Stories tagged: UNEP

Nature-Based Solutions at UNEA-5.2

Nature-based solutions were one of the main topics at the fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) in Nairobi. UNEA-5.2, which commenced on February 28, was convened under the theme “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals” to highlight the pivotal role nature plays in sustainable development across social, economic, and environmental domains. 

One of the key outcomes from the fifth session was a resolution focused on nature-based solutions with the goal of protecting, conserving, restoring as well as sustainably using and managing ecosystems. The agreement called on the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to support the implementation of such solutions, helping drive their adoption worldwide. 

In light of this agreement, Inger Anderson, Executive Director of UNEP, illuminated the importance of agreeing on a universal definition of nature-based solutions to help support their use. She continued to underline that the need to scale-up adoption of these solutions is especially crucial given the recent IPCC report on the impacts of climate change, and our vulnerability to it.


Plastic pollution

Another notable achievement of UNEA-5.2 was a unanimous resolution to end plastic pollution. ​​The deal, adopted by representatives of 175 member states, called for the establishment of a legally binding treaty to end plastic pollution by 2024. This might have implications for several sectors, including agriculture. 

Last year, FAO released a report describing how the earth’s soils might be more saturated with plastics than the oceans. It called for global action to protect the world’s agricultural soils and suggested that plastic pollution can be combatted through the 6R principle: refusing, redesigning, reducing, reusing, recycling, and recovering plastics. For instance, this could involve adopting agricultural practices that avoid plastic, substituting plastic products with natural or biodegradable alternatives or improving waste management practices.

Towards nature-based practices

In total, one decision, one Ministerial Declaration, and 14 resolutions were adopted at UNEA-5.2 – including the agreement on nature-based solutions, calling for a common definition. Similarly, the need for standardised benchmarks was echoed in Farming First’s recent Dialogue, which explored the potential of nature-based solutions within agriculture to help advance progress on the Sustainable Development Goals. 

The Dialogue, held ahead of UNEA-5.2, discussed the range of promising solutions driven by agricultural innovation and implemented by farmers, focusing on four key areas: ecosystem services, sustainable land use practices, food security under a changing climate, and precision agriculture. Following the discussions, Farming First launched the #FarmingUNEA5 campaign, showcasing the takeaways from the conversations. You can get all the highlights here.

World Environment Day

[International Day]

World Environment Day is an annual event that is aimed at being the biggest and most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action.World Environment Day activities take place all year round but climax on 5 June every year, involving everyone from everywhere.

The 2012 theme for World Environment Day is Green Economy: Does it include you?
There are two parts to this theme and whilst the first highlights the Green Economy, the second invites you to evaluate whether you are included in this discussion of a brighter future.

For more information email: [email protected], or visit the UNEP event page.

Climate Competitiveness Index Shows Progress Since Copenhagen Accord

An international climate change agreement is still in the pipeline, but evidence shows that countries are already taking steps to creating climate resilient strategies that provide opportunities for economic growth. The Climate Competitiveness Index (CCI) is a new analysis of countries’ climate accountability and performance to identify their progress towards a low carbon economy.

‘Climate competitiveness’ is defined as ‘the ability of an economy to create enduring economic value through low carbon technology, products and services.’ ‘Climate accountability’ indicates a clear, ambitious climate strategy that is supported by stakeholders, and ‘climate performance’ is a consideration of each country’s capabilities and track record on delivering its strategy. Through an assessment of climate action in 95 countries, the CCI metric covers the majority of businesses, 97% of global economic activity and 96% of carbon emissions.

The Climate Competitiveness Index 2010 report, launched earlier this month, presents two years of research conducted by AccountAbility, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes accountability innovations for sustainable development, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The Index shows that nearly half (46%) of the countries assessed have improved their climate accountability since the UNFCC Copenhagen conference last December, and one third of countries are already showing promising gains in low carbon economic growth. Other key findings include:

  • Countries with strong climate performance generally have higher levels of climate accountability.
  • Climate accountability is becoming a vote-winner for governments.
  • Climate competitiveness is not dictated by income level, for instance, the Philippines are highly accountable and Chile, Mauritius and South Africa are following suit.
  • Climate action in the private sector is crucial for climate competitiveness.
  • The clean energy sector, estimated at US$200 billion in 2010, has seen growing investment in recent years.
  • Countries that are most vulnerable to climate change do not have the accountability and capacity they need to develop climate resilient growth strategies and they will need international support.
  • Different regions and economic areas are showing patterns in their competitiveness strategy, for example, emerging economies like Brazil and the Philippines demonstrate strong government leadership, whereas in other countries such as in Scandinavia and Singapore, leadership is more evident in the business community. However, in Bolivia, Ghana, Vietnam and Bangladesh, a strong citizen concern is met by limited business engagement.

These new metrics will help to inform the strategies of policy-makers, businesses and citizens, engaging countries within the process and providing a competitive potential in working towards achieving a global low-carbon economy.

The image below shows how the different geo-economic areas are combining climate accountability and performance:

Climate Competitiveness Index 2010