Written by Daniela Pani
We spent our second day of School at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) International Environmental House, where we entered the heart of the course attending to morning and afternoon presentations from insider and outsider speakers, who present the roles and the intervention areas covered by their Organisation: Prof. Martin Patel (Chair for Energy Efficiency University of Geneva, Institute for Environmental Sciences and Forel Institute); Dr. Cecile Molinier (former head of United Nations Development Programme – UNDP) and Dr. Arthur Dahl (former official of UNEP) and Dr. Elise Buckle (UNDP Climate Partnership Specialist).
Within a context of a very productive and proactive full-day roundtable, Dr. Alexander Hedjazi triggered a discussion around the definition and meaning of dynamics of Globalisation, which involves its economic, politic and environmental consequences. Likewise climate change, globalisation has a kaleidoscopic shape; alike-mind alignment is the key resource to be exploited for a constructive approach of discussion and for making negotiation successful (“let’s not be stuck into our own perspective of a problem”).
With Prof. Martin Patel we’re introduced to the dynamics of global changes, focusing on the industrial revolution and developments since then, analysing past and current global GHG emissions related to the use of energy. The development of key indicators (CO2 and CH4) over four glacial and interglacial cycles shows a regular periodic pattern, mainly caused by feedback mechanisms (permafrost, albedo, etc). The population growth and consumptions go along with increasing the usage of water, mainly linked to cooling of power plants and irrigation.
A brilliant presentation was delivered by Dr. Cecile Molinier – former head at UNDP. Her organization works in some 170 countries and territories, and focuses in achieving the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. UNDP supports countries developing policies and institutional capabilities, to build and share solutions in three main areas: sustainable development, democratic governance and peace building, climate and disaster resilience. Increasing the opportunities of human beings through developing their potentials is a key point to UNDP (“if a human being is not given the opportunity to improve, it does nothing but survive“). Although SDGs 10 and 16 connect most closely to the action implemented globally and locally of UNDP, Cecile highlighted the main role of SDGs n. 17, as a leading node to implement all other SDGs.
Through his mission of ” provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations” the leading global environmental authority United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) 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. These concepts were presented through a very inspiring speech by Dr. Arthur Dahl, a marine biologist expert in coral reefs. The threats from climate change, the necessary actions to be taken by environmental governance, as addressed in the past international summits with the major milestones, which have led to the definition of the SDGs, and the possible pathways to sustainability. The human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history.We can find a great source of inspiration in Nature, where we can still find perfect example of full-sustainability in efficient usage of energy and transfers within system.
Environmental issues are increasingly becoming important (migration, food security, resilience, energy and marine resources conservation, waste management) and require joint efforts of the governments, industry, civil society and individuals, constituting the new Millennium challenge.
Guided by Dr. Elise Buckle, this intense day ended with a very engaging group discussion about possible interventions addressing the negative effects of climate change in four key areas: transportation, agriculture, urban planning and energy.