Science, Assessment & Monitoring

ELD Launches Guide for Assessing Economics of Land Management [viewed]

eld10 August 2015: The Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) initiative has published a user guide for assessing the total economic value of land and land-based services that draws on the '6+1' cost-benefit analysis approach used by ELD and its partners to support scientifically sound decision making and action on sustainable land management (SLM).

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ITTO Highlights Fire Management Approaches, Guide to Carbon Benefits in Forestry Projects [viewed]

IttoAugust 2015: The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) has published its quarterly newsletter, titled 'Tropical Forest Update,' which looks at the development of fire management in tropical forests since the 1980s, including through some of ITTO's fire-related initiatives. The newsletter also presents a new guide for measuring and making use of the carbon benefits generated in forestry projects.

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Event: Meeting of Senior Government Officials Expert in Environmental Law on the Midterm Review of the Montevideo Programme IV [viewed]

The meeting of senior government officials expert in environmental law on the midterm review of the fourth Programme for the Development and Periodic Review of Environmental Law (Montevideo Programme IV), which is being convened by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), will bring together experts in the field of environmental law from governments, as well as various organizations. The meeting is expected to address, among other things: the midterm review of the implementation and effectiveness of the Montevideo Programme IV; emerging issues in the field of environmental law, in particular in the Montevideo Programme IV programme areas; and priority areas for action in the field of environmental law for the period up to 2020, taking into account the Montevideo Programme IV.

The mid-term review, carried out in a consultative and participatory manner, is expected to assess progress in delivering the Montevideo Programme, as well as shortcomings, gaps and expected future developments. It will also provide an opportunity to: reassess further development and implementation of environmental law in light of new developments and emerging trends; highlight opportunities for improving synergies and coherence of policies and actions across the international community in the field of environmental law; and provide a platform for sharing experiences and facilitating a coordinated approach among a range of actors to facilitate the implementation of internationally agreed environmental objectives and goals through actions in environmental law. The outcomes of the meeting and the review will be reported to the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) at its second session in 2016.

The UNEP Governing Council (since transformed into the UNEA) adopted he Montevideo Programme IV in February 2009, as a strategy for the international law community and UNEP in formulating activities in the environmental law field for the decade commencing in 2010.  

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Event: 21st Senior Officials Meeting of the EMG [viewed]

The 21st senior officials meeting of the Environmental Management Group (EMG) (SOM-21) will be held in conjunction with the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) and the UN Sustainable Development Summit 2015. The meeting is intended to provide an opportunity to strategize and come up with a common message on how the UN system intends to support countries in achieving the environmental sustainability dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are expected to be adopted at the Summit. In a note regarding the Meeting, Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director and EMG Chair, proposed that the EMG discuss, among other things: UN system wide strategies so that the UN system can contribute to the environmental sustainability dimension of the SDGs; maximizing the EMG's effectiveness to be fit for purpose in the context of the post-2015 development agenda; and the EMG's role in coordinating UN system wide support for implementing the SDGs, including monitoring and reviewing progress of the environmental dimension. He also proposed the following modalities for the meeting's organization, including a technical preparatory segment and a senior officials segment, with the technical segment expected to meet twice prior to SOM-21 on 9 September by audio conference and on 21 September in person in New York.

Also in preparation for SOM-21, the second mid-term technical segment meeting of senior EMG officials convened on 6 May 2015, with the aim of providing an update on progress made by the EMG since SOM20, and initiating a discussion on strategic and possible future issues for consideration and inclusion in the EMG 2016-2017 Programme of Work. SOM-21 will be hosted by the UN Development Programme (UNDP).  

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Event: Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience (GLACIER) [viewed]

The US Department of State is hosting the Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience (GLACIER) to highlight the most urgent issues facing the Arctic, as well as innovative approaches at the local, national and international levels to addressing the region's challenges. Foreign ministers and other key stakeholders will gather at the conference to define the most crucial challenges and to raise awareness about climate change impacts in the Arctic. Representatives from Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the EU have been invited to participate in GLACIER, alongside policymakers, indigenous leaders, and public and private sector representatives from Alaska and the Arctic region. US President Barack Obama is expected to address the conference. Along with plenaries, a social media blitz, and outside events leading up to, during and after GLACIER, parallel panel sessions during the conference will address: climate change in the Arctic and beyond; strengthening emergency response; preventing unregulated Arctic high seas fisheries; renewable energy; science cooperation; and household innovations that promote economic efficiency and community health.  

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Event: Solutions Summit [viewed]

On the sidelines of the three-day UN Summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, the Solutions Summit will seek to highlight "exceptional innovators" (technologists, engineers, scientists, and others) who are developing solutions that address one or more of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and also seek to catalyze a grassroots effort, where communities scout and convene resources around solution-makers. During the event, a group of 17-20 global innovators will be invited to give a 'lightning talk outlining their breakthrough efforts' to senior policymakers, investors, and industry leaders. The Solutions Summit is led by the UN Foundation, Project Everyone, and the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS), in collaboration with the US' White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, the Kenyan Ministry of Information Communications and Technology, and the Estonian Information System Authority, with an open invitation for other governments and collaborators to join.  

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Event: Second Our Oceans Conference [viewed]

The Second Our Oceans Conference aims to promote voluntary governmental and institutional commitments to care for the ocean. Participants will discuss solutions to topics such as illegal fishing, marine plastic pollution, and ocean acidification and climate change. The Conference will also encourage the creation of marine protected areas. Over 400 political, academic and civil society figures, including the US Secretary of State and Prince Albert of Monaco, are expected to attend. The first Our Oceans Conference held in June 2014 resulted in more than US$800 million in government and private sector commitments to conserve the ocean and its resources.  

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Scientists Investigate Scale of Plastic Trash in Southern Indian Ocean [viewed]

fao_headquarters11 August 2015: Scientists from eight countries aboard the Dr. Fridtjof Nansen, a research vessel operated by the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (IMR) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), are assessing the scale and nature of industrial trash, including plastics and micro-plastics, in remote parts of the southern Indian Ocean. FAO notes that the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans both have floating islands of trash twice the size of Texas, but the extent and impact of trash and plastic in the southern Indian Ocean is not yet known. The research mission aims to fill this information gap.

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UNCCD, Partners Further COP 12 Preparations [viewed]

unccdlogo_cop1210 August 2015: In the lead up to the 12th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 12) to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which is to be held from 12-23 October 2015, in Ankara, Turkey, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has launched the 'Road to Ankara' initiative, the UNCCD Secretariat has issued a call to journalists, and the host country of Turkey has launched the COP 12 website.

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ITTO Releases 2013-2014 Assessment of World Tropical Timber Situation [viewed]

ITTO logoAugust 2015: The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) has published the 'Biennial Review and Assessment of the World Timber Situation 2013-2014,' which provides data on the production and trade of primary wood products with an emphasis on tropical primary wood products in 82 countries.

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