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UN showcases SDGs, talks environment issues at Tobago inaugural partnership event

The United Nations System in Trinidad and Tobago (UNTT) hosted an SDG exhibit at the Inaugural Tobago Environmental Partnership Conference at the Mount Irvine Bay Resort on 13 and 14 May. Some of the notable speakers at the opening ceremony included, Her Excellency Paula Mae Weekes, The President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and Kelvin Charles, Tobago House of Assembly Chief Secretary. Participants were urged to “fullticipate” in this new platform, which will enable stakeholders in Tobago to work together on critical environmental issues facing the island.

 The Tobago Environmental Partnership is a collaboration between the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and environmental civil society in Tobago, represented by the Environmental Research Institute Charlotteville and Environment Tobago. The organisers planned the event with the hopes of generating discussions and formulating ideas about a sustainable future for the island, its ecology and inhabitants. A number of stakeholders were invited to showcase their work with the Tobago environment, including United Nations. Willard Philips of UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean ( ECLAC) presented on the benefits and future of green and blue economies. 

Some of the other areas of dicussion inlcuded costal management, partnerships bewteen civil society organisations and government, sustainable tourism and climate change. These issues are also part of the Sustainable Development Goals strategy or Agenda 2030, so it was a natural expectation to see United Nations offices exhibiting their work and campaigns that will helop small developing island states like Trinidad and Tobago.

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Greenhouse gas levels in atmosphere break another record, UN report shows

Levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached another record high, according to a report issued on Thursday by the United Nations weather agency, which reveals that there is no sign of reversal of this trend, responsible for climate change, sea level rise, ocean acidification and extreme weather.

“The science is clear. Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, climate change will have increasingly destructive and irreversible impacts on life on Earth. The window of opportunity for action is almost closed,” said World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

The WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that global concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide have been increasing steadily over the past years. In addition, the report notes a resurgence of a potent greenhouse gas and ozone-depleting substance called CFC-11, which is regulated under an international agreement to protect the ozone layer.
The WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reports specifically on atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, which are what remains in the atmosphere, following a complex process of emissions and absorptions. 

Since 1990, there has been a 41 per cent increase in the warming effect by the various greenhouse gases on the climate – known as “radioactive forcing.” CO2 specifically accounts for about 82 per cent of the increase in radioactive forcing over the past decade, according to figures quoted in the WMO report. 
“The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was three to five million years ago, when the temperature was 2 to 3°C warmer and sea level was 10 to 20 meters higher than now,” said Mr. Taalas.
The WMO report comes on top of the evidence presented in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on global warming issued in October, which sounded the alarm on the need to reach zero net emissions of CO2 by mid-century, in order to keep temperature increases to below 1.5°C. 

 [ read the full story on UN News ] 


Message on International Day for Biological Diversity - 22 May

The rich variety of life on Earth is essential for the welfare and prosperity of people today and for generations to come.

That is why, 25 years ago, the world’s nations agreed on the Convention for Biological Diversity.

The Convention has three goals: the global conservation of biodiversity, its sustainable use and the equitable sharing of its benefits. Achieving these objectives is integral to meet our goals for sustainable development. Protecting and restoring ecosystems and ensuring access to ecosystem services are necessary for the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. Reducing deforestation and land degradation and enhancing carbon stocks in forests, drylands, rangelands and croplands are needed for mitigating climate change. And protecting the biodiversity of forests and watersheds supports clean and plentiful water supplies.

These are just some of the benefits of biodiversity. Yet, despite this understanding, biodiversity loss continues around the globe. The answer is to intensify efforts and build on successes.

This year, Parties to the Convention will begin work on a new action plan to ensure that, by 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used for the benefit of all people.

The entire world needs to join this effort.

On this International Day for Biological Diversity, I urge governments, businesses and people everywhere to act to protect the nature that sustains us.

Our collective future depends on it.


Accelerate climate action and raise ambition, urges UN chief

As the impact of climate change worsens around the world, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called on the global community to redouble efforts to help countries respond to climate shocks, especially the most vulnerable.

“I am encouraged to see climate action taking hold, at all scales, at all levels, involving an ever-wider coalition of actors and institutions,” said the Secretary-General, at a press stakeout at the UN Headquarters, in New York.
“But we need to do more,” he underlined.

In his remarks, the UN chief said that he will be travelling to Bonn to participate in the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23), where, he will urge efforts to accelerate climate action as well as to raise ambition to do more.
At the UN Climate Change Conference this year (COP23, from 6 to 17 November) nations of the world will meet to advance the aims and ambitions of the Paris Agreement and achieve progress on its implementation guidelines.

The conference, officially referred as COP 23/ CMP 13/ CMA 1-2, will take place in Bonn, Germany, hosted by the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and presided over by Fiji. The UNFCCC secretariat and the Government of Fiji are closely working with the Government of Germany, the State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Bonn to ensure a dynamic and successful Conference.

Resources : 



Go to the COP 23 website




CARICOM Partners With UNEP To Raise Awareness On Conservation Of Migratory Species Of Wild Animals

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Aug 27 2016 – CARICOM and the UNEP/Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) Secretariat will host a Regional Capacity-Building Workshop for CMS Non-Parties of the Caribbean Region in Bridgetown, Barbados, 31 August – 2 September.

The purpose of the workshop is to raise awareness about the CMS. This convention is an environmental treaty under the aegis of UNEP, that provides a global platform for the conservation and sustainable use of migratory animals and their habitats. CMS brings together the States through which migratory animals pass, the Range States, and lays the legal foundation for internationally coordinated conservation measures throughout a migratory range.

The Regional Capacity-Building Workshop aims to inform CARICOM countries that are not yet Parties to CMS about the work and goals of the Convention. Already existing capacity-building tools, such as the CMS Family Manual, will be discussed and guidance to accede to CMS will be provided.

The workshop is funded by the Programme for Capacity-Building Related to Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries, known as the ACP-MEAs Programme. The CARICOM Secretariat is the Caribbean Hub of the ACP-MEAs Programme which is funded by the European Commission through the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States. UNEP is the overall global programme coordinator and facilitator, and the project is being implemented in the Caribbean through the CARICOM Secretariat’s Sustainable Development and Environment Programme.

The first phase of the ACP-MEAs programme ran from 2009-2014, and the current phase is scheduled to run until 2017. The ACP-MEAs project has been very supportive of bio-diversity conservation and management initiatives across the CARICOM Region and most recently provided sponsorship for 20 students in Guyana to participate in the fourth International Congress on Biodiversity of the Guiana Shield.

* This story was first published in the Caribbean News Service (http://caribbeannewsservice.com/now/caricom-partners-with-unep-to-raise-awareness-on-conservation-of-migratory-species-of-wild-animals/) - external link. Photo Credit: CMS


New UN-backed survey reveals ‘alarming’ damage to high seas and marine ecosystems

14 July 2016 – More than half of the world’s fragile coral reefs are under threat and most of our major fish stocks are now overexploited, according to the latest global assessments on the state of world’s high seas and large marine ecosystems launched today by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

The new study identified the increasing cumulative impacts of climate change and human activities on these systems for the deterioration of their health and decline of resource productivity.

“Sixty percent of the world’s coral reefs are currently threatened by local activities; 50 per cent of all fish stock in large marine ecosystems are overexploited; 64 of the world’s 66 large marine ecosystems have experienced ocean warming in the last decades,” are among the among the alarming statistics from the assessment and detailed in a statement from UNESCO.

The findings were released today at the Headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington D.C., in the framework of the Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme (TWAP), a project financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The Programme undertook global assessments of the world’s transboundary water systems, including the open ocean and large marine ecosystems, in order to support national decision makers and international organizations set priorities for policy interventions and develop a framework for future periodic assessments.

The statement also noted that the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) released a suite of products from the TWAP data, including a full global assessment report and a more targeted version in summary form for policy makers.


Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet, Consume with Care.

wed15logo5 June 2015 – With many of the earth's ecosystems nearing “critical tipping points,” the United Nations invited each of the seven billion people on the planet to mark this year's World Environment Day by making one change towards a more responsible consumption of resources – “be it refusing to buy single-use plastic bags or riding a bike to work.”

“Humanity continues to consume far more natural resources than the planet can sustainably provide,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in this year's message for the Day, observed annually on 5 June. “It is time for us to change.”

“The goal of sustainable development is to increase the quality of life for all people without increasing environmental degradation and without compromising the resource needs of future generations,” he noted. “We can do this by shifting our consumption patterns towards goods that use less energy, water and other resources and by wasting less food.”

The theme of this year's Day – “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care.” – emphasizes the personal responsibility each person bears for enabling inclusive and sustainable economic development while stabilizing and reducing the rate of resource use.

Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), invited “everyone to imagine what the world would be like if each of the seven billion people made one change towards a more responsible consumption of resources.”

“I would like you to hold on to that vision and strive to make it reality – be it refusing to buy single-use plastic bags or riding a bike to work,” Mr. Steiner said in his message.

[ read the full story]

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Dominican Republic to head regional low emissions group

Santo Domingo.- Dominican Republic’s National Climate Change and Clean Development Mechanism Council (CNCCMDL) was unanimously elected recently to head the Latin America and Caribbean Regional Low Emissions Development Strategies (LAC LEDS) platform

CNCCMDL vice president Omar Ramirez said Dominican Republic and Costa Rica will preside over the platform’s sessions during 2015, slated for the country from October 5 to 7.

He said the platform aims to promote sustainable development with low emissions, resilient to climate change in Latin America and the Caribbean through the exchange of experiences, best practices and lessons learned to build capacity and coordinate and cooperate with formulas and implement national plans which promote long-term economic growth compatible with climate change.

The platform is part of a global alliance and is governed by an executive committee made up of entities on climate change, sustainable development, renewable energy and Environment agencies of Chile, Peru, Mexico, US, Costa Rica, Argentina and Dominican Republic.

It’s also formed by the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, the UN Development Program, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, among others.

Learn more about LAC LEDS

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