A Green Economy for Sustainable Development: Literacy, Land and Women’s Rights (1-3)
UNESCO produced a report on how the world can achieve a green economy on the basis of sustainable development which was present to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20 which was convened on 20-22 June 2012 in Brazil. We review on this page this report due to its importance of development especially in developing countries during the coming decades.
Raising Awareness through Social Media: Climate Change Campaign
In collaboration with more than 30 global partners including UNESCO, the World Bank is launching the Connect4Climate initiative, a campaign, a competition, and a community that cares about climate change. Heavily relying on social media, the campaign focuses on a photo/video competition for African youth, aged 13 to 30, which is designed to raise awareness about climate change. Participants in the competition are invited to share their personal stories and solutions for change in six Connect4Climate award categories: Agriculture, Energy, Forests, Gender, Health, and Water.
Climate Change, Cultural and Biological
Diversity and Cultural Heritage
The objective of the creation of the Global Climate Change Field Observatory of UNESCO Sites is to use UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Biosphere Reserves as priority reference sites for understanding the impacts of climate change on human societies and cultural diversity, biodiversity and ecosystems services, the world’s natural and cultural heritage, and the possible adaptation and mitigation strategies, such as in relation to REDD+.
Our World Cultural and Natural Heritage at Risk: Monitoring Climate
The adverse impacts of climate change will have consequences for humanity as a whole including the products of human creativity. In the case of built cultural World Heritage these consequences are manifest in at least two principal ways: the direct physical effects on the buildings or structures; and the effects on social structures and habitats that could lead to changes in, or even the migration of, societies which are currently maintaining the sites. Himalayan glaciers in the Bhutan-Himalaya range are retreating and leaving glacial lakes in their stead.
Effects of Desertification on the Mosques of Timbuktu, Mali
Timbuktu was an intellectual and spiritual capital and a centre for the propagation of Islam throughout Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries. Its three great mosques, Djingareyber, Sankore and Sidi Yahia, recall Timbuktu’s golden age. Although these monuments are being restored, desertification is threatening the site. The site is under threat due to desert encroachment and sand storms. The landscape surrounding Timbuktu is composed mainly of sand and desert. Between 1901 and 1996, the temperature increased by 1.4°C in that area, and the impact of droughts has become significant. Projected changes show that in future the area will face a decrease in average rainfall, and an increase in atmospheric temperature, which will surely enhance desert encroachment and wind-blown sand damage in Timbuktu. The University of Cape Town (South Africa), with the support of UNESCO, is using space technologies to document this site.
Developing and Testing Climate Change Adaptation Models in UNESCO
Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve – innovative incentives
In the Mexican Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve carbon off-sets and payment for ecosystem services schemes are used as incentives to conserve and restore local forests and to enhance the critical ecosystem services they provide, such as climate and water regulation. Voluntary carbon credits are used to compensate private landowners within the biosphere reserve for planting native trees on their degraded lands and managing their reforestation for optimum growth and carbon sequestration. In parallel, through the Hydrological Services Payment Program, land owners of the forests located in the buffer and transition areas of the biosphere reserve are encouraged to preserve and protect their lands for improved water caption and infiltration.
In Kruger to Canyons (K2C) Biosphere Reserve in South Africa, traditional healers play an important role in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. To facilitate dialogue with local authorities, researchers and companies interested in their traditional knowledge, in 2009 a group of healers in the Bushbuckridge area of the K2C developed a bio-cultural protocol stating their needs, their rights to protect their traditional knowledge, shared challenges and common way forward, in the three most important languages of the region.
© UN Collins Glacier in Antarctica, showing the effects of climate change
Assessing the Ethical, Social and Science
Based on environmental ethics, social and human sciences, UNESCO is developing an action-oriented programme focusing on the design and implementation of appropriate climate change adaptation actions related to energy, water and biosphere management It seeks to benefit the most marginalized segments of society. It also seeks to improve the understanding of gender equality issues related to climate change.
The increasing loss from natural and human-induced disasters including earthquakes, floods, land-slides, windstorms, drought and desertification represent a major challenge for many countries, particularly developing countries in their quest for sustainable development. Scarcity of natural resources and difficult living situations brought upon by these disasters can lead to conflict. Disaster and conflict further undermine the prospects for boosting sustainable economic growth, reducing poverty and achieving the Internationally Agreed Development Goals (IADGs). To provide support to the millions of women, men, children and youth who suffer the consequences of wars and disasters, UNESCO is rendering operational assistance to countries in post conflict and post-disaster situations, from immediate recovery to longer-term reconstruction and towards sustainable development.
Building resilient and peaceful communities requires active and knowledgeable citizens and informed decision-makers.
Through a multidisciplinary and intersectoral approach, UNESCO is building capacities and fostering partnerships so that science and technology can serve to mitigate threats and reduce vulnerability. Activities focus on improving regional and national networking on knowledge management and capacity-building for disaster preparedness and mitigation, and providing advice to countries for promoting education for disaster prevention and public awareness within the framework of the UN Decade of ESD.
UNESCO’s strategy to respond to post-disaster and postconflict situations focuses on five operational strengths: education in emergencies and reconstruction, capacity building for natural disaster risk reduction, protecting culture and world heritage in emergency situations, strengthening media in conflict and post-conflict situations, and mainstreaming gender in reconstruction and peace building efforts. In the context of post-disaster situations, UNESCO works for the full integration of disaster prevention into recovery and reconstruction efforts, notably through early warning systems.
© UNESCO/Roger Dominique
By Alula Berhe Kidani, 08/08/2012