The environment in the news tuesday, 09 July 2013 unep and the Executive Director in the News

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Tuesday, 09 July 2013

UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

WAM (UAE): Sweden joins International Convention to Conserve Migratory Birds of Prey

Nation (Nigeria): Shell, firm seal $84.5m pipeline contract

Islands Business (Fiji): Nadi catchment project shows benefits of integrating disaster risk and climate change management

African Press Organization: Search Begins for Kenya’s Young Green Leaders

Talk Vietnam (Vietnam): Promoting sustainable trade for a green economy

Hydrocarbons 21 (Belgium): Role of standards in the HCFC phase-out discussed at UNEP webinar

Travel Mole (UK): Think, eat, save: global campaign launched

Other Environment News
Reuters (UK): EU hits Russia with first WTO dispute over car levy: diplomats

AFP: BP fights 'feeding frenzy' of US oil spill claims

BBC News (UK): China free coal policy in the north 'cut lifespans'

Globe and Mail (Canada): With oil type unknown, Lac-Mégantic disaster’s environmental impact is unclear

UPI- United press International (US): Study- Mercury pollution will remain long-term problem

Asahi Shimbun (Japan): New strict safety standards put nuclear watchdog to the test

IRIN News: Countering Africa's Green Revolution

New Scientist (US): What do we fix first – environment or economy?
Environmental News from the UNEP Regions


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UNEP and the Executive Director in the News

WAM (UAE): Sweden joins International Convention to Conserve Migratory Birds of Prey
8 July 2013
Sweden has signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MOU), which was concluded in 2008 under the auspices of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). Peter Orn, Desk Officer at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency signed the Raptors MOU on behalf of the Swedish Minister of Environment Lena Ek, today at the UN Premises in Bonn, Germany.
CMS Executive Secretary Dr. Bradnee Chambers, in a press release, said: "With Sweden's signature of the Raptors MOU, the country will become a key player in protecting threatened migratory raptors across the African-Eurasian region." Despite high levels of legal protection for birds of prey in many countries, particularly in Europe, major challenges remain to halt and reverse the populations' declines of this spectacular group of birds. Human-made threats affect migratory raptors with urbanization, intensification of agricultural practices and pollution destroying or degrading their habitats. In addition, they face direct threats through shooting, trapping and poisoning.
Swedish long-distance migrants should benefit from the step taken by the Swedish government. Efforts will increase to protect Osprey (Pandon haliaetus), European Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus), Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus), Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo), Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus) and Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) across their entire geographical range. Two species of special concern for Sweden are the Osprey, for which Sweden has the largest breeding population in Europe, and European Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus). Both species are in decline and threatened by poaching along their migration routes as well as in their wintering areas.
Sweden is an important breeding area for migratory birds. More than 240 species have been recorded in the country, including 30 different species of birds of prey that are covered by the CMS Raptors MOU.
The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) works for the conservation of a wide array of endangered migratory animals worldwide. CMS, which is administered by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is a global biodiversity convention with special expertise in the field of migratory species. At present, there are 119 Parties to the Convention.
The CMS Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Birds of Prey (Raptors MOU) is administered by a Coordinating Unit based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Raptors MOU came into effect on 1 November 2008 and has 44 Signatories (43 countries and the European Union) and 3 Cooperating Partners. It covers 76 species and extends to over 132 Range States and territories in the African-Eurasian Region.
The UAE is still among the countries participating in CMS Agreements/MoU that are not yet Parties to CMS.
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Nation (Nigeria): Shell, firm seal $84.5m pipeline contract
8 July 2013
KAZTEC Engineering Limited (KEL), an indigenous oil service company, has signed an agreement with Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) for the construction of a 58-kilometre loopline at $84.5 million.
According to a statement by Kaztec, the agreement for Package 1 of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) of Trans-Nigeria Pipeline Loopline Project for Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company of Nigeria (SNEPCO), was concluded last week.
The pipeline contract is expected to be completed and delivered within one year and Kaztec has assured Shell of delivering within the stipulated time frame.
“This is the first major project to be executed by Kaztec Engineering Limited for Shell. The event took place at the SPDC Office, Port Harcourt, Nigeria, with high-powered delegations from both parties in attendance,” the company said.
The objective of the project, Kaztec said, is to construct a three-inch, 58-kilometre loopline from the Ogale manifold to Bonny Terminal, in the South-South region of Nigeria. SNEPCO had been experiencing challenges with the current Trans-Niger Project. Seen by SNEPCO and National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), to be an emergency project. It was divided into three packages. Kaztec Engineering is to undertake Package One, having been chosen on the strength of its recent track record in the oil and gas sector, the statement added.
The Chief Operating Officer (COO), Kaztec Engineering Limited, Ikechukwu Okpala, assured SNEPCO of KEL‘s delivery on time and quality, promising Shell’s management that it would get a taste of the Kaztec expertise.
The contract-signing was done by the General Manager, Offshore and Shallow Water Projects, SNEPCO, Mr. Toyin Olagunju, on behalf of Shell and the Executive Chairman, KEL, Sir Emeka Offor, for Kaztec while Chioma Ogunuka, Contracting and Procurement Lead Pipeline Projects of SNEPCO, and the COO of KEL, Ikechukwu Okpala, among others witnessed the signing ceremony.
SNEPCO’s Toyin Olagunju, said he looked forward to the successful completion of the project. He called for world-class performance on all aspects of the project, with particular attention on safety and environment. He advocated for zero-incident execution of the project.
The Chairman Kaztec Engineering Limited, Sir Emeka Offor, declared that SNEPCO reassured Shell of KEL‘s commitment to deliver on time, and even surpass all expectations of the project. He said he was glad to join the Shell family, and looked forward to a productive partnership in the years to come.
The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), operator of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC/SPDC joint venture (SPDC JV), had earlier announced that it has taken decision to invest $3.9 billion in the Trans Niger Pipeline loop-line (TNPL) and the Gbaran-Ubie Phase Two projects. T
SPDC Managing Director, Mutiu Sunmonu, said the Trans Niger Pipeline (TNP) is important for Nigeria, pumping some 180,000 barrels per day of crude oil to the Bonny Export Terminal and is part of the gas liquids evacuation infrastructure, critical for continued domestic power generation (Afam VI power plant) and liquefied gas exports.
He said: “Sections of the TNP have been heavily impacted by sabotage and crude oil theft. The design of the TNPL includes improvements which make the pipeline better protected against crude oil theft and sabotage, which should help to reduce pollution related to criminal activity which was a key aspect of a 2011 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report on Ogoniland. The total capital investment for the TNPL project bundle is expected to be $1.5 billion while the total investment for the Gbaran-Ubie Phase Two bundle is $2.4 billion.”
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Islands Business (Fiji): Nadi catchment project shows benefits of integrating disaster risk and climate change management
9 July 2013
Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, says Fiji’s work to address flooding in Nadi provides an example for developing countries on integrating management of disaster and climate related risks.
In the Pacific, cyclones account for nearly 80% of all reported disasters. They are frequently accompanied by floods, which cause further social and economic upheaval. According to current projections, climate change and variability will intensify, increasing the frequency of high rainfall and cyclone events.
Until recently, Pacific Island countries and territories have been reactive rather than proactive in dealing with flood preparedness and response. But this is changing.
The 2009 floods in Fiji caused an estimated FJD 330 million in damage and lost earnings, equivalent to approximately 7% of the country’s GDP. In March 2009, just two months after the flood waters receded, the Fiji government launched its Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) demonstration project for the Nadi catchment. Managed by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) through its Applied Science & Technology Division, the objective of this GEF/UNEP/UNDP project was to improve flood preparedness by introducing an integrated flood risk management approach within the Nadi basin.
The project built on an earlier flood response system by installing a network of hydrological monitoring stations and it has worked with communities to build grassroots capacity to coordinate an early response. Communities have been given assistance to develop their own disaster response plans and practise their implementation. The project has also helped coordinate the work of government and non-government agencies by setting up the Nadi Basin Catchment Committee.
The impact of the project was clearly demonstrated when Nadi again experienced serious flooding in January 2012. The availability of real-time hydrological data helped communities and disaster response agencies implement their response plans and minimise losses.
According to Joeli Cawaki, Commissioner for Fiji’s Western Division, public and agency responses to the flood events improved significantly as a result of the integrated approach facilitated by the Nadi demonstration project.
‘The integrated approach is working very well for Nadi, particularly in terms of the decision making – when to vacate the town, when to stop people moving in and out, and also to make people aware when the Nadi river is likely to burst its banks. The system is a success story for us. I think we need to do the same for the other big rivers in Fiji,’ he says.
In addition, this data can provide guidance on land-use practices and whether to avoid development in particular areas. It can also be used to calculate how high floor levels should be to protect buildings from flooding.
Over the last decade, sugar cane cultivation has crept higher up the mountain basins and deforestation for timber and wood chips has devastated upstream watershed areas. The result is more sedimentation and storm runoff, increasing the risk of downstream floods and degradation of coastal reefs. The IWRM project is now helping to reduce the impacts of deforestation and poor agricultural practices in the upper catchment.
The Fijian government recognises that the GEF demonstration project will serve as the management model for other catchments in Fiji and legislation establishing an integrated approach to catchment management is currently awaiting proclamation.
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African Press Organization: Search Begins for Kenya’s Young Green Leaders
8 July 2013
Are you a young Kenyan aged between 18 and 24 years? Are you passionate about the environment? Here is a chance for you to become a UNEP-Bayer Young Environmental Envoy!
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Bayer are looking for enthusiastic young people who can demonstrate leadership and an active commitment to tackling environmental challenges.
The top two applicants will be awarded the title of Bayer Young Environmental Envoy and will represent Kenya, along with fellow envoys from 19 other countries, during a week-long, all-expenses-paid study tour to Germany from 10-15 November 2013.
To enter, write a comprehensive summary of an attainable environmental project in your community or school in no more than 300 words. The project should provide a solution to an environmental issue affecting communities in Kenya. The summary should outline the key objectives of the project, how it will benefit local people, the resources needed to make it a success, and how the proposed project can support other environmental efforts.
More information on the Young Envoy programme and the application process is available at:
The envoys’ study tour to Germany will have a strong focus on environment and industry. Through a series of interactive workshops, talks and site visits, participants will experience at first-hand how the latest technology can be applied to environmental protection.
Launched in 1998, the UNEP-Bayer Young Environment Envoy Programme aims to improve knowledge of environmental issues among young people and support them in developing and implementing projects on sustainable development, conservation, green technology, and other environmental issues in their own communities.
After completing their year as Young Environmental Envoys, participants become members of an alumni network that brings together past envoys from all participating countries. The network acts as a support group for envoys implementing their own environmental projects, and as a forum where young people can share experiences on environmental issues.
To apply for the 2013 Young Environmental Envoy Programme, send your 300-word project summary to and copy by 31 August 2013.
The subject of the email should be Bayer Young Environmental Envoy 2013.
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Talk Vietnam (Vietnam): Promoting sustainable trade for a green economy
8 July 2013
What we have found is that all countries, regardless of where they are in the development ladder, can invigorate strategic economic sectors by greening their production processes and seizing trade opportunities in sustainably designed, produced, delivered and consumed goods and services. The latter is critically important for developing countries as they become more integrated in international trade, in particular through the expansion of global value chains.
​Over the last several years, the Green Economy Initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has worked with more than 30 developing and least developed countries to assist them in the formulation and implementation of policy reforms and investments that catalyse transitions to a green economy.
One such example is biotrade. In Peru, UNEP found in 2012 that national trade liberalization policies implemented in the broader context of macroeconomic stability can be associated with an expansion of market access for the 228 private companies that are exporters of products drawn from local biodiversity. Facilitating and promoting trade in those products has helped Peru to gain access to over 2.3 billion consumers in various key export markets.
According to our analysis, almost 90% of all export-oriented Peruvian companies in the biotrade sector hold either organic or fair trade certification, or both. This illustrates well the contribution of trade towards a green economy vision. Moreover, in a modelled scenario where sustainable biotrade export-oriented production in Peru grows by 40% annually until 2020, international sales would increase from the 2009 level of US$ 110 million to US$ 2.7 billion by 2020. Remarkably, this annual increase would create more than 250,000 new jobs over the next decade, particularly in the poorest regions of the country.
While the Andean highlands have the highest poverty rates in the country, they have some of the most important biodiversity-based resources. Huancavelica, the region with the highest poverty rate in Peru (77.9%), produces resources that are in high demand in international markets, such as quihuicha, quinoa and tara. Communities in other highland regions, such as Apurimac, Ayacucho, Puno and Huánuco, also have endemic biodiversity-based resources with potential for scaling up biotrade. Therefore, the extension of global value chains to impoverished rural areas can be a driving force in the improvement of livelihoods.
In order to help the country achieve these objectives, UNEP will carry out an analysis in 2013-2014 of the biotrade sector in Peru, focusing on specific value chains where there is scope for further performance improvement, regulatory simplification and untapped international demand in key export markets, and aimed at streamlining and helping to prioritize public interventions in support of the sector.
In broader terms, an important aspect of a green economy approach to sustainable trade involves advocating policy reforms and investments that focus on building sustainable supply-side and demand-side capacities, and promoting production methods that conserve biodiversity-based resources for the long-term prosperity of rural livelihoods.
Globally, exports of goods and commercial services have grown at an average rate of 5% annually between 2000 and 2011 (WTO, World Trade Report 2012). In developing countries, exports have increasingly contributed to national gross domestic product (GDP), while South-South trade alone accounted for 50% of developing country exports in 2010, according to the World Bank.
Still, the relationship between trade, economic and social development, and environmental protection is extremely complex, particularly in developing countries and emerging economies. Part of this complexity stems from the fact that many of these countries rely heavily on natural resource-based products and raw materials for export, leading to an urgent need for them to diversify their economies and adopt more sustainable trade practices.
To that effect, UNEP is currently running the Green Economy and Trade Opportunities Project (GE-TOP). The project’s ultimate goal is threefold: (1) to identify trade opportunities associated with the transition to a green economy; (2) to identify policies and measures that may act as facilitators and overcome hindrances to seizing trade opportunities arising from the transition to a green economy; and (3) to assist governments, the private sector and other stakeholders in building capacity to take advantage of sustainable trade opportunities at the national, regional and international levels.
A first key output of GE-TOP is the Green Economy and Trade – Trends, Challenges and Opportunities report, which analyses the role of trade vis-à-vis the green economy and sustainable development. More specifically, the report examines opportunities and challenges in six economic sectors – agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, forests, manufacturing, renewable energy and tourism, where sustainable trade can have a positive effect on economic competitiveness, resource efficiency and overall social and environmental sustainability.
The report stresses that integrating green products and services into international markets can act as a strong incentive for producers and service providers to go green, while green-economy policies and strategies can create new markets for sustainable goods and services.
In addition, the report confirms that trade in products certified for sustainability, as well as in environmental goods and services, is on the rise in absolute terms. While such trade currently represents only a small fraction of trade globally, these markets grow faster than conventional markets. Driven by increasing consumer awareness and sustainable consumption and production patterns, sustainable trade practices have the potential to improve pressing environmental and social concerns, and in some cases, give developing countries a competitive advantage in terms of economic gains as well.
As UNEP’s new report finds, creating economic incentives to implement sustainability standards and traceability methods that allow for the tracking of products from the source to the consumer fosters sustainable trade. Enabling effective supply chain partnerships with international exporters can particularly benefit small producers, and assist in developing or expanding a sustainable supply chain infrastructure, including storage, packaging and transport. Furthermore, strengthening national institutions and regulatory frameworks can help support these green economy activities and stimulate additional initiatives.
Given the surge in international trade in the past two decades, UNEP’s work to identify the trends, challenges and opportunities associated with sustainable trade is essential to aiding countries in improving their economic, social and environmental well-being and to placing them in a more advantageous position moving forward in the global transition to a green economy.
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Hydrocarbons 21 (Belgium): Role of standards in the HCFC phase-out discussed at UNEP webinar
8 July 2013
The webinar “Standards for the Adoption of HCFC Alternatives” was the first in a series of webinars organised by UNEP OzonAction aimed at discussing the current status of available standards in the RAC sector and providing a platform for dialogue on the ways in which barriers to the adoption of climate-friendly and energy efficient alternatives can be overcome.
As a great number of countries implementing the national HCFC Phase-out Management Plans (HPMPs) under the Montreal Protocol face a growing demand for the introduction and implemention of regulatory mechanisms for low-Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants, the question of standards for HCFC alternatives becomes more important. Therefore, the objective of this first UNEP webinar was to promote the importance of standards in the refrigeration and foam sectors in support of the HCFC phase-out management.
Roles of National Ozone Officers in addressing the subject of Standards for the Adoption of HCFC Alternatives, Ms. Artie Dubrie, Regional Network Coordinator for the Pacific islands, UNEP Regional Office for Asia Pacific
To highlight the importance of standards for low-GWP alternatives, Ms. Dubrie briefly presented the initial results of an earlier survey of the Asian and Pacific Region, in which only 1 out of 22 countries said that there were sufficient national and international rules in place concerning the use of HCFC alternatives. A significant portion of respondents (39%) said that there were no rules in their respective countries that would guide the use of low-GWP alternatives.
Ms. Dubrie observed that awareness is one of the challenges many countries face in the process of phasing out HCFCs. Often, consumers are not aware of the technologies sold in their local market and this is where National Ozone Officers (NOOs) can play an important role. “We are seeing already today that hydrocarbon refrigerants are coming to the market, but the public is not aware of that,” Dubrie said.
Harmonisation and Nationalisation of Standards, Mr. Kevin Lee, Global Technical Manager for Heatcraft Worldwide Refrigeration and Chairman of Australian Standards Committee ME-006
In the past, refrigerant standards have purely focused on the safety aspect; however, now standards have to address also environmental issues and energy efficiency. According to Mr. Lee, the challenge we are facing today is to find the right balance between safety and environment.
HCFC alternatives with low-GWP have brought new challenges such as flammability issue for hydrocarbons (HC), high pressure for CO2 systems or toxicity for ammonia and chemical low-GWP substances to the table he explained. “Standards are particularly important to address these issues for low-GWP alternatives,” said Mr. Lee, explaining that standards will, therefore, get more complex.
Mr. Lee explained that ISO develops so-called horizontal standards – general requirements that go across many groups of refrigerants, while product specific standards/vertical standards are developed by IEC. Furthermore, the different standards available today tend to form a certain hierarchy among themselves. For instance, ARI 700 (Specification for Fluorocarbon Refrigerants) and ISO 817 (Refrigerants Designation System) standards cover basic refrigerant safety data and are used as a basis for:
ISO 5149 that refers to general and overall system safety and environmental aspects;

IEC 60335 series that covers product specific safety issues. This standard also refers to ISO 5149 for general refrigeration safety and is often mandatory in national standards.

Nevertheless, as pointed out by Mr. Lee in his presentation, international standards that enable global harmonisation of rules are critical to ensure that standards do not become trade barriers.
New Progress on the Standards Adopting Low-GWP/Flammable Refrigerants, Mr. Zhong Zhifeng, Refrigeration Team Leader of Division III, Foreign Economic Cooperation Office, Ministry of Environmental Protection, China
China has agreed to reduce its consumption of HCFCs in the room air-conditioning (A/C) sector and industrial & commercial refrigeration sector by 10% by 2015. With regards to room A/C, Mr. Zhifeng explained that production safety and design requirements in China are set by GB 4706.32 standard, which entered into force on 1 May 2013 and is a translated version of the IEC 60335-2-40. There are separate energy efficiency standards such as GB 12021 and GB 21455 irrespective of the type of refrigerant used in the application.
In the industrial and commercial refrigeration sector, manufacturers have to comply with the GB 9237 standard, which covers production safety, design, storage, transportation, installation and maintenance of the equipment. Mr. Zhifeng, however, explained that this standard fails to clearly address flammable refrigerants and this is an area China will have to work on.
A Road Map for the Adoption of HCFC Alternatives in RAC, Mr. Samir R. Traboulsi, Senior lecturer at the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture of the American University of Beirut, Chairman and General Manager of Thermotrade SAL and the Managing Director of RANEC
Mr. Traboulsi acknowledged that standards for the adoption of HCFC alternatives are a very important topic in many developing countries. As the former Director of ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers), Mr. Traboulsi introduced the ASHRAE Position Statements on Refrigerants, namely the one on Natural Refrigerants that expires in 2014. He also explained the ASHRAE Standards such as Standard 15-2010 that deals with refrigeration safety standards and ASHRAE Standard 34-2010, which focuses on designation and safety classification of refrigerants.
International standards vs. national standards
During a lively Q&A session at the end of the webinar, participants were asked if international standards such as ISO or IEC should be preferred over the national standards to avoid unnecessary trade barriers. Mr. Lee acknowledged that current ISO standards do not take into account particular climate issues, such as very high ambient temperatures, but emphasised that eventually countries should be moving towards international standards. Mr. Traboulsi and Mr. Zhifeng shared the view that international standards could be used as a reference point, but each country should modify the standard based on its needs.
What to expect in next webinars on standards?
UNEP OzonAction is planning to host 6 more webinars on standards that will cover the different roles of national and international bodies/institutions in the standards setting process, standards in the RAC manufacturing sectors, standards for the RAC technology purchasers and servicing sectors, as well as legislation, capacity building approaches and enforcement requirements for (refrigerant) standards.
About UNEP OzonAction
The UNEP OzonAction Branch assists developing countries and economies in transition in achieving and sustaining compliance with the Montreal Protocol on the Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The programme’s main objective is to enable countries to make informed decisions about alternative technologies and ozone-friendly policies.
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