UN Environment, China collaborate on major south-to-south CEL initiative

Kathmandu, November 14

UN Environment has launched a decade-long (2016 to 2025) flagship programme on Climate, Ecosystems and Livelihoods (CEL), supported by China and designed to assist countries in the global south with effective delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate targets while improving the livelihoods of their people and protecting their ecosystems.

The flagship programme aims to seize the ‘power of integration’ of the SDGs, and will be led by UN Environment’s International Ecosystem Management Partnership, according to a media release issued today.

UN Environment Deputy Chief, Ibrahim Thiaw, joined by several ministers and heads of UN and government agencies announced the flagship programme at the High-Level Forum on South-to-South Cooperation on Climate Change at the Marrakech climate conference — COP 22.

“It’s the poor in developing countries who are most vulnerable to the impact of climate change on the ecosystems they depend on to for food, shelter and livelihoods,” Thiaw has been quoted as saying in the release.

The new 10-year programme on Climate, Ecosystems and Livelihoods along the Silk Road ‘will not only cement China’s commitment to global leadership in tackling climate change and the environment, but also our shared determination to generate even more results through south-to-south cooperation’.

The new programme is a crucial element of long-term cooperation between China and UN Environment to achieve the SDGs — a set of 17 global objectives ranging from eliminating poverty and hunger to protecting biodiversity and combating climate change, to be achieved by 2030.

“This flagship programme is a testimony of our determination to make a real impact and provide long-lasting assistance in improving livelihoods through ecosystem conservation and restoration, while responding to the impacts of climate change,” said  Jian Liu, director of UN Environment’s International Ecosystems Management Partnership, as per the release.

CEL will draw on the globally relevant knowledge, expertise and other resources of its core team and network of international partners. The Chinese Ecosystem Research Network, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and one of the largest national ecosystem monitoring and research network in the world, will provide technical support for the programme.

The flagship programme aims to protect the most fragile ecosystems, such as drylands, river basins and coastal zones in Asia, West Asia and Africa. It will be rolled out in three phases: assessment (2016 to 2018), development (2019 to 2021) and scaling up (2022 to 2025).

UN Environment’s International Ecosystem Management Partnership is the first UN Environment collaborating centre, in the south and for the south.