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The concept of the Blue Economy has recently attracted considerable attention as a basis to strengthen marine ecosystems, through which to promote economic growth, environmental sustainability and social inclusion. This approach underscores the importance of using ocean and other water resources sustainably. A number of initiatives have already been implemented around the world, such as the regulation of coastal activities, sustainable wetlands management, mangroves restoration, management of storm surges and fishing activities, etc., as the strategies to strengthen habitat protection of the marine environment and reduce pollution among other issues.   A side event conducted during the recent UN Habitat Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, in May 2019 triggered discourse on how to enhance stakeholders’ partnerships and collaboration at national and international levels to address the common challenges and opportunities between Blue Economy and cities. Several nations recognised that cities take a center stage in solving environmental issues. Cities consume large amounts of natural resources, produce tonnes of waste and emissions, all of which have significant impacts on the regional and planetary environment.  Effective urban and regional planning is therefore crucial and must be managed by anticipating, mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change.  Member countries of the UN Habitat Governing Council concurred on the importance of protecting and restoring the health, productivity and resilience of oceans and marine ecosystem to maintain their diversity and to enable sustainable use of resource for the present and future. The UN Habitat Background Paper on Blue Economy and Cities (2018) stresses that ‘spatial planning, integrated conservation, sustainable and efficient resource use are necessary tools and mechanisms to achieve sustainable development.’ The Paper highlights governance of marine and other water body environments and harmonizing them into national and regional urban policies, goals, plans and actions for better economic, social and environmental outcomes.  It also underscores the importance of involving all stakeholders in the Blue Economy infrastructure planning and design for cities, including informal settlements, low carbon plans and basic services while taking into consideration hinterlands, maritime space and foreland to drive integrated solutions.  A holistic approach would be further supported by effective governance and financing. More details are available here:
Date: 25 June 2019
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BES-Net’s third Regional Trialogue, “Bright Spots on Land Degradation, Food Security and Pollinators” was held on 28-30 May 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya.  The event was hosted by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in Kenya and supported financially by the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety and SwedBio at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Focusing on Anglophone Africa, the three-day event was participated by a diverse group of people from Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria and Zambia, as well as the key resource people from the regional and international organizations. The objective of the Anglophone Africa Trialogue was to inform future land use and management decision-making process at regional, national and local levels based on the improved understanding of land-based ecosystem services, particularly pollinators and pollination, and their contributions to food security, climate change resilience and sustainable development.   “Trialogue reminds us of the need to bring out the nexus between land degradation, biodiversity loss and loss of pollinators more than ever,” said Mr. Richard Mwendandu, Director of the Multilateral Environment Agreement at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Kenya. “Unless we build those three up, we will not be able to reverse food insecurity which we are experiencing in most countries in Anglophone Africa region.”   The Trialogue offered a variety of interactive sessions both indoor and outdoor and in both plenary and smaller working groups to unpack the messages of the IPBES thematic assessment reports and encourage all three communities of science, policy and practice to engage proactively and speak more freely.  Accordingly, stimulating and inspiring discussions were held, with the exchanges of “bright spots”, or practical good practice examples available, on how to improve the resilience of ecosystems and their fundamental services in support of achieving various Sustainable Development Goals, such as zero hunger (SDG 2) and Land Degradation Neutrality (SDG15.3).     Building on the proven success stories and lessons learned, the participants jointly came up with a series of concrete actions to be undertaken as regionally- and nationally- adapted versions of the policy and management options to uptake the IPBES assessment recommendations. “BES-Net brought together researchers, policymakers and practitioners and helped form a network, bridging the gap that has existed among them for a long time,” said Mr. Benneth Obitte, Director, Small Mammal Conservation Organization. “The most important thing coming out of this network is that, as we move forward, we are committed to serve as the champions and work together to lead the implementation of the national and regional actions.”  
Date: 10 June 2019
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GEF-UNDP Small Grants Programme (SGP), in partnership with all three Rio Conventions, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and TVE, is organizing the 2019 Global Youth Video Competition for the upcoming Climate Summit and Conventions’ COPs.   The 2019 competition will focus on 3 themes: land, biodiversity and climate action. It seeks to encourage young people from around the world to submit videos showcasing positive solutions on three themes: Nature-based Solutions for Food and Human Health; Cities and Local Action to Combat Climate Change; and Nature-Based Solutions to balance the use of land for people and ecosystems.   “Young people have the capacity to influence adults and convince them to act now, and before it is too late”, said Cristiana Paşca Palmer, CBD Executive Secretary. The competition recognizes that more and more young people are now voicing concern about environmental degradation and are able to contribute great ideas for solving environmental issues.     One winner will be selected per category and the three winners will attend the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Santiago, Chile, in December 2019. The winning videos will be screened in front of a global audience at the conference. In addition, the videographers will have the opportunity to work with UN Climate Change’s communications team, covering highlights of the conference.   To apply for the competition please press here: https://biomovies.tve.org.  The deadline for submissions is 28 July.   More details available from the press release here:  
Date: 03 June 2019
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The stingless beekeeping workshop held in 18th May at the Permaculture Trinidad- Wa Samaki Ecosystems. This one-day workshop was organised by Erle Rahaman and Lena Dempewolf, with the objective to raise awareness on the threats that are faced by the bees and demonstrated how these bees can be kept and managed in order to not only increase and conserve local populations, but also to provide livelihoods for people. This one-day workshop served as an introduction to the identification, use, products and husbandry of native stingless bees of Trinidad and Tobago and was delivered by David Rostant, founder of the TrinBago Stingless Beekeepers Network. The additional benefit of being stingless means that these bees can be kept anywhere and the usual distance restrictions from residential areas do not apply.  Persons who attended the workshop expressed an increased appreciation for pollinators and several have since made contact with the organizers sharing pictures and stories of pollinators observed, their intention of starting their own hives, and placing their names on waiting lists. This workshop comes after multiple other activities initiated after the Caribbean Regional Trialogue on Pollinators held last year in Santo Domingo, which brought together a number of persons with similar interests in protecting pollinators throughout the region. In Trinidad and Tobago specifically, it inspired a number of high impact projects that required little capital. Other activities include the creation of iNaturalist projects for every island of the English-speaking Caribbean; a Caribbean iNaturalist umbrella project; numerous presentations throughout the country about the importance of local pollinators, citizen science and how to join the iNaturalist projects; and a presentation in conjunction with the local pest control company Rentokil at an energy organization (DeNovo) about the importance of bees and bee safety. Planned activities for the remainder of the year are a one-day workshop on managing habitat for pollinators; iNaturalist projects for Spanish, Dutch and French speaking islands; pollinator activities at children’s summer camps; a national stakeholder pollinator dialogue; the enhancement and distribution of a bee removal network connecting persons with bees on their properties with beekeepers that are able to remove them; and finally, the formation of a Caribbean pollinator NGO.  
Date: 28 May 2019
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The Global Landscape Forum (GLF) Kyoto 2019 took place in Kyoto, Japan, from 13th to 17th May 2019 with the theme of “Climate, Landscapes and Lifestyles: It is Not Too Late”. GLF Kyoto 2019 brought together representatives from government, the private sector, development agencies, youth, indigenous peoples, civil society, science, project implementers and media, to share ideas and practical experiences on how to move from commitment to action in creating more sustainable landscapes. This included identifying nature-based solutions in climate adaptation and mitigation for a climate-smart future.   Based on recent studies that the prevention of irreversible climate catastrophes requires the world’s population to commit to transformative change within the next decade, the event appealed to the world to pursue all necessary measures and advance concrete actions toward ‘net zero’ carbon dioxide emissions around 2050.  This will help to keep the global average temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius on the basis of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5-degree special report. One of the key outcomes of GLF Kyoto 2019 was the announcement by the city of Kyoto that it would reach zero emissions by 2050. GLF is the world’s largest knowledge-led platform on sustainable land use as a critical part of the climate solution, and is dedicated to achieving the SDGs and Paris Climate Agreement. For more information please press here
Date: 20 May 2019
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“ Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history - and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating “, according to the Summary for Policymakers of the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. The report was approved at the 7th session of the plenary of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-7), which was held from 29 April to 4 May 2019 in Paris, France.   The report was released following a detailed assessment on deteriorating health of ecosystems, instigated by grave concerns about the accelerating extinction of species and the impact on people around the world. The assessment reveals that ecosystems, species, wild populations, local varieties and breeds of domesticated plants and animals are shrinking, deteriorating or vanishing. Taking cognizance of the complex factors surrounding damage to biodiversity, the report underscores the importance of articulating the history of the drivers for change across the globe, including social, demographic and economic factors. Compiled by some 150 expert authors from over 50 countries in the past three years, the assessment was described as the most comprehensive of its kind. This report presents opportunities for achieving sustainability in areas that include agriculture, forestry, marine systems, freshwater systems, urban areas and energy, highlighting the importance of adopting an integrated approach for effective policies and mechanisms. It further calls for urgent action across the globe to transform and restore nature. For more details about the report, please click here. https://www.ipbes.net/news/Media-Release-Global-Assessment.
Date: 08 May 2019
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BES-Net First Trialogue on Pollinators, Food Security and Rural Development in Eastern Europe: Summary Video

The first BES-Net Trialogue was held in Sarajevo in October 2017 to reach a common agenda for action around pollinators in Eastern Europe as the driver to foster links between ecosystem services, agriculture and rural development in the region. The Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network’s (BES-Net) Trialogue provides a constructive space for the three communities of policymakers, scientists and practitioners to learn together and fostering inter-cultural understanding and interinstitutional co

Launch of the UNDP-managed Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BES-Net) Web Portal

On Friday, 9 December 2016, the event “Launch of the UNDP-managed Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BES-Net) Web Portal” took place at the Convention of Biological Diversity COP13. Presented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), this video by IISD Reporting Services provides an overview of the event, which reviewed a new, cutting-edge platform to build capacity and promote global dialogue among science, policy and practice.

Sturle Hauge Simonsen Interviews Solene Le Doze, Capacity Network Coordinator for BES-Net

Sturle Hauge Simonsen, Head of Communications at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, interviews Solene Le Doze, Capacity Network Coordinator for the UNDP-managed Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network (BES-Net) following the formal launch event at CDB COP 13 in Cancun, Mexico.

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