• If current trends continue, severe bleaching will occur every year on 99% of the world’s coral reefs within this century • More ambitious emissions reductions may give reefs an average of 11 extra years before annual bleaching strikes • High-resolution predictions of annual coral bleaching can help prioritize reefs for conservation
5 January 2017 – New climate model projections of the world’s coral reefs reveal which reefs will be hit first by annual coral bleaching, an event that poses the gravest threat to one of the Earth’s most important ecosystems.
These high-resolution projections, based on global climate models, predict when and where annual coral bleaching will occur. The projections show that reefs in Taiwan and around the Turks and Caicos archipelago will be among the world’s first to experience annual bleaching.
The Asia Pacific region is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Increasing frequency and severity of weather events – floods, droughts, cyclones and tropical storms – as well as sea level rise threaten food, water and energy security and are undermining hard gained progress. While per capita emissions remain low, the region produces nearly half of global greenhouse gas emissions due partly to energy systems that remain reliant on fossil fuels and inefficiencies in the transport, buildings, agricultural and other sectors. In short, failure to address the challenge of climate change will have serious economic, social and environmental consequences for the region. Extreme weather events, which have increased in frequency and intensity in the region, account for hundreds of billions of dollars in loss and damages. It is expected that by 2050, the number of people vulnerable to the effects of climate change will reach two billion with countries on the frontline of climate change, particularly coastal and Small Island Developing nations paying a heavy price. Adaptation to climate change is critical for these countries and countries in the region to survive and thrive.
The Asia Pacific Adaptation Forum is a biennial forum of the Asia Pacific Adaptation Network and the largest gathering of adaptation practitioners in the Asia Pacific region. It will bring some 800 participants, including policymakers, experts, scientists, donors, youth, and civil society representatives from over 50 countries to showcase solutions and innovative ideas and practices to adapt to climate change. It will also cover topics such as tools to reduce vulnerability, ways to integrate climate adaptation into national planning and budgeting, innovative financial mechanisms and climate-smart technologies and application. A field trip is also planned.
To raise awareness about adaptation and actions taken in the region, UNEP is sponsoring a limited number of journalists to join this Forum. Selected media will get an opportunity to meet with officials, adaptation experts and practitioners and hear first-hand experiences and solutions from countries and organizations in the region. Travel and daily subsistence allowing according to UN rules will provided by UNEP.
The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, John Knox; the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, Victoria Tauli Corpuz, stress that protecting environmental rights defenders is crucial to protect the environment and the human rights that depend on it.
“Being an environmentalist can be a dangerous, even deadly undertaking. Berta Cáceres, the Goldman Prize winner who was assassinated in Honduras in March, was only one of dozens of environmentalists to be killed this year.
Every week, on average, two environmental and land rights activists are killed and the numbers are getting worse, according to the international NGO Global Witness. The situation is particularly grave in Latin America and Southeast Asia, but it affects every region of the world. It is truly a global epidemic.
On this World Environment Day, we want to underscore that environmental human rights defenders should be lauded as heroes for putting themselves at risk to protect the rights and well-being of others. Instead, they are often targeted as if they were enemies of the country.
It has been a bad year for coral. There has been unprecedented coral bleaching on the northern and central Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s most iconic reefs and a world heritage site. Bleaching in the central Indian Ocean is also severe, in the Maldives, Sri Lanka and in the Lakshadweep islands of India, where up to 100 per cent of corals are bleached in some locations. Many will not survive. Continue reading →
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, H.E. Ms Sheikh Hasina, has been announced as one of the winners of the United Nations’ highest environmental accolade, in recognition of Bangladesh’s far-reaching initiatives to address climate change. With a population of more than 159 million, Bangladesh is one of the world’s most populated countries. It is also one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Cyclones, floods and droughts have long been part of the country’s history, but they have intensified in recent years. Continue reading →
UNIC Canberra joined the United Nations Association of Australia to recognise innovative environmental initiatives and the work of Australian environmental leaders in the 2014 World Environment Day Awards on the 13 June. Continue reading →
This overview looks at UNHCR’s efforts to improve the quality of its programmes in the following technical sectors: data and information management; shelter; education; public health; reproductive health and HIV; nutrition and food security; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); information management; livelihoods; and the environment.