Monday, April 25, 2016

UN, World Bank Announce Members of High-Level Panel on Water

UN, World Bank Announce Members of High-Level Panel on Water
  21 April 2016: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim announced the appointment of ten Heads of State and Government and two Special Advisors to the High-Level Panel on Water, which was first announced in January 2016. The presidents of Mauritius and Mexico serve as Panel co-chairs, with the prime ministers of Australia, Bangladesh, Jordan and Netherlands, and the presidents of Hungary, Senegal, South Africa and Tajikistan also on the Panel. 
 The Panel's appointment was announced on 21 April 2016, when the UN General Assembly convened for a High-level Thematic Debate on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Panel aims to mobilize action to accelerate the implementation of Goal 6 (Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all). 
 Achieving the SDGs will require changes in the way governments, societies and the private sector manage water, according to a joint statement on the launch. SDG 6 aims to ensure water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for all, while also tackling challenges related to water scarcity and stress, improving water quality, and promoting integrated water resources management (IWRM). According to the UN, over 2.4 billion people lack access to improved sanitation and an estimated 663 million do not have access to safe drinking water, situations that contribute to premature deaths and economic losses. 
 “Ensuring water and sanitation for all is crucial for reducing poverty and achieving other SDGs,” Ban said in a press note. He urged partners to mobilize financial, political and technological support to mobilize behind SDG 6. Kim added, "Growing cities and populations, as well as a changing climate, are placing unprecedented pressures on our water resources.". He stressed that providing clean water and sanitation for all “requires the kind of global action, strong leadership and commitment shown by the [Panel] members.” 
 The Panel is expected to: provide leadership to develop and manage water resources and improve WASH access; champion a collaborative, comprehensive and inclusive approach to achieving SDG 6; work to advocate for financing and implementation approaches to effect concrete change; and "shine light" on institutions and policies that are placing the world on a more sustainable path. 
 The co-chairs of the Panel are Ameenah Gurib, President, Mauritius, and Enrique Peña Nieto, President, Mexico. The other members are: Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister, Australia; Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister, Bangladesh; János Áder, President, Hungary; Abdullah Ensour, Prime Minister, Jordan; Mark Rutte, Prime Minister, the Netherlands; Jacob Zuma, President, South Africa; Macky Sall, President, Senegal; Emomali Rahmon, President, Tajikistan. The Special Advisors are: Han Seung-soo, former Prime Minister, the Republic of Korea; and Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Minister of State for the Environment, Peru. 
 According to a joint statement, the Panel welcomes “an open and growing ‘friends of the water panel' network that encourages a voice for all and seeks to learn from the knowledge that already exists." [UN Press Release] [UNSG Note to Correspondents] [Joint Statement] [SDSN Website on Panel] [IISD Briefing Note on the High-level Thematic Debate on Achieving the SDGs] [IISD RS Story on Panel Establishment] 
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Monday, April 18, 2016

Canada intends to show its climate leadership

New Secretary for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Nairobi, 13 April 2016 - Current Vice-President of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Mr. Abdalah Mokssit, from Morocco, has been offered and accepted the position of new Secretary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).    The announcement was made at the forty-third session of the IPCC, convening in Nairobi this week.   Dr. Petteri Taalas, Secretary-General of WMO said, "I have had the pleasure to collaborate with Mr. Mokssit for more than a decade as a colleague, WMO Director and as an Executive Council member. He has special organizational and diplomatic skills; these will be needed to engage more developing country experts and governments in the IPCC's work. I am convinced that he will be a very useful asset for IPCC."   UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Achim Steiner said, "I welcome the selection of Mr. Mokssit as the New IPCC Secretary. He brings to the position years of experience at the national, regional and global levels and UNEP looks forward to continuing to support the vital work of the IPCC, especially through the joint efforts of the UNEP-WMO Secretariat."     Mr. Mokssit has extensive experience with the IPCC, WMO and at the national level. Under his leadership, the Meteorological Service of Morocco became one of the leading meteorological agencies in Africa, meeting high international standards.   The final selection for the position was made by WMO Secretary General, the UNEP Executive Director and the IPCC Chair, following UN procedures.   About the IPCC The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the world body for assessing the science related to climate change. The IPCC was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly, to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.   The IPCC does not do its own research, conduct climate measurements or produce its own climate models; it assesses the thousands of scientific papers published each year to tell policymakers what we know and don't know about the risks related to climate change. The IPCC identifies where there is agreement in the scientific community, where there are differences of opinion, and where further research is needed.     Thus the IPCC offers policymakers a snapshot of what the scientific community understands about climate change rather than promoting a particular view. IPCC reports are policy-relevant without being policy-prescriptive. The IPCC may set out options for policymakers to choose from in pursuit of goals decided by policymakers, but it does not tell governments what to do.   To produce its reports, the IPCC mobilizes hundreds of scientists who work as volunteers. These scientists and officials are drawn from diverse backgrounds. Only fourteen permanent staff work in the IPCC's Secretariat.   The members of the IPCC, comprising the Panel, are the195 member states of the UN and WMO. They work by consensus to endorse the reports of the IPCC and set its procedures and budget in plenary meetings of the Panel. The word "Intergovernmental" in the organization's name reflects this.   IPCC reports are requested by the member governments and developed by authors drawn from the scientific community in an extensive process of repeated drafting and review. Scientists and other experts participate in this review process through a self-declaration of expertise. The Panel endorses these reports in a process of dialogue between the governments that request the reports and will work with them and the scientists that write them. In this discussion the scientists have the last word on any additions or changes, although the Panel may agree by consensus to change something in the summaries for policymakers of the reports.   The IPCC produces comprehensive assessment reports on climate change every six years or so. Among its other products it also issues special reports on particular topics requested by its members, and methodology reports and software to help members report their greenhouse gas inventories (emissions minus removals).   The IPCC completed the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) with the release of the Synthesis Report on 2 November 2014. AR5 is the most comprehensive assessment of climate change ever undertaken. Over 830 scientists from over 80 countries were selected to form the author teams producing the report. They in turn drew on the work of over 1,000 contributing authors and over 1,000 expert reviewers. AR5 assessed over 30,000 scientific papers.  

Further Resources

For more information, please contact   Shereen Zorba, Head of News & Media, UNEP, +254788526000,

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Belize Joins Ten Island Challenge

Belize Joins Ten Island Challenge to Transition to 100% Renewable Energy
The islands of the Caribbean are some of the most beautiful places on Earth, which is why they are among the most popular tourist destinations. But those same island nations also suffer from some of the highest electricity prices in the world, a factor that fuels poverty, helps grow their national debts and blocks their ability to plan for sustainable development. Because relatively little of that electricity comes from renewable sources, these countries spend large portion of their GDP importing fossil fuels, money that could otherwise be spent growing their economies. And while these islands don’t contribute significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions, they suffer an outsized impact from climate change, with rising sea levels, hotter temperatures and extreme weather events such as hurricanes. That’s why Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson’s climate group the Carbon War Room (CWR), now partnered with Amory Lovins’ think tank the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), created the Ten Island Challenge to encourage these nations to tap into their abundant supply of sun and wind. The challenge was kicked off last year at the Creating Climate Wealth Islands Summit to start collecting commitments from the islands, with CWR and RMI working with them to set ambitious renewable energy goals, develop plans to do so and build the infrastructure and resource capacity to execute those plans.  Aruba was the first nation to join the challenge. Its government worked with the two organizations to create the Smart Growth Pathways, and it has committed to transitioning from fossil fuels by 2020. St. Lucia, Grenada, the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and San Andres and Providencia have already joined the challenge and are working to transition their economies away from fossil fuels. More

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Climate-proof' and resilience

FOR many Small Island Developing states (SIDS) in the Caribbean, Africa and the Pacific the impact of natural disasters and climate change is real

The recent devastation caused by Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston in Fiji reiterates why SIDS require specific assistance and points to the need to better "climate-proof" development projects in these economies.

Both the 2014 Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), which took place in Samoa, and the 2015 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, recognised the vulnerability of countries to natural disasters but importantly also highlighted the shared responsibility of the state, the private sector and the development community in the recovery effort.

Severe TC Winston has disrupted Fiji's development path much like in 2015, when Cyclone Pam struck Vanuatu and other Pacific Islands. Having learnt from previous cyclones, Fiji's National Disaster Management Office in partnership with other government and United Nations agencies were in action before, during and immediately after the passage of the storm. Their work saved countless lives and prized possessions.

The response has also been swift from Fiji's traditional development partners such as Australia, New Zealand and the European Union, but also from China, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and other smaller islands in the region. As I make my first visit to Fiji as executive director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), my aim will be to see where ITC can be of assistance and help to rebuild the economy.

This first official visit to Fiji was initially planned as an opportunity to open new facilities developed through ITC's EU-funded projects to increase farmer incomes and exports for the Ra Province, and inaugurate new pasture management systems for sugar-belt livestock farmers. Together with Fiji's Ministry of Agriculture, the Pacific Community, community leaders and enterprise partners we had laid the foundations for a regeneration of Fijian agriculture.

Before Severe TC Winston, ITC and its project partners in Fiji had brought more than 700 farmers, their families and communities to a new level of production and income. These people had invested their time, effort and savings, and had just started to reap the rewards when the disaster struck. Now they have lost everything except the know-how and organisational structure imparted through the projects. More

Climate Change & Biodiversity (A Pakistan case study): Impact of Climate Change on biodiversity of Butterflies in Northern coniferous forests of Punjab,Pakistan

Climate change is an established fact but the way and the intensity in which the climate has been changing since 1975 has created an alarming situation in Pakistan .

The last decade was the warmest since instrumental records have been kept in the nineteenth century. Climate change is a major threat to biodiversity by causing changes in plant phonologies and a poleward shifts in birds and butterflies. In terrestrial ecosystem 28,586 significant biological changes are related with climate change. With a relatively short life-cycle and host-plant reliance, butterfly communities show quick response to climate change. Punjab has few coniferous forests which are home to many exotic species. Twenty two years climate analysis shows reduction in precipitation and an increase in extreme weather events. In short span of just twenty years 14 butterfly species have disappeared from very rich forests of Murree. The species which are present are also on the verge of extinction as with climate change the number of invasive species is coming upwards.

by Hassaan Bin Saadat (Author)


Saturday, April 2, 2016

SE4All Highlights Plans for Implementing SDG 7

25 March 2016: The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All), Rachel Kyte, highlighted challenges to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 (Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all).

Briefing UN Member States and civil society, she also provided an update on the SE4All initiative's plans for supporting implementation of the Goal.

Kyte emphasized that Goal 7 has three “pillars,” addressing energy poverty, technological advancement, and investment in energy efficiency. Stressing the interlinked nature of the Goal, she said the first pillar, addressing energy poverty, is essential to leaving no one behind, noting that the electricity access gap undermines education, productivity and economic growth, while the gap in access to clean cooking fuels is detrimental to health and gender inequality. On technological advancement, Kyte noted the past decade's reductions in the cost and complexity of renewable energy, which makes on-shore wind, solar photo voltaic, and other technologies more competitive with fossil-based energy sources. On energy efficiency, she said greater investment has made it possible to provide basic electricity services using much less power.

Despite this positive progress, Kyte warned that global economic trends have slowed the momentum for electrification, renewables, efficiency and clean cooking. She said the global energy transition is not taking place at a sufficient pace to meet the temperature goal set out in the Paris Agreement on climate change, or the broader development goals expressed in the 2030 Agenda.

Kyte also stressed that the financial needs to achieve SDG 7, which are estimated at over US$1 trillion annually, will need to come from both private and public sectors. She highlighted the importance of small-scale, private investments to develop renewable energy in many African countries.

On the role of the SE4All initiative in supporting the achievement of SDG 7, Kyte said the Forum's 2017 meeting will assess progress and provide substance for the High-level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF) and the UN system as a whole in its review of progress towards the SDGs. In the meantime, SE4All is developing a framework for addressing challenges faced by Member States in achieving SDG 7. Member States will have opportunities to provide input on this framework throughout May 2016, Kyte said, and the SE4All Advisory Board will consider the framework at its meeting, on 15-16 June 2016. [Event Webcast] [SE4All Website]