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Programme Steering Committee Meeting -
June 29th 2016, Brussels, Belgium

The Programme Steering Committee (PSC) is the main annual meeting that brings together the main partners involved in the ACP MEAs 2 (Programme hereon). The Programme was designed based on the recognition that ACP countries have various levels of capacity related to the implementation of MEAs and in that there are a lot of opportunities for South-South cooperation between the ACP regions. Thus, the project aims to promote environmental sustainability in the ACP countries by building capacity – whether it is institutionally or technically – in the mainstreaming and implementation of MEAs in the regions.

The PSC meeting was hosted by the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP Secretariat) in Brussels, Belgium on June 29, 2016. It was preceded by two preparatory meetings: the meeting between UN Environment and the regional hubs of Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific on June 27, 2016 and an all partners' meeting held on June 28, 2016. In addition to the participants from the day before, the all partners' meeting included the participation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and project partners such as UNEP - World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and local NGOs.

The Steering Committee members included representatives from the ACP Secretariat; the project manager from the European Commission; the UN Environment coordination team and representatives from FAO. Given the vast geographical reach of the Programme, the PSC provided an important shared platform for all the stakeholders to engage and learn from each other on their achievements over the past year.

Hightlights from the Programme Steering Committee

  • The PSC meeting took place shortly after the United Nation’s Environment Assembly (UNEA), which brought together an unprecedented number of environment ministers and representatives from 173 countries as well as the historic adoption of 25 resolutions to tackle global environmental issues. The Programme's work has gotten greater impetus and support in international environmental governance. As a number of resolutions are linked to MEAs, with one of them particularly promoting synergies between biodiversity-related MEAs and UNEP (resolution 2/17), this has given the Programme's work greater impetus and support in international environmental governance.
  • The Programme has the ambition to implement more than 80 activities over 4 years, for the components managed by the UN Environment in the three regions, responding to very precise objectives focused on two specific clusters of MEAs in the areas of biodiversity and the sound management of chemicals and waste with an emphasis on synergies.
  • During the last year of implementation, the Law Division at UN Environment continued to develop its capacities to ensure the overall coordination, support, and strengthening of the Programme, including through the recruitment of new dedicated staff.
  • With the Programme expected to end in December 2017, discussions around sustainability brought up interesting approaches. It became evident that sustainability is a concept that is being tackled differently in the three regions. As for the Pacific hub, the current Programme has enabled co-funding for a new GEF project that will ensure long-term continuity for part of the ACP MEA activities. Meanwhile, coordinators from the Caribbean and Pacific Hub highlighted the creation of knowledge and institutional infrastructure is in itself a reflection of the sustainability of the project.

Some recommendations from the meeting

  • Synergistic implementation emerged as a significant theme through the discussions. The regional coordinators along with the project coordinator from FAO and other project partners were able to better understand each other’s work through the presentations and suggested points of greater synergy in the work, which will be developed following the meeting.
  • Through one of the activities that was presented, the importance of technology for data gathering and enhanced reporting was discussed. UNEP-WCMC presented on the Online Reporting System (ORS), which is an online platform that allows those reporting on various MEAs to do so systematically and efficiently. Recommendations were made on how there needs to be greater political leveraging of these technological platforms. Thus, it is crucial for regional partners to support member states and MEA Parties in greater utilization and adoption of such technological tools.

For more information contact, Ladu Lemi, (email: ladu.lemi@un.org) UNEP.

Catalyzing Action on Sound Chemicals Management

Chemicals are an integral part of daily life in today’s world. Millions of people throughout the world lead richer, more productive and more comfortable lives because of the thousands of chemicals on the market today. At the same time, sound management of chemicals throughout their lifecycle is essential in order to reduce and avoid impacts on human health and the environment as well as to avoid substantial costs to national economies.

Numerous Governments worldwide, jointly with UN agencies and specialized agencies, have supported the development of international policies and commitments on sound chemicals management. Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) – such as the ILO conventions on chemical safety, the Basel Convention on the control of transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and their disposal, the Rotterdam Convention on the prior informed consent procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade, and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants – have been adopted and ratified by numerous States.

The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Managements (SAICM) was developed as a voluntary mechanism to fill in some of the gaps not covered by legal instruments. Established by the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM) in 2006, SAICM was conceived as a policy framework to guide efforts to achieve the goal set out in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation that, by 2020, chemicals would be produced and used in ways that minimize significant adverse effects on human health and the environment. It is a unique governance mechanism for achieving sound management of chemicals involving all relevant sectors and stakeholders – Governments, civil society networks, academia and the private sector – through a transparent and open decision-making and implementation process.

Supporting strengthened chemicals management through QSP

The ICCM established the Quick Start Programme (QSP) Trust Fund in 2006 to support capacity-building for sound chemicals management in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. The QSP is intended to mobilize resources for initial enabling activities related to risk reduction, knowledge and information, governance, capacity-building and technical cooperation, and illegal trafficking.

The three identified strategic priorities include: (i) development or updating of national chemical profiles and the identification of capacity needs; (ii) development and strengthening of national chemicals management institutions, plans, programmes and activities building upon work conducted to implement international chemicals-related agreements and initiatives; (iii) undertaking analysis, interagency coordination, and public participation activities directed at enabling the implementation of the Strategic Approach, including mainstreaming.

The QSP Trust Fund supports projects of up to two years duration with grants of USD 50,000 to 250,000 for project proposals developed by Governments and civil society networks of developing countries and countries with economies in transition. Since its establishment in 2006, the QSP has provided resources to 146 projects implementing activities in 105 countries, including 54 least-developed countries and/or small-island developing states.

QSP projects in ACP countries

To date, 26 QSP projects amounting to USD 5.9 million have been supporting the implementation of the MEAs in 39 countries worldwide. Nine of these projects are being funded by the European Union which provided EUR 1.95 million -USD 2.5 million- in 2009 to enhance the capacity of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to implement MEAs. The activities undertaken under these projects have benefited 19 ACP countries, including 15 least-developed countries and/or small island developing states.

All of the projects are playing a role in strengthening multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder participation in consultation processes and training activities related to chemicals management. Strengthened consultation processes are seen as key for enhancing implementation efforts of MEAs as well as for improving the coordination of efforts toward the protection of human health and the environment from chemicals generally. While many of the projects are still on-going, some important results achieved to date include:

  • Enhanced chemicals management practices in Africa: In Mali and Senegal working together with civil society organizations, the capacity to monitor pesticides health impacts in cotton growing systems has been strengthened through awareness raising and training. In agricultural communities in Uganda, a preventative approach towards health problems arising from exposure to agricultural chemicals among workers and children has been supported.
  • Important efforts on poison management in a Pacific region project focused in Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Island and Cook Islands have been initiated. Through this project, these small island developing states have been able to consolidate available information on poisonous chemicals and have enhanced the regional capacity to manage poisonous chemicals through developing a shared information network. This project is supporting activity five of the SAICM Global Plan of Action: to build capacities of countries to deal with poisoning and chemical incidents.
  • In Saint Lucia, in the Caribbean region, project activities aim to enhance the policy and institutional framework to address chemicals of concern, manage stockpiles and wastes in relevant sectors, and educate stakeholders and the general public about risk exposure and mitigation.

Results from the other projects are expected throughout 2013.

Next steps

Following the decision of ICCM3 to extend the period for receiving contributions into the QSP Trust Fund until 2015, the SAICM secretariat will soon launch the 13th application round of the QSP. The deadline for submitting applications will be March 30, 2013. Applicants are encouraged to send their applications early to allow the secretariat to provide feedback on the proposals.

Overall, the SAICM secretariat is very pleased to note the increased interest from the Governments of all regions, including ACP countries, in the sound management of chemicals. Amongst other things, the QSP is recognized for its important role in the implementation of SAICM by providing a boost to many countries in their efforts to prepare national chemicals management profiles. The enhanced capacity developed through QSP projects is clearly supporting the implementation of MEAs and other instruments at both country and regional levels. However, it is clear that achieving the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation 2020 goal for the sound management of chemicals will require further, more concerted efforts by international agencies, national and local governments, businesses and civil society organizations.

For more information, please visit our web-site: www.saicm.org.

Ms. Luz Romero, QSP Officer, SAICM secretariat.

Levelling the playing field for the CDM and carbon finance

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), under which industrialized countries, aiming to comply with their emission reduction pledges, rely on developing industrializing countries to deliver emission reductions, is a complex market. As one of the Kyoto Protocol’s flexible mechanisms the CDM intends to stimulate emission reductions and promote sustainable development, while providing industrialized countries with some flexibility as to how they meet their limitation targets. The ability of industrialized countries to benefit from the CDM rested in large part on the developing nations to develop and market CDM projects. However, market actors from developed and developing countries entering this complex market space had, at the onset of CDM implementation, substantial gaps in individual, organizational and institutional capacity. Therefore, developing countries willing to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the CDM did not only face the challenge of institutionalizing CDM, but also of creating the knowledge and capabilities to make the mechanism fully operational at both national and international levels.

So far the CDM has been relatively successful in promoting project-based greenhouse gas emission reduction activities that both address the host countries’ sustainable development priorities as well as offer a cost-effective option for carbon credit buyers to comply with their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. Currently there are 8 971 CDM projects in the pipeline and 164 in the registration process. In August 2012 135 CDM projects have been submitted to the UNFCCC, the CDM Executive Board processed 160 registration actions and 21.0 million CERs of a total of 995 million CERs were issued.

The main driving forces for this success are regulatory forces, market forces and both local investors and political will in developing countries. However, another important factor is the role of capacity development projects and programmes for the CDM, implemented by different multilateral agencies and financially supported by the development cooperation community. Due to its regulatory nature and cyclical process, the CDM mechanism is full of complexities on modalities, procedures and technicalities in each step of the cycle. These are mainly: project design by a project developer, approval by Designated National Authorities (DNAs), validation by Designated Operational Entities (DOEs), registration by UNFCCC, verification by a second DOE and CER issuance by UNFCCC. Capacity development support has been instrumental to help coping with these complexities by providing knowledge and skills to a range of actors in the growing carbon market to further understand and efficiently implement the CDM in the host countries.

The ACP MEAs project through its CDM component implemented by the UNEP Risø Centre, is supporting twelve ACP countries (Angola, Belize, Botswana, Cuba, Fiji, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Trinidad and Tobago and, Vanuatu) to fully engage in the global carbon market by providing technical and financial support to identify, design, approve, finance, implement, monitor and promote CDM projects. Activities include 1) institutional enhancement, i.e. operationalizing the DNAs, designing sustainable development criteria for project selection, and consolidating national project approval procedures; 2) CDM project origination and portfolio development, i.e. evaluating business plans for potential CDM projects and drafting project proposals and 3) promoting project portfolios through organizing national and sector-focused CDM workshops as well as regional events to equip countries with the skills and knowledge to develop and approve CDM projects. Participating countries have established, redefined or consolidated the CDM institutional frameworks, thus securing that national and international regulatory requirements are fulfilled. Also, the lack of knowledge and general awareness on the CDM of local investors, project developers, high level policy makers or financial executives has been addressed through the national and sector-focused workshops as well as specific technical training sessions. Awareness was also raised through mass media. Côte d’Ivoire, for instance, has promoted the CDM through television and radio emissions, which encouraged developers to contact the DNA for information to further develop their CDM projects. The efforts in Côte d’Ivoire were internationally recognized when the UNFCCC announced the country’s DNA the winner of the Best Communicator Award in the African region last year.

As part of the project activities, the UNEP Risø Centre supports the development of national CDM project portfolios. Currently, 72 Project Idea Notes (PINs), 27 Project Design Documents (PDDs), 14 Program of Activities-PINS and 9 PoA Design Documents (PoA-DDs) have been developed in several sectors, including the energy and waste sector. A full overview of the countries CDM portfolios is provided on the project website http://www.acp-cd4cdm.org/. In order to promote the target countries as CDM destinations and to seek potential investors and CERs buyers, the countries received support to participate in the annual Carbon Expo held in Cologne or Barcelona, where they presented their CDM portfolios and expanded their networks. In addition, the ACP MEAs project supported the organization of regional carbon forums in the three ACP regions.

 

Region Country CDM - PIN CDM - PDD PoA-PIN PoA-DD Africa Botswana 4 2 2 Africa Côte d'Ivoire 14 2 Africa Malawi 5 0 2 Africa Nigeria 8 2 Africa Rwanda 3 7 Africa Sao Tome and Principe 1 1 Africa Angola 0 0 Caribbean Belize 4 1 Caribbean Cuba 9 4 Caribbean Trinidad & Tobago 7 2 Caribbean Region 2 1 Pacific Fiji 6 2 Pacific Vanuatu 6 2 Pacific Region 12 4 Pacific Fiji+Solomon Islands 6 2 Total 72 27 14 9 Total LCDs 14 12 12 4

With the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol finishing at the end of 2012, the UNFCCC Parties at COP17 in Durban decided on a second commitment period under the Protocol. The exact dates of the second period are still under negotiation, starting 1 January 2013 and ending either 31 December 2017 or 31 December 2020. The CDM will, therefore, continue as a mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol, although there remains a lack of clarity on the demand of CERs. Yet, eligible countries are diligently polishing national regulations and consolidating their national CDM project portfolios, which signals the continuation and growth of the carbon markets.

Miriam Hinostroza (ACP MEAs CDM Coordinator) and Mette Annelie Rasmussen (Communication Coordinator) UNEP Risø Centre

How pesticides management contributes to MEA implementation

In most ACP countries, agriculture is the most important economic sector, employing more people, using more chemicals, managing more land and providing stewardship for more ecosystems than any other sector. FAO provides guidance and technical assistance to countries to produce enough safe food sustainably and improve rural livelihoods. In doing so, countries are supported in implementing many MEAs including biodiversity, desertification, climate change, genetic resource conservation and through pesticide management, the family of chemicals conventions (Basel, Rotterdam, Stockholm) and voluntary agreements (SAICM, International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides). The EU supported MEAs programme has given a significant boost to ACP capacity in these areas.

Environment-related problems with pesticides

Pesticides are very widely used in agriculture, as well as in public health, recreational, industrial and domestic environments. In ACP countries pesticides are probably the most diverse and widely used group of chemicals. Unsound pesticides management poses significant and often unacceptable risks to human health and the environment. Most of the human population is exposed to pesticides either directly, when the pesticides are applied, or indirectly as residues in food or water. Of particular concern in developing countries are the use of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs), the presence of unsafeguarded obsolete stocks of pesticides and the overall poor management of pesticides products from their point of entry in the country to their end of life. HHPs are chemicals that have high acute toxicity, chronic toxic effects (even at very low exposure levels), and/or environmental toxicity. Several HHPs banned in industrialized countries are still readily available in the developing world.

The vast majority of farmers living in these countries lack access to and knowledge of the minimum risk reduction requirements such as well maintained and calibrated spraying equipment and suitable personal protective equipment. Farmers are generally untrained and often illiterate so that they cannot read and interpret complex instructions on pesticide labels. Pesticides are estimated to be responsible for approximately 4% of deaths from all accidental poisonings, and by many accounts this estimate may be very conservative. Oversupply of pesticides and poor stock management has led, and continues to lead, to the accumulation of obsolete stocks. The global stockpile of obsolete pesticides is estimated to be 500,000 tons.

Obsolete pesticide stocks can be found in stores or warehouses, on farms and estates, in hospitals and offices, outdoors and buried, in rural and urban areas. The sound management and disposal of the stockpiles require significant financial resources. Additionally, contaminated land is eliminated from production and the health of exposed populations deteriorates. The most seriously affected are usually poor communities which have no means for relocation or removal of the chemicals and are forced to consequently co-exist with the threat of exposure. Pesticide externalities such as those described above, place a heavy financial burden on national economies and society in general. Nowadays, the importance of pesticide managementis widely recognized by governments, industry, civil society and farmers. Effective implementation of MEAs at national and regional level can make a significant contribution to addressing these issues.

MEA implementation problems and solution in pesticides

Most countries have ratified the multilateral environmental agreements that deal with aspects of chemicals management and most also adhere to voluntary international initiatives such as SAICM and the International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides. While these international instruments provide a sound framework for the management of chemicals, their enforcement, implementation and harmonization with existing national laws requires comprehensive guidance and capacity-building at national level and coordination at regional level. In order to support the implementation of the chemicals conventions in the broader context of pesticide life cycle management, FAO closely collaborates with the other participating organizations of the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC).

The FAO MEAs component of the EU-supported programme assists ACP countries in identifying national priorities for the implementation of chemicals conventions through regionalled, multi-stakeholder consultations. These priorities include a wide range of actions that support the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Convention implementation such as legislative review, disposal of obsolete stocks, pesticide data management, development of risk reduction strategies and effective alternative plant protection practices. Building on its long expertise, the FAO MEAs Programme has, so far, enabled the inventory, safeguarding and disposal of a significant amount of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and other obsolete pesticides from Africa and the Pacific. This includes disposal of and identifications of alternatives for the pesticide endosulfan, recently listed under the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. In doing so, the programme has focused on developing the capacity of the countries to coordinate future disposal activities.

The FAO system for Rapid Environmental Assessment (REA) is currently used by some countries to prioritize remediation actions land contaminated by POPs and other pesticides. While FAO’s support to countries relates specifically to pesticides, the relevance of these actions to the management of chemicals in other sectors and to the implementation of all the chemicals conventions is clear. Several tools and guidelines have been developed to support countries in strengthening their life-cycle management of pesticides. These include tools for inventory, risk assessment, environmental assessment, storage and transport of obsolete pesticides; guidelines and field surveys for pesticide container management; pest and pesticide management policies and practices through Farmer Field Schools; FAO and WHO pesticide technical specifications, quality control and registration.

The Pesticide Stock Management System (PSMS) is a web-based database designed to facilitate the collection and sharing of informationon pesticide stocks, movements and registers of permitted products. It was developed with significant input from national counterparts and is now active in several African and Caribbean countries. Pesticides are regulated by legislation that addresses human health, environmental protection, agricultural practices, international trade, border controls and commerce among other topics. In many countries, legal provisions are outdated and incomplete. FAO has published a Legislative Study and Guidelines on Pesticide Legislation to provide governments with up-to-date advice on pesticides management in agriculture and public health. The FAO MEAs component has informed the revisions of national legislation on pesticides to enable countries to comply with their statutory obligations under legally binding conventions and best practices. Under the MEAs Programme, collaboration with regional institutions has been strengthened to increase the impact of sound pesticide management at field level with anticipated positive effects on agricultural trade. An important agreement was signed between FAO and the Comité de Liason Europe- Afrique-Caraibes-Pacifique (COLEACP) to promote sustainable strategies on plant protection of horticultural products, pesticide management and good agricultural practices in ACP countries.

In an effort to build the capacity of pesticide “managers”, the first postgraduate university Diploma on Pesticide Risk Management (DPRM) was launched at the University of Cape Town. The DPRM is aimed primarily at regulators of pesticides, inspectors, public health officials, pest control managers, pesticide laboratory analysts and disposal and waste management managers from ACP countries. The course will soon be accredited as a Professional Masters Degree. Finally, FAO field work has a strong focus on reducing the need for pesticide use in agriculture through good agricultural practices and the promotion of alternatives.

Concluding remarks

The MEAs Programme has the overall objective of contributing towards better protection of the environment and public health in ACP countries. This objective can be achieved only through a holistic enforcement of the legally binding and voluntary MEAs. The MEAs FAO componentis making a significant progress on the implementation of the chemicals cluster by building synergies with the various ongoing initiatives in the field of pesticide management and sustainable crop intensification. It is also achieving progress by partnering with regional and national institutions and international organizations (WHO and UNEP) and by leveraging significant additional funding from its own Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP), from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and from other interested donors.

Mark Davis and Francesca Mancini, Pesticide Risk Reduction Group, FAO Plant Production and Protection Division

The South-South Cooperation on SLM-Finance

Introduction

After more than two years of implementation of the scope acp project, the “desertification” component of the MEAs programme is now right on track. At this stage, it is constructive to measure the progress made in reinforcing national capacities to combat desertification in ACP countries. Are we in line with the overall objective of the Action? Do the project’s activities effectively contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals? To respond to these important questions, we can try to evaluate the degree in which the project’s objectives have been reached through the description of a number of actions we undertook under this project, that underline the role the project played in supporting UNCCD actors at national, subregional and international levels.

To address the challenges related to Sustainable Land Management in ACP countries the scope|acp strategy has focus ed on promoting a common and shared vision on resource mobilization for UNCCD implementation, supporting pilot countries from the three regions in the elaboration of National Integrated Financing Strategies, enhancing the Regional Hubs’ roles of coordination and technical support to countries, and establishing regional and interregional South-South partnership platforms to support resource mobilization efforts, manage and disseminate key, up-to-date financial knowledge and success stories on innovative ways to mobilise resources, and support networking of regional experts to foster collaboration, exchange and build capacities.

Sharing a common vision on SLM-Finance

The first action has been engaged in partnership with UNEP and UNDP/LDC SIDS, through regional training workshops in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific. As a result of these capacity-building activities, we have been successful in reaching a common approach on the content and scope of a resource mobilization strategy to support the UNCCD implementation. No longer a set of projects to be submitted to donors, promoting Sustainable Land Management is now perceived as a complex, intersectoral, and interdisciplinary national process, that requires to be mainstreamed into the national development frameworks and set as a high priority. The process promotes a bottom-up and top-down approach with the participation of different categories of actors, from local to national levels, and requires it to be accompanied by appropriate coordination platforms and mechanisms, providing the National Action Programmes to Combat Desertification (NAPs), an impetus for their successful implementation on the ground.

Building South-South Partnership Platforms

These platforms represent the main tool to which all activities either result in or start from. Being a lively platform, it is necessary that case studies and best practices, financing opportunities and project ideas are entered on a regular basis, in order to stimulate partnership-building and new opportunities for stakeholders in SLM.

In this context, an example of the relevance of the scope acp vision and approach can be provided through the emblematical Great Green Wall for the Sahara and the Sahel Initiative (GGWSSI). Under this important initiative, supported by the European Union in the framework of the EU-AU Partnership, we agreed with FAO and the African Union Commission to take the responsibility of building up the GGSWSSI South- South Partnership Platform on capacity building and resource mobilisation. This recognition at the highest African level on the usefulness of the scope acp tool developed so far is very encouraging.

The way forward

Having said that, we must recognise the other challenges. The first and most important challenge is related to the involvement of stakeholders in the different processes related to NAP implementation and resource mobilisation. Indeed, it is not enough to support countries and subregional organisations to define common approaches and promote the setup of platforms for resource mobilisation. A more important effort must be made to strengthen the capacities of local actors - in particular Local Authorities - in the development planning processes including natural resource management. This requires specific knowledge management programmes and targeted capacity building activities benefitting such actors. Another challenge is to sustain the regional South-South partnership Platforms and build inter-regional bridges on common thematic issues related to SLM finance. This entails emphasising the support to existing key actors’ networks, such as women and youth, feeding the platform with useful information on financial opportunities and backstopping partnership building leading to effective financial resource mobilisation. Despite these vast challenges, the international context of Cooperation for Development gives us some positive signals. In fact, the recent outcomes of the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4), held in Busan, South Korea, on 31 November 2011, define a new Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation, which relies on South- South and triangular co-operation, both seen as voluntary, practical and actionable initiatives to implement the commitments agreed in the “Busan Partnership” document. It also relies on the idea that “better outcomes can be achieved when development partners engage in long-term ‘horizontal partnerships’ based on equity, trust and mutual benefit”. It is expected that the scope|acp project, as a precursor of this North-South-South cooperation defined in Busan, can be strengthened in the future as a promising tool for triangular cooperation on SLM finance.

Youssef Brahimi, Coordinator North Africa & South-South Cooperation The Global Mechanism of the UNCCD

ACP MEAs two and a half years along

The European Union-funded project on Capacity building related to multilateral environmental agreements in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (the “ACP MEAs” project) has passed its half-way point, having completed two and half years of implementation. Partnering with the European Union, UNEP is supporting the African Union Commission, the Caribbean Community Secretariat and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, three existing regional institutions with environmental mandates. One of the project aims is to enhance these institutions as regional multilateral environmental agreement (MEA) hubs, enabling them to deliver high-quality capacity building activities to the 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States. The Regional Hubs approach is supplemented by support to the implementation of specific MEAs, namely those related to climate change, desertification and the chemicals and waste cluster of MEAs and related international undertakings. This component of the project is provided through many other partners.

Among those, the UNEP Risoe Centre supports ACP countries to access the global carbon market. The Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification supports countries to develop integrated financing strategies for sustainable land management. The Secretariat of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) administers the Quick Start Programme, which promotes the sound management of chemicals. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) supports countries with pesticide management. At the inception of the project in 2009 no single institution in Africa was providing support to all African countries to implement MEAs. The ACP MEAs project has filled this gap. The African Union Commission hosting the African Hub has now the institutional structures in place to deliver capacity building activities to support MEAs implementation and consequently improve the state of the environment in African countries. Under UNEP guidance and support the AUC has benefited from knowledge exchange and learning by doing while implementing a large-scale capacity building project.

The Hub enhanced negotiating capacity related to and scientific support for MEAs; improved regional and sub-regional cooperation, increased ACP countries and Secretariat coherence as well as improved compliance with and enforcement of MEAs at the national and regional levels. Results to date opened the door to discussions within the AUC in view of the future creation of an MEA Unit within the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture’s Division for the Environment to address MEA issues broadly. The ACP MEAs has dramatically increased CARICOM’s role as a regional MEA hub expanding its mandate focusing on regional policy articulation, development and policy implementation. In addition to institutional advances, CARICOM has strengthened the implementation of MEAs at national and regional levels to support Member States to better meet and sustain compliance with MEAs when mainstreaming MEAs into national policies and strategies.

Conversely, SPREP serving as the Pacific Hub has a long institutional history and the ACP MEAs project was integrated smoothly in SPREP’s existing structure. Recently conducted Mid-term review indicated that the Pacific Hub has been successfully established on basis of SPREP’s existing regional networks and in-house expertise. The Hub is providing an operational and outreach programme that is delivering quality capacity-building services to Pacific Island Countries, with notable achievements over the last two years. In addition, the Regional Hubs benefited from field implementation of specific MEAs by Executing Agencies. Active into climate change mitigation, UNEP Risøe Centre (URC) builds capacity of countries to access global carbon market through the Clean Development Mechanism.

To date, through the ACP MEAs project, the URC has engaged with twelve target countries (Angola, Belize, Botswana, Cuba, Fiji, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Trinidad and Tobago and, Vanuatu). Activities include identification of national implementation teams and local project coordinators, operationalization of the Designated National Authorities (DNAs) of these countries, design of sustainable development criteria for selection of projects and the review of national project approval procedures through national and sector-focused CDM workshops as well as organization of regional events to equip countries with tools to develop and approve CDM projects. These workshops increase the knowledge of CDM among participants and help them to gain skills to identify and develop CDM projects while generally raising awareness in relation to climate change and its adverse impacts. In addition, the workshops are also used as venues for identifying project ideas and potential local CDM investors whose engagement is important in the capacity building process.

In addition, publications and further tools have been prepared. The URC develops technical guidelines and guidebooks to promote awareness of the CDM. Also the sound management of chemicals in ACP countries was boosted by the ACP MEAs project and ten Quick Start Programme projects are on-going to protect human health and the environment in CILLS States (Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia, Mauritania, Niger), Djibouti, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Pacific States (Cook Islands, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Tonga), Burundi and Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Senegal and Uganda.

 

Progress has also been achieved in sustainable land management and in pesticide management. The Global Mechanism has extended its SolArid programme to Caribbean and Pacific and provided national and local ACP actors with tools to improve the use of existing resources and mobilization of new and innovative financial resources for Sustainable Land Management. The FAO has supported the inventory of obsolete pesticides in all ACP project countries and the safeguarding in several African countries (Kenya, Malawi). Capacity to manage pesticides has been improved in all ACP project countries. Awareness raising on the impact of pesticides on human health and the environment and identification, development and promotion of alternatives to highly hazardous pesticides and specifically endosulfan is ongoing in Benin. Building on partners’ expertise and involvement, the ACP MEAs project contributes to address lack of enforcement of MEAs in ACP countries and progressive empowerment of this major environmental challenge by ACP States.

In the remaining period of the ACP MEAs project, efforts will concentrate on catching up the delays experienced during the first two years of implementation mainly due to the set up of institutional structures and identification of specific activities at the beginning of the project. Although the speed of implementation picked up in second and third years; after consultation with project partners, UNEP asked the European Commission to postpone the closure of the project until 31 December 2013 to ensure entire completion of project activities in certain hubs. To date, lessons learned opened door to brainstorming on further adaptation to regional specificities and possible focus on clusters of MEAs to optimize project results. Outcomes of the upcoming European Commission’s mid-term review will definitely contribute to the on-going brainstorming.

Bakary Kante, Director, Division of Environmental Law and Conventions, United Nations Environment Programme.

Implementation of policy response packages to promote Sustainable Development in Small Vulnerable Economies - Experiences of the Caribbean

Over the past two decades small vulnerable developing countries made significant efforts to establish benchmarks to facilitate their sustainable development. The evolving partnership between the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the European Union (EU) have lead to the implementation of innovative initiatives that contributed to the streamlining of the ACP approaches in the management of these countries’ natural resources. The on-going EU Capacity Building project related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEA) in ACP countries offers unique opportunities for the three developing regions to reposition themselves to enhance management of their environmental resources.

The interlocking feature of the economy and the ecology is particularly evident in the Caribbean countries and where the marine, coastal and terrestrial ecological systems are tightly intertwined. At the same time, the agriculture, mineral-extraction and hydrocarbon exploration and tourism sectors, have all evolved from the direct exploitation of the region’s natural resource base. As such degradation of the natural resources often greatly reduces these countries’ prospects for growth and development.

On the other hand, Caribbean countries are parties to and strong supporters of numerous MEAs but they often lack the capacity – technical and financial resources – to effectively address MEAs obligations. For the Caribbean, a strategic approach, involving linked projects, and policy coherence of the interventions are of utmost importance both at the national and the regional levels, if participation in MEAs is to be maximized. This is particularly true for the sustainable management of the region’s natural resource base where the diversity of issues and the numerous international agreements/commitments ratified by the countries represent a real challenge to tackle such complex and diverse themes, especially in view of the scarcity of available human, financial and institutional resources.

 

Multilateral environmental agreements (MEA) are not generally designed with the objectives of trade liberalization including GATT/WTO or regional economic integration obligations in mind. Most of the international laws and agreements addressing the environment evolved from a separate path and often do not explicitly indicate how they relate to each other. As a result, many Caribbean countries with limited capacity often require through necessity, clarification on the relationship between these vital international legal spheres in order to the promote synergies for sustainable development.

 

Caribbean countries have been addressing these matters through the development of regional cooperation and integration identified as the Caribbean Community, the principal instrument to enhance resilience for the challenges of sustainable development and poverty reduction. Going for a regional integrated development approach, Caribbean countries established CARICOM, the Caribbean Community and Common Market on 4 July 1973 through the Treaty of Chaguaramas. By Treaty revision, effective February 2002, the successor entity is now the Caribbean Community, including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) where issues of sustainability are enshrined in a number of policies.

 

Environmental Action Programmes are instrumental to promote sustainable development through capacity-building in the private and public sectors. Local and community education programmes are also used to facilitate sustainable management. Partnerships were established between lead agencies in environment and sustainable development and line ministries responsible for distinct environmental functions across the Caribbean. In addition several training programmes for targeted groups - local government bodies, NGOs, communities – added value to the process through enhancing institutional capacity to perform environmental functions such as monitoring and enforcement. Other national level achievements in capacity building include the recognition of the environment as an explicit ministerial portfolio responsibility (e.g. Barbados, Belize, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago); the designation of distinctive agencies responsible for environmental planning and management; and the extension of programmes and curricula of education and training institutions to include courses in environment and sustainable development continue to make an impact across the Caribbean.

 

Not withstanding these achievements, the critical need for trained human resources as continuously highlighted as a major constraints to development planning in the Caribbean.

To address this challenge the following actions can be adopted:

  • Design and implement an integrated, coordinated plan/ strategy/approach for capacity-building and human resource development;
  • Strengthen capacity within line agencies and departments of Government in the areas of strategic planning, and resource mobilization around strategic environmental and natural resource priorities;
  • Capacity-building through institutional strengthening to increase resilience to internal and external shocks and to facilitate regional and international negotiations;
  • Attention to the capacity needs of the civil society sector is vital, due to the critical role they play at the national and community level in the Caribbean;
  • There is also the need to provide innovative financial schemes for capacity-building in particular to promote greater involvement of the private sector in the sustainable use of natural resources.

There is a need to further:

  • Develop and use mechanisms to improve the monitoring and evaluation of projects, programmes and processes;
  • Integrate the lessons learned from monitoring and evaluation into project/programme planning and management;
  • Conduct interdisplinary research and development of comprehensive data bases on the region’s natural resources to inform national policies and to facilitate legislative reviews;
  • Increase public awareness to remove public indifference to public policies on the environment and to strengthen the role that individuals may play in improving the national environment situation needs that should be addressed;
  • Improve technology by constantly changing technology to meet the needs of the society. Training of an adequate cadre of personnel is critical to sound decision-making and effective use of scarce resources.

The challenge that the ACP MEAs project poses to the Caribbean and other ACP regions is how to promote and implement sound environmental and other international agreements in a mutually reinforcing manner within thecontext of their development aspirations. Caribbean and other ACP countries will face heavy demands on their environmental resource base in the near future if they are to be stable and competitive economies. To address these challenges it is necessary at this stage in these countries development to strengthen their negotiating and implementation capacity to effectively address the sustainability of their environmental resource base.

Mr. Garfield Barnwell, Director, Sustainable Development CARICOM Secretariat.

The future of the Climage Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in Small Island Developing States

The Pacific and Caribbean regions have initiated a new partnership with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC). The signing was the climax of a five-day conference co-hosted by SPREP and the Australian Government on Lessons Learned for Future Action – Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction in Small Island Developing States.

Around 150 participants gathered in Samoa for the event from 28 countries, mostly from the Pacific, Caribbean and Indian Ocean regions. All 15 Pacific ACP countries participated (Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu), and 9 Caribbean ACP countries (Barbados, Belize, Cuba, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago). One of the conference aims was to strengthen links between the three regions, recognizing the common issues and challenges shared by small island developing states in addressing the issue of a changing climate. Professionals in the fields of climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) came together to share their experiences and look for synergies between the two, drawing on the extensive experience which exists within the three regions. Lessons learned were discussed under five topics: information and awareness raising, national planning and policy frameworks, community based responses, strategies and on-ground options, and capacity development. Three field trips illustrated the achievements and issues of Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction onthe ground in Samoa, looking specifically at coastal adaptation, water issues and tsunami impact and recovery.

Participants reiterated the particular vulnerability of small island development states, and also recognised the diversity of climate change and disaster response challenges facing them given their different character (volcanic islands to small atolls), geographic, social and economic circumstances. The nature of the challenge was clearly captured by Dr Michael Taylor of the University of the West Indies, in his words: “Climate has changed, climate will continue to change, climate demands change”. Conference outcomes include the recognition that programmatic approaches are needed, together with new partnerships and alliances to implement them.

In order to give immediate impetus to the new collaboration, SPREP and the CCCCC, in consultation with other partners, agencies and countries will: Develop a draft regional framework for capacity building with relevance to national scales spanning institutional, programmatic and individual scales of capacity building; establish collaborative research networks to examine common challenges and needs initially focusing on coral reefs, coastal processes and coastal modeling; develop exchange programmes and learning networks within and between regions in order to share lessons learned and best practices.

In support of this, a South-South exchange will be funded from the ACP MEAs project between the Pacific and Caribbean region, focusing specifically on strengthening and enhancing the endogenous capacity of ACP countries to effectively implement and comply with MEAs and related commitments,and thereby improve management of the environment and the natural resources.

The conference was funded under the International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Australia.

Dr. Jill Key, Capacity Development Adviser, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

Building Environmental Capacity in the Pacific

The Pacific region covers more than a third of the surface of the world, across which are scattered over 25,000 islands comprising 22 countries, states and territories. Islands are typically small, with a land to sea ratio of 1:300. There are 15 ACP countries in the region, all Small Island Developing States; five of these are classified as Least Developed Countries. The total human population in the region is around 9 million; two thirds of the population and 83% of the land area come from Papua New Guinea (PNG), also the most ecologically and culturally diverse, with over 800 languages spoken.

The Pacific Island Countries (PICs) share common environmental problems: pollution, hazardous waste management, environmental destruction, overharvesting, invasive species, weak environmental and threatened species protection, poor coastal planning and climate change.

 

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Biologically the region is very rich – some islands have over 80% endemic species which occur nowhere else – yet up to 50% of the regions biodiversity is at risk. In fact, the Pacific c has some of the highest extinction rates in the world.

 

Islands can be broadly split into two groups; low-lying atolls or raised coral platforms, and volcanic or continental high islands. Climate change and associated rising sea levels are of urgent concern for many Pacific countries. In the atoll nations of Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands climate change adaptation options are severely limited by the land area available, and the highest point is generally less than 5m above sea level. The e larger high islands, notably the Melanesian countries of PNG, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji, face environmental issues such as logging and mining combined with a history of political instability, which makes addressing these issues particularly challenging. Pacific islanders are very dependent on coastal and marine resources, and the relatively large coastal zone of these small islands is highly vulnerable to environmental degradation. Although the problems are big, the small size of many PICs also makes them relatively manageable. The environment has a high value in the Pacific islands: islanders have a close connection with the land, depending culturally, economically and spiritually on environmental resources, which provide both a “bank balance” and a “pension fund”. The development of protected areas in the region reflects this, with a high potential for engaging civil society in protected area management and biodiversity conservation. The Pacific has a strong culture of cooperation with a number of well established intergovernmental organisations such as SPREP, the Pacific Hub of the ACP MEAs initiative, serving the PICs collectively.

 

Milestone regional initiatives include the formation of the Roundtable for Nature Conservation in 1997 to improve conservation action, endorsement of The Pacific Plan in 2005, a “living document” forming the basis of strengthening regional cooperation and integration efforts, and the Cairns Compact in 2009, driving more effective coordination of development resources from both member countries and development partners to address the Millennium Development Goals. The high level of cooperation allows the regional adaptation of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). For example, the 1995 Waigani Convention to Ban the Importation into Forum Countries of Hazardous and Radioactive Wastes and to Control the Transboundary Movement and Management of Hazardous Wastes within the South Pacific Region is similar to the Basel Convention but is administered in and tailored to the Pacific region.

 

Nevertheless, MEA implementation problems in the Pacific remain severe. Issues include isolation, transport and communication problems (the region covers 6 time zones and crosses the International Date Line), absorptive capacity, limited resources, variable capacity, poor mainstreaming of MEA in national planning processes, and high staff turnover and brain drain as professionals migrate to countries such as Australia and New Zealand. Small island populations mean that a single government employee may be responsible for meeting the many obligations of all the MEAs for a country, as well as handling the reporting to each. Vanuatu, for example, has ratified 16 international and regional conventions and agreements. Capacity is weak at all levels: institutional, enabling environment and individual, with particular need to strengthen national strategic planning capabilities and leadership skills. The PICs receive the highest levels of aid per capita in the world. Around 45% of overall aid is technical assistance, which has created a dependency on outside experts who typically deliver short-term interventions to solve immediate problems.

This approach lacks sustainability. Coordination among donors is also poor at all levels – within donors, between donors and between donors and countries.

In addition to addressing some of these core capacity issues, the ACP MEA project in the Pacific recognizes the key role of coordination of development interventions for small island nations, and is helping to strengthen regional coordination mechanisms such as the Roundtable for Nature Conservation, the Roundtable for Climate Change, and the Working Groups of the Council of Regional Organizations of the Pacific. Lessons learned from over 15 years of SPREP capacity development experience are being applied: national workshops are far more effective than regional ones, and peer learning, secondments and exchanges work best of all. Training events should not exist in isolation, and support and follow-up are essential parts of the capacity development process. SPREP is keen to share its experience with the other regions through South-South cooperation.

 

Certain MEA-related challenges remain which are outside the remit of the project and which profoundly affect the ability of ACP countries to deliver MEA achievements. The most notable is harmonization of reporting across the Rio conventions. For small countries, MEA reporting obligations absorb a large proportion of their capacity, limiting options to actually deliver tangible programmes and benefits. Ensuring the sustainability of the impact post-project is also of major concern, and the Pacific hub coordinator will draw on SPREP experience and work closely with the other Hubs to address this over the next two years of the ACP MEAs initiative.

David Sheppard, Director, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)

Encouraging sustainable development in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries

The Secretary-General of the ACP Secretariat, Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, recently delivered the opening statement on the occasion of the First Open Day of the Department of Sustainable Economic Development and Trade (SEDT) at the ACP House in Brussels (11 October 2010). He drew attention to the fact that for many years, programmes and projects have been developed and implemented with the financial support of the European Union aimed at enabling the African, Caribbean and Pacific States to derive maximum benefit from the globalization process while respecting the context of sustainable development, particularly by enhancing the capacities of the ACP countries and regional organizations.

An important example of such an initiative is the multi-year project on Capacity building for implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in ACP countries (ACP MEAs project) funded through the Ninth European Development Fund (9th EDF) Intra-ACP budget line. During the Open Day proceedings, UNEP in its role as overall coordinator and facilitator of this project, together with UNCCD Global Mechanism, presented the ACP MEAs project to ambassadors and representatives from ACP Missions in Brussels, as well as to high-level representatives from the European Commission. Their attention was especially drawn to the project’s ambitious objectives, its current level of implementation and the need to ensure the long-term sustainability of the project results. This is a special challenge when designing and implementing environmental programmes. Many environmental problems are transboundary and global in nature. Such problems can most effectively be addressed through international co-operation. For this reason, the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU states that one of the key objectives of the Union’s environmental policy is to promote measures at international level to deal with regional or global environmental problems.

African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries face significant challenges to implement Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEA). Deforestation and desertification, for example, are further exacerbated by often inadequate land tenure systems and/or weak enforcement of existing systems. Climate change is a major development challenge for many ACP countries which, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), are among the most vulnerable as they are more likely to suffer from a rise in sea-level or an increase in disasters such as floods or droughts, for which they typically have insufficient adaptation and mitigation capacity. The loss of biodiversity due to unsustainable development or poor management of natural resources reduces the available resources for rural and urban communities, and lowers the resilience of ecosystems to climate change and other environmental disturbances. Sound chemicals management problems are often exacerbated by technical constraints such as the lack of suitable facilities for testing chemicals and destroying obsolete chemicals.

Global environmental sustainability can be fully realised only if – among other measures – key international environmental agreements are actively supported and properly implemented. In order to address such pressing issues as those noted above, the European Commission (EC) has joined forces with the ACP countries, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the FAO/UNCCD Global Mechanism and several other partners to enhance the capacity of developing countries to participate in the negotiation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, and to implement them at national and regional levels.

Over the years many ACP countries have found it challenging to fulfill their obligations as signatories to MEAs, often because of inadequate human resources and skill-sets necessary to address increasingly complex scientific and technical issues. Depending on the country or region, there may be a strong need for financial support and capacity building at all institutional levels dealing with environmental issues. At the regional and international levels, environmental governance challenges are further compounded by the various MEAs that place diverse and often complex obligations on the parties. The fragmentation and specialisation of international environmental issues has further contributed to the difficulty that many developing countries face in deciphering and implementing MEAs.

Developed from two Memoranda of Understanding signed by UNEP with the EC and the ACP Secretariat respectively, and consistent with the Cotonou Agreement principles and the 2005 EU Consensus on Development, the overall objective of the ACP MEAs project is to improve the environmental situation of the ACP countries and especially to support Millenium Development Goal (MDG) N° 7 ‘Ensuring environmental sustainability’. This addresses not only poverty alleviation and the adverse effects of climate change, but other threats to the environment and sustainable development as well.

The ACP MEAs project focuses on the enhancement of the beneficiary’s negotiating capacity, lobbying, legislative drafting, and information dissemination and exchange skills.

The activities of the project demonstrate progress through two components:

 

  1. Strengthening three regional MEA hubs (AUC, CARICOM and SPREP) promoting regional cooperation and integration, and
  2. Supporting specific MEAs through additional funding for capacity building for the Clean Development Mechanism (UNEP Risoe Centre), sound management of chemicals (SAICM Quick Start Programme), Combating Desertification (UNCCD-GM) and Obsolete Pesticides (FAO). Both components seek synergies and encourage the development of South-South cooperation and exchange of good policies and governance practices.

The added value of the ACP MEAs project to the overall achievement of the EU’s sustainable environment and development policy is demonstrated by contributing to some of the key EU strategic engagements in the ACP region. The project supports the implementation of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy and its thematic partnership on Climate Change (JAES first Action Plan 2008-2010). The ACP MEAs project also complements at policy level the recent review of the EU’s Strategy 2011-2013 on the thematic instrument for management of energy and natural resources (ENRTP) focusing on strengthening environment and climate governance. Needless to say, the Secretariat of the ACP Group of States plays a crucial role in all of these initiatives. The political alliance between the EU and ACP States ensures constructive contribution to debates such as the recent international summits on the Millennium Development Goals in New York (20-22 Sep. 2010) and the Climate Change Negotiations under the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) in Cancun (29 Nov-10 Dec 2010).

With such collaborations, the European Union remains a leading proponent of international environmental action and co-operation, committed to promoting the concept of sustainable development worldwide, and fully integrating environmental responsibility as a cross-cutting issue in its policy and development processes.

Article courtesy of the European Commission EuropeAid Cooperation Office

Powering up the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific on Carbon Finance and Energy

World events in 2008 and 2009 have substantially altered the global financial landscape. Consequences for energy and carbon finance remain unclear. While markets, including the carbon market, slowly reshape themselves, the science of climate change continually improves, and governments continue to move towards a new agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol. The carbon market contributed greatly in mitigating climate change in developing countries. The CDM created as part of the Kyoto protocol has been extremely successful in terms of the generation of project activities. These results constitute the success of the CDM, which is considered to be one of the most innovative elements of the Kyoto Protocol. The CDM Pipeline now contains 5443 CDM projects.

The current status of the global carbon market is characterized by an increase in the number of emissions reduction procurement programmes which has resulted in high demand for CDM projects and specifically well-designed projects able to pass the regulatory procedures of CDM, as well as in the need to secure the necessary underlying financing. Another feature of the global carbon market is found in the global distribution of CDM projects. One of the key challenges facing developing countries interested in participating in the global carbon market is lack of capacities (institutional, human and financial). Modalities and procedures continue to be complex and not easily comprehensible.

Expanding access to the carbon market

Since 2002, UNEP and UNEP Risoe Centre have been instrumental in assisting new actors into the growing carbon market. The Capacity Development for the Clean Development Mechanism project (CD4CDM) was launched in mid-2002, when CDM implementation was surrounded by uncertainty due to lack of ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, CDM rules and procedures and administrative process, under the Marrakech Accords, continuously evolving until finally formally adopted by the first meeting of the parties – MOP1 in 2005 .

At the same time, apart from people already involved in the process of CDM implementation nationally, main local stakeholders expected to play roles in the CDM, had not adequate or none knowledge about the CDM and its benefits (or not) for host countries. In fact, CDM was a new concept that would shape, in the short term, a new market, with new rules, agents, costs, risks, regulation, services, etc. commercializing a new environmental commodity: the Certified Emission Reductions (CERs).

During the past 8 years, UNEP and the UNEP Risoe Centre (URC) have been actively supporting a large number of developing countries in the area of CDM by implementing a program for CDM capacity development. The programme aimed at assisting the developing countries in fully benefiting from the new market-based-flexible-mechanism. The UNEP Risoe Centre has been successfully providing CDM technical assistance to a range of developing countries in LatinAmerica, sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and South Asia.

Currently the UNEP Risoe Centre is in charge of implementing a CDM capacity building component under a capacity enhancement programme for implementation of Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs) in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. This multiple stakeholder programme is a partnership between the European Union, the ACP Secretariat and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and is funded through the Ninth European Development Fund and coordinated by UNEP.

The ACP MEAs/CDM implemented by UNEP Risoe Centre is being undertaken in 7 African countries, 3 pilot countries in the Caribbean plus a regional programme and 2 countries in the Pacific plus a regional programme.

Removing the barriers

The Project is designed to remove or minimize some of the barriers facing ACP countries with respect to participation in the CDM market. In many ACP countries, potential CDM projects are typically small. Investors are hesitant to purchase from what they deem to be risky projects, often claiming that the quantity of CERs on offer is too limited to counter the perceived risks. Some capacity building initiatives have encouraged participation by smaller project developers. These projects could be important for community development, but are generally not attractive to investors. Even when these capacity building initiatives have been successful and resulted in CDM-ready projects, project developers have often faced a limited, even non-existent, market for their potential CERs. Studies indicate that multilateral finance predominates in ACP countries, and trying to establish carbon investment projects relying on private finance are exceptionally difficult. The ACP regions have a low savings rate and few indigenous financial institutions. This indicates the need for innovative financing arrangements and risk reduction schemes, such as investment guarantee facilities. ACP countries also need technical assistance to develop their CDM certification capability.

One size doesn’t fit all

The CDM component of the MEA ACP project targets 12 countries and 3 regions ( Angola, Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, and São Tomé and Príncipe in Africa; Belize, Cuba, and Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean; and Fiji and Vanuatu in the Pacific). The specific situation of CDM in the ACP countries varies from one country to the other. However, several commonalities exist especially in terms of the barriers facing CDM project development and access to finance by CDM project developers, but the countries also share that the collective number of CDM projects stops at 41 projects.

At the same time, other countries have not received similar types of technical assistance and capacity-building for CDM; the project will be the first such assistance they receive. In general, in all target countries there is a need to work closely with local financial institutions in terms of CDM capacity-building with the objective of engaging this sector in CDM and hence contribute to access funding.

A number of the targeted ACP countries have previously received some type of CDM technical assistance through programmes from development agencies such as UNDP and the World Bank. However, capacities can further be reinforced in these countries by supplementing existing national capacity.

In 2012 (end of the project), host countries will be better equipped to identify, design, approve, finance, implement and monitor CDM projects that both address their sustainable development priorities as well as offer a cost-effective option for carbon credit buyers to comply with their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. Special emphasis on the development of a national CDM portfolio of projects for each participating country remains of high importance. In all country/regional, activities are led by a national partner/project implementation team while receiving direct technical and institutional backstopping from URC and relevant regional technical centres of excellence.

Knowledge Management tools

Streamlining access to the carbon market is a URC priority, through data gathering and analysis and web-based tool such as www.cdmpipeline.org. The CDM component of the MEA ACP supports this policy of knowledge dissemination and the project is being implemented, new web-based tools are developed (multilingual knowledge Management Platform; CDM methodology selection tool and an overview of CDM technologies).

Ms Miriam Hinostroza, Coordinator,UNEP Risoe centre

 

SAICM and the Quick Start Programme: Invigorating action on chemicals management

SAICM and the Quick Start Programme: Invigorating action on chemicals management Chemicals are a vital part of our daily life. They provide society with a wide range of benefits, particularly increased agricultural and industrial productivity and improvements in the control of diseases. Society increasingly relies on chemicals, making them indispensible for virtually all manufacturing processes and turning the chemicals production industry into a mainstay of the world economy. On the other hand, if not soundly managed, chemicals also have the potential to cause considerable health and environmental problems throughout their life cycle, from production to disposal. Pollution generated during the production process, hazards from improper handling, storage, and transportation, occupational accidents and diseases, and environmental contamination due to unsound disposal methods are just a few of the challenges. Initially health and environmental concerns were associated with the use of pesticides in the agricultural sector, but increasingly industrial and consumer chemicals are reported to cause serious health and environmental problems. This is exacerbated by the increasing industrialization of countries around the world. Between 70,000 and 100,000 chemicals may already be on the market, with an estimated 1,500 new ones being marketed each year.

New chemicals, including nanotechnologies, pose additional potential risks to human health and the environment, which are yet to be fully identified and managed. To mitigate potential risks chemicals need to be managed properly with a view to achieving a sustainable level of agricultural and industrial development and to ensure a high level of environmental and human health protection. These concerns were translated into the body of international policy and law on sound management of chemicals. The last 30 to 40 years have seen the adoption of “soft” or non-legally binding instruments, such as the Rio Declaration, Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, the FAO International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides, the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals, and Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers. Several legally binding instruments have also been developed and adopted and ratified by numerous countries, including ILO conventions on chemical safety, the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

Sound management of chemicals in ACP countries

Complementing international regulatory regimes, various actions and initiatives have taken place at the national and local levels. Many countries have improved their chemicals management through regulatory measures, strengthened information systems and inventories of specific chemicals, prepared national chemicals management profiles and national implementation plans for the Stockholm Convention, established national coordinating committees for chemicals management and integrated national programmes for sound chemicals management. Many countries also have active and well informed public interest movements promoting chemicals awareness and good practices. Meanwhile the chemicals industry has developed and extended its own programmes to contribute to better chemicals management. Many challenges however, remain.

Developing countries and countries with economy in transition, including the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries continue to suffer from the lack of capacity to effectively deal with the challenges to human health and the environment posed by chemicals. Least developed countries and small island developing States are particularly vulnerable. There is often limited or no information on many chemicals currently in use and often limited or no access to information that does exist. There are inadequate resources available to address chemical safety issues in many countries, particularly to bridge the widening gap between developed countries on the one hand and developing countries and countries with economies in transition on the other. This makes the implementation of established international policies uneven. On the international level, the existing policy framework for chemicals is not completely adequate and needs to be further strengthened

The role of SAICM and Quick Start Programme (QSP)

To establish an overarching framework for global action on chemical hazards and to enable governments and other stakeholders to collaborate more effectively on reducing toxic risks, the international community adopted in 2006 the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), a policy framework to promote chemical safety. Its overall objective is to achieve the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation goal that by 2020, chemicals should be used and produced in ways that minimize significant adverse effects on the environment and human health. SAICM is characterized by its multi-stakeholder and multi-sector participation, involving representatives of Governments, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations from sectors such as agriculture, environment, health, industry and labour. Progress towards reaching the 2020 goal in developing countries and countries with economies in transition depends, in part, on the availability of financial resources provided by the private sector and bilateral, multilateral and global agencies or donors. One of the initiatives undertaken within the context of SAICM was the establishment of the Quick Start Programme (QSP). The QSP Trust Fund supports activities to enable initial capacity building and implementation of SAICM in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

The project activities funded by the QSP trust fund address the following three strategic priorities:

  1. Development of national chemical profiles and the identification of capacity needs for sound chemicals management;
  2. Development and strengthening of national chemicals management institutions, plans, programmes and activities to implement SAICM, building upon work conducted to implement international agreements and initiatives; and
  3. Undertaking analysis, interagency coordination, and public participation activities for integrating, i.e. mainstreaming, the sound management of chemicals in national strategies and development assistance priorities.

Project activities may include the establishment and/or strengthening of inter-ministerial and multistakeholders consultation and coordination mechanisms, the development of national chemicals policies, programmes and legislation in relation to the implementation of chemicals MEAs, the identification of capacity for implementation and enforcement obligations under MEAs and training and strengthening institutional capacities for the sound management of chemicals. In addition, each project defines specific objectives and activities. The QSP Trust Fund supports projects of up to two years’ duration with grants of USD 50,000 to USD 250,000 for Governments and civil society networks of developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

Activities funded through QSP

Two hundred and thirty-three project applications were submitted to the QSP Trust Fund between May 2006 and February 2010. Of these 92 projects for total funding of approximately USD 18 million have been approved. The approved projects are implemented by 83 Governments and eight civil society organizations and involve activities in 85 countries, including 41 least developed countries and small island developing States. In 2009 the SAICM Trust Fund received an additional EUR 1.95 million from the European Commission under the ACP MEAs project to support the sound management of chemicals in ACP countries. To date, the Implementation Committee has approved five projects to be supported from this funding. Djibouti’s capacity to control the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and chemicals is being strengthened to ensure their environmentally sound management. In Mauritius, the Mauritius/UNDP/ UNEP Partnership Initiative for SAICM Implementation aims to support the country in its efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by addressing gaps in its chemicals management regime. Institutional capacities are being built in Rwanda and Burundi for implementing the Stockholm Convention on POPs and raise awareness. Pesticide management is being strengthened in the CILSS (Comité permanent Inter-Etats de Lutte contre la Sécheresse dans le Sahel) member countries Burkina Faso, Chad, Gambia, Mauritania and Niger.

The activity will focus on strengthening the effectiveness of the Sahelian Pesticide Committee in administration and information provision on pesticide registrations and enhancing the technical capacities of the Committee in evaluating pesticides submitted for registration. In the Pacific, the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga will establish a pilot network of poison information desks to build a poison information network with the objective to enhance sub-regional capacity to deal with chemical-related poisoning. The SAICM secretariat collaborates with the ACP MEAs African, Caribbean and Pacific Hubs on these and other projects and activities in the ACP regions. These efforts will help to ensure the achievement of the maximum impacts from the project activities and avoid duplication of efforts. There are still opportunities for ACP countries eligible for the SAICM QSP funding to apply for grants from the QSP Trust Fund.

For more information, visit our website:

http://www.saicm.org Tatiana Terekhova SAICM secretariat

One billion people in the world live in chronic hunger. FAO is committed to increase food security for all. Sustainable crop production intensification is one of FAO’s strategic objectives that contributes to this goal. A key challenge for sustainable crop production intensification is to ensure that natural resources are used wisely, and that negative impacts of agricultural activities on the environment are reduced to the extent possible. Pesticide risk reduction is a key focal area. FAO has long-standing experience in this domain, combining expertise on Multilateral Environment Agreements, in particular those related to pesticides and environment, on promoting alternatives to pesticides like Integrated Pest Management, and on policy frameworks that enhance sound management of pests and pesticides.

The problem of obsolete pesticides

Over the past forty years, many countries in Africa and other regions have accumulated large quantities of pesticides which have become obsolete. The unwanted build-up of such products has occurred due to inadequate stock management, non-distribution to farmers, bans on several pesticides, uncoordinated or inappropriate supply from donor agencies, unsuitable packaging and supplier incentive programs. In Africa alone, the amount of publicly-held obsolete pesticides stockpiled is estimated at 50,000 tonnes.

The impact is often greatest on the poor. Abandoned pesticide stockpiles and dumps are often located in poorer communities where people scavenge for “recyclables” with no awareness of the dangers involved. Estimates of annual pesticide poisonings range in the millions and although reliable data is scarce, this has undoubtedly led to thousands of deaths and disabilities in Africa alone.

Disposal and prevention hand-in-hand

Disposal of obsolete pesticides is not enough, a framework that will prevent future build-up of pesticide stocks needs to be put in place while disposal operations take place. This is the strategy that FAO uses when providing technical assistance to countries around the globe. Disposal operations include inventory, safeguarding, clean-up of contaminated sites and disposal of obsolete stockpiles, respecting the highest standards for health, safety and environmental protection set for such operations. The preventive framework addresses better stock management, strengthening the pesticide legislative framework, as well as promoting alternatives to pesticides, such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

FAO is providing technical assistance to countries around the globe to reduce risks associated with pesticides. The EU supports FAO’s work in ACP countries. Two examples are given below to highlight some interesting aspects.

Developing countries and countries with economy in transition, including the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries continue to suffer from the lack of capacity to effectively deal with the challenges to human health and the environment posed by chemicals. Least developed countries and small island developing States are particularly vulnerable. There is often limited or no information on many chemicals currently in use and often limited or no access to information that does exist. There are inadequate resources available to address chemical safety issues in many countries, particularly to bridge the widening gap between developed countries on the one hand and developing countries and countries with economies in transition on the other. This makes the implementation of established international policies uneven. On the international level, the existing policy framework for chemicals is not completely adequate and needs to be further strengthened.

Soil decontamination - an example from Mali

Where pesticides are used and stored there is often spillage and environmental contamination. When large quantities are used this can lead to significant problems, with spilled pesticides remaining toxic for years. In Molodo on the Niger River in Mali, spilled pesticides filled the air to such an extent that nobody could work on the site for long without feeling ill. Neighbours and workers close by complained constantly, but to no avail. The owners of the site and the local authorities could do nothing to solve the problem.

FAO was already working with the Government of Mali to help eliminate stockpiles of obsolete pesticides and build capacity to manage agricultural pesticides better. FAO was asked to help solve the problem of the pesticide contaminated sites. The FAO Pesticides Management Programme sought solutions that could be implemented locally, using available infrastructure and materials. A collaboration started with Wageningen University in the Netherlands. Researchers had developed methodologies for characterization of contaminated sites, and some work had been carried out to manage such sites in the Netherlands. However, the methods had not been tried on pesticides or in Africa. In 2007 five trial sites were selected in Mali, after having trained local teams to characterize the sites for specific risks, the current and future use of the land, the kind of contaminants and levels of contamination and biological activity in the sites. Appropriate responses were worked out for the different sites. Land-farming seemed an option in Moldono.

There risks from dieldrin and parathion contamination were deemed to be high, but evidence from ecological surveys and chemical analysis showed that parathion was degrading naturally, while dieldrin remained at the same concentration over time. A decision was made to excavate the site and return a portion of the soil, mixed with organic manure to a small controlled area where the parathion would be degraded over a period of 3 months. The excavated soil is ‘land-farmed’ in this way in manageable portions until all of it has gone through this process. This soil, now without parathion was then removed from the ‘land-farm’ and mixed with ground charcoal to absorb the dieldrin, and isolated in a concrete bunker. Planting of deep rooted unpalatable vegetation around the original contaminated site prevents any residual contamination from either leaching into the ground when rain falls, or from evaporating into the air. The site has been fenced and signs erected warning people to keep away.

Chemical analysis shows that, in early 2010, the parathion in the soil is completely degraded by accelerated microbiological activity, and that dieldrin remains unaffected because it is a particularly stable chemical. The real evidence however, comes from the local population and the mayor of Molodo who express their gratitude for eliminating the overwhelming and ever-present stench of chemicals.

Pesticide Stock Management System and locust control

FAO developed the Pesticide Stock Management System (PSMS) which is an important tool in the management of stockpiles of pesticides. It is set up to:

  1. provide information on the inventory of useable and obsolete pesticide stocks,
  2. identify the registration status of the pesticides in stock,
  3. monitor the quality of the pesticides and their movement and use in the country (including disposal).

Teams in different countries were trained in PSMS. Information was collected and entered into the database, on inventories of obsolete and usable pesticides. During the most recent desert locust outbreaks, the information in the PSMS database allowed for the transfer of usable pesticides from countries that had an excess of locust control pesticides to countries that had an immediate need for them. Examples include transfers from Mauritania to Yemen and from Mali to Malawi and Mozambique.

he Global Mechanism of the UNCCD

The Global Mechanism (GM) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is an active partner in Capacity Building related to Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs) in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries (ACP MEA), and is in charge of the combating desertification sub-component of this multi-partner programme. As a subsidiary body of the UNCCD the GM mandate is to "increase the effectiveness and efficiency of existing financial mechanisms…[and]…to promote actions leading to the mobilization and channelling of substantial financial resources to affected developing-country Parties".

The GM’s mandate and approach to resource mobilization is fully in line with the "Strategic Plan and Framework for the Implementation of the UNCCD" (the Ten- Year Strategy), adopted in 2007 by the UNCCD Conference of the Parties, that streamlines and prioritises action to build scientific evidence and public awareness, advocate for enabling policies, set standards, mainstream sustainable land management (SLM) into national socio-economic development frameworks and mobilize resources. Mobilization of financial resources for land-related issues has been a challenge as liberalization and privatization policies led to a sharp decline in public investment in the rural sector over the last twenty years. Indeed, policy-makers at the High Level Conference on World Food Security in June 2008 recognized that underinvestment by governments in the rural sector contributed to the food price crisis.

 

Important changes have, however taken place in resource allocation modalities for official development assistance (ODA) since the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness was adopted by many countries and the Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness endorsed its action plan. These changes in the international financial architecture, coupled with dramatically changing domestic budget allocation processes and the call for using innovative sources of finance have turned modalities for resource mobilisation and allocation into a complicated business. Resource mobilization remains at the heart of the priorities of the Ten-Year Strategy and it advocates for this purpose the establishment of effective partnerships between national and international actors that should lead to increasing the level and diversity of funding available for the fight against desertification/land degradation and the mitigation of the effects of drought.

The GM promotes multi-stakeholder dialogues at the national level centred on priority setting and finance for SLM. This approach ensures that SLM becomes more central to budget and financial resource allocation processes. Understanding and working within domestic budget processes also increases the chances for accessing emerging international finance – particularly climate change finance and also resources available to safeguard food security and financing for water harvesting and environmentally- induced migration. Notwithstanding the UNCCD’s focus on Africa, the GM aspires to support all developing-country Parties by promoting the sharing of experiences and lessons learned, including through South-South cooperation, given the relevance and potential for replication of such experiences. In this regard, the goal of the scope | acp GM component of ACP MEA is to strengthen capacities of participating ACP country stakeholders with an approach that focuses on building partnerships on key cross-cutting and horizontal thematic issues that support the implementation process of the UNCCD.

To this end the GM adopted an approach for the first year built on:

  • reaching a common understanding on the integrated financing strategy (IFS);
  • starting activities at regional level in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific;
  • forging strategic partnerships notably with UNEP and UNDP/LDC SIDS;
  • strengthening its cooperation with the regional hubs, namely African Union Commission (AUC) for Africa, CARICOM for the Caribbean, SPC/ SPREP for the Pacific and the ;
  • enhancing capacities: creating national multi stakeholder teams; and exploring south-south cooperation opportunities.

The capacity enhancement and knowledge exchange workshops on Designing Integrated Financing Strategies (DIFS), held in the three regions, are part of global knowledge exchange and capacity enhancement that aims to promote an integrated approach to resource mobilization for UNCCD implementation. It aims at upscaling investments in SLM by supporting Governments in the development of Integrated Financing Strategies (IFS) leading to the setting up of integrated investment frameworks for SLM, in full cooperation with international financial institutions Following with outcomes of these workshops held in the Pacific in conjunction with the South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme (SPREP) and the Secretariat of Pacific Islands (SPC), in the Caribbean with the support of the Caribbean Community Secretariat (CARICOM) and in Seychelles, where all countries of the Indian Ocean were involved, the GM is now planning for year 2 of its programme.

The fruitful discussions between the GM and the other stakeholders during these workshops were extremely useful in prioritizing actions for this second phase, which include the development of South-South partnership platforms "to increase the efficiency, harmonization and coordination between donor institutions", as set out in the Ten-Year Strategy. From this point of view these south-south partnership platforms established with the ACP MEA regional hubs promote the establishment of information monitoring systems on funding opportunities for sustainable land management in dry lands. By its very nature, South-South cooperation has always been perceived by countries, especially African countries as a factor of essential endogenous development, as recalled appropriately by the Accra Action Plan: "South- South cooperation in the field of development is to ensure the principle of non-interference in countries' internal affairs, equality among developing partners and the respect for their independence, their national sovereignty, the diversity of cultures, local identity and context. It plays an important role in international cooperation for development and constitutes an invaluable complement to North-South cooperation".

The objectives and functions of these platforms would be one response to such concerns since it would provide relevant information on funding opportunities and procedures of existing financial partners, would strengthen coordination and synergy of existing initiatives of the region’s actors, would support the diagnosis of systems and existing financing mechanisms to take further action to improve stakeholders’ response capacity and would strengthen collaboration between key players in the region. Operationalisation of such platforms would be articulated around three main pillars – knowledge, capacity-building and the promotion of innovative mechanisms.

Knowledge centred on the capitalization of information on finance, the exchange of information on the financial needs and funding opportunities, including the collaboration and regional leadership around issues and opportunities for funding sustainable land management and the promotion of discussions among actors of the region and their international partners on key issues relating to the financing of the rural sector for sustainable land management, sustainable agricultural production, the promotion of livestock production and integrated water-resource management. Capacity building within the framework of South- South cooperation and the promotion of expertise and specific potentials for upgrading within the community space and the consideration of the differences and complementarities between the three sub-regions of the community and the States; and The promotion of innovative mechanisms, through the development of partnerships to address the complexity of funding and the diversity of sources, the multiplicity of actors and the multinational and multidisciplinary dimension of programs and projects. The development finance landscape is characterized by increasingly complex situations, a multiplicity of funding sources and a wide variety of actors. The answer can only be given in terms of finding synergies and coherence, integrating actions and consistent arrangement of financial and multi-actor partnerships.

Mr. Christian Mersman Managing Director The Global Mechanism of the UNCCD

Africa’s Environmental challenges

Africa faces numerous environmental challenges, including drought, floods, desertification and coastal erosion. As most of Africa’s rural populations are dependent on climate sensitive sectors such as agriculture for their livelihood, these challenges largely contribute to undermining Africa’s efforts to achieve sustainable development and poverty reduction, which are among the development priorities for Africa. The rural economy suffers from poor productivity, a low level of diversification and environmental degradation and is subjected to unpredictable climatic changes. The resulting decline in agricultural productivity, food security and diseases negatively impact on economic development. Africa is among the poorest regions of the world, and suffers the hardest because of its low incomes and low capacity to deal with disasters and other environmental risks.

Africa’s Environmental challenges

Africa faces environmental challenges related to climate change, biodiversity loss, unsustainable management of water resources, depletion of coastal and marine resources, pollution and waste. Africa accounts for roughly 27 percent of global land degradation with 500 million hectares of moderately to severely degraded land. While agriculture is the economic mainstay accounting for about 20–30 percent of GDP in sub- Saharan Africa, and representing up to 55 percent of African exports, urban areas account for 38 percent of the total population and are credited with 60 percent of the region’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). African cities are undergoing rapid population growth accompanied by rapid development pressures with high demand for housing and infrastructure, straining an already fragile environment. Impacts of environmental hazards create additional demands on fragile economies, and drain limited resources. Many countries in Africa will not meet their national poverty reduction targets and MDG goals, as benefits are eroded by extreme environmental events.

One of the most important challenges facing Africa is to reconcile its development needs and poverty reduction with the sustainable management of its natural resources. In Africa, food security, environment and poverty are closely inter-linked. Despite these linkages and despite commitments by African Governments, environmental concerns are not still sufficiently mainstreamed into national development policies and plans. Environment is often still not considered as a political and financial priority in many countries, and implementation of multilateral environmental agreement (MEAs) is sidelined. In addition, it is often difficult to ensure appropriate coordination between national and international efforts. The capacity to negotiate MEAs is also a major concern. For Africa to benefit from MEAs, its negotiating position must be strengthened and the capacity of its negotiators should be built. The absence of adequate legal and legislative frameworks at national and regional levels, coupled with inadequate exchange or lack of information grossly hampers the implementation of MEAs in Africa. This situation is aggravated by the low level of awareness of environmental issues within African.

Capacity Support

The Action Plan for the Environment Initiative of NEPAD was endorsed by the African Heads of State in 2003 and contains strategies and programmes which serve as the framework upon which AU Member States are encouraged to build their own environmental programs. Under this framework and in response to the above challenges, the African Union Commission has launched several important initiatives and programmes, led by the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture’s (DREA) Division of Environment and Natural Resources. Key among these are its disaster risk reduction (DRR) programme with the objective to strengthen national capacities to address disasters, established jointly with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). DDR has been established with the support of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). In response to policy makers’ need to make more informed decisions on climate change issues the AUC, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the African Development Bank launched the Clim/Dev initiative to enhance African policy-making capacity. Together with the Program on African Monitoring of the Environment for Sustainable Development (AMESD), the Clim/Dev Initiative has the potential to mainstream climate information into development planning and practices in Africa. To combat land degradation, African Heads of adopted the Great Green Wall for the Sahel and Sahara Initiative (GWSSI), which is coordinated by DREA. It’s objectives are to enhance environmental stability, control land degradation, arrest desert advancement, conserve biological diversity and improve the livelihoods of the poor.

EC ACP MEAs Programme

Most recently, the African Union Commission (AUC) was designated by the European Commission and ACP Secretariat as the Africa Hub of Capacity Building related to MEAs in ACP countries. The Project was established by the European Commission under the framework of the 9th EDF and was endorsed by AMCEN in Johannesburg in June 2008. The main objective of the African Hub is to strengthen and enhance the capacity of African ACP countries, the AUC and RECs to effectively execute their mandates with regard to environmental management in Africa. The African Hub will build African capacity to negotiate, implement and enforce MEAs. During the Inception Phase of the project, the Africa Hub conducted needs assessment workshops providing African ACP countries the opportunity to review and prioritise their capacity building needs related to MEAs. This review was undertaken on the basis of National Capacity Self Assessment and other reports prepared by countries. Capacity needs were identified in the fields of development and harmonisation of legal and regulatory instruments, enforcement, awareness creation, institutional strengthening, information exchange, negotiation and south-south cooperation.

The AUC in collaboration with UNEP has developed a detailed work plan based on the identified needs. The AUC will work in very close collaboration with partners to implement activities in the work plan and will coordinate the implementation of activities at national and regional levels. Monitoring and evaluation will assess progress made and readjust project activities to ensure current priorities are addressed. The MEAs project will forge synergies and links with NEPAD in the implementation of its activities.

In executing its mandate as coordinating agency on environmental programmes on the continent, the AUC also works in close collaboration with AMCEN, AMCOW and NEPAD, as well as the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). Under the ACP MEAs project, funding is also channeled through various partners such as the UNEP Risoe Centre, the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD, the SAICM Secretariat and the FAO. The African Hub will work closely with these partners to avoid duplication of activities and ensure complementarities.

Parting thoughts

The African Union Commission endeavours to work closely with all its partners to ensure that the state of the African environment is improved. The achievement of this objective will lead to a sound environment and poverty reduction which are the basis for sustainable development. The successful implementation of he ACP MEAs project will be a clear demonstration of Africa’s readiness to play a meaningful role in the global efforts to address environmental issues. It is in this spirit that the AUC is also looking forward to a strong, fair and effective global climate deal at COP-15 in Copenhagen, without which the continent faces a bleak future.

Ms Fatoumata Ndoye Mr. Livingstone Sindayigaya African Hub Project Coordinators African Union Commission

A new approach to MEA implementation

The EC ACP MEAs Programme presents a unique opportunity as well as a unique challenge for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This European Union (EU) funded 21 million euro four-year capacity enhancement programme aims to address one of the central issues currently facing the international environmental community: the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). Having entered into a multitude of MEAs, many African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries face the enormous challenge of implementing their obligations.

MEAs are negotiated to address various environmental concerns but often this negotiation process does not fully take into consideration the constraints related to implementation which ensue for many non-industrialised countries. Although most major MEAs include provisions for common and differentiated responsibilities in addition to technical assistance and technology transfer, many ACP countries face formidable human, financial and technical obstacles to implementation. Environment ministries and other relevant authorities lack the necessary personnel and equipment, staff lacks the detailed technical training to deal with increasingly complex environmental issues and offices are burdened with reporting to MEAs. In addition, MEAs are often implemented in a piecemeal manner, not taking into consideration the possible synergies of implementation and available complementarities inherent in a clustered approach.

To assist ACP countries to implement their obligations under environmental agreements, the United Nations Environment Programme has partnered with the European Union to engage several key regional and sectoral actors in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. UNEP and the EU are supporting and strengthening three existing regional institutions with environmental mandates to deliver high quality capacity enhancement activities to countries in those regions. The African Union Commission, based in Addis Ababa, will house the African Hub of the EC ACP MEAs Programme. The Caribbean Hub will be hosted by the Caribbean Community Secretariat.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme will host the Pacific Hub. These three Regional Hubs will focus on strengthening and enhancing the capacities of national governments and stakeholders as well as regional and sub-regional organizations and related institutions. Activities will include training for negotiation and lobbying skills; project design and management; harmonized and streamlined national reporting to MEAs; improved information management and utilization; and development, testing and dissemination of normative tools. Through the delivery of these activities the Regional Hubs will strengthen their position as regional centres of environmental excellence and will support countries with regional and national approaches to MEA implementation.

Sustainability beyond the term of the EC ACP MEAs Programme is essential, and the Hubs will be supported by UNEP to develop strategies to continue their work after the first phase of the Programme. The three Regional Hubs will be supplemented by support to the implementation of specific MEAs. UNEP is coordinating and facilitating the work of four partner institutions: the UNEP Risoe Centre on Energy Climate and Sustainable Development, the Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the Secretariat of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). UNEP Risoe Centre will build capacity of African countries, in particular, to access Clean Development Mechanism funds and will also run activities in the Caribbean and the Pacific.

The Global Mechanism will extend its successful SolArid programme to Caribbean and Pacific countries and will focus on developing integrated financing strategies for sustainable land management. The sound management of chemicals in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries will be boosted through additional funds being made available to the SAICM Quick Start Programme. The FAO will undertake activities to promote the clean-up of obsolete pesticides and pesticides management. Traditionally, these seven sub-components would have been considered as separate projects. The challenge for UNEP will be to coordinate these projects and the various partners to ensure complementarily among the activities and to avoid overlap. Therein lies the opportunity as well: by working closely with its partners UNEP will be able to identify and support coordinated national and regional approaches to MEA implementation.

Much remains to be done to ensure the success of the EC ACP MEAs Programme, but with hard work, coordination, cooperation and information and experience-sharing, the partners will be able to improve MEA implementation and the state of the environment at the national, regional and global levels. This is an interesting time for UNEP and its partners, and we look forward to the challenge.

Bakary Kante Director DELC/UNEP EC ACP MEAs Programme Co-ordinator

 
 

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