Leaves 20(9) - September 2018

LEAVES

Newsletter of the
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
Volume 20, Number 9 --- 15 September 2018


                                       

 

Website: iefworld.org
Article submission: newsletter@iefworld.org Deadline next issue 13 October 2018
Secretariat Email: ief@iefworld.org General Secretary
Postal address: 12B Chemin de Maisonneuve, CH-1219 Chatelaine, Geneva, Switzerland

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From the Editor, Request for information for upcoming newsletters

This newsletter is an opportunity for IEF members to share their experiences, activities, and initiatives that are taking place at the community level on environment, climate change and sustainability. All members are welcome to contribute information about related activities, upcoming conferences, news from like-minded organizations, recommended websites, book reviews, etc. Please send information to newsletter@iefworld.org.

Please share the Leaves newsletter and IEF membership information with family, friends and associates, and encourage interested persons to consider becoming a member of the IEF.

 

Migration: A Chance to Reflect on Global Well-Being

https://www.bic.org/news/migration-chance-reflect-global-wellbeing

GENEVA—14 August 2018
Present day national level structures can no longer hope to adequately address the issue of mass migration in an increasingly globalized world and require the development of structures through the collaboration and participation of all countries, a statement by the Baha'i International Community says.

The statement addressed to the Sixth Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Global Compact for Migration, calls for a "profound, dispassionate and collective reflection on the underlying conditions that have caused the mass movement of populations." and stresses the urgent need to reexamine systems, structures, policies and attitudes surrounding migration.

"Resolving the crisis requires the development of structures able to address the situation globally, through the collaboration and participation of all regions and countries involved," the statement reads.

"Mass migration has challenged us to look beyond the nation state, to perceive the world from a global perspective and has heightened our awareness of the interconnectedness of humanity. Indeed, “in a world of interdependent peoples and nations the advantage of the part is best to be reached by the advantage of the whole.”

The global compact for migration will be the first, inter-governmentally negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner.

The Baha’i International Community has been participating in consultations and intergovernmental negotiations around the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) and Global Compact for Refugees (GCR). Read the statement below.


Active in various global fora, the Baha’i International Community maintains representational offices to the UN in New York and Geneva, as well as regional offices in Addis Ababa, Brussels, and Jakarta.

The Baha’i International Community registered with the UN as an NGO in 1948 and currently has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social council (ECOSOC) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), as well as accreditation with the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI).

 

Migration: A Chance to Reflect on Global Well-Being

Bahá'í International Community statement for the
Sixth Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Global Compact for Migration
Geneva, 12 July 2018
https://www.bic.org/statements/migration-chance-reflect-global-well-bei…

In the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, Member States recognize that “millions of refugees around the world [...] have no access to timely and durable solutions” and that “the success of the search for solutions depends in large measure to resolute and sustained international cooperation”. They further commit “to address the root causes” of violence and other crisis situations which continue to drive people to flee their homeland. In this relation, we would like to offer two thoughts for consideration.

Present national-level structures can no longer hope to adequately respond to the issue of mass migration in an increasingly globalized world. The challenges attending current national efforts to address the issue clearly illustrates this point. The consultations on the Global Compact for Refugees, the Global Compact for Migration and other such processes show a growing recognition that resolving the crisis requires the development of structures able to address the situation globally, through the collaboration and participation of all regions and countries involved. In fact, mass migration has challenged us to look beyond the nation state, to perceive the world from a global perspective and has heightened our awareness of the interconnectedness of humanity. Indeed, “in a world of interdependent peoples and nations the advantage of the part is best to be reached by the advantage of the whole”.1

Secondly, the current dire humanitarian situation calls for a profound, dispassionate and collective reflection on the underlying conditions that have caused the mass movement of populations. The unprecedented displacement of millions of people globally cannot only be viewed in terms of “managing migration”. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the ongoing suffering of countless individuals who risk their lives for greater security is yet another symptom of a much deeper and far-reaching concern. It represents an urgent imperative to reexamine systems, structures, policies and more importantly the attitudes and assumptions that have shaped them.

During the recent UNHCR Annual Consultations with NGOs, the High Commissioner emphasized the need to address the conflicts at the heart of the current refugee and migration crisis. The mass movement of populations has made it clear that the peace, stability and prosperity of different regions of the world are interconnected and that solutions cannot be intelligently considered in isolation from this global reality. Indeed, understanding the root causes of mass migration and displacement and identifying durable solutions for the myriads of crises causing people to flee their homes deserve the highest attention of the international community. For if not through the identification and creation of lasting solutions, how else can we hope to prevent the situation from deteriorating even further?


1. Shoghi Effendi, Promised Day is Come, p. vi.

 

Global Day for SDG Action 25 September

On 25 September will be the 3rd anniversary of the historic adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the UN SDG Action Campaign is organizing to keep up the pressure for transformative change by 2030.

They call for actions that will generate:
Awareness: increase public awareness of the SDGs among citizens and all stakeholders, especially in communities that are most often left behind;
Accountability: Empower people with information to help engage others and hold their governments to account;
Impact: Take individual actions and/or unite with others to make a lasting change towards SDG achievement.

What can you do to take action in your community or area?
1. Check out the Toolkit in different languages here
2. Plan your action and register on the website
3. Share information about the Global Day of Action by forwarding this email and using the hashtag #Act4SDGs

Post your photos and videos of your SDG actions on social media and the best will be featured in the SDG Media Zone on 25 September at UN Headquarters.

 

Governance for the Sustainable Development Goals
Exploring an Integrative Framework of Theories, Tools, and Competencies

(Springer, link: https://www.springer.com/us/book/9789811304743)
By Joachim Monkelbaan

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are quickly becoming not just objectives for the United Nations, other international organizations and national governments, but also the basis for sustainability performance evaluation in companies and local governments. This book by IEF member Joachim Monkelbaan provides a detailed description of the principles and methods for governing the SDGs.

The book offers a comprehensive overview of sustainability governance, with a focus on the SDGs. Adopting a unique integrative approach, it examines the fragmentation of governance that is a critical barrier to achieving the SDGs. The main question addressed is: What are the crucial elements and the organizing logic of an integrative framework that is suitable for analysing governance for the SDGs and for implementing the transitions that we need towards a more sustainable world?

This transdisciplinary book first proposes a combination of innovative governance theories that can improve the analysis and practice of sustainability governance. Secondly, it explores the interests of core actors in a number of case examples. And thirdly, it offers recommendations for improving the study and practice of sustainability governance.

The findings presented form the basis for a new approach to governance towards objectives such as the SDGs: Integrative Sustainability Governance (ISG). The ensuing ISG framework includes indicator frames within the pillars of power, knowledge and norms. The book concludes that the transformation of crisis into sustainability transitions requires a deeper consideration of risk management that strengthens resilience; systems deliberation that complements democracy; and behavioral insights that elevate human awareness and collaboration.

Through an independent and scientifically-based exploration (including case studies, literature review and interviews), the book confirms a great number of principles and critical needs that the IEF also promotes, including:
• the inequality of men and women;
• independent search for ‘truth’ and reflexivity;
• avoiding extremes of wealth and poverty;
• new forms of participatory governance, deliberation and consultation offer;
• mindsets (including spiritual orientation) towards sustainability;
• a world-embracing vision;
• systems thinking;
• norms and values for sustainability;
• cultural diversity;
• emergent/experimental approaches to development (‘planning-action-learning cycle’;
• subsidiarity of governance;
• appreciation of happiness and quality of life beyond material prosperity.

This handbook is set to be a comprehensive and valuable companion for students, experts and practitioners with an interest in governance, sustainable development, and the SDGs.

 

Living the Change

Have you heard of the new interfaith initiative “Living the Change”? On its website it says:

“As people of faith, we are committing to make changes in our own lives. Together, we come to you with a call to adventure on a journey towards sustainable living. We invite you to join us in Living the Change.”

Living the Change provides inspirational messages from different religions to motivate their followers to tread more lightly on the Earth. You can click on your faith to open a motivational note that relates some of your faith's teachings to taking climate action. You can choose Interfaith, Baha'i, Buddhist, Catholic, Evangelical, Protestant, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Quaker.

Living the Change added the Baha'i Faith just recently to its website, at the end of August. When you click on Baha'i, you will get the following message:

Baha'is believe in the oneness of humankind, that we are all one family in the sight of God. We know that poor people are affected first, and that future generations will suffer the most from the devastating impacts of climate change such as more severe heatwaves, droughts, floods, storms, and sea level rise. It is our responsibility to do all we can to reduce the suffering of our family members all around the world. We can all strive to live more environmentally responsible lives and to reduce carbon pollution caused by our lifestyles.


Baha'u'llah admonished us to lead a simple life. He wrote that a true spiritual seeker must “be content with little, and be freed from all inordinate desire.” Moreover, He emphasized justice: “Whoso cleaveth to justice, can, under no circumstances, transgress the limits of moderation. The civilization, so often vaunted by the learned exponents of arts and sciences, will, if allowed to overleap the bounds of moderation, bring great evil upon men... If carried to excess, civilization will prove as prolific a source of evil as it had been of goodness when kept within the restraints of moderation...” The Universal House of Justice warns us of materialism and consumerism and writes “Every choice a Bahá’í makes … leaves a trace, and the moral duty to lead a coherent life demands that one’s economic decisions be in accordance with lofty ideals ...” “Let deeds, not words, be your adorning” inspires environmentally responsible actions.

The website allows you to write down your personal motivation to change your habits and then provides information about the three areas where all of us can make significant reductions to our contributions to climate change: Transportation, energy use, and diet. You can then choose to make one or more commitments for change in those areas.

Then you can download and share a card on social media with a picture and a quotation from the teachings of your faith, and another card with your commitment(s). In this way, you can inspire others to Live the Change!

From 7 – 14 October, everyone is invited to celebrate the Week of Living the Change with local events in faith communities around the world.

Of course, mitigating climate change requires fundamental societal changes from the local and national to the international level. But the individual actions of millions of people will have a real effect on reducing carbon emissions and will help put in motion large social transformation. Living the Change is an opportunities for IEF members to support a worth-while global effort by their inspiring example.

 

Everyday Spirituality and Our Economic Behaviour

On 5-9 September, Arthur Dahl participated in another of the annual gatherings on everyday spirituality at the Domaine de la Garde near Bour-en-Bresse, France, that bring together representatives of many spiritual and artistic traditions. Participants this year ranged from a former Swiss Minister of the Environment, a Sufi Sheik from Kashmir, a Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka, a Quaker, and a Swedish businessman, to the former leader of the Manhattan String Quartet, a French/Muslim musician of north Indian ragas, a business consultant, and an American professor specializing in native American world-views, among others.

The theme this year was everyday spirituality and our economic behaviour, explored from many angles. Arthur presented on rethinking business and the economy based on spiritual principles, drawing on the 2 April 2010 and 1 March 2017 messages from the Universal House of Justice and other Bahá'í texts. Since the present economic system is behind much present unsustainability, transforming the system is an urgent priority, and faith groups are well placed to work for action at the grassroots to change economic behaviour. Despite the great diversity of participants, there was a wonderful spirit of unity throughout the gathering.

 

Baha’i youth participate in UN High Level Political Forum

Canadian Baha'i News Service https://news.ca.bahai.org/baha%E2%80%99i-youth-participate-un-highlevel…

BIC youth event
Participants consulting during a BIC sponsored event that ran parallel to the UN High-Level Political Forum.

NEW YORK, 12 SEPTEMBER 2018, (CBNS)

At the recent 2018 United Nations High-Level Political Forum, held in New York over the summer, the Baha’i community made a number of contributions to the conversation about the role of youth in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), collectively referred to as Agenda 2030.

The Forum is an annual gathering of member states of the UN and others to review progress toward the achievement of the SDGs.

Delegates of the Baha’i International Community (BIC) included Eric Farr, a Canadian Baha’i from Hamilton, currently a PhD student in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto. Farr was part of a Baha’i delegation that included young people from a number of countries, including Ireland and Colombia. They participated in a number of events convened alongside the Forum by the BIC offices. On three consecutive days, panel discussions were held on a number of intersecting themes: the strength inherent in diversity, the construction of peaceful and resilient societies, and capacity building for the transformation of community life.

The series attracted a number of high-level participants including Directors and Policy Officers from a halfdozen UN agencies, and Canada’s Youth Delegate for the HLPF.

“Young people have a deep desire to understand reality. They long for meaning in their lives, to discover their purpose and pursue it with conviction and enthusiasm,” Farr observed at one of these events. He emphasized the importance of rethinking how we talk about religion in the context of growing religious diversity, extremism, and materialism. “We need to develop a new discourse on religion that sees it not simply as a slate of discrete traditions from different periods and parts of the world, but as the evolving narrative of the spiritual heritage of all of humanity. We need this new discourse on religion so that today’s young people can draw on religion’s spiritual and intellectual resources to confront the unique and pressing challenges facing their generation.”

Baha’i delegates shared experience from the Baha’i community’s efforts around the world to raise the capacity of young people to contribute to local community life. Farr noted that these efforts are primarily focused on the age group of 12-15-year-olds, who are in a period of transition in their lives and discovering new intellectual and spiritual capacities. “They are noticing new things in the world, and discovering capacities in themselves that they didn’t know that they had.”

Another BIC youth delegate from Colombia, Emmanuel Zapata Caldas, observed, “As inherited concepts of dominance and control are left behind and the power of cooperation and unity of thought and action are embraced, capabilities inherent in youth surface and can be directed toward the common good.”

 

Man of the Trees: Richard St Barbe Baker, The First Global Conservationist

by Paul Hanley, University of Regina Press, 2018, 304 pages, 90 photos
https://uofrpress.ca/Books/M/Man-of-the-Trees
Man of the Trees is available from most online booksellers.

Richard St. Barbe Baker (1889-1982) was arguably the first global conservationist, blazing a trail for contemporary environmental leaders such as Jane Goodall and David Suzuki. He began his mission to save the world’s forests in 1922, when he started the ENGO Men of the Trees in Kenya. At its peak, Men of the Trees had 5000 members in 108 countries. It remains active today as the International Tree Foundation, based in the UK, and Trillion Trees in Australia.

Baker was a visionary pioneer of concepts and practices such as sustainable development, agroforestry, agroecology, organic agriculture, desert reclamation, fair trade, and ecotourism. Starting in 1931, he wrote thirty books about these ideas. In 1936, he started the journal Trees, which after eighty years is considered the oldest environmental journal still being published.

A great adventurer, he travelled the world continuously, networking with conservationists and lecturing on the need to plant trees to save the planet. In addition to kings and presidents, his extraordinary networks of contacts included leaders of thought, visionaries, eminent scientists, artists, eccentrics, crackpots, and ordinary people everywhere who loved trees.

Baker inspired many outstanding figures in the forest conservation and reforestation movement, including Felix Finkbeiner (Founder, Plant-for-the-Planet), Scott Poynton (Founder, The Forest Trust), Sunderlal Bahuguna (Founder, Chipko), Tony Rinaudo (Founder, Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration), Vance Martin (President, WILD Foundation), and Hugh Locke (President, Smallholder Farmers Alliance). Through his work and the ripple effect of his indefatigable efforts to promote conservation and reforestation, billions of trees have been— and are still being—planted.

Consequently, he has been recognized as one of the outstanding figures of the conservation movement by environmental leaders such as HRH The Prince of Wales, who provided the Foreword for the book, and Jane Goodall, who provided the Introduction. In 1969, The World Wildlife Fund appointed Baker its first Member of Honour.

Baker work was profoundly influenced by the Baha’i writings. Shoghi Effendi, who was the first life member of the Men of the Trees in 1929, was a frequently correspondent. Baker represented the Baha’i International Community at United Nations conferences on desertification.

“This biography of pioneering conservationist and environmental campaigner Richard St. Barbe Baker is in part a tribute to a remarkable man, and in part a guidebook for re-energizing our collective efforts to walk more lightly on Earth. In taking the reader through his life and career, Paul Hanley leaves no stone unturned: thoroughly researched chapters detail the depth and breadth of St. Barbe Baker’s activities to stave off deforestation and ecological degradation. I have no doubt this volume will inspire people everywhere to follow his example.”
- Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario,
- Former UN Under Secretary General, United Nations Environment Programme

 

Come On! Capitalism, Short-termism, Population
and the Destruction of the Planet
A Report to the Club of Rome

by Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker and Anders Wijkman, Co-Presidents, Club of Rome
New York: Springer. 220 p.

Book review by Arthur Dahl

For the 50th anniversary of the Club of Rome, whose first report "The Limits to Growth" in 1972 warned of global collapse in the 21st century if we continued business as usual, its current presidents have written a new book repeating that warning, but also looking optimistically at the future. They have drawn on many other distinguished contributors to reflect the best content of progressive thinking.

The first chapter describes the many ways that current trends are unsustainable, most of which will be familiar to IEF members. In particular it notes that present conceptions of the world and institutions to manage it evolved when the world was largely empty, while in the last few decades we have rapidly reached what is now a full world, as we overshot planetary boundaries and entered the Anthropocene. Climate change is already an existential threat and accelerating. The chance that nuclear weapons might actually be used has recently increased. The population is still growing rapidly among the poor in some regions while others have ageing populations that are not replacing themselves. More people are crowding into cities, but the agriculture that feeds them is unsustainable. The digital revolution contains both opportunities and threats. Governments have set optimistic goals in the 2030 Agenda, but implementation is far from certain, and there are counter-forces of disintegration. It is a picture of a world in disarray.

Chapter 2 is more philosophical, starting with the challenging message from the Pope in Laudato Sí, and then exploring the errors of the market doctrine and reductionist philosophy. It calls for a New Enlightenment based on balance between humans and nature, short term and long term, speed and stability, private and public, women and men, equity and awards for achievement, and state and religion.

The half of the book in chapter 3 is full of positive examples of many efforts to build a more sustainable world. They range from a regenerative, blue or circular economy, through energy, climate and urbanization, to the financial sector, investment, economics and alternatives to GDP. It explores collaboration and collective leadership, global governance, and examples of national action in China and Bhutan, closing with a short but excellent section on education for a sustainable civilization. It describes future education as active and collaborative, based on connectivity, value-based, focussed more on the topic of sustainability, fostering an integrated way of thinking and pluralism in content.

With reference to values, it is worth quoting the whole paragraph. "Values represent the quintessence of human wisdom acquired over centuries. And in the new system that's developing, they must embody the fundamental principles for sustainable accomplishment, whether individual or social. These must be even more than the inspiring ideals that supply the energy needed to fulfil human aspirations. Values are a form of knowledge and a powerful determinant of human evolution. They are psychological skills that have profound practical importance. Education must be founded on values that promote sustainability and general well-being for all. A move toward inculcating sustainable values would amount to a paradigm change in our current society's value system. It would consider as its aim the greater well-being of both human and the natural systems on which they depend, rather than a valuation for more production and consumption. Conscious emphasis will be placed on values that are truly universal, as well as on respect for cultural differences. At the grass-roots level, the movement towards sustainability can build on deep local values. Values can create transformational leadership, leadership in thought that leads to action." (p. 198)

The Club of Rome has built on its half-century of service to humanity with another important report to prepare us for the challenges ahead, and to inspire us to positive action.

 

Global Climate Action Summit brings surge of new commitments
and calls for increased government action

San Francisco, 14 September 2018

Top UN officials welcomed the outcomes of the Global Climate Action Summit that concluded today in San Francisco, showcasing a surge of climate action and commitments from regions, cities, businesses, investors and civil society; and calling on governments everywhere to step up their efforts to tackle climate change. Leaders from all sectors of society gathered at the event to demonstrate how they are ‘taking ambition to the next level’ with a wave of fresh and brave climate action announcements that, if implemented will generate over 65 million new, low-carbon jobs by 2030.

We are experiencing huge economic losses due to climate change.” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “But the Global Climate Action Summit has brought together actors demonstrating the vast opportunity afforded by climate action. They are betting on green because they understand this is the path to prosperity and peace on a healthy planet.

This momentum culminated in a landmark Call to Action, which was presented to the UN’s Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, in a symbolic gesture to illustrate that it is future generations who will be most affected by the decisions of the current generation to build a better, more resilient world.

Accepting the Summit’s Call to Action on behalf of the United Nations, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said: “This Summit and its Call to Action make an important contribution towards achieving our collective goal: to keep global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement. It will encourage governments worldwide to step up their actions, demonstrating the vital role that states and regions, cities, companies, investors, and civil society are playing to tackle climate change.” The event took place against a background of accelerating impacts of climate change, including Super Typhoon Mangkhut expected to make landfall on Saturday and Hurricane Florence, which continues to devastate communities on the east coast of the United States.

UN Environment highlighted the vital role of non-Party stakeholders in propelling the global fight against climate change forward, in an excerpt of their Emissions Gap Report launched at the Summit.

"Climate change is undoubtedly the defining issue of our time, and working together across nations, organizations and communities is the only way that we can tackle this enormous task and seize the huge opportunities,” said head of UN Environment Erik Solheim. “We have seen here over the past few days the inspiring amount of work that is already being undertaken by communities around the world to address these issues. If we manage to put our environment first, we can come out on the other end of this formidable challenge and achieve our common goal, a sustainable world for all."

Patricia Espinosa’s speech at the Closing Ceremony underscored the need for all actors to embrace ‘inclusive multilateralism’, strongly mirroring the UN Secretary-General’s remarks on Monday in New York, where he called on leaders to adopt a sense of urgency to deliver a decisive response to climate change.

This spirit of collaboration is in keeping with the history of San Francisco, which witnessed the signing of the UN Charter in 1945, first establishing a rules-based international order that championed multilateralism over self-interest, and endorsed progress not through conflict, but through all people working together.

Over the last three days, Californian Governor, Jerry Brown, has played host to an official programme of events that generated more than 500 commitments.

Participants used these events to unveil new commitments under five challenge areas – healthy energy systems, inclusive economic growth, sustainable communities, land and ocean stewardship, and transformative climate investments – captured in the Summit’s final communiqué and registered on UN’s revamped Climate Action Portal – aimed to send a strong signal to governments to step up action by 2020, when global emissions need to peak and then swiftly decline.

The outcomes of the Summit – a ‘call to action’ from actors who are seizing the opportunities to transition to a low-carbon economy – will provide a valuable contribution ahead of UN General Assembly discussions and New York Climate Week, taking place in a few days’ time.

UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said, “Bold climate action could deliver US$26 trillion in economic benefits and create millions of jobs. By bringing together cities, states, private sector and civil society, the Global Climate Action Summit is setting the stage for even more ambitious action needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Business leaders were fully engaged in the Global Climate Action Summit: “It is clear that enlightened business leaders are taking their place at the vanguard of climate action and seizing the opportunity that this exponential shift to a cleaner and more sustainable economy represents," said Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. "Now we need to ensure that all companies, industries and markets step up to the challenge."

Additionally, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will issue a Special Report in October. The report will look not only at the impacts of 1.5C warming but also at the pathways that are still available to limit warming to 1.5C, while enhancing sustainable development and alleviating poverty.

Importantly, the outcome of the Summit will provide encouragement to governments as they finalize the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement in Poland in December of this year. It will guide them in preparing their national climate action plans in 2020, and give them bold options and examples for change in designing their short and long-term climate strategies.

For further information, please visit: United Nations, UN Environment, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, United Nations Global Compact

 

Climate Change

Climate change is an acute threat to global development and efforts to end poverty. Without urgent action, climate change impacts could push an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030. (World Bank)

http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/climatechange/overview
21 June 2018

Countries and communities around the world are already experiencing stepped-up climate change impacts – including droughts, floods, more intense and frequent natural disasters, and sea-level rise – and the most vulnerable are being hit the hardest.
• Under the Paris Agreement, the world committed to limiting the rise in global temperatures to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century and "endeavor to limit" them even more to 1.5C.
Global temperatures have already risen 1.2 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. Climate change increases volatility and threatens efforts to end poverty.
• Without urgent action to reduce vulnerability, provide access to basic services, and build resilience, climate change impacts could push an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030.
• The impact of extreme natural disasters is equivalent to a $520 billion loss in annual consumption and forces some 26 million people into poverty each year.
Climate change is already having real and measurable impacts on human health, with impacts expected to grow. Co-pollutants associated with carbon emissions are already responsible for more than 7 million premature deaths each year, while direct costs to health are estimated to be between US$2-4 billion/year by 2030.
• Undernutrition is identified as the largest health impact of climate change in the 21st century. A 6 percent decline in global wheat yields and 10 percent decline in rice yields is expected for each additional 1°C rise in global temperature, with substantial impacts on undernutrition and stunting in food insecure or poor regions. An additional 7.5 million children are expected to be stunted by 2030, 4 million of whom are expected to be affected by severe stunting, increasing to 10 million children by 2050. Climate change is becoming a potent driver of internal migration.
• By 2050, according to the World Bank’s recently launched “Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration” report, more than 143 million people in three regions, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and South Asia, could be forced to move within their own countries to escape the slow-onset impacts of climate change, such as water stress and crop failure.
• With concerted action, including global efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and robust development planning at the country level – this 143m number could be dramatically reduced, by as much as 80 percent, or 100 million people. The financing required for an orderly transition to a low carbon, resilient global economy can be counted in the trillions, not billions.
• Over the next 15 years, the world will require about $90 trillion in new infrastructure – most of it in developing and middle-income countries. Making the right choices in favor of infrastructure that is climate resilient and locks in a low carbon development pathway is critical and urgent. Action now will avoid huge costs later.
• The IEA estimates that limiting the rise in global temperature to below 2C by the end of the century will require an average of $3.5 trillion a year in energy sector investments until 2050. Climate action is a vast opportunity for sustainable global development, with investment potential in the trillions of dollars and the ability to drive innovation and create green industries and new jobs.
• The IFC estimates that the NDCs of 21 emerging market economies alone represent $23 trillion in investment opportunities.
• According to IRENA, the global energy transition could contribute $19 trillion in economic gains by 2050. Achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement will require coordinated global action at an unprecedented scale and speed.
• The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will only be achieved if tackled along with climate change. The world will soon need to feed 9 billion people while reducing emissions, provide electricity access to 1.1 billion people while transitioning from fossil fuels, and prepare for 2 billion new urban dwellers while reducing the carbon footprint of cities and improving urban resilience. Policy action, including carbon pricing, can help create incentives for change.
• Carbon pricing represents a simple, fair and efficient policy option to address climate change. It can also deliver additional benefits, reducing air pollution and congestion while avoiding the increased costs of remedial measures associated with high-carbon growth paths.
• For businesses, carbon pricing enables them to manage risks, plan their low-carbon investments, and drive innovation. According to the latest State and Trends report, eight new carbon pricing initiatives have been launched and two more initiatives are scheduled for implementation in 2018. This brings the total number of carbon pricing initiatives implemented or scheduled for implementation to 47. Overall, 67 jurisdictions—representing about half of the global economy and more than a quarter of global GHG emissions—are putting a price on carbon.
• However, to shift investment at scale, carbon pricing coverage must expand, and prices must be stronger. Currently, 85 percent of all forms of carbon pricing sets the price at less than $10 per ton of CO2 equivalent.
The High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices, led by Joseph Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern, concluded in May 2017 that a carbon price of $40-$80 per ton of CO2 equivalent by 2020, increasing to $50-$100 per ton by 2030, would allow for the achievement of the core goal of the Paris Agreement – keeping the global temperature rise to below 2C.

 

UNESCO launches new travel platform ‘World Heritage Journeys of the EU’
to promote sustainable tourism in the EU

13 September 2018
https://en.unesco.org/news/unesco-launches-new-travel-platform-world-he…

Coinciding with the European Heritage Days celebrations, UNESCO will launch the first-ever web platform dedicated to World Heritage and sustainable travel. Supported by the European Union, the platform features 34 selected World Heritage sites spread across 19 European Union countries, and it has been developed in collaboration with National Geographic.

The launch will take place when UNESCO Paris Headquarters opens its doors to the public for the European Heritage Days event on 15 September. World Heritage Journeys is co-funded by the European Union and promotes sustainable travel to some of the most remarkable World Heritage sites in Europe. It encourages people to travel beyond the major tourist hubs, staying longer and experiencing more of what the local region has to offer. This initiative is part of a new alliance formed between UNESCO and National Geographic.

“Our goal is to change how people travel. Staying longer in destinations, experiencing the local culture and its environment, and gaining a deeper knowledge and appreciation of World Heritage values,” said Mechtild Rössler, Director of the World Heritage Centre at UNESCO.

World Heritage Journeys invites travelers to travel along four cultural heritage itineraries—Ancient Europe, Romantic Europe and Underground Europe —which intertwine to tell fascinating stories of Europe's heritage and history. The website has practical information and tools to support travelers in planning their European holidays based on local knowledge about the destinations’ cultural heritage.

“In addition to reaching travelers directly, we hope that the travel industry—including tour operators, travel agents, and local and national tourism authorities—will be inspired by the content we have curated, and will develop and promote authentic tourism that aligns with the goals of the project and reflects the outstanding universal value of World Heritage,” added Ms. Rossler.

World Heritage Journeys will also play a key role in attracting Chinese visitors to Europe for the 2018 EU/China Tourism Year, an initiative led by the European Commission and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China in collaboration with the European Travel Commission (ETC). The website is available in English, Chinese and French. The platform also contributes to the goals of the 2018 European Year of Cultural Heritage.

“This project is a great example of how National Geographic ignites the explorer in all of us looking to explore the farthest reaches of the Earth and beyond. It seeks to contribute to the economic health of the communities in and around the World Heritage sites, and guide tourists to unique cultural attractions and experiences, as recommended by local experts,” said Frank Biasi, Director of digital development and travel programs at National Geographic Maps. “With this local knowledge, the website encourages travelers from North America, China and other major tourism markets to travel differently and travel deeper, and use the platform to inspire and plan their European trips.”


Updated 17 September 2018