News and Updates

The 6th Urban Research and Knowledge Symposium on Rethinking Cities

[T]he 6th Urban Research and Knowledge Symposium (URKS6) on Rethinking Cities: Framing the Future (Barcelona, October 8-10, 2012) was organized by the World Bank in partnership with the City of Barcelona and other key partners, at the Palau de Congressos de Barcelona.

The meeting gathered policy makers and experts in economics, social equity, environmental sustainability, and ran with a format based on large twice daily interactive plenaries sandwiched amongst numerous thematic sessions across the various disciplines. This forum provided an opportunity for an exchange of thoughts on ways in which the city might, based on the principles of agglomeration, grow GDP and global trade, with counterbalance being provided by experts on the need to contemplate issues of environmental sustainability, provision of services, social inclusiveness, sharing of wealth and overall social well-being. The STAP was able to participate in key exchanges that feed into its work on urbanisation, tradeoffs, and multi focal area/integrated approaches to environmental management.

More information can be found by clicking here.

Prepared By: Christine Wellington-Moore

Barcelona | 8-10 October 2012

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IWC7 Roundtable: The Political Economy of Regionalism and International Waters

The Roundtable will connect the debate about the role of GEF and its projects within a regional political economy. The political economy of regions determines the behavior of individuals, markets and the public authority and is of importance for all GEF operations. The findings of the June 2013 GEF/STAP workshop held in Washington DC, hosted by the Organization of American States: ‘The Political Economy of Regionalism and International Waters’ will be presented and discussed. That workshop considered a draft Issues/Research Paper and representatives of regional organizations agreed that GEF should consider regional processes more systematically regarding project design baseline assessment, regional capacity building and principles for strengthening dialogue at regional level.

Goals and Program

Key Messages

Presentations

Jakob Granit - The Political Economy of Regionalism: The Relevance for Transboundary Waters and the Global Environment Facility

Robin Mahon - Facilitating Regional Governance Arrangements in the Wider Caribbean Region

Anya Thomas - A Single Space for Transactions in the Caribbean

Max Campos - OAS: Perspectives from a Multipurpose Regional Organization on the Environment and Overarching Goals Related to Peace Justice and Security

To find more information on this event, click here.

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Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage

[T]his Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel Report to the GEF Secretariat, was informed by a small expert group meeting, convened at the GEF Secretariat, during October 17-18 2007, to support the STAP in the development of its advice to the GEF Secretariat.

The Report is supported by Annex 1, containing examples of awareness and capacity building activities, and by Annex 2, which contains the proceedings of the meeting, but any discussions or recommendations made in the meeting are not endorsed by STAP as its own position.

March 2008

DOWNLOAD Report

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Agro-Ecosytem Resilience Workshop

Identifying Common Indicators: Agro-ecosystem resilience Across the Rio Conventions

group photo_Sydney workshop_croppedThe STAP Agro-Ecosystem Resilience workshop kicked off on November 19, 2014 in Sydney Australia with opening remarks from Monique Barbut – the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). The Executive Secretary urged participants to work collaboratively during the course of the workshop to develop measures of land-based adaptation that can be shared with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Nearly 50 participants representing a range of expertise covering multiple aspects of both science and policy are discussing a conceptual framework for assessing and identifying indicators of agro-ecosystem resilience that could be aligned with monitoring and reporting needs of the UNCCD, and that could further integrate with the CBD’s efforts on ecosystem resilience and the UNFCCC’s work on climate change adaptation. The discussion will also inform how the GEF can ensure that future projects include elements of the proposed framework to incorporate resilience, and will also provide input into how the GEF can continue to help countries meet their obligations under the three Rio Conventions through harmonized indicators.

The STAP is partnering with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS), the GEF, and the Convention Secretariats. The STAP has commissioned two papers that have been the basis of discussion for the workshop. One paper synthesizes the scientific understanding of resilience in interacting social- ecological systems, with a particular focus on agro-ecosystems, and proposes an approach for defining indicators to assess social-ecological resilience of farming systems. The second paper reviews remote sensing based vegetation indices, such as Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), to begin a discussion on the suitability of various vegetation indices for national-level assessment of land degradation.

Information from the workshop discussions will be incorporated into the final papers, which will be available upon request when completed.

Further information about the workshop is available in the background note and the logistics note that are available through the link below, or by contacting Guadalupe Duron (guadalupe.duron@unep.org)

Documents

Background Note ||

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Planet under Pressure (PUP)

pup[T]he global gene pool, the atmosphere, the climate system and the oceans beyond national jurisdiction are major examples of global commons. Transboundary ecosystems and water catchments are examples at the regional level. Their sustainable management represents one of the toughest challenges, both for science and for governance. Through two closely interlinked sessions, we will showcase the most recent scientific thinking on global environmental benefits, in terms of their functioning, current status and trends, and then analyse how this science can best inform action to enhance the sustainability of the global commons, particularly those actions mobilized or catalyzed by the Global Environmental Facility. On the basis of the best of cutting edge science, and of failure and success cases, this session will focus on how to strengthen these pathways to face on-going and future complex socio-ecological challenges. The panel discussion will focus on two themes, outlined further below.

The science of global environmental benefits

This will focus on the latest scientific thinking on the global commons, including biodiversity, the oceans, and climate. What are the knowledge gaps, synergies, conflicts, trade-offs in relation to the global commons? What are the drivers behind them? What is the public perception of them? How action at the national jurisdiction can address the major drivers/root causes and solutions of degradation in global commons? What sort of protective measures and institutions could be envisioned that are likely to work, on the basis of previous experiences?

pup2Turning knowledge into action to sustainably manage global environmental benefits

This will focus on how the knowledge base outlined above can best inform action, in particularly that of GEF. The GEF is the world's leading source of funding in support of the global environment. Its mission includes ensuring that support channeled by it are targeted towards achieving global environment benefits, including the preservation of the climate system, the atmosphere, the waters beyond national jurisdiction and the global biodiversity. On the one hand, the best available scientific and technical knowledge and evidence-based research is essential to fully realize this mission. On the other, the results of GEF-supported projects can make an important contribution to science through the generation of data, lessons, and learning. Both pathways are essential, but require different mechanisms, which will be explored in this session.

London | March 2012

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Welcoming Dr. Rosina Bierbaum

Photo courtesy of IISD Reporting Service/ENB Photo by Franz Dejon Photo courtesy of IISD Reporting Service/ENB
Photo by Franz Dejon

The governing Council of the Global Environment Facility welcomed Dr. Rosina Bierbaum on the 19th of June, 2013.

Dr. Bierbaum is a Professor of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy at the University of Michigan. She served as Dean of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and Environment from 2001 to 2011. In April 2009 President Obama named Dr. Bierbaum to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and she has held many leadership posts throughout her career advising the U.S. Congress and the Executive Branch on environmental science and policy.

In 2011, Dr. Bierbaum was named as one of the World Bank’s first Fellows, in the area of climate change adaptation. She was also chosen to co-lead the World Bank’s ground-breaking World Development Report 2010: Development and Climate Change.

To read more, please click here.

Washington DC | 19 June 2013

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First meeting of the ad hoc Advisory Group of Technical Experts for Impact Indicator Refinement - AGTE

[T]he meeting had the following specific objectives:

  • AGTE members are well informed about the progress made in refining the set of impact indicators to date;
  • AGTE members understand the four fundamental issues to be addressed as per decision of the COP;
  • Scope of work and elements to be further elaborated and analyzed under each of the four fundamental issues are identified and agreed upon within the AGTE;
  • Working modalities, allocation of tasks among the AGTE members, schedule and milestone planning are agreed upon by the AGTE members.

For full details that include documentation and presentations, please vist UNCCD's page.

Bonn | 23-24 July 2012

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Recruitment: Biodiversity & Chemical Panel Members

Find this posting in Spanish and French.

Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP)
Of the Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Recruitment of 2 STAP Panel Members

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is the world’s largest funding mechanism addressing global environmental challenges in biodiversity conservation, climate change, international waters, safe management of chemicals, and land degradation. The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility is currently accepting applications for three positions from highly qualified candidates with outstanding academic and technical credentials, and experience in making science relevant for policy and decision-makers, in the areas of Biodiversity and Chemicals and Waste. To review the detailed Terms of Reference for each position, please click on the appropriate link.

STAP is an independent group of seven experts working together to provide objective scientific advice on policies and strategies of the GEF. The Panel implements a results oriented program of work – developed in collaboration with GEF Partners – designed to address important challenges within the GEF Program, and provide operational advice on individual GEF projects.

The successful candidate must have:
Professionalism:
1. An advanced degree, preferably a PhD in a field directly related to the position;
2. Minimum 15 years experience in scientific research with demonstrated success in applying research results to real-world issues;
3. Ability to work cross-sectorally in areas of importance related to their field of expertise;
4. Capable of bridging scientific, technological, and policy issues;
5. Demonstrated capacity to formulate scientific advice that integrates findings from relevant bio-physical sciences as well as socio-economic disciplines (e.g. economics, geography, anthropology, etc.) on policy and project/program issues.
6. Experience working in developing countries and in the context of multi-lateral environmental assistance;
7. Demonstrated ability to manage scientific research undertakings involving multiple stakeholders;
8. Excellent communication skills, orally or written.
9. Understanding of the assigned GEF focal area, its strategic objectives, and linkages with other GEF focal areas is an asset.

Leadership:
1. Extensive access to scientific networks, and demonstrated ability to engage these networks;
2. Demonstrated expertise and leadership in one of the thematic areas noted above, supported by (but not restricted to) the candidate’s peer-reviewed publication record;
3. Knowledge of the scientific processes required for the implementation of relevant conventions in developing countries for which the GEF supports.

A STAP Panel Member is expected to provide 60 to 90 days per year to the work of STAP. Remuneration is based on UN scales for senior consultants. A full description of responsibilities, and application forms, are available below.  Applications along with a cover letter should be sent to Recruitment.STAPGEF@UNEP.org, quoting the relevant vacancy reference number in the subject line of your email. All applications should be sent on or before the deadline of January 31, 2014.

UNEP is an equal opportunity employer. Preference will be given to equally qualified women candidates.

 

Application Form
Position Description - Biodiversity
Position Description - Chemical
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Green Chemistry and Bio-based Chemicals Workshop

greenchemistry[O]n March 19 2013, the GEF and the STAP co-organized a workshop to explore the technologies, business models, and the potential for future GEF projects and programs in the area of green chemistry and bio-based chemicals. “Green chemistry, also known as sustainable chemistry, is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances. Green chemistry applies across the life cycle of a chemical product, including its design, manufacture, and use.” (US EPA definition). Many of green chemistry developments utilize the principle of “cradle to cradle” and avoid waste generation “benign by design”. Green chemistry field is dynamic and accelerating area for innovation. Some of green chemistry developments, however, if commercialized and broadly adopted could have a significant potential in many industries reducing their environmental footprint. Among relevant categories of green chemistry applications are bio-based alternatives substituting fossil-based chemicals, environmentally sound approaches to water purification; biodegradable polymers including biodegradable plastics; environmentally friendly refrigerants; bio-based batteries; substitution of hazardous chemicals in consumer products including toys and electronics and many others.

More than 30 participants from the GEF family, the US government, academia, private sector, and NGOs attended the workshop. Participants discussed the benefits and challenges supporting green chemistry applications including in the GEF context. They largely agreed on several areas for potential future work in the GEF, including:

  • Promote awareness of green chemistry among recipient countries and GEF agencies as a foundation for new projects. It was proposed to ask STAP to develop a paper for the GEF Council on “what, where and how” green chemistry applications could support GEF recipient countries in protection of global commons;
  • Support projects that reduce risks of innovative green chemistry technologies and make them ready for scaling–up – to overcome “valley of death” between R&D and pilot demonstrations. Demonstrating “success” in early applications will help catalyze future investments;
  • Identify, support and promote tools such as public procurement and certification/standards (e.g., GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals, Roadmap to Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals in apparel industry, Plastics Scorecard and others) that can be expanded to GEF recipient countries;
  • Promote studies of countries and sectors that establish baselines and opportunities for green chemistry applications assessing maturity of potential “leapfrog” technologies, institutional readiness and other factors.
  • Support existing institutions and partnerships such as UNEP/UNIDO Cleaner Production Centers Programme and Green Industry Platform as important vehicles for promoting and supporting green chemistry applications;
  • Identify key cross-cutting multi-focal area green chemistry concepts that are candidates for GEF-6 and could be included in strategic documents.

Agenda for the workshop can be downloaded here along with the presentations below.

1. Paul Anastas Director, Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering
Teresa and H. John Heinz III Professor in the Practice of Chemistry for the Environment, School of Forestry &
Environmental Studies, Yale University | Green Chemistry: Environmental and health protection through innovation

2. Mark Rossi Research Fellow at the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Co-Chair
BizNGO
| Environmental & Economic Benefits of Green Chemistry (from the perspective of “downstream users”)

3. Stephen Gatto Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Myriant | Commercializing Bio-Based Chemicals

4. David Anton Chief Technology Officer, Codexis | Codexis Corporate Presentation to GEF

5. David Rodgers Senior Energy Specialist, GEF | Accessing GEF Funds | GEF Replenishment Process

6. Heinz Leuenberger Director of the Environmental Management Branch, UNIDO | Green Industries


Prepared By: Margarita Dyubanova

Washington DC | 19 March 2013

 

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Non-Combustion Technologies for the Destruction POPs Stockpiles

[T]he GEF is seeking to destroy obsolete stockpiles of POPs. Contaminated soils around stocks are also a challenge in many countries. Stockpiles are especially severe in Africa, in Central and Eastern Europe, and in the Newly Independent States, with 47,000 obsolete pesticide stockpiles identified in Africa alone.
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