The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.
What they do:
- Strengthening institutions
- Assessing global, regional and national environmental conditions and trends
- Developing international agreements and national environmental instruments
- Integrating economic development and environmental protection
- Facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology for sustainable development
- Encouraging new partnerships and mind-sets within civil society and the private sector
An efficient strategy needs clear defined goals. It is important to know why the strategy is made and what exact targets it wants to reach.
To be able to analyse the selected targets, there has to be some sort of knowledge about it. We need to know if there is already data available or scient based theories we can rely on.
Political and legislative support is vital for a strategy to work. Without both the strategy in not able to funktion and to unfoled or develop appropriately.
If we like it or not, it is always necessary to include financial aspects into a strategy, if the goal is to call it “efficient”. Especially when the goal is to change a certain situation, it will be checked if the proposal is feasible. If this is not the case, the strategy will very likely not succeed.
Monitoring tools are important when it comes to tracking the impacts of the strategy. They show us if we are closer of reaching the set goal.
Montreal Protocol (1987)
In 1974 an employee of the UN Environment published a paper concluding that chlorofluorocarbons were affecting the ozone layer which protects our planet from ultraviolet radiation. During this time chlorofluorocarbons were commonly used as refrigerants and could be found in spray cans.
The depletion of the ozone layer was the first threat originated by humans on the global atmosphere that was recognized as such and discussed internationally. After scientist were even able to identify and measure a hole in the ozone layer, the problem carried a huge international importance. Problem solving solutions were developed very fast and the Montreal Protocol was ratified globally.
If you wish to read a bit more about the history and development of the Montreal Protocol, go over to this article.
Clear defined goal: protection of the ozone layer
Clear defined targets: phase out production of substances responsible for ozone depletion
It was possible to show the ozone hole in our atmosphere.
There was tangible proof of the hole and the effect certain substances had on it.
Protocol was accepted by 197 countries, making it the first universally ratified treaty.
Ozone depleting substances could be replaced by others without increasing production costs.
Technology was advanced enough to measure the hole in the ozone layer and to show the positive impacts the Montreal protocol had on it.
Kyoto Protocol (1997)
The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement that is linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on climate change. The goal of the protocol is to mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As most developed countries have high GHG emissions, the protocol places a heavier burden on them.
To know more about the mechanisms and monitoring tools you should read this article. However, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the Kyoto Protocol. You can find more information about it if you check out our “controversy” page 😉
Goal: Reduce climate change impacts
Target: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally
No universal acceptance that GHG emissions impact climate change, as there are critics who do not believe in climate change or that humans are able to impact earth on a large skale.
Until today it is ratified by 192 parties, so no globally acceptance yet.
Check out some more infos about the status.
There is no solution to mitigate GHG without affecting the economy substantially, as there is no “simple” and cheap substitution.
It is impossible to track all GHG emissions globally.
Paris Agreement (2015)
The Paris Agreement is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020. The agreement was negotiated by representatives of 196 parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by consensus in December 2015.
The Paris Agreement builds upon the Convention and – for the first time – brings all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects. The Agreement’s central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. It also aims to strengthen the ability of countries to deal with the impacts of climate change.
To reach these ambitious goals, appropriate financial flows, a new technology framework and an enhanced capacity building framework will be put in place, thus supporting action by developing countries and the most vulnerable countries, in line with their own national objectives.
The key elements of the agreement are:
– Loss and damage
– Role of cities, regions and local authorities
Find out more about each element by checking the slides of the lecture “International Strategy”!
NDCs stands for Nationally Determined Contributions. They are the heart of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of the long-term goals. NDCs embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
NDCs are submitted every five years to the UNFCCC secretariat, with the next round of NDCs (new or updated) being submitted by 2020.
Here you will find progress reports from China, India, EU, Canada, Mexico, USA, Japan and Brazil!
Sustainable Development Goals
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Global Goals are 17 goals with 169 targets that were developed after the Millennium Development Goals. They include areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, among others. The goals are interconnected and achieving one will often involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another.
The SDGs are an inclusive agenda and provide clear guidelines and targets for all countries to adopt in accordance with their own priorities and environmental challenges. The commitment is “to leave no-one behind” in the development pathways. The targets should be achieved by 2030.
Achieving these ambitious goals requires partnerships of governments, private sector, civil society and citizens. We all need to make sure we will leave a better planet for the future generations (remember the definition of Sustainability? Refresh your mind).
Explore the goals below and find out the progress reported in 2018 for each goal. How far are we from the 2030 Agenda?
End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
What is UN Environment?
Which role does it play?
Can you make a description of UN Environment?
Why can we say that Montreal Protocol was an efficient strategy?
What are the key elements of the Paris Agreement?
Until when should the goals be achieved?
Which SDG has more relevance in your opinion? Is it only one?