Friday, February 28, 2014

China’s Smog Is So Bad They’re Now Calling It a ‘Nuclear Winter’

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Nominations open for The MIDORI Prize for Biodiversity 2014

Tokyo/Montreal, 28 February 2014 – Bringing international recognition and a substantial monetary prize to three outstanding individuals, nominations are now invited for The MIDORI Prize for Biodiversity 2014. The call for nominations remains open from 1 March to 31 May 2014.

The MIDORI Prize, a biennial international prize co-organized by the AEON Environmental Foundation and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), honours individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Established by the AEON Environmental Foundation during the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity, the Prize aims to encourage positive action for biodiversity and inspire others by showcasing the notable work of those it honours. This year marks the third time that the MIDORI Prize is being awarded.

Takuya Okada, Chairman of the AEON Environmental Foundation and Honorary Chairman of AEON Co., Ltd., said: “The prevention of climate change and the conservation of biodiversity are two of the greatest challenges of our time. We hope that the MIDORI Prize will contribute to meeting this global challenge, to the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, and to the objectives of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020.”

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary, said: “The MIDORI Prize, the unique international prize dedicated to biodiversity, will contribute to raising public awareness on the essential role of biodiversity to humanity and to the objectives of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity.”

The Prize will be awarded at a special ceremony organized in conjunction with the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, in October 2014.
Nominations are invited from members of the public through the MIDORI Prize website,


3 March 2014
“Youth – Healing the Earth: Environment. Education. Empowerment.”
As we mark the 2014 Wangari Maathai Day and its theme, Youth- Healing the Earth: Environment. Education, Empowerment, we pay tribute to Wangari Maathai. Her rich legacy as a dedicated environmentalist, human rights activist and agent of change is an excellent basis to celebrate the energy, enthusiasm and dedication that youth bring to protecting our environment, including their work for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

Today’s youth comprise about 1.2 billion of the global population. With 200 million people aged 15-24, Africa has the youngest population in the world. Key agents for change, youth help shape social and economic development and challenge social norms and values. They are key actors in building the sustainable foundation of the world's future – the future we want. Most of the world’s youth live in developing countries, where they tend to make up a large proportion of the population. Like all people, youth are dependent on the services provided by healthy ecosystems, including the provision of a safe water and food supplies and sanitation. At present, the global economiccost  of biodiversity loss is between US$1.35 and US$3.1 trillion annually. Today’s youth will bear a large part of this economic burden, as will future generations unless we change our behavior. Therefore, youth have a vested interest in ensuring that biodiversity and the ecosystem services they provide are available
for them in the future.

Youth are resourceful and creative and can take this knowledge and find new and innovative solutions to reduce biodiversity loss and contribute to educating others about the importance of biodiversity. The sustainable use of biodiversity is a way to harness the tremendous richness of the continent and build a green economy that can enhance jobs and livelihoods. Biodiversity supports the world’s major industries like energy, agriculture, construction, pharmaceutical, to name but a few. Youth employment and wellbeing is therefore directly dependent on healthy ecosystems.

Thus education and training for our young people is crucial in order for them to participate actively in preserving and using sustainably biodiversity, as well as to understand the relationship between the longterm co-evolution of people, animal and plant species, and biological and cultural diversity. Education truly is empowerment. And through education comes positive change.

Youth represent hope, the hope for a better and more sustainable future. They also need to have an active voice in determining their future well-being. To that end, the United-Nations Secretary-General’s Five Year Action Agenda (2012-2017) invites the world to work with and for young people “by deepening the youth focus of existing programmes on employment, political inclusion, and education” amongst others. The Secretariat of the Convention on
Biological Diversity (CBD) supports this call in the context of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity.

The Secretariat proudly supports the inclusion of youth and invites youth to join the Global Youth Biodiversity Network, a platform where youth can join forces to contribute to achievement of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, and realization of the goals of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity. But more than this, youth can and need to be engaged in immediate and practical efforts to protect the ecosystems of the world. For example, youth can and should be active in initiatives such as the Hyderabad Call for a Concerted Effort on Ecosystem Restoration. Like other actors, they have a role to
play in the concerted and coordinated long-term efforts to mobilize resources and facilitate the implementation of ecosystem restoration activities on the ground for sustaining and improving the health and well-being of humans and all other species with whom we share the planet.

The Government of India, which currently serves as President of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD, launched the motto: “Nature protects if she is protected.” Wangari Maathai’s words reflect this when she once said, “Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system. We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own…”
Dr. Maathai has called on youth to, “commit themselves to activities that contribute toward achieving their long-term dreams. They have the energy and creativity to shape a sustainable future. To the young people I say, you are a gift to your communities and indeed the world. You are our hope and our future.”

Let us take heed in those words and be inspired not by our ecological footprint, but rather by our ecological handprint – our conviction that we can make a difference through individual and collective actions towards a sustainable future. By inspiring and being inspired by young people engaged in protecting our planet and conserving our biodiversity, we will be that much closer to finding long-term solutions to the biodiversity challenges we face today.

Governments complete preparations for the entry into force of Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing

Montreal, Canada 28 February 2014. Governments have established firm foundations for the operation of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing of Genetic Resources, contributing to the momentum towards entry into force and setting the agenda for the first meeting of its governing body, expected to take place in October 2014.

The third meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing (ICNP 3) successfully concluded on 28 February 2014 in PyeongChang, Republic of Korea.

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity is a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity. It provides a transparent legal framework for the effective implementation of one of the three objectives of the CBD: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

Braulio Ferreira De Souza Dias, Executive Secretary to the Convention on Biological Diversity, said “As the entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol approaches, laying the groundwork for a solid and strong foundation has never been more important. This very successful meeting has adopted recommendations that are at the core of this foundation. I want to congratulate Parties to the CBD for their hard work, spirit of compromise, and willingness to move towards entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol. Let us sustain all of this in the lead up to entry into force of the Protocol, and the first meeting of the COP MOP.” He said, “When the Nagoya Protocol enters into force, it will represent achievement of Aichi Biodiversity Target 16, the first target to be achieved under the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. It will also represent an important enabling framework that contributes to the green economy, sustainable development and “creative economy.” It is a central part of global efforts to build a future of life in harmony with nature, the future we want.”

The Nagoya Protocol on ABS was adopted on 29 October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan and will enter into force 90 days after the fiftieth instrument of ratification. As of today, 29 countries have ratified the Protocol,

Among the most important outcomes of the meeting:

Compliance - At ICNP 3, governments made major progress on issues relating to compliance procedures and mechanisms. This will greatly facilitate the task of the first meeting of the COP-MOP to the Nagoya Protocol to resolve the remaining differences and approve the compliance procedures and mechanisms as required under Article 30 of the Protocol.

Global multilateral benefits-sharing mechanism - A major issue under discussion was the need for and modalities of a global multilateral benefits-sharing mechanism (GMBSM). If and when agreed, the mechanism is intended to address instances of benefit sharing, including the use of traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources, that occur in transboundary situations or for which it is not possible to grant or obtain prior informed consent. ICNP agreed on a road map that will allow Parties to unravel the complexities of a GMBSM.

Access and Benefit-sharing Clearing House (ABSCH) – During the meeting, the pilot phase of the ABSCH was launched, and training sessions were held. In the formal discussions, governments underscored the critical importance of a fully functional ABSCH for the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol, and requested that all efforts were made to ensure that the ABSCH is fully functional by the time of entry into force of the NP.

Monitoring and reporting – COP-MOP 1 is expected to invite Parties to submit an interim national report on the implementation of their obligations under the Nagoya Protocol. This report will contribute to the first evaluation of the effectiveness of the Protocol. With a view to facilitate this, ICNP-3 requested the Secretariat to develop a draft format for the submission of the report and to consolidate the information contained in the reports and information published in the ABS-CH.

Capacity building – ICNP3 recommended to the COP-MOP the adoption of a strategic framework to assist developing countries to build capacity to implement the Nagoya Protocol. This framework provides a capacity-building strategy that will be the cornerstone of implementation on the ground and play a pivotal role for making the Nagoya Protocol a reality at national level.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Despite frigid cold in U.S., January was the fourth warmest on record worldwide

Despite frigid cold in U.S., January was the fourth warmest on record worldwide
Despite frigid cold in U.S., January was the fourth warmest on record worldwide

Did you know today is International Polar Bear Day?

Environmental Charities Threatened by the Canadian Government

A must read by a Member of Canadian Parliament!

Third Meeting of the Open-ended Ad-hoc Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol

This week delegates from all over the world are gathering in Pyeongchang in South-Korea for the first international ‪#‎CBD‬-conference in 2014!
At the “Third Meeting of the Open-ended Ad-hoc Intergovernmental Committee for the Nagoya Protocol”- or ‪#‎ICNP3‬ for short – delegates will be discussing about the future of the Nagoya Protocol, which governs access to genetic resources and equitable benefit sharing from the utilization of genetic resources (ABS). ABS is an extremely complex but also very important ‪#‎Biodiversity‬-issue that affects all of us!
Learn more about ABS and follow the meeting here:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


The local government of Himachal Pradesh in northern India is committed to provide adequate clean drinking water and irrigation facility according to the Irrigation and Public Health (IPH) minister. About 90 per cent of state's population is dependent on agriculture and horticulture and out of 53,604 habitations, 29,911 have been provided piped water while a total of 30,276 hand pumps has already been installed in the areas.
February 17


Of the four sewage treatment plants which were established 20 years ago in Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, northern Pakistan, only one is functional while other three have turned into dumping sites.  Establishment of those plan in unfeasible areas is the main reason for not being functional, although Asian Development Bank (ADB) has funded around 1.14 million USD to complete the project.
February 20