UNECE Weekly
729 13 - 17 November 2017

Environment

Towards a Green Economy: Kazakhstan has started the second, practical phase to establish a strategic environmental assessment national framework

   

Kazakhstan is underway to introduce a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) procedure in accordance with international standards as a tool for greening its economy. SEA enables governments to prevent irreversible and costly mistakes by integrating environmental considerations at an early stage of preparing governmental plans and programmes in such economic sectors as agriculture, energy, industry, land use, transport, regional development, waste and water management through environmental and human health impact assessment. UNECE has been assisting Kazakhstan in the development of legislation and through support to practical steps towards the integration of SEA procedures in its planning and programming processes. An SEA pilot project has been initiated to develop national SEA practice, to raise awareness of SEA among national stakeholders and to ensure environmental safety by supporting the development of sustainable energy production and consumption.

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Sustainable Energy

Exploring Industry 4.0 and its potential for climate solutions at COP23

   

Industry, the largest global energy consumer, is in a unique position to take advantage of the great potential of aligning the benefits of the global digital transition with low-carbon development.  Industry 4.0, defined chiefly by the convergence of Information Technology and Operational Technology, includes new innovative approaches across all industrial sectors. Digitization, big data, automation, artificial intelligence, blockchain technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) are all components of Industry 4.0. These technologies can bring significant benefits, including increased levels of energy efficiency and renewable energy, optimization of manufacturing processes, and faster and more secure information sharing. Given this potential, how can Industry 4.0 be harnessed to support effective climate action? This was the focus of a discussion held in the context of COP23 in Bonn (Germany), organized by UNECE, UNIDO, ITU and the World Bank. 

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Industrial Accidents

Training of trainers in Central Asia on environmental emergencies and hazardous industrial activities

 

Reducing the risks of industrial accidents and associated environmental emergencies requires action at all levels. This ranges from strengthening international cooperation and assistance, to enhancing national capacities for risk reduction, and – crucially – building skills and awareness on the ground to enhance prevention, preparedness, and emergency response. UNECE works with countries, partners and a wide range of actors across these interconnected scales through its Industrial Accidents Convention. Together with partners, UNECE recently contributed to the “training of trainers” from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the Central Asia Centre for Emergency Situations and Disaster Risk Reduction (CESDRR). The initiative provided future trainers with the methodology and skills necessary to train many more women and men. This practical and innovative approach to knowledge sharing in the region is therefore helping to strengthen and multiply capacities on the ground to reduce the risks of industrial accidents and other environmental emergencies.

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Statistics

Leaving no migrant uncounted – better data for safe, regular and orderly migration

 

As the number of international migrants continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly important for the public and policymakers to understand its impact on individuals, societies and economies. Providing reliable and timely information can be challenging for national statistical systems, oriented predominantly to monitoring the population usually resident in the country. Capturing data on those on the move is becoming even more difficult with increasing complexity of migration phenomena. Responding to these challenges, experts from national statistical offices exchanged experience and discussed common challenges at the annual joint UNECE and Eurostat Work Session on Migration Statistics, held in Geneva on 30 and 31 October. UNECE is also supporting countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia to strengthen capacities for the production of migration statistics.

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Sustainable Energy

Proper management of abandoned mine methane is vital for reducing greenhouse gas emissions  

 

Coal mining represents one of the main sources of anthropogenic (man-made) methane emissions. Whilst methane is a potent greenhouse gas there is much that can be done to mitigate its effect on the climate. The UNECE Group of Experts on Coal Mine Methane supports the development and dissemination of best practices on effective drainage of methane in coal mines, as well as for economically viable and socially responsible use or destruction of the captured gas. Current coal mine methane estimates tend to overlook methane emissions generated from abandoned or closed mines, focusing predominantly on active mines. Similarly, abandoned mine emissions are not typically accounted for in national greenhouse gas inventories. Responding to this need, the Group of Experts stands ready to contribute its experience and expertise on managing methane from closed coal mines.

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Water

International summit highlights importance of transboundary and basin cooperation in climate change adaptation

 

Regional and transboundary cooperation on water resources is an important feature of climate action and is crucial for effective climate change adaptation. These were central messages of the recent International Summit on “Water and Climate: Meeting of the Great Rivers of the World” held in Rome, Italy. As a rare opportunity for river basins from all over the world to come together to share experiences, challenges and successes in water management in response to climate change, the Summit highlighted the need to build on cooperation, particularly in transboundary and regional contexts. It further emphasized the importance of the active engagement of stakeholders across all sectors, underscored by the mobilization of governments – including the Prime Minister and President of Italy, together with several Ministers –, academia and the private sector at the Summit and for the implementation of its key outcomes and commitments ahead of COP23 in Bonn.   

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