UN Environment, China collaborate on climate initiatives

Marrakech, Nov 15 (IANS) The UN Environment has launched a decade-long programme on Climate, Ecosystems and Livelihoods, supported by China, to assist countries in the global south with effective delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The programme aims to seize the ‘power of integration’ of the SDGs and will be led by the UN Environment’s International Ecosystem Management Partnership.

UN Environment’s Deputy Executive Director Ibrahim Thiaw, joined by several ministers and heads of UN and government agencies, announced the programme on Monday at the high-level forum on South-South Cooperation at the Marrakech Climate Conference – COP 22 here.

“It’s the poor in developing countries who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change on the ecosystems they depend on to for food, shelter and livelihoods,” an official statement quoting Thiaw said.

“That is why I am delighted to announce the new 10-year programme on Climate, Ecosystems and Livelihoods along the Silk Road. It will not just benefit national targets, it will benefit real people.

“It will not only cement China’s commitment to global leade rship in tackling climate change and the environment, but also our shared determination to generate even more results through South-South Cooperation,” Thiaw said.

The new programme is a crucial element of a long-term cooperation between China and the UN Environment to achieve the SDGs — a set of 17 global objectives ranging from eliminating poverty and hunger to protecting biodiversity and combating climate change, to be achieved by 2030.

“This flagship programme is a testimony of our determination to make a real impact and provide long-lasting assistance in improving livelihoods through ecosystem conservation and restoration, while responding to the impacts of climate change,” said UN Environment’s International Ecosystems Management Partnership Director Jian Liu.

“We are committed to dedicate all our efforts to work with people and institutions in the poorest and most vulnerable settings, with assistance from both Northern and Southern partners.”

The Climate, Ecosystems and Livelihoods will draw on the globally-relevant knowledge, expertise and other resources of its core team and network of international partners.

The Chinese Ecosystem Research Network, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and one of the largest national ecosystem monitoring and research networks in the world, will provide technical support for the programme.

The programme aims to protect the most fragile ecosystems, such as dry lands, river basins and coastal zones in Asia, West Asia and Africa. It will be rolled out in three phases: Assessment (2016-2018), Development (2019-2021) and Scaling up (2022-2025).

The first phase of the programme will see a thorough survey of three types of “hotspots” — fragile ecosystems, biodiversity-rich areas and communities vulnerable to climate change and ecosystem degradation.

The survey will be focused on the countries lying along the land and sea routes of the “New Silk Road” — an international connectivity and cooperation framework proposed by China.

During the entire duration of the programme, the UN Environment’s International Ecosystem Management Partnership will be providing countries with assistance in monitoring and assessment, capacity building, technology demonstration and science for policy.

(Vishal Gulati is in Marrakech at the invitation of the Global Strategic Communication Council to cover COP22. He can be contacted at vishal.g@ians.in)

–IANS

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