Advice to the GEF

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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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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Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Production Landscapes

[T]he international conservation community has reason to celebrate the setting aside of over 12 percent of the Earth’s land surface for long-term protection. From minute reserves on oceanic islands to extensive mega reserves in tropical savannas and boreal forests, the protected area systems of the world have become the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation. During the past decade, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has contributed over $1.2 billion, and leveraged $3.1 billion in cofinancing, to supporting this agenda.

What we at the GEF have learned, however, is that protected areas alone cannot ensure that our goal of achieving global biodiversity benefits for the planet and its six billion people will be met. Unless we address the root causes of biodiversity loss and incorporate biodiversity conservation into all development actions—and simultaneously incorporate development goals into our conservation programs— we will not reduce, much less reverse, the current rates of biodiversity loss.

This realization has convinced the GEF Council to approve new strategies within the GEF biodiversity work program. Strategic Priority 2 seeks to “mainstream biodiversity in production landscapes and sectors.” In attempting to position mainstreaming approaches into our work program, however, we found that the concept and its application were poorly understood by many stakeholders. It was, therefore, considered appropriate to refer this topic to the GEF’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP), which was established in 1992 to provide the GEF Council with strategic advice where appropriate.

STAP’s response is presented in this volume, based on a workshop held in Cape Town, South Africa, in September 2004. The workshop brought together experts from around the globe to review the mainstreaming concept, and to develop principles and conditions for its effective application. The workshop also identified areas for GEF interventions to promote the mainstreaming of biodiversity and to propose tools to assess the effectiveness of such interventions.

November 2005

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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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Liquid Biofuels in Transport

[T]his report from STAP, while providing clear recommendations to the GEF, clearly demonstrates that the sustainable development and use of biofuels is only one part of a larger picture involving the need for much greater efficiencies in existing transport systems. The report also cautions that where new technologies offer promise, they also need to be appropriate solutions to problems facing developing countries.

May 2007

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STAP Workshop On Small Island Developing States, Groundwater and Interlinkages

[G]roundwater is a limited resource that is subject to over-exploitation, as well as pollution from various practices relating to sanitation, waste management, and use of external inputs in land use for agriculture. Further, there are often direct linkages between quality of groundwater and wetlands and coastal resources. Groundwater resources are also sensitive to climate change, biodiversity loss, and land management.

This Report indicates that these relationships are more evident and direct, that they have clearer and shorter feedback loops, and that they take on even more significance and urgency, in the context of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Moreover, it is apparent from much of the literature relating to SIDS that the sustained development of these countries depends heavily on the protection of ecosystem services, and on integrated management of their freshwater resources.

May 2007

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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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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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Climate Resilience

[C]limate Resilience workshop was held in November 2010.

November 2010

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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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