Thursday, April 30, 2015


LONDON: The European Union (EU) today submitted a proposal to amend the Montreal Protocol to control hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), super greenhouse gases used in refrigeration, air-conditioning, fire protection, aerosols and foams.
The EU move follows similar proposals submitted since 2009 by the USA, Canada, Mexico and Micronesia, and would significantly reduce HFCs in developed countries by following a phase-down schedule closely matching the EU F-Gas Regulation, groundbreaking legislation adopted by the European Parliament and the Council in 2014.
“The EU clearly expects developed countries to lead by example,” said Clare Perry, Head of Climate at the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). “The EU has upped the ante significantly and is now calling on other developed countries to match it.”
In developing countries, the EU proposes a new approach, aimed at initially limiting the growth of HFCs, followed by an agreement to negotiate a phase-down schedule by 2020.
“The EU proposal is trying to be sensitive to the fact that HFCs are generally used to replace ozone-depleting HCFCs, which developing countries have only just begun to phase-out under the Montreal Protocol,” said Perry.
“For this reason, HFCs cannot be considered in isolation and this is the first proposal to try and address that specifically within an HFC amendment proposal – as such, it has the potential to unlock negotiations.”
The EU estimates global cumulative reductions in all countries would amount to 127 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent (Gt CO2-eq) over 40 years.
The EU proposal will be considered at the upcoming Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) in Paris in July, and again at the Meeting of the Parties in Dubai in November.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Invitation to Respond to UN General Assembly Dialogue on Harmony with Nature

Invitation to Respond to UN General Assembly Dialogue on Harmony with Nature.  View Maude Barlow's presentation on Rights of Nature and Harmony with Nature.

Leaked statistics confirm scale of Tanzania’s elephant poaching crisis

In November 2014, the Environmental Investigation Agency released its report Vanishing Point, revealing how a combination of criminality and corruption in Tanzania had caused the country to lose more elephants to poaching than any other African nation.
Figures in the report made for sobering reading. According to the Government’s own figures, the elephant population in the Selous ecosystem had crashed from 38,975 in 2009 to just 13,084 by late 2013. The population in the Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystem declined from 31,625 to 20,090 during the same period, making it home to more elephants than any other region of Tanzania.
It now appears that status was short-lived. Leaked figures reveal that the Ruaha-Rungwa area population had fallen to just 8,200 elephants by late 2014 – a catastrophic decline of 60 per cent in a single year, caused by industrial-scale poaching.               
Yet the news that Tanzania’s elephant population has plummeted yet again is sadly predictable, as is the fact that the figures have been available for months but suppressed; despite receiving the data in January, the Government of Tanzania has failed to publish it on the grounds that it needs to validate it or conduct a recount. 
It appears the main justification for this is the discrepancy between the actual population figures and the number of carcasses. Burying such bad news has happened before. In 2009, when a similar report highlighted an alarming decline in elephant numbers in the Selous, the response was the same – Tanzania’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism chose to cover-up the figures which, to great embarrassment, were subsequently leaked at a major international meeting.
Five years on and the Government has yet again failed to acknowledge the true scale of the problem in any recent public statements, instead choosing only to highlight cherry-picked positive examples of relative stability, such as the Selous where figures have risen marginally.
Worryingly, such practices could soon become the norm across the country. Last month, Tanzania’s parliament passed an oppressive Statistics Bill, which in effect makes it a criminal offence to publish any data not endorsed by the National Bureau of Statistics. If signed into law by the country’s president, those falling foul of the new bill could by jailed for a minimum of one year.           
Whether Tanzania’s judiciary has the capacity to implement such penalties is highly unlikely. EIA’s detailed analysis of court proceedings connected to major ivory seizures linked to Tanzania since 2009 found that out of 13 cases involving 26.5 tonnes of ivory, just one person has been convicted.
The international donor community, rightly concerned by the shocking decline in Tanzania’s elephant population caused by rampant poaching, is lining up to fund a range of anti-poaching and elephant conservation projects in the country. In return, it should demand basic openness and transparency from the Tanzanian Government.
For its part, the Government should be honest about the scale of the poaching problem it faces and step up efforts to prosecute the main culprits.          

Sunday, April 26, 2015


Here are some photos of last weeks Biodiversity Gala in Ottawa.  Winners were picked by youth from different local schools. 

Governmental Support Award: Elizabeth May

Elizabeth Evans May OC MP is an American-born Canadian environmentalist, writer, activist, lawyer, and politician currently serving as leader of the Green Party of Canada and Member of Parliament for Saanich—Gulf Islands. 
Image of Deborah Coyne, Senior Policy Advisory for the Green Party of Canada

The International Biodiversity Award- Geoff Green, Founder, Executive Director & Expedition Leader of Students on Ice Expeditions

Canadian adventurer, environmentalist and educator Geoff Green has been leading expeditions and adventures from pole to pole for the past twenty years. Many notable organizations such as the Discovery Channel, World Wildlife Fund, National Audubon Society and the Smithsonian Institution enlist Geoff to lead their groups into the world's most remote and interesting regions.

Local Youth Award for Biodiversity and Conservation- Jessica Walsh Moreau

Winner of the Ottawa Leading Girls Building Community Award, Jessica has been involved in the Macoun Marsh Biodiversity Project since its beginning.  She was also a leader in the 2009 International Youth Symposium for Biodiversity and in the formation of the International Youth Accord for Biodiversity that she co-presented in Nagoya, Japan for COP10.     

The St-Laurent Academy Biodiversity Award- Allan Leveille, Evan Mulcahy (St-Laurent Academy Youth and Biodiversity Mentors)
Allan and Evan represent some of the youngest of our original Biodiversity Youth Mentors.  They are very enthusiastic and proud to assist for tours at our local Macoun Marsh.  

International Youth Award for Biodiversity and Conservation- Lemuel Mena Vega (Mexico)

Lemuel Manases Mena Vega is a native of Cozumel and one of the founding members of the Park and Museum Foundation, which is dedicated to the conservation and maintenance of ecological parks and habitat in Cozumel. Lemuel has been most active in a project conserving and monitoring sea turtles and has presented at several international conferences, including the Second International Youth Forum in Canada in 2009. His long-term goal is to establish an environmental education business in Cozumel to get the native population active in conservation efforts.

International Youth Award for Biodiversity and Conservation- Christian Schwarzer (Germany)
Christian Schwarzer is a young German law student and a founder and member of the first Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN)’ Steering Committee. The Global Youth Biodiversity Network provides aunique global platform where youth organizations and individuals can get in touch with each other and join forces for the protection of biodiversity.  He has been to 21 rounds of UN-negotiations.  Among them 6 COP meetings (2 UNFCCC and 4 CBD) as well as 15 subsidiary body and ad-hoc working group meetings of the UNFCCC and the CBD.