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Highlights and images for 24 September 2019

Launch Event of the GO for SDGs Initiative

Organized by the Permanent Mission of Germany and UNEP, the event marked the official launch of Global Opportunities for SDGs (GO for SDGs), an initiative aiming to accelerate and raise ambition for building inclusive and sustainable economies. Led by Germany and UNEP and open to other partners, GO for SDGs will serve as platform to facilitate regional dialogue and exchange among practitioners on best practices for replicating and scaling-up effects, and by fostering local institutional learning and experience sharing. L-R: Krista Mikkonen, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Finland; Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany; and Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UNEP   Highlights The GO for SDGs Initiative will serve as platform to accelerate ambition by facilitating dialogue and knowledge sharing for inclusive green economies. Germany will contribute EUR 7.5 million. GO for SDGs will work through existing initiatives like The UN Environment Programme's (UNEP) One Planet Network. Finland is using a toolbox of policies to achieve its commitments to be carbon neutral by 2035 and move towards a circular economy. Peru’s National Green Growth and Competitiveness Plan highlights the value of the environment and natural resources for economic growth. Karin Göbel, Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN, welcomed participants noting that the stakes to implement the SDGs have never been higher and calling for integrative solutions that bring actors together, unlock potential, and galvanize momentum towards a fast, fair, and green transformation. Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany, reminded participants that only ten years remain to implement the SDGs, noting that despite progress in some areas, more action is needed, especially on climate, water and inequality. Highlighting that many effective tools, methods and approaches already exist, she explained that the GO for SDGs initiative will focus on scaling up their use and enabling their adaptation to specific national circumstances.  She announced Germany’s contribution of EUR 7.5 million to the initiative, expressing hope that other partners will join. She called for greater efforts to promote green innovation and sustainable business models and, outlining several successful examples, expressed confidence that GO for SDGs will be fruitful. Citing several recent reports on SDG implementation, Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director, stressed that many areas receive insufficient attention, including rapidly increasing resource consumption and biodiversity decline. She underlined that SDG 12 (sustainable consumption and production) has the potential to unlock progress on serval SDGs. She explained that GO for SDGs will allow working through the UN system to enable sharing knowledge products and cross-country learning using existing platforms such as UNEP’s One Planet network. She called for “rolling up our collective sleeves” to tackle implementation together. Krista Mikkonen, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Finland, said her country wants to lead by example, by making Finland climate-neutral by 2035 and moving towards a circular economy. She highlighted that these ambitious targets need to be achieved in a socially-inclusive way. Instead of instituting a comprehensive sustainable development policy, she noted, Finland has a toolbox of policies tackling different issues, from plastics to waste. Mikkonen added that, under the One Planet Network, Finland has taken responsibility on the program for sustainable building and construction. Lucía Ruíz, Minister of Environment, Peru, highlighted the need for a grassroots, multi-stakeholder approach to SDG implementation, and for “multi-alignment” of government policies and actions. She said Peru is working to transition to a green, circular economy and has recently instituted a ban on single-use plastics. She further mentioned Peru’s recently adopted National Green Growth and Competitiveness Plan, which highlights the value of the environment and natural resources for economic growth. In the ensuing discussion, participants debated, among other issues: ways to rapidly scale up successful local and regional initiatives for SDG implementation; transformative cooperation; the need to provide green jobs and include social partners in the social dialogue needed for a successful transition to a green economy; and putting local governments on the UN’s agenda. In her response, Schulze highlighted the need to translate the SDGs at the regional and local levels so that the Goals provide answers to local needs, and invited other governments to embark on the journey to become carbon neutral by 2050, like Germany. Mikkonen explained that GO for SDGs is necessary to create a pool of practical local answers and solutions to SDG implementation. Ruiz underscored the need to tackle corruption in local administrations. Satya Tripathi, Assistant Secretary-General and Head of UNEP’s New York Office, underscored the need to find the “magic mix between progress and politeness when it comes to the private sector,” which he explained implies finding the balance between safeguards and room for partnerships and innovation. In closing, Schulze encouraged participants to “paint the picture of a better future together” that will be realized through climate action and achieving the SDGs. Photos by IISD/ENB | Francis Dejon For photo reprint permissions, please follow instructions at our Attribution Regulations for Meeting Photo Usage Page. L-R: Naysán Sahba, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Moderator; Krista Mikkonen, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Finland; Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany; and Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UNEP Karin Göbel, Head of Department of Economic and Financial Affairs, Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UNEP Krista Mikkonen, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Finland Lucía Ruíz, Minister of Environment, Peru Satya Tripathi, UNEP Naysán Sahba, UNEP Event panel answering questions from participants. Anne-Beth Skrede, Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions Arjan de Haan, International Development Research Centre Svenja Schulze, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany, in conversation with event participants. CONTACT Tobias Cabani | [email protected] MORE INFORMATION
Daily Highlights

Launch Event of the GO for SDGs Initiative

The GO for the SDGs Initiative will focus on scaling up the use and adaptation to national circumstances of existing tools, methods and approaches for inclusive green economies.
Event 24 September 2019

Highlights and images for 5 July 2019

Facilitator Natasha Walker On Friday, participants to the Trondheim Conference on Biodiversity heard presentations on communication, outreach, and the role of stakeholders with regard to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, as well as on key cross-cutting issues, including capacity building, resource mobilization, and research needs. They addressed the draft Co-Chairs' report, which will be finalized in the coming weeks on the basis of participants' input; heard comments on next steps from Conference Co-Chairs' Nina Vik and Finn Katerås, and the Co-Chairs of the Open-ended Working Group of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on the post-2020 framework Francis Ogwal and Basile van Havre; and heard a closing statement from Ellen Hambro, Norwegian Environment Agency. Jane Smart, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), stressed the need for increased clarity of the post-2020 framework and its targets, and for alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Minister of Environment and Energy, Costa Rica, emphasized the need for: phasing out perverse incentives; open and transparent objectives regarding resource mobilization; and aligning public and private investments with national biodiversity strategies and action plans. Sudhanshu Sarronwala, WWF International, highlighted a WWF study examining consumer mindsets in ten developing countries, where half the people believe that biodiversity is declining, but only 40% see biodiversity and nature as an important source of raw materials for the economy; and only one third associate biodiversity with basic necessities such as food and fresh water. Highlighting how targets are influencing business, Alice Durand-Reville, Danone, explained that Danone has committed to carbon neutrality by 2050 throughout the whole value chain, which entailed rethinking products and energy consumption. Joji Cariño, Forest Peoples Programme, presented on the contributions of indigenous peoples and local communities to CBD implementation, and lessons shared through the Local Biodiversity Outlooks. Christian Schwarzer, Germany, and Melina Sakiyama, Brazil, Global Youth Biodiversity Network, urged addressing overproduction and consumption, global inequalities, and assassinations of nature defenders. Jamison Ervin, UN Development Programme, highlighted the need for developing capacities to: replicate; scale-up; transform supply chains; tell a good story; unleash private sector capital; create a planetary safety net; and buffer the most vulnerable.  Mark Zimsky, Global Environment Facility (GEF), noted that the GEF's seventh replenishment has been reoriented to address the systemic and underlying drivers of biodiversity loss, adding that a two-track investment strategy is focusing on: cities; sustainable forest management; and food systems, land use, and restoration. Meriem Bouamrane, Man and the Biosphere Programme, UNESCO, highlighted: the contribution of culture and of diverse knowledge and value systems; the role of education and life-learning processes; the need for countries to have endogenous research and monitoring capacities; interdependency between biodiversity and development issues; and the need to address urban issues. Francis Ogwal and Basile van Havre, Co-Chairs of the CBD Open-ended Working Group on the post-2020 framework, identified new elements to be addressed, including the need to involve new sectors, and consider new factors such as population change, food and agriculture, human health, deforestation, and restoration. Conference Co-Chairs Nina Vik and Finn Katerås announced that all conference outputs, including the Co-Chairs' report and powerpoint presentations, will be available on the conference webpage. They expressed the hope that the Conference provided knowledge, friendships, inspiration, and motivation to participants, and invited them to provide their feedback in the upcoming month. Ellen Hambro stressed the scientific basis has never been bolder, and the biodiversity crisis never higher on the global agenda. She expressed her appreciation to all participants for their enthusiasm and dedication, and closed the Conference at 1:00 pm.
Daily Highlights