives of the SI, including: strengthening capacity for data collection and analysis; sharing data; and linking to other networks. Stressing collaboration between the Water Security SI and the Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS) Water Initiative, she emphasized the need for local, national and regional data, and for sharing it at the global level.

Damon Stanwell-Smith, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) presented the Eye on Oceans and Blue Carbon SI, highlighting the Abu Dhabi Blue Carbon Demonstration Project, which uses spatial data mapping and monitoring to identify specific attributes of blue carbon habitats. He said this could be useful for future carbon financing.

Pablo Fuentenebro, UNEP Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI), presented the Eye on Environmental Education SI and the Global University Partnership for Environmental Sustainability (GUPES). Noting that GUPES currently has 430 affiliated universities, he highlighted several outputs, including: a 2014 Greening Universities Toolkit; sustainable indicators for universities; and an in-service ICT training package for environmental professionals.

During discussion, participants addressed: how to learn from international examples on water security; how to link networks to networks more effectively at the global level; how indices such as the Environmental Democracy Index can support civil society engagement; and how other universities could link up to GUPES.

   
 

L-R: Lalanath de Silva, WRI; Damon Stanwell-Smith, UNEP/WCMC; Derek Gliddon, AGEDI; Pablo Fuentenebro, UNEP/DEPI;
Deborah Chapman, University College Cork, Ireland

 
More Information:

http://www.eoesummit.org


Contacts:

Gerard Cunningham, UNEP/DEWA
gerard.cunningham@unep.org

 
 
Funding for coverage of UNEA-1 has been provided by UNEP
 
UNEP

Related Links
UNEA-1 General Resources

*Assembly Website

*GMGSF-15 Website

*GMGSF-15 Agenda

*Statements and Recommendations by Major Groups and Stakeholders to UNEA-1

*GMGSF Previous Sessions

*GMGSF Website

*UNEA-1 Full Schedule

*UNEA-1 Scenario Note

*UNEA-1 Annotated Agenda

*UNEA-1 Organization

*UNEA-1 Documents

*High-level Segment Ministerial Plenary: The Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals including Sustainable Consumption and Production

*High-level Segment Ministerial Dialogue on Illegal Trade in Wildlife

*Symposium on Environmental Rule of Law

*Symposium on Financing a Green Economy

*Gender Forum


IISD RS Resources

*IISD RS coverage of the First meeting of the UNEP Open-Ended Committee of Permanent Representatives (OECPR), 24-28 March 2014, UNEP headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya

bulletIISD RS coverage of the Twenty-seventh Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC27/GMEF), 18-22 February 2013, UNEP headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya

bulletIISD RS briefing note of GMGSF-14, 16-17 February 2013, UNEP headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya (HTML - PDF)

bulletIISD RS coverage of the Twelfth Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council (GCSS-12/GMEF), 20-22 February 2012, UNEP headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya

*IISD RS archive of sustainable development meetings

*IISD RS summary report of GMGSF-13, 18-19 February 2012, UNEP headquarters, Nairobi, Kenya (HTML - PDF)

*SDG - A mailing list for news on sustainable development policy

*Sustainable Development Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of International Activities Preparing for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development

*SDG - A mailing list focused on internationally-relevant activities related to setting the post-2015 development agenda

*Sustainable Development Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Post-2015 Development Agenda Activities

*Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin on the side (ENBOTS) © <enb@iisd.org> is a special publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). This issue has been written by Resson Kantai Duff, Jennifer Lenhart, and Delia Paul. The Digital Editor is Francis Dejon. The Editor is Liz Willetts <liz@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. Funding for coverage of selected side events at UNEA-1 has been provided by UNEP. The opinions expressed in ENBOTS are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and funders. Excerpts from ENBOTS may be used in non-commercial publications only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>. Electronic versions of issues of ENBOTS from UNEA-1 can be found on the Linkages website at <http://enb.iisd.org/unep/unea/unea1/enbots/>. The ENBOTS team at UNEA-1 can be contacted by e-mail at <delia@iisd.org>.
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