News and Updates

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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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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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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STAP Retreat; Planning STAP's Role in GEF-6

STAP RetreatThe STAP Secretariat and Panel gathered in Stockholm between January 22nd and 26th, 2014 for an exciting and highly productive bi-annual retreat. The meetings were held at the headquarters of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), where STAP Panel member, Jakob Granit, is the Director. As a well known institution whose goal it is to bridge science and policy, SEI was the perfect place to host the GEF STAP. STAP Chair, Rosina Bierbaum, opened the session by welcoming everyone and laying the stage for discussions over the next few days. Topics included brainstorming STAP’s priorities for the Sixth Replenishment of the GEF (GEF-6) and the important role of science in improving our understanding of the linkages across environmental issues, among many others. Dr. Bierbaum welcomed GEF CEO Naoko Ishii on the first day, who stressed the importance of STAP’s work in supporting science-based solutions to help the GEF meet evolving global challenges and to deliver the highest impact in the most cost-effective way. STAP Panel members presented their current and upcoming work in each focal area and shared ideas on specific issues such as the development of science-based indicators across focal areas, as well-as broader concepts such as how to capture the changing dynamics occurring in the global commons. The STAP Panel and Secretary have developed a set of concrete action items and will convene again on the margins of the GEF Assembly in May 2014 in Cancun, Mexico to gauge progress and develop a workplan going forward.  

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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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Report to the Third GEF Assembly

[T]he report reflects STAP’s important advances in its scientific understanding of the environmental and technical issues that are directly relevant to the GEF. It also identifies emerging technologies, which could play a significant role in strengthening the effectiveness of GEF activities across the world.

June 2006

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Carbon Benefits Project Review Meeting

cbp2_0[F]rom 13 to 16 September, STAP led a review of the UNEP-GEF “Carbon Benefits Project” at Voi Wildlife Reserve in Kenya. STAP was asked by the GEF to lead a review of the carbon benefit tools (CBP) tools as the project nears its completion. The project developed a standardized system for the GEF to measure, model, and monitor carbon stock changes and greenhouse gas emissions from land management projects. In response to this request, the meeting objective focused, therefore, on the applicability and usefulness of the suite of tools developed by the CBP. The CBP team (composed of scientists from several institutions based in Africa, Europe, and the United States) led with presentations on the modeling and measurement components, as well as one day training on the use of the tools. STAP will now draw from the meeting outcomes to develop its conclusions and recommendations about the future use of the CBP tools in GEF projects.

Further information about the CBP can be found here.

For further information about the CBP, please contact Gemma Shepherd.

For further information about this workshop, please write to Guadalupe Duron.

Further information about the workshop, including presentations by the CBP team, can be found below. 

Prepared By: Guadalupe Duron

Nairobi | 13-16 September, 2012


DOWNLOAD All Documents

DOWNLOAD Community carbon accounting

DOWNLOAD Cost benefit analysis and DPSIR tool

DOWNLOAD Detailed assessment and dynamic modelling

DOWNLOAD Guidance module

DOWNLOAD Measurement outreach and user engagement

DOWNLOAD On-line tools for monitoring reporting and evaluation

DOWNLOAD Overview of CBP measurement component

DOWNLOAD Overview of the CBP modelling

DOWNLOAD Overview on CBP project

DOWNLOAD Research and development of CBP field measurements

DOWNLOAD Soil Carbon Measuring Monitoring

DOWNLOAD Tools development and outcomes

DOWNLOAD Simple assessment module

DOWNLOAD Project description module

DOWNLOAD Remote sensing add-ons

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STAP at the UNCCD 2nd Scientific Conference

cbp2_0 Soil Organic Carbon Project Team

[T]he STAP participated at the UNCCD’s Second Scientific Conference held 9-12 April 2013 in Bonn, Germany. The conference theme was Economic Assessment of Desertification, Sustainable Land Management and Resilience of Arid, Semi-arid and Dry Sub-humid Areas. The STAP contributed to the Conference by designing and leading a 90 minute session titled “GEF Special Session on Carbon – a Valuable Global Benefit of Sustainable Land Management.” The session objectives were to ...

  • Demonstrate the importance of the current work of the Land Degradation Focal Area of the Global Environment Facility, with special reference to Sustainable Land Management (SLM).
  • Identify the multiple potential benefits derived from above- and below-ground sequestration of carbon.
  • Show how GEF investments and strategic planning support the UNCCD.
  • Consult the scientific community on issues related to SLM that might be included in future GEF strategic plans.

The session abstract can be downloaded here

During the session, the STAP also launched its report “Soil organic carbon management for global benefits: a discussion paper”. The paper provides an overview of soil organic carbon and its relevance to soil organic carbon management within the context of generating global environmental benefits and contributing towards food security and livelihoods. The report can be downloaded here.

The paper was presented at the session by Gerard Govers. The session presentations and their titles are listed below.

  1. Mohamed Bakarr, GEF Secretariat | Sustainable Land Management in the Global Environment Facility – Enhancing Ecosystem Services in Production Landscapes
  2. Gerard Govers, University of Leuven, Belgium | Soil organic carbon management for global benefits – A review for STAP
  3. Eleanor Milne, Colorado State University, U.S.A. | A New Tracking Tool for Carbon Benefits
  4. Annette Cowie, University of New England, Armidale, Australia | Value of Soil Organic Carbon: the case for biochar

For further information about this event, please contact Guadalupe Durón at the STAP Secretariat or visit the UNCCD website

Prepared By: Guadalupe Durón

Bonn | 9-12 April 2013

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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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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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