News and Updates

Side Event CBD SBSTTA 16

In collaboration with the Secretariat of Convention on Biological Diversity and other partners, STAP organized two side events at the 16th Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (CBD SBSTTA 16) of the CBD in Montreal, Canada on May 2nd and 3rd 2012. The information submitted by the STAP to the CBD SBSTTA-16 and discussed at both events informed participants at the meeting and was used to develop specific SBSTTA-16 recommendations to the Conference of the Parties to CBD (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/L.15 and UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/L.16).

The first event entitled “Marine Spatial Planning and Management using the Ecosystem Approach: From Principles to Practice” was organized in collaboration with UNEP, The Nature Conservancy, and IOC-UNESCO. Side event responded to the request of the CBD Secretariat and the CBD Decision X/29, paragraph 75:

“To compile and synthesize available information in collaboration with Parties, other Governments and relevant organizations on their experiences and use of marine spatial planning, in particular on ecological, economic, social, cultural and other principles used to guide such planning and the use of area-based management tools.”

STAP in collaboration with partners prepared a report that synthesizes available information on the scope of Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) activities around the world, lessons learned about the utility of spatial planning and management processes and tools, and criteria for successful use of MSP at various scales. This report explores spatial management as an effective contribution to protecting marine and coastal biodiversity while at the same time addressing human needs, concentrating especially on valuable ecosystem services in coasts, estuaries and deltas, near-shore environments, and open oceans. The report reviews conventional planning processes, identifies innovative new tools, and discusses the potential MSP has -- as yet not fully realized -- in aligning conservation and development interests while protecting vital ecosystems, the services they deliver, and the biodiversity they support. The draft report was made available as information document to the participants at the 16th meeting of Subsidiary Body of Scientific, Technological and Technical Advice (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/16/INF/18).

The side event presented findings of the report and initiated a discussion on the necessary strategies and activities to build on the successes of MSP around the world focusing on the following three issues:

  1. Overview of theory and practice of designing and implementing MSP;
  2. Barriers and lessons learned in MSP applications throughout the world;
  3. Implications for the CBD.

Prepared By: Lev Neretin
Montreal | May 2012

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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
| 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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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:
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.

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, 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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STAP's Climate Change Adaptation Postdoc and Kyoto University's DRC Program

VMorinIn 2012 our STAP Postdoc on Climate Change Adaptation, Veronique Morin, participated in a graduate exchange program with Kyoto University. The program was entitled "Disaster Resilient Countries (DRC)", and consisted of intensive short courses and field visits to tsunami, flood and earthquake disaster affected areas all over Japan and Thailand. Three years after completing the program, Kyoto University catches up with Veronique to see what kind of activities she is involved in at the STAP, and to reflect on how the DRC program helped her to prepare for her ongoing work.

To read Veronique's full article, please click here.

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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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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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Engineering a Transformational Shift to Low-Carbon Economies in the Developing World: The Role of the Global Environment Facility

AAASPanelsmall[T]he planet is warming at an alarming rate. For many small islands and coastal states even this level of warming will likely be devastating over the coming years. For more than 20 years, the GEF has played a major role in assisting developing countries and countries with economies in transition in transforming their markets towards a low-carbon future.

The event, which took place in the AAAS Auditorium in Washington, DC, was opened by Dr. Naoko Ishii, CEO Global Environment Facility and Conn Nugent, President of the Heinz Center. Dr. Thomas E. Lovejoy, Chair of the STAP and Biodiversity Chair – Heinz Center, moderated the panel discussion and directed questions from the audience.

To access a full press release, please click here.

Presentations by the speakers are available below.

Pavan Sukhdev - Yale University (visiting fellow), Former Head of UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative and author of Corporation 2020 | The Economics of Climate Change, A case for urgent action

Dr. Joseph Alcamo - UNEP Chief Scientist, Chair - Scientific Steering Committee for the UNEP Emissions Gap Report, 2012 | The Emissions Gap

Dr. Ralph Sims - Professor School of Engineering and Advanced Technology at Massey University, IPCC Member and STAP Panel Member on climate change mitigation | Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Future

Dr. Rosina Bierbaum - Professor Natural Resources and Environmental Policy (former Dean) at University of Michigan, Member of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), Member of the Federal Advisory Committee of the U.S. National Climate Assessment | Turn Down the Heat and Ramp Up Adaptation

Washington DC | 20 March 2013

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The Second Session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-2)

L-R: Sandra Díaz, MEP & STAP member, and Anne Larigauderie, incoming IPBES  Executive Secretary L-R: Sandra Díaz, MEP & STAP member, and Anne Larigauderie, incoming IPBES Executive Secretary

[T]he second session of the Plenary of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-2) met from 9-14 December 2013 in Antalya, Turkey. Over 400 participants attended the meeting, representing IPBES member and non-member governments, UN agencies and convention secretariats, intergovernmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and various stakeholder groups.

Delegates adopted a set of decisions, known as “the Antalya Consensus,” which include: the work programme for 2014- 2018, including fast track, thematic, regional and subregional assessments and activities for building capacities; a conceptual framework that considers different knowledge systems; and rules and procedures for the Platform on, inter alia, the nomination of future Multidisciplinary Expert Panel (MEP) members and procedures for the preparation of the Platform’s deliverables. In addition, delegates agreed to a decision on a collaborative partnership arrangement with four UN agencies. Although some issues remain unresolved, including some of the rules and procedures and issues on communications and stakeholder engagement, many praised the Antalya Consensus as a major step towards operationalizing the Platform. Along these lines, during Friday’s plenary session, it was announced that Anne Larigauderie has been appointed as the first IPBES Executive Secretary.

Relevant Documents Are Available Below

Summary Report

Report Compilation

To find a full list of working documents and information documents of IPBES-2, please click here.

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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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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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