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News Article | March 29, 2016
Site: www.theenergycollective.com

Igor Volodin introduces a programme demonstrating the benefits of adopting best available techniques, cleaner production technology, and appropriate environmental management and accounting practices Green industry is an approach that realizes the potential for industries to decouple economic growth from excessive and increasing resource use, thereby reducing pollution and generating additional revenues. It foresees a world where industrial sectors will minimize waste in every form, use renewable resources as input materials and fuels, and take every possible precaution to avoid harming workers, communities, climate, or the environment. Green industries will be creative and innovative, constantly developing new ways of improving their economic, environmental and social performance. Enterprises in developing countries and countries with economies in transition are facing numerous challenges in their effort to maintain or increase their competitiveness on the local market and access to international markets with good-quality products, comply with environmental standards and reduce operational costs. In order to assist companies in dealing with such challenges and to direct them towards the “green industry” paradigm, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) designed a specific methodology, the Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology (TEST), which exists as both an integrated approach and a global programme. TEST combines the essential elements of tools like Resource Efficiency and Cleaner Production, Environmental Management Systems and Environmental Management Accounting, and applies them on the basis of a comprehensive diagnosis of enterprise performance. As a result of the customized integration and implementation of these tools and their elements, the key output is the adoption of best practices, and new skills and management culture, as well as corporate social responsibility, enabling the company to carry on the improvement journey towards sustainable entrepreneurship. The first TEST pilot programme was launched in 2000 in the Danube River Basin. Since then, TEST has been replicated in several regions worldwide within industrial hot spot areas, contributing to the prevention of the discharge of industrial effluents into international waters (rivers, lakes, wetlands and coastal areas) and thereby protecting water resources for future generations. In 2009, UNIDO launched the MEDTEST initiative with the financial support of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Italian government to promote the transfer and adoption of cleaner technology in industries in three countries of the Southern Mediterranean region: Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. The project aimed to demonstrate the effectiveness of introducing best practices and integrated management systems in terms of cost reduction, productivity increase and environmental performance. A pool of 43 manufacturing sites – mostly small and medium-sized enterprises – across seven industrial sectors in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia actively participated in MED TEST during 2010-2011. A core objective of the MED TEST initiative was building national capacity. This was achieved by extensive training and a technical assistance programme that targeted six national institutions and service providers and 30 local professionals, in addition to the staff of the 43 demonstration companies. As a result, a network of local resources is now engaged in promoting the TEST approach and will be able to extend the experience gained to other industries in the region. The active participation of the staff of the demonstration companies in the training and in the implementation of the project ensures the sustainability of all identified actions at company level, as well as that of newly developed projects. IGOR VOLODIN is Deputy to the Director of the Environment Branch at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. Original article

News Article | December 19, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

Today Rare’s Sustainable Markets Group announced a US$1 million-dollar investment in Philippines-based seafood company, Meliomar Inc. This marks the first investment by the Meloy Fund for Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in Southeast Asia, the first impact fund focused solely on near-shore fishing-related enterprises in the developing tropics. Based in Manila, Meliomar is a fish aggregator, processor, importer and exporter, founded in 2013. This five-year investment will help Meliomar increase its processing capacity and logistics, as well as strengthen its internal systems, supporting growth in volume as well as the development of additional product lines to complement its current offering. As part of the agreement, Meliomar will partner with Rare’s flagship coastal fisheries program, Fish Forever, to source at least ten tons of sustainable seafood annually from local Filipino communities as part of jointly developed fishery improvement projects (FIPs). Christian Schmidradner, CEO of Meliomar, said, “We are looking forward to the collaboration with the Meloy Fund, which will finance our increased investment and working capital needs for our growing sustainable seafood business in the Philippines. It was key to have a financing partner that understands the complexities and underlying challenges of working with local small-scale fisheries towards improvement and management reform.” In addition to financial returns, the investment aims to deliver environmental and social impacts, projected to include more than $2.5 million in additional annual income to 16,000 local fishers and at least 12,000 hectares of critically important marine ecosystems under improved management by 2021. Launching in 2017, the Meloy Fund is a first-of-its-kind impact investment fund focused on coastal fisheries in Indonesia and the Philippines. Investors include the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, and has been further supported by partners including Bloomberg Philanthropies and JPMorgan Chase & Co., among others. Matt Arnold, Global Head of Sustainable Finance for JPMorgan Chase said, “Rare has moved quickly to build a compelling approach for investment in conservation and JPMorgan Chase is proud to support its innovative efforts.” Ramsay Ravenel, Executive Director of the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust said, “The Grantham Environmental Trust is excited to support Rare's first investment from the Meloy Fund. This transaction perfectly exemplifies the fund's strategy to make pioneering private investments that benefit local fishing communities while protecting critical ocean habitat.” The Meloy Fund, an initiative of Rare's Sustainable Markets Group, is part of a larger push by Rare to create financial incentives and innovative public-private collaborations in order to scale conservation solutions across its work areas. This includes Rare's participation in the Vibrant Oceans Initiative (VOI), funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Among its many critical impacts, the VOI has played a fundamental role in creating the foundation for the Meloy Fund to succeed. Ranked in the top 25 NGOs in the world by NGO ADVISORS, Rare is an innovative conservation organization that implements proven conservation solutions and trains local leaders in communities worldwide. Through its signature social marketing campaigns (called Pride campaigns), Rare inspires people to take pride in the species and habitats that make their community unique, while also introducing practical alternatives to environmentally destructive practices. Employees of local governments or non-profit organizations receive extensive training on fisheries management, campaign planning and social marketing to communities. They are equipped to deliver community-based solutions based on natural and social science, while leveraging policy and market forces to accelerate positive environmental change through programs in clean water, sustainable agriculture, and coastal fisheries. To learn more about Rare, please visit http://www.rare.org.

News Article | September 18, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

The shrimp in your salad or tuna on your plate may have been caught illegally in areas threatened by overfishing. But tracing suspect seafood is a tricky task, given that many boats operate in unseen swaths of the ocean. Global Fishing Watch, a new project from Oceana, SkyTruth and Google, aims to crack down on illegal fishing by training the watchful eye of surveillance satellites on the world's approximately 35,000 commercial fishing vessels. SEE ALSO: Marine conservation efforts just took a major step forward The online technology platform collects more than 22 million data points per day from hundreds of thousands of ships. The free tool, still in its beta phase, lets anybody monitor and track activities of large commercial fishing vessels in near real time. Leonardo DiCaprio, the actor/activist, unveiled Global Fishing Watch last week at the third annual Our Ocean Conference in Washington, D.C. "This platform will empower citizens across the globe to become powerful advocates for our oceans," he said on Sept. 15 at the two-day summit. More than 85 percent of the world's fisheries are reaching their biological limits due to overfishing, the World Wildlife Fund has estimated. Several popular commercial fish species, like the Atlantic bluefin tuna, have declined so much that their survival is threatened. "Warming waters, acidification, plastic pollution, methane release, drilling, overfishing, and the destruction of marine ecosystems like coral reefs are pushing our oceans to the very brink," DiCaprio said. "The only way we can avert this disaster is by ... scaling up innovative actions and solutions to these problems as quickly as possible," he said. Global Fishing Watch gathers data from vessels' Automatic Identification System (AIS), which boat captains use to broadcast their position, course and speed to nearby ships, base stations and satellites. The surveillance platform uses cloud computing and machine learning to process satellite AIS data and identify which vessels are fishing boats. It then logs when and where those vessels are fishing. The tracker is regularly updated to show vessel tracks and fishing activity from Jan. 1, 2012 through the present, although it operates on a three-day delay. "It will allow governments to track suspicious vessels, enforce rules and reduce seafood fraud," Jacqueline Savitz, vice president for U.S. and Global Fishing Watch at Oceana, a global ocean advocacy group, said in a statement. "Journalists and everyday citizens will be able to identify behavior that may be related to illegal fishing or overfishing," she added. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hosted the Our Oceans Conference, which joined diplomats, scientists and conservation groups from around the world to discuss steps to protect oceans from threats such as human-caused climate change, pollution and overfishing. During the summit, countries announced plans to create more than 40 significant new or expanded Marine Protected Areas — including the first U.S. marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean President Barack Obama last week designated over 4,900 square miles off the coast of New England as the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument.  The action comes just weeks after Obama quadrupled the size of the Papahānaumokuākea marine monument near Hawaii. The area now encompasses nearly 583,000 square miles — twice the size of Texas. "Our conservation efforts and our obligations to combat climate change in fact go hand in hand, because marine areas already have enough to worry about, with overfishing and ship traffic and pollution," Obama said Sept. 15 in a special address at the summit. "A healthier ocean and a healthier planet are about more than just our environment," the president added. "They are also vital to our foreign policy and to our national security." Conservationists say Marine Protected Areas are needed to spare the oceans from further destruction and keep ecosystems healthy enough to adapt to warming and acidifying waters caused by climate change. The movement took a significant step forward earlier this month when governments and global organizations adopted a measure to protect 30 percent of the world's oceans by 2030. As of now, only about 4 percent of oceans are protected, even including the latest additions announced in Washington. The view from Air Force One, with U.S. President Barack Obama aboard, as the airplane approaches Midway Atoll in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Sept. 1, 2016. Global foundations and conservation groups last week pledged a combined $5.3 billion to help protect marine ecosystems, prevent pollution and combat climate change.  The Wildlife Conservation Society, Waitt Foundation, blue moon fund and Global Environment Facility together committed $48 million specifically for expanding and managing Marine Protected Areas. "The oceans are our future, and this new fund represents a commitment to safeguarding this invaluable resource," Cristián Samper, president and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society, said in a statement.

News Article | September 20, 2016
Site: www.washingtonpost.com

Speaking to representatives from dozens of countries gathered in Washington for the third annual Our Ocean conference, President Obama said Thursday that it was urgent that leaders take swift, bold action to safeguard oceans around the globe. “We cannot truly protect our planet without protecting our ocean,” the president said, adding that the U.S. and others had begun to address threats such as climate change and overfishing. “But it’s no secret that we’re going to have to do a lot more, and we’re going to have to do it fast.” Obama listed several of the steps he had taken while in office to promote conservation, including his move Thursday to create the first-ever marine national monument in the U.S. Atlantic. He described the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, which lies 130 miles off the southeast coast of Cape Cod, as one that balances environmental safeguards with those for local fishing interests. “We’re protecting fragile ecosystems off the coast of New England, including pristine underseas canyons and seamounts. We’re helping make the oceans more resilient to climate change,” he said. “And this will help fishermen better understand the changes that are taking place that will affect their livelihood, and we’re doing it in a way that respects the fishing industry’s unique role in New England’s economy and history.” [Obama creates the first-ever marine national monument in the U.S. Atlantic, in New England] But he also framed his commitment to the sea in highly personal terms, speaking about both his childhood growing up in Hawaii as well as his recent visit to Midway Atoll. Late last month, he expanded the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which includes Midway, making it the largest protected area on the planet. “I grew up in Hawaii. The ocean’s really nice there,” he said. “And the notion that the ocean I grew up with is not something that I can pass on to my kids and my grandkids is unacceptable.  It’s unimaginable.” Recalling his Sept. 1 visit to Midway, Obama described how he observed Hawaiian green sea turtles sunning themselves on the beach (“It turns out they like sun when we’re not overcrowding the beaches”) and the fact that while snorkeling, he gazed not only at purple and orange coral but a nearby monk seal that dived into the water. “And that, too, was a great cause for optimism because it reminded us that nature is actually resilient if we take care to just stop actively destroying it — that it will come back,” he said. “And certainly the oceans can come back if we take the steps that are necessary. I saw it. It was right there — evidence of the incredible power of nature to rebuild itself if we’re not consistently trying to tear it down.” [Obama’s field trip to Midway Atoll, one of his grandest gestures yet] Not all Americans share Obama’s enthusiasm for restricting commercial activities in the sea. Eric Reid, general manager at a fish-processing plant in Point Judith, R.I., said in an email that the president’s use of executive authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act will reverberate in New England long after he’s left office. “Today President Obama has declared the first marine monument in the Atlantic ocean,” Reid said. “He will only have to live with the intended and unintended consequences of his actions for 127 days.  The industry will suffer these same disastrous consequences forever.” A slew of countries and nonprofit groups also announced new commitments Thursday as part of the conference, including a $48 million pledge by the Wildlife Conservation Society, Waitt Foundation, the Blue Moon Fund and the Global Environment Facility to support the expansion and establishment of new marine protected areas worldwide. Separately, a coalition launched a new satellite-based surveillance system Thursday called Global Fishing Watch, which is powered by Google and will scour the globe at all hours to spot those illegally plundering the oceans. The organizations that partnered to develop it, which include the marine-advocacy group Oceana and West Virginia-based nonprofit SkyTruth, say the free platform will help governments, journalists and everyday citizens monitor roughly 35,000 commercial fishing vessels nearly in real time. From space, a new effort to crack down on illegal fishing across the globe Obama to designate the first-ever marine monument off the East Coast, in New England We’ve been protecting Earth’s land for 100 years. We’re finally starting to protect its oceans For more, you can sign up for our weekly newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter here.

News Article | August 24, 2016
Site: www.nature.com

The impact of the booming Chinese economy on the quality of the nation's air and water has garnered a lot of attention recently. Now, focus is turning to another polluted realm: the very ground beneath China's feet. Chinese researchers are still digesting the implications of a national action plan on soil quality released in May. But two problems are already clear, neither of them unique to China. The first is that remediation of polluted soil is very expensive. The second is that binding legislation must be in place to make sure the necessary money is spent. The consequences of failing to act properly were graphically demonstrated in April. Nearly 500 teenagers at a school constructed near three former chemical plants in Changzhou, east China, were found to have developed health problems ranging from nosebleeds to lymphoma and leukaemia. Preliminary investigations found the soils and groundwater to be laced with heavy metals and organic pollutants. In particular, chlorobenzene was found at concentrations nearly 10,000 times the safe level. Ironically, problems like this are the consequence of concerns about pollution. Dirty factories and industrial plants moved from urban areas to the suburbs and rural locations. Their former sites were demolished, and schools and houses were built in their place. There are thousands of brownfield sites across China, and many are heavily polluted. Serious pollution risks were confirmed by the authorities in China's soil-pollution survey, once guarded as a national secret but publicly released in April 2014. It claimed that 16% of China's soils exceed national standards for pollution with heavy metals and pesticides and, remarkably, that 34.9% of brownfields exceeded national pollution standards. But a lack of transparent detailed information on locations and pollution levels at specific sites hinders public awareness and efforts to tackle the problem. Unlike the often visible pollution of air or water, soil contamination is difficult to detect without professional equipment. Many brownfield sites have already been used for businesses or housing with insufficient remediation. And until something changes, seriously polluted sites will continue to imperil the environment. The nationwide action plan calls for new laws to monitor, prevent and remediate the soil pollution. It is very ambitious, aiming to curb new soil pollution by 2020 and incrementally improve soil quality across the country by the middle of this century. To implement the plan fully would be extremely costly, at more than 7 trillion yuan (US$1.06 trillion) according to one estimate. To put that into perspective, the Chinese government's investment in soil remediation this year is around 9 billion yuan. How can the gap be closed? The common 'polluter pays' principle applies in China, but soil pollution can take a long time to emerge and be detected. That makes it difficult to track and locate responsible parties, and these historical polluters often have no means to pay. Other funding mechanisms have to be considered, for example from the World Bank and Global Environment Facility. Land developers also need to meet more of the clean-up cost before they are granted the rights to use and sell brownfield sites. Even then, the costs will probably be too high to remediate properly, so China must consider a range of other funding instruments, from environmental taxes and clean-up subsidies to loan guarantees and insurance. The new plan does not specify which technologies should be used for soil remediation, and this is a problem. At present, many projects try to shorten the treatment period and reduce costs by removing just the polluted topsoil, and so the contamination remains in deeper ground and water. The removed topsoil is landfilled, which just moves the problem somewhere else, or incinerated, which releases contaminants into the air. Soil-washing is an option, but it generates secondary wastes that require additional decontamination. Improper decontamination measures can even make a site worse by releasing buried pollutants. This seems to be what happened at the Changzhou school. Low-cost and effective new technologies are urgently needed. Plant-based bioremediation approaches have been developed to treat arsenic and cadmium pollution in China. More research on other biological approaches (use of earthworms, nematodes and phytoremediation) should be launched. In common with previous environmental efforts in China, success of the soil action plan will depend on the strength of the law that supports it. Legislation in this area is outdated, and a replacement has been promised by 2020. It should include firm criteria and measures to determine the effectiveness of remediation. (At present, some areas in China use guidelines prepared by the US Environmental Protection Agency, which often do not properly apply to local circumstances). China is not alone in facing risks caused by soil pollution. Similar major problems have occurred in other developing countries undergoing rapid urbanization, including India and Brazil. As a world laboratory for new technology to decontaminate brownfields, China's approach to managing the problem could benefit other countries. By 2050, another 2.5 billion people are expected to be living in cities. The brownfields must be treated effectively to give these new urban residents clean land.

The Medical Waste Management Market is estimated to extent at a CAGR of 5.2%, USD 13.3 billion by 2020 from USD 10.3 billion in 2015. Major factors contributing to the growth of the medical waste management market include increasing initiatives by regulatory authorities for improving medical waste management services, rising aging population, the increasing number of conferences and symposia, and the generation of large amounts of medical waste. Furthermore, government support in the form of funding is another major factor driving the growth of this market. For instance, in December 2014, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and the Government of South Korea together invested USD 4 million for providing medical waste treatment equipment such as autoclaves to Ebola-affected countries. The outsourcing of medical waste management services and technological advancements has opened an array of opportunities for the growth of the medical waste management market. However, high capital investment is expected to restrain the growth of this market. The global medical waste management market is segmented based on type of waste, services, treatment type, treatment site, and geography. The treatment and disposal segment is expected to register the highest growth rate in the medical waste management market, by service, during the forecast period. The high growth in this segment is attributed to the increasing government initiatives for the disposal of medical waste. Apart from comprehensive geographic and product/service analysis and market sizing, the report also provides a competitive landscape that covers the growth strategies adopted by industry players over the last three years. In addition, the company profiles comprise the product portfolios, developments, and strategies adopted by the market players to maintain and increase their shares in the market. The above-mentioned market research data, current market size, and forecast of future trends will help key market players and new entrants to make the necessary decisions regarding service offerings, geographic focus, change in strategic approach, and levels of output in order to remain successful in the market. Reasons to Buy the Medical Waste Management Market Report:  Medical Waste Management Market report will enable both established firms as well as new entrants/smaller firms to gauge the pulse of the market and garner a greater market share. Firms purchasing the report can use any one or a combination of the below-mentioned five strategies (market penetration, product development/innovation, market development, market diversification, and competitive assessment) for strengthening their market shares. "Our Value Added Services provide you with 10% on demand customization with no additional costs" Need Assistance (Content, Price, Sample and Discount), Ask us @ http://www.marketreportsworld.com/enquiry/pre-order-enquiry/10153159 The Medical Waste Management Market report provides insights on the following pointers:  • Market Penetration: Comprehensive information on the product/service portfolios of the top players in the market. The report analyzes the market based on type of waste, services, treatment type, treatment site, and geography. Market Reports World is the credible source for gaining the market research reports that will exponentially accelerate your business. We are among the leading report resellers in the business world committed towards optimizing your business. The reports we provide are based on a research that covers a magnitude of factors such as technological evolution, economic shifts and a detailed study of market segments. For Latest News about Current Market Trends and Forecast Visit At: http://www.marketreportsworld.com/news/

News Article | November 18, 2016
Site: www.theguardian.com

“We lose 5% of our potential GDP every year, and African industries cannot be competitive without access to electricity,” says Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank. “I believe that’s why we can’t break away from reliance on exporting our raw materials – new industries will only go to where there’s power.” He is speaking on the sidelines of the COP22 climate change conference in Marrakech, which ends on Friday. Adesina and colleagues from the bank have been using the conference to highlight its new initiatives on energy, including the New Deal on Energy for Africa, which will see $12bn (£9.7bn) invested in the sector over the next five years. “Africa is tired of being in the dark,” he says. The African Development Bank (AfDB) has also created the role of vice-president on power, and been a major player in setting up the African Renewable Energy Initiative, which aims to generate 10GW of power from renewable sources by 2020 and up to 300GW by 2030. “This initiative was the major outcome for Africa of the Paris COP21 meeting last year, where G7 countries contributed $10bn towards it,” says Adesina. Adesina says he is particularly impressed by the strides Morocco has taken to develop its capacity for solar energy. The AfDB was a major investor in the 160MW Noor solar plant at Ouarzazate, which was opened this year. The complex, which uses giant mirrors to reflect the sun’s heat on to liquid that then turns turbines, is being expanded to produce more than 500MW by 2018. Morocco has also recently signed a deal to build 1720MW in new wind farm capacity. “Africa should use what it has and not what it doesn’t have. We have limitless sunshine and great potential for wind, hydro and geothermal,” he says. However, he still believes there is a role for non-renewable sources of energy in Africa. “We need a balanced energy mix. Some African countries have gas and coal, which can be used in a clean way, and they should use it.” Another major challenge is to increase the amount of money spent on climate change adaptation – or helping countries to rebuild systems when they are destroyed by the impacts of climate change. In Africa, for example, governments are coping with floods, extreme temperatures and major droughts in east and southern Africa and the Sahel. Wealthy countries have committed $100bn towards helping poorer states cope with climate change, but one of the major topics on the agenda in Marrakech has been how that money should be divided between adaptation and mitigation. Until now, only 14% of climate funds have gone to adaptation, and Africa, the continent most deeply affected by climate change, has received only 4% of the total green climate funds. “We’ve been short-changed by climate change and we should not be short-changed in financing,” says Adesina. “South Africa has spent $700m this year dealing with the impacts of the drought last year; Mozambique $200m; Namibia $13m. These emergency costs are continuously displacing public expenditure which should be going to health, education and infrastructure development, and endangering macro-economic stability. My view is that we need to increase the amount to be spent on adaptation so that we can spend money on development.” The AfDB is trying to garner support for an African insurance fund. An initiative called the African Risk Capacity Insurance has been launched, but of 32 countries that signed up, only seven have been able to pay the premiums. Adesina says the idea for the insurance fund was welcomed on Wednesday at an African heads of state meeting chaired by Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, and that one way in which climate finance can be better targeted to help African countries is for green climate funds such as the GEF (Global Environment Facility) to start paying the premiums for the African countries. He hopes that this could pave the way for action. “Whenever these drastic climate events like drought, flood or extreme temperature happen, the world has words of comfort for Africa,” says Adesina. “But words of comfort cannot pay the bills and rebuild when problems start.”

News Article | February 16, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

ITHACA, N.Y. - Seagrass meadows - bountiful underwater gardens that nestle close to shore and are the most common coastal ecosystem on Earth - can reduce bacterial exposure for corals, other sea creatures and humans, according to new research published in Science Feb. 16. "The seagrass appear to combat bacteria, and this is the first research to assess whether that coastal ecosystem can alleviate disease associated with marine organisms," said lead author Joleah Lamb of Cornell University's Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, where she is a Nature Conservancy NatureNet fellow. Senior author Drew Harvell, Cornell University professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and an Atkinson Center Fellow, had been running an international workshop and examining the health of underwater corals with colleagues near small islands at Spermonde Archipelago, Indonesia. But after a few days, the entire research team fell ill with dysentery, and one scientist contracted typhoid. "I experienced firsthand how threats to both human health and coral health were linked," Harvell said. Lamb returned with an international team armed to test the waters. On these small islands freshwater is sparse, surface soil is thin and just off shore the marine environment teems with solid waste, sewage and wastewater pollution. Generally, the islands - though filled with people - do not have septic systems. The group used Enterococcus assays, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standard of health risk levels for wastewater pollution in recreational waters, to see whether seagrass meadows influenced bacterial levels. Water samples taken near the beaches exceeded exposure levels by a factor of 10. But, Lamb's team found threefold lower levels of Enterococcus in seawater collected from within seagrass meadows. "The genetic sequencing work pinpointed the kinds of bacteria - all in difficult, arduous conditions," said Harvell. "It showed exactly what was in the water. The beautiful oceanside water looked blue-green, but truly it was filled with dangerous pollution - some really bad stuff in the water close to shore." While research is beginning to reveal the mechanisms driving bacterial-load reductions in these ecosystems, it is evident that an intact seagrass ecosystem - home to filter-feeders like bivalves, sponges, tunicates (marine invertebrates) - removes more bacteria from water. As seagrass meadows and coral reefs are usually linked habitats, Lamb's team examined more than 8,000 reef-building corals for disease. The researchers found lower levels - by twofold - of disease on reefs with adjacent seagrass beds than on reefs without nearby grasses. "Millions of people rely on healthy coral reefs for food, income and cultural value," said Lamb. Harvell, Lamb and their colleagues agree that these findings are key to conserving seagrass ecosystems. "Global loss of seagrass meadows is about 7 percent each year since 1990," said Lamb. "Hopefully this research will provide a clear message about the benefits of seagrasses for human and marine health that will resonate globally." Regions around the world promote aquaculture to help feed populations, as diseases for many ocean-dwelling plants and animals increase, Harvell said, "Our goal is to stop measuring things dying and find solutions. Ecosystem services like seagrass meadow habitats are a solution to improve the health of people and the environment. Biodiversity is good for our health." Co-authors are Jeroen van de Water, Scientifique Centre de Monaco; David Bourne, Australian Institute of Marine Science; Craig Altier, Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine; Margaux Hein, James Cook University, Australia; Evan Fiorenza; and Nur Abu and Jamaluddin Jompa, Hasanuddin University, Indonesia. The work, "Seagrass Ecosystems Reduce Exposure to Bacterial Pathogens of Humans, Fishes and Invertebrates," was supported by The Nature Conservancy NatureNet Fellowship through Cornell's Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future at Cornell, and the Capturing Coral Reef and Ecosystem Related Services Project funded by the Global Environment Facility and the World Bank. Cornell University has television, ISDN and dedicated Skype/Google+ Hangout studios available for media interviews.

News Article | September 15, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

US President Barack Obama will announce a new marine reserve in an area off the Atlantic coast of New England (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb ) Washington (AFP) - US President Barack Obama announced the creation of a new marine reserve in the Atlantic on Thursday as Washington hosted a major world summit on protecting the planet's oceans. Obama addressed the first day of the Our Ocean conference, where ministers and envoys from some 90 countries met with environmental experts to announce conservation measures. Building on two previous annual meetings, delegates brought plans to protect the marine environment from pollution, overfishing and the effects of climate change. And they heard Obama's announcement of the 4,913-square-mile (12,725-square-kilometer) Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. This is an area in the Atlantic off the coast of New England with three deep undersea canyons and five submerged mountains, home to rare deep-sea coral and whales. Commercial fishing will be restricted in the area, where scientists have warned that warming ocean temperatures are a threat to stocks of salmon, lobster and scallops. "I grew up in Hawaii. The ocean's really nice there," Obama said. "If we're going to leave our children with oceans like the ones that were left to us, then we're going to have to act, and we're going to have to act boldly." The new reserve follows Obama's recent expansion of the huge Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument off Hawaii, and 20 other countries are to declare new areas. "These are problems we can solve. And part of the power of conferences like this is to insist on human agency, to not give in to hopelessness," Obama said. "Nature's actually resilient if we take care to just stop actively destroying it. It'll come back." Britain was one of the first to show its hand, announcing a plan to double the area of protected ocean around its far-flung overseas territories. Fully protected marine reserves are to be set up around the Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific and St Helena, Tristan da Cunha and Ascension in the South Atlantic. The plans impose a permanent ban on commercial fishing in an additional one million square kilometers (386,100 square miles) of ocean, according to Britain's Foreign Office. Meanwhile, the Global Environment Facility, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Blue Moon Fund and the Waitt Foundation announced $48 million to help developing countries create and expand tropical marine reserves. Delegates hope that by 2020, 10 percent of the world's oceans will become protected reserves, with fishing and oil exploration banned or tightly restricted. And American movie star Leonardo DiCaprio unveiled a new crowd-sourced technology, Global Fishing Watch, to help concerned people track illegal fishing by satellite. The conference was hosted by US Secretary of State John Kerry, who hopes the Our Ocean summits that he pioneered will continue after he leaves office next year. The first Our Ocean summit was held in Washington in 2014, followed by Valparaiso in Chile last year. Next year's meeting will be hosted by the European Union. "I think Kerry will continue to be a champion of the oceans because this is his strong passion," UN Environment Program executive director Erik Solheim told AFP. "But they have also institutionalized it, the EU and Malta will host it next time ... This is gaining speed in so many different ways now." Kerry recalled that at the previous summits, nations from across the world committed to designate over six million square kilometers (2.3 million square miles) of ocean. Kerry said over two days the delegates would announce 120 preservation projects and $2 billion in new funding to protect more than two million square kilometers of sea.

News Article | October 31, 2016
Site: www.theguardian.com

Sectoral thinking is partly what will hinder us from meeting the sustainable development goals. The question is not how these sectors can collaborate, but how they can become increasingly intertwined to reflect the joined-up nature of the goals. A good example is the transformation from marine governance to ecosystem governance that took place in some countries when fisheries and environment ministries were reformed. Tim Daw, researcher – ecosystem services and poverty, Stockholm Resilience Centre, @sthlmresilience Traditionally, we have often seen these two sectors as competing – with the notion that you had to sacrifice environmental quality for development. There has also been some scepticism from those within these two communities about the intentions or approaches of others. Economists have not always been welcomed in environmental circles and there is mistrust when it comes to issues that are important to so many. But we are seeing a more enlightened view. Both sides are working together and appreciating that by doing this we can achieve more than we could by working against each other. Oren Ahoobim, associate partner, Dalberg, @orenahoobim, @DalbergTweet We all recognise that we need a holistic approach, so perhaps industrial projects (eg dams and mining) could use the SDGs as a design checklist to ensure they do not cause negative impacts elsewhere and are a positive force for good. We use our One Planet Living framework in this way, which could really work for the SDGs. Sue Riddlestone, CEO and co-founder, Bioregional, @sueriddlestone, @bioregional There are now 20 million artisanal and small-scale miners worldwide. They are responsible for about a tenth of all gold production, but they also do great environmental damage, accounting for the biggest single use of mercury that poisons land and drinking water supplies. The activity is hard to control as miners are widely dispersed, often operating illegally and in remote places. Last week, the GEF council approved a programme that will design and deploy ways in which miners in eight countries can get loans to switch from mercury. Robert Bisset, head of communications, Global Environment Facility, @robbiebisset, @theGEF We need business models where development aid and environmental grants are used to get things started, and then they need to stand on their own two feet as some sort of service or business. Social entrepreneurs are entering the development space with initiatives like this, for example, projects bringing solar power to villages in remote areas help development and address environmental issues. Sue Riddlestone We need all children and students to know not to support unsustainable solutions, so that when they grow up – perhaps to be engineers or designers – they will discourage solutions that are unsustainable. The rest of us need to adopt this mindset; we can’t think we can have a growing business in a failing planet. Livia Bizikova, director – SDG Knowledge Programme, IISD, @LiviaBizik, @IISD_news As well as the traditional tools used in environmental impact assessments, there is a key need for trustworthy oversight. A factory or mine may be designed to minimise environmental harm but unless someone is there to monitor emissions, standards might slip. This process of safeguarding and achieving the best development outcomes is set out in various documents (such as the African Development Bank’s Safeguard Policy). The key is to ensure they are implemented during and after construction as, unfortunately, when these major projects are operational, development practitioners have little or no influence. There is a key role for environmental NGOs here. Mike Webster, director, WasteAid UK, @michaelgwebster, @WasteAidUK I got to know some development NGOs at the UN general assembly and during the SDG process, but now the goals are being implementing, where do we meet up? Maybe the environment and development sectors need to have opportunities to get together more often. Sue Riddlestone Virunga National Park authorities have acknowledged that the four million people who live outside the park will not stop entering it to cut down trees (for charcoal), hunt wildlife and graze cattle. The Virunga Alliance has helped install three hydroelectric dams that generate electricity for villages outside the park. Children can now study and women can walk with greater safety at night, and businesses are arriving in the region. The project has begun to promote better relations between the park’s rangers and the local people, while building peace, stability and hope in North Kivu province. By harnessing the natural power of the park, the authorities have made great inroads to protecting its exceptionally rich biodiversity. Alex Jones In the Maasai village where I live, we now have solar energy installed for lights and charging points, and a solar water pump means children have time to do homework and women can take literacy classes. We have switched to clean cook stoves, using cow dung as fuel, and are about to install proper waste treatment because the wind blows in plastics from across the Mara. We have done this at a village scale, which is now being repeated across the Maasai, while keeping all the cultural elements of pastoralism and a semi-nomadic life. The Maasai may live in a world of no money and little food, but it is a world where the best technology can help ensure the future of an important indigenous people. Jacqueline McGlade, chief scientist, UN environment programme, @UNEP The environment and development sectors will need to build on the objectives of each other to attract critical funding. This will require them to rethink and expand their work, but will present the opportunity to leverage each other in developing a larger value proposition. We are working with The Nature Conservancy to develop an insurance product to protect reefs facing the damaging impacts of storms. While the traditional approach to reef protection has been to seek public or donor funding to support biodiversity, there is a big opportunity to increase funding to this critical natural infrastructure by layering in development objectives. The reefs provide crucial protection and tourism for the communities and businesses behind them. Adam Connaker, program associate – innovative finance, The Rockefeller Foundation, @RockefellerFdn Early on, development was focused solely on economic growth, which was often achieved by extracting natural capital. Now there is growing recognition that nature serves as the foundation for development over the long term because natural systems support our food production, clean our water, regulate our climate, and safeguard the Earth’s biodiversity. The SDGs do a good job of integrating the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development. Lina Barrera, senior director – international policy, Conservation International, @ConservationOrg Read the full Q&A here. Join our community of development professionals and humanitarians. Follow@GuardianGDP on Twitter.

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