,.. addressing waste trafficking and ennvironmental crime.

Oru Leonard

The international community gathered in Egypt yesterday to attend the opening of the 27th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (COP27), which will continue until 18 November.

COP27 aims to raise the global ambition to meet the climate goals, which rely on climate mitigation and adaptation measures. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is participating in COP27 through various events and activities. UNODC aims to highlight: 1) the importance of ecosystem-based climate mitigation and the need to address crimes affecting the environment to increase ecosystems’ capacity to withstand climate change; and 2) the importance of addressing illegal trafficking of waste and sound waste management practices to promote the circular economy as a climate mitigation strategy.

Waste impacts all Sustainable Development Goals. It is a priority issue for Egypt’s COP27 presidency, which will launch the global waste initiative ‘50 by 2050: For Africa for A Global Impact’ during COP27’s ’solutions day’, on November 17. In support of the 50 by 2050 initiative UNODC is partnering with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions (BRS Secretariat), and the environment ministries of Egypt, the European Union, and Ghana in a high-level event on November 11 titled ‘Unmanaged waste – a hidden cause of climate change’. The event will discuss how combating waste trafficking and supporting environmentally-sound waste management can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting the circular economy as a climate mitigation strategy.

Another event focuses specifically on plastic waste and is titled ‘How combatting plastic pollution and illegal traffic in plastic waste can help reduce carbon emissions’. This event will take place on 10 November and is co-organized by UNODC jointly with the UN Conference on Trade and Development, UNEP and the BRS Secretariat. Environment ministers from Ecuador, Palau and Seychelles and a high-level United Kingdom environment representative will form the panel.

Ecosystem-based climate mitigation to protect people and planet will be the theme for the two other high-level events UNODC is co-organizing. “Crimes that affect the environment are destroying ecosystems, threatening biodiversity, and exacerbating pollution, and in doing so undermining the global response to climate change, while destroying lives and livelihoods and fueling violence and conflict,” said UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly. “As the international community gathers in Sharm El-Sheikh to pursue effective climate action, now is the right time to ensure that our response accounts for the illicit activities damaging our planet, and the corruption that enables them,” she added.

On November 9, UNODC will stress the importance of addressing crimes that affect the environment and discuss positive outcomes of its work in a session on deforestation, protected areas, heritage sites, climate and security in the Congo basin. This session is a partnership between the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Regional Office for Central Africa, the Secretariat of the Economic Community of Central African States, UNODC and the African Development Bank.

UNODC’s side event on ‘Eco-system-based climate mitigation to protect people and planet – raising the ambition for nature’, organized in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), will take place on 11 November and discuss challenges and opportunities related to nature’s capacity to mitigate climate change. Building on commitments to curb deforestation and biodiversity loss made at the previous COP, the event will reinforce the biodiversity-climate nexus, highlighting key approaches to increasing ecosystems resilience for climate mitigation, and sharing key messages for the COP27 biodiversity day on November 16. This event will see the release of a UNODC and WWF discussion paper, Crimes that Affect the Environment and Climate Change, which includes eight priority recommendations for mitigating or reversing negative trends in biodiversity loss and climate change.

The Conference of the Parties of UNFCCC is the world’s largest annual gathering on climate action, bringing together Heads of State, ministers and negotiators, along with climate activists, mayors, civil society representatives and CEOs. It seeks renewed solidarity between countries to deliver on the landmark Paris Agreement.


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