Sunday, June 30, 2013

Events: Eleventh International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant on 28 Jul - 2 Aug 2013


Eleventh International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant

The theme of ICMGP 2013 is "Science informing global policy". The conference will celebrate the agreement on the Minamata Convention on Mercury, and consider how to put the treaty into practice. The meeting aims to exchange information on the science of mercury behavior and release, and its effect on ecosystems.  

dates:28 July - 2 August 2013  location:Edinburgh, United Kingdom  contact:Marcus Pattison  phone:+44-1727-858840  fax:+44-1727-840310 www:

Publications: FAO Outlines Strategies for Livestock Production Emissions Mitigation (12 Jun 2013)


FAO Outlines Strategies for Livestock Production Emissions Mitigation

FAO12 June 2013: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has released a report on technical options for the mitigation of non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions livestock production.

The report, titled 'Mitigation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Livestock Production: A Review of Technical Options for non-CO2 Emissions,' provides a review of over 900 publications focusing on nutritional and manure management strategies to reduce emissions of non-carbon dioxide GHGs in livestock production, such as methane (enteric or from manure) and nitrous oxide.

Based on this review, the report provides options for mitigation through feeding management, manure management, and enhancement of animal productivity. It also provides specific recommendations for different management systems. [FAO Press Release] [Publication: Mitigation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Livestock Production: A Review of Technical Options for non-CO2 Emissions]

For more information: 

Publications: FAO Statistical Yearbook Highlights Food Production’s GHG Emissions (19 Jun 2013)


FAO Statistical Yearbook Highlights Food Production’s GHG Emissions

FAO19 June 2013: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has released its Statistical Yearbook for 2013, which provides a lens into agriculture's contribution to climate change, natural resource management, and food security.

The Yearbook covers the following topics: capital and investment; climate change; food availability; food production and trade; food prices; hunger and malnutrition; the consequences of political instability and natural- and human-induced disasters on food security; the state of the agricultural resource base and sustainability; and environmental impacts.

It notes that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the agriculture sector have grown 1.6% per year since 2000, equivalent to 10% of anthropogenic emissions. It indicates that livestock and fertilizer are the two greatest contributors to emissions in the sector.

The Yearbook also highlights that 12% of the global population was undernourished in 2010-2012, and that global crop production has tripled over the past 50 years. It further underscores the increase in agricultural research and development investments. [Publication: FAO Statistical Yearbook 2013] [FAO Press Release]

For more information: 

UN Reports GHG Emissions on Journey Towards Climate Neutrality (21 Jun 2013)


UN Reports GHG Emissions on Journey Towards Climate Neutrality

greening the blue logo
21 June 2013: The UN has launched the fourth edition of 'Moving Towards a Climate Neutral UN,' the annual progress report on the UN's efforts to achieve climate neutrality, which details the UN's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2011 and some of the activities undertaken in 2012 to reduce them.

GHG inventories were compiled for 63 UN entities, covering over 221,000 UN staff across hundreds of locations, with results revealing greenhouse gas emissions totaling 1.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2011 (equal to energy-related emissions of 350,000 European households). The biggest challenge faced by the UN in reducing its carbon footprint is in air travel, which comprises up to 50% of per capita emissions. The inventories include emissions from all activities under the direct operational and/or financial control of the UN, including heating and cooling of buildings.

The report also makes a case for integrating sustainability management into day-to-day operations by highlighting cost savings resulting from measures taken in various UN facilities, such as changing building facades, installing energy-efficient elevators and efficiently managing waste. In addition, the report emphasizes the importance of greater awareness and staff engagement in achieving climate neutrality.

The UN's efforts towards climate neutrality began in June 2007 when UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced his intent to make UN operations more efficient, and UN organizations agreed to move towards climate neutrality by reducing GHG emissions. In 2012, this mandate was strengthened and broadened by Member States and UN leaders to include all environmental impacts resulting from UN facilities and internal operations, programmes and planning. 

The 2012 edition aims to reach a wider audience by presenting key messages in a short brochure. [UNEP Press Release] [UN Greening the Blue Press Release] [Publication: Moving Towards a Climate Neutral UN: The UN System's Footprint and Efforts to Reduce It (2012 edition)] [Efforts of Individual UN Organizations]

For more information: 

Events: Strengthening Policies and Practices for Low-Carbon Green Growth in Asia organized by ADB Institute from 16-19 Jul 2013

Strengthening Policies and Practices for Low-Carbon Green Growth in Asia

ADBI, Tokyo, Japan : 16 July 2013 - 19 July 2013


This event aims to (i) facilitate discussion among research and policy making communities on low-carbon green growth, (ii) assess key policy challenges in tackling climate change and accelerating green growth, and (iii) discuss implications and relevance of the ADB-ADBI study for policymaking.


Asia is at a crossroads. As the world's most populous region, with high economic growth, a rising share of global greenhouse emissions, and the most vulnerability to climate risks, Asia must be at the center in the global fight against climate change. Simply stated, Asia's resource- and emission-intensive growth pattern is not sustainable, with further gains in human will-being constrained by the environmental carrying capacity. Asian leaders recognize low-carbon green growth as an imperative—not an option—for developing Asia.
The region has taken on board the message that it must change, and it is starting to move toward low-carbon green growth. Many emerging economies have started the shift toward a new sustainable development paradigm that brings competitiveness to its industries and serves growing green technology markets.
  • Panel discussion to discuss the key findings of the ADBI book on low-carbon green growth.
  • Thematic course based learning sessions on policies and practices effecting low-carbon green growth.
  • Group discussions for developing credible regional cooperation strategies to accelerate low-carbon green growth.
  • Evening leadership seminars on identifying priority actions and innovative design of policy frameworks.
  • Field visit and fact finding mission on resource efficiency practices.


  • To review and assess the low-carbon and green growth policies and practices taken by major Asian countries,
  • To share the lessons learned in climate change mitigation for widening and deepening actions at the sectoral and national level,
  • To identify policy gaps and financial mechanisms for working together.


  • Enhanced awareness on the causes and consequences of climate change mitigation.
  • Clear understanding on integrated policy frameworks that will accelerate low-carbon green growth in Asia.
  • Improved capacity to design and analyze regulatory and market based policy instruments.
  • Strengthened partnerships and senior officials' policy statements to advance low-carbon green growth agenda through regional cooperation.


High-level academics, think tank scholars, senior policymakers and others.


English (no interpretation will be provided)


Share country experiences and discuss multiple strategies to formulate action plans and road maps that will further proactive policies to strengthen low-carbon green growth practices in Asia.


Asian Development Bank (ADB)

Events: Efficiency: Low-hanging Fruit of the Energy Challenge organized by ADB on 10 Jul 2013

Efficiency: Low-hanging Fruit of the Energy Challenge

Online, 14:00-15:00 Manila time/06:00- 07:00 GMT : 10 July 2013

As the lowest-cost energy resource of all, energy efficiency is crucial to developing a sustainable, affordable, and accessible energy system for all Asians. It is estimated that a 1%-4% investment in energy efficiency can meet as much as 25% of the projected increase in primary energy consumption in developing Asian countries, by 2030.
  1. Can demand-side energy efficiency contribute to Asia's energy independence?
  2. Why are large scale investments in energy efficiency not yet happening in Asia and the Pacific?
  3. What is the Asian Development Bank doing to advance energy efficiency and demand-side interventions in the region?
Join ADB energy experts Anthony Jude and Aiming Zhou in a live online discussion.
When: 14:00-15:00 Manila time/06:00-07:00GMT on Wednesday, 10 July 2013.
Access the chat here or send your questions in advance here or through Facebook or Twitter.

Anthony J. Jude

Anthony J. Jude is a Senior Advisor in the Office of the Director General of ADB’s Regional and Sustainable Development Department as well as Practice Leader of Energy. He has over 29 years of work experience in the energy sector as consultant, researcher and lecturer.

Aiming Zhou

Aiming Zhou is a Senior Energy Specialist in the Sustainable Infrastructure Division of ADB’s Regional and Sustainable Development Department at Asian Development Bank. Prior to joining ADB, he worked in the USA and the People’s Republic of China.

Publications: Using Data Tools to Optimize Indonesia’s Land Resources: An Overview of Natural Capital Assessment by CPI (27 Jun 2013)

Using Data Tools to Optimize Indonesia’s Land Resources: An Overview of Natural Capital Assessment

Using Data Tools to Optimize Indonesia’s Land Resources: An Overview of Natural Capital AssessmentJune 27, 2013
Land and land resources play a fundamental role delivering the economic growth targets of many emerging economies and have close links to issues such as job creation, poverty alleviation, food security, and climate change. Although land is a valuable asset that produces social, environmental, and economic benefits, economic benefits are the most readily recognized; social and environmental impacts are often unpriced and undervalued.
As demands on Indonesia’s land resources continue to increase in the coming years, improved capacity to value the benefits associated with land (called natural capital assessment) and to integrate this information into land allocation decisions could support efforts to achieve both development and environmental goals.
This brief distills the elements of natural capital assessment process, highlights a few cases of existing, related experience and tools from around the world; and situates the discussion in the context of Indonesia’s development goals and pressures.

For more information:

Malaysian Updates: Apps available to check on air quality in Malaysia (25 Jun 2013)

Clean Air Initiative
Apps available to check on air quality in Malaysia
PETALING JAYA - Want to know how bad the haze is in your area on your smartphone?
A Malaysian-made Android application can help you decide whether or not to go outside or send your kids to school.
Entitled PSI Malaysia - Haze, the app compiles data from the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry website and provides mobile updates on Malaysia's Pollutant Standards Index (PSI).
Areas are clearly displayed along PSI levels: in Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange or Red, or according to their indicator stages.
Users can sort through different parts of Malaysia according to their respective PSI levels, states or even the nearest location to you.
They can also click on locations in the app for specific tips on how to handle the haze in these areas.
For example, the "Very Unhealthy" regions will tell you "to avoid all outdoor activity or to wear a mask if it's unavoidable".
The apps can be downloaded for free from Google's Play Store and is about 1MB in size.
At the moment, Apple devices do not have a Malaysia-specific air quality app yet.
Meanwhile, the Department of Environment (DOE) will also be providing hourly Air Pollutant Index (API) readings.
The data will be made available ministry and DOE websites soon.
Another app named Asia Air Quality on Google Play Store allows Android users to flip through more than 2,000 locations throughout Asia.
The app, which is also free, can be installed as a widget on a smartphone's home screen, and sends updates for cities in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, India, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea and Japan.
Asia Air Quality also allows a user to see readings from a Google Maps point of view.


New Books: The Role of Ecosystems in Disaster Risk Reduction edited by Fabrice G. Renaud, Karen Sudmeier-Rieux and Marisol Estrella (Jun 2013)

The Role of Ecosystems in Disaster Risk Reduction

Edited by Fabrice G. RenaudKaren Sudmeier-Rieux and Marisol Estrella

1221 – Renaud – Role of Ecosystem _FINAL front cover_web
ISBN-13: 978-92-808-1221-3
United Nations University Press
June 2013

The increasing worldwide trend in disasters, which will be aggravated by global environmental
change (including climate change), urges us to implement new approaches to
hazard mitigation, as well as exposure and vulnerability reduction. We are, however, faced
with hard choices about hazard mitigation: should we continue to build dikes and walls
to protect ourselves against floods and coastal hazards – though we have seen the limits
of these – or should we consider alternative, ecosystem-based solutions? Ecosystem
management is a well-tested solution to sustainable development that is being revisited
because of its inherent “win–win” and “no-regrets” appeal to address rising disaster and
climate change issues. It is one of the few approaches that can impact all elements of the
disaster risk equation – mitigating hazards, reducing exposure, reducing vulnerabilities
and increasing the resilience of exposed communities. Yet, the uptake of ecosystem-based
approaches for disaster risk reduction (DRR) is slow despite some very good examples of
success stories. Reasons for this are multiple: ecosystem management is rarely considered
as part of the portfolio of DRR solutions because the environmental and disaster
management communities typically work independently from each other; its contribution
to DRR is highly undervalued compared to engineered solutions and thus not attributed
appropriate budget allocations; finally, there are poor science–policy interactions on
ecosystem-based DRR, which have led to unclear and sometimes contradictory scientific
information on the role of ecosystems in DRR.
The aim of this book is to provide an overview of knowledge and practice in the multidisciplinary
field of ecosystem management and DRR to encourage and further develop
dialogues between scientists, practitioners, policymakers and development planners.

About the Editors:

Fabrice G. Renaud is Head of Section at the United Nations University Institute for
Environment and Human Security, Germany. Karen Sudmeier-Rieux is a Researcher at the
Center for Research of the Terrestrial Environment, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
Marisol Estrella is the Programme Coordinator of the Disaster Risk Reduction Unit,
Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch, United Nations Environment Programme,

Table of Contents:

Part I: Why do ecosystems matter in disaster risk reduction?
The relevance of ecosystems for disaster risk reduction, Fabrice G. Renaud, Karen Sudmeier-Rieux and Marisol Estrella
Ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction (Eco-DRR): An overview, Marisol Estrella and Nina Saalismaa
Part II: Ecosystems and coastal disaster risk reduction
Investigating the performance of coastal ecosystems for hazard mitigation, Sam S.L. Hettiarachchi, Saman P. Samarawickrama, Harindra J.S. Fernando, A. Harsha R. Ratnasooriya, N.A. Kithsiri Nandasena and Srimal Bandara
Bioshields: Mangrove ecosystems as resilient natural coastal defences, Carmen Lacambra, Daniel A. Friess, Tom Spencer and Iris Möller
Integrating the role of ecosystems in disaster risk and vulnerability assessments: Lessons from the Risk and Vulnerability Assessment Methodology Development Project (RiVAMP) in Negril, Jamaica,
Pascal Peduzzi, Adonis Velegrakis, Marisol Estrella and Bruno Chatenoux
Increasing the resilience of human and natural communities to coastal hazards: Supporting decisions in New York and Connecticut, Michael W. Beck, Ben Gilmer, Zach Ferdaña, George T.
Raber, Christine C. Shepard, Imen Meliane, Jeffrey D. Stone, Adam W. Whelchel, Mark Hoover and Sarah Newkirk
A coastal adaptation strategy for the City of Cape Town: An ecosystem-based management approach towards risk reduction, Darryl Colenbrander, Penny Price, Gregg Oelofse and Sakhile Tsotsobe
Lessons from local initiatives on ecosystem-based climate change work in Tonga, Stavros Mavrogenis and Ilan Kelman
Part III: Water resources management for disaster risk reduction
Good flood, bad flood: Maintaining dynamic river basins for community resilience, Pieter van Eijk, Chris Baker, Romana Gaspirc and Ritesh Kumar
Utilizing integrated water resources management approaches to support disaster risk reduction, James Dalton, Radhika Murti and Alvin Chandra
The matter is not if, but when and where: The role of capacity development in disaster risk reduction aiming for a sustainable water supply and sanitation, Madeleine Fogde, Luis Macario and Kirsten Carey
Part IV: Sustainable land management for disaster risk reduction
12 The role of vegetation cover change in landslide hazard and risk, Maria Papathoma-Koehle and Thomas Glade
Protection forests: A key factor in integrated risk management in the Alps,André Wehrli and Luuk Dorren
Forest cover and landslide trends: A case study from Dolakha District in central-eastern Nepal, 1992–2009, Stéphanie Jaquet, Karen Sudmeier-Rieux, Marc-Henri Derron and Michel Jaboyedoff
Part V: Policy, planning and future perspectives
Reducing vulnerability: The role of protected areas in mitigating natural disasters, Nigel Dudley, Kathy MacKinnon and Sue Stolton
Urban disaster risk reduction and ecosystem services, Lorenzo Guadagno, Yaella Depietri and Urbano Fra Paleo
Applying environmental impact assessments and strategic environmental assessments in disaster management, Anil Kumar Gupta and Sreeja S. Nair
Opportunities, challenges and future perspectives for ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction, Marisol Estrella, Fabrice G. Renaud and Karen Sudmeier-Rieux
For more information: 

Events: Future of Wetlands and the Role of the Ramsar Convention organized by UNU on 4 Jul 2013

Future of Wetlands and the Role of the Ramsar Convention

DATE / TIME : July 4, 2013    14:00 - 17:00

Twenty years have passed since the fifth Conference of the Parties (COP5) of the Ramsar Convention (Ramsar Kushiro Conference) was held in Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan. The Kushiro Conference contributed a lot to raising public awareness, development of the citizens movement, and public participation in nature conservation, especially on wetlands in Japan.
This commemorative symposium of the 20th anniversary of the Ramsar COP5 in Kushiro — “Ramsar Kushiro Conference + 20: Future of Wetlands and the Role of the Ramsar Convention” — aims to review the progress of wetland conservation during the past 20 years, and to discuss the conservation and wise use of wetlands in the future, and the further role of the Ramsar Convention.
Simultaneous English-Japanese interpretation will be provided.
The symposium will feature presentations and a panel discussion. Participants will include:
  • Daniel Navid, former Secretary-General of the Ramsar Secretariat;
  • Lawrence Mason, Vice-Chair of the Kushiro Conference; 
  • Keiji Nakashima, Director, Wildlife Division, Ministry of the Environment of Japan; 
  • Makoto Suzuki, representative of the Kushiro City Government; 
  • Koji Oohata, representative of the Wild Bird Society of Japan; 
  • Satoshi Kobayashi, Professor, Kushiro Public University; and 
  • Yoshihiro Natori (coordinator), representative of Wetlands International Japan (WIJ).
To register for this symposium, or for more information, please visit the WIJ website.
This symposium is being co-organized by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, United Nations University Institute for Sustainability and Peace, Global Environment Outreach Centre, Ramsar Center Japan and Wetlands International Japan.

United Nations University
5-53-70 Jingumae
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925

For more information:

Publications: Turn Down the Heat : Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience by World Bank (19 Jun 2013)

Files in this item


For more information:

Publications: New maps highlight global conservation priorities (25 Jun 2013)

New maps highlight global conservation priorities
June 25, 2013

What region of the world has the most imperiled mammals? Where are the most bird species found? And where are new amphibians being discovered? Indonesia and Malaysia is the answer to the first question; the Amazon, the second; and the Andes, the third. A
new studyin the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) has used global data on 21,000 mammals, birds, and amphibians to create magnificent maps that highlight missing priorities for conservation.

"Identifying the most important areas for biodiversity is essential for directing conservation resources. We must know where individual species live, which ones are vulnerable, and where human actions threaten them," explains lead author Clinton Jenkins at North Carolina State University. "We have better data than in the past—and better analytical methods. Now we have married them for conservation purposes."

The result is a series of stunning maps at scales of 10 kilometers by 10 kilometers: 100 times finer than anything ever produced before. The scientists hope that the new maps can point conservationists and policy-makers to new areas for protection—before they are lost. The finer scale is especially important because, according to the paper, it is "comparable with regional decisions on where to place protected areas."

The scientists created a series of maps highlighting different themes, including total diversity within each taxonomic group (mammals, birds, amphibians), threatened species, species dependent on small-ranges (i.e. particularly vulnerable to extinction), and newly discovered species.

Selected priority ecoregions based on small-ranged vertebrates. Maps courtesy of Jenkins et al.Click to enlarge.

The maps found that when combining all the vertebrate species, the most biodiverse areas were the Amazon, southeastern Brazil, and Central Africa. While these regions cover only about 7.2 percent of land area, they contain around half of the world's species.

Looking at diversity of each taxonomic group, the research found that "for birds and mammals, these areas are nearly identical: the moist forests of the Amazon, Brazilian Atlantic Forest, Congo, Eastern Arc in Africa, and the Southeast Asian mainland and islands house the greatest numbers of bird and mammal species. The pattern for amphibians is similar, but amphibians have exceptional diversity in the Neotropics."

Birds and mammals living in small-ranges were located primarily in the Andes, Madagascar, and Southeast Asian islands. Since most amphibians are small-ranged species already, few hotspots were located. However, 93 percent of the world's small-ranged mammals, birds, and amphibians are found in just 8.3 percent of the land area. Some if these areas—such as Papua New Guinea, the eastern coast of Australia, the west Coast of North America, and smatterings of China—are not included in current ecological hotspots designation crafted by Norman Meyers in 1988. The paper concludes that the best way to protect the world's biodiversity is to focus on these highly-diverse small-ranged species hotspots.

In fact, many of the most important sites are currently without protection. According to the paper, currently only one third of the biodiversity centers are protected, and just 11 percent are under strict protection.

"There is a growing worry that we are running out of time to expand the global network of protected areas. Our results can guide this expansion," says co-author Lucas Joppa with Microsoft Research.

Global maps of species richness for different categories of species. The top row shows the richness of all species in the taxon. For birds, we used breeding ranges only. The middle row shows the richness of threatened species (vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered in the IUCN Red List). The bottom row shows the richness of species whose geographic ranges are smaller than the median range size for that taxon. Maps use a 10 × 10 km grid and the Eckert IV equal-area projection. Maps courtesy of Jenkins et al.Click to enlarge.

CITATION: Clinton N. Jenkins, Stuart L. Pimm, and Lucas N. Joppa.Global patterns of terrestrial vertebrate diversity and conservation. PNAS. 2013.