The Environment Chronicle

Notable environmental events between 2014 and 2014 Deselect

  1. The 20th session of the Conference of the Parties and the 10th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol took place from 1 to 14 December in Lima, Peru. The final document contains elements of a draft negotiating text for an agreement to be adopted in Paris at the end of 2015 and enter into force in 2020. The decision envisages a complete draft by the end of May 2015. The COP 20 decision in Lima invites all Parties to present their own intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs). Those ready to do so should indicate within the first quarter of 2015 the extent to which they can reduce their emissions. Targets should be transparent, comparable and verifiable. In addition, Parties may provide voluntary information on measures for adapting to climate change. ight to the end, the issue of how to differentiate the climate commitments of the Parties remained contentious. At present the Kyoto Protocol only distinguishes between developing and developed countries. However, the EU and many other developed countries have advocated that in future the level of commitment should be based more on the individual economic capabilities of each state. The question of the legal form of the new agreement remained unresolved in Lima. COP 20 made good progress on climate finance. Over 10 billion dollars have now been pledged to the Green Climate Fund (GCF), thus creating the financial base the GCF needs to support developing countries in climate action and adaptation measures.

  2. The German Federal Environment Agency hosted the 2nd European Resources Forum on November 10-11, 2014, in Berlin, Germany. The aim of the European Resources Forum (ERF) is to provide a European platform for discussion of the issue of sustainable resource use by focusing on the political and scientific debate on this subject.

  3. The Eleventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals was held in Quito, Ecuador from 4 to 9 November 2014. An important issue up for discussion was the fight against the poisoning of migratory birds. The Parties adopted a resolution in favour of banning the use of lead shot within the next three years. The Action Plan for Migratory African-Eurasian Landbirds was also adopted. In addition the conference decided to establish an international task force on the illegal killing, taking and trading of migratory birds in the Mediterranean region. Winners of the conference include the polar bear, which will be better protected in future by the international community, and bird species such as the blue roller, the great bustard, the semipalmated sandpiper and the red knot. In light of severe declines in their populations due to overfishing and bycatch, a number of shark and ray species have also been listed in the CMS Appendices. Various species such as the sawfish, the silky shark, the hammerhead shark and the mantas have now been listed. Germany furthered its conservation efforts with the launch of the Central Asian Mammal Initiative which serves to protect large mammals native to Central Asia such as the Saiga antelope, the Mongolian Gazelle and the Khulan Equus hemionus. The Central Asian Mammal Initiative protects the natural habitats of Central Asia such as steppes, mountains and deserts. Along with this resolution a Programme of Work was developed for the protection of the migratory paths of large mammals in Central Asia.

  4. On 23 September 2014, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon invited world leaders, from government, finance, business, and civil society to Climate Summit 2014 in New York to galvanize and catalyze climate action. New commitments, new ideas, and new financing for significant actions to address the challenge of climate change dominated the announcements made by more than 100 Heads of State and Government and leaders from the private sector and civil society at the Climate Summit

  5. The international conference ‘Biodiversity Today for Tomorrow’ was convened by BION, the Bonn Biodiversity Network, and was held in Bonn, Germany, during 17-19 September 2014. The conference brought together more than 300 experts, representing 112 organizations and institutions from 38 countries. BION is built upon a unique range of local, federal state, national, and international stakeholders that are based in or near Bonn and that are involved in the study, the conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity. BION, the Bonn Biodiversity Network, aims at increasing mutual knowledge and understanding and fostering synergies among this range of institutions and organizations. This includes academia, private corporations, NGOs, United Nations entities, funding organizations and relevant federal and federal state ministries and agencies, and the recently established Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) as well as the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GDCT).

  6. The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States was held from 1 to 4 September 2014 in Apia, Samoa. The overarching theme of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States was "The sustainable development of small island developing States through genuine and durable partnerships". Germany wants to work together with the small island states to better protect the climate. At the UN Conference the Federal Environment Ministry announced a further expansion of cooperation. The central theme of the cooperation is climate action - both on the islands concerned and in the context of the forthcoming negotiations for an ambitious international climate agreement.

  7. The fifth Petersberg Climate Dialogue took place in Berlin from 14 to 15 July 2014. Federal Environment Minister Hendricks and her Peruvian counterpart Manuel Pulgar Vidal, who will chair the next United Nations Climate Change Conference, which is to be held in Lima, invited some 35 ministers from all regions of the world to the fifth Petersberg Climate Dialogue. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Peruvian President Ollanta Humala also gave keynote speeches. The aim of this year's Petersberg Climate Dialogue was to introduce new ideas into the negotations and discuss new strategies in preparation for the World Climate Conference in Peru in 2014 (COP 20 | CMP 10).

  8. The inaugural session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) was held in the Kenyan capital at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) over the five days between 23 and 27 June 2014. The establishment of the UNEA is a result of decisions adopted at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June 2012 to upgrade the former UNEP Governing Council, making it into the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in which all United Nations Member States have a vote. The focus of the first UNEA session was a debate about global sustainability goals for the post-2015 agenda, which are to succeed the Millennium Development Goals set out in the year 2000. International cooperation on measures to combat the illegal trade in wildlife will also be discussed. Other items on the agenda include decisions on chemicals and wastes, improving air quality and protecting the marine environment.

  9. The fortieth sessions of the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI 40) and the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA 40), as well as the June session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) took place from 4-15 June 2014 in Bonn, Germany. Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks regards the negotiations as an important step on the path towards a new comprehensive climate agreement to be adopted at the end of 2015 in Paris. During the negotiations, countries were able to gain more clarity and develop a common understanding of the possible options regarding important issues on the structure and content of the future climate agreement. This year's Bonn Climate Conference, which takes place every summer, included a meeting of the ministers for the first time. A new climate agreement taking effect after 2020 is to be adopted at the Climate Change Summit in Paris 2015. Unlike the Kyoto Protocol, this new climate agreement will contain commitments to be upheld by all developed countries, emerging economies and developing countries for the reduction of emissions. At the last Climate Conference in Warsaw in 2013, it was decided that by March 2015 all countries would submit concrete proposals for the commitments to be taken on in the new agreement. Negotiations in Bonn helped clarify what background information must be supplied by each country in their target proposals so that proposals will be transparent and comparable.

  10. The UK government hosted an international conference on illegal wildlife trade on 13 February 2014. The conference brought together global leaders to help eradicate illegal wildlife trade and better protect the world’s most iconic species from the threat of extinction. At the conference delegates from 46 different countries and 11 UN organisations have signed The London Declaration. The 46 countries have also committed to improving cross border cooperation - and to strengthening laws and policing.