11 November 2022|News
On 10 November 2022, the World Estuarine Cities Conference for Cooperation and Development was successfully held in Dongying City, Shandong Province. The conference is co-sponsored by Shandong Provincial People’s Government, Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Yellow River Water Conservancy Commission of the Ministry of Water Resources of China, and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). With the theme of "Embrace the Sea for a Shared Future", the conference aims to promote exchanges, mutual learning and cooperation among the world’s estuarine cities. The conference consisted of an opening ceremony, a main forum and five parallel forums, among which the opening ceremony and the main forum were held in a hybrid format with in-person and online participants. Mr. Qingli Zhang, Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Mr. Ganjie Li, Secretary of the CPC Shandong Provincial Committee, attended and delivered speeches at the opening ceremony, witnessed by major government leaders of Shandong Province and Dongying City, diplomatic envoys of other countries in China, representatives of international organizations, and officials of the host organizations and partners. Ms. Susan Gardner, Director of UNEP’s Ecosystems Division, addressed the opening ceremony on behalf of UNEP. She pointed out that estuaries were the rainforests of our ocean, and despite their importance, estuaries were on the front line of our triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and rampant pollution. She recommended we must support the global instrument to end plastic pollution, adopt the post 2020 global biodiversity framework, and stimulate public and private blue finance, so as to ensure economic circularity from source to sea and sufficient investment in nature-based solutions to protect estuaries. Ms. Susan Gardner delivering video speech at the opening ceremony The conference released several research outcomes and cooperation projects, announced the Dongying Initiative on Cooperation and Development of World Estuarine Cities and launched the World Estuarine Cities Partnership. As one of the co-organizers of the conference, Ms. Linxiu Zhang, Director of the UNEP-IEMP and her team attended the opening ceremony and the main forum online.
11 November 2022|News
Under the "Improving Ecosystem Management for Sustainable Livelihoods in Cambodia and China within the Framework ofLancang-Mekong Cooperation Project", financed by the UNEP-China Trust Fund Phase 2, the Action Learning mission was organized during24thto 27thOctober 2022 at the project pilot site- the PhnomKulen National Park in Siem Reap province. Its overall objective was to find out how the project interventions contribute to improved livelihoods and more sustainable landscape management. The mission, led by Edmund Barrow (consultant for UNEP), consisted of one planning day with the project team from the Ministry of Environment, Government of Cambodia, two days working with four Community Protected Areas (CPAs) who are the beneficiaries of the pilot interventions, and one day on reflections with the project team and the Siem Reap Provincial Department of Environment. In this regard, Tatirose Vijitpan, the project focal point from UNEP-IEMP, also participated in the mission. With the total participants of 72 (40 women), the mission collected reflections from the communities on the project interventions. In general, they found the interventions implemented so far (i.e. Integrating black ginger in cashew nut plantations; Bamboo for ecosystem management and local livelihoods; Free-range chicken; and Organic vegetables) helpful and still practice those interventions. There are, however, some more practical knowledge required. For example, some black ginger sites received too much rain that the black ginger became rotten underneath the soil; therefore the sites should be on the slope or hill. The communities are also well-aware of the benefits the project interventions have brought in terms of both their improved livelihoods and ecosystem management. Moreover, those project interventions are well-received because the communities are not allowed to clear more land to expand their cashew nut plantation in the national park; therefore those livelihood options can serve as promising alternatives, whichalso help to prevent deforestation for agricultural expansion (for cashew in this case). The communities also provided suggestions what they have learned in the process and what they wanted to do next.It is interesting to note that ladies dominated attendance and were very active in participation. Figure 1 Community workshop Figure 2Project site for Integrating black ginger in cashew nut plantation The results of this mission will become a basis for the project to further produce the knowledge products on "Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) and Action Learning at Local and Integrated Landscape Management Levels", led by UNEP.
01 November 2022|News
From October 25 to 27, 2022, the annual progress meeting of the international cooperation project ‘Global Biomass Resource Sustainability and Climate Change Adaptation Management ’ jointly funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the UN Environment Programme (NSFC-UNEP) was held in Shanghai. Prof. Linxiu Zhang, Director of UNEP-IEMP and the foreign leader of the project, Prof. Yutao Wang, Domestic leader of the project, Dr. Mingxing Sun, Associate Professor of the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Dr. Chengdong Wang, Associate Professor of Shanghai Ocean University, and relevant members of the project joined the meeting. Figure 1 The venue for the meeting During the meeting, the participants conducted field research in Chongming Dongtan Bird National Nature Reserve, and communicated with the researchers of the National Field Scientific Observation and Research Station of the Yangtze River Estuary Wetland Ecosystem in Shanghai, Fudan University. The participates focused on biodiversity conservation and ecological restoration in Chongming Dongtan Nature Reserve, and exchanged views on how to further promote the integrated ecological and green development of Yangtze River Delta, promote biodiversity conservation and the harmonious coexistence of human and nature. Figure 2 The field research in Chongming Dongtan Bird National Nature Reserve During the meeting, the participants conducted field research in Chongming Dongtan Bird National Nature Reserve, and communicated with the researchers of the National Field Scientific Observation and Research Station of the Yangtze River Estuary Wetland Ecosystem in Shanghai, Fudan University. The participates focused on biodiversity conservation and ecological restoration in Chongming Dongtan Nature Reserve, and exchanged views on how to further promote the integrated ecological and green development of Yangtze River Delta, promote biodiversity conservation and the harmonious coexistence of human and nature.
24 October 2022|News
UNEP caught up with Dr. Linxiu Zhang in recent days on the policy brief prepared by UNEP-IEMP on "Women’s Empowerment for Sustainable Food Systems". As below is an overview of the special interview. Director Zhang mentioned that there was a huge gender difference in agriculture, such as a lot of barriers for women to get access to land, financial resources and technology. Some other studies also indicate a common gender difference in the labor market. Promoting the elimination of barriers to gender equality requires the combined efforts of all sectors of the society, especially those made by the practitioners and policymakers. Gender budgeting, as a popular tool for the gender equality, needs cross-sector collaboration. When talking about gender-responsive policymaking in agriculture, it is necessary to broaden the topic and adopt an integrated approach to consider the joint role of agriculture, health and education policies. Unfortunately, women are not well represented at the decision-making level. There should be consensus of policy makers on raising the awareness of gender equality and generating gender-sensitive policies. From the perspective of science-informed policy making, the statistics should include gender-disaggregated data and gender-sensitive indicators. Full interview page This interview has been relevant to and recommended as reading material on the topic of "Gender and Agriculture" under the joint Poverty-Environment Action between UNDP and UNEP
30 September 2022|News
With warm invitation from the Royal Thai Embassy in Beijing, on September 28, 2022, Ms Tatirose Vijitpan, Focal Point of the Greater Mekong Sub-region Portfolio and Climate Change Adaptation Specialist of UNEP-IEMP, attended a meeting at the embassy, led by Dr Pasupha Chinvarasopak, Minister-Counsellor for Science, Science and Technology Section, Royal Thai Embassy in Beijing. The objective was mainly to introduce the work of UNEP-IEMP, particularly in the Greater Mekong Sub-region and Thailand, and explore opportunities to collaborate. During the meeting, several projects and activities in the region under the UNEP-IEMP Climate, Ecosystems and Livelihoods (CEL) flagship programme, Chinese expertise mobilized and South-South Cooperation aspects, as well as other global platforms were presented. The highlight was on potential partnership to engage Thailand and China in initiative on ecosystem restoration and local livelihood improvement. In this regard, the meeting came up with an initial plan to transfer know-how and technology from China to Thailand to use bamboo for ecosystem restoration and local livelihood improvement. This topic has been of interest in Thailand, from policy makers to farmers, but the country still lacks expertise and experience. China, as the world leader in bamboo industry, will be in the best position to fill these gaps. To realize this collaboration, UNEP-IEMP, with technical support from related Chinese institutions, will prepare a concept note. Once agreed upon, the Royal Thai Embassy in Beijing will facilitate this collaboration with the relevant government agencies and institutions in Thailand.
30 September 2022|News
The United Nations Environment Programme-International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP) held its sixth Climate-Ecosystems-Livelihoods seminar titled "Carbon Neutral and Bio-based Economy" online on 29 September 2022. The seminar was given by Dr. Yutao Wang, Professor of Department of Environmental Science and Engineering of Fudan University, Deputy Dean of Shanghai Institute of Energy and Carbon Neutralization Strategy, and Deputy Director of Fudan Tyndall Center, and facilitated by Linxiu Zhang, Director of UNEP-IEMP. Nearly 200 researchers, students, and others attended the seminar. Based on the current global threat of climate change and the goal of carbon neutrality, Prof. Wang introduced the concept, classification, and development status of biomass resources, bio-based products, and bio-based economy respectively, which triggered the thinking of the sustainability of bio-based economy. Based on the existing research and literature, Prof. Wang introduced the research on the sustainability of bio-based economy for carbon neutrality from five dimensions: ‘path, cycle, resilience, coupling, and game’. At the path level, he stated the carbon neutrality transformation pathways of the traditional bio-based industry, taking the papermaking industry as an example. At the cycle level, he emphasized the analyses of conventional and bio-based materials (products) from whole life cycle perspective. At the resilience level, the sustainability of food systems for climate disasters and environmental risks is described, and the sustainability of marine food systems is discussed in combination with hot events such as the Fukushima nuclear wastewater discharge plan. At the coupling level, he pointed out the correlation and feedback effects of biomass energy development on water resources, land use, and food security. At the game level, he discussed the competition between food supply and bioenergy in the context of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Finally, he proposed research prospects from the perspectives of environmental impact assessment of emerging technologies (products), the impact of climate change on biomass resources, and the impact of temporal and spatial changes of biomass resources on economic and social systems. Online academic lecture During the interactive session, Prof. Wang and the participants had in-depth exchanges on data collection, scenario analysis methods, promotion of bio-based products, and trade security etc. The development of bio-based economy is an important way to achieve carbon neutrality goals and sustainable development. It is also a core issue of UNEP-IEMP's Flagship Programme on Climate, Ecosystems, and Livelihoods (CEL) to adopt integrated approaches to achieve win-win of ecosystem protection and livelihood improvement. The seminar increased the understanding and thinking about the sustainability of the bio-based economy, build a platform for interdisciplinary academic exchanges, and strengthened the communication between UNEP-IEMP and the institutions and universities in China.
15 September 2022|News
On Sep 12th 2022, the UN publication "Good Practices in South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Sustainable Development – Volume 4"got published during the UN South-South Cooperation Day event, in which project outcomes from UNEP-IEMP and its collaborating partners are well featured. The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation leads to record, systematize and facilitate access to development knowledge from and for the global South. This publication documents evidence-based good practices, showcasing over 130 development solutions that have demonstrated cross-boundary cooperation and knowledge transfer between countries of the global South and which are highly adaptable to local economic and social conditions. The three cases coordinated and contributed by UNEP-IEMP and its partners are towards achieving SDG2 zero hunger and SDG15 life on land. In the case on CropWatch, it showcased cloud-based agricultural monitoring platform for food security in the Zambezi River Basin, and particularly highlighted the CropWatch platform customized for Mozambique government for their agrometeorological forecasting and improving agriculture practices. Good practicecase on CropWatch: cloud-based agricultural monitoring platform for food security in the Zambezi River Basin The two cases contributing to SDG15 on ecosystem restoration showed partners efforts in Central Asia and the Sahel region of Africa. In the case of Great Green Wall in Africa, experiences and lessons of linking the world’s two largest deserts, the Sahara and Taklimakan deserts, through South-South cooperation and ecosystem restoration were analyzed and shared. Efforts in restoring the dry Aral Sea beds and bio-saline agriculture practices were well documented and shared in the Central Asia case. Good practicecase on linking Great Green Walls of the world’s two largest deserts through South-South cooperation Good practicecase on building ecological barriers in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, Central Asia These South-South cooperation outcomes well reflected continuous efforts in customizing, transferring and upscaling different technologies and good practices from China towards other developing countries especially in Asia and Africa, which UNEP-IEMP has been facilitating. These initiatives and projects are greatly supported by joint programmes between the Chinese Government and the United Nations Environment Programme.
14 September 2022|News
Under the "Improving Ecosystem Management for Sustainable Livelihoods in Cambodia and China within the Framework ofLancang-Mekong Cooperation Project", financed by the UNEP-China Trust Fund Phase 2, the "Training on Bamboo for Ecosystem Restoration Management and Local Livelihoods" was organized by the Ministry of Environment, Government of Cambodia, during 22-24 August 2022. It took place at the project pilot site - the Phnom Kulen National Park in Siem Reap province. The event gathered 58 participants (20 female), mostly from the Community Protected Areas (CPAs) within the national park. With an overall aim to provide general knowledge on bamboo and its utilization to restore ecosystem and to provide additional income for the CPAs, the training on day 1 and day 3 consisted of theoretical knowledge on overview on bamboo resources and development; bamboo forest management; bamboo propagation; bamboo plantation; edible bamboo shoot cultivation and processing; and bamboo value chain and the utilization of bamboo materials. Day 2 was the field practice on bamboo propagation, nursery and clump management. Importantly, the training also included a field session on how to integrate bamboo into existing cashew nut orchard to diversity income sources by replacing old (and low productive) cashew trees with bamboo. The discussions also provided participants with ideas to integrate other annual crops (e.g. ginger, pineapple) within cashew tree orchard. The venue for the training at the project pilot site The field practices As the Phnom Kulen National Park is an area where we can observe movements of the local communities into the national park and cashew plantation has become their major source of income, this hands-on training offers an important opportunity for the communities to learn about an alternative livelihood option that may also help to prevent deforestation for agricultural expansion (for cashew in this case). Moreover, as requested by the Cambodia team, UNEP-IEMP has invited an expert from China (International Network for Bamboo and Rattan – INBAR, based in Beijing) to share knowledge, experience, lessons and recommendations through recoded videos. The training was well-received, and rated ‘satisfied’ by all the participants. The training also provided bamboo culms at the tree nursery at the community-based tourism center for interested community members to further plant.
19 August 2022|News
On August 15, 2022, Dr. Linxiu Zhang, Director of the United Nations Environment Programme International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP), was invited to give a keynote speech at the Huzhou Forum on the "Green is Gold". The forum was guided by China Association for Science and Technology and Zhejiang Provincial People's Government, hosted by Huzhou Municipal People's Government, and organized by Huzhou Normal University and the Publicity Department of the CPC Huzhou Municipal Committee. In her keynote speech entitled "Promoting the Realization of the Values of Nature and a Harmonious Development of People and Nature", Dr. Zhang Linxiu started from introducing relevant initiatives at the UN level and used The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) as an example of key international initiatives to understand the importance of nature. TEEB’s application in Tengchong City of Yunnan Province, which is a national "Green is Gold" practice innovation base, was shared. Dr. Zhang pointed out that natural systems provide important values for human production and life, and that understanding agro-food systems from a systems perspective is an important way to address the multiple challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, and to achieve sustainable development goals in the context of the current pandemic and the intensifying conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Director Linxiu Zhang delivered the keynote speech More than 150 experts and scholars attended the conference and shared their views on the forum theme from multiple levels and perspectives.
25 July 2022|News
On July 14th and 15th 2022, the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences (CRAES) and the United Nations Environment Programme – International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP) jointly organized a Chinese-German cooperation workshop on Ecosystem-based Approaches (EbA) for climate and biodiversity. The workshop aimed to specifically connect young researchers, working on EbA across continents. It was attended by over 80 researchers from China and Germany as well as partners from other Asian, European and African countries. Thomas Graner, Vice President of BfN and Xuefang Wu, Deputy Chief Engineer of CRAES, opened the workshop, highlighting the ambitious and high-level commitments from the German and Chinese governments on addressing the global climate and biodiversity crises. The speakers underlined the long and successful cooperation of the Chinese-German cooperation on environmental topics. The focus on specifically connecting young researchers and promoting interdisciplinary research was regarded as an attempt to direct future cooperation towards establishing long-term research links to jointly address global environmental problems in a holistic manner. The attempt proved to be a success and the organizing institutions of the workshop are committed to follow it up. Dr Linxiu Zhang from UNEP-IEMP gave the first impulse on the nexus of climate, ecosystems and livelihoods, showcasing projects from the Global South on EbA practices and emerging opportunities for promoting EbA application, including valuable resources like best practice databases and knowledge products. The workshop further included 8 presentations from researchers, who shared their relevant research findings on EbA and gave their insights into remaining knowledge gaps. Interactive sessions to facilitate virtual exchange and networking between young researchers from different disciplines were tested and proved to be useful tools. As such, the workshop offered a platform for young researchers to share their work and to foster the understanding for the importance of a science-policy-practice interface to address climate and biodiversity jointly in applied research. In various breakout groups, participants jointly identified opportunities for strengthening interdisciplinary research and key research gaps around EbA. These were e.g. related to: a limited understanding of ecosystem response and adaptation to climate change, the lack ofinnovative policy instruments to mainstream EbA under different institutional frameworks, the understanding of how to effectively engage society and the private sector, lacking data on EbA application at the regional and landscape level, and the lacking collaboration among non-state actors and different disciplines in EbA implementation. Groups also defined the role of interdisciplinary networks for EbA research, highlighted the importance of science for policy and explored the limitations and opportunities in funding EbA research. The workshop ended with an in-depth discussion on the way forward for EbA research and enhancing the potential of interdisciplinary networks, as well as strengthening the long-term scientific collaboration between China and Germany and other partner countries. As a key outcome, a briefing note/ policy brief will be developed based on the workshop discussions and submitted later to identified decision makers.