The first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP1) was held from 24 to 29 September 2017 at the International Conference Centre in Geneva, Switzerland. The first meeting of the Conference of the Parties has multiple objectives, including procedural, political and celebratory. COP1, as a milestone in the Minamata journey, provides a unique opportunity to raise global awareness of the Convention, in particular at a high level, and to focus attention on the far-reaching impacts that the successful implementation of the Convention will achieve. It is an historic opportunity to celebrate the Convention and the achievements to date and to provide motivation and momentum to all as they take the next steps towards full implementation.
The Minamata Convention addresses all aspects related to the use of mercury and sets out measures to:
• reduce the use, emissions and releases of mercury from artisanal and small-scale gold mining and major industrial activities;
• phase-out and phase-down the use of mercury in a number of mercury-added products and processes, specifically its use in dental amalgam;
• restrict trade and prohibit the manufacture, import and export of mercury and a wide range of mercury-added products such as batteries or lights;
• control and reduce air emissions and land and water releases;
• ensure the safer storage and proper management of mercury waste.
Environmental Ambassadors for Sustainable Development (Environmental Ambassadors, EASD), as accredited organization, participated as the Observer.
EASD representative participated at IPEN Preparatory Meeting, Regional Meeting, Opening Ceremony, Thematic Session focus discussions on mercury as relevant to Land, MIA (Minamata Convention Initial Assessment) Clinics (where countries with UNEP, UNDP and UNIDO and partners showcase their MIA work, including lessons learned), as well as some Showcase Events and Knowledge Labs. To note that MIA for Serbia is under development (EASD contribute as stakeholder…). Also, EASD representative at Minamata COP1 communicate with official delegation of Serbia.
A “Hg-week” (“Mercury” week) coincide with COP1 and physically have its main hub in Geneva starting on Friday, 22 September and ending Thursday 28 September 2017. It featured a series of awareness raising events around the issue of Mercury. The objective of the “Hg-week” is to reach out to participants at COP1, as well as the public, students, and other experts and stakeholders interested in the field of chemicals and health.
Eco-Schools – Toyota Biodiversity Educational Project
The project will focus on biodiversity with a particular emphasis on plants and their associated species. The project will include educational aspects, based on the FEE Educational Principles, and practical activities based on resources developed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew with funding from the Wellcome Trust. Kew and the Wellcome Trust will be acknowledged on all material adapted from the Great Plant Hunt (GPH). Where possible links with Toyota retailers will be encouraged, especially in MM5 countries (countries with strong Toyota presence). The project will run for five years.
The Foundation for Environmental Education is a non-governmental, non-profit charity aimed at promoting sustainable development through environmental education. A global presence, more than 80 countries around the world are engaged in working with various FEE programmes. The organisation is recognised by UNESCO as a world-leader within the fields of Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development.
Toyota Motor Europe established the Toyota Fund for Europe to collaborate with non-profit organisations on community activities that support the environment, technical education and road safety. The projects supported by the Toyota Fund for Europe aim at raising awareness and creating positive change.
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Kew’s mission is to be the global resource for plant and fungal knowledge and the world’s leading botanic garden. The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health by supporting bright minds in science, the humanities and social sciences and public engagement.
The Great Plant Hunt was commissioned and funded by The Wellcome Trust to mark the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth. The materials were developed and created by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Objectives of the project
- Develop young people as advocates for conservation & promotion of local biodiversity actions
- Develop science based resources in line with the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) principles to allow teachers to promote biodiversity education activity
- Meet Kew/FEE principles
- Easy to apply
- Promote critical thinking by “go and see”/study approach (learn by doing)
- Consistent with CBD/Green Corridor
- Help meet EU/UN targets for biodiversity education
- Develop module as part of FEE school programmes.
Materials prepared for schools will follow the FEE Educational Principles and will be living examples of Education for Sustainable Development.
Eco-Schools implementation of the project
Step I Registration
Interested schools wishing to take part, must register with the National Operator (NO) to begin. The NO approves the list of schools taking part. NOs register the schools and enter the school’s information to the FEE database.
Step 2 Review
Following the guidelines and resources, schools will review the initial situation to get a baseline before any actions take place. This part is vital if schools are to track their progress and celebrate their success. Schools must carry out a baseline Biodiversity Awareness Survey to examine levels of awareness surrounding biodiversity and its importance. There will be a number of essential questions which schools will need to answer. However, schools are welcome to come up with a more extensive set of questions as part of the review process. The questions will take into account the age and ability of the user. The results should be publicised.
Another important element of the review is to create a habitat map of the school grounds and record the species present. Schools will need to think about the seasons, weather and time of year, as biodiversity is strongly influenced by all. Schools will use ID charts adapted from Kew’s Great Plant Hunt. Sample ID charts will be made available. Schools will also be able to fill in/create their own ID charts based on the species they find. Students will be encouraged to take pictures of plants found on their schools grounds include some brief information, record them on the charts and upload them on the project page.
The schools stories/information will be uploaded to ‘Exposure’. Guidelines will be circulated re. Exposure. It is hoped that a basic database of plant species in schools around Europe will be created and added to in subsequent years.
As well as local resources, it is hoped that knowledgeable family and community members and local experts will offer assistance in identifying species.
Step 3 Action
The Review will have helped pinpoint some issues of concern in the schools, perhaps even in the surrounding area or nationally. Once schools have a clear baseline they can focus their attention on ways of helping biodiversity and various plant species.
Top 2 Biodiversity Actions:
ü Increase the levels of awareness throughout the school and wider community
ü (If possible) increase the number of native species and the species diversity in the school’s environs.
Examples of actions will be uploaded by the schools/National Operators and published on ‘Exposure’.
Step 4 Monitoring and Evaluation
From the beginning schools should plan how they will measure the success of you Biodiversity Action Plan. The monitoring process is extremely effective when it comes to identifying progress and comparing past and present behaviour and attitudes. It is important that changes in behaviour and practical measures are measured over an extended period of time.
Evaluate levels of awareness by revisiting the awareness survey carried out at the beginning of the year.
Evaluate progress on practical improvements
ü Create a new map showing off any practical improvements
ü Check if species richness and numbers have increased
More at http://www.ecoschools.global/the-great-plant-hunt/learn-more
More about implementation actions in Serbia at: http://ambassadors-env.com/project/veliki-lov-na-biljke/ (in Serbian) and http://feeserbia.com/programi/veliki-lov-na-biljke/ (in Serbian)
After a long series of intergovernmental negotiations on various themes,which saw a broad participation from major groups and civil society stakeholders under the guidance of the United Nations State Members, the Goals have been adopted on September 25th at the New York United Nations Summit by 193 Member States. In the same occasion, the UN launched their post-2015 development agenda, in which the Goals are integrated. UN Member States, the civil society and private sector contributors will use this new, universal set of goals, targets and indicators to guide development global efforts over the next 15 years in a concerted international action within the broadest, most ambitious development agenda ever agreed at the global level. The 17 Goals and 169 Targets are meant to be action-oriented, concise and easy to communicate, aspirational, global in nature and universally applicable to all countries, while taking into account the different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities.
The Foundation for Environmental Education with its global network thus needs to frame and highlight its role as a stakeholder and trendsetter in the Sustainable Development process, particularly for environmental, educational and eco-tourism matters. The SDGs will define a relevant part of the context within which FEE operates, thus we are driven to reflect our work in the Goals.
FEE through its mission of fostering awareness, knowledge, participation, commitment, skills, actions and creativity on the environment and on sustainable development, shares the core values behind the set of SDGs. The programmes based on Education for Sustainable Development, such as YRE, Eco-Schools and LEAF show a strong link with the educational Goal (SDG 4) and the Goal on global partnership for sustainable development (SDG 17). FEE’s tourism eco-labels, Green Key and Blue Flag, on the other hand, have a focus on making human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (SDG 11) and on implementing tools for monitoring sustainable development impacts for tourism (SDG 12.b).
Thus, FEE as an umbrella organisation aims at reaching objectives as indicated in the SDGs:
- “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” (SDG 3).
- “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all” (SDG 4).
- “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water..” (SDG 6),
- “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all” (SDG 7),
- “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” (SDG14), as well as to
- “Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems..” (SDG 15).
- “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth..” (SDG 8), particularly to “..Implement policies to promote sustainable tourism which creates jobs, promotes local culture and products” (SDG 8.9).
- “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” (SDG 11).
- “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns” (SDG 12).
- “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts” (SDG 13).
- “..Promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems..” (SDG 15).
- “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development..” (SDG 16), particularly to build transparent institutions and promote non-discriminatory policies for sustainable development (SDGs 16.6, 16.b) with a positive, proactive, democratic modus operandi and a strong synergic support to civil society and third sector.
- “Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development” (SDG 17) through a geographically spread, multi-stakeholder approach.
a) YRE: Young Reporters for the Environment is a network of international youth engaged in environmental journalism and Education for Sustainable Development, where the students investigate an environmental problem and report it to the local community, while, at the international level, they may cooperate with young reporters from other countries for sharing information or data, with the aim of proposing a solution and disseminating it.
The most evident link between the Young Reporters for the Environment programme and the SDGs is found in the Goal 4:
“Ensure inclusive and equitable quality educationand promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” and its subparagraphs“..increase … the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship” (SDG 4.4) with the aim of learning to think critically, “ensure all learners acquire knowledge and skillsneeded to promote sustainable development, including among others through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity and of cultures contribution to sustainable development” (SDG 4.7) for being able to connectwith concrete issues.
The environmental educational programme thus also wish for taking “action to combat climate change and its impacts” (SDG13), specifically for what concerns to “improveeducation, awareness raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction, and early warning” (SDG 13.3) through active solution-oriented learning. The programme canalso help to“promote mechanisms for raising capacities for effective climate change related planning and management, in LDCs, including focusing on women, youth, local and marginalized communities” (SDG 13.b).
YRE is a network of young people educating for sustainable developmentand environmental issues in general, thus it also supportsthe aim of many other SDGs, such as:
“Promotesustainable agriculture” (SDG 2).
“Promote well-beingfor all at all ages” (SDG 3).
“Achieve gender equality and empowerall womenand girls” (SDG 5).
“Ensure availability and sustainable management of waterand sanitation for all”, supporting and strengthening the participation of local communities (SDG6)
“Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energyfor all”(SDG7)
“Promotesustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”, developing measures that support creativity and innovation (SDG8)
“Build resilient infrastructure, promoteinclusive and sustainableindustrializationand fosterinnovation”enhancing scientific research (SDG9)
“Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable … Reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality, municipal and other waste management”(SDG 11)
“Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”, raising awareness on sustainable development and lifestyles which are in harmony with nature (SDG12)
“Conserve and sustainably use the oceans seas and marine resources for sustainable development”, aiming to preventmarine pollution and protectmarine and coastal ecosystems (SDG14)
“Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”, promoting the implementation of sustainable management of the forests (SDG15)
YRE helps to “Promotepeaceful and inclusive societies for sustainabledevelopment..”(SDG16)
YRE can encourage to “..Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development” (SDG17)
The journalistic piece can influence the local communities to take action on various environmental matters
b) ECO-SCHOOLS: A global student-led change process in Education for Sustainable Development which involves also teachers’ training, integration in the school curriculum, environmental reviews, action plans, monitoring and evaluation, informing and involving the local community, setting an eco-code focusing on the various environmental themes (water, energy, waste, global citizenship..).
The programme is fully in line with the Goals:
“Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” increasing the number of youth and adults with relevant skills and ensuring that all learners acquire knowledge for promoting sustainable development, developinga culture of peace and global citizenship while upgrading education facilities to child, disability and gender sensitive ones as to provide a safe, inclusive and effective learning environment for all(SDG 4)
“Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, strengthening efforts to safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritagewith a focus on schools’ waste management, resource efficiency and climate change mitigation (e.g. Litter Less Campaign) (SDG 11)
“Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development” (SDG 17).
The implementation of the Eco-Schools programme also works towards the achievement of the aim of more SDGs, such as:
“Ensure healthy lives and promote well-beingfor all at all ages” (SDG 3)
“Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”, improving water quality and water-use efficiency with pollution reduction, minimizing the release ofhazardous chemicals, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater,increasing recycling or safe reuse and ensuring sustainable withdrawals together with the strengthening of the participation of local communitiesfor such purposes (SDG 6)
“Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all” increasing the share of renewable energy and energy efficiency, with the result of creating also savings (SDG 7)
“Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”with the improvement of resource efficiency in consumption and production as to endeavour to decouple economic growthfrom environmental degradation (SDG 8)
“Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation” (SDG 9)
“Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”, using the natural resources efficiently, reducing the waste generation (including the food waste) and managing sustainably the chemical products (SDG 12)
“Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”specially improving education, awareness raising and capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning (SDG 13)
“Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrialecosystems..” (SDG 15)
“Promotepeacefuland inclusivesocietiesfor sustainable development… and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels” highlighting the theme ofsocial justice(SDG 16).
c) LEAF: Learning About Forests wants to encourage environmental education through awareness raising among students, teachers and the wider school community, to increase knowledge about the key role forests play for sustainable life on our planet, reflecting their cultural, ecological, economic and social functions, with themes as biodiversity, climate, products or services, codes and myths.
The key Goals linked to the Learning About Forests programme are:
“Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”, increasing the number of youths and adults who have relevant skills and ensuring that all learners (referring to the whole school community) acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including through education for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature (SDG 4)
“Ensure availability and sustainable management of water..”, protecting water-related ecosystems and supporting the participation of local communitiesfor improving water management(SDG 6)
“Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainable manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss”, ensuring a sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, including their biodiversity, in particular forests, wetlands mountains and drylands, preventing the extinction of threatened species(SDG 15)
The principles behind LEAF are compatible with the aim of more SDGs:
“End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promotesustainable agriculture”, implementing agricultural practices, such as the tree-planting events, which help maintain ecosystems and progressively improve land and soil quality (SDG 2)
“Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” (SDG3)
“Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainableand modern energyfor all” (SDG7)
“Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment..”, endeavouring to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation and devising policies that encourage sustainable tourism which promotes local culture and products, such as jobs related to the forest, while learning to respect the forest community as well as its myths, laws and codes (SDG8)
“Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”, strengthening efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage while supporting positive links between the urban and the rural areas as to widen the access to inclusive green and publicspaces (SDG11)
“Ensure sustainable consumption patterns” through relevant information and awareness for achieving sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources (SDG12)
“Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts” improving education and awareness raising on climatechange and the role of forests (SDG13)
“Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development” (SDG17).
d) BLUE FLAG: The world’s biggest voluntary eco-label for beaches, marinas and eco-tourism boats works towards sustainable development through compliance with criteria dealing with environmental education and information, environmental management, water quality, safety and other services.
The principles and rules of the programme comply with the content of many Goals:
“Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”, improving water quality with pollution reduction and minimization of hazardous chemicals release, increasing recycling, safe reuse and water-use efficiency through the usage of sustainable withdrawals as to protect water-related ecosystems also with the support and participation of local communities (SDG 6)
“Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”improving the resource efficiencyin consumption while devising and implementing policies to promote sustainable tourism which creates job, promotes local culture and products.Blue Flag focuses as well on the protection of labour rights together with the promotion of a safe and secure working environment and the prohibition of child labour (SDG 8)
“Build resilient infrastructure..”upgrading it as to be sustainable and equipped with clean technologies (SDG 9)
“by 2030 empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status”with the aim of reducing inequalities and discriminatory practices for wages as social protection policies (SDG 10.2)
“Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”enhancing capacities for participatory and sustainable human settlements as to strengthen the efforts for safeguarding the world’s cultural and natural heritage while providing universal access to the public spaces particularly for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities(SDG 11)
“Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”for the efficient use of natural resources, through a sound management and reduction of chemicals and wastes and the promotion of sustainable public procurement practices (SDG 12)
“Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”preventing and reducing marine pollutionalso from land-based activities, addressing the impacts of ocean acidification and conserving coastal and marine areas. Blue Flags also contributes in increasing the economic benefits to SIDS and LDCs with the sustainable use of marine resources through tourism (SDG 14)
“Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems… halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss” for halting the loss of biodiversity and preventing the extinction of threatened species, also through the integration of ecosystem values into local planning policies (SDG 15).
The implementation of the Blue Flag programme also work towards the aim of several more SDGs:
• “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” (SDG3)
• “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”as education has a central role in the programme and reaches out for all the persons involved in it as well as for theusers (SDG4)
• “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”(SDG5)
• “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable,and modern energy for all” to help increasing the share of renewable energy and energy efficiency(SDG7)
• “Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”(SDG 13)
• “Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development..”enforcing non-discriminatory policies for sustainable development (SDG16)
• Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development”through a multi-stakeholder partnership, which involves also public partnersand local authorities,where knowledge and expertise are shared (SDG17)
e) GREEN KEY: This eco-label for tourism facilities (hotels, campsites, small accommodations, tourist attractions and restaurants) is a voluntary award that aims at contributing to prevent climate change and reach sustainable tourism by awarding and promoting best practice, with the goal of changing the environmental practices at the awarded establishments but also the behaviour of tourism actors, including guests, staff, suppliers, authorities, local communities so to involve them in increasingly safeguarding their own environment. The focus is on themes such as environmental management, water, waste and energy saving, involvement and awareness of guests and staff, management of food and beverage and open spaces.
For what concerns the part of the programme related to environmental management, the Goals mainly involved are:
“Ensure … sustainable management of water..” improving its quality, having the proportion of untreated wastewater, increasing recycling, safe reuse and sustainable withdrawals of freshwater (SDG 6)
“Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”setting rules for developing or upgrading quality infrastructures to support economic development and human well-being for an increased resource use efficiency and greateradoption of clean technologies (SDG 9)
“Make … human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”paying attention to air quality, indoor environment and waste management as to tackle climate change(SDG 11)
“Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”with rules for achieving sustainable management of natural resources,respecting eco-criteria for food and beverages, reducing waste generationand achieving environmentallysound management of chemicals (SDG 12).
This way the programme “develops and implements tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism which creates jobs, promotes local culture and products” (12.b).
As an eco-tourism programme focused on the environmental awareness of staff and guests, the Goals principally involved are:
“Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being..” where the programme has to encourage the users to take part in green activities (SDG 3)
“..ensure all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including among others through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights..” as part of the “educational Goal” (number 4), whereby the learners are the recipients of the environmental information expected in the implementation of the programme (SDG 4.7)
“Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”, as the Green Key programme sets Corporate Social Responsibility and safety rules for the workers(SDG 8)
“Take urgent action tocombat climate change and its impacts”through a reduced environmental impact but also through the improvement of education and awareness raising for both the facilities’ staff and users (SDG 13)
“..revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development” (SDG 17).