Benjamin-Nicolau 's

Environm Ciencia, Tecnologia y Economia

Posts Tagged ‘UNEP’

Tree Planting Campaign Hits Four Billion Mark

Posted by benjamin-nicolau en junio 10, 2009

Tree Planting Campaign Hits Four Billion Mark

 From the UNEP Twitter campaign to tree-plantings on every continent, thousands of people around the world mobilize to put more trees on the planet

 The Billion Tree Campaign has passed the four billion mark, in a crucial step towards its target of seven billion trees planted by the end of 2009.

The milestone was reached following confirmation from the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture that an additional 687 million trees were planted in 2008 under the country’s nationwide tree planting campaign – part of the one billion trees that were planted over the last 52 days.

The total has also been boosted by individual tree planting efforts by people around the world taking part in a global tree planting drive for World Environment Day, a hands-on way for communities to urge world leaders to “seal the deal” at the crucial UN climate change talks in Copenhagen in December.

The campaign hit the three billion mark less than two month ago, when the Turkish Ministry of Environment and Forests announced that collective efforts by the Government, NGOs and civil society had led to the planting of over 300 million trees during 2008.

Other recent tree registrations to the Billion Tree Campaign include the China Green Foundation, which has confirmed that it has planted 181 million trees; Peru, with over 41 million trees planted through its National Tree Campaign of Afforestation and Reforestation; Romania with over 38 million trees planted through its “Millions of Trees Millions of People” national movement; the Armenia Tree Project, which has registered close to one million trees; and the Kenya Commercial Bank, which planted 200,000 trees in Kenya during its 2009 Community Day.

Plantings in 166 countries

To date, tree plantings have taken place in 166 countries around the world as part of the Billion Tree Campaign. The latest participants in the campaign include the Pakistan Ministry of Environment and Forests, which has pledged to have 120 million trees planted by the end of 2009. In addition, the Ministry plans to launch a 2.3 billion tree planting campaign with a target of increasing the country’s forest cover by 1 per cent by 2015. The Government of Turkmenistan has also joined the campaign with a pledge to plant close to 1.5 million trees this year.

Twitter for Trees campaign gets 10,000 followers

UNEP has also mobilized action across the globe through the hugely successful Twitter for Trees campaign.  The initiative was driven by a simple yet powerful idea: UNEP pledged to plant one tree for every follower who joined by World Environment Day on 5 June.

The campaign was a runaway success, with 10,300 people following the UNEPandYou page by World Environment Day weekend. UNEP will therefore plant 10,300 indigenous trees in several locations around the world as part of the Twitter for Trees tree-planting drive, which will feed into the Billion Tree Campaign. We will post information on the T4T tree-plantings shortly, with details on how to participate.

World Scout movement involved in the BTC

The World Organization of the Scouts Movement – which has 28 million Scouts, male and female, in 160 countries – also planted trees under the campaign as part of their World Environment Day activities on June 5 in several countries including Australia, Mexico and Brazil.

In line with its mandate to study and protect Nature, the World Organization of the Scouts Movement have pledged to plant at least 65,000 trees in Mexico, India, South Africa, Georgia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Hungary, the Philippines, Brazil and Australia.

UN Peacekeepers to plant trees

The United Nations Peacekeeping missions also joined the campaign on World Environment Day, planting trees with its field missions in East-Timor, Ivory Coast, Darfur, Lebanon, Haiti, Congo, Georgia, Liberia, and Western Sahara amongst others. 

In a call to further global action, UNEP is inviting everyone from civil society to the business community to Governments to plant trees as part of the UNite to Combat Climate Change initiative, and to register their commitments to plant on the campaign’s website: http://www.unep.org/billiontreecampaign

 

About the Billion Tree Campaign

Under the Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign, people are encouraged to enter tree planting commitments online with the objective of planting at least seven billion trees worldwide by December 2009 – one for every person on the planet.

 

SOURCE UNEP

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Safer Chemicals Management Moves Closer

Posted by benjamin-nicolau en mayo 15, 2009

Safer Chemicals Management Moves Closer

 The world has taken significant steps this week towards ensuring that chemicals are produced, used and disposed of as safely as possible. The second International Conference on Chemicals Management – ICCM2 – which ends today, has made progress in several key areas and has defined its priorities for future work.

 

Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), who was at the high-level segment of the conference, said: “Reaping the benefits that chemicals offer to a modern society while reducing their potential for harm to the lowest level possible is a task for everyone – governments, international agencies like UNEP and many others, non-governmental organisations, and scientists. SAICM this week really has proved its worth as the one worldwide forum which brings together the people who can make change happen. I am particularly encouraged at the way it has focussed attention on the four emerging issues – nanotechnology, e-waste, chemicals in everyday products, and lead in paint – because that will encourage us all to work harder to find some answers.”

 

Conference president is Dr Ivan Erzen of Slovenia said: “This is a unique and comprehensive effort to address chemicals issues holistically, bringing all concerned actors and stakeholders to one table, with equal rights of participation and negotiation. The inclusion of all sectors, whether private or public, helps us to better understand our respective concerns and interests. SAICM is uniquely equipped to facilitate a dialogue between Governments, intergovernmental organizations, industry, non-governmental organizations and civil society.”

 

The ICCM is the governing body of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management, SAICM, which is part of UNEP. The co-ordinator of the SAICM secretariat, Matthew Gubb, said: “The Conference has also considered how to ensure that sufficient resources are available to give meaning to the Strategic Approach in developing countries. SAICM has already been successful with its Quick Start Programme, a start-up trust fund which is currently running projects worth USD 20 million in close to 80 countries.” He added that “the Conference considered that more efforts were necessary to achieve the goal of minimizing the risks of chemicals to human health and the environment.”

 

Apart from its work on the emerging issues (see Notes to Editors), ICCM2 held two high-level round-tables, one on finance and the other on public health, the environment and chemicals management.

 

Concrete results from the conference, attended by almost 800 delegates, are expected in relation to the consideration of emerging issues, the linkages between health as well as sustainable development and chemicals management, and the financing of sound chemicals management.

 

SAICM’s Four Emerging Issues In 2009 SAICM has chosen four topics as emerging policy issues:

– nanotechnology and manufactured nanomaterials

– chemicals in products

– electronic waste

– lead in paint.

 

A working definition is that each is “an issue involving the production, distribution and use of chemicals which has not yet been generally recognised or sufficiently addressed but which may have significant adverse effects on human beings and/or the environment”.

 

Nanotechnology is about developing very small objects, typically at a scale of a millionth of a millimetre. One nanometre is about 1/50,000th the width of a human hair. First-generation nanotechnology is already on the market in products such as paints, coatings and cosmetics, medical appliances and diagnostic tools, clothing, household appliances, food packaging, plastics and fuel catalysts.

 

Examples include:

– improved solar collectors and wind turbines

– better batteries

– replacements for highly polluting brominated flame retardants

– fuel additives and energy savers

– the provision of clean water.

 

But inhaling minute particles can damage the lungs, arteries and the entire cardio-vascular system. Are nanotech products similarly damaging? And what happens when they break down, or interact with other substances? Can nanoparticles penetrate the skin, or cross the blood-brain barrier? Will they distort commodity markets, disrupt trade and destroy jobs? The potential for nanotechnology to widen existing economic gaps is significant.

 

Chemicals in Products – this category can be understood as “chemicals in products where you might not expect to find them”. We expect to find chemicals developed by humans in pesticides and pharmaceuticals, for example, but we may forget that they are also in tables, books, clothes and shoes. Particularly vulnerable groups may face heightened risks. These can include children at all stages of development, including before birth. Sometimes the risks can be substantial, as from lead in jewellery, and phthalates in plastics. Historically, reducing chemical risks has concentrated on releases during manufacturing. But we now realise that dangerous substances may also be released from products during use, and at the end of their useful lives.

 

Electronic Waste is known also as e-waste or Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). It comes from machines like fridges, air conditioners, microwave ovens, fluorescent light bulbs, washing machines, computers, mobile telephones, TVs and stereo equipment. The high rate of obsolescence in many of these means a fast turnover and a huge waste stream, much of which is exported from developed to developing countries, sometimes for further use as second-hand equipment and sometimes as end-of-life waste. E-waste contains persistent, bio-accumulative and hazardous (PBT) substances like heavy metals (lead, nickel, chromium, mercury) and organic pollutants like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs). Many developing countries do not have the infrastructure to manage e-waste properly, or an effective regulatory framework. Nor do many people realise how dangerous the wastes can be.

 

Lead in Paint. No level of exposure to lead is considered safe. It is recognised today as one of the twenty leading risk factors contributing to the global burden of disease. Eliminating lead exposure from gasoline has been one of the most significant environment health improvements in recent times. But lead-containing products are still widely made and sold across much of the developing world. Lead in paint is the second largest source of exposure to lead following exposure from gasoline. Paint containing lead is used in infrastructure like bridges, industry (car parts) and for marine uses, as well as domestically. The evidence of neurological damage, especially to children (whose intelligence can be impaired) and to workers in the lead industry is beyond doubt. Adults can suffer renal and cardiovascular damage. Some studies suggest a link to behavioural problems as well. Lead damage is irreversible, and its effects appear to persist into adolescence and adulthood. House dust is the commonest way in which children are harmed by lead in paint. The lead remains a risk for many years after the paint has been used. Small intelligence changes in an individual child can have substantial impacts on an entire population.

 

 SOURCE UNEP

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