News and Updates

Marine Spatial Planning in Practice

MSP by NOAA[M]arine spatial planning (MSP) is an area-based management framework that provides a means for improving decision-making as it relates to the use of marine resources and space. As human activities continue to exert increasing pressures on marine ecosystems, MSP is gaining international recognition as a valuable approach that integrates, rather than polarizes, environmental, social, and economic interests to achieve multiple management objectives.

STAP, in collaboration with UNEP and UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre, and guided by Panel Member Jakob Granit, is undertaking a cross-cutting advisory task to reflect available global experience of implementing MSP.  The partnership undertaking this task have invited all relevant GEF focal points, and a wide range of national and regional agencies, in liaison with the CBD Secretariat, to contribute their experience through a survey. The findings of this survey will be analysed in an expert workshop in Cambridge, UK, from 6-8 May.  The expected outputs will include lessons on the challenges of successfully making the transition from planning to implementation, lessons on the analysis of the governance context and identification of capacity building needs by context and MSP type.

To view a recent publication about MSP that was produced by the STAP and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), click here.

To find more information about this event, click here.

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STAP/UNESCO Workshop Managing the Subsurface Environment

STAP/UNESCO Workshop Managing the Subsurface Environment: Integrated Managed Aquifer Recharge

[T]he significance of groundwater, and its intrinsic social and economic characteristics, are insufficiently recognized and valued in national development plans, or in the administration of water resources and the environment. The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) was, therefore, asked by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to identify the principal threats, and strategic issues on groundwater.

In response, STAP convened a workshop on strategic priorities and options in groundwater resources in April 2004. The workshop recognized that Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) is integral to the management and sustainability of groundwater resources. Furthermore, the workshop acknowledged that MAR technologies can help address threats to groundwater (e.g. aquifer degradation due to salinization and seawater intrusion).

The GEF, therefore, asked STAP to convene a second workshop on managing the subsurface environment, with a focus on MAR. The purpose of the workshop was to assess the effectiveness of MAR, including, and in combination with related technologies, such as water reuse, in a range of hydrogeological and environmental settings. These included: transboundary water impacts in international waters, the impacts of extreme climatic events on groundwater recharge/storage, and groundwater management for sustaining groundwater-dependent ecosystems.

May 2006

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STAP's Participation in the BRS COP and Science Fair, May 2015

Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in Geneva, May 4-15, 2015 and the Basel-Rotterdam-Stockholm (BRS) Science Fair (May 7-9, 2015)

The Executive Secretary of the BRS officially invited the STAP to be involved in the inaugural BRS Science Fair, May 7-9, 2015, on the occasion of the Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in Geneva, May 4-15, 2015.

The STAP Chair and STAP Chemicals Panel member were asked to participate in the form of on-film interviews on such aspects as the complementarity of the work of the STAP with that of the subsidiary bodies of the Conventions, the ways in which the STAP contributes to scientific understanding for the Chemicals and waste focal area, and STAP views on embedding science in policy and decision-making. STAP was also requested to be a part of joint side events with the Stockholm POPs Review Committee, and was invited to share lessons learned from Stockholm Convention work that might be applied to supporting the Minamata Convention.

RolphPayetBRSScienceFair2015In addition, the GEF Secretariat invited the STAP to take part in a high level Panel side event at the start of the Triple COP, as well as to participate as part of a GEF series of presentations and/or face to face exchanges with participants during the Science Fair, to permit the STAP Chemicals Panel member to present on emerging, cross-cutting issues such as Marine Plastic Pollution and solutions, and  Soil and Chemicals, that might be further considered by Chemicals Conventions, and others such as the UNCCD, UNFCCC, CBD, and the corresponding focal areas and International Waters of the GEF, in particular.

A particular success was the GEF Side Event, which included a High level Panel consisting of the GEF CEO, Naoko Ishii; GEF Programs Unit Lead, Gustavo Fonseca; Executive Secretary, BRS, Rolph Payet, STAP Chemicals Panel Member, Ricardo Barra; Environmental Director of Hewlett Packard, Herve Guilcher, and Professor, University of Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, Katima Jamidu. The event was filled to capacity, and the STAP Panel member was able to provide a quick presentation to give scope to the problem of marine plastics, and to highlight the alternatives, business opportunities and need for enabling environments to support innovative alternatives to plastic and to manage the plastic that does exist.

His information was complemented by the GEF Secretariat acknowledging STAP’s early flagging of the issue in 2011, and highlighting their commitment to developing interventions for the issue. The private sector representative informed the audience about their efforts in Africa,  and the challenges of getting waste collected and returned to the company; but he also emphasized the need for government setting the appropriate regulatory environments, and banks and other financial mechanisms being set up to give financial incentive and other forms of support. Professor Katima pointed out the specific challenges in Africa to receiving plastic waste, through illegal and legal channels, the cultural value attributed to plastic and the purported “developed world” type of convenience attributed to its use, as well as the move away from indigenous traditions in bulk shopping, all of which contribute heavily to an uptick in plastic consumption and waste quantities. He called for specific analysis of the necessity of toxic additives to plastics and the need for further research overall.  The audience participation was enthusiastic, and one of the needs raised by multiple delegates and supported by the panel, was the need for anthropological and sociological research to unravel the key to changing human behavior and cultural valuation of the incorporation of plastics into their lifestyles. The STAP also sees this as a critical pursuit for the Chemicals & Waste focal area overall, since lack of stakeholder will is proving to undo the best technological interventions in the waste management arena in particular. Another outcome was the recognition that global  plastics pollution is actually a  cross cutting issue that involves not only chemicals and waste, but may fit into different programs that the GEF is developing such as the integrated approaches (cities, food security, biodiversity, climate change etc.).

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Scientific Guidelines for Designing Resilient Marine Protected Area Networks in a Changing Climate

MarineProtectedAreas[T]his document, Scientific Guidelines for Designing Resilient Marine Protected Area Networks in a Changing Climate, was developed from a larger report by the Study Group on Designing Marine Protected Area Networks in a Changing Climate (SGMPAN), a joint study group of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) through its North American Marine Protected Area Network (NAMPAN) Technical Group and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).

These guidelines were produced to promote best practices, consistency of approach and collaboration, when designing marine protected area (MPA) sites and MPA networks, between managers, planners and scientisits studying climate change effects on population, habitats and ecosystems.

To view a copy of the publications, please click here.

 

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STAP Meeting October 2013

[T]his meeting has the following objectives: Review the role of sustainable land management in GEF 6 and the delivery of the GEF Program; Review of the draft GEF 2020 Strategy; Examine the role of research in the GEF – propose an approach for research in GEF 6; Overview of progress on OPS-5 – preliminary results of STAP Evaluation.

There is a special session on soil carbon. To read more about it, please click here.

To see the agenda, please click here.

To see logistics information, please click here.

To find more information on this event, click here

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UNCCD Message

[O]n the occasion of the opening of the March 21-22, 2013 STAP Meeting, Washington DC,  the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, Mr. Luc Gnacadja, gave a message by video where, inter alia, he welcomed the GEF 2020 vision and indicated that there is a need to look at Land and its services with greater value, and to recognize the huge global environment benefits to be gained by restoring the ecosystem services of lands. In and amongst several important messages to the meeting, he thanked the STAP for making a strong case for land protections in their crosscutting paper, which in turn has been presented as a background paper to the GEF replenishment process in support of the GEF 2020 vision and the overall GEF-6 strategic approach.

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The STAP's Role in the Fifth GEF Assembly

5th GEF Assembly[T]he Fifth Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) was hosted by the Government of Mexico in Cancun during the last week of May, 2014. GEF Assemblies are held every four years, and are attended by representatives of all 183 GEF member countries. Through a combination of plenary and high-level panels, exhibits, side events and GEF project site visits, representatives are given the opportunity to assess and amend GEF policies, operations, and memberships. The STAP was heavily involved in the GEF Assembly through participation by the Chair and Panel Members in several side events and other meetings. The STAP Chairperson, Dr. Rosina Bierbaum, presented a report to the GEF Council on STAP's work programme, it's role in the GEF and next steps. For a copy of this presentation, click here.  Dr. Bierbaum also gave a presentation to the GEF Assembly which, among other things, provided STAP's vision for GEF-6, including new areas for integration. For a copy of this presentation, click here.

 

STAP Meeting

From 24-25 May, the STAP Secretariat and Panel gathered for their bi-annual meeting. The objectives of the meeting were to discuss and reach agreement on the major program activities of the STAP in FY15 and GEF-6, and to review proposed changes to the STAP's contribution to the GEF Project Cycle. The first day of the meeting (24 May) was open to all Assembly participants, and featured presentations by the UNEP's Chief Scientist and the GEF Secretariat.

To see the meeting agenda, click here. Links to the background documents for the meeting are provided below:

  1. Discussion Brief - STAP in GEF-6
  2. Discussion Brief - Proposed Changes to STAP's Role in the GEF Project Cycle
  3. STAP Report to the GEF Assembly - Delivering Global Environmental Benefits for Sustainable Development
  4. Chairperson's Report to Council
  5. GEF-6 Programming Directions
  6. GEF-6 Policy Recommendations
  7. Evaluation of the STAP of the GEF - Technical Document 15, OPS 5
  8. Progress Report on the GEF Project Cycle Streamlining and Harmonization Process
  9. Sub-Study on Results Based Management - Technical Document 10, OPS 5
  10. Knowledge Management in the GEF - Technical Document 11, OPS 5
  11. Research within the GEF - Proposals for Revising the Targeted Research Modality
  12. Draft STAP Key Points for PIF Screens + STAP Screen - January 2014
  13. STAP Schedule for the Assembly and Associated Events
  14. Logistics information for GEF Assembly and Associated Events

 

45th Council Meeting Dr. Rosina Bierbaum presents to the GEF Council at the 45th Meeting in November, 2013

STAP Report to the 46th Meeting of the GEF Council

The STAP Chairperson - Dr. Rosina Bierbaum - presented the STAP's Report to the 46th Meeting of the GEF Council on 26 May. The report highlights the STAP's work programme activities and products, summarizes a recent evaluation of the STAP that was conducted by the GEF's Evaluation Office (EO), and proposes operational changes to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of the STAP's contribution to the GEF's Project Cycle. To see the Chairperson's Report to Council, click here. To view the Chairperson's presentation, click here.

 

STAP Report to the 5th GEF Assembly

On 28 May, Dr. Bierbaum also presented directly to the Assembly plenary to highlight the major findings of a thematic Report to Assembly by the STAP. The presentation provided guidance for how the STAP can assist the GEF with:

  • delivering global environmental benefits in the context of sustainable development
  • improving integration and synergistic benefits between focal areas and through the pilot integrated approach programs (IAPs)
  • supporting innovation through effective knowledge management frameworks and practices

To download the Report to Assembly, click here. To view the Chairperson's presentation, click here.

 

Side Events at the Assembly

The STAP also facilitated three Side Events that were held on the margins of the Assembly. Click on the title of each event for a detailed description and programme:

 

To see a schedule of the STAP's involvement in the GEF Assembly and Associated Events, click here.

To see Logistics information for the GEF Assembly and Associated Events, click here.

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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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Strategic Options and Priorities in Groundwater Resources

[G]roundwater is a vulnerable resource, which, if not adequately managed and controlled, is susceptible to degradation from over-use, contamination and other abuses, with consequential loss of water supplies and far-reaching long term, irreversible consequences for the environment, often with transboundary implications. The inherent social and economic characteristics of groundwater, and its close linkage and critical significance in relation to land and environmental issues, point towards the need for a precautionary, ecosystem approach to the management of groundwater.

The significance of groundwater is often insufficiently recognised in national economic development plans, and in the administration of water resources and environmental protection. The Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) was therefore asked by the GEF to provide an assessment of the state of knowledge on groundwater, which would identify the principal threats, and strategic issues. To meet this request, STAP decided to convene a workshop on strategic priorities and options in groundwater resources, and to commission a review and synthesis document.

November 2004

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STAP Meeting, June 2015

bierbaum gef council nov 14STAP's regular bi-annual meeting with GEF Agencies and other partners was held on June 1, 2015, beginning at 10 AM. The meeting took place in the main building of the World Bank, corner of H Street and 18th - Conference Room MC C2-125.

The objectives of the meeting were:

  • to help advance development and formulation of the Integrated Approach Pilots;
  • consider how best to move forward with the development and implementation of a GEF knowledge management strategy;
  • address how best to embed the concept of resilience in future GEF planning and program implementation.

On the issue of resilience, STAP presented results from its ongoing work related to assessing the resilience of socio-ecological systems in support of the Food Security IAP as well as its work to assist the Adaptation Committee of UNFCCC to monitor and evaluate the impact of climate adaptation.

The agenda below provides the detailed outline of the meeting, along with annotation and background documents (including hyperlinks).

STAP Meeting Open Session Agenda

STAP reported to the GEF Council on Wednesday morning, 3 June 2015, at 9 AM. The STAP Chair's Report and presentation to Council can be accessed at the following links.

STAP Chair's Report

STAP Chair's Presentation

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