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UN Environment Annual Report Highlights 2016 Achievements

2017-04-07

The UN Environment Annual Report features key achievements in 2016 and presents the Agency’s progress across a spectrum of environmental issues. The report covers, inter alia, actions on climate, chemicals, biodiversity protection and disasters and conflict, as well as ecosystem management and environmental governance. The initial forward to the report by António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, discusses on how “environmental care” is at the heart of conflict and crises prevention.

In a second forward to the report, Executive Director Erik Solheim notes that “people must always, always, be front and center” in the agency’s work to protect the planet.
Executive Director Erik Solheim notes that “people must always, always, be front and center” in the agency’s work to protect the planet.

The report then opens with a summary of important environmental outcomes in 2016. It features: the adoption of the Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, which is hosted by UN Environment; the entering into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change; the launch of US$1 billion clean-up and restoration of the Ogoniland region in the Niger Delta; a positive review of the Agency by the Multilateral Organisation Performance Assessment Network; and the launch of the Agency’s ‘Wild for Life’ campaign against wildlife crime.

For climate change, UN Environment focuses its work on climate resilience, low-emission growth and the UN-REDD Programme, implemented jointly with the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN (FAO) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Some important results on resilience included: Albania, Angola and Antigua and Barbuda accessed finance for implementing ecosystem-based adaptation, bringing the total number of countries that have done so with UN Environment assistance to 45; and three million square meters of solar water heating panels installed in five countries. For UN-REDD, in 2016, Chile, Congo, Ecuador, Peru and Sri Lanka finalized or adopted national REDD+ strategies.

With regard to disasters and conflicts, UN Environment supports risk reduction, response and recovery. In 2016, according to the report, the Agency supported 22 countries, including Afghanistan, Georgia, Peru and South Sudan, to reduce conflict and environmental risks, and responded to crises and supported recovery in 19 countries. In the area of ecosystem management, 33 countries enabled different sectors of their economies to use an ecosystem approach, and five water basins took steps to secure their terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. On environmental governance, among other outcomes, the report highlights that in 2016, Sierra Leone ratified five multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), Tanzania developed a rapid response manual for prosecuting wildlife crime, and Antigua and Barbuda introduced a ban on plastic bags.

On chemicals, the Agency reports that 15 additional countries ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury in 2016, meaning that, as of 1 January 2017, only 15 additional ratifications are needed for entry into force. Other sections of the report discuss resource efficiency, environment under review, budget, the second UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-2), partnerships, conventions and ambassadors and allies.

Source: IISD

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