Archive for September 30, 2011

ABUJA BOMB ATTACK VICTIMS’ NAMES

September 30, 2011

ABUJA BOMB ATTACK VICTIMS’ NAMES

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

The sordid, abominable bombing of a UN office in Nigeria by demonic jihadists claimed the lives of truly ennobled souls who were doing their sterling missions in Africa. A very shocking news indeed, as the jihadists have shown their total numbness and lack of compunction in killing their perceived enemies.

Only those possessed of the Demonic Mind will support terror groups and their abominable attacks on helpless people anywhere in our planet. The jihadists’ latest cruelty in Nigeria has all the more driven the global citizens to declare the ‘handwriting on the wall’ of religious fanaticism and intolerance.

Below is a list of names of the said bombing victims as released by the United Nations.

[Philippines, 28 September 2011]
Source: http://www.beta.undp.org/undp/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2011/09/13/un-releases-names-of-abuja-bomb-attack-casualties.html
UN releases names of Abuja bomb attack casualties
13 September 2011
Abuja, Nigeria – The United Nations in Nigeria today announced the complete list of names of 11 UN staff members among the 23 people who lost their lives in the 26 August bomb attack on the UN House in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
Those killed in the attack were: Ms. Rahmat Abdullahi, UNDevelopment Programme (UNDP); Mr. Musa Ali, World Health Organization (WHO);Mr. Johnson Awotunde, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF); Dr. Edward Dede, WHO; Mr.Elisha Enaburekhan, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); Mr.Ahmed Abiodun Adewale Kareem, UNICEF; Ms. Ingrid Midtgaard, UN Office on Drugsand Crime; Mr. Iliya David Musa, UNDP; Mrs. Felicia Nkwuokwu, UNDP; Mr. StephenObamoh, UNDP; Mr. Abraham A. Osunsaya, WHO.
“These men and women devoted their lives to improving the living conditions of ordinary Nigerians across the country,” said Mr. Daouda Touré, UN Resident Coordinator. “We will never forget them. Nor will we forge tthe passion and courage with which they proudly served the mission and ideals of the United Nations.”
An additional 116 people were injured in the Abuja explosion, including 64 UN staff members, 36 non-UN staff and 16 who currently remain unidentified.
Since 26 August, the UN has focused attention on securingmedical care, counselling and other essential needs for staff members and theirrelatives. The Nigerian government has been ensuring medical coverage forinjured non-UN staff.
UN work in the country continues with a business-continuity plan and ongoing delivery of the organization’s 2011 programme focused on improving the lives of the poor, addressing hunger, disease and illiteracy, and promoting respect for civil rights and freedoms.
Contact Information
For more information, please contact:
• Charles Nosa Osazuwa, Officer-in-Charge, United Nations Information Center (UNIC): Charles.osazuwa@unic.org; +234.803.402.2085
• Kelechi Onyemaobi, Communication Specialist, UNDP, +234.705.296.5692, kelechi.onyemaobi@undp.org ; kelechi.onyemaobi@gmail.com
• Seyi Soremekun, Communication and Information Officer, UNESCO: seyishow@hotmail.com ; +234.803.303.0002
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FINANCIERS’ CHALLENGE: FORESTRY-BASED CARBON MARKETS

September 30, 2011

FINANCIERS’ CHALLENGE: FORESTRY-BASED CARBON MARKETS

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Where has the world gone to after the concurrence of the Kyoto Protocol? We can still recall how, after all the wrangling and quizzing for a ‘final solution’ to the global warming problem, when the USA as the expected leading nation to support the protocol behaved instead on the contrary!

The Northern powers who did so much of the backdoor squeeze to bamboozle developing countries into supporting the protocol, ended up being cold to their respective countries’ commitment to the Protocol’s jack-rabbit start. Look at all the stubborn resort to fossil fuel including nukes that have demonstrated their destructive powers when unleashed upon nature without control.

As of this writing, financial institutions across the globe have expressed grave concern over the post-Kyoto wrangling and lackadaisical commitments of the North to the full protocol execution. So much of forest reserves were already destroyed across the globe by the greed of market players, so the big challenged posed unto the market stakeholders and states is the stronger implementation of forestry-based carbon markets. Will the challenge ‘bite the dust’?

Below is a report from the UNDP about the latest developments on the subject.

[Philippines, 27 September 2011]
Source: http://www.beta.undp.org/undp/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2011/09/13/financiers-call-for-forestry-based-carbon-markets-warn-of-huge-cost-of-failure.html
Financiers call for forestry-based carbon markets & warn of huge cost of failure
13 September 2011
Geneva – A coalition of the world’s foremost financial institutions brought together by the United Nations warns in a report released Tuesday against the huge financial and environmental losses that could stem from a post-Kyoto climate change deal that fails to spur private sector investment into deforestation and forest degradation reduction efforts.
With the new report, REDDy-Set-Grow Part II: Recommendations for international climate change negotiators, over 200 leading actors of the financial sector united under a partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) call on country negotiators at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to follow through with their previous commitment, incorporated into the 2010 Cancun Agreements, to an international policy architecture for deforestation and forest degradation reduction in developing countries (a scheme known as REDD+).
The new study asserts that any post-Kyoto climate convention negotiated in Durban and beyond must include text that clarifies the fundamental role of private engagement and investment in funding REDD+, as well as effective measures to tackle the fundamental drivers of deforestation by shifting behavior in the private sector towards sustainable land-use. A positive outcome in Durban would also send an encouraging signal to Rio+20 in June next year with one of its two key themes being the Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.
The report highlights the huge costs for the world economy and the global environment of policy-makers coming short of fulfilling these criteria.
An ineffective climate change regime on forests would entail losses in the global economy of $1 trillion per year by 2100, and affect a good portion of the estimated 1 billion people who rely on forests for their livelihood, according to previous research (Eliasch Review, 2008).
In contrast, a healthy forestry-based carbon market could achieve to mobilise investment for the protection and rehabilitation of natural forests in the order of $10+ billion by 2020 (The Economics of Ecosystem and Biodiversity – TEEB, 2010).
“The fundamental reason for current levels of deforestation worldwide is that cleared forests translate into economic opportunity for farmers, local communities and governments while standing forests do not. There is a price for soybeans, palm oil, beef and other products grown on deforested lands, but not for the many critically important services provided by healthy forests, including the sequestration and storing of carbon,” said BNP Paribas’ Director – Environmental Markets & Forestry, Christian del Valle.
“With the possibility of a global funding mechanism for REDD+ we now have, at the global level, the unprecedented opportunity to address this imbalance. I hope we do not miss it so that natural forests are given the value they deserve,” he added.
Sufficient funding of REDD+ mechanisms, if achieved, could be a key boost to efforts to hold the global temperature rise below 2 Degrees Celsius – a target previously agreed by governments – by scaling up current efforts to protect carbon-absorbing forests.
The price tag associated with halving global deforestation and forest degradation at the required scale and speed to meet internationally agreed targets is steep, however, having previously been estimated to amount to a mammoth $17-$40 billion per year (Eliasch Review, 2008; UNEP Green Economy Report, 2010).
With total government pledges for REDD+ adding up to $7 billion, REDDy-Set-Grow Part II stresses that plugging this gaping funding hole will require the close involvement of private finance, which has so far been on the margins of the funding debate.
“The banks, insurers and investors that are members of the UNEP Finance Initiative are optimistic that governments, when meeting in Durban this December, will realise the importance of mobilising private capital to help reduce deforestation and forest degradation,” said Abyd Karmali, Managing Director and Global Head of Carbon Markets at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, a member institution of UNEP FI.
“Without the systematic involvement of the private sector, ranging from institutional investors to local forest cooperatives, the REDD+ mechanism agreed to in Cancun risks being rendered ineffectual.”
REDDy-Set-Grow Part II further articulates the features which the private financial sector would like policy-makers to include in a new climate change treaty to summon sufficient funds.
Recommendations
Among the specific policy recommendations formulated in the report are the details of a policy scenario, coined as the “nested approach,” deemed most likely to close the REDD+ investment gap.
Under a nested approach, a future REDD+ funding mechanism would be:
• Inclusive: Private entities (such as forest concessionaries or forest cooperatives) as well as governments (at both the national and sub-national level; such as central governments or municipalities) would be eligible to develop and implement forest conservation, rehabilitation or reforestation activities and to receive payments based on performance for these initiatives, with the desired effects of both spurring the multiplication of REDD+ projects and reducing possible red tape and risks commonly associated with weak governments.
• Decentralised and reliable: Payments for REDD+ projects would come from the generation of REDD+ carbon credits and their trade on international carbon markets rather than from currently cash-strapped donor country budgets. In other words: the burden of reducing, halting and ultimately reversing deforestation would not be borne by tax payers in developed countries, but by carbon polluters (or emitters). In addition to increasing the reliability and potential volumes of performance-based payments, such a market-based system would provide a strong real-price signal.
• Leakage-proof: Risks that successful deforestation reduction efforts in a given region be used to justify increased deforestation in another one – a phenomenon commonly known as “leakage” – will be mitigated by the enforcement of a national baseline. The baseline will aggregate project-level performance indicators into a country-wide performance indicator.
The report also calls for reforms to forest-based projects under the Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which the financial sector would like to see improved – namely with the creation of permanent carbon credits – in a post-Kyoto regulatory environment.
“Our position is simple: our involvement is direly needed, and we wish to get involved. But we cannot do so unless it makes basic commercial sense to us,” said Armin Sandhövel, CEO of Allianz Climate Solutions, another member institution of UNEP FI.
“With this report, we wish to state with one voice, as an industry, that policy-makers must urgently put in place viable avenues and formats for upscaled private sector investment and involvement in REDD+ by, firstly, redoubling efforts to agree on a climate change deal that will replace the Kyoto Protocol, and secondly, making policy decisions that will make investments in the protection, rehabilitation and creation of natural forests more competitive against conventional, unsustainable options. This report says how that can be done,” he added.
Part I of REDDy-Set-Grow, released earlier this year, cast a spotlight on the abundance of untapped opportunities in current and emerging forest-carbon markets.
Further Quotes
Paul Clements-Hunt, head of UNEP Finance Initiative: “The climate-change mitigation debate has not kept apace with the finance community’s rapidly growing understanding of its critical role in enabling and driving the shift to the green and low-carbon economy, with the result that the views of one of the world’s most economically influential sectors are currently largely unaccounted for in international climate change negotiations.”
“Private banks and investment funds can contribute to the global struggle to mitigate climate change. Our detailed recommendations on financing forest-based mitigation hopefully bode the beginning of a new dialogue between the finance community and governments,” he said.
Contact Information
UNEP:
Nick Nuttall
Acting Director Division of Communications and Public Information/UNEP Spokesperson
+254 733 632755
nick.nuttall@unep.org
Sebastien Malo
UNEP FI Communications
+41 22 917 8465 / Mobile: +41 78 686 7022
sebastien.malo@unep.org
UNDP:
Stanislav Saling
Communications Specialist
+ 1 212 906 5296
stanislav.saling@undp.org
Related Links
• UNEP
• UN – REDD Programme
• UNEP FI
UNDP Environment and Energy
Related News
• 14 Sep: New guide to help developing countries speed up access to climate finance
• 13 Sep: Financiers call for forestry-based carbon markets & warn of huge cost of failure
• 22 Aug: Equator Prize opens call for sustainable development award nominations
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GOVERNANCE IS KEY TO DISASTER-CONFLICT INTERFACE

September 30, 2011

GOVERNANCE IS KEY TO DISASTER-CONFLICT INTERFACE

Erle Frayne D. Argonza

We have been experiencing worldwide the upswings in disaster-conflict interface. In certain areas of the Horn of Africa, for instance, where hunger now stokes millions of refugees, the relief operations are severely hampered by jihadist groups that have undercut the supply lines between aid groups and hungry refugees.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) experts are of the opinion that governance is the key to an appreciable management of the disaster-conflict interface. “Governance is a Key Enabler,” goes the thesis of the UNDP, which this development stakeholder agrees with.

Below is the news report coming from the UNDP about the subject.

[Philippines, 27 September 2011]
Source: http://www.beta.undp.org/undp/en/home/presscenter/articles/2011/09/12/disaster-conflict-interface-one-abets-the-other-but-governance-is-a-key-enabler-.html
Disaster-Conflict Interface: One Abets the Other, but ‘Governance is a Key Enabler’
12 September 2011

GENEVA—Disasters and conflicts frequently occur together, often devastating countries that are least able to sustain them, but good governance can speed recovery and lessen the likelihood of recurrence, according to a new UNDP study.
“In most instances, the disaster-conflict interface increased the risk of future crises and hampered crisis recovery efforts,” says Maxx Dilley, Officer in Charge of UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention & Recovery (BCPR) Disaster Risk Reduction and RecoveryTeam and author of the study “Disaster-Conflict Interface.”
The report examines interactions between conflict and disasters associated with natural hazards. It presents an unprecedented survey of cases in which conflict and disaster coincide—each a complex phenomenon in its own right, as in the worsening Horn of Africa crisis.
In all case studies, conflict was found to have an adverse impact on disasters where both are present,” Dilley says. Taken together, these cases “highlight the importance of governance as a key enabler of both disaster reduction and conflict prevention.”
The study argues for developing an integrated pool of staff with expertise in conflict and disaster risk-management, but also including governance, environment, and poverty practitioners, he says.
The unfolding famine in the Horn of Africa—now facing its worst drought in 60 years—is a case in point. Long-running conflict has increased vulnerability to drought and severely hampered humanitarian access to the worst-affected areas, triggering a flood of famine refugees.
U.N. officials this week said Somalia’s famine has spread to a sixth region and warned at least 750,000 people are at risk of dying in the next four months in the absence of scaled-up aid. Tens of thousands have already died, mostly children.
“This makes the humanitarian response more complex, imposes additional stress on host communities which are themselves affected by the drought, and heightens the risk of conflict over resources,” Dilley says.“Increased inter-communal violence has been reported throughout the drought-affected rural areas due to the scarce availability of water and pastures.”
A comprehensive response must include scaled-up support for more responsive, accountable, and resilient governances, he said.
Following is an interview with Maxx Dilley, Officer in Charge of UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention & Recovery (BCPR) Disaster Risk Reduction and Recovery Team and author of the study “Disaster-Conflict Interface.”
What prompted this report?
“The Disaster-Conflict Interface study was undertaken as a joint effort to improve the evidence base for pursuing crisis prevention and recovery comprehensively when both disasters and conflicts, or related risks, are present. The study was intended to inform the broader practice of crisis prevention and recovery—in an environment in which disaster losses continue to rise: In 2010, 373 natural events, such as earthquakes, floods, cyclones, volcanic eruptions, and droughts, affected some 208 million people, causing 300,000 deaths, and producing economic losses estimated at US$110 billion.
“More than 80 countries are meanwhile identified as facing violent tensions, and 22 of the 34 countries furthest from reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are in the midst of or emerging from violent conflict. As you can see right now in the Horn of Africa, many of these countries are highly exposed, and vulnerable, to natural hazards as well.
“In cases such as the Horn of Africa, where a major hazard event has occurred in a context of conflict and heightened conflict tensions, BCPR is working with UNDP Country Offices to ensure that their recovery and long-term risk reduction programmes address both conflict and disasters holistically.This includes, for example, addressing hazard-related risks through livelihood programmes that also promote conflict recovery, and addressing conflict risk factors through programmes that provide immediate drought recovery assistance.”
What do you want policy advisers to take away from this study?
“The case studies highlight the importance of governance as a key enabler of both disaster reduction and conflict prevention. Conflict-ridden countries have difficulty attaining the necessary level of social cohesion needed to address the root causes of disasters. Conflict inhibits development broadly, including increasing disaster risks and losses due to increased vulnerability to natural hazards. Conversely, reduction of disaster losses contributes to sustainable development and therefore—at least indirectly—to reduced conflict risk.
“The case studies suggest that potential exists for addressing the disaster-conflict interface more systematically. For example, the research for this study identified a significant variation in the capacities, approaches, and prioritization of these issues across the nine UNDP Country Offices. In most cases, staff were in the initial stages of learning about these issues and related programming approaches. Awareness-raising, advocacy, and capacity development must all be scaled up.”
What did you aim to achieve with this study? Has this nexus been studied at UNDP in the past?
“This bureau, BCPR, launched the study to explore the interface between conflicts and disasters through an empirical approach based on actual country cases—it’s the very first study on this topic undertaken in UNDP. BCPR is working in many developing countries that experience both disasters and conflict at the same time.
“Contexts in which conflicts and disasters overlap are daily realities for people who are affected, as well as for many humanitarian and development practitioners. Effective programmes to manage crisis interventions need to reflect conflict-disaster complexities and respond to them in a holistic and integrative manner. Experience has also shown that development interventions that fail to recognize the link between disasters and conflict in at-risk countries can worsen tensions and increase risk. While intuitively it makes sense to assume that the geographical overlap of both disaster and conflict worsens the impact of crises, evidence for this is limited. Analyses of concrete case study observations are also limited, and those that do exist come from different unconnected disciplines. In an effort to share the experience in operating in conflict-disaster interface settings, BCPR undertook this analysis in 2007.
“The study aims to achieve a comparative analysis of tendencies and experiences that stem from the relationship between disasters and conflict. It also analyses the relative success of existing relevant programming approaches adopted in-country. This will help identify practical approaches and disseminate good practice, helping to better equip UNDP Country Office staff who operate in complex environments in which disaster and conflict overlap.”
You focused on examples from nine countries. Which disaster-conflict interactions struck you most vividly? What did they have incommon?
“The study is based on experiences from nine selected case-study countries: Bolivia, Haiti, Indonesia (Aceh), Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Zimbabwe. Each case study analyses the dynamics of the interface, as well as strategies and interventions across agencies, and particularly focuses on UNDP approaches and good practices.
“A disaster-conflict interface happens when disasters (risks, events, and recovery) have a relationship with conflicts (risks, events, and recovery) and/or vice versa, beyond simple geographic/demographic co-location. Each interface is a complex phenomenon in its own right. But commonalities recur. In all case studies, conflict had a harmful impact on disasters. In most instances, the disaster-conflict interface increased the risk of future crises and hampered crisis recovery efforts. This was particularly obvious at the local level, with widespread examples of problematic interactions between disasters and conflict.
In most case studies examined, the interface of disasters and conflicts was overwhelmingly harmful, worsening the risk of future crises and hampering crisis recovery efforts. In all case studies, conflict was found to have an adverse impact on disasters.”
Related Links
• UNDP’s work in Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Risk Management
• Somalia: The Epicentre of a Crisis
• Drought in Kenya: Current Crisis Calls for Long-term Solutions
Related documents
• Disaster-Conflict Interface
More publications

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