UNEP topic a, topic b and commitee background


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UNEP topic a, topic b and commitee background

  1. 1. About UNEP: The OrganizationMission:To provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for theenvironment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples toimprove their quality of life without compromising that of futuregenerations.Organizations such as the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)make it possible to forge agreements to enhance and protect preciousnatural environments on a global scale.Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya and established in 1972, UNEP is theleading environmental authority within the UN system. Its mandate is to: • analyze and assess the state of the global environment; • further the development of international environmental law; • advance the implementation of agreed international norms and policies; • monitor and foster compliance in these areas; • promote greater awareness and facilitate effective cooperation in the implementation of the international environmental agenda; and, • provide policy and advisory services in key areas of institution building.
  2. 2. Topic: a) Sustainable developments in post disaster environmentsNatural disasters have changed the face of this earth for 4.6 billion yearsand affected our civilizations for centuries, with researchers andarchaeologists continuously finding evidence of damage done to theearliest of civilizations. Recently there was a discovery of a successfulmaritime farming community, the Supe, that were driven from the landnow known as Peru 3,600 years ago by earthquakes and floods. Thisdiscovery was made evident by the barren mountain ranges surroundingthe valleys and dense layers of silt. Eventually the heavy rains thatfollowed damaged irrigation systems and washed debris into the stream,where the silt settled into a large ridge, sealing off the rich coastal baysthe Supe depended on.! This is only one example of how natural disastershave made land uninhabitable for ancient civilizations, and evencollapsing existing societies worldwide “Natural Disasters”. One of theleading authorities on disaster reduction, the United Nations InternationalStrategy forDisaster Reduction (ISDR), serves as an international informationclearinghouse on building disaster-resilient communities.! As a majorcoordinator of disaster reduction, the ISDR develops awarenesscampaigns, supports policy integration, improves scientific knowledgeabout reduction, and coordinates partnerships aimed at reducing theeffects of natural disasters (“Mission and Objectives”).! The ISDRsecretariat defines a disaster, or hazard as “a serious disruption of thefunctioning of society, causing widespread human, material orenvironmental losses which exceed the ability of affected society tocope using only its own resources” (“ISDR Terminology”).!Disasters can beclassified as manmade or natural, the latter of which, as the classificationsuggests, are caused by naturally occurring events, including the ever-present threats of floods, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions,earthquakes and landslides.! A further classification of natural disastersthe ISDRmakes is by origin: geological, hydro-meteorological or biological.!GEOLOGICAL DISASTERS!This type includes natural earth processes divided into two groups. Thefirst group consists of internal earth processes or tectonic origin, such asearthquakes, geological fault activity, tsunamis, volcanic activity andemissions. The second group includes external processes such aslandslides, rockslides, rock falls or avalanches, surface collapses,expansive soils, and debris or mud flows. One of the most disastrousearthquake and avalanche combinations in Western Hemisphere history,the 7.9-magnitude earthquake that struck Yungay, Peru on 31 May 1970is ranked the fourth most deadly earthquake in the 20th!century. Theearthquake itself triggered millions of tons of icy snow to break loose from
  3. 3. the steep slopes of Nevado de Huascarán, creating an avalanche thatmoved between 280 and 335 km/hr to quickly bury the city of Yungayand part of Ranrahirca.! The disaster took about 66,000 lives and anadditional estimated 20,000 casualties, primarily due to the structuralfailures of the buildings and damage to transportation routes.! Themasonry and adobe structures were built with little resistance, leavingthem defenceless against the lateral forces inflictedby the seismic shaking.! Greater damage occurred in areas wheresaturated and unconsolidated sediments were prevalent, due to“differential compaction, downslope slumping or sliding,! Lateralspreading of liquefied! sediments toward free faces, and possiblyamplification of seismic! vibrations” (Plafker 543). The magnitude ofdamage would have not been as great had there been morestructurally sound buildings and provisions to clear roadways ofsediments and deposits. address the acute needs of a local population,adapting to the situation at hand to facilitate highlyorganized coordination, communication, and proper evacuation, andassure the delivery of medical services and carry out proper logistics ofthe initial operations (Haley 10).! As for Iran’s engineering shortcomings,unskilled and unlicensed labor workers built most of the structures withoutseismic consideration, even including buildings that were built in the lastdecade (Manafpour 55-56).!HYDRO-METEOROLOGICAL DISASTERS!This type of disaster consists of natural atmospheric, hydrological, oroceanographic processes or phenomena which include floods, debris,and mud floods; tropical cyclones, storm surges, thunder/ hailstorms, rainand wind storms, and blizzards; drought, desertification, wild land fires,temperature extremes, and sand or dust storms; permafrost and snow orice avalanches (“ISDR Terminology”).Upgraded from the Central Emergency Revolving Fund, which was aloan facility of USD 50 million established by the General AssemblyResolution 46/182 in 1991, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)was approved on 15 December 2005. This humanitarian fund aims to“promote early action and response to reduce loss of life; enhanceresponse to time-critical requirements; and strengthen core elements ofhumanitarian response in underfunded crises” (“What is the CERF?”). Thefund is made up of grant facility (of up to 450 million USD) that ensurescoverage of critical programs when funds are unavailable from othersources; and a loan facility of USD 50 million that is used to access fundsrapidly when donor pledges are forthcoming. The CERF hinges on onevery important component timeliness. Large-scale natural disasterscontinue to challenge the capacity of the humanitarian system to meetthe needs of the population.Emergencies of such great magnitude require instruments of equalmagnitude that are capable of delivering aid quickly based on a lifesaving criterion. As a loan-granting agency, the World Bank along with
  4. 4. other key stakeholders like the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO),World Food Program (WFP), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the WorldHealth Organization (WHO) assists with the global prioritization ofcountries (“CERF’s Response”). The criteria used to determine the prioritystatus of each country and impact analyses is an area that needsimprovement, as CERF has incorrectly differentiated between earlyrecovery and life-saving initiatives without proper first-hand knowledge ofground realities in many cases (Barber 210).!!!!CASE STUDY: HAITI!Already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti has beenstruggling to emerge out of the rubble of the catastrophic 7.0-magnitudeearthquake that struck 12 January 2010. The death toll has reached230,000 people, with an estimated USD 8 billion in damages and losses,which equates to 120 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP),according to the Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) (“Country Brief”).! Some challenges that relief and recovery teams face while deliveringassistance include: a weakened central authority, severely damagedinfrastructure, and little assistance from the host country (Sawyer).Charges of corruption loomed over nearly every aid operation,particularly food distributions, which seemed sluggish and lacking innature, despite the tens of millions of dollars being given to the countryby donor nations. In order for Haiti to achieve economic growth andlong-term stability it will need to become a “transparent and legitimatestate that can effectively deliver public good and services to its citizens”!(“Country Brief ”). The World Bank is dedicated to achieving this goalwith the Infrastructure and Institutions Emergency Recovery Project.Approved by the Board on 18 March 2010, this USD 65 million grant willhelp reinstate chief economic and financial functions of key Haitianpublic institutions; rehabilitate and/ or rebuild core infrastructure; andsupport Haiti’s crisis governance framework (“Country Brief ”).Since 1984, the World Bank has financed 528 projects addressing naturaldisasters that have been for USD 26,281 million (9.4 percent of allcommitments) and mostly implemented disaster projects in the ruralsector (40 percent).! Over this period the Bank also approved 89Emergency Recovery Loans (ERLs), which include InternationalDevelopment Association (IDA) grants and credits.! An ERL is a “three-year lending instrument that allows for expedited processing from projectinitiation through Board approval, quick disbursement through a positivelist of imports, and delay in meetingsome safeguard and fiduciary requirement” (“Hazards of Nature”).! Thelending has also been highly concentrated to ten countries (India,China, Bangladesh, Brazil, Honduras, Turkey, Yemen, Madagascar,Mexico, and Vietnam) that account for 208 projects (39 percent of totalprojects).! These projects have been most effective at restoring physicalproperty, with 115 completed projects successfully restoring damaged
  5. 5. infrastructure.! Overall the number of projects related to natural disasterhas risen, and continues to rise, with the tendency for sharp peaks everyfive years (“Hazards of Nature”).! IMPROVING PREPAREDNESS:PREDICTABILITY! Two recently completed studies on natural disaster risksaffirm that! a degree of predictability surrounds such natural disasters.Published in February 2004, the UNDP’s. Reducing Disaster Risk: AChallenge for Development. Took a statistical approach in drawingcomparisons between different natural disasters and a particularcountry’s vulnerabilities. This report is important for featuring a disaster.Topic B) The overpopulation’s repercussions and effects of on theenvironmentUNEP was established to coordinate and promote environmentalactivities in the UN system. Its objectives are: to improve scientific andtechnological knowledge of environmental issues and to make thatavailable for environment development and conservation; to developan integrated approach to the planning and management ofdevelopment in order to achieve maximum economic, sociological andenvironmental benefits; and to assist all countries, especially developingcountries, to address environmental problems through provision offinancing, information, technology and educational assistance. Unlikethe other Specialized Agencies, UNEP does not have to execute andfinance projects as its primary function.Incessant human population growth is viewed as the leading cause ofmost of humanity’s scourges, such as poverty, war and starvation. Whilethe wildlife-conservation movement is valiantly attempting to save theworld’s remaining diversity of life, this effort is overwhelmed by thedemands of mounting numbers of people. The obvious solution of birthcontrol and family planning remains largely unknown or ignored -- aheritage of our ancient customs and religious beliefs. Under theonslaught of an ever-increasing human population, it has become clearthat humanity and the world’s environments and ecosystems are underserious threat.In their landmark books, Ehrlich and Ehrlich (1970) and Wilson (1992)demonstrated with overwhelming evidence that reducing the humanpopulation, and hence lessening demands on natural ecosystems, is theover-riding factor in the struggle to conserve the natural world. Thecurrent frenzy for exploiting natural resources and the escalatingenvironmental degradation by the world community are in stark contrastto traditional beliefs of Aboriginal Peoples about Mother Earth. Thespiritual inter-relatedness of earth, water, plants, animals and peopledemanded that great respect be shown to each part of this unity of life.They appreciated (as few people do today) that their very survivaldepended on caring for the natural world.
  6. 6. The discovery of agriculture around 9,000 years ago changedeverything, generating a giant leap in human birth rate and survival.Starvation lessened as an ever-looming factor in limiting populationnumbers, as it had likely operated effectively over several million years ofhuman evolution. Countless millions of children and adults die ofstarvation and neglect each year, and over half the world’s populationis seriously malnourished and drinks contaminated water, in spite ofmassive humanitarian efforts by generous countries and charitableagencies. To maintain the present course is madness and irresponsible.Nature’s ecosystems and environments progressively curb plaguespecies like ours through drastically increased rates of mortality --escalating famine, terrible wars over contested lands and beliefs, clashesover disappearing resources, devastating outbreaks of old and newdiseases, massive loss of life from each major natural event of weatherand earth movement, debilitating stress, and poisoning from thousandsof toxic and waste productsWhen will parents, educators, politicians, and clergy gain theknowledge, courage and dedication to speak out and support familyplanning? When will leaders and the public recognize thatoverpopulation is the root of so many community problems, and stiflesour most-earnest efforts to solve them? When will women be grantedtheir right to the reproductive control of their bodies and lives? While thebirth rate in Canada and a few other developed countries has finallydropped below two young per couple, there are still many parentsexceeding this critical limit, and often without the resources to care forthem. As population growth slows, countries can invest more ineducation, health care, job creation, and other improvements that helpboost living standards. In turn, as individual income, savings, andinvestment rise, more resources become available that can boostproductivity. This dynamic process has been identified as one of the keyreasons that the economies of many Asian countries grew rapidlybetween 1960 and 1990.Wildlife species cannot be “saved” in the long term by protecting themsolely in a cocoon of captivity in zoos or small reserves. Without theexistence of sustainable wild populations -- free-ranging, interacting withtheir environment, and evolving -- each species will end up hopelesslyinbred, a mere genetic shell of its ancestral stock, and eventuallydoomed to extinction. As population and demand for natural resourcescontinue to grow, environmental limits will become increasinglyapparent.6 Water shortages are expected to affect nearly 3 billionpeople in 2025, with sub-Saharan Africa worst affected.2 Many countriescould avoid environmental crises if they took steps now to conserve andmanage supplies and demand better, while slowing population growth
  7. 7. by providing families and individuals with information and servicesneeded to make informed choices about reproductive health.No matter what the definitive cause, the Earth simply cannot sustain 6.2billion humans. If humans are to survive on this planet, we need todrastically begin to reduce our population. Coupled with conservationefforts and the spread of environmental awareness, we might stand achance, but overpopulation is nothing short of a crisis, and needs to beaddressed with urgency. If every country made a commitment topopulation stabilization and resource conservation, the world would bebetter able to meet the challenges of sustainable development.Practicing sustainable development requires a combination of wisepublic investment, effective natural resource management, cleaneragricultural and industrial technologies, less pollution, and slowerpopulation growth. Family planning programs play a key role.When family planning information and services are widely available andaccessible, couples are better able to achieve their fertility desires. Twovery important things to reach the goal of preventing overpopulationsare: Taking action: Many steps toward sustainability can be taken today.These include: using energy more efficiently, managing cities better,phasing out subsidies that encourage waste, Stabilizing population: Whilepopulation growth has slowed, the absolute number of people continuesto increase — by about 1 billion every 13 years. Slowing populationgrowth would help improve living standards and would buy time toprotect natural resources. In the long run, to sustain higher livingstandards, world population size must stabilize.Resources:http://www.naturenorth.com/YOTF/Overpopulation.htmlhttp://www.helium.com/items/1049767-is-overpopulation-a-world-threathttp://www.actionbioscience.org/environment/hinrichsen_robey.html