01 December 2023|News
During November 23-24, 2023, the 3rd South and Southeast Asian University Presidents Forum was organized in Kunming City, Yunnan Province of China. Hosted by the Secretariat of South and Southeast Asian University Network (Yunnan University), the forum is organized annually to further promote exchanges and cooperation between higher education institutions in China and South and Southeast Asian countries, and to enhance people-to-people and cultural exchanges. In conjunction with the main forum, various international academic forums of specific themes were also organized in parallel.
Ms TatiroseVijitpan, Focal Point of Greater Mekong Sub-region Portfolio, UNEP-IEMP, attended the parallel forum "Ecosystem Management and Sustainable Development on the Cooperation and Integration of Industry, Education, Research and Application". She gave presentation titled "South-South Cooperation on Ecosystem Management: Actions and Implications", which highlighted the experience of UNEP-IEMP in cooperation among the Global South in ecosystem management-related activities, with particular examples from project implementations in Cambodia and Nepal, in which universities of both countries are part of the South and Southeast Asian University Network. At the end of the forum, discussions were facilitated to further exchange information and explore potential collaboration.
20 November 2023|News
On November 7-9th, 2023, UNEP-IEMP together with the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences (CRAES) organized the 13th Chinese-German Workshop on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and the 2nd Workshop for Young Researchers: "Implementing the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, Enhancing Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functions through Forest and Wetland Restoration" in Hainan Province, China.
This workshop exchanged experiences from China, Cambodia, Germany, Kenya, Nepal, and Thailand on Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) implementation, focus on targets 2 of restoring 30% global degraded ecosystems. The workshop gathered over 60 on-site and on-line participants from UN organization, governments, science community, and NGOs. There is focused exchange on forest and wetland ecosystem restoration, its experiences, lessons and key challenges under climate change impact.
The UNEP-IEMP director Dr. Linxiu Zhang gave an opening remark by emphasizing on the role of science for the GBF implementation. Ms. Guoqin Wang shared a presentation on "South-South Cooperation on ecosystem restoration: actions and implications", which elaborated restoration experiences and lessons from the Greater Mekong Sub-region and the Africa Great Green Wall initiative in the Sahel region.
Guoqin Wang presenting experiences on South-South cooperation
The workshop discussion covered issues like complex linkages of climate change, ecosystem restoration and biodiversity conservation, roles and perspectives of different stakeholders on restoration, and effectiveness of restoration efforts. There were also two group discussions on challenges for future biodiversity conservation and policy &research gaps under the GBF implementation, multiple benefits of ecosystem restoration. Field tours at the Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park and the Dongzhaigang Mangrove Nature Reserve were organized to exchange experiences.
Group photo at the Hainan Tropical Rainforest National Park
13 November 2023|News
The publication presents knowledge and experience on transboundary landscape management in the Lancang-Mekong region, which is one of the world’s richest biodiversity hotspots and fastest-growing areas. It contains an inventory of tools that are useful for transboundary landscape management in this region and beyond. It also presents five strategies for effective transboundary management implemented in all countries across a variety of landscapes in the region, with highlights of case studies that demonstrate both conservation and livelihood outcomes that yield significant benefits for people and planet.
The report reveals that transboundary ecosystem management has been gaining attention in the region over the past decades with primary objectives covering not only the conservation of ecosystems (particularly important biodiversity areas and wildlife habitats) but also enhancing the livelihoods of those (often marginalized) groups of people living along the boundaries. Cooperation on the interconnectedness of human and natural systems is central to landscape management success and this cooperation can take place at various levels – between national governments, sub-national agencies, researchers and communities. Moreover, currently there is no transboundary cooperation for the internationally designated sites in the region; hence an opportunity to start with some of the priority transboundary landscapes to maintain their viability and ecological integrity. In terms of application of tools, the most common challenges faced in the region include data availability and data sharing in transboundary landscapes, as well as limited capacity for those tools that require technical expertise, such as spatial tools.
This is a knowledge product prepared under the context of the project "Improving Ecosystem Management for Sustainable Livelihoods within the Framework of Lancang-Mekong Cooperation", funded by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the People’s Republic of China, through the China Trust Fund to UNEP.
The report is available:https://wedocs.unep.org/20.500.11822/43893andhttp://www.unep-iemp.org/periodical_41_page1.html
20 October 2023|News
On October 14 and 15, the Open Science Conference and the First Scientific Committee Workshop of Ecosystem Restoration and Carbon Neutrality Programme (Global ERCaN) were organized in Beijing. The events were participated by policymakers, scientists, and UN agency representatives.
The Open Science Conference shared the latest development on science related to ecosystem restoration and carbon neutrality from renowned scientists around the world. Dr. Linxiu Zhang, Director of UNEP-IEMP, moderated the opening session. In her introduction remarks, she emphasized that ecosystem restoration and achieving carbon neutrality have emerged as critical challenges in our pursuit of a sustainable future. She also encouraged the participants - global researchers, scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders - to exchange knowledge, ideas, and experiences in addressing these pressing issues of escalating impacts of climate change and escalating loss of biodiversity.
The venue for the Open Science Conference
The First Scientific Committee Workshop aimed to share and discuss the research gap analysis and science plan of the whole programme as well as its 4 themes. UNEP-IEMP, as part of the Global ERCaN team, also shared ideas, particularly on enhancing stakeholder engagement and raising visibility and uptake.
Global-ERCaN, funded by CAS under the CAS International Partnership Program, aims to provide a global collaboration platform on ecological restoration and carbon neutralization, with focuses on monitoring, research, restoration technology, and solutions for policymakers. UNEP-IEMP is part of the programme to facilitate global collaboration and enhance science for policy.
18 October 2023|News
The International Conference on Energy Transition in Developing Countries was successfully held at Beijing Normal University’s Jingshi Hall on October 13.
The conference was organized by the International Cooperation Department of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the International Cooperation Bureau of the National Natural Science Foundation of China, and co-sponsored by School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, and the United Nations Environment Programme International Ecosystem Management Partnership (UNEP-IEMP). Prof. Zhang Lixiao of Beijing Normal University and Prof. Zhang Linxiu, the Director of UNEP-IMEP are the co-chairs of the conference.
Prof. Zhang Lixiao opened the conference by introducing the background and emphasizing the challenges facing developing countries in their energy transition effort and the urgency of international technical cooperation. Director Rong Nianhe of the International Cooperation Bureau of the National Natural Science Foundation then outlined the framework and project groups of their collaboration with UNEP. Director Zhang Linxiu highlighted the essential role of UNEP-IEMP in supporting the South-South cooperation initiatives and presented the climate-Ecology-Livelihoods (CEL) flagship program. This program aims to help developing countries achieve the development goal of improving people’s livelihoods by restoring and protecting critical ecosystems in the context of climate change. Prof. Shen Zhenyao, Dean of the School of Environment at Beijing Normal University, welcomed the guests and provided an overview of the school’s disciplinary development.
The venue for the International Conference on Energy Transition in Developing Countries
Director Zhang Linxiu chaired the first half of the conference. The event featured a hybrid meeting by holding both online and offline sessions, with renowned international experts in related field delivering cutting-edge academic presentations. The speakers included Prof. AbuBakr Bahaj from the University of Southampton, Academician Alvin Culaba, the Vice Chancellor of the Philippine Academy of Science, Director Beni Suryadi of the Association of Southeast Asian Nation’s Energy Center, Isaac Kiva, Director of Renewable Energy at the Kenyan Ministry of Energy, Prof. Anthony Shun Fung Chiu from the University of De La Salle, Prof. Alexey Voinov from the University of Twente in the Netherlands, Prof. Rebecca R. Hernandez from the University of California, Davis, Prof. Soteris Kalogirou from Cyprus University of Technology, Prof. Soocheol Lee from Meiji University, Prof. Jiang Kejun from the Energy Research Institute of the China Macroeconomic Research Institute, Prof. Xu Ming from Tsinghua University, Prof. Liu Yu from Peking University, Prof. Chen Weiqiang from the Institute of Urban Environment of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Prof. Yang Yi from Chongqing University. Director Zhang Linxiu concluded the conference, emphasizing that energy transition is a global challenge that requires the collective attention and collaborative efforts of worldwide nations and societies. She urged scientists from different countries to engage more actively in international activities, speak up on international platforms, and stressed the importance of the synergy between the scientific community and policymakers in making evidence-based decisions.
The International Conference on Energy Transition in Developing Countries is one of the outcomes of the National Natural Science Foundation’s international (regional) cooperation and exchange project "Sustainability Research on Energy Transition in Developing Countries: Mechanisms, Impacts, and Pathway Optimization," with Director Zhang Linxiu as the overseas cooperation leader for this project.
16 October 2023|News
On October 11, 2023, the Workshop on Developing Environmental Cooperation Platform in Northeast Asia for Joint Prevention and Control of Sandstorm under the "3+X" Cooperation Mode was held in Beijing. The theme of the workshop was "Combat Sand and Dust Storms, Contribute to Ecological Civilization", aiming to build cooperation consensus, build an environmental cooperation platform, deepen information sharing and exchange, and strengthen international cooperation on comprehensive prevention and control of sandstorm among relevant government departments, environmental protection agencies, scientific research institutions, international cooperation organizations and other stakeholders in Northeast Asian countries. Hosted by the Chinese Academy of Environmental Sciences, the workshop was attended by more than 80 government officials, representatives of international cooperation agencies, non-governmental organizations, experts from research institutes, universities, and business representatives from China, Japan, South Korea, and Mongolia. Dr. Linxiu Zhang, Director of UNEP-IEMP, was invited to attend the workshop and deliver a keynote speech entitled "Promote sustainable land use through various means to prevent and control sand and dust pollution".
In her speech, Dr. Zhang first introduced the current situation and challenges of global land use, analyzed the impact of factors such as climate change, population growth and industrialization, urbanization, global trade and capital flows, government subsidies, and gender inequality on land use, and then presented examples of multiple ways to promote sustainable land use. Relevant examples include the grassland property rights system to improve the quality of grassland and reduce dust pollution, the land tenure system to prevent sand pollution at the source, and legal empowerment providing necessary legal support to secure women’s land property rights. She concluded that a systematic approach can fully take into consideration the ecological, social and economic spillover effects of land protection projects and contribute to the sustainable use of land, and called on further efforts to be made to stabilize land property rights, strengthen women's empowerment, and strengthen ecological and environmental education.
Director Linxiu Zhang delivered a keynote speech
Participants in the workshop conducted extensive and in-depth exchanges on topics such as "Technologies and policies for land desertification and sandstorm mitigation in Northeast Asia", "Countermeasures for regional ecological degradation and climate change", "Coordinated measures for land desertification and sandstorm control", and "Green development in desertification areas and community management in dust source areas", and reached broad consensus on strengthening regional cooperation on sandstorm issues. Dr. Zhang indicated that UNEP-IEMP will continue to play the role of the UNEP Collaborating Center and provide an exchange and cooperation platform for various parties in the region.
13 October 2023|News
On October 10, 2023, "The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Promoting a Sustainable Agriculture and Food Sector (TEEBAgriFood) Project (China): High-Level Closing Forum" was successfully held at the Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (IGSNRR, CAS) in Beijing. It was organized by the IGSNRR, CAS; Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences (CRAES), Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) of China; United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) TEEB Office; and UNEP-IEMP.
This forum is part of the project "The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Promoting a Sustainable Agriculture and Food Sector" (TEEBAgriFood), funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented globally by the UNEP. It aims to promoting sustainable agricultural transformation and biodiversity conservation in project implementing countries (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico and Thailand) through nature-based economic assessment. Coordinated by UNEP-IEMP, the work of the project in China was jointly organized and implemented by the MEE and CAS. Through five years, TEEBAgriFood assessment was carried out in one of the national "Green is Gold" practice innovation bases, Tengchong city of Yunnan province, and Heilongjiang Province. The event took place in the context of the implementation of the "Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework" (KMGBF) and focused on the sustainable transformation of agriculture and food systems. The discussions were centered on various subjects, such as mainstreaming biodiversity, the multiple objectives of agricultural and food systems transformation, and the opportunities, challenges, and pathways for transformation.
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Ning Liu (MEE) emphasized that the promotion of a sustainable transformation in agriculture and food systems is of utmost importance as issues related to the utilization of biological resources, land use changes, and pollution within agricultural and food systems are among the primary factors contributing to biodiversity loss. Biodiversity is the core element that sustains the health of our planet, human well-being, and economic prosperity and the KMGBF, adopted during the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity in 2022, has reinforced global consensus on biodiversity conservation.
Mr. Laurent Bardon (EU Delegation to China) highly praised the results of the TEEBAgriFood. He pointed out that the project promotes the integration of the value of nature into the relevant decisions of the agricultural food systems, and made a positive contribution to Goal 10 (sustainable management of agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries and forestry) and Goal 14 (mainstreaming of biodiversity) of the KMGBF.
Mr. Shenglin Wang (IGSNRR, CAS) and Mr. Yan Zhuang (International Cooperation Bureau, CAS) congratulated the achievements of the project and affirmed the positive role of UNEP-IEMP in effectively coordinating and promoting the successful implementation of the project. The TEEBAgriFood Project (China) was acclaimed as a good practice of science for policy to support China’s sustainable development through cross-sectoral cooperation between the UNEP, MEE, and CAS, with guidance from experts from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Mr. Salman Hussain (UNEP TEEB Office) underscored that externalities lie at the heart of the issue but often unacknowledged in the value chain of the agri-food systems and this is the driving force behind UNEP's TEEBAgriFood program, which is devoted to incorporating a systems thinking approach and nature- and society-based economics into decision-making within agri-food systems.
During the course of the forum, several topics were presented around the outcomes of the TEEBAgriFood Project in China and in the context of theimplementation of the KMGBF. These included the TEEBAgriFood assessments in the public sector (in Tengchong City of Yunnan Province and in Heilongjiang Province) and in the private sector;whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach in promoting the KMGBF in China; and mainstreaming the diverse values of biodiversity and nature’s contribution to people. Panel discussions were organized with representatives from local governments, universities and research institutes, businesses and social organizations sharing views on the multiple goals of agri-food systems transformation and facilitating the transformation.
Ms. Linxiu Zhang, Director of the UNEP-IEMP, in her concluding remarks at the Forum, raised the expectation that the application of systems thinking would continue to be promoted to improve the knowledge of decision makers on the relationship between agriculture, the environment and society, and to support the development of sustainable decision making, so as to make the socio-economic activities more friendly to biodiversity.
The forum also released the "TEEBAgriFood China Demonstration Achievement Promotional Video". With both online and offline participation, the forum was attended by more than 200 representatives from governments, international organizations, education and research institutions, and the private sector.
This forum was well covered by media, please see below links.
The Economics of Ecosystem and Biodiversity (TEEB): Promoting a Sustainable Agriculture and Food Sector (China) High-level Closing Forum successfully held.
What can agri-food systems do for biodiversity conservation? Find out at this high-level forum!
12 October 2023|News
The UNEP-IEMP team visited Nepal during Sep 25-30th, 2023 for implementing the joint UNEP-NSFC project entitled "Developing Nature-based Solutions for Nepal following a Nexus Approach towards Sustaining Forestry, Water Resources and Livelihoods". The project team surveyed the study area of Phewa watershed in Pokhara, and visited the local research partner-Nepal’s Institute of Forest, and successfully conducted the International Symposium on the Forests-Water-Livelihood Nexus in the Lesser Himalaya.
During this field survey on September 26-27th, the social-economic and ecological baseline study of the Phewa watershed conducted by the Nepal’s Institute of Forest was shared and participants further explored on the coupled issues of forests, water and local livelihoods in the context of Nepal’s community forestry programme. There were also field investigations at the Pudi watershed, Shorea forest and abandoned agricultural land through discussions with local communities. An exchange seminar and field visit were organized at Nepal’s Institute of Forest and its restoration sites and spring sheds.
Project team’s field survey in Pokhara, Nepal
During the International Symposium on the Forests-Water-Livelihood Nexus in the Lesser Himalaya on September 28-30th, about 50 experts, government officials, UNEP and International organization representatives participated. Its aims were to share research and exchange experiences and ideas, develop a synthesis of the state of knowledge on the forest-water-livelihood nexus in the Lesser Himalaya region, and further identify outstanding knowledge gaps on community forestry-water-livelihood interactions and define pathways and collaborations towards closing these gaps.
UNEP-IEMP Director, Ms. Linxiu Zhang, gave opening and closing remarks at this symposium, emphasizing the science for policy interface and importance of understanding livelihoods and social-economic drivers when understanding the natural changes. Ms. Zhang also requested the project team to act locally but think globally, enhance our work’s science-policy interface and make contributions to UN SDGs, carbon neutrality, Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, and UN Decade on Ecosystem restoration.
Through such exchange events, UNEP-IEMP’s partnership was strengthened, and a few follow-up actions on science for policy were identified to share these project results.
This joint project was led by the Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology and UNEP-IEMP, and participated by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Nepal government, Institute of Forestry, Tribhuvan University of Nepal, USDA Forest Service, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
26 September 2023|News
The 5th UNEP-IEMP Science Advisory Group Meeting and the 7th UNEP-IEMP Steering Committee Meeting were organized back-to-back on 11 and 12 September 2023, respectively, in Beijing, China. These two meetings were led by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
In these meetings, UNEP-IEMP`s programme and institutional development progress were reviewed and guidance on the work plan received. The highlighted progresses on science for policy, South-South cooperation, solution-oriented actions, and power of partnership were highly praised for its value added as the UNEP`s first collaborative center in the Global South. Recommendations on sustainability and impacts of current work, fundraising and strategic focus for current global agendas were well discussed. It is expected that UNEP-IEMP will be better geared up for supporting the member countries on the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and Nature-based Solutions.
Group photo of the UNEP-IEMP 7th Steering Committee Meeting
At the 7th Steering Committee Meeting, the UNEP-IEMP Work Plan 2023/2024 was approved with its 41 projects in 4 thematic portfolios and institutional development component.
21 September 2023|News
During September 8th to 10th, 2023, Ms. Susan Gardner (Director of Ecosystems Division, UNEP) and Ms. Linxiu Zhang (Director of the UNEP - IEMP) paid a visit to the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Yunnan Province, China.
During this visit, a fruitful seminar on "Biodiversity Conservation Efforts towards the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework" was held, where Ms. Susan Gardner expressed her purpose in exploring the endeavors of the XTBG in the realms of biodiversity conservation, ecological monitoring, and restoration. The event offered a platform for the XTBG to present their progress in various fields, including research on human-elephant conflicts, collaboration project between the National Nature Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and UNEP, ecological monitoring at field stations, scientific research activities, and environmental education initiatives.
Both Ms. Susan Gardner and Ms. Linxiu Zhang lauded the remarkable research accomplishments achieved over the years by the XTBG in the fields of biodiversity and ecosystem conservation. They further encouraged researchers to seamlessly integrate research and practical applications in biodiversity conservation. This integration, they believed, could serve as a valuable scientific reference for sustainable utilization of regional land resources, the enhancement of community livelihoods, and the promotion of regional socio-economic development. At the same time, the participants engaged in in-depth discussions on how to promote biodiversity conservation and restoration under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
The Venue for the Seminar
Apart from that, Ms. Susan Gardner and Ms. Linxiu Zhang also conducted on-site inspections of specialized botanical zones, scientific outreach facilities, and the Xishuangbanna Tropical Rainforest Ecosystem Research Station. All of these demonstrate the ecological preservation and restoration efforts within the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture.
This visit signifies the importance of international collaboration in addressing critical ecological challenges that could support on science for policy for UNEP in fostering partnerships for a sustainable and biodiverse future.