BirdLife International is participating in the first universal Governing Council/Global Ministerial Forum (GC/GMEF) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) currently underway in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi from 18th to 22nd February 2013. The Governing Council comes after passing of the proposal to upgrade UNEP at the Rio +20 meeting held at Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 and subsequent approval in December 2012 by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Among the agenda items in Nairobi, are the 10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP), Green Economy and Sustainable Development Goal and post 2015 agenda.
Serah Munguti, Nature Kenya’s (BirdLife in Kenya) Communications and Advocacy Manager, said the global community has an opportunity to ensure that environmental sustainability is mainstreamed across the ongoing processes.
“Development and environment should not continue to be treated as two separate entities. Development must not lead to degradation of the environment. In particular the critical role played by healthy ecosystems and biodiversity in meeting the needs of the poor must be recognized,” she said.
The Nairobi meeting is attended by over 190 UN member states and was preceded by the 14th meeting of the Global Major Groups and Stakeholders forum which took place in Nairobi on the 16th and 17th February 2013.
The implementation of the Millennium Development Goals which expire in 2015 has brought mixed results but more notably has been the low prioritization of environmental issues.
“There is need for the Sustainable Development Goals and post 2015 processes to converge at some point” said Ken Mwathe the Regional Policy and Advocacy Coordinator at BirdLife International Africa Secretariat. “The current processes must not backtrack on earlier agreements but should rather build and reinforce global agreements such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD),” he added.
OECD Environment Ministers will meet on 29-30 March 2012 in Paris under the theme “Making Green Growth Deliver“.
They will review the implementation of the OECD Environmental Strategy for the First Decade of the 21st Century that they adopted in 2001. They will also discuss future priorities for action based on the OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of Inaction, which makes a strong case for green growth policies.
Ministers are expected to adopt a policy statement as input to Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development.
The Ministerial discussions will cover five themes:
- What Progress have we made on the Environment, and what does the Future Hold?
Connecting Environment Policy to the Science
The Environmental Outlook to 2050 – An urgent call for green growth policies
Adding OECD Value to Rio+20
Multi-Level Governance and the Role of Cities
The AMCEN meeting was held form 9th – 16th September, 2011at Bamako, Mali. The main objective of the meeting was to lobby delegates of AMCEN and create awareness on Biofuels production and its impacts currently and also getting views of delegates on the issue and advocating for other Climate related ASKs of BirdLife. Birdlife was represented by Alade Adeleke and Jane Gaithuma.
The conference started off with a pre-AMCEN meeting supported by AMCEN, OXFAM, DIAKONIA, and MDG CAMPAIGNS which was convened by Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) with a view to making recommendations to AMCEN on issues that would be discussed in relation to climate change negotiations and expectations for Durban, green economy and IEG. BirdLife raised the issues of Biofuels and land grabbing in Africa and gave the case of Dakatcha woodlands and Tana Delta in Kenya. BirdLife also contributed to the final messages from CSOs (PACJA) and also participated in a meeting on major stakeholders in relation to IEG and green economy.
At the experts meeting, the objective of the AMCEN special session was to provide a platform for African ministers of environment to update and consolidate Africa’s common negotiating position on a comprehensive international climate change regime beyond 2012. The Parties were to deliberate on a common approach to engaging with the international community in developing solutions to tackle the challenges posed by climate change and the modalities for submitting the outcomes of the special session at UNFCCC COP 17 and the seventh Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol. The meeting was also reviewing Africa’s preparations for effective participation in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (also known as “Rio + 20”), including with regard to the themes of green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and the institutional framework for sustainable development. Options for strengthening the environmental pillar of sustainable development and achieving effective international environmental governance were also discussed. The outputs were expected to be a common African negotiating position on a comprehensive international climate change regime beyond 2012 and a comprehensive draft strategy for Africa to combat climate change with a view to achieving sustainable development on the continent.
The meeting was divided into 2 sessions- Experts session and ministerial session. Expert’s session was well attended by representatives of major multilateral and bilateral environment and development institutions in Africa.
BirdLife had meetings with several parties to raise awareness on the issue of biofuels and lobby for its mention by the parties. These meetings also sought to find out current situations in the various countries (Ethiopia, South Africa, Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Namibia and Zimbabwe) on biofuels and bio energy generally.
BirdLife also used this opportunity to distribute biofuels briefs, BirdLife ASKs and other related documents to the expert group meeting which were very well received.
For more detailed report on the AMCEN meeting contact Jane Gaithuma
Regional Policy and advocacy Manager, Africa
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Environment Minister Richard Benyon today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:
As part of the Government’s commitment to implementing in full the provisions of the Marine and Coastal Access Act, we are creating a network of national protected areas in British seas to ensure our underwater wildlife flourishes in years to come. We are clear that looking after the wildlife and habitat in our seas is just as important as looking after those on land.
The Government’s first step to identifying new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in English waters was taken forward through four regional MCZ projects managed by the Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies, who are Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee. The regional projects provided their recommendations for proposed sites for MCZs on 8 September. These have been reviewed by the independent Science Advisory Panel (SAP) and their advice to the SNCBs and Defra is being published today on Defra’s website.
The Marine and Coastal Access Act requires the establishment of a network of conservation sites in the UK marine area. In English waters the network will comprise European Marine Sites, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, sites designated under the Ramsar Convention and Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). The Act requires that the network must conserve or improve the UK marine environment and protect a range of representative features.
The regional MCZ projects have done excellent work in bringing stakeholders together and making site recommendations, but it is clear from the SAP’s advice that there are a number of gaps and limitations in the scientific evidence base supporting the MCZ recommendations.
It is important that we get this right. It is vital that we have an adequate evidence base for every site if we are to create successful well-managed MCZs. An adequately robust evidence base will be essential when we come to implement management measures.
Defra will therefore be commissioning significant additional work to support MCZ designation including an in depth review of the evidence base for all the regional projects’ site recommendations and committing additional resources to carrying out seabed and habitat monitoring.
Protecting our marine environment is essential and the Government remains fully committed to establishing MCZs to contribute to an ecologically coherent UK network. However, the need to strengthen the evidence base for the MCZ recommendations means this is going to take longer than the ambitious target first put forward. We are likely to be able to designate some MCZs fairly quickly where the supporting evidence is adequate. However, for others we anticipate that more investigation will be needed before they can progress towards designation.
Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee will provide the MCZ impact assessment and their formal advice in July 2012. This is six months later than previously planned and this revised timetable will enable them to address the recommendations from the Independent Review of the Evidence Process for Selecting Marine Special Areas of Conservation (published July 2011) and take account of any further evidence obtained from the work that Defra is now commissioning. We will give careful consideration to all the advice received before undertaking formal public consultation on MCZs by the end of 2012. This consultation will include all sites recommended by the Regional Projects with clarity on how and when work on them will be taken forward. It is envisaged that the first MCZ designations will take place in 2013.
Defra and delivery partners will work together ensuring that early management measures are put in place to provide effective levels of protection for designated sites and continuing to build the evidence base for future designations. Defra will also take the opportunity, working with stakeholders and SNCBs, to look at other marine features which may benefit from spatial protection.
This phased approach to designation will also allow more scope to shape the English network taking account of sites being considered by the devolved administrations and neighbouring Member States.
The Seventh “Environment for Europe” Ministerial Conference is scheduled to take place in Astana (Kazakhstan) from 21 to 23 September 2011. The two main themes for the Conference are: (1) sustainable management of water and water-related ecosystems and (2) greening the economy: mainstreaming the environment into economic development.
The Conference in Astana will take place 20 years after the start of the “Environment for Europe” process. Each previous conference helped to consolidate the role of environmental action in public policies of participating countries, preserve natural capital, and more generally close the gap in the “environmental welfare” of people in the pan-European region.
The OECD has been an active player of the “Environment for Europe” process throughout its entire history. In Lucerne (Switzerland) in 1993, Environmental Ministers established a Task Force for the Implementation of Environmental Action Programme (EAP Task Force) to help transition economies in the process of their environmental “reconstruction” and promote the integration of environmental policy goals into a broader development agenda. OECD’s Environment Directorate has facilitated the work of the Task Force since its inception. Currently, the Task Force continues to be one of the major contributors to policy dialogue within the “Environment for Europe” process: it has driven numerous policy reforms and better policy implementation in the partner countries, including on water-related issues. Within this framework, analytical work and country-level pilot projects have supported policy innovation and implementation. The results from a number of recently conducted studies will serve as background for discussions at the Astana Ministerial Conference.
Jointly with the UNECE Secretariat, the OECD/EAP Task Force Secretariat has developed a background paper for Ministers on sustainable management of water and water-related ecosystems, which is one of the main documents of the Conference. The Note describes recent trends, challenges and achievements as well as recommendations for the way forward in this area. It was prepared through a broad consultative process involving countries as well as partner organizations.
- Ten Years of Water Sector Reform in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. The objectives of this report are (i) to evaluate the performance of the water and sanitation sector in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) over the last ten years and (ii) to identify key factors underlying that performance. The report draws policy recommendations to help countries stem the overall decline in WSS in EECCA, building on existing achievements, and tackle new challenges such as climate change, and public budget cuts in a context of global economic crisis.
- Private sector participation in water supply and sanitation in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. This document contains a regional review of experience with private sector participation, including proceedings from a thematic regional meeting, as well as the results of applying the “OECD Checklist for PSP in water infrastructure” by several Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia countries.
- Guidelines for performance-based contracts between water utilities and municipalities: Lessons learnt from Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. This analytical report summarises the most recent experience with designing, negotiating and implementing performance-based contracts in the water supply and sanitation sector in selected Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia countries.
- Establishing a dynamic system of surface water quality regulation: Guidance for countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. This guidance document promotes the adoption of ambitious but feasible water quality requirements by building capacity for the preparation and implementation of the water quality planning and regulatory components of integrated water resources management in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) countries. It is designed to help EECCA countries to progress with a “second generation” of water-related legislation.
- Greening public budgets in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. This analytical report presents the results from a survey of ten Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) countries on mainstreaming environmental programmes into public budgets. The analysis contains policy relevant recommendations on improving medium-term financial planning of environmental expenditure.
- Green growth and environmental governance in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia – Forthcoming. This paper presents an assessment of opportunities and constraints for green growth in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA), particularly as concerns the potential of current environmental policies to catalyse transition towards green economy and the capacity of environmental authorities to play a leading role in this process.
The Draft Ministerial Declaration welcomes the work of the Environmental Action Programme Task Force and invites the OECD to continue this work, including on the themes of the Astana Conference, in cooperation with Regional Environmental Centres of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia and other partners.
- OECD/EAP Task Force’s Booklet (Forthcoming)
- A catalogue of key publications of the OECD/EAP Task Force in 2007-2011 (Forthcoming)
OECD Horizontal work
For more information on the Astana Conference and different side events visit: http://www.unece.org/env/efe/Astana/welcome.html
Local Sustainable Transport Fund: First round funding decisions – Written ministerial statement by Norman Baker
The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport (Norman Baker): I am pleased to announce that the Department is today awarding £155.5m to support authorities in delivering local economic growth whilst cutting carbon emissions from transport.
The Department has received 73 bids to Tranche One of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund from 66 lead authorities. All bids were for small projects requiring less than £5m funding from DfT. 12 bids were submitted as “key components” to large projects.
Proposals were assessed against the criteria as published in the Guidance on the Application Process, which was published on 19th January. Successful proposals were those judged to perform well against the twin objectives of supporting the local economy and facilitating economic development, and of reducing carbon emissions.
If proposals met these initial criteria, they were also scored on their potential to deliver wider social and economic benefits, to improve safety, to bring about improvements to air quality, or to promote increased levels of physical activity.
Proposals were required to demonstrate financial sustainability with benefits enduring beyond the life of the Fund, to incorporate a credible delivery plan, and to include a commitment to make a local contribution towards the overall costs.
In line with the published guidance, an assessment of value for money was undertaken. The Department is confident that the overall package of proposals approved in this first round represents high value for money.
I have decided to fund 39 proposals in this round. 34 proposals will be funded in full and a further 5 proposals will be funded in part. 13 proposals are considered to have potential when scored against the fund criteria, but in my view require further work.
Their promoters will be invited to improve their offer and resubmit to the Department in February 2012, or to improve their offer in the context of their large project proposal, where this proposal is shortlisted. The full list of decisions is attached.
By the deadline of 6th June, the Department received 19 expressions of interest for larger projects (requesting between £5m and £50m funding from DfT). I intend to announce at the end of July the shortlist of those authorities invited to prepare a detailed business case for their proposal. Detailed business cases will be submitted to the Department by December 2011. The Department has received 41 expressions of interest for Tranche Two small project funding, for submission by February 2012. I intend to announce successful projects in this second round in the early Summer of 2012.
I am very pleased that all eligible local authorities across England (with the exception of the Isles of Scilly) have now applied for funding to the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, either as a lead bidder, or as a partner authority to a large project. The Fund has been well received by local government and I am confident that it will be effective in addressing the two key objectives of supporting growth and cutting carbon.
Agriculture Minister Jim Paice updated Parliament today on the progress of payments to farmers under the Single Payment Scheme.
Mr Paice said:
“30 June marked the end of the regulatory payment window for payments under the 2010 Single Payment Scheme (SPS.) At that point, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) had paid a total of £1.75 billion to some 103,604 claimants. That leaves a total of some 594 claimants to be paid up to a maximum of £25 million. It is likely that further work will reveal that some of these cases are not eligible for payment and most of the remainder cannot be paid at present due to reasons such as probate.
“These figures demonstrate that RPA has succeeded in paying over 99% of eligible claimants within the payment window and met the EU benchmark of 95.238% of the total value of payments to be made, so avoiding the prospect of late payment penalties. This is particularly pleasing given the focus this year on ensuring accuracy of payments in order to begin drawing a line under the legacy of IT and data problems that have dogged the Agency since the chaotic implementation of SPS in 2005. Significant progress has been made on legacy data correction activity so providing greater confidence for farmers about their subsequent scheme year payments. Nevertheless, I recognise that a significant number of farmers had to wait longer than usual for the payment, which I regret.
“I recognise also that there remains much for the Agency to do in terms of making payments to both the remaining 2010 claimants, including top ups to those who received an initial hardship payment, and those who are due additional sums for the 2005-2009 schemes. The remaining backlog of potential error cases also needs to be reviewed and overpayments notified to claimants and recovered. This significant volume of work will be undertaken alongside processing of 2011 scheme payments.
“Over the summer, the RPA Chief Executive, Mark Grimshaw, will be developing a strategic plan for the Agency with his new executive team. This will include an evidenced based review of what the payment timetable for SPS 2011 might look like, to be both challenging and realistic. The plan will be put to the RPA Oversight Board for approval in the autumn and the final version published soon after. More generally, the Board will continue to monitor the Agency’s efforts closely to ensure a line is finally drawn under all the legacy data issues over the coming year.”
Government Response to Recommendations in Chief Nuclear Inspector’s Report: Written ministerial statement by Chris Huhne
I have today responded to the three recommendations for Government contained in the Chief Nuclear Inspector’s interim report on events at the Fukushima nuclear site in Japan.
I welcome the findings and recommendations in Dr Weightman’s interim report and commend him and his team on the important work that they have undertaken so far in pulling together information and lessons from the events in Japan.
In the response the Government undertakes to:
- continue to work with international partners in the G8, G20 and IAEA to ensure that information is shared in a timely and open manner in the event of any future global nuclear event;
- carry out a review of the Japanese response to the events at Fukushima and identify any lessons for UK emergency planning by the end of 2011; and
- review the UK’s own national nuclear emergency arrangements to ensure that they are as robust as possible and can deal effectively with prolonged nuclear incidents, and update guidance before the Chief Nuclear Inspector’s final report.
Copies of the Government’s response have been placed in Libraries of the House.
Ministers from OECD member countries and key emerging economies will meet in Paris on 25-26 February to identify action in response to challenges and opportunities facing the food and agriculture sector, such as food security, sustainable development, climate change and water use.