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Annual Report, 2013

In its 2013 Annual Report, released on 26 March, UNEP sets out its accomplishments for that year. It tackled a range of critical and emerging issues on the global environmental agenda. Its activities ranged from climate change adaptation to a new global convention on mercury.

The report reviews the Programme’s achievements in climate change; disasters and conflicts; ecosystem management; environmental governance; harmful substances and hazardous waste; resource efficiency; and sustainable consumption and production.


Harmful substances and hazardous waste

The Minamata Convention on Mercury was adopted. This is a global, legally binding agreement to reduce mercury emissions. It’s the first global convention on environment and health for close to a decade, and is widely viewed as a major development in the global phasing out of this deadly substance.

Climate change

The report highlights the findings of two other reports:  the Emissions Gap Report 2013, which details the gap between current global emissions and the reduction needed to remain on track to meet the 2°Celsius global warming target, and the Africa Adaptation Gap Report, which describes the costs of adaptation measures on the African continent under various global-warming scenarios.

It also focuses on the 2013 opening of the Climate Technology Centre and Network and the adoption of a “rulebook” on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries, as well as UNEP’s work on adaptation, energy and resilience.

Managing ecosystems
In ecosystem management, the work included in particular “natural capital”, payments for ecosystem services and the marine environment. The report describes efforts by UNEP and partners to incorporate the value of nature into economic and developmental policies.

The UNEP-hosted Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, with 115 member states, established a five-year work programme and agreed to develop a set of fast-track assessments.

Meanwhile, more countries embarked on studies under the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) initiative, which has already demonstrated the negative economic impact of unsustainable management of ecosystems.

Bhutan, Ecuador, Liberia, the Philippines and Tanzania are already studying their natural capital, while others such as Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden have expressed interest in TEEB scoping studies.

Environmental governance
The report addresses UNEP's capacity-building efforts to enhance the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements; its new Poverty-Environment Initiative; and various measures taken to address illegal trade in wildlife.
UNEP's Governing Council met for the first time under universal membership following the adoption of a 2012 resolution by the UN General Assembly, which called for a significant upgrade to the Programme. 

Activities to bring science to policymakers and the general public are also detailed, including the launch of UNEP Live, a new digital platform to collect, process and share the world's best environmental science and research.

Emerging issues
The report notes that pastoralism—the branch of agriculture relating to the herding and tending of livestock—will come into greater focus as an element of the green economy, in particular through UNEP's partnerships with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the World Alliance of Indigenous Peoples.


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