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GC Today - 20 February 2009

Special Events:

From Conflict to Peacebuilding: The Role of Natural Resources and the Environment

At one of the final Special Events of UNEP's 25th Governing Council, a new flagship publication entitled , "From Conflict to Peacebuilding - The Role of Natural Resources and the Environment", was launched by UNEP, which inaugurates a new policy series by the organization on the environmental dimensions of disasters and conflicts. Guests, delegates and UNEP staff members were invited to a one-hour Special Event launch, where a selection of high-profile panelists including : Pekka Haavisto , Member of Parliament and Special Representative of the Finnish Foreign Minister to African crisis areas; Mark Halle , Executive Director IISD-Europe, and Global Director, Trade and Investment Programme; Patricia Kameri-Mbote , Programme Director for Africa, IELRC, and Associate Professor of Law, University of Nairobi and; David Jensen ,Policy and Planning Coordinator, Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch,UNEP, debated and discussed issues highlighted in the new policy report such as the surge of conflicts since 1990, fuelled by the exploitation of natural resources like timber and diamonds, or the scarcity of key resources such as land and water. The new report examines this nexus and outlines how natural resources can concretely contribute to peace building processes. Ibrahim Thiaw, Director of UNEPís Division of Environmental Policy Implementation, chaired the panel discussion.


Agriculture and Food Security: Will the Next Revolution be More Sustainable?

Delegates, guests and UNEP staff members attended this side event and discussed new developments on the issue of food security, agriculture, environment and the role of ecosystems. Two recent assessments,
The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), and The Rapid Response Assessment Report of the Food Crisis were discussed.

The key note speakers were: Bob Watson (DEFRA), Christian Nelleman (UNEP/GRID-Arendal), Erika Rosenthal (Earthjustice); Lindela R. Ndlovu (National University of Science and Technology, Ascot/Bulawayo, Zimbabwe). The meeting was chaired by Dennis Garrity (ICRAF).