News and Updates

STAP hosts discussion on plastic debris solutions in the maritime industry

port-of-miamiOn June 16th 2015, the STAP hosted two speakers, Captain David A. Condino, a Maritime Transportation Specialist at the United States Coast Guard, Office of Port and Facility Compliance and Charles (Bud) V. Darr, Senior Vice President for Technical and Regulatory Affairs for Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). The discussion focused on the international and regional regulatory frameworks addressing port reception facilities, and the role of the international cruise industry in reducing environmental impacts, including those of plastic debris, on the marine environment.

CLIA is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association with representation in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia comprised of 63 cruise lines (representing about 95% of the global cruise line capacity) and 13,500 travel agencies. In addition, more than 120 of the most innovative suppliers of goods and services to the cruise industry make up CLIA’s Executive Partner Program. CLIA represents a unified voice for the global cruise community, advocating the common interests of the industry to external stakeholders, including on environment protection and sustainable practices. The STAP-hosted discussion explored the importance of the adequacy of waste reception facilities at ports, and ways in which the cruise lines are working towards procurement of goods to minimize generation of waste, supporting sustainable waste management practices onboard and influencing passenger behaviors, all ultimately contributing to the prevention of marine debris.

This timely discussion responds to the increasing recognition and call for action to prevent, reduce and mitigate impacts of plastic debris on our watersheds and oceans, and the vital role of the maritime industry in this process. The G-7 Leader’s Declaration at its latest annual Summit in Elmau, Germany on June 7-8th, 2015 acknowledges that “marine litter, in particular plastic litter, poses a global challenge, directly affecting marine and coastal life and ecosystems and potentially also human health. Accordingly, increased effectiveness and intensity of work is required to combat marine litter striving to initiate a global movement.” Together with the GEF partners, including members of the Global Partnership on Marine Litter, STAP is committed to continue supporting GEF’s efforts in tackling this global problem.

Presentations delivered at the meeting are available to download: David. A. Condino "MARPOL, Marine Debris and Managing Ship's Waste: U.S. and International regulatory schemes and a focus on the Caribbean" and Charles V. Darr “The cruise industry and its commitment to environmental stewardship”.

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The GEF Council approves initiative to conduct a "GEF 2020" strategic exercise

[T]he Council of the Global Environment Facility approves the initiative of the CEO and Council Chair Dr. Naoko Ishii’s to conduct a “GEF 2020” strategic exercise. The GEF 2020 strategic exercise, Dr. Ishii said, “will seek to answer a range of questions critical to the GEF’s future. It will explore broader and bolder changes in the way we manage the global environment. It will seek to identify what unique role this institution can play in catalyzing transformational change.”

The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel strongly supports GEF’s future focus on transformational change in delivering global environmental benefits, and will work closely with the GEF CEO, Secretariat, and GEF Partnership in delivering on this challenge. As an important step, at the 43rd GEF Council STAP released an assessment of climate change science that identifies the utmost urgency of action on climate change mitigation and adaptation and identifies the necessary ingredients for the GEF’s transformative action towards a global low-carbon economy.

Washington DC, November 19, 2012

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Workshop on Adaptation and Vulnerability

[S]cientifically and politically, adaptation to the impacts of climate change has emerged as one of the most urgent critically and contemporary societal issues. Adaptation is now recognised as an integral part of the response to the impact of climate change, because current agreements to limit emissions, even if implemented, will not stabilise atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. It is a process that needs to be incorporated in overall development planning, including the design and implementation of projects and programmes across all sectors. Furthermore, vulnerability reduction and by extension adaptation is neither a one-off intervention or stand-alone activity.

May 2002


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Knowledge From The Field: Lessons Learned from the GEF Learning Missions

GEF Staff on the ground GEF Staff on the ground

[I]n May 2013, Michael Stocking (Senior Adviser to the STAP Chair) attended the International Conference on Sustainable Land Management Policies and Practices organized by the People’s Republic of China-Global Environment Facility Partnership (PRC-GEF). The conference was held 6-8 May 2013 in Beijing, China. The Conference sought to highlight ten years of progress on integrated approaches to land management in the six poorest and most degraded provinces of China based on the GEF program “PRC-GEF Partnership on Land Degradation in Dryland Ecosystems”. At the Conference, Michael Stocking delivered a keynote presentation on “Sustainable Land Management for Global Benefits: Learning from China”. The presentation drew-upon a GEF publication featuring six major findings from the GEF Learning Mission in 2012.

Project Staff on the Field Project Staff on the Field

The publication was co-authored by the GEF Secretariat and STAP. Further information about this initiative can be accessed below.

EXTERNAL LINK | PRC-GEF Partnership on Land Degradation in Dryland Ecosystems

DOWNLOAD | Sustainable Land Management for Global Benefits: Learning from China, Michael Stocking

DOWNLOAD | PRC-GEF Partnership to Combat Land Degradation in Drylands. Knowledge from the field. Lessons learned from the GEF learning missions.

Further information about this GEF’s knowledge management series can be found here.

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STAP’s Participation at the UNCCD COP 11

STAP event 2[T]he Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the Global Environment Facility (STAP/GEF) led two side events at the 11th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) held during the first week of the COP – 16th to 20th September 2013 in Windhoek, Namibia. The side events were organized jointly with the GEF.

The side events titled, “Global Environment Facility – Carbon Sequestration – A Valuable Global Benefit of Sustainable Land Management”; and, “The Global Environment Facility’s Carbon Benefits Project – new tools to measure carbon & the GEF’s experience applying the tools”, were held on 16th and 18th September 2013.

To find more information on this event, click here.

The objectives of the side events were as follows:

  1. Demonstrate the importance of the current work of the GEF Land Degradation Focal Area, with special reference to sustainable land management and the potential benefits derived from above- and below-ground sequestration of carbon.
  2. Illustrate our current scientific understanding of the relationship between soil organic carbon management and its importance to sustainable land management.
  3. Demonstrate a set of the carbon tools developed by UNEP-GEF’s Carbon Benefits Project and show how Parties could use the tools to monitor and report on Strategic Objective 3 (to generate global benefits through effective implementation of the UNCCD).
  4.  Contribute towards policies that support UNCCD’s efforts to generate global benefits through sustainable land management.

Gerard Govers, University of Leuven, Belgium, presented the scientific evidence as to how, why, and under what circumstances global benefits could be achieved through sustainable land management. This evidence is elaborated further in the STAP publication “Managing soil organic carbon for global benefits”, published by STAP in August 2013.  At the session, participants demonstrated an interest in understanding further the implications of soil organic carbon management on agricultural productivity and livelihoods. This included the vital effects of soil carbon management on plant available water – an important element for drylands, and areas affected by climate change risks, such as drought.

Eleanor Milne, Colorado State University, featured the simple assessment tool and the detailed assessment tool developed by the UNEP/GEF Carbon Benefits Project (CBP). The second half of the session profiled the GEF Agencies (UNEP, UNDP and IFAD) experiences with the carbon tools in land management projects, and sustainable forest management projects. The outcomes of the session demonstrated the GEF Agencies are testing the tools in land management and sustainable forest management projects, and showing their utility in practical project situations. Similarly, challenges in using the tools also were demonstrated – especially when applied to peatlands, since the values for the parameters in the tools are not well enough understood.   Additionally, the discussions featured how the tools are being used to validate carbon sequestered in projects on payment for ecosystem services. This demonstrated a prospect for using the tools beyond the expected reporting on carbon stock changes from land management projects.

Further information about the side events can be found at this link. The presentations also can be downloaded through here.

At the COP 11, STAP also observed the UNCCD’s Committee on Science and Technology and its discussions. Of interest to STAP for the development of its advice to the GEF, were several agenda items, notably:  “Advice on how best to measure progress on strategic objectives 1, 2 and 3 of The Strategy”. The agenda item featured advice by UNCCD’s Advisory Group of Technical Experts (AGTE) – an ad hoc group consisting of the scientific community and its efforts to refine the impact indicators of the 10-year Strategy. STAP is a member of the AGTE, and advised UNCCD on indicators prior to the establishment of this advisory group.

The AGTE proposal was adopted, with amendments.  STAP’s role in the AGTE was instrumental – above all in identifying an indicator for strategic objective 3: “Total terrestrial system carbon”. Equally, STAP’s advice encouraged the use of the CBP methodology so that countries can estimate carbon stock changes and report on their progress in addressing strategic objective 3: “To generate global benefits through effective implementation of the UNCCD”. STAP’s contributions in the AGTE were made possible through its advisory partnership with the GEF on the land degradation focal area – combined with its thorough scientific understanding of the UNEP/GEF Carbon Benefits Project. Ultimately, this is an example of STAP’s commitment to the GEF as it seeks to strengthen the scientific and technical coherence with the UNCCD to deliver global benefits.

The AGTE’s technical report and its recommendations to the CST and the COP can be accessed below, along with the final decision from these two UNCCD bodies.

Refinement of the Set of Impact Indicators on Strategic Objectives 1, 2 and 3 - Recommendations of the ad hoc Advisory Group of Technical Experts

Advice on How Best to Measure Progress on Strategic Objectives 1, 2 and 3 of The Strategy - Draft Decision Submitted by the Chairperson of the Committee on Science and Technology

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STAP Report to the Fifth GEF Assembly

STAP Report to the 5th GEF Assembly[T]he STAP is pleased to release a report for the 5th GEF Assembly in Cancun, Mexico. The report provides recommendations for supporting environmentally sustainable development in the Global Environment Facility's Sixth Replenishment Period (GEF-6), including specific advice related to Integrated Approaches as well as ideas for additional themes. The report also includes a summary of STAP accomplishments in GEF-5 and draws attention to the important role of science and knowledge management in future GEF programming.

To find more information and download the publication, click here.

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Sustainable Forest Management Workshop

[S]ustainable Forest Management Workshop was held in November 2010.

November 2010



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Reducing Black Carbon Can Save Lives and Help Combat Climate Change

Press Release:

Washington, D.C., 19 October 2015 - Black carbon causes millions of deaths every year and contributes to the warming of the planet. In the atmosphere it appears as air pollution, with emissions arising mainly from the combustion of diesel fuel and biofuels, coal-fired power stations, biomass cook stoves, brick kilns and vegetation burning in open fields.

The importance of reducing emissions of black carbon and other short-lived climate pollutants while simultaneously continuing efforts to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions, is the subject of a new advisory document, “Black Carbon Mitigation and the Role of the Global Environment Facility,” produced by the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

In the publication, STAP recommends significant investments in accelerating the reduction of black carbon to directly support implementation of the recently announced Sustainable Development Goals in the areas of improved air quality, climate change mitigation, reduced climate vulnerability, and transfer of low-carbon technologies.

"The GEF is already addressing black carbon as part of its climate mitigation program. What we are proposing is to expand these nascent efforts across other areas of the GEF program, and to significantly expand the mitigation, ecosystem, and human health benefits that result from these activities,” said Rosina Bierbaum, STAP Chair.

Black carbon absorbs solar energy at rates of up to a million times more than carbon dioxide. Although only lasting in the atmosphere for a few days, it adds to the overall global warming process. It has been linked to a range of climate impacts and accelerated ice and snow melt and sensitive regions such as the Arctic and the Himalayas are particularly vulnerable to the warming and melting effects of black carbon.

Black carbon emissions also have adverse impacts on human health and ecosystems. According to the World Health Organization, indoor smoke from burning coal or wood is among the top ten major health risk factors globally, contributing to over 4 million premature deaths from illness from household air pollution each year. Women and children are particularly at risk.

Recommendations from the report for the GEF include: mainstreaming black carbon mitigation measures into their project portfolio; supporting programs and projects that focus on the reduction of black carbon emissions; measuring and reporting on the amount of black emissions avoided or reduced as a result of GEF-funded projects; and increasing awareness and the engagement of stakeholders involved in national, regional and international efforts to address black carbon mitigation.

The report will be presented to the 49th GEF Council Meeting that will take place in Washington D.C, from 20 to 22 October 2015.


About the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel

The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel of the GEF (STAP) is an independent group of scientists supported by the United Nations Environment Programme, responsible for connecting the GEF to the most up-to-date and authoritative and globally representative science.

About the Global Environment Facility

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a global partnership of 183 countries, 18 multilateral and civil society organizations, and the private sector tackling a wide spectrum of environmental challenges – including clean energy, protection of terrestrial and marine ecosystems, climate mitigation and adaptation, and cross-cutting problems such as sustainable urban development.

For more information, please contact:

Virginia Gorsevski, STAP Secretariat, UNEP, Tel.+1 202 785-0465

The full Press Release can be downloaded here.

The STAP Advisory document can be downloaded here:

Sims, R., V. Gorsevski and S. Anenberg (2015). Black Carbon Mitigation and the Role of the Global Environment Facility: A STAP Advisory Document. Global Environment Facility, Washington, D.C.


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Previous STAP Meeting Dates and Venue Information

Location Date
STAP I Panel Meeting Amsterdam, Netherlands January 21-23, 1998
STAP I Panel Meeting Washington DC, USA June 16-19, 1998
STAP II Panel Meeting Nairobi, Kenya February 10-12, 1999
STAP II Panel Meeting Paris, France June 4, 1999
STAP II Panel Meeting Washington DC, USA September 13-15, 1999
STAP II Panel Meeting Bridgetown, Barbados February 23-25, 2000
STAP II Panel Meeting Bangalore, India June 21-23, 2000
STAP II Panel Meeting Washington DC, USA September 18-22, 2000
STAP II Panel Meeting Washington DC, USA March 13-15, 2001
STAP II Panel Meeting Washington DC, USA October 23-25, 2001
STAP II Panel Meeting Nairobi, Kenya March 27-29, 2002
STAP III Panel Meeting Washington DC, USA September 26-28, 2002
STAP III Panel Meeting Washington DC, USA March 5-7, 2003
STAP III Panel Meeting Washington DC, USA October 6-8, 2003
STAP III Panel Meeting Washington DC, USA March 1-4, 2004
STAP III Panel Meeting Washington DC, USA October 6-8, 2004
STAP III Panel Meeting Washington DC, USA March 7-9, 2005
STAP III Panel Meeting Washington DC, USA April 4-6, 2006
STAP IV Panel Meeting Washington DC, USA October 16-19, 2006
STAP IV Panel Meeting Washington DC, USA February 26-28, 2007
STAP IV Panel Meeting Nairobi, Kenya April 9-12, 2008
STAP IV Panel Meeting Washington DC, USA September 15-17, 2008
STAP IV Panel Meeting Rome, Italy April 28-30, 2009
STAP IV Panel Meeting Washington DC, USA October 13, 2009
STAP IV Panel Meeting Rome, Italy March 8-10, 2010
STAP V Panel Meeting Washington DC, USA October 14-15, 2010
STAP V Panel Meeting Vienna, Austria March 17-18, 2011
STAP V Panel Meeting Washington DC, USA October 13 - 14, 2011
STAP V Panel Meeting London, England March 29 - 30, 2012
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Report to the Fourth GEF Assembly

[F]or GEF-4, STAP has undergone major structural reform in order to undertake its new strategic role in advising on the scientific content of all focal area strategies, a new operational role in screening all proposals for Full Size Projects, and a continuing advisory role in providing guidance and outputs on topics requested by GEF agencies. Additionally, STAP has been active in a number of GEF-funded targeted research projects on issues important to the agencies such as developing a carbon tracking tool for project managers.

May 2010


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