Tag Archives: environment

UN conference to address way forward on global sustainable transport challenges

Global Sustainable Transport ConferenceThe first-ever global conference on sustainable transport takes place this weekend in Turkmenistan, bringing together representatives from the United Nations, governments, the private sector and civil society to set new directions for global transport efforts.

“Without doubt, unsustainable transport brings numerous challenges. For example, the transport sector is responsible for about one quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. Also, more than 1.25 million are killed annually in road traffic accidents – sadly to say that 90 per cent [of these] happen in developing countries,” the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Wu Hongbo, said today at a press briefing in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat, ahead of the start of the Global Sustainable Transport Conference there tomorrow.

“Sustainable transport, on the other hand, helps create the infrastructure on which we can build a sustainable future – it provides access to trade, jobs, markets, education, health care and other services that improve people’s lives,” Mr. Wu added. “It also empowers women, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable people. The conference is in Ashgabat is an opportunity for mutual learning and knowledge exchange on implementing sustainable transport.”

According to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), which Mr. Wu heads and is organizing the event, sustainable transport and mobility are crucial for sustainable development, with adequate transport infrastructure and affordable transport services still lacking globally, and with serious negative impacts on public health and well-being, living conditions and climate change.

The furthering of sustainable transport and the establishment of affordable, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound transport systems is expected to be a key part of discussions at the conference, which will also be attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

In his remarks to the media today, Mr. Wu said the linkage between sustainable transport and implementation of the so-called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda – will be explored in the discussions.

Each SDG has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years, and while sustainable transport is not represented by a standalone SDG, it is essential to achieving most of them and has been mainstreamed across several SDGs and targets, especially those related to food security, health, energy, infrastructure and cities and human settlements, according to DESA.

The Global Sustainable Transport Conference has its foundations in the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro in 2012. The document – a result of intergovernmental discussions on a range of sustainable development issues – stresses that transportation and mobility are central to sustainable development.

All modes of transport – road, rail, aviation, ferry, and maritime – will be addressed at the Ashgabat gathering, including in both developed and developing countries, as well as in landlocked and transit countries. The concerns of developing countries, including least-developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states, will receive particular focus.

The issues in focus at the conference were recently highlighted in Quito, Ecuador, during the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), which culminated in the adoption of a New Urban Agenda, with strong elements of sustainable transport.

Delegation of Uzbekistan in the conference was headed by Rustam Azimov, deputy prime minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan. Mr. Azimov pointed out that there is a need for consolidation of efforts in international level for the development of safe and efficient transport communication, which provides sustainable development among our countries and the region.

While no outcome document is expected at the conclusion of the Ashgabat conference, the Secretary-General has encouraged all UN Member States and other stakeholders to register commitments and partnerships for sustainable transport, through the conference website.

Already, commitments to make transport more sustainable have been registered from governments and private partners from a number of countries, including the United States, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Australia, and Asia and Pacific Ocean countries.

UN report paints mixed picture of global responses to declining air quality

The new report from the UNEP24 May 2016 – Noting that from 2008 to 2013, air pollution levels in urban areas increased by eight per cent, a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) spotlights the need to support introduction of more renewable energies and clean cook stoves, some of the vital actions aimed at combating this public health emergency.

Air pollution kills seven million people each year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), with more than 80 per cent of people living in urban areas exposed to air quality levels that exceed WHO limits.

Actions on Air Quality, released today at the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) under way in Nairobi, Kenya, found that there is a growing momentum for change, such as improved access to cleaner cooking fuels and stoves, renewables, fuel sulphur content and public transport.

However, action in other areas is less impressive and will not halt the increase in air pollution that is threatening to claim many more lives, the report warned.

“The current global response to pervasive poor air quality is inadequate,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. “Despite this lack of a holistic response, numerous countries and regions are coming up with effective – and cost-effective – measures to improve air quality. The Sustainable Development Goals provide an opportunity to replicate those best practices globally, and bring about cleaner air, and social and economic benefits worldwide.”

While policies and standards on clean fuels and vehicles could reduce emissions by 90 per cent, only 29 per cent of countries worldwide have adopted ‘Euro 4’ vehicles emissions standards or above. Meanwhile, less than 20 per cent of countries regulate open waste burning, which is a leading cause of air pollution.

On the positive side, 97 countries have increased the percentage of households that have access to cleaner burning fuels to more than 85 per cent – a key move to tackle indoor air pollution, which claims over half of the seven million lives.

At least 82 countries out of 193 analysed have incentives that promote investment in renewable energy production, cleaner production, energy efficiency and/or pollution control equipment. Last year, for the first time, renewables accounted for a majority of the new electricity-generating capacity added around the world, at an investment of $286 billion, according to research by UNEP, Bloomberg and the Frankfurt School.

A Review of Air Pollution Control in Beijing: 1998-2013, which was also released today, analyzed measures implemented since Beijing began launching air pollution control programmes, which saw a steady downward trend in the concentrations of many harmful pollutants.

“Even though the air pollution control programmes in Beijing have made substantial progress, the environment quality is far from satisfactory,” said Chen Tian, Director General of the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau. “We will continue to explore approaches that could work effectively for improving the environment in this region.”

Stefan Priesner outlines UN Priorities for Uzbekistan in 2016

Stefan Priesner outlines UN Priorities for Uzbekistan in 2016Dear friends

I would like to extend my warmest greetings

  • 2015 was a very important year for the United Nations. World leaders endorsed the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) framework – a roadmap to guide the global community toward a sustainable path of development for the next 15 years until 2030.
  • 2015 was also very significant for the cooperation between the United Nations family in Uzbekistan and the Government as we agreed on and launched a new 5-year cycle of cooperation – the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for Uzbekistan for 2016-2020.
  • This – the global and the local framework – is the starting point for a dynamic year 2016 and here are our priorities:
  • First 2016 is an important year for adapting the global SDGs to the national context.
  • The UN system in Uzbekistan will be supporting the Government in SDG localization through:
    • engaging in stakeholder consultations; developing targets and indicators that are tailored to the country’s specific situation – will help the country to fully participate in this global effort
    • Many of these targets are already in the UNDAF, since it is closely aligned to the SDG framework.
    • Hence our second priority is to agree on a detailed workplan with the Government in our six areas of cooperation – health, education, livelihoods, social protection, environment and governance; this will be completed soon and then we are in implementation mode – we foresee a volume of 25 mill. USD, supporting some 40 different Govt. and non-govt. institutions for 2016
    • Thirdly, the UN system is planning to dedicate special efforts to support the Government in the “Year of Healthy Mother and Healthy Child”.
    • We are looking forward to joining our efforts to support the Government in this regard through such assistance as:
    • further improvement of quality of mother and child health care services (new-born care, including emergency  obstetric and antenatal care)
    • launching a UN joint programme to address the needs of Persons with Disabilities, including women and children with disabilities;
    • providing policy advice to the Government on enhancing employment opportunities for women and girls;
    • supporting the formulation of policy recommendations on improving the social protection of female headed households;
    • So in conclusion: we look very much forward to a fruitful and vibrant year of cooperation with the Govt. the aim of promoting people-centered development in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan celebrates the 70th anniversary of the United Nations

16Maintenance of peace and security, protection of human rights, and improvement of living conditions have been at the core of the activities of the United Nations, a global organisation founded 70 years ago for the benefit of humanity. The UN Office in Uzbekistan is staging broad celebrations of this milestone by holding a variety of events for the purpose of cementing cooperation with national partners and raising broad public awareness of the UN’s primary achievements since its inception as well as the outcomes of the UN’s cooperation with Uzbekistan and plans for the near future.

The press conference held on 23 October at the Kamolot Youth Art Palace as part of the celebrations featured representatives of UNICEF, UNFPA, ILO, UNODC, UNESCO, FAO, WHO and UNAIDS in Uzbekistan.

20151023_115202Speaking at the press conference, UN Resident Coordinator in Uzbekistan Stefan Priesner quoted words from General-Secretary Ban Ki-moon’s UN Day message that “seven decades after its founding, the United Nations remains a beacon for all humanity”, feeding the hungry, sheltering those driven from their homes and defending human rights for all regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender or sexual orientation.

The main part of Stefan Priesner’s speech revolved around the activities of the UN Office in Uzbekistan. More specifically, he noted that “over the last 22 years the UN has delivered technical assistance to Uzbekistan of more than $434 million, to support economic, governance, healthcare and education reforms. We also support efforts to counter drug trafficking, to protect the cultural heritage and environment and to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.”

Mr. Priesner also noted that 2015 is a very important year as it marks transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted in September by all the 193 UN member countries. SDGs are more comprehensive with additional focus on environmental sustainability and equity as well as peaceful and inclusive societies. “The implementation of SDGs is to take place at country level. Therefore, in the coming months it will be important to nationalize the global SDG to the country context. The UN system in the country is ready to support the country in this endeavor,” the UN Resident Coordinator said. 20151023_120032_HDR

The question-and-answer session between UN agencies and local journalists focused on issues relating to the cultural legacy of Uzbekistan, illegal drug trafficking, social protection of elderly people, reproductive health and general issues regarding the UN system.

Central Asia’s first Eco Park created in Tashkent

Eco-parkOver 200 UN Uzbekistan staff members came together at the Alisher Navoi National Park in Tashkent to participate in an environmental campaign dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the United Nations. The event was organized in conjunction with the Ecological Movement of Uzbekistan and with support from Tashkent Hokimiyat (Mayor’s Office).

The staff of twelve UN agencies working in Uzbekistan planted a variety of trees, some of which have been designated as endangered species in Uzbekistan. This initiative carries symbolic implications for the entire UN system in Uzbekistan as it has had UN staff members rally around the cause of environmental protection. This is particularly important considering the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the UN General Assembly in September this year that includes the Sustainable Development Goals. Ensuring environmental sustainability is at the core of the agenda.

Today’s event has given the UN staff an opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to UN ideals and the promotion of sustainable development – a development that leads to prosperity and expansion of economic opportunities as well as protection of the environment.

Opening the event, UN Resident Coordinator in Uzbekistan Stefan Priesner said this was a special day as it laid the groundwork for the first-ever Eco Park in Central Asia. He also noted the deep symbolical significance of the environmental campaign because the trees planted in the park will symbolize the close cooperation between the United Nations and Uzbekistan.

The chairman of the Executive Committee of the Central Council of the Ecological Movement, Boriy Alikhanov, speaking at the opening ceremony, mentioned the Movement’s efforts to address environmental problems and expressed hope that cooperation with the UN will continue to thrive.

Today’s event will not be limited to planting trees alone. UN agencies took on commitments to take care of the Eco Park, which is set to become a symbol of the UN’s contribution to Green Development in Uzbekistan.

UN rolls out 2016-2020 Development Assistance Framework programme for Uzbekistan

UNDAF-LAUNCH-2015Today the UN Office in Uzbekistan presented a new Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) programme for 2016-2020 for Uzbekistan. Signed by the Government of Uzbekistan and the UN Office in Uzbekistan on June 9, 2015, the programme is in line with the UN’s central development paradigms, in particular human development and human rights, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Speaking at the presentation, the Minister of Economy of Uzbekistan Galina Saidova noted that “it is very important that UNDAF fully complies with the priorities and strategy Uzbekistan has mapped out for 2016-2020.” She added that the development of the new UNDAF programme was fully negotiated with ministries and agencies, which allows for implementation of the programme without additional preparation for adaptation.

UNDAF_FINAL_ENGDelivering welcome remarks, UN Resident Coordinator in Uzbekistan Stefan Priesner spoke about UNDAF’s compliance with the primary aspects of SDGs that are set to be adopted by the UN General Assembly on September 25-27 this year. Mr. Priesner said the development of the framework programme included numerous consultations with partners and donors and spoke about ways it will be implemented and monitored as well as data collection it will entail.

UN Coordination Analyst Hurshid Rustamov did a presentation on a strategic approach that was applied in the development of the UNDAF, as well as on the expected results, differences between the current and the new programme, the financial package and mechanisms for practical implementation of the programme.

The making of the new UNDAF started with an independent assessment of the outcomes of the current programme and a country analysis. The strategy of the new UNDAF is based on the following principles:

–  addressing inequalities, with particular attention to low-income social and economic groups;
–  observance and promotion of human rights in accordance with international standards;
– conducting an analysis of development based on credible data and facts as well as improvement of indicators related to the amount, diseggregation and availability of these data;

The new UNDAF will focus on the following four thematic areas:

  • Inclusive economic development with a focus on employment and social protection;
  • Health and education to fully realize the human potential through enhanced access to quality health and education services;
  • Environmental protection to ensure sustainable development;
  • Effective Governance to enhance public service delivery and the protection of rights

At the end of the presentation, Ms. Saidova and Mr. Priesner thanked those gathered and wished them good luck in their efforts to implement the new UNDAF.

Secretary-General’s message on World Environment Day

English

The theme of this year’s is “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care”.

Humanity continues to consume far more natural resources than the planet can sustainably provide.  Many of the Earth’s ecosystems are nearing critical tipping points.  It is time for us to change.

 The goal of sustainable development is to increase the quality of life for all people without increasing environmental degradation, and without compromising the resource needs of future generations.  We can do this by shifting our consumption patterns towards goods that use less energy, water and other resources, and by wasting less food.

In this year of transformation, when we hope to see great advances on sustainable development and climate change, let us celebrate World Environment Day by becoming more conscious of our ecological impact.  Let us think about the environmental consequences of the choices we make.  Let us become better stewards of our planet.

EcoWeek 2015 concludes with children’s event

4Today, on World Environment Day, hundreds of children had the opportunity to join festivities at the Gofur Gulom Park held as part of EcoWeek 2015. Children and their parents were treated to exciting and colorful performances by Barkamol Avlod Children’s Art Center and participate in an asphalt art competition as well as drawing, design, knitting and modeling master classes.

To highlight contributions to environmental protection, the State Committee of Uzbekistan for Nature Protection awarded Certificates of Honor to Mirzo Ulugbek National University of Uzbekistan, Tashkent Institute of Chemical Technologies, Secondary School №163, Tashkent Professional College of Hydrometeorology, Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Melioration, and Barkamol Avlod Children’s Art Center.

The final day of EcoWeek 2015 included a clean-up event in Tashkent Region’s Bostonliq District.

This year’s EcoWeek has drawn to a close, but we should always remember that each and every one of us should take good care of the environment and make careful use of its resources. It is a responsibility we hold to future generations.

Friendly matches, races held as part of EcoWeek 2015

Ecoweek-2015-2-1Representatives of Uzbek ministries, agencies, NGOs and media organizations have joined a marathon held today at the Management Development Institute of Singapore in Tashkent as the second day of EcoWeek 2015 unfolded in Uzbekistan.

Ecoweek-2015-day-2-2The marathon program included a 500-meter race, a 60-meter race and a friendly mini-football tournament between teams representing the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Higher and Secondary Special Education, the State Committee for Geology and Mineral Resources and the State Committee of Uzbekistan for Nature Protection.

Ecoweek-2015-day-2-3The participants of today’s marathon are individuals, whose jobs are directly linked with environmental protection, socio-economic development as well as cultural and educational activities. Mutual partners, they used their own example to highlight the importance of every person’s participation in major events and campaigns seeking to rally people and remind the broader public of the importance of environmental protection.

Eco Week 2015 kicks off in Tashkent ahead of World Environment Day

20150602_095145Eco Week 2015 has kicked off today at Tashkent Plaza ahead of World Environment Day (WED). Organized by the State Committee of Uzbekistan for Nature Protection in partnership with the UN Office in Uzbekistan, ministries and educational institutions, Eco Week will include a string of events seeking to encourage the broad public to take better care of the environment. 

20150602_110302Environmental protection is presently one of the most important areas of the United Nations’ activity, and World Environment Day, which is annually celebrated on 5 June, is an effort to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the environment amidst mounting evidence that people consume far more natural resources than our planet can sustainably provide. The theme of this year’s WED is “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care”.

20150602_110439This was echoed in the speech by UN Resident Coordinator in Uzbekistan Stefan Priesner at the opening ceremony of the Eco Week. Other keynote speakers included Bahodir Tajiyev, Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Agrarian and Water Issues of the Parliament’s Legislative Chamber, and Kamoliddin Sadykov, Deputy Chairman of the State Committee of Uzbekistan for Nature Protection.

20150602_103812This year, in breaking with tradition, the State Committee for Nature Protection presented Certificates of Honor at the very beginning of the Week, not at the closing ceremony as it has previously done. The State Committee of Uzbekistan for Geology and Mineral Recourses was awarded a Certificate of Honor for contributions to the 2013-2017 Program of Action for Environmental Protection in the Republic of Uzbekistan. Also honored were the winners of a competition to improve and reconstruct the Botanical Garden for ministries and agencies. Also, new national environmental competitions were announced.

20150602_110254An exhibition held as part of the opening ceremony of the Week gave those gathered an opportunity to learn about environmental technologies and innovations, ecopure products, alternative energy sources, and educational resources.

Slated to run until 6 June, Eco Week 2015 will include conferences, eco marathons, festivals, environmental campaigns and a presentation of the results of a collaborative project run by the State Committee of Uzbekistan for Nature Protection, UNDP and the Global Environmental Facility.