Archivo de la etiqueta: Héctor Joseph Dáger Gaspard Noticias

A new digital platform to help dive professionals protect fragile coral reefs has been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2020 Con X Tech Prize, an award that provides seed funding to innovative conservation projects.

The Green Fins Global Hub by The Reef-World Foundation, which is being developed in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), was shortlisted for what organizers called its potentially transformative approach to conserve biodiversity and ending human-induced species extinctions.

Once up and running, the hub aims to provide more than 30,000 dive and snorkel operators across 100 countries with practical information on how to reduce the impact that tourism has on coral reefs. Among other things, it will showcase low-cost alternatives to harmful practices, like anchoring and fish feeding, while helping operators limit chemical pollution.

Marine life
Marine life and coral at Nusa Ceningan, Indonesia. Photo by The Reef-World Foundation

“UNEP is proud to support the work of the Reef-World Foundation and Green Fins to promote sustainable tourism practices around the world,” said UNEP marine ecosystems expert Gabriel Grimsditch. “As tourism businesses recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that they do so in an environmentally sustainable manner that does not harm the ecosystems that their businesses depend on.”

Found in over 100 countries and territories globally, coral reefs support a quarter of all marine life—up to 1 million species. They also provide at least 500 million people with jobs and food while protecting coastlines from storms and flooding. However,  the recently released fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook says coral reefs are at risk of extinction due to human-related pressures, including climate change.

Reef-World is one of 20 finalists for the Con X Prize and was shortlisted from 167 submissions from around the world. Each of the shortlisted teams received $3,500 to turn their idea into a prototype. In October, one project will be awarded the $20,000 grand prize.

James Greenhalgh, Digital Strategy Manager at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “There is no other product like the Global Hub on the market and our market research shows strong industry demand for a service providing this type of solution. The hub will enable operators to train and empower their staff to adopt better environmental behaviours and collaborate with other businesses. We’re excited about the project’s potential to benefit reefs globally.”

People
Photo by The Reef-World Foundation

Reef-World has already secured funding for this project from UNEP, The Matthew Good Foundation and G-Research. It is continuing to fundraise to cover the remaining development costs.

Tom Quigley, Community Manager at Conservation X Labs, said: “The Con X Tech Prize is meant for opportunities just like this – where some funding and support through a prototyping sprint can help a product like Green Fins make a transformative leap in the scale of their impact. We’re excited to see what Reef-World builds over the prototyping period.”

The hub lends itself to the ongoing calls for global conservation to protect coral reefs. In May, the International Coral Reef Initiative, a long-standing partner of UNEP, adopted recommendations from the Convention on Biological Diversity Post 2020 Framework to safeguard the future of coral reefs. Meanwhile, the Glowing Gone Campaign is raising awareness about the plight of coral reefs by enlisting the support of companies, like Adobe, and several celebrities, including Jane Goodall.

Millions of used cars, vans and minibuses exported from Europe, the USA and Japan to low- and middle-income countries are hindering efforts to combat climate change. They are contributing to air pollution and are often involved in road accidents. Many of them are of poor quality and would fail road-worthiness tests in the exporting countries.

landmark, first-of-its-kind United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, released today, looks at 146 countries that import used vehicles, and calls for action to regulate the trade through the adoption of a set of harmonized minimum quality standards. These would ensure used vehicles contribute to cleaner and safer fleets in recipient countries. UNEP and partners will address these issues, initially with a project focused on Africa.

The report by The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) addresses the links between the degradation of nature and increasing pandemic risks, quantifying the economic costs of pandemics as well as the costs of preventing future pandemics, and offers evidence-informed policy options for governments and decision-makers to escape the era of pandemics.

 

John Mwangi’s 22-year-old car is his lifeline. His run-down Toyota saloon not only ferries him around the streets of the traffic-congested Kenyan capital, Nairobi, but is also his main source of revenue.

Resting against its open boot, surrounded by fresh pumpkins, sweet potatoes and other vegetables, a smiling Mwangi, 34, explained how it has transformed his life. Thanks to this unlikely saviour, he is now a trader, shopkeeper and entrepreneur.

Man selling food produce at the back of his car
John Mwangi’s 22-year-old Toyota, which he uses to buy and sell produce in the capital city of Nairobi. Photo: UNEP/ Duncan Moore

“I have changed to a career as a businessman. I use my car to sell foodstuffs. I go to the village, buy food and then I come here and sell it,” he said, gesturing around a market in Nairobi.

Mwangi is not alone. Across Africa, and much of the developing world, used cars, minibuses and vans imported from abroad are changing people’s lives. But they come with a high and growing global price tag.

A groundbreaking United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, warns that millions of used light-duty vehicles shipped from Europe, the United States of America and Japan to Africa and Asia are polluting and unsafe. Often with faulty or missing components, they belch out toxic fumes, increasing air pollution and hindering efforts to fight climate change.

Entitled Used Vehicles and the Environment: A Global Overview of Used LightDuty Vehicles – Flow, Scale and Regulationthe report details how the global fleet of light-duty vehicles will double by 2050. Some 90 per cent of this growth will take place in low- and middle-income countries. Of the 146 countries studied in the UNEP report, about two-thirds have “weak” or “very weak” policies regulating the import of used vehicles. Many of the imported vehicles would not be allowed to circulate on the roads of exporting countries.

“Countries have to stop exporting vehicles that are no longer roadworthy, and fail environment and safety inspections while importing countries must adopt up-to-date regulations,” said Rob de Jong, report author and Head of Transport at UNEP.

Vehicle emissions are a prime source of small particulates and nitrogen oxides, which cause urban air pollution. Globally, vehicles are responsible for 25 per cent of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.

UNEP is calling on both exporting and importing countries to regulate the trade and eliminate a range of abuses. It stresses that a regulated trade can have several positive impacts, improving the lives of many people and boosting prosperity.

Landmark new rules

UNEP’s report comes after 15 African countries announced strict new rules for vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency. The directives, issued by the Economic Community of West African States, with UNEP support, bar the import of light-duty vehicles more than five years old and aim to double the efficiency of cars by 2030.

The rules are a milestone in slashing greenhouse gas emissions in a region that is home to about 400 million people, where many vehicles are past their prime. The Gambia, for example, imports vehicles on average 18.8 years old, while a quarter of those imported by Nigeria are nearly 20 years old.

Africa is the ultimate destination for some 40 per cent of used light-duty vehicles, like the one owned by Peter Karanja Njuguna. He ferries passengers around Nairobi in an old 14-seat Nissan minibus pumping out exhaust fumes from dawn to dusk. He says he does not know the exact age of his vehicle but reckons it is between 10 and 15 years old. It cost $3,000 and anything newer would have been outside his budget. He says the catalytic converter, which contains platinum, was removed before it was exported.

“They remove those things that are not necessary for the way we use them here. They just leave the basic stuff,” he explained. “It is cheapish to buy but expensive to maintain. But it pays for itself within two years and gives me an income.”

Poor quality used vehicles can lead to more road accidents, which kill an estimated 1.25 million people each year. Africa has the world’s highest road traffic fatality rates with 246,000 deaths occurring annually, a number projected to rise to 514,000 in 2030, according to the World Health Organization.

Improvements down the road

The issue of faulty vehicles is catching the attention of exporting countries. The Netherlands – one of the largest used vehicle exporters to Africa – studied used European vehicles being exported through their ports and found that many vehicles, mainly destined for West Africa, were between 16 and 20 years old, fell below European Union emission standards and did not have a valid roadworthiness certificate at the time of export. The Netherlands is developing policies to improve the quality of used vehicles while addressing the issue with other European countries.

UNEP’s report also showed that countries, such as Morocco and Mauritius, that had implemented far-sighted policies gained access to high-tech vehicles, like hybrid and electric cars, at affordable prices.

The UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) 16th Global Roundtable, held virtually for the first time ever from 13-14 October 2020, attracts over 2500 participants. Here are the plenary sessions of the event convened under the theme «Financing a Resilient Future.»

The New Climate Leadership in Finance: The Race to Net-Zero

Thirty of the world’s largest investors with $5 trillion assets under management collectively agree on concrete portfolio targets that follow the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5 °C scenario for the next five years. The UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance members target a range of 16-29% greenhouse gas reduction by 2025.

Building Back Better: Financing a Resilient Future

Elliott Harris, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and Chief Economist in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) highlights the need to accelerate implementation of the Agenda 2030 as a foundation for recovery of the current crisis, and the important role that the financial sector has to play to achieve this.

The Role of Regulators in Delivering a Sustainable Financial System: High-Level Dialogue

Frank Elderson, Executive Director De Nederlandsche Bank and Geoff Summerhayes, Executive Board Member, The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority speak to Elodie Feller of UNEP FI for the Global Roundtable 2020. The Chairs of the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) and the Sustainable Insurance Forum (SIF) discuss their roles and recent developments in helping steer the financial industry and regulation towards a resilient future.

Hector Joseph Dager Gaspard  define el poder de la cooperación para generar valor integral y soluciones innovadoras para cada uno de sus clientes y las zonas geográficas en donde está operando.

Visión

Descubrir todo el potencial del capital humano para mejorar la trayectoria del éxito de toda la corporación, con el sueño y la convicción de que trabajando en el presente construimos en el futuro.

Orientación al cliente

Nuestros clientes son el eje central de todo lo que hacemos.

Excelencia operativa

Superar siempre las expectativas con la integridad, confianza, mayor eficacia, calidad y rendimiento.

Innovación

Generar con nuevas ideas los procedimientos y operaciones mejorar continuamente la forma de obtener cada día mejores resultados.

Nuestra gente

Integrar y coordinar la colaboración de nuestro talento para trabajar y crecer con una sola visión

Integridad

Actuar siempre con honestidad y de acuerdo con nuestros principios fundamentados en la ética y el profesionalismo.

Despite representing less than 1% of the world’s ocean surface, the Mediterranean Sea is home to up to 18% of the planet’s marine species. The decline of Posidonia Oceanica (an endemic seagrass species known as the “lungs of the Mediterranean”), overfishing, non-indigenous species are among the symptoms of environmental degradation. Marine and coastal ecosystems are reeling under pressure from the unsustainable pursuit of economic growth. This pressure is illustrated by the challenges of marine litter and pollution and further compounded by the rising impacts of climate change. A United Nations Environment Programme Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) report produced by Plan Bleu, a UNEP/MAP Regional Activity Centre, provides the most comprehensive assessment of the state of the environment and development in the region and includes a set of key messages that can inform an adequate policy response. The report was prepared under the Barcelona Convention, the Contracting Parties of which are 21 Mediterranean countries and the European Union.

Millions of used cars, vans and minibuses exported from Europe, the USA and Japan to low- and middle-income countries are hindering efforts to combat climate change. They are contributing to air pollution and are often involved in road accidents. Many of them are of poor quality and would fail road-worthiness tests in the exporting countries.

landmark, first-of-its-kind United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, released today, looks at 146 countries that import used vehicles, and calls for action to regulate the trade through the adoption of a set of harmonized minimum quality standards. These would ensure used vehicles contribute to cleaner and safer fleets in recipient countries. UNEP and partners will address these issues, initially with a project focused on Africa.

Espíritus que toman posesión de los cuerpos, temor a afrontar castigos, asuntos de linaje o convicción de que llegó la hora de morir, son algunas de las razones por las que los indígenas del pueblo Ikʉ, de Yo’sagaka, en la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, deciden quitarse la vida.

Todas estas explicaciones sobre el “ahorco”, como llama este pueblo al suicidio, son asociadas a lo que localmente denominan “la flojera”, una suerte de símbolo y síntoma de la desestructuración religiosa, individual y familiar, en un contexto tradicionalmente rígido y vertical, y que es ocasionada especialmente por el contacto –cada vez mayor– con otros habitantes de la zona, a pesar de la capacidad de conservación y resistencia.

Estos fueron parte de los hallazgos de la investigación de Santiago Alfonso Valencia Rico, magíster en Antropología de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNAL), y quien tras un trabajo de campo etnográfico, entre septiembre y diciembre de 2019, analizó la comprensión de la muerte por mano propia que tienen los Ikʉs de la región de Yo’sagaka.

Aunque en la estadía del investigador no se recogieron datos cuantitativos, por el tamaño de la región y la escasez de recursos económicos, el estudio cuenta con algunos testimonios de la población, como el de Lilia, quien calcula que en los últimos 37 años, desde que su padre, don Rafael Rodríguez, se quitó la vida, unas 12 personas han tomado la misma decisión.

“Allá llegó la ciencia y la religión occidental, por lo que parte de los elementos ancestrales de su religión, como el mamo (líder del pueblo), han venido perdiendo su lugar en lo religioso y lo político. Esa desestructuración tiene a un pueblo –caracterizado por ser fuerte y religioso– en grandes dificultades, pues la conquista parece no haber terminado”, señala el investigador.

La creciente colonización religiosa occidental en municipios y veredas muy pequeñas aledañas a la zona influye en los conflictos de su religión, sumado a la pérdida de fuerza de rituales muy importantes, como el de pagamento u ofrenda, en parte por las conflictivas relaciones entre las comunidades y el Estado, y por los problemas de tenencia del territorio.

Durante cuatro meses el investigador convivió con la comunidad siguiendo las reglas y limitaciones que le impartían, una experiencia que le permitió entender un poco más cuál es para este pueblo el sentido de la vida, de la muerte y aquello por lo que vale vivir o morir.

El desequilibrio del ahorcamiento

Cuando un miembro del pueblo muere en condiciones “naturales” o normales, es enterrado sentado boca arriba, en una posa, con el fin de que su alma realice su viaje hasta el pico de la Sierra (conocido como el pico Colón). No obstante, cuando deciden morir a mano propia, el método de enterramiento cambia: son ubicados boca abajo para que el alma pueda salir por el ano.

Según el investigador, cuando uno de ellos se “ahorca” tiene una connotación negativa, que genera dificultades familiares y sociales, por lo que estas malas muertes o formas inadecuadas de morir, ya sea por suicidio u homicidio, requieren tratamientos rituales específicos, pues generan un desequilibrio y energías negativas que quedan en la vida de sus familias por el resto de su vida.

Faltan registros

En el Boletín anual sobre muertes violentas 2018, del Instituto Nacional de Medicina Legal y Ciencias Forenses, en la clasificación de factores de vulnerabilidad de las personas que se quitan la vida solo se incluye el ítem “grupos étnicos”, en el que se reportaron 47 casos asociados con indígenas.

Por otro lado, según el Informe especializado en suicidio indígena (adolescentes) realizado por la misma entidad, se da un reporte nacional de 62 casos para 5 años (2010-2014), es decir 12 casos por año para 108 pueblos indígenas existentes en el territorio colombiano.

Sin embargo, según estudios cualitativos y antropológicos, los pueblos indígenas mantienen tasas crecientes de hasta 500 suicidios por cada 100.000 habitantes.

Según el investigador, la falta de registros precisos de estos casos agrava más la situación, pues los pocos suicidios que alcanzan a ser reportados no cuentan con una discriminación detallada, como pueblos, resguardos o autopsias psicológicas.

No obstante, aclara que no es un problema sencillo de afrontar, ya que los pueblos no siempre están dispuestos a entregar la información para ampliar ese banco de datos, en parte por el uso que históricamente el Estado ha hecho de la información obtenida en la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

“La principal y única recomendación es entender que somos los menores y ellos los mayores, comprender que estos pueblos son los cuidadores del universo, por lo que se debe respetar su sistema político, su educación, su religión y su salud”, destaca el investigador.

(Por: fin/SMC/MLA/LOF)

Nairobi, 16 October 2020 – More than 400 young Africans were today honoured for their leadership in addressing plastic pollution in their communities as part of the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge. At a high-level event, political leaders, senior UN officials and Grammy-nominated Ghanaian musician Rocky Dawuni lauded the leadership shown by young people in global efforts to fight plastic pollution.

The African Youth Summit – Tide Turners Plastic Challenge acknowledged the role of more than 400 champions who have completed all three levels of the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge Badge. Participants in the Challenge have shown leadership by raising awareness through social media, championing plastic waste collection campaigns and demonstrating sustainability in their own lives, among other things.

Funded by the United Kingdom for the past two years, the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge has been completed by more than 225,000 young people in over 25 countries, including 50,000 in Africa. The challenge takes the participants on a learning journey consisting of three different levels: entry, leader, and champion.

More than 1,500 young people attended the Summit, organised by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in partnership with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scoutsthe World Organization of the Scout Movement and Junior Achievement Africa.

«As a former Girl Guide, I am very proud of Tide Turners and all the inspiring young people who are part of it; so far, more than 50,000 young people in 18 countries across Africa have joined this important programme. Let’s continue this momentum, adding seven more countries to reach youth in nearly half of all African countries,” said Joyce Msuya, Deputy Executive Director of UNEP.

The Summit which took place alongside the Scouts during their annual Jamboree on the Air and Jamboree on the Internet event (JOTA-JOTI) to share lessons from the actions young people have taken to fight plastic pollution and become environmental leaders in their communities. Six young changemakers shared their stories about how they went about provoking change and inspiring their peers to join them in taking action on plastic pollution.

“The Tide Turners Plastic Challenge gave me a great platform to pass on the message against plastic waste and share my solutions,” said Fyona Seesurrun, a 22-year old student from Mauritius, one of the champions who was honoured at the summit.

“100,000 mammals and one million birds die every year from eating or getting tangled in plastic in the ocean. If we do nothing, the amount of plastic in the ocean is set to treble by 2025. We must take collective action now. The Tide Turners are a force to be reckoned with, inspiring a whole new generation of leaders to tackle plastic pollution within their communities. That’s why the UK is supporting the UNEP to extend the work of the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge Badge to a further 20 countries around the world”, said Zac Goldsmith, UK Minister of State for Pacific and the Environment.

Grammy-nominated Ghanaian musician Rocky Dawuni – a UNEP Goodwill Ambassador – also addressed the young people at the Summit and serenaded guests with hits including “Rock Your Soul”.

The Tide Turners Plastic Challenge Badge is the first ever Scout and Girl Guide Badge made from recycled plastic; the Challenge has been integrated into a new digital platform for World Scouting’s new environmental education initiative: Earth Tribe, which unites 54 million Scouts in a global youth movement for the environment, and offers young people the opportunity to learn and act on key environmental issues that are affecting their communities.

In 2021, organisers will be adding a new element to the badge which will focus on influencing policy and practice change.

Each year, more than 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries, and tourism, and costing at least $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems. World production of plastic materials in 2018 was estimated at 359 million tonnes and by 2040, the amount of plastic going into our oceans could triple.

NOTES TO EDITORS

The Africa Tide Turners, 2020 is funded by the government of the UK and supported by the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), Junior Achievement, schools, and universities/colleges as well as the United Nations Environment Programme.

Other participating partners are: Government entities such as the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) in Kenya, the Centre Ivorian Anti-Pollution (CIAPOL), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NMASA), the Environmental Protection Agency of Sierra Leone, The Ghana National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP) and The Blue Action Network (BAN).

About the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

Nine out of 10 people globally breathe polluted air, causing about 7 million premature deaths every year. On 7 September 2020, the United Nations observed the first International Day of Clean Air for blue skies. This article is part of UNEP’s continuing coverage of air pollution and its impact globally.

Over 40 per cent of the U.S. population – about 134 million people – face health risks resulting from air pollution, -according to the American Lung Association. The burden is far from evenly shared. Studies show that in the United States, people of color and low-income communities face a significantly higher risk of environmental health effects, highlighting that the impacts of air pollution are experienced unequally throughout the country.

People of color are more likely to live in areas affected by pollution and high road traffic density, increasing risks to their health. As prominent American environmental justice activist and leader Robert D. Bullard emphasizes, race and place matter.

For example, along the Mississippi River in the southern United States, there is an area with some of the worst air pollution in the country. In the stretch between New Orleans and Baton Rouge Louisiana, many people live right next to several high-polluting industrial plants. Residents, who are predominately Black, have seen significant cancer clusters, with cancer risks in the area reaching up to 50% more than the national average. In St. John the Baptist parish alone, an area of about 2 square miles, the cancer rate is about 800 times higher than the American average.

 

Similarly, New York City neighborhood Mott Haven, home to mainly LatinX and Black families, has a very high level of air pollution from traffic, warehouses, and industry.  Residents in Mott Haven face some of the highest rates of asthma cases and asthma-related hospitalizations in the country, especially among children.

Often, communities experiencing high levels of air pollution are among the most vulnerable, facing poor access to health services, limited economic opportunity, more polluted work environments and racial injustices.  Comprehensive policies are needed to address these interrelated challenges.

“There is a strong correlation between socioeconomic factors and risk of air pollution,” said Dr. Barbara Hendrie, Regional Director for UN Environment Programme North America. “Recognizing this, and the disproportionate impacts of air pollution throughout the United States is a critical part of developing effective solutions.”

On the first-ever International Day of Clean Air for blue skies in September, the UN Environment Programme called upon governments, corporations, to civil society and individuals, to take action to reduce air pollution and bring about transformative change.

Air pollution does not have to be a part of our collective future. We have the solutions and must take the necessary actions to address this environmental menace and provide #CleanAirForAll.

Manama, Baghdad, 22 October 2020 – The UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Regional Office for West Asia based in Manama, Bahrain, and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq have joined forces today, signing a four-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that aims to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly the environmental Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The MOU identifies several priority areas that UNEP and UNDP will jointly address including; environmental policy, biodiversity and ecosystems, pollution and waste management, climate change, and supporting the Government of Iraq in its post–COVID-19 response on areas related to environmental sustainability.

UNEP and UNDP share a successful history of collaboration on projects and initiatives at the global, regional and country levels. In late 2019, the two organizations signed a global strategic partnership which strengthens engagement and collaboration at the institutional level.

UNEP and UNDP share unique and complementary attributes. While UNDP has a strong country presence and access to a wide range of stakeholders and sectoral policy, UNEP is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, it has a deep-rooted science foundation, and a strong normative mandate that promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development.

Since 2009 UNEP in West Asia and UNDP in Iraq have worked on a large portfolio of projects, including supporting Iraq with its reporting obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol, and developing a National Environment Strategy and Action Plan that outlined the scale of environmental degradation in Iraq, its root causes and impacts, and necessary next steps. As one of the signatories to the Paris Agreement in 2016, Iraq continues to priorities climate change adaptation and mitigation measures in its environmental planning and is committed to adopting a green vision and implementing green programmes.

Today’s agreement puts UNEP and UNDP firmly on a path to supporting Iraq’s progress towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

From his side, the Regional Director and Representative of UNEP in West Asia, Mr. Sami Dimassi, highlighted that “UNEP is committed to forging a strong collaboration with UNDP in Iraq to support the country in addressing environmental challenges while supporting the Government and the people of Iraq to build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic. UNDP has a successful track record in Iraq, and today, I am pleased that we have joined forces towards achieving a sustainable environment for all”.

“Iraq faces a number of environmental challenges – from water scarcity, to rising temperatures, to pollution, to environmental degradation due to years of conflict and neglect. Tackling these challenges in a complex setting like Iraq cannot be done alone, so we are proud to join UNEP and support the Government of Iraq in securing a healthy, sustainable environment, now and for future generations,” says Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq, Ms. Zena Ali Ahmad.

“Without increasing efforts to decelerate the climate crisis, the Iraqi population will not be able to live prosperously in the future. The goal of the SDGs of leaving no one behind, especially SDG 6 on Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy, and SDG 13 Climate Action are of particular importance for Iraq. I am pleased to see that UNEP and UNDP are increasing their activities in order to help Iraq and its population” says Resident Coordinator for Iraq, Ms. Irena Vojackova-Sollorano.

About the UN Environment Programme (UNEP):

The UN Environment Programme is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

About the UN Development Programme (UNDP):

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet.

Burkina Faso country is implementing several multilateral environmental agreements – including the National Economic and Social Development Plan (2016-2020), which envisages “strong, sustainable and inclusive economic growth.”  But transformational change is no small feat. In 2019, Burkina Faso ranked 141 out of 162 countries in terms of progress toward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The United Nations Development Account (UNDA) is a four-year project, designed to equip national institutions to more effectively implement and monitor environmental dimensions of the 2030 Agenda. In addition to developing national policies and strategies, participating countries are enabled to produce regular, comprehensive environmental data; and exchange knowledge throughout regional networks.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Development Coordination Officer,  Jean Jacob Sahou discusses project achievements and challenges in Burkina Faso – including its work during COVID-19.

Countries need to understand the environmental dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals and their linkages with other commitments and be able to translate this into concrete action.

What is the role of sustainable development in Burkina Faso’s plan for economic growth?

Burkina Faso’s National Economic and Social Development Plan (PNDES) envisages healthy and inclusive growth through sustainable consumption and production. One of its important strategic objectives is to “reverse the environmental degradation trend and sustainably ensure the natural and environmental resource management”.

Realizing environmental goals is a pre-condition to achieving the ambitious results of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Countries need to understand the environmental dimension of the Goals and their linkages with other commitments and be able to translate this into concrete action.  This calls for change in the way that national institutions make decisions, devise policies, legislate, and report on sustainable development issues: it means ensuring access to accurate information and knowledge, collaborating and coordinating across sectors – both within and across institutions, and making mechanisms more inclusive.

How does UNDA support the integration of environmental issues into public policy?

Responding to expressed needs, the UNDA project is designed to strengthen the capacity of national institutions to implement and monitor the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda in a coherent and integrated manner; and produce quality environmental statistics to inform decision making and guide the implementation of the Agenda in Burkina Faso.

To this end, UNEP works in collaboration with other organizations and Burkina Faso’s government institutions, UN Country Teams and Resident Coordinators, and Sustainable Development Goal mechanisms to enhance technical capacities of focal points in relevant ministries – including development, finance, agriculture, fisheries and environment – to deliver on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda in a coordinated, integrated and evidence-based manner; and national statistical offices to regularly produce comprehensive sets of environment statistics, data and information that integrate Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and Multilateral Environmental Agreement (MEA) related data.

How has the project responded to the challenges posed by COVID-19?

Despite challenges associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, UNEP leveraged the help of partners such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature; and the project continued with a series of workshops in March 2020. These included training on the use of the Sustainable Development Analytical Grid for members of the national committee in charge of the multilateral environmental agreements and decentralization; and national training on the use of the Rapid Environmental Assessment and the Rapid Assessment and Climate Change Adaptation Capacity, enabling participants to better integrate sustainable development, environmental sustainability and climate change adaptation planning into local and national developmental plans.  Participants also built capacity to use the toolkit to monitor the adaptation capacity of local developmental plans and projects on climate change.

In what ways is the country better equipped to achieve national plans and Sustainable Development Goals?

The project has improved institutional capacity building at national and local levels on environmental sustainability issues and their integration into key development processes, including economic, planning and statistical aspects.

Studies – including that of COVID-19 – will inform analyses and the formulation of the subsequent PNDES, which will include stronger environmental dimensions and be more coherent with Sustainable Development Goals.

Ultimately, the government is better equipped to respond to its responsibilities under Agenda 2030, including the capacity to report back at the global level on their progress toward achieving the sustainable development goals.

Considering the central role of multilateral environmental agreements in defining environmental goals, their provisions also inform the technical tools and support provided through this project, which in turn will help Burkina Faso have a wider perspective on the multiplicity of the environmental goals they are called to achieve.

Geneva, 13 October 2020 – Thirty of the world’s largest investors with $5 trillion assets under management have collectively agreed on concrete portfolio decarbonization targets that follow the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5 °C scenario for the next five years.

UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance members will implement deep greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions in the 16% to 29% range by 2025 from 2019, amid likely rising global emissions in the same period.

Published for public consultation, the 2025 Target Setting Protocol lays out plans for this substantial decoupling of asset owners’ portfolio GHG emissions from the global economy. The Protocol is integral to coherent and comprehensive plans to reduce emissions, increase investment in the net-zero emissions transition and enhance influence on markets and government policies.

With this Protocol, Alliance members are sounding a very loud signal to the thousands of companies they own that deep emissions cuts are required. They will work with those willing to adjust their business models, and do not wish to engage in a divestment exercise. In order for their efforts to be met with success, substantial government action is required.

In the first quarter of 2021, individual Alliance members will set their own portfolio targets from different starting points with respect to the level of carbon emissions currently contained within their portfolios. Several Alliance members will set large reduction targets, while others have already made substantial progress in their journey to net-zero, therefore the reductions required for their portfolios will be at the lower end of the range, while for some a lower 2025 target may reflect geographic or policy constraint that require them to decarbonize more slowly in early years.

The Protocol was constructed to allow Alliance members to employ the combination of approaches that best supports their unique decarbonisation and engagement strategies and acknowledges their different carbon levels as of today. Each member is unique and as such may identify unique levers that exist within their institutions for accelerating decarbonisation. They also have different investment scopes, strategies, internal governance structures and levels of exposure to certain high-emitting sectors

In this way the Alliance members aim to have “transparent, and unique” targets, which suit individual institutions, but which can also be aggregated such that progress for individual members and for the Alliance as a whole can be tracked and reported transparently.

The first steps towards Alliance commitments are twofold: transitioning investment portfolios to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050; and achieving this through advocating for, and engaging on corporate action, as well as public policies, for the low-carbon transition of economic sectors in line with science and under consideration of social impacts. Defining net-zero pathways must take both goals into account, while also considering implications for a just transition.

Engagement with portfolio companies is a core component to assure that not only the Alliance members’ portfolios transition to net-zero, but that the Alliance members also have an impact on the real economy. Although decarbonization of portfolios could be easily achieved by selling carbon intensive investments, it is highly questionable if such actions alone would have a positive impact on the real economy. Additionally, it might undermine Alliance members ability to engage with these corporate to effect reductions in the real economy.

“Alliance members start out by changing themselves and then reach out to various companies to work on the change of their businesses” said Günther Thallinger, Alliance Chair and Member of the Board of Management, Allianz SE.

“Reaching net-zero is not simply reducing emissions and carrying on with the business models of today. There are profound changes and opportunities that will come from the net-zero economy, we see new business opportunities and strong wins for those who are ready to lead,” he adds.

Eric Usher, Head of UNEP FIsaid: “According to the UNEP Emissions Gap Report, every year of postponed emissions peak means that deeper and faster cuts will be required. The Target-Setting Protocol represents world-leading progress on the required emissions reductions from some of the biggest investors in the world.”

“Establishing firm interim portfolio decarbonization targets is key to meeting the Paris climate commitments. From a membership of 12 asset owners at launch over a year ago, to 30 and counting, means the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, a joint initiative of the PRI and UNEP FI, can have a huge impact on the way companies manage the carbon footprint of their operations” said Fiona Reynolds, CEO of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

NOTES TO EDITORS

About the UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance

Convened by UNEP FI and the Principles for Responsible Investment, we are an international group of 30 institutional investors (as of 8th October 2020) delivering on a bold commitment to transition our investment portfolios to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050. Representing $5.0 trillion assets under management, the Alliance shows united investor action to align portfolios with a 1.5°C scenario, addressing Article 2.1c of the Paris Agreement. The Alliance is part of the UNFCCC Race to Zero campaign and supported by WWF and Mission 2020.

About the Alliance 2025 Target Setting Protocol Consultation

The Alliance 2025 Target Setting Protocol is made available to the public for one month from 13 October 2020 to 13 November 2020. During this period members of the general public, academia, government, and business are invited to comment on the Protocol and the contents covered in it.

“The world today finds itself in the worst financial and economic crisis in generations. The crisis has triggered an unprecedented policy response: interest rates have been dramatically reduced, in some cases down to almost zero, and hundreds of billions of dollars in liquidity support and fresh capital have been provided to banking systems around the world.”

Sound familiar? This is what economist Ed Barbier said in 2008-09 with the world reeling from the effects of the financial crisis. At the time, experts urged countries to put environmental sustainability at the core of their recovery packages, a message that received a lukewarm response.

Now, more than a decade later, a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says the world has a second – and possibly last – chance to tackle climate change and other environmental threats. Authored by Barbier, a professor at America’s Colorado State University, it draws on lessons from the Great Recession and calls on governments to develop concrete strategies to combat environmental decline as they rebuild their economies from COVID-19. The paper, Building a Greener Recovery: Lessons from the Great Recession, is the first in a series of UNEP reports designed to help countries build back more sustainably from the pandemic.

The paper finds that in the wake of the financial crisis, some countries made investments in energy efficiency and clean energy projects. Those efforts created jobs and expanded the use of renewable energy for several years but provided little long-term support for de-carbonizing the world economy.

This time, the paper calls on governments to commit to a five- to 10-year strategy of public investment and legislative reforms, including implementing levies that would make it more expensive to pollute. It says that will help spur a transformation towards a green economic order and foster a sustained financial recovery.

The paper also suggested differing legislative approaches in developed and developing countries. For low- and middle-income states, many of which are under extreme fiscal pressure because of the pandemic, the report recommended:

  • replacing fossil fuel subsidies with investments in clean energy and expanding access to renewable energy in rural areas;
  • reallocating irrigation subsidies to improve water supply, sanitation and wastewater infrastructure; and
  • implementing a “tropical carbon tax” to fund reforestation and ecological restoration.

The world has much catching up to do when it comes to climate change, according to UNEP Emissions Gap reports. Had serious climate action begun in 2010, the planet would have had to reduce emissions by 3.3 per cent per year to avoid a 1.5°C rise in global temperatures, considered a red line for the environment. However, since this did not happen, it will need to slash emissions by 7.6 per cent annually.

The working paper was launched on the opening day of the UNEP Finance Initiative’s biennial Global Roundtable.

  • New UNEP report highlights the critical role of financial institutions in advancing the growth of circularity by investing in businesses that take a more sustainable approach to production and consumption
  • Transitioning to circular economies that use resources more efficiently while minimizing pollution, waste and carbon emissions could generate USD trillions in business opportunities while protecting the health of our ecosystems
  • The report identifies opportunities for financial institutions to boost circularity and explores transitions already underway in several sectors

Geneva, 13 October 2020 – Financiers can and must make the shift to circularity, ensuring the consumption and production patterns of the businesses they invest in make more efficient use of resources and minimize waste, pollution and carbon emissions, according to a new report by the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI).

Launched today at UNEP FI’s Global Roundtable 2020, Financing Circularity: Demystifying Finance for the Circular Economy outlines how financial institutions can help redesign global economies by changing the way we consume and produce.

The move to circular economies could generate USD 4.5 trillion in annual economic output by 2030 while helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, protect the health of our ecosystems and enable sustainable recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Banks, insurers and investors can play a critical role by providing businesses with financial products that contribute to the circular economy, conserve natural resources and avoid or reduce waste. Financial institutions currently lack awareness of circularity as well as the expertise, products and services to harness business opportunities.

“The economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity to stimulate the urgent transition to more sustainable consumption and production. We need both the private and public sectors to transform our economies to address climate change, reduce pollution and improve resource efficiency. Collective action is critical to delivering on the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP. “The financial sector and policymakers in particular have a central role to play in the shift from linear, wasteful growth to embedding circularity in finance and our economies.”

The growth of circular business models will require structural and technological change, including innovation in the design and manufacturing of products and services; reducing inputs to agriculture; cutting food waste and using digital technologies to increase transparency and sustainability in supply chains. The financial institutions surveyed for the report recognized that there are opportunities to boost circularity in the buildings and construction, food and agriculture, chemicals and electronics sectors in particular. The report explores transitions already underway in these sectors, as well as in manufacturing, apparel and fashion, mining and energy and cross-cutting innovation in areas such as digital technology.

It outlines a number of recommendations for financial institutions to boost circularity:

  • Integrating circularity into their core business strategies and increasing their assessment of environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria
  • Setting targets on resource efficiency
  • Re-orienting loans and investments towards more sustainable technologies and financing innovative business models,
  • Making financing circularity an opt out rather than an opt in in mainstream financial instruments,
  • Evaluating how financing for circularity can contribute to the implementation of key financial industry frameworks such as UNEP Finance Initiative’s Principles for Responsible Banking and Principles for Sustainable Insurance.

The report highlights examples of innovation in financing circularity, including a sustainability bond issued by Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo, in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, to fund projects and businesses under a €5 billion credit facility. It will support circular economy opportunities such as offering solutions for the lifetime extension of goods and materials, regeneration of natural capital (e.g. restoration of degraded soils), circular design focused on waste and pollution reduction, production processes producing or dependent on recycled resources, resource efficiency in the supply chain, reverse logistics, collection, separation and recycling of used materials and innovative technologies to enable circular business models.

Swedish Insurance Fintech Omocon has developed a microinsurance product for the sharing economy, involving shareable goods rented out on a platform. The product protects the owner of a shareable good or asset that needs protection against damage. Omocom collects data on the sharing platform to look into the usage statistics of sharing transactions to calculate risk and price insurance. This has changed the underwriting process and claims processes.

The report also identifies the need for governments to provide the financial sector with incentives and an enabling policy and legislative framework to accelerate the integration of circularity into financial products and services. Recommendations for policymakers, financial industry regulators and supervisors to address barriers and stimulate opportunities include: integrating measures to catalyze a just transition to a circular economy into climate policies, rules and regulations, implementing COVID-19 recovery strategies that embed circularity in economic growth and focus on a resilient and inclusive recovery, and implementing policies, laws and related instruments to address systemic barriers to circularity and create incentives.
NOTES TO EDITORS

 

About UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative

United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) is a partnership between UNEP and the global financial sector to mobilize private sector finance for sustainable development. UNEP FI works with more than 350 members – banks, insurers, and investors – and over 100 supporting institutions – to help create a financial sector that serves people and planet while delivering positive impacts. We aim to inspire, inform and enable financial institutions to improve people’s quality of life without compromising that of future generations. By leveraging the UN’s role, UNEP FI accelerates sustainable finance.

About the UN Environment Programme

UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

The COVID-19 pandemic is part of the three planetary crises: the climate crisis, the biodiversity and nature crisis, and the pollution and waste crisis – which are destroying the natural systems that allow our economies to thrive.

Over the decades, there have been many commitments to address these crises. COVID-19 has shown what happens when we do not act with sufficient speed and force on these commitments. We all need to stretch our goals, actions and financing towards what we have agreed.

What this means for the public and private finance sectors is that money has to start flowing to the right places. As you have heard many times recently, pandemic recovery provides a chance to start this process. According to UNITAR, over the next 6 to 18 months, we will need in excess of 20 trillion dollars to recover from COVID-19.

This initial injection of taxpayer funds through stimulus packages has rightly prioritized jobs and putting food on the table. But in the long-term, these funds must go towards creating a zero-carbon, nature-positive economy, in which finance fuels the energy transition, a healthy planet and green jobs.

Public money alone is not going to get the job done, however. We need private finance to mobilize trillions of dollars. Let me briefly draw on emerging insights from the Dasgupta Review on the economics of biodiversity, to be issued by Her Majesty’s Treasury later this year, to illustrate why this matters.

The review finds that, for humanity to live in harmony with nature, we need a global financial system that invests in enhancing natural assets and helps mitigate risks from biodiversity loss and natural capital depletion. We are far from creating such a system. Global estimates of financial flows supporting natural assets range from USD 78 billion to USD 143 billion dollars per year. Meanwhile, the OECD estimates that governments spend around USD 500 billion dollars per year on support that is potentially harmful to biodiversity.

As highlighted by the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risks Report, this imbalance is exacerbating risks. The report ranked biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse as one of the top five threats humanity will face in the next ten years.

Investors have also acknowledged the need to redirect their capital, joining many coalitions and promising to decarbonize and invest in sustainability. I would like to offer quick points on how to make sure these investments – be they in nature-positive agriculture, renewable energy, or sustainable infrastructure – count.

Commitments from financial institutions need to be science-based.

To give an example, UNEP’s Finance Initiatives engages with major investors, who represent 5 trillion USD in assets, under the Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance. The investors in the Alliance relied heavily on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C to set a timetable to net zero emissions in their portfolios by 2050, with intermediate targets every five years. And they are working closely with the scientific community to convert targets into sectoral emissions pathways. Such credible sectoral pathways to zero climate impact need to be applied to everything from steel and cement manufacture, to aviation, energy and agriculture. This is the only way to design a credible response.

Action needs to be portfolio- and institution-wide, in line with international processes.

Opportunistically adding ad-hoc green bits at the margins of otherwise gray, counter-productive portfolios is not going to get us anywhere. Entire portfolios and organizations need to be consistent – across all sectors and geographies – with the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement, the post-2020 biodiversity framework and other international agreements. This means moving beyond a focus on financing for renewable energies to a wider conversation about balancing the grey and the green, in energy sector financing.

Transparency and accountability are essential.

Let me give you an example of how to do it, through the Principles for Responsible Banking. Under the principles, 190 banks, representing around 40 per cent of global banking assets and serving 1.6 billion customers, committed to aligning their business strategies and practices with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. The Principles require third-party reviewed annual reports to provide assurance that what is being reported actually happened. Banks that do not show adequate progress will be delisted.

Adhering to these three practices will go a long way to moving the finance industry in the right direction. But we also need those who have not stepped forward with commitments to do so. We need every cent and every penny to be spent on shifting the needle to sustainability.

I invite and encourage all banks, insurers, investors and other important actors in the finance ecosystem around the world to join the UN in making the finance sector fit for financing the needs of society and its sustainable development outcomes.

Thank you.

Inger Andersen

Executive Director

Millions of used cars, vans and minibuses exported from Europe, the USA and Japan to low- and middle-income countries are hindering efforts to combat climate change. They are contributing to air pollution and are often involved in road accidents. Many of them are of poor quality and would fail road-worthiness tests in the exporting countries.

A landmark, first-of-its-kind United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, to be released on 26 October 2020, looks at 146 countries that import used vehicles, and calls for action to regulate the trade through the adoption of a set of harmonized minimum quality standards. These would ensure used vehicles contribute to cleaner and safer fleets in recipient countries. UNEP and partners will address these issues, initially with a project focused on Africa.

Despite representing less than 1% of the world’s ocean surface, the Mediterranean Sea is home to up to 18% of the planet’s marine species. The decline of Posidonia Oceanica (an endemic seagrass species known as the “lungs of the Mediterranean”), overfishing, non-indigenous species are among the symptoms of environmental degradation. Marine and coastal ecosystems are reeling under pressure from the unsustainable pursuit of economic growth. This pressure is illustrated by the challenges of marine litter and pollution and further compounded by the rising impacts of climate change. A United Nations Environment Programme Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) report produced by Plan Bleu, a UNEP/MAP Regional Activity Centre, provides the most comprehensive assessment of the state of the environment and development in the region and includes a set of key messages that can inform an adequate policy response. The report was prepared under the Barcelona Convention, the Contracting Parties of which are 21 Mediterranean countries and the European Union.

Financial institutions will be crucial to make the shift to circularity, ensuring the consumption and production patterns of the businesses they invest in making more efficient use of resources and minimize waste, pollution and carbon emissions. This is the conclusion of the United Nations Environment Programme report Financing Circularity: Demystifying Finance for the Circular Economy which outlines how financial institutions can help redesign global economies by changing the way we consume and produce.

The move to circular economies could generate USD 4.5 trillion in annual economic output by 2030 while helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, protect the health of our ecosystems and enable sustainable recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Banks, insurers and investors can play a critical role by providing businesses with financial products that contribute to the circular economy, conserve natural resources and avoid or reduce waste. Financial institutions currently lack awareness of circularity as well as the expertise, products and services to harness business opportunities.

The growth of circular business models will require structural and technological change, including innovation in the design and manufacturing of products and services; reducing inputs to agriculture; cutting food waste and using digital technologies to increase transparency and sustainability in supply chains. The financial institutions surveyed for the report recognized that there are opportunities to boost circularity in the buildings and construction, food and agriculture, chemicals and electronics sectors in particular. The report explores transitions already underway in these sectors, as well as in manufacturing, apparel and fashion, mining and energy and cross-cutting innovation in areas such as digital technology.

The report highlights examples of innovation in financing circularity using examples from banks, insurers and investors. It also identifies the need for governments to provide the financial sector with incentives and an enabling policy and legislative framework to accelerate the integration of circularity into financial products and services and provides recommendations for policymakers, financial industry regulators and supervisors.

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