The Environment Chronicle Notable environmental events
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At their 26th general meeting, farmers and foresters pass a resolution protecting birds deemed useful to agriculture. An international agreement follows in 1902.
The Congress concludes that "poor water quality threatened fisheries with total ruin."
The first international conference on nature conservation takes place in Bern.
From 4-13 September 1968, an intergovernmental conference of experts took place at UNESCO House in Paris on 'the scientific basis for the rational use and conservation of the resources of the biosphere'. The 'Biosphere Conference', as it became to be known, was organized by UNESCO, with the active participation of the United Nations, FAO and WHO , and in co-operation with IUCN and ICSU's International Biological Programme (IBP). More than 300 delegates from 60 countries took part, coming from a wide variety of scientific fields, management and diplomacy. This was the first world-wide meeting at the intergovernmental level to adopt a series of recommendations concerning environmental problems and to highlight their growing importance and their global nature. The conference was the occasion on which the n ow familiar word 'biosphere' made its entry into international life and where it w o n its recognition in our present language, having been confined previously to those limited circles familiar with the writings of Vernadsky or Teilhard de Chardin.
The European Declaration on Nature Conservation is passed at the conference.
This summit makes environmental protection a political reality.
The conference created the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) as well as an international Environment day on 5th June. The conference also decides to include non-UN scientific organisations in realising the programme (a "parallel action plan"). The wish to mediate more between the industrialised and developing world was also expressed.
The conference recommends a world population action plan for governments, in order to better understand the problem of population growth.
The conference seeks to coordinate measures for combating hunger and malnourishment. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and a world food council are called into being.
The 30th World Health Assembly lays the foundation for a global health strategy with the "health for all" resolution (WHA 30.43). This lays out the key target that "all citizens of the world will attain by the year 2000 a level of health that will permit them to lead a socially and economically productive life"
The jury sits for the first time to award the Blue Angel eco-label. The process involves close cooperation between consumer organisations, environmental groups and business. The label becomes an important help for environmentally aware consumers. There are now many other eco-labels, and in 1998, the FEA publishes a guide to the 40 eco-labels now in use.
Organized by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the First World Climate Conference (WCC-1) was held on 12-23 February, 1979 in Geneva, Switzerland. The WCC-1 recognized climate change as a serious problem and the WCC-1 declaration called for the urgent development of a common strategy for a greater understanding of the climate system and a rational use of climate information, and proposed the establishment of the World Climate Programme (WCP).
The London Dumping Convention adopts a worldwide moratorium on atomic waste dumping at sea. Great Britain alone refuses to participate.
The conference stresses the need for social research into improving the provision of family planning, as well as individual and national reproductive rights.
In 1985 a joint UNEP/WMO/ICSU Conference was convened in Villach (Austria) on the “Assessment of the Role of Carbon Dioxide and of Other Greenhouse Gases in Climate Variations and Associated Impacts”. The conference concluded, that “as a result of the increasing greenhouse gases it is now believed that in the first half of the next century (21st century) a rise of global mean temperature could occur which is greater than in any man’s history.”
The Frankfurt Conference adopted a key, pioneering document, the European charta "Environment and Health". The charta defines rights and obligations, among other things. A European Centre for Environment and Health was established.
The Second World Climate Conference (SWCC) co-sponsored by the WMO, UNEP, UNESCO, the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), FAO and the International Council for Science (ICSU) was convened in Geneva on 29 October to 7 November 1990, with the objectives to review the work of the first decade of the World Climate Programme (WCP), the First Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the development of an International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP). The outcome of the Conference, two years later, led to the establishment of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS).
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Rio Summit, Rio Conference or Earth Summit was held in Rio de Janeiro from 3 to 14 June 1992. In Rio, Governments adopted three major agreements aimed at changing the traditional approach to development: Agenda 21, The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and The Statement of Forest Principles. In addition, two legally binding Conventions aimed at preventing global climate change and the eradication of the diversity of biological species were opened for signature at the Summit, giving high profile to these efforts: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and The Convention on Biological Diversity.
The third conference expands its scope to include development as well as population. The dilemma here is the conflict between the benefits of industrialisation (which improves the lot of women, and thereby reduces birth rates) and the expected negative environmental impact.
The WHO presents a comprehensive report "Concern for Europe's Tomorrow" at the Helsinki Conference. A European plan of action "Environment and Health for Europe" is adopted on the basis of the report. National action plans are to implement it, coordinated by the new "European Environment and Health Committee"
The first United Nations Climate Change Conferences took place from 28 March to 7 April 1995 in Berlin, Germany. Delegates of the 116 UNFCC signatory states agree to the "Berlin Mandate", in which they commit themselves to develop a protocol by 1997, aimed at limiting and reducing greenhouse emissions beyond the year 2000. It is decided to locate the UN Secretariat for the FCC in Bonn from 1996.
The second United Nations Climate Change Conferences (COP 2) took place from 8 to 19 July 1996 in Geneva, Switzerland. In December 1995 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its second Assessment Report. A key statement of the report was that "the balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate". COP 2 accepted this report, which highlighted the urgent need for a binding protocol on the reduction of greenhouse gases. The Climate Change Conference in Geneva saw the United States take a major step in this direction by abandoning, for the first time, its opposition to a legally binding Protocol.
The summit issues the "Rome Declaration on World Food Security" and the "World Food Summit Plan of Action".
The Third Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP3) was held from 1-11 December 1997 at the Kyoto International Conference Hall (KICH) in Japan. On 11 December, after 10 days of tough negotiations ministers and other high-level officials from 160 countries reached agreement on a legally binding Protocol under which industrialized countries will reduce their collective emissions of greenhouse gases by 5.2%.
The Fourth Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 4) took place from 2 to 14 November 1998, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Parties reached agreement on the Buenos Aires Plan of Action, which specified that the detailed structure of the Kyoto Protocol should be completed by the 6th meeting of the Conference of the Parties at the latest. establishing deadlines for finalizing work on the Kyoto Mechanisms (Joint Implementation, Emissions Trading and the Clean Development Mechanism), compliance issues and policies and measures.
The third European Conference on Environment and Health is Europe's largest political event in this area. Ministers for Health, Transport and the Environment from 51 European countries take part. The conference produces: a protocol on water and public health; a charta on transport, the environment and health; a statement by ministers. NGOs, experts and companies take part in the "Healthy Planet" forum.
The Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 5) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) met in Bonn, Germany, from 25 October - 5 November 1999. At COP 5 itself the Parties discussed a system of monitoring commitments and the design of the Kyoto mechanisms, especially the (Clean Development Mechnism, CDM). Guidelines were also drawn up for industrialised countries' national emissions reports.
The Sixth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 6) took place from 13 to 25 November 2000 in The Hague, The Netherlands. Expectations of the 6th Climate Change Conference were very high and disappointment in its failure consequently intense. The summit had aimed to clarify the details of the Kyoto Protocol, but was unable to achieve agreement between the umbrella group, which included US, Australia, Canada, Japan and Russia, the group of developing countries and the European Union. Parties therefore decided to hold a follow-up conference in 6 months' time, where efforts to reach agreement would be renewed.
The 6th Climate Change Conference in 2000 in The Hague was adjourned without result. COP 6-2, the continuation of this summit, took place in summer from 16 to 27 July 2001 in Bonn. This meeting ultimately reached agreement on the main unresolved issues of the Kyoto-Protocol. The Bonn Agreements on international climate policy were an historic achievement: in spite of the US backing out of the Kyoto Protocol in March 2001, at COP 6-2 the Parties reached an agreement and established the conditions needed to ratify and implement the Kyoto Protocol. On 21 July 2001 the COP 6 President, Dutch environment minister Jan Pronk, submitted a proposal to ministers with compromises on the four disputed issues (CO2-sinks, the design of the Kyoto Mechanisms, the system for monitoring compliance, support for developing countries). After numerous consultations and two nights of negotiations, a generally acceptable compromise was reached on the basis of this proposal. On 23 July 2001 COP 6-2 accepted the negotiation oucome in a consensus of the Parties (with US abstention).
Seventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 7) took place from 29 October to 10 November 2001 in Marrakech, Morocco. Among the key outcomes of the Climate Change Conference were the Marrakesh Accords; this consisted of a package of 15 decisions on structuring and implementing the Kyoto-Protocol, including a system for monitoring compliance, using the Kyoto-Mechanisms the crediting of carbon sinks, and promoting climate action in developing countries. The adoption of the Marrakesh Accords at COP 7 smoothed the way for the Kyoto Protocol's entry into force.
The main result of the so far largest conference of the United Nations was to mark the future path to sustainable development by new priorities, targets and programmes. Important new targets were established, such as: to halve the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation by 2015; to use and produce chemicals by 2020 in ways that do not lead to significant adverse effects on human health and the environment; to maintain or restore depleted fish stocks to levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield on an urgent basis and where possible by 2015; and to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction in the current rate of loss of biological diversity.
The eighth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 8) took place from 23 October to 1 November 2002 in New Delhi, India. The Climate Change Conference took on a bridging function. Negotiations on the details of the Kyoto Protocol were essentially complete and it was expected to enter into force the following year. However negotiations on a second commitment period were deferred until the entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol. For this reason, COP 8 held initial talks with key countries such as Brazil, India and China on the options regarding fair commitments for developing countries. However, these talks only took place on an informal level. Besides this political discussion, decisions were taken on the design of the Clean Development Mechanism and the use of funds provided by industrialised countries for climate action in developing countries. In addition the New Delhi summit also discussed new guidelines on the national reports to be drawn up by developing countries, and agreed on a work programme aimed at raising awareness of climate issues and anchoring them more firmly in the Parties' educational programmes.
Ninth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 9) took place from 1 to 12 December 2003 in Milan, Italy. The Climate Change Conference was initially adversely affected by Russia's contradictory statements on its ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, the uncertainty regarding the date of the Protocol's entry into force and by the US going on the offensive in its climate policy approach in the media and at side events. Nevertheless, COP 9 was able to make it clear that the Kyoto Protocol had the support of the overwhelming majority in the international community. One key outcome of COP 9 was the successful conclusion of the two-year negotiations on the rules for afforestation and reforestation projects in developing countries. This closed the last gap in the Kyoto Protocol's rules of implementation.
The conference charted the way towards an expansion of renewable energies worldwide, responding to the call of the Johannesburg summit for the global development of renewable energy. It also kept up the momentum generated by the coalition of like-minded countries for promotion of renewable energies (known as the Johannesburg Renewable Energy Coalition, JREC). 3600 participants met in Bonn, among them official governmental delegations including energy, environmental and development ministers, representatives of the United Nations and other international and non-governmental organisations, civil society and the private sector.
CEHAPE is a document for policy makers, negotiated with Member States, that highlights the main commitments on children's environment and health and details the four regional priority goals (RPGs) for Europe. CEHAPE was adopted by European Ministers at the Budapest Conference through the Conference Declaration. The Budapest Conference is the fourth in a series started in 1989, bringing together ministers of health and of the environment as well as major stakeholders. European ministers are expected to reach consensus and make political commitments to ensure safer environments for children, through the adoption of a Conference declaration and of a children's environment and health action plan for Europe.
Since the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, there remains a strip of land running the entire length of Europe, from the Barents to the Black Sea, which remains comparatively undisturbed. It is the aim of the ?Green Belt? project to have this entire strip, or key habitats within it, as well as the connected areas become part of an ecological network. The first Conference of the Working Group is being organised by BfN and IUCN.
Tenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 12) took place from 6 to 17 December 2004 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Buenos Aires Conference tagged the tenth anniversary of the Climate Convention. It ended with a minimal compromise after a one day delay. For less developed countries in particular, funds of 400 million euros per year are to be made available by the EU alone in order to provide them with better protection against flooding, storms and other climate damage. There was an agreement on a second meeting to be held in Bonn in May 2005 about the further reductions in greenhouse gases after 2012. The US have reconfirmed their denial of the Kyoto Protocol.
The first meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) took place in Punta del Este, Uruguay. 800 participants from 130 states established a review committee that will be responsible for evaluating additional chemicals that could be added to the treaty's initial list of 12 POPs ("the dirty dozen"). Four more chemicals have been proposed already. Target is phasing out of the production of these substances.
The Eleventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) and the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 1)took place from 28 November to 9 December 2005 in Montreal, Canada. The Climate Change Conference resulted in the Montreal Action Plan, a roadmap to a post-2012 international climate regime. Some countries, for instance the United States and Australia, only accepted the FCCC but rejected the Kyoto Protocol. These states participated in the Montreal negotiations as observers. Following the Marrakesh Accords the Kyoto Protocol was fully implemented and equipped with a robust review regime. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) was topped up with a further 7.7 million USD of funding, its organisation improved and institutional position strengthened. The summit also adopted the five-year programme of work on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change.
Kenya hosted the second meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 2), in conjunction with the twelfth session of the Conference of the Parties to the Climate Change Convention (COP 12), in Nairobi from 6 to 17 November 2006. Discussions at the Climate change conference centred around African issues. The summit agreed on the principles and structure of the Adaptation Fund and on a five-year work programme on adaptation. The Parties also agreed that Africa should be supported through capacity building and assistance in the development of concrete projects and thus increase the continent's participation in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). Germany and the EU announced that they would substantially top up the European Union's umbrella fund Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund (GEEREF). The aim is to mobilise around 1.25 billion euros in climate-friendly investments and thus advance the elimination of energy poverty, particularly in Africa.