Archive for the ‘#UNEP’ Tag

Green: The new color of rice   Leave a comment

Rice consumers worldwide can now look forward to eating “green” rice with the launch of an initiative that will set environmentally sustainable and socially responsible rice production management standards.

The “Sustainable Rice Platform” will elevate rice production to a new level by helping farmers – whether subsistence or market-focused – boost their rice production, keep the environment healthy, facilitate safer working conditions, and generate higher incomes to overcome poverty and improve food security.

“There are many different sustainable technologies and practices for rice – the world’s most important food crop that feeds half the planet,” said Mr. James Lomax, from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that initiated the Sustainable Rice Platform.

“The trouble is, we need a way to deliver and upscale these practices,” he added. “The Sustainable Rice Platform is an exciting opportunity to promote resource-use efficiency and sustainable trade flows in the whole of value chain of the global rice sector.”

The Sustainable Rice Platform will learn from established commodity initiatives that promote sustainability such as for sugarcane, cotton, and coffee, and apply them to rice. It will set sustainability targets, develop and promote regional and global standards of best practices for rice production, and support rice farmers to adopt these practices. It will also identify criteria to assess how well the sustainability targets are being met and whether farmers are implementing the practices.

“For example, we will harness our know-how to set standards to better manage insect pests in rice to reduce the unsafe and ineffective use of pesticides, which can damage the environment and the health of farmers,” said Dr. Bas Bouman, who will lead the work at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) – one of the project partners.

“We can also develop and promote the use of specialized field calculators to determine the environmental footprint of water, carbon, greenhouse gas emissions, or chemical use,” he added.

Rice presents a unique challenge for any quality control system because it is mostly grown by hundreds of thousands of poor farmers who have only very small farms of less than 1 hectare each. Moreover, 90% of rice is grown in developing countries in Asia, where access to knowledge and support is limited.

“Our formula for success lies in our track record of working with rice farmers and others in rice research and development across the private and public sector at the international, national, and local level in major rice-producing countries,” Dr. Bouman said. “To create an impact in rice, we need to move forward in two directions: public policy development and voluntary market transformation initiatives.”

National government agricultural departments could explore and test management practices to make them nationally relevant and to promote them to rice farmers. Non-government organizations could help develop the sustainability criteria to safeguard or improve environmental health. Rice farmer, production, processing, or trade organizations and businesses could use the Sustainable Rice Platform to secure a premium rice market or higher prices.

Kellogg Company Chief Sustainability Officer Ms. Diane Holdorf said, “Rice is an extremely important food crop, for Kellogg Company and the world. As a major user of rice, we support UNEP in the mass adoption of more sustainable rice-growing practices to help improve the world’s food supply and the lives of the farmers and the communities producing it.

“In addition to financial support,” she added, “we are fast-tracking sustainable techniques into our contract growing programs. We’ll share the results with the Sustainable Rice Platform and use them to inform our global rice policies and direction.”

Provided by International Rice Research Institute

via Green: The new color of rice.

Posted December 3, 2011 by arnoneumann in agriculture, Rice, UNEP

Tagged with , ,

Maurice F. Strong on Rio + 20   Leave a comment

(Excerpts from a statement by Maurice F. Strong, delivered to theSpecial United Nations General Assembly Event on Rio+20, New York, October 25th, 2011)

Time precludes my elaborating on the various actions that could be taken at Rio+20 which would make it a major milestone on the pathway to sustainability. As most of these have already been raised at the High-level Symposium in Beijing and the Delhi Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi, I will note them only briefly here.

Objective evaluation by civil society organizations in each country of their performance in implementing their commitments at the Earth Summit and other fora;

Establishment of a process of continuing assessment of the performance of each country in its implementation of past commitments and accountability for them. This should lead to a system in which countries which fail to meet their commitments are subject to penalties and sanctions.

Establishment of an investment instrument in the form of “Earth Bonds” to be purchased by private sector foundations, funds and individuals, for investment in sustainable development projects, principally in developing countries; The World Bank’s initiative in issuing Green Bonds to finance climate change projects provides a useful precedent. The World Bank and/or its private sector affiliate the International Finance Corporation could also be the issuers of the Earth Bonds. They and the regional development banks could initiate and manage projects funded by the Earth Bonds. A high level group of experts is now developing the proposal.

Agreement to establish a system based on Principles 21 and 22 agreed at the Stockholm Conference in 1972 through which victims of environmental damage in one country resulting from development in another country can seek legal recourse and compensation for the damages they have suffered.

Under today’s conditions, this and other measures that I am raising will be deemed unrealistic. But denial cannot change the reality, only increase its dangers. What seems unrealistic today will become inevitable tomorrow, too late to change. The need for such actions is real and urgent. Rio+20 cannot do it all but it can and must set these processes in motion and give them the support and impetus they require.”

via Maurice F. Strong.

Posted November 19, 2011 by arnoneumann in Rio +20, UN

Tagged with , ,

Report for Rio+20 shows world still increasing its ecological debts > Friends of Europe > Friends of Europe | Library | Paper   Leave a comment



“The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has published an interesting data collection of how the world has dealt with its ecological challenges since the first Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. Despite some progress in certain areas, overall the picture does not look rosy.


The publication entitled “Keeping Track of our Changing Environment: From Rio to Rio+20” is part of UNEP’s “Global Environmental Outlook-5” (GEO -5) series, the UN’s landmark report on the state and outlook of the global environment. The complete GEO-5 report will be launched in May 2012, one month before the Rio+20 in Brazil.


Although the authors of the report have carefully avoided providing any critical evaluation of the statistical data, anyone reading the 111-pages study can hardly conclude that global leaders have done a great job since they received a wake-up call about the world’s sustainability challenges twenty years ago.


Here are a few of the “gloomy” messages of the study:

World population has grown by 26% since 1992 (from 5.5 billion to 7 billion).

More people than ever live in megacities.

Global average meat consumption grew from 34 kg per person per year to 43 kg.

GDP has continued to increase but there are increasing doubts as to whether this has created more quality of life and more happiness.

The global use of natural resource materials increased by over 40% between 1992 and 2005, from about 42 to nearly 60 thousand million tonnes.

CO2 emissions increased by 36% between 1992 and 2008, from around 22 000 million to just over 30, 000 million tonnes.

The ten hottest years on record have all occurred since 1998.

Sea levels have been rising at an average rate of about 2.5 mm per year between 1992 and 2011.

Oceans are becoming more acidic: the ocean’s pH declined from 8.11 in 1992 to 8.06 in 2007.

Nearly all mountain glaciers around the world are retreating and getting thinner; and the speed with which this is happening is increasing.

Forest area has decreased by 300 million hectare since 1990, an area larger than Argentina.

Biodiversity is in serious decline and every year more species move closer to extinction.

The world has seen a huge increase in natural disasters.

Food production has continued to rise but only thanks to more use of fertilizer. It takes an average of seven to ten calories of input energy (i.e., mostly fossil fuels) to produce one calorie of food.

Irrigation has raised crop yields but also put pressure on freshwater availability

Since 1992, the proportion of fully exploited fish stocks increased by 13% and overexploited, depleted or recovering stocks increased by 33%, reaching 52% and 33%, respectively, of all fish stocks.

In 2010, 1,440 million people globally—that is 20% of the world population—are still suffering from “energy poverty.


And here are a few of the “good stories”:

Over the past 20 years, the Human Development Index has grown globally by 2.5% per year, climbing from 0.52 in 1990 to 0.62 in 2010, or 19% overall, showing substantial improvement in many aspects of human development but big inequalities still remain.

Women’s political influence is rising.

The value of internationally traded products has tripled between 1992 and 2009, from over US$ 9 to 28 million millions.

Although overall energy and material use continue to grow, there is a simultaneous general decline in emissions, energy and material use per unit of output (resource efficiency).

The consumption of ozone-depleting substances decreased by 93% from 1992 to 2009, and 98% since the Montreal Protocol’s was established in 1987.

Numerous multilateral environmental agreements were signed since 1992.

The private sector is increasingly adopting environmental management standards.

Land area used for organic farming is growing by nearly 13% per year.

Investment in sustainable energy has skyrocketed in recent years (although from very low starting levels).

The “global village” has developed rapidly as a result of new technologies and the Internet.


All in all, the UNEP study is an impressive work of data collection but it could have done with a little bit less spin and a bit more “hard” evaluation. But then again, maybe this document has a political function and the real meat can be expected in May of next year?


By Willy De Backer

Head of the Greening Europe Forum

via Report for Rio+20 shows world still increasing its ecological debts > Friends of Europe > Friends of Europe | Library | Paper.

Posted November 10, 2011 by arnoneumann in Environment, Green, UN

Tagged with , , ,

Gwangju set to launch urban environment summit | YONHAP NEWS   Leave a comment

GWANGJU, Oct. 11 (Yonhap) -Hundreds of mayors and environment experts from more than 100 cities across the globe were to gather Tuesday in this southwestern city for an urban environment summit in a bid to address the wide range of environmental issues facing cities, organizers said.

The 2011 Gwangju Summit of the Urban Environmental Accords (UEA), hosted by the Gwangju metropolitan government, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the U.S. city of San Francisco, welcomed some 600 mayors, scholars and activists to the city about 330 kilometers southwest of Seoul, with the summit scheduled to open later in the day.

Signed in June 2005 by mayors from 52 cities to celebrate World Environment Day, the UEA has emerged as a hallmark of urban leadership’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The four-day summit, under the theme “Green City, Better City,” brings together representatives from nearly 130 cities and international organizations.

A total of 115 cities, including Curitiba, Brazil, and Barcelona, Spain, have registered for the event, adding to hopes that the summit will attract a record number of foreign officials and mayors to discuss the future of the global environment. Mayors from 23 different cities and deputy mayors from 11 cities are slated to attend.

The 115 cities are comprised of 52 from Asia, 37 from South Korea, 12 from Europe, six from Africa, six from North and South America, and two from Oceania.

A dozen international organizations, including UN-Habitat; the World Bank; and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, are participating as sponsors.

In addition, a handful of well-known officials and activists have joined the panel of keynote speakers. They include Achim Steiner, executive director of the UNEP; Joan Clos, executive director of U.N.-Habitat; and Earth Policy Institute President Lester Brown.

The summit will delve into two major topics: developing a system to evaluate environmental policies and trying to revive a previous effort to set up an emissions trading framework.

Summit attendees will try to develop a practical and universal index to evaluate cities’ eco-friendly policies. The existing standards are either outdated or do not consider the differences between developed and developing countries.

The other goal of the summit is to set up a framework for the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) as part of global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A joint study with the UNEP has been under way since 2007.

The CDM was created under the Kyoto Protocol as one of several ways to facilitate carbon trading in an effort to get cities to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The 1997 protocol obliges nearly 40 developed countries to reduce their emissions over a five-year period through the end of 2012 by an average of 5.2 percent from 1990 levels.

But the CDM has not led to a functional carbon trading system, and so summit attendees are hoping to discuss the agreement and hammer out a new framework for emissions trading.

At the close of the summit, the participants are expected to announce the Gwangju Declaration and Gwangju Initiative summarizing what they discussed, which includes opening an office to implement the aforementioned two goals and forming a consultative body of environment-friendly cities.

Meanwhile, a group of well-known officials and activists are also slated to discuss environmental issues at symposiums and forums on the sidelines of the summit on subjects such as finding a solution to the endangered Earth and environmental issues facing metropolises and developing countries.


via Gwangju set to launch urban environment summit | YONHAP NEWS.

Posted October 10, 2011 by arnoneumann in Environment

Tagged with , ,

Road to RIO+20: Sustainable Development: An Agenda for the 21st Century – Excerpts from the SGs Remarks to Sydney University – UNEP   Leave a comment

Excerpts from the Secretary-Generals Remarks to Sydney UniversitySydney, 8 September 2011

“Ladies and Gentlemen,Around the world, sustainable peace must be built on sustainable development.Next month, the 7 billionth citizen of our world will be born.For that child, and for all of us, we must keep working to fight poverty, create decent jobs, and provide a dignified life while preserving the planet that sustains us.That is why I have said that the sustainable development agenda is the agenda for the 21st century.Above all, that means connecting the dots between challenges such as climate change and water scarcity, energy shortages, global health issues, food insecurity and the empowerment of the worlds women.On the surface, these might seem like distinct issues – but they are linked. And we have to find those linkages.



In Korea, we have a proverb that says it doesnt matter how many beads you have, without a thread, you will never make a necklace.We need to find the thread.

via Road to RIO+20: Sustainable Development: An Agenda for the 21st Century – Excerpts from the SGs Remarks to Sydney University – UNEP.

Posted September 8, 2011 by arnoneumann in humanity, UN

Tagged with ,

New Move to Develop Global Standards for Measuring Energy Use in Buildings – UNEP   Leave a comment

The UNEP Common Carbon Metric  is a most welcome effort in the measurement  of  building-related CO₂ emissions .

“Efforts to establish international standards for measuring energy use in buildings have received a boost, after the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) decided to consider an innovative tool developed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to gauge energy consumption and CO₂ emissions in homes and offices across the world.

The Common Carbon Metric (CCM) – developed by UNEP’s Sustainable Buildings and Climate Initiative – could form the basis for a new international standard for measuring the environmental performance of existing buildings. The ISO – the world’s largest developer and publisher of international standards, covering 162 countries – will develop relevant methods.

The Common Carbon Metric is intended to create a uniform system for defining the climate impact of buildings through a consistent protocol, which can, in turn, help develop international baselines for use by architects, designers and the construction industry.

Today, the building sector is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions with about one third of global energy use taking place in offices and homes. Moreover, building-related CO₂ emissions are set to rise from 8.6 billion tones in 2004 to 11.1 billion tones in 2020.”


via New Move to Develop Global Standards for Measuring Energy Use in Buildings – UNEP.

Posted August 10, 2011 by arnoneumann in Buildings, Environment, Sustainability, UN

Tagged with , ,

%d bloggers like this: