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Emerging issues for small island developing states: results of the UNEP Foresight Process

In 2013, UNEP identified priority emerging environmental issues that are of concern to small island developing states (SIDS). This report provides an overview of 20 issues critical to the sustainable development of SIDS. The findings reveal that SIDS are faced with several serious environmental challenges, mostly related to climate change, including sea-level rise and loss of biodiversity and ecosystem goods and services.

The report also describes opportunities that SIDS have to help them move towards a green economy. For example, they possess both unexploited terrestrial and oceanic natural resources such as minerals, potential pharmaceutical products, renewable energy resources and fish stocks. Renewable energy sources include wind, sun, ocean, wave, hydro and geothermal; and use of these resources offers an opportunity to widen access to sustainable energy and reduce the heavy costs of power. The report shows that SIDS have the potential to take a lead in defining models of sustainability and human well-being whilst moving towards a Green Economy.

Building natural capital: how REDD+ can support a Green Economy

This report advocates placing REDD+ into a larger planning framework that should involve multiple influences (especially those driving deforestation, albeit sometimes inadvertently). This framework would go beyond forests to ultimately serve the needs of all sectors of society, e.g. agricultural, financial and urban. REDD+ would thereby add value to the many other initiatives that are being implemented within these sectors. No longer simply a pilot effort, REDD+ would take its place as a critical element in the drive for a green economy.

UNEP 2013 Annual Report

The 2013 Annual Report highlights UNEP's work in 2013, a year in which the organization's Governing Council met under universal membership for the first time and the strengthening process agreed in the previous year began in earnest. The report focuses on UNEP's achievement in the key areas of Climate Change; Disasters and Conflicts; Ecosystem Management; Environmental Governance; Harmful Substances and Hazardous Waste; and Resource Efficiency. It also highlights the key role UNEP plays in providing environmental leadership to the UN system and the international community: for example, in 2013, nations adopted the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the first new global multilateral environmental agreement in almost a decade.

Assessing global land use: balancing consumption with sustainable supply

This report provides a global assessment of the increased pressures on natural resources for food, fuels and fibre, identifying the main drivers and providing innovative, practical options to mitigate their impacts. The report explains how the growing demand for food and non-food biomass could lead to a gross expansion of cropland in the range of 320 to 850 million hectares by 2050; a fact not compatible with the imperative of sustaining the basic life-supporting services that ecosystems provide. The report explores how the production and consumption of biomass can be made more sustainable across a range of scales, from the sustainable management of soils on the field to the sustainable management of global land use.

Decoupling 2: technologies, opportunities and policy options

In the light of the acknowledgement by policy-makers that there is an urgent need to decouple resource use and environmental degradation from economic growth, this report examines several policy options that have proved to be successful in helping different countries to improve resource productivity in various sectors of their economy. It highlights examples that demonstrate significant progress towards decoupling economic growth from resource use and mentions two policy proposals that are illustrative of the type of combined policy that is needed.

The report shows that efficient technologies do exist for both developing and developed countries to significantly reduce resource intensity and, where feasible, achieve the absolute decoupling of resource use.


Barbados's Green Economy scoping study

The inclusion of green policy objectives in Barbados can be traced to the National Strategic Plan (2006–2025) and the budget speech of 2007. The process was given further impetus in 2009 when the then Prime Minister laid down the challenge of committing Barbados to become the “most environmentally advanced green country in Latin America and the Caribbean”. It was against this backdrop that the Government engaged the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in the establishment of a partnership to support the country’s transformation.

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