ECA climate-friendly strategy

UNEP climate neutral strategy aims:

(1) to reduce the climate footprint of UNEP through adoption of sustainable management practices
(2) to ‘lead by example?and to raise awareness of similar organizations, of governments, and of the public as a whole
(3) to develop methods, procedures, and approaches that could be used by others to achieve the same

As part of UNEP’s climate neutral strategy, a preliminary comprehensive GHG inventory was prepared in March 2008 and a verifiable comprehensive inventory is scheduled for March 2009. It is planned to off-set UNEP’s 2008 carbon footprint through the purchase of certified emission reductions (CDM Gold Standard). The price for such emission reductions is fluctuating and currently around 36 USD per ton CO2.

ECA climate-friendly approach to organize regional network meetings

According to UNEP’s climate neutral strategy, the ECA network adopted its climate-friendly approach to organise regional network meetings from 1 January 2008. The first climate-friendly network was hold in Tirana, Albania, 25-28 March 2008 aiming to minimize its carbon footprint while creating awareness on climate change and testing new approaches such as tree planting.

The following activities have already been implemented in the context of the ECA network meeting in Tirana, Albania:

1. Off-setting of approximately 44 tons of carbon emissions from participants travel through purchase of certified emission reductions (CDM Gold Standard) according to UNEP’s carbon neutral strategy. The resulting costs of approximately 1600 USD correspond to 5% of the travel costs (tickets & DSA) or 7% of the ticket costs.
2. Commitment of the ECA network towards reducing its carbon footprint through joining the UNEP’s Climate Neutral Network (
http://www.unep.org/climateneutral)
3. Planting of local tree species if their long-time growth can be ensured and raising awareness through registration of the planted trees in UNEP’s Billion Tree Campaign (www.unep.org/billiontreecampaign/)
4. Electronic dissemination of workshop documents and presentations as well as up-loading of such documents to the meeting website to avoid print-outs (
http://fr1.estis.net/sites/ecanetwork/)
5. Description of the ECA climate-friendly approach on the home page of the EAC network to demonstrate commitment and raise awareness of others (
http://fr1.estis.net/sites/ecanetwork/)
6. Sharing of good practices and lessons learned from climate-friendly meetings with colleagues and friends and through the media with the general public

Further options will be tested in the context of future meetings:

7. Verification of flight itineraries as proposed by the travel agency by an independent service (e.g. UNON) to minimize flight time, travel time and costs
8. Alternative modes of travel e.g. by train or car where meaningful, feasible, cost efficient and recommended by local UNDP offices
9. Expert presentations via web-, video or phone-conference to avoid unnecessary travel
10. No or reduced air-conditioning in the meeting and hotel rooms
11. No use of plastic cups and plastic bottles
12. Inclusion of vegetarian food options in the lunch menu
13. Energy / environmental audit of the meeting venue in the margin of the meeting e.g. using a checklist

Tree-planting experience

During the first climate-friendly meeting of the ECA network, the Honourable Minister Lufter Xhuveli of the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Water Management of Albania, arranged a symbolic tree-planting event during which participants from 30 different countries planted 70 trees near to the meeting venue Chateau Linza. The intention of the symbolic tree-planting event was raising awareness on climate neutral strategies among the participants.

The trees, tools and holes were prepared in advance to the meeting and therefore the activity took about half an hour. It was well received by all participants, had some recreational side-effect and contributed to team-building. The tree-planting was followed by a group session and a coffee break. The overall time requires was about 1 hour.

The ECA network has registered these trees in UNEP’s Billion Tree Campaign (
http://www.unep.org/billiontreecampaign/) and signed up as an inter-governmental partner of UNEP’s Climate Neutral Network (http://www.unep.org/climateneutral)

Photos from tree planting in Albania, 25-28 March 2008

Montreal Protocol and climate change

Already in the past, the Montreal Protocol contributed significantly to climate protection by phasing out substances which had contributed to both ozone-depletion and global warming at the same time. Such contribution has been found to be 5-10 times more than the expected contribution by the developed countries under the Kyoto Protocol during its first commitment period between 2008-2012. This synergetic effect will further be accentuated through the accelerated phase-out of HCFCs, which was recently decided by the XIXth Meeting of the Parties.