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A new digital platform to help dive professionals protect fragile coral reefs has been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2020 Con X Tech Prize, an award that provides seed funding to innovative conservation projects.

The Green Fins Global Hub by The Reef-World Foundation, which is being developed in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), was shortlisted for what organizers called its potentially transformative approach to conserve biodiversity and ending human-induced species extinctions.

Once up and running, the hub aims to provide more than 30,000 dive and snorkel operators across 100 countries with practical information on how to reduce the impact that tourism has on coral reefs. Among other things, it will showcase low-cost alternatives to harmful practices, like anchoring and fish feeding, while helping operators limit chemical pollution.

Marine life
Marine life and coral at Nusa Ceningan, Indonesia. Photo by The Reef-World Foundation

“UNEP is proud to support the work of the Reef-World Foundation and Green Fins to promote sustainable tourism practices around the world,” said UNEP marine ecosystems expert Gabriel Grimsditch. “As tourism businesses recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that they do so in an environmentally sustainable manner that does not harm the ecosystems that their businesses depend on.”

Found in over 100 countries and territories globally, coral reefs support a quarter of all marine life—up to 1 million species. They also provide at least 500 million people with jobs and food while protecting coastlines from storms and flooding. However,  the recently released fifth Global Biodiversity Outlook says coral reefs are at risk of extinction due to human-related pressures, including climate change.

Reef-World is one of 20 finalists for the Con X Prize and was shortlisted from 167 submissions from around the world. Each of the shortlisted teams received $3,500 to turn their idea into a prototype. In October, one project will be awarded the $20,000 grand prize.

James Greenhalgh, Digital Strategy Manager at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “There is no other product like the Global Hub on the market and our market research shows strong industry demand for a service providing this type of solution. The hub will enable operators to train and empower their staff to adopt better environmental behaviours and collaborate with other businesses. We’re excited about the project’s potential to benefit reefs globally.”

People
Photo by The Reef-World Foundation

Reef-World has already secured funding for this project from UNEP, The Matthew Good Foundation and G-Research. It is continuing to fundraise to cover the remaining development costs.

Tom Quigley, Community Manager at Conservation X Labs, said: “The Con X Tech Prize is meant for opportunities just like this – where some funding and support through a prototyping sprint can help a product like Green Fins make a transformative leap in the scale of their impact. We’re excited to see what Reef-World builds over the prototyping period.”

The hub lends itself to the ongoing calls for global conservation to protect coral reefs. In May, the International Coral Reef Initiative, a long-standing partner of UNEP, adopted recommendations from the Convention on Biological Diversity Post 2020 Framework to safeguard the future of coral reefs. Meanwhile, the Glowing Gone Campaign is raising awareness about the plight of coral reefs by enlisting the support of companies, like Adobe, and several celebrities, including Jane Goodall.

Millions of used cars, vans and minibuses exported from Europe, the USA and Japan to low- and middle-income countries are hindering efforts to combat climate change. They are contributing to air pollution and are often involved in road accidents. Many of them are of poor quality and would fail road-worthiness tests in the exporting countries.

landmark, first-of-its-kind United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, released today, looks at 146 countries that import used vehicles, and calls for action to regulate the trade through the adoption of a set of harmonized minimum quality standards. These would ensure used vehicles contribute to cleaner and safer fleets in recipient countries. UNEP and partners will address these issues, initially with a project focused on Africa.

The report by The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) addresses the links between the degradation of nature and increasing pandemic risks, quantifying the economic costs of pandemics as well as the costs of preventing future pandemics, and offers evidence-informed policy options for governments and decision-makers to escape the era of pandemics.

 

John Mwangi’s 22-year-old car is his lifeline. His run-down Toyota saloon not only ferries him around the streets of the traffic-congested Kenyan capital, Nairobi, but is also his main source of revenue.

Resting against its open boot, surrounded by fresh pumpkins, sweet potatoes and other vegetables, a smiling Mwangi, 34, explained how it has transformed his life. Thanks to this unlikely saviour, he is now a trader, shopkeeper and entrepreneur.

Man selling food produce at the back of his car
John Mwangi’s 22-year-old Toyota, which he uses to buy and sell produce in the capital city of Nairobi. Photo: UNEP/ Duncan Moore

“I have changed to a career as a businessman. I use my car to sell foodstuffs. I go to the village, buy food and then I come here and sell it,” he said, gesturing around a market in Nairobi.

Mwangi is not alone. Across Africa, and much of the developing world, used cars, minibuses and vans imported from abroad are changing people’s lives. But they come with a high and growing global price tag.

A groundbreaking United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, warns that millions of used light-duty vehicles shipped from Europe, the United States of America and Japan to Africa and Asia are polluting and unsafe. Often with faulty or missing components, they belch out toxic fumes, increasing air pollution and hindering efforts to fight climate change.

Entitled Used Vehicles and the Environment: A Global Overview of Used LightDuty Vehicles – Flow, Scale and Regulationthe report details how the global fleet of light-duty vehicles will double by 2050. Some 90 per cent of this growth will take place in low- and middle-income countries. Of the 146 countries studied in the UNEP report, about two-thirds have “weak” or “very weak” policies regulating the import of used vehicles. Many of the imported vehicles would not be allowed to circulate on the roads of exporting countries.

“Countries have to stop exporting vehicles that are no longer roadworthy, and fail environment and safety inspections while importing countries must adopt up-to-date regulations,” said Rob de Jong, report author and Head of Transport at UNEP.

Vehicle emissions are a prime source of small particulates and nitrogen oxides, which cause urban air pollution. Globally, vehicles are responsible for 25 per cent of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.

UNEP is calling on both exporting and importing countries to regulate the trade and eliminate a range of abuses. It stresses that a regulated trade can have several positive impacts, improving the lives of many people and boosting prosperity.

Landmark new rules

UNEP’s report comes after 15 African countries announced strict new rules for vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency. The directives, issued by the Economic Community of West African States, with UNEP support, bar the import of light-duty vehicles more than five years old and aim to double the efficiency of cars by 2030.

The rules are a milestone in slashing greenhouse gas emissions in a region that is home to about 400 million people, where many vehicles are past their prime. The Gambia, for example, imports vehicles on average 18.8 years old, while a quarter of those imported by Nigeria are nearly 20 years old.

Africa is the ultimate destination for some 40 per cent of used light-duty vehicles, like the one owned by Peter Karanja Njuguna. He ferries passengers around Nairobi in an old 14-seat Nissan minibus pumping out exhaust fumes from dawn to dusk. He says he does not know the exact age of his vehicle but reckons it is between 10 and 15 years old. It cost $3,000 and anything newer would have been outside his budget. He says the catalytic converter, which contains platinum, was removed before it was exported.

“They remove those things that are not necessary for the way we use them here. They just leave the basic stuff,” he explained. “It is cheapish to buy but expensive to maintain. But it pays for itself within two years and gives me an income.”

Poor quality used vehicles can lead to more road accidents, which kill an estimated 1.25 million people each year. Africa has the world’s highest road traffic fatality rates with 246,000 deaths occurring annually, a number projected to rise to 514,000 in 2030, according to the World Health Organization.

Improvements down the road

The issue of faulty vehicles is catching the attention of exporting countries. The Netherlands – one of the largest used vehicle exporters to Africa – studied used European vehicles being exported through their ports and found that many vehicles, mainly destined for West Africa, were between 16 and 20 years old, fell below European Union emission standards and did not have a valid roadworthiness certificate at the time of export. The Netherlands is developing policies to improve the quality of used vehicles while addressing the issue with other European countries.

UNEP’s report also showed that countries, such as Morocco and Mauritius, that had implemented far-sighted policies gained access to high-tech vehicles, like hybrid and electric cars, at affordable prices.

The UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) 16th Global Roundtable, held virtually for the first time ever from 13-14 October 2020, attracts over 2500 participants. Here are the plenary sessions of the event convened under the theme «Financing a Resilient Future.»

The New Climate Leadership in Finance: The Race to Net-Zero

Thirty of the world’s largest investors with $5 trillion assets under management collectively agree on concrete portfolio targets that follow the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5 °C scenario for the next five years. The UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance members target a range of 16-29% greenhouse gas reduction by 2025.

Building Back Better: Financing a Resilient Future

Elliott Harris, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development and Chief Economist in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) highlights the need to accelerate implementation of the Agenda 2030 as a foundation for recovery of the current crisis, and the important role that the financial sector has to play to achieve this.

The Role of Regulators in Delivering a Sustainable Financial System: High-Level Dialogue

Frank Elderson, Executive Director De Nederlandsche Bank and Geoff Summerhayes, Executive Board Member, The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority speak to Elodie Feller of UNEP FI for the Global Roundtable 2020. The Chairs of the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) and the Sustainable Insurance Forum (SIF) discuss their roles and recent developments in helping steer the financial industry and regulation towards a resilient future.

Hector Joseph Dager Gaspard  define el poder de la cooperación para generar valor integral y soluciones innovadoras para cada uno de sus clientes y las zonas geográficas en donde está operando.

Visión

Descubrir todo el potencial del capital humano para mejorar la trayectoria del éxito de toda la corporación, con el sueño y la convicción de que trabajando en el presente construimos en el futuro.

Orientación al cliente

Nuestros clientes son el eje central de todo lo que hacemos.

Excelencia operativa

Superar siempre las expectativas con la integridad, confianza, mayor eficacia, calidad y rendimiento.

Innovación

Generar con nuevas ideas los procedimientos y operaciones mejorar continuamente la forma de obtener cada día mejores resultados.

Nuestra gente

Integrar y coordinar la colaboración de nuestro talento para trabajar y crecer con una sola visión

Integridad

Actuar siempre con honestidad y de acuerdo con nuestros principios fundamentados en la ética y el profesionalismo.

Despite representing less than 1% of the world’s ocean surface, the Mediterranean Sea is home to up to 18% of the planet’s marine species. The decline of Posidonia Oceanica (an endemic seagrass species known as the “lungs of the Mediterranean”), overfishing, non-indigenous species are among the symptoms of environmental degradation. Marine and coastal ecosystems are reeling under pressure from the unsustainable pursuit of economic growth. This pressure is illustrated by the challenges of marine litter and pollution and further compounded by the rising impacts of climate change. A United Nations Environment Programme Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) report produced by Plan Bleu, a UNEP/MAP Regional Activity Centre, provides the most comprehensive assessment of the state of the environment and development in the region and includes a set of key messages that can inform an adequate policy response. The report was prepared under the Barcelona Convention, the Contracting Parties of which are 21 Mediterranean countries and the European Union.

Millions of used cars, vans and minibuses exported from Europe, the USA and Japan to low- and middle-income countries are hindering efforts to combat climate change. They are contributing to air pollution and are often involved in road accidents. Many of them are of poor quality and would fail road-worthiness tests in the exporting countries.

landmark, first-of-its-kind United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, released today, looks at 146 countries that import used vehicles, and calls for action to regulate the trade through the adoption of a set of harmonized minimum quality standards. These would ensure used vehicles contribute to cleaner and safer fleets in recipient countries. UNEP and partners will address these issues, initially with a project focused on Africa.

Espíritus que toman posesión de los cuerpos, temor a afrontar castigos, asuntos de linaje o convicción de que llegó la hora de morir, son algunas de las razones por las que los indígenas del pueblo Ikʉ, de Yo’sagaka, en la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, deciden quitarse la vida.

Todas estas explicaciones sobre el “ahorco”, como llama este pueblo al suicidio, son asociadas a lo que localmente denominan “la flojera”, una suerte de símbolo y síntoma de la desestructuración religiosa, individual y familiar, en un contexto tradicionalmente rígido y vertical, y que es ocasionada especialmente por el contacto –cada vez mayor– con otros habitantes de la zona, a pesar de la capacidad de conservación y resistencia.

Estos fueron parte de los hallazgos de la investigación de Santiago Alfonso Valencia Rico, magíster en Antropología de la Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNAL), y quien tras un trabajo de campo etnográfico, entre septiembre y diciembre de 2019, analizó la comprensión de la muerte por mano propia que tienen los Ikʉs de la región de Yo’sagaka.

Aunque en la estadía del investigador no se recogieron datos cuantitativos, por el tamaño de la región y la escasez de recursos económicos, el estudio cuenta con algunos testimonios de la población, como el de Lilia, quien calcula que en los últimos 37 años, desde que su padre, don Rafael Rodríguez, se quitó la vida, unas 12 personas han tomado la misma decisión.

“Allá llegó la ciencia y la religión occidental, por lo que parte de los elementos ancestrales de su religión, como el mamo (líder del pueblo), han venido perdiendo su lugar en lo religioso y lo político. Esa desestructuración tiene a un pueblo –caracterizado por ser fuerte y religioso– en grandes dificultades, pues la conquista parece no haber terminado”, señala el investigador.

La creciente colonización religiosa occidental en municipios y veredas muy pequeñas aledañas a la zona influye en los conflictos de su religión, sumado a la pérdida de fuerza de rituales muy importantes, como el de pagamento u ofrenda, en parte por las conflictivas relaciones entre las comunidades y el Estado, y por los problemas de tenencia del territorio.

Durante cuatro meses el investigador convivió con la comunidad siguiendo las reglas y limitaciones que le impartían, una experiencia que le permitió entender un poco más cuál es para este pueblo el sentido de la vida, de la muerte y aquello por lo que vale vivir o morir.

El desequilibrio del ahorcamiento

Cuando un miembro del pueblo muere en condiciones “naturales” o normales, es enterrado sentado boca arriba, en una posa, con el fin de que su alma realice su viaje hasta el pico de la Sierra (conocido como el pico Colón). No obstante, cuando deciden morir a mano propia, el método de enterramiento cambia: son ubicados boca abajo para que el alma pueda salir por el ano.

Según el investigador, cuando uno de ellos se “ahorca” tiene una connotación negativa, que genera dificultades familiares y sociales, por lo que estas malas muertes o formas inadecuadas de morir, ya sea por suicidio u homicidio, requieren tratamientos rituales específicos, pues generan un desequilibrio y energías negativas que quedan en la vida de sus familias por el resto de su vida.

Faltan registros

En el Boletín anual sobre muertes violentas 2018, del Instituto Nacional de Medicina Legal y Ciencias Forenses, en la clasificación de factores de vulnerabilidad de las personas que se quitan la vida solo se incluye el ítem “grupos étnicos”, en el que se reportaron 47 casos asociados con indígenas.

Por otro lado, según el Informe especializado en suicidio indígena (adolescentes) realizado por la misma entidad, se da un reporte nacional de 62 casos para 5 años (2010-2014), es decir 12 casos por año para 108 pueblos indígenas existentes en el territorio colombiano.

Sin embargo, según estudios cualitativos y antropológicos, los pueblos indígenas mantienen tasas crecientes de hasta 500 suicidios por cada 100.000 habitantes.

Según el investigador, la falta de registros precisos de estos casos agrava más la situación, pues los pocos suicidios que alcanzan a ser reportados no cuentan con una discriminación detallada, como pueblos, resguardos o autopsias psicológicas.

No obstante, aclara que no es un problema sencillo de afrontar, ya que los pueblos no siempre están dispuestos a entregar la información para ampliar ese banco de datos, en parte por el uso que históricamente el Estado ha hecho de la información obtenida en la Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta.

“La principal y única recomendación es entender que somos los menores y ellos los mayores, comprender que estos pueblos son los cuidadores del universo, por lo que se debe respetar su sistema político, su educación, su religión y su salud”, destaca el investigador.

(Por: fin/SMC/MLA/LOF)

Nairobi, 16 October 2020 – More than 400 young Africans were today honoured for their leadership in addressing plastic pollution in their communities as part of the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge. At a high-level event, political leaders, senior UN officials and Grammy-nominated Ghanaian musician Rocky Dawuni lauded the leadership shown by young people in global efforts to fight plastic pollution.

The African Youth Summit – Tide Turners Plastic Challenge acknowledged the role of more than 400 champions who have completed all three levels of the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge Badge. Participants in the Challenge have shown leadership by raising awareness through social media, championing plastic waste collection campaigns and demonstrating sustainability in their own lives, among other things.

Funded by the United Kingdom for the past two years, the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge has been completed by more than 225,000 young people in over 25 countries, including 50,000 in Africa. The challenge takes the participants on a learning journey consisting of three different levels: entry, leader, and champion.

More than 1,500 young people attended the Summit, organised by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in partnership with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scoutsthe World Organization of the Scout Movement and Junior Achievement Africa.

«As a former Girl Guide, I am very proud of Tide Turners and all the inspiring young people who are part of it; so far, more than 50,000 young people in 18 countries across Africa have joined this important programme. Let’s continue this momentum, adding seven more countries to reach youth in nearly half of all African countries,” said Joyce Msuya, Deputy Executive Director of UNEP.

The Summit which took place alongside the Scouts during their annual Jamboree on the Air and Jamboree on the Internet event (JOTA-JOTI) to share lessons from the actions young people have taken to fight plastic pollution and become environmental leaders in their communities. Six young changemakers shared their stories about how they went about provoking change and inspiring their peers to join them in taking action on plastic pollution.

“The Tide Turners Plastic Challenge gave me a great platform to pass on the message against plastic waste and share my solutions,” said Fyona Seesurrun, a 22-year old student from Mauritius, one of the champions who was honoured at the summit.

“100,000 mammals and one million birds die every year from eating or getting tangled in plastic in the ocean. If we do nothing, the amount of plastic in the ocean is set to treble by 2025. We must take collective action now. The Tide Turners are a force to be reckoned with, inspiring a whole new generation of leaders to tackle plastic pollution within their communities. That’s why the UK is supporting the UNEP to extend the work of the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge Badge to a further 20 countries around the world”, said Zac Goldsmith, UK Minister of State for Pacific and the Environment.

Grammy-nominated Ghanaian musician Rocky Dawuni – a UNEP Goodwill Ambassador – also addressed the young people at the Summit and serenaded guests with hits including “Rock Your Soul”.

The Tide Turners Plastic Challenge Badge is the first ever Scout and Girl Guide Badge made from recycled plastic; the Challenge has been integrated into a new digital platform for World Scouting’s new environmental education initiative: Earth Tribe, which unites 54 million Scouts in a global youth movement for the environment, and offers young people the opportunity to learn and act on key environmental issues that are affecting their communities.

In 2021, organisers will be adding a new element to the badge which will focus on influencing policy and practice change.

Each year, more than 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries, and tourism, and costing at least $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems. World production of plastic materials in 2018 was estimated at 359 million tonnes and by 2040, the amount of plastic going into our oceans could triple.

NOTES TO EDITORS

The Africa Tide Turners, 2020 is funded by the government of the UK and supported by the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM), World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), Junior Achievement, schools, and universities/colleges as well as the United Nations Environment Programme.

Other participating partners are: Government entities such as the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) in Kenya, the Centre Ivorian Anti-Pollution (CIAPOL), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NMASA), the Environmental Protection Agency of Sierra Leone, The Ghana National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP) and The Blue Action Network (BAN).

About the UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

Nine out of 10 people globally breathe polluted air, causing about 7 million premature deaths every year. On 7 September 2020, the United Nations observed the first International Day of Clean Air for blue skies. This article is part of UNEP’s continuing coverage of air pollution and its impact globally.

Over 40 per cent of the U.S. population – about 134 million people – face health risks resulting from air pollution, -according to the American Lung Association. The burden is far from evenly shared. Studies show that in the United States, people of color and low-income communities face a significantly higher risk of environmental health effects, highlighting that the impacts of air pollution are experienced unequally throughout the country.

People of color are more likely to live in areas affected by pollution and high road traffic density, increasing risks to their health. As prominent American environmental justice activist and leader Robert D. Bullard emphasizes, race and place matter.

For example, along the Mississippi River in the southern United States, there is an area with some of the worst air pollution in the country. In the stretch between New Orleans and Baton Rouge Louisiana, many people live right next to several high-polluting industrial plants. Residents, who are predominately Black, have seen significant cancer clusters, with cancer risks in the area reaching up to 50% more than the national average. In St. John the Baptist parish alone, an area of about 2 square miles, the cancer rate is about 800 times higher than the American average.

 

Similarly, New York City neighborhood Mott Haven, home to mainly LatinX and Black families, has a very high level of air pollution from traffic, warehouses, and industry.  Residents in Mott Haven face some of the highest rates of asthma cases and asthma-related hospitalizations in the country, especially among children.

Often, communities experiencing high levels of air pollution are among the most vulnerable, facing poor access to health services, limited economic opportunity, more polluted work environments and racial injustices.  Comprehensive policies are needed to address these interrelated challenges.

“There is a strong correlation between socioeconomic factors and risk of air pollution,” said Dr. Barbara Hendrie, Regional Director for UN Environment Programme North America. “Recognizing this, and the disproportionate impacts of air pollution throughout the United States is a critical part of developing effective solutions.”

On the first-ever International Day of Clean Air for blue skies in September, the UN Environment Programme called upon governments, corporations, to civil society and individuals, to take action to reduce air pollution and bring about transformative change.

Air pollution does not have to be a part of our collective future. We have the solutions and must take the necessary actions to address this environmental menace and provide #CleanAirForAll.

Manama, Baghdad, 22 October 2020 – The UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Regional Office for West Asia based in Manama, Bahrain, and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Iraq have joined forces today, signing a four-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that aims to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly the environmental Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The MOU identifies several priority areas that UNEP and UNDP will jointly address including; environmental policy, biodiversity and ecosystems, pollution and waste management, climate change, and supporting the Government of Iraq in its post–COVID-19 response on areas related to environmental sustainability.

UNEP and UNDP share a successful history of collaboration on projects and initiatives at the global, regional and country levels. In late 2019, the two organizations signed a global strategic partnership which strengthens engagement and collaboration at the institutional level.

UNEP and UNDP share unique and complementary attributes. While UNDP has a strong country presence and access to a wide range of stakeholders and sectoral policy, UNEP is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, it has a deep-rooted science foundation, and a strong normative mandate that promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development.

Since 2009 UNEP in West Asia and UNDP in Iraq have worked on a large portfolio of projects, including supporting Iraq with its reporting obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol, and developing a National Environment Strategy and Action Plan that outlined the scale of environmental degradation in Iraq, its root causes and impacts, and necessary next steps. As one of the signatories to the Paris Agreement in 2016, Iraq continues to priorities climate change adaptation and mitigation measures in its environmental planning and is committed to adopting a green vision and implementing green programmes.

Today’s agreement puts UNEP and UNDP firmly on a path to supporting Iraq’s progress towards achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

From his side, the Regional Director and Representative of UNEP in West Asia, Mr. Sami Dimassi, highlighted that “UNEP is committed to forging a strong collaboration with UNDP in Iraq to support the country in addressing environmental challenges while supporting the Government and the people of Iraq to build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic. UNDP has a successful track record in Iraq, and today, I am pleased that we have joined forces towards achieving a sustainable environment for all”.

“Iraq faces a number of environmental challenges – from water scarcity, to rising temperatures, to pollution, to environmental degradation due to years of conflict and neglect. Tackling these challenges in a complex setting like Iraq cannot be done alone, so we are proud to join UNEP and support the Government of Iraq in securing a healthy, sustainable environment, now and for future generations,” says Resident Representative of UNDP Iraq, Ms. Zena Ali Ahmad.

“Without increasing efforts to decelerate the climate crisis, the Iraqi population will not be able to live prosperously in the future. The goal of the SDGs of leaving no one behind, especially SDG 6 on Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy, and SDG 13 Climate Action are of particular importance for Iraq. I am pleased to see that UNEP and UNDP are increasing their activities in order to help Iraq and its population” says Resident Coordinator for Iraq, Ms. Irena Vojackova-Sollorano.

About the UN Environment Programme (UNEP):

The UN Environment Programme is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

About the UN Development Programme (UNDP):

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change. Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations to build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet.

Burkina Faso country is implementing several multilateral environmental agreements – including the National Economic and Social Development Plan (2016-2020), which envisages “strong, sustainable and inclusive economic growth.”  But transformational change is no small feat. In 2019, Burkina Faso ranked 141 out of 162 countries in terms of progress toward the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The United Nations Development Account (UNDA) is a four-year project, designed to equip national institutions to more effectively implement and monitor environmental dimensions of the 2030 Agenda. In addition to developing national policies and strategies, participating countries are enabled to produce regular, comprehensive environmental data; and exchange knowledge throughout regional networks.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Development Coordination Officer,  Jean Jacob Sahou discusses project achievements and challenges in Burkina Faso – including its work during COVID-19.

Countries need to understand the environmental dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals and their linkages with other commitments and be able to translate this into concrete action.

What is the role of sustainable development in Burkina Faso’s plan for economic growth?

Burkina Faso’s National Economic and Social Development Plan (PNDES) envisages healthy and inclusive growth through sustainable consumption and production. One of its important strategic objectives is to “reverse the environmental degradation trend and sustainably ensure the natural and environmental resource management”.

Realizing environmental goals is a pre-condition to achieving the ambitious results of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Countries need to understand the environmental dimension of the Goals and their linkages with other commitments and be able to translate this into concrete action.  This calls for change in the way that national institutions make decisions, devise policies, legislate, and report on sustainable development issues: it means ensuring access to accurate information and knowledge, collaborating and coordinating across sectors – both within and across institutions, and making mechanisms more inclusive.

How does UNDA support the integration of environmental issues into public policy?

Responding to expressed needs, the UNDA project is designed to strengthen the capacity of national institutions to implement and monitor the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda in a coherent and integrated manner; and produce quality environmental statistics to inform decision making and guide the implementation of the Agenda in Burkina Faso.

To this end, UNEP works in collaboration with other organizations and Burkina Faso’s government institutions, UN Country Teams and Resident Coordinators, and Sustainable Development Goal mechanisms to enhance technical capacities of focal points in relevant ministries – including development, finance, agriculture, fisheries and environment – to deliver on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda in a coordinated, integrated and evidence-based manner; and national statistical offices to regularly produce comprehensive sets of environment statistics, data and information that integrate Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and Multilateral Environmental Agreement (MEA) related data.

How has the project responded to the challenges posed by COVID-19?

Despite challenges associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, UNEP leveraged the help of partners such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature; and the project continued with a series of workshops in March 2020. These included training on the use of the Sustainable Development Analytical Grid for members of the national committee in charge of the multilateral environmental agreements and decentralization; and national training on the use of the Rapid Environmental Assessment and the Rapid Assessment and Climate Change Adaptation Capacity, enabling participants to better integrate sustainable development, environmental sustainability and climate change adaptation planning into local and national developmental plans.  Participants also built capacity to use the toolkit to monitor the adaptation capacity of local developmental plans and projects on climate change.

In what ways is the country better equipped to achieve national plans and Sustainable Development Goals?

The project has improved institutional capacity building at national and local levels on environmental sustainability issues and their integration into key development processes, including economic, planning and statistical aspects.

Studies – including that of COVID-19 – will inform analyses and the formulation of the subsequent PNDES, which will include stronger environmental dimensions and be more coherent with Sustainable Development Goals.

Ultimately, the government is better equipped to respond to its responsibilities under Agenda 2030, including the capacity to report back at the global level on their progress toward achieving the sustainable development goals.

Considering the central role of multilateral environmental agreements in defining environmental goals, their provisions also inform the technical tools and support provided through this project, which in turn will help Burkina Faso have a wider perspective on the multiplicity of the environmental goals they are called to achieve.

World Food Day, which falls on 16 October, is an opportunity to reassess how humanity produces, distributes and consumes food. Are we doing those things in a sustainable way that benefits farmers, the environment and society at large? What is the impact of food systems on nature? Are we properly valuing biodiversity in agricultural areas? We put some of those questions to Salman Hussain. He is the coordinator of a six-year-old initiative from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) called the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Agriculture and Food. Its goal is to help countries understand the true cost of their food systems. UNEP: We hear a lot about the need to do agriculture differently. Why is this? Salman Hussain: Agriculture brings myriad positive and negative externalities, that is, costs or benefits that are externalized to third parties. Examples of negative externalities include the pollution of water bodies from nitrate leaching and human health impacts, such as pesticide poisoning. On the other hand, positive externalities from farming, such as community cohesion and the maintenance of livelihoods for smallholder farmers, are often undervalued. Some of these benefits simply do not get included in economic decision making. We need to account for positive and negative externalities otherwise we are not paying the true cost for our food. UNEP: What does TEEB do? SH: UNEP hosts TEEB, a global initiative focused on making nature’s values visible. TEEB for Agriculture and Food (also known as TEEBAgriFood) was launched in 2014 to make the dependencies and impacts that the agri-food value chain has on nature visible to decision makers. Our mission is to examine the true costs of agriculture.
Farm
Photo: Unsplash/Annie Spratt 
UNEP: Are you involved in any country-based initiatives? SH: Yes. We have an International Climate Initiative-funded project in Colombia, Kenya, Tanzania and Thailand. The aim of the project is to catalyse policy reforms that integrate the often economically invisible values of biodiversity and ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. Another European Union-funded project focuses on Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico and Thailand. It is seeking to make nature’s values for food and farming visible and promote a sustainable food system that safeguards biodiversity and ecosystem services. UNEP: How has TEEB helped move the needle on sustainable agriculture recently? SH: An example is Indonesia, where the interim TEEBAgriFood report contributed to the inclusion – for the first time – of agroforestry in the [country’s] five-year development plan. What the Ministry of Planning found useful is that we made the economic case for agroforestry. We are now looking to build upon this inclusion in the development plan by working with stakeholders to develop viable scenarios for cacao agroforestry that support livelihoods as well as contribute to conservation outcomes. The TEEBAgriFood Framework we applied in Indonesia, which we are applying in all our country applications, won the World Future Council Vision Award in 2018. UNEP: Who else are you partnering with? SH: Recently TEEB has worked with the Global Alliance for the Future of Food and the Institute for the Development of Environmental-Economic Accounting to produce The TEEBAgriFood Evaluation Framework: Overarching Implementation Guidance. Launched on 29 September, it’s a step-by-step guide to assess how food systems impact people, society, the environment and natural resources. Supported by case studies, the guidance enables users to identify a range of actions that can transform how food systems operate and, simultaneously, helps to create a practical roadmap for action on biodiversity loss.

World Food Day on 16 October calls for global solidarity to help all populations, and especially the most vulnerable, to recover from COVID-19. We asked Marieta Sakalian, a food systems and biodiversity expert with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), why agroecology is relevant to this call.

 

[UNEP] What is agroecology?

[Marieta Sakalian] Agroecology is an ecological approach to agriculture, often described as low-external-input farming. Other terms such as regenerative agriculture or eco-agriculture are also used. Agroecology is not just a set of agricultural practices – it focuses on changing social relations, empowering farmers, adding value locally and privileging short value chains. It allows farmers to adapt to climate change, sustainably use and conserve natural resources and biodiversity.

[UNEP] Why is conserving crop and animal diversity important for our health?

[MS] We need to grow a variety of food to nourish people and sustain the planet, but over the last 100 years, more than 90 per cent of crop varieties have disappeared. Half of the breeds of many domestic animals have been lost. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), only nine plant species account for 66 per cent of total crop production, despite the fact that there are at least 30,000 edible plants.

Losing diversity in our diets is directly linked to health risk factors, such as diabetes, obesity, and malnutrition. Developing and encouraging agroecological farming techniques can help make soils more productive, minimize the use of agrochemicals and pollution, and enhance crop diversity. This in turn can make agriculture more resilient.

[UNEP] What has UNEP been doing to promote agroecology?

[MS] In April 2018, FAO, supported by UNEP and other United Nations partners, launched the Scaling Up Agroecology Initiative, which works with food producers, governments and other stakeholders to promote agroecology. Globally, the initiative is demonstrating how agroecological systems are vital not only for addressing poverty, hunger, and climate change mitigation and adaptation but also for directly realizing 12 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in areas such as health, education, gender, water, energy and economic growth. One successful example is the zero-budget natural farming project in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, supported by UNEP.

Man watering crops
Photo by Axel Fassio/CIFOR

The agroecology “movement” has been around for decades but it’s only in the past few years that it has gained international momentum. What has changed?

[MS] The biodiversity and climate crises have renewed focus on agroecology, which adopts a more holistic, nature-based approach to agriculture. Agriculture is responsible for about 20 per cent of global greenhouse gases – we need to find different approaches to how we produce food, if we are to meet our climate goals. Species losses have also been unprecedented over the past 50 years. This has prompted a growing awareness, for example, of the economic value of pollinators – not just bees, but a whole host of other animals. Attitudes to the way we do farming are changing, and COVID-19 may be speeding up the process.

[UNEP] Why is this approach relevant to food security?

[MS] By 2050, our planet will need to feed close to 10 billion people. It is vital that we transform our agricultural and food systems so they work with and not against nature. As more people go hungry and malnutrition persists, we need to transform the way we do agriculture to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. Agroecology focuses on ecosystem-based approaches which can galvanize agricultural production systems while helping to boost human well-being, tackle climate change and protect our living planet. But, for agroecology to be adopted at scale, it would need strong backing from policymakers.

[UNEP] What are the challenges in implementing an agroecological approach to farming across the world?

[MS] Education and finance are hurdles. In some countries, awareness of the benefits of this approach is limited and many farmers are conservative: having invested in machinery to do agriculture in a certain way they may be reluctant to change – especially without financial incentives.

 

Read more about UNEP’s work on agriculture, biodiversity and food security: 

The United Nations Environment Assembly resolution, Innovation on biodiversity and land degradation, encourages Member States to step up their efforts to prevent the loss of biological diversity and the degradation of land and soil.

Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition—a joint programme with Bioversity International, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the governments of Brazil, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Turkey

Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Production Landscapes—a 2018 report funded by the Global Environment Facility

UN Environment’s TEEBAgriFood initiative

Support for National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plans

The UN Biodiversity Lab sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme, UNEP and the World Conservation Monitoring Centre provides high-quality spatial data for national reporting against global biodiversity commitments.

A January 2019 UNEP brief, We are losing the “little things” that run the world, highlights the importance of insects for ecosystems and sustainable food production.

Millions of used cars, vans and minibuses exported from Europe, the USA and Japan to low- and middle-income countries are hindering efforts to combat climate change. They are contributing to air pollution and are often involved in road accidents. Many of them are of poor quality and would fail road-worthiness tests in the exporting countries.

A landmark, first-of-its-kind United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, to be released on 26 October 2020, looks at 146 countries that import used vehicles, and calls for action to regulate the trade through the adoption of a set of harmonized minimum quality standards. These would ensure used vehicles contribute to cleaner and safer fleets in recipient countries. UNEP and partners will address these issues, initially with a project focused on Africa.

Despite representing less than 1% of the world’s ocean surface, the Mediterranean Sea is home to up to 18% of the planet’s marine species. The decline of Posidonia Oceanica (an endemic seagrass species known as the “lungs of the Mediterranean”), overfishing, non-indigenous species are among the symptoms of environmental degradation. Marine and coastal ecosystems are reeling under pressure from the unsustainable pursuit of economic growth. This pressure is illustrated by the challenges of marine litter and pollution and further compounded by the rising impacts of climate change. A United Nations Environment Programme Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) report produced by Plan Bleu, a UNEP/MAP Regional Activity Centre, provides the most comprehensive assessment of the state of the environment and development in the region and includes a set of key messages that can inform an adequate policy response. The report was prepared under the Barcelona Convention, the Contracting Parties of which are 21 Mediterranean countries and the European Union.

Rice is a staple for more than 3.5 billion people, including most of the world’s poor. But it can be a problematic crop to farm. It requires massive amounts of water and the paddies in which it grows emit methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

To tackle such issues, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been working with the Shanghai Agrobiological Gene Center to develop strains of rice that are drought resistant and don’t need to be planted in paddies. The research, say, experts, could help bolster food security at a time when COVID-19 is threatening to propel more people into hunger.

The study, which runs from 2017 to 2021, is funded by the Government of China and falls under the China-Africa South-South Cooperation arrangement.

“China has lots of experience growing rice and this collaboration with China is a first,” says UNEP ecosystems expert Levis Kavagi, who has been closely involved with the project.

Researchers have developed and tested over 50 varieties of rice in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda. They evaluated how the grains grow at different elevations and, importantly, how they taste.

One strain, dubbed WDR 73 by scientists, proved particularly promising. During trials in Uganda, researchers found that it helped boost yields by about 30 per cent compared to locally grown varieties.

WDR 73 also doesn’t need to be planted in a flooded paddy. That’s important for several reasons.

Transporting seedlings into flooded fields is a laborious process. Paddies are breeding grounds for malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Water shortages, sparked by climate change, are expected to make filling paddies a challenge in many countries. And paddies themselves vent massive amounts of methane –  up to 20 per cent of human-related emissions of the greenhouse gas, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Growing rice on relatively dry land also reduces the ever-growing quest to open up wetlands, havens for birds and other animals, to farming.

“Usually the most suitable land for growing rice also tends to be next to, or in, wetlands or flood plains,” says Kavagi. “Expanding agricultural land involves draining the wetlands. This leads to loss of biodiversity, and reduced water purification and climate regulation services provided by wetlands.”

The ultimate goal of the project is to get a national certification of WDR 73, allowing it to be broadly disseminated to farmers. The project is part of a larger effort by China, African countries and UNEP to develop better rice varieties, improve livelihoods and bolster food security.

«The project shows that with new rice varieties it is possible to achieve the multiple objectives of food security, biodiversity and nature conservation – and fight against climate change,” says Kavagi.

Technical details of rice trials in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda

In Kenya, trials were conducted over three growing seasons in Mwea (central Kenya), Busia (western), and Mtwapa (coastal area). Rice variety WDR 73 performed well compared with the local Basmati varieties. The growth duration varied from 125 days in Mtwapa, to 150 days in Mwea and Busia, where the altitude is over 1,000m. Average grain yield was 5.1 to 9.0 tonnes per hectare. Plant height was 100-110 cm, which shows that this variety is tolerant to rice blast disease and displays good drought-resistant qualities compared to Basmati varieties.

In Uganda, WDR73 cultivation experiments were conducted in Lukaya, Luweero and Arua. In well-managed farms, grain yield increased from 4.35 to more than 6.0 tons per hectare. In Arua, in 2019 the rain-fed crop was direct sowed from 25-30 August and harvested from 30 November to 5 December. The growth duration was 90-95 days and yielded 4.35 tonnes per hectare. Direct seeded WDR 73 grain yield in Luweero in 2019 varied from 6 tonnes per hectare in rain-fed conditions to 8 tonnes per hectare in irrigated paddy fields.

In Bolgatanga, a drought-prone area in northern Ghana, WDR 73 growth duration was 105 days and plant height 110-120 cm, while the grain yield was 6.0 tonnes per hectare.

Industrialized farming has been a reliable way to produce lots of food, at a relatively low cost. But it’s not the bargain it was once believed to be. Unsustainable agriculture can pollute water, air and soil; is a source of greenhouse gas; and destroys wildlife – an environmental cost equivalent to about US$3 trillion every year. The use of chemicals and antimicrobials can have adverse health effects and lead to resistant infections. And to top it all off, our production and consumption habits have been linked to the emergence of zoonotic diseases, such as COVID-19.

To mark World Food Day on 16 October, we take a closer look at sustainable agriculture – how it can help reduce our environmental footprint, improve our health and even create jobs.

What exactly is sustainable agriculture?

It is farming that meets the needs of existing and future generations, while also ensuring profitability, environmental health and social and economic equity. It favours techniques that emulate nature–to preserve soil fertility, prevent water pollution and protect biodiversity. It is also a way to support the achievement of global objectives, like the Sustainable Development Goals and Zero Hunger.

Does sustainable agriculture really make a difference to the environment?

Yes. It uses up to 56 per cent less energy per unit of crops produced, creates 64 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions per hectare and supports greater levels of biodiversity than conventional farming.

Woman harvesting cocoa
2019 Young Champion of the Earth for Asia and the Pacific, Louise Mabulo hopes to educate local farmers in the Philippines so that they can live a better quality of life. Photo: UNEP

Why does sustainably produced food seem more expensive?

It may be more costly because it is more labour-intensive. It is often certified in a way that requires it to be separated from conventional foods during processing and transport. The costs associated with marketing and distribution of relatively small volumes of product are often comparatively high. And, sometimes, the supply of certain sustainably produced foods is limited.

Why are some foods so much more affordable–even when they require processing and packaging?

The heavy use of chemicals, medicines and genetic modification allows some foods to be produced cheaply and in reliably high volumes, so the retail price tag may be lower. But this is deceiving because it does not reflect the costs of environmental damage or the price of healthcare that is required to treat diet-related diseases. Ultra-processed foods are often high in energy and low in nutrients and may contribute to the development of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some forms of cancer. This is particularly concerning amid the COVID-19 pandemic; the disease is especially risky for those with pre-existing health problems.

Consumers may not realize how their dietary choices affect the environment or even their own health. In the absence of either legal obligation or consumer demand, there is little incentive for producers to change their approach.

Do we all have to be vegan?

No. But most of us should eat less animal protein. Livestock production is a major cause of climate change and in most parts of the world, people already consume more animal-sourced food than is healthy. But even small dietary shifts can have a positive impact. The average person consumes 100 grams of meat daily.  Reducing that by 10 grams could improve human health while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Is sustainable agriculture possible in developing countries?

Yes. Because sustainably produced food is typically more labour-intensive than conventionally made food, it has the potential to create 30 per cent more jobs. And because it can command higher prices, it can also generate more money for farmers.

Is it possible to make sustainably produced food that is affordable for everyone?

Yes. As demand for certain foods increases, the costs associated with production, processing, distribution and marketing will drop, which should make them less expensive for consumers.  Policymakers can also play a role, facilitating market access and leveling the financial and regulatory playing field.

Farm
Farmers in Shagra B area of Sudan’s North Darfur State have been able to improve their livelihoods by selling produce at the local market. Photo: UNEP

If it is so important, why hasn’t sustainable farming been adopted as a global standard?

There is a lack of understanding of the way that agriculture, the environment and human health intersect. Policymakers do not typically consider nature as a form of capital, so legislation is not designed to prevent pollution and other kinds of environmental degradation. And consumers may not realize how their dietary choices affect the environment or even their own health. In the absence of either legal obligations or consumer demand, there is little incentive for producers to change their approach.

What are some ways to consume food more sustainably?

Diversify your diet and cook more meals at home. Eat more plant-based foods; enjoy pulses, peas, beans and chickpeas as sources of protein. Eat local, seasonal foods. Purchase sustainably produced foods and learn more about farming practices and labeling. Avoid excessive packaging, which is likely to end up as landfill. Don’t waste food: eliminating food waste could reduce global carbon emissions by 8-10 per cent. Cultivate your own garden, even if it is a small one in your kitchen. Support organizations, policies and projects that promote sustainable food systems. And discuss the importance of healthy and sustainable foods with producers, vendors, policymakers, friends and family.

 

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) supports a transition toward global food systems that provide net-positive impacts on nutrition, the environment and farmer livelihoods. Contributing to the One Planet Network Sustainable Food Systems Programme, UNEP has led the development of a guideline for collaborative policymaking and improved governance.

UNEP is also the custodian of the food waste element of Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which commits member states to halve their per capita food waste at the consumer retail level. Developing the Food Waste Index, UNEP is currently conducting global modelling of food waste data and preparing a harmonized methodology that will enable countries to track progress towards Goal 12.3.

In Chiang Rai, Thailand, a city perched on the banks of the Mekong River, a group of some 90 residents and university students came together to pick up trash on 19 September.

Like millions of others, they were marking World Cleanup Day, an annual event that encourages communities to tidy up litter from rivers, beaches, cities and even the seafloor.

But the Chiang Rai event was a little different from most others. The waste collected at this clean-up was not only destined for a proper disposal facility, it was also earmarked for a database. Volunteers noted the type and location of waste they found during the cleanup, which was organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Trash Hero Chiang Rai, a conservation group.

This data will be fed into UNEP’s CounterMEASURE project, whose goal is to determine the origins and pathways of plastic waste in major rivers in Asia and provide governments with bespoke policy recommendations to help beat plastic pollution.

“Our goal is to have a scientific understanding for how plastic gets into rivers, and eventually, into the ocean,” said Kakuko Nagatani-Yoshida, UNEP’s Regional Coordinator for Chemicals, Waste and Air Quality in Asia and the Pacific. “With this knowledge, we can recommend policies to governments and help target behavioural change in a more effective way.”

Rivers deposit millions of tons of plastic into the world’s oceans every year. Up to 95 per cent of that pollution comes from only 10 waterways, eight of which are in Asia.

Scientists know little about when and where plastic waste enters these river systems. The first phase of the CounterMEASURE project, completed in May of 2019, used novel technologies, like drones and machine learning, to identify the sources of plastic pollution in the Mekong and Ganges rivers. Among other findings, the project determined that the type and quantity of plastic pollution varied along the length of the river. In Chiang Rai, for example, flowerpots comprised a large proportion of the plastic waste due to the locality’s flower festival.

A second phase, now underway, is bringing the techniques and know-how to other countries, including Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Project leaders will also launch public awareness campaigns in the Mekong and Ganges regions to drive down plastic pollution.

Clean up
Scientists know little about when and where plastic waste enters the river systems of Asia. Photo: Rajitha Athukorala

The cleanup in Chiang Rai provided an opportunity to gather data while engaging the local community in citizen science, said Panate Manomaivibool, the Head of the Circular Economy for Waste-free Thailand Research Center at Mae Fah Luang University.

“It does not only help people to see the problem firsthand but also enables them to see how they can be part of the solution,” said Manomaivibool, who helped organize the cleanup. “We have a long way to go to fix the plastic pollution problem and communities need to be part of that.”

Volunteers collected 39 bags of waste, weighing over 90 kilograms. Meanwhile, the Geoinformatics Center (GIC) at the Asian Institute of Technology, a CounterMEASURE partner, conducted a drone survey to augment the data. The GIC team also trained cleanup crews to use a waste survey app designed for the CounterMEASURE project in order to amass further data after the event.

“What better way to gather the data we need than by engaging the communities who stand to benefit from the project,” said Nagatani-Yoshida. “These cleanups help beautify the area, but by contributing data to the project, the benefits are amplified many times over.”

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