Search Results for Tag: United Nations
Beach party in the desert
They are infamous, a great way to meet new people and loved even by state delegates: The parties of civil society groups during the yearly climate summits.
This year’s party took place on a beach in the middle of the desert, about an hour’s drive away from Doha. We went there to soak up the atmosphere as well as for some late night networking.
DateDecember 2, 2012
TagsAYCM, civil society, climate action network, climate conference, cop18, desert, doha, IndyAct, NGO, oasis, United Nations
Minister receives green bracelet
Ahmed’s big eyes are beaming with pride. The young Egyptian is standing on the stage of the German Pavillon in Rio de Janeiro. The 16 year old pupil has started a recycling project at Kairo’s German school which he is presenting to an international audience today at the Rio+20 conference.
“Be the change you want to see in the world“
While politicians are negotiating the final document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development just across the street, Ahmed wants to take action: „In Egypt no one separates their rubbish. Plastic, paper, food waste – everything goes into one bin.”
Triggered by the German initiative Youthinkgreen, the couragious teenager and his classmates set up a plastic recycling scheme at their school. The green initiative is supported by chancelor Angela Merkel and has reached over 200 young people in over ten countries so far. Some of them have come to the Rio+20 summit to present their local projects.
Change does not come easily
“A recycling company to pick up the plastic waste was found very easily.“ Ahmed reflects on his own initiative back home. “But after a few weeks, the garbage man told me that he would stop picking up our bin. It was flooding over with a variety of food scraps, paper and aluminium cans.” To get everyone at school to separate their rubbish correctly, a rota was set up. When asked how he made his classmates do the smelly job, Ahmed laughs: „At the beginning no one wanted to bring down the odd rubbish bin. Now you get a bag of sweets, so my friends sometimes even fight over it.”
Handshake with a Minister
After the presentation, Ahmed even gets a chance to meet the German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier. Together with his friends from the Youthinkgreen crew, the young man has managed to sneak into Hall 4 – a restricted area and normally reserved for state and United Nations delegates only. But Ahmed keeps his cool and steps up right next to Altmaier: „We have come to bind a green bracelet to your wrist!“ Ahmed and his friends hope that through this little gesture the politician will be reminded of young people’s longing for a greener future.
Altmaier who just turned 54 two days before, laughs heartily and stresses how important it is that young people take action. The Minister takes his time, listens patiently to everything the youngsters tell him. “Please visit Egypt and help us to put up more solar panels.“ Before the journalists can push in to fire their questions at the Minister, Ahmed has grabbed the opportunity to speak up again. Altmaier says that he wishes all the best for Egypt but that he unfortunately can not be in every country at the same time but will remember this meeting. Then he turns around to talk into the television cameras.
At the Rio+20 congress, teenagers from Youthinkgreen handed over green bracelets and a position paper to politicians and scientists from around the world.
DateJune 22, 2012
“Far less than we know is needed”
What should the delegates at the Rio+20 summit agree on? What will the outcome most likely look like? That’s what we asked visitors of the UN conference. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development is going to end on Friday.
DateJune 21, 2012
TagsEarth Summit, rio de janeiro, Rio+20, Sustainable Development, UN, United Nations, World Resources Center
A stronger UNEP: Almost off the table?
How can we better tackle global environmental problems – such as the loss of biodiversity or air pollution? Many countries believe that the United Nations should have a bigger say in solving these problems – one of the most controversial issues at the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro, where over 115 world leaders come together to discuss global challenges.
The European Union for example favors an „upgrade“ of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) to the same level as more powerful UN bodies, such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation or the World Health Organisation.
But other nations are opposed to this change – including Brazil, host of the summit. According to non governmental organizations watching the Rio+20 negotiations closely, a full scale upgrade of UNEP is by now almost off the table.
German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier sticks to the European position:
DateJune 19, 2012
Rio’s romance with renewable resources
Cups made from corn or electricity from sugar cane: Rio is eager these days to show that it can be environmentally friendly. The city is hosting the United Nations conference on Sustainable Development – better known as Rio+20. While the official part is only starting on Wednesday (June 20) the congress venue is already open for preparatory meetings and non-governmental events.
The Brazilian government is trying to make a point, it seems, of just how much it values the use of renewable resources such as corn or sugarcane. Indeed, Brazil is well known as a biofuel-country: The standard blend cars run on consists of up to 25 percent of biofuel for example. Even the Brazilian airline that flew us in bragged about its green commitment in the inflight magazine. The carrier plans to operate a domestic flight on biofuel especially for Rio+20.
Whilst renewable resources may emit less CO2 than fossil fuels, depending on how they are processed and transported, they can of course also create a lot of problems – monocultures, conflict between food and fuel production or soil degradation to name just a few.
DateJune 15, 2012
Tagsbiodiversity, Brazil, conference, conservation, environment, rio de janeiro, Rio+20, sustainable, United Nations