Sascha Gabizon
Sascha Gabizon
Topic: Healthy Environment

Sascha Gabizon is the executive director of WECF International (www.wecf.org), a network of women, environment and develop...

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Number of questions: [5]
Posted on 02/05/2016 10:50:57
Sacha,
Its great pleasure for me to see you as an Expert for Healthy Environment.I personally recolonized your efforts to ensure healthy environment.

We met on the occasion of Twelfth Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum(GMGSF -12) and during the 26th session of the Governing Council / Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) held from 21 to 24 February 2011 at the United Nations Office in Nairobi, Kenya.

My First Question is: Least Developed Countries(LDCs) and developing countries like Pakistan are particular facing severe environmental challenges,and Government have less priority to address the existing challenges,while NGOs and civil society don't have sufficient resources to address environmental related issues without intervention of Global Experts and donors.can you please explain how can we collectively adopt solution oriented approach to fight against the environmental challenges.?.And how can we develop Global mechanism to combat emerging challenges of environment to ensure sustainability of environment and sustainable development.?

Sacha my second question is: As I well aware that there is gap among environmental experts like you and related stakeholders including NGOs/Civil Society,academia,lawyers,and institutions are unable to get benefits from experts like you to work together and ensure exchange of knowledge from you in this regards is there any mechanism of UNEP or any other global thank tank to bring together all those who are working on sustainability of environment but having less resources and less capacity to address emerging environmental challenging?.

Regards

Muhammad Kabir

President

Environmental and Societal Development Foundation(ESDF) Pakistan.

www.esdf.org.pk
Muhammad Kabir (from Pakistan)
Dear Muhammad

It is very nice to hear from you again! You are right that in many countries NGOs and civil society at large are in great difficulty, with increasingly laws restricting international funding for their activities and curbing critical research and publications, all over, even in Europe. And I think your ideas are good, it would be important to have a better global funding mechanisms accessible for civil society organisations to work on environmental policies and sustainable development, something like a the micro-grant program of UNDP but then also for midsize funding, and but not as bureaucratic as the GEF, or inaccessible as the Green Climate Fund.

NGOs have been calling to apply the polluter pays principles much more strictly for areas dealing with the global commons, for example there is a lot of work being done to finally get normal taxes on airplane kerosene and on shipping - which so far have gone without any taxation and therefore have an unfair price advantage over more sustainable transport. The same should apply to the chemicals, plastics, pesticide industries, whose pollution is choking the oceans, killing bees etc. Even a mini-contribution of only 0.01% of global chemicals industry turnover would raise billions which can be allocated to dealing with the industries negative impacts and pollution, including funding for civil society active in the environmental area. We know that little bits of seed funding to civil society is like a snowball effect, for overall engagement, education and mobilisation of society towards inclusive and environmental friendly transformations.

Regarding you 2nd question, it is a good idea to see how the existing work of UNEP with environmental experts from scientific and civil society background can be share and made accessible to support local organisations and governments. A global expert support service to be called on when needed, with all the online tools nowadays that might be not so difficult to help UNEP develop.

Thank you very much for getting us thinking about these issues, and let us bring them to the UNEA-2.

With my best greetings and wishes to you and your colleagues,
Sascha

Posted on 01/05/2016 20:01:50
Hi, Id like to know why Solar paneks are not on everyones roof in the year 2016? We have an abundance of free clean energy from the sun yet Governments are still asking silly questions as to what can be done to switch from our reliance on fossil fuels when the technology is already upon us? What can be done to stop the hiked up prices of Solar panels in the U.K and the world? Surley there are huge economical benefits to Solar Power. Kind Regards. Michael
Michael Dooley (from United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
Dear Michael, thank you for your question, and indeed based on what we know of climate change and the Paris Climate Agreement, there is an urgent need for putting all efforts into moving to renewable energy, and decentralised solar energy for households is a key part of a country's energy transition strategy. Many municipalities have already moved ahead and are aiming at becoming 100% renewable in the next decade. And authorities can support households in doing an energy audit to find the best solution for their needs. Solar thermal is often the most effective, as in our part of the world, heating in an important of our total energy needs. Solar water heaters are a good investment that pay back fast, and should be encouraged by the authorities with a low-interest loan and preferably fiscal benefits for house owners. Solar water heaters are effective all year round. Photovoltaic has spread fast in countries where an active policy of attractive feed in tariffs exist, e.g. where all additional electricity produced by a household can be sold into the grid at a price that helps ensure a payback within a reasonable time. For example Germany which has had such a policy since some 15 years, now has almost 50% of all renewable energy being produced by households and farmers, either individually or as cooperatives organised by citizens. Clearly this is a better investment then in subsidies for coal or nuclear, which cost society a lot more if the costs of health, waste management and climate damage are taken into account. The prices of solar collectors (for water heating) and PV have been coming down, and prices are now competitive paying back over a 5-10 year period, but for private households, the investment costs are still often a hurdle. Therefore promoting local renewable energy cooperatives, combining investments for groups of households, is an effective strategy, as they are able to negotiate loans with banks and organise effective maintenance more easily. The European federation of cooperatives can advice you on how to find renewable energy cooperatives in your region. Best greetings, Sascha

Posted on 30/04/2016 11:17:57
Dear Sascha, I am worried about the adverse impact of endocrine disrupting chemicals on women and men - what should we be urging UNEP and the WHO to do urgently on this ? What are the links between gender and the environment that WECF is working on and how can we support your work ? Thank you Helen
Helen Lynn (from United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
Dear Helen, thank you for that important question on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which are chemicals found in many daily use products such as plastics, but also pesticides. Unfortunately these EDCs are hardly regulated. Especially early life exposure is a great problem, as it is linked to irreversible diseases and disorders such as autism, attention deficit syndrome, diabetes, obesitas, hormonal cancer, infertility and problems of reproductive organs. Research has initially provided data on reduced sperm counts and fertility of men, but increasingly also for e.g. breast cancer. UNEP and WHO are both important in addressing these EDC chemicals at global level, and are already working on EDCs, but more should be done. UNEP and WHO can provide guidance for governments to ban known EDCs from products such as food packaging, baby bottles, carbon paper used in cashier machines, plastic tubes used in neonatal departments of hospitals, plasticisers used in cosmetics etc. UNEP and WHO can also as well as how to inform parents on protecting themselves and children who are the most vulnerable: e.g. messages to avoid plastics, pesticides, non-sticky pans, electronics for children and if you want to become pregnant, and if possible use home-grown organic food and eco-labelled products. These are the short term measures, but longterm all governments need regulation to phase-out and substitute all hormone disrupters with safe, often non-chemical alternatives, this is also good for innovation and the local economy. WECF International has been working on the issue of women and chemicals since its beginning, and have numerous publications on our website in many different languages (www.wecf.org) as well as a website specifically to inform parents, see e.g, the French website http://www.projetnesting.fr . We encourage UNEP and WHO to work with WECF and other NGOs which have as aim to translate scientific and research data to practical hands on advice for consumers. A global information campaign is needed, in particular in the global South. Let me know if there is anything else you would specifically like to know. Best greetings, Sascha

Posted on 30/04/2016 11:04:35
MAM,
HOW HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT (LIKE IN 21 ST CENTURY) AT FAST PACE GO TOGETHER ...? WHERE CONSUMPTION IS MORE AND REQUIRED MORE TO FEED A GREATER NUMBER OF HUNGERS..?
ABHISHEK SINGH (from India)
Dear Abhishek Sing. Thank you very much for your question, which is a question which many people ask, as we have been made to think that only with more hazardous pesticides and more energy the world can be fed. Many studies by international food agencies have shown that this is not the case, organic farming without hazardous chemicals can feed everybody, what is necessary is fair prices, access and redistribution of land, and ending speculation on land and land grabbing. Many countries have developed laws to protect small farmers and that is good, but the pressure from large investors is still growing and continues to put small farmers under pressure. I thank you very much for that important question and send my best greetings to India! Sascha

Posted on 30/04/2016 07:24:59
Dear Sascha, Congrats and very glad to see you as an Expert of UNEP.
My first question: Recently UN and World Bank chiefs announced members of fist ever joint high-level panel on water and gladly Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also appointed as one of the member. How do you think this panel is going to work to shape-up the global water crisis particularly playing role for trans boundary river basin management? Also do you think that Women's Major Group under your leadership can play an effective role to influence the strategic decisions of the panel on gender responsive financing and action plan at global and national level.
My second question is about UN REDD programme on Reducing Emissions
from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) in developing countries. There is also a Guidance Note on Gender Sensitive REDD+ available from UNDP and UNEP. However at the country and local level we dont see that much implications of applying the guideline. What would be your suggestions how to strengthen the enforcement of the guideline towards a gender responsive environmental governance in any REDD focused programme and project? Thank you. Shaila Shahid, Gender and Water Alliance, Bangladesh
Shaila Shahid (from Bangladesh)
Dear Shaila, great to hear from you again, and thank you very much for your excellent question on the new UN and World Bank High Level Panel on Water, aimed to help implement the Sustainable Development Goal 6 to achieve water and sanitation for all by 2030. We know that as part of the MDGs great efforts were made to do so, but that there are still billions of people without safe water and sanitation, as this is not just a technical challenge, but a societal challenge, where reducing social inequalities are a prerequisite for success. Many different strategies have been tried and tested as part of the MDGs, and a key lesson is that investments are often useless if not everybody is involved, women and men, but that women are often left out of the decision making. I remember well your presentations of how public sanitation facilities failed if women were not involved in the design, that the facility might be technically perfect, but if other factors such as e.g. the location and security of women were not ensured, it would not be used. Therefore it is on the one had good that the Ban Ki Moon and the World Bank have launched this (very) High Level Panel with Heads of States to focus on financing the implementation of the SDGs, – and it is great that there are 2 women, including Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina – but on the other hand important that Gender Experts and Women’s organisation call on them to make sure they understand that the challenge is not a technical one, but a societal one, and that advancing gender equality is a key part of the implementation of SDG6. I will forward your suggestion to the Women’s Major Group (www.womenmajorgroup.org) to address the High Level Panel, calling for gender-responsive financial mechanisms. Thank you for that suggestion. On the issue of REDD+ I prefer to forward your question to our partners from the Global Forest Coalition (http://globalforestcoalition.org), who are also co-facilitating the Women’s Major Group, as they are working with women from indigenous communities on community-lead and gender responsive forest management and protection. My best wishes to you and Gender Water Alliance Bangladesh, Sascha