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Issue 51 | November 2021

After an eventful two weeks of difficult negotiations, the UNFCCC COP26 came to a close on Saturday 13 November. The world held its breath in the last hours as countries struggled to compromise on wording of the “Glasgow Climate Pact” but the UK presidency facilitated concessions leading to an agreement. The outcome has solicited mixed reactions, where all parties agree that it was not as ambitious as hoped, rather it is a compromise and marks a positive step towards taking concrete climate action.  Unfortunately, many perennial issues for Small Island Developing States were not resolved. These include greater and facilitated access to finance and compensation for loss and damage. Also, The ambition expressed by countries in their nationally determined contributions fall short of the 1.5-degree goal. This is simply not enough. For SIDS, a global temperature increases of 2 degrees Celsius simply means eradication. Our planet is facing a “code red” and for SIDS, “adaptation isn’t a technocratic issue, it is life or death.” Read below our story on the outcomes of COP26. 

However, it is in the face of adversity that we see the most inspiring actions and innovative solutions: entrepreneurship and private sector engagement in the Pacific, innovative adaptation projects in the Maldives to safeguard coastlines, new calls to protect the oceans from Fiji and the Seychelles and strong political leadership from the Caribbean nations in advocating for SIDS. You will find in this issue stories that have inspired us as UNDP reaffirms its engagement to support SIDS reach their development targets and achieve the SDGs. In the words of the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, “COP 27 starts now.” 


Image: UNDP

#UNDP4SIDS #RisingUpForSIDS

Keywords:  Rising Up For SIDS, COP26, biodiversity, marine protected areas, SDGs, green recovery, Youth activists, blue bond, plastic pollution, digital currency, creative industries, orange economy, sustainable development, machine learning, gender equality, inclusive, blue economy, climate action, digital transformation, water solutions, livelihood empowerment, innovation, renewable energy
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Country Corner
Image: Cabo Verde/UNDP
 

Youth-led Digital solution tackling climate change in Cabo Verde 
 

Digital technologies are development enablers, rapidly accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals in SIDS. This is showcased by a new initiative, supported by the UNDP Cabo Verde Accelerator Lab, is aiming to tackle the country's climate challenges. An aerial drone produced by a young engineer was launched this week to release seed balls in two locations over a natural park, in the first reforestation effort of the Green Islands project. The project aims to optimize the reforestation process at the national level, for the preservation of the soil and the environment. The drone will be used for sowing, soil fertilization and pesticide spraying, as a revolutionary, cost-effective way to effectively and efficiently assist agriculture and reforestation in the country. The Green Islands project, is in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment's REFLOR-CV project, funded by the European Union and FAO, to support the use of new technologies to combat desertification and promote reforestation. The production of seed balls is a technique that consists of launching selected seeds encapsulated with clay over a defined location, whose function is to protect and provide an appropriate environment for germination of them, especially in places suffering from water shortages and desertification. 

Image: Jamaica/UNDP
 
Jamaica and the Seychelles roll out solar energy development projects
 

Jamaica and the Seychelles have launched projects to deploy more solar panels in hospitals and in economically disadvantaged households respectively. In Jamaica, the “Deployment of Renewable Energy and Improvement of Energy Efficiency in the Public Sector" Project, has set up LED bulbs and installed grid-tied solar photovoltaic systems in 6 out of the island’s 24 hospitals. The Seychelles’ “PV democratisation 2.0 project” supports households in accessing solar energy through a communal approach: the government identifies large rooftops suitable for PV installation; “consumers can then buy a share of the system and pay it back by monthly installments through electricity bills or other mechanisms”.  Both projects will help the two island nations achieve key aspects of the SDGs and of UNDP’s SIDS Offer: reducing energy expenditures and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), moving faster towards a fair energy transition.  

"PV democratisation 2.0" will be a decisive element of the Seychelles 100% Renewable Energy Strategy (SeyRES 100)In terms of NDCs, the country has pledged to reduce its GHG emissions by 26.4% by 2030 and “to achieve a decarbonized net-zero emissions economy by 2050”. According to Jamaica’s Ministry of Science and Technology, the country’s roll out of renewable energy in the public sector has, from 2013 to 2018, “cut its fossil fuel consumption by 3500 barrels and reduced its carbon footprint 5800 tons”. Reportedly, it has has also allowed Jamaica to save 3.2 Million USD in energy consumption. Since the Seychelles faces high and fluctuating power costs because of its dependency on fossil fuels, developing renewable energies should also lower the cost of electricity bills. 

Image: Papua New-Guinea/UNDP
 

Papua New Guinea's Youth and Indigenous People's voices amplified at Climate Conferences
 

As one of the largest Pacific SIDS and hosting a population of 8 million people as well as an enormous natural capital of lush rainforests and fragile marine ecosystems, Papua New Guinea (PNG) has been active participant in the climate change fora of the past couple of months, speaking on behalf of the Coalition for Rainforest Nations at COP26. Stories recorded by colleagues at the UNDP office of Papua New Guinea in the context of the #DearWorldLeaders campaign demonstrate the challenges island dwellers face and showcases their resilience and their relentless hope and dedication towards their lands.
This is highlighted through the voice of Sakingo Joshua of Aromot Island, for whom “water is life”. The country is facing compounding challenges of water stress, food security, coastal erosion and forced resettlement, all amplified by a rapidly changing climate. Yet, indigenous populations remain honorable stewards of the land and the environment, as explained by John Aini, from Ailan Awareness, as they apply and promote the traditional concept of Gwala: “Our forefathers definition of gwala is simply respect where the community agrees not to go hunting or fishing within the restricted zone. We are to become caretakers of that restricted area preventing it from being exploited.” 
Moreover, the voice of young Papua New Guineans was also present during the Youth4Climate summit in Milan this past September, where UNDP’s own Ms. Vinzealhar Nen, the country lead for the Sustainable Ocean Alliance hub, participated in discussions around youth driving ambition, sustainable recovery, non-state actor engagement and a climate conscious society. She took the opportunity to raise the issue of supporting eco-tourism projects and to prioritize island communities at the forefront of the climate crisis. She was joined by youth delegates from Fiji, the Marshall Islands, and the Federated States of Micronesia and together they have brought forward proposals on behalf of the Pacific SIDS.  

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In the News
Image:Twitter/@ed_Hawkins
 

As negotiations come to a draw, does COP26 deliver the necessary ambition to keep the Paris promise alive?
 

All eyes were turned to Glasgow for the past two weeks, as world leaders, delegates, scientists, NGOs, and CSOs gathered to discuss and agree on international action to adapt to and mitigate climate change. An agreement was reached on a “Glasgow Climate Pact”, on Saturday 13 November, to mixed reactions from delegates and civil society. While most SIDS express disappointment in many areas, Belizean negotiator Ambassador Janine Felson has welcomed the ambitious promises of doubling climate adaptation finance but reminds that “deeds must match rhetoric”.  

As the negotiations closed, we look back on the powerful statements Small Island Developing States made inside and outside of the negotiation rooms to affirm the urgency of climate action. We are sinking” said the foreign minister of Tuvalu, M. Simon Kofe, standing knee deep in seawater, a symbolic reminder that SIDS are at the frontline. Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Motley, gave yet another poignant message, asking member states to “try harder” at the opening of the World Leaders Summit. "The time to act is yesterday" urged Wavel Ramkalawan, president of the Seychelles.  Samoa’s Brianna Fruean brought forth the hopeful voice of Pacific youth, we are not drowning, we are fighting”.  

Many important pledges were made, some of the most notable include: that to end and reverse deforestation by 2030, with a promise of US $19.2bn of private and public funds; the US-China agreement to accelerate emission reductions toward the Paris goals; pledges by over 90 countries to cut 30% of current atmospheric Methane levels; the launch of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance; a commitment of CAD $6 million by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the Government of Canada joins the Global Fund for Coral Reef coalition; and an agreement between the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) to mobilize climate finance and to advance the deployment of renewable energy across SIDS.  

However, some of the most paramount and contentious issues remained to be decided as negotiations ran overtime. Article 6, also known as the “Paris rulebook” of guidelines governing global carbon markets has been finalized, an achievement six years in the making, yet its operationalization presents new challenges. Climate finance must be increased, and access must be facilitated - simply put, as Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama of Fiji stated, resilience is about access to resources. Another important issue for SIDS is loss and damage, which could compensate irrevocable losses such as biodiversity depletion and offer support to rebuild and recover after extreme weather events. While the “Glasgow facility for loss and damage”, proposed by the G77, was not carried forward, the COP26 presidency noted, at a request from Antigua and Barbuda, that all input related to this will be carried forward in a dialogue on finance for loss and damage to run until COP28.  In a press conference held by Antigua and Barbuda and Tuvalu on November 1st, the chair of AOSIS announced a new commission to enable SIDS to take their compensation claims before international courts.  

Nevertheless, hope must prevail. Let us rally behind Secretary-General Guterres’ call, never give up, never retreat, keep pushing forward as this is an imperative battle that “we can and must win”. As echoed by Administrator Steiner, the only way we can reach this is if the world works together.” Stay tuned as we further analyze the outcome of COP26 and the decisions made by member states for the future of SIDS in the upcoming issues of the SIDS bulletin.

Image: GEF SGP Belize
 

  New debt-restructuring blue bond helps Belize direct US$ 4.2m annually to protect 30% of its ocean
 

Following the Republic of Seychelles’ groundbreaking first blue bond in 2016, Belize recently announced a tender offer for restructuring nearly US$ 550m of its external debt – supported by The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) NatureVest team, with a commitment to protect up to 30% of its ocean, including the UNESCO World Heritage-recognized Barrier Reef Reserve System. The bond is funded with US$ 364m arranged by TNC, which is insured by the American agency, the International Development Finance Corp, and would result in approximately US$ 4.2m annual conservation investment. 
Belize has a rich natural capital and is considered by many as a conservation success story: from thriving seagrass and mangrove forests, to its aforementioned Barrier Reef System – the second largest expanse of coral in the world, featuring three of the four coral atolls found in the Atlantic Ocean – it is also home to 77 species listed as threated by the IUCN. The people of Belize depend on their ecosystem and any decline in its health will affect the population and its livelihoods. Like many SIDS, Belize attracts many tourists yearly, averaging at 209,000 visitors per year. This constitutes a significant amount of revenue, estimated at 41% of its national income. However, the pandemic saw Belize’s tourism revenue sharply decline in 2020, bringing forward the all-too-common SIDS issue of access to climate adaptation and marine conservation finance. A decline in revenue, coupled with the economic and climate crises, puts SIDS in a state of multifaceted vulnerability.  
Considering, it makes it all the more impressive to see first the Seychelles, then Belize and now, the more recently announced, Fiji blue bond, lead the way towards employing innovative solutions, that address economic challenges while also conserving the environment and protecting the oceans. As Administrator Steiner put it “blue bonds are an investment that help turn the tide in the ocean’s favour.

Image: Saint Lucia/Unsplash
 
 

The idea of a ‘green economy’ is a development concept aligned with the resources and needs of the natural world, resulting in low carbon and resource efficient strategies within the sectors of energy, transport, agriculture and forestry. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) defines the green economy as one ‘that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities’. From this concept emerged the idea of a blue economy, defined by the World Bank as the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem." To complete this color wheel of development is the idea of the ‘orange economy’, a term which describes the various creative and cultural sectors, including art, film, music and video games. Globally, the orange economy employs more people aged 15−29 than any other sector and has become an engine for regeneration especially in inner cities.  

In SIDS the orange economy could play a valuable role in providing economic opportunity and avenues for development that are more resilient to climate change. However, finance and investment in creative ecosystems needs to be increased to allow the orange economy to grow. A key example of how SIDS are pushing their orange economy forward is a dedicated fund launched by the Caribbean Development Bank focused in three grant streams: Enabling Environment, Data Intelligence, and Improved Competitiveness of Creative MSMEs. This investment approach is geared towards building a supporting environment to enable the acceleration of the creative industry, through building technical capacity and enhancing data collection and analysis systems. For example, the fund has contributed to film and animation initiatives in St Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago

New innovations in the creative and cultural sectors offer SIDS even greater opportunity for transforming tourism and gaining a competitive edge amid COVID-19. These initiatives can build upon the creative and entrepreneurial ambitions of the SIDS people to establish economies which allow islanders to create, innovate and monetize their ideas. The green, blue, and orange economy approaches to development can all work in parallel to leverage the powerful marine, ecological, and cultural assets that are central to opportunity in SIDS. 

Image: Unsplash
 
 

Mere months after partnering with the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank in the development of the digital currency DCash, the Barbados-based financial technology firm Bitt has developed the eNaira, Nigeria’s digital currency and Africa’s first Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). With this breakthrough achievement, Nigeria becomes the 7th country in the world to launch its national digital currency. The six other nations that have rolled out their CBDCs so far are all Caribbean SIDS. In October 2020 the Bahamas launched the Sand Dollar, becoming the first country in the world to introduce a CBDC nation-wide. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), with Bitt’s support, launched DCash in March 2021, the world’s second national digital currency. Four out of the Bank’s eight member states initially joined the DCash project: Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada and Saint Lucia. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines joined a few months after and the ECCB is assessing the feasibility of a full commercial launch of DCash in its three remaining member countries.  

Through the DCash roll out these Caribbean islands, each with populations of under 200 000, demonstrate SIDS are an ideal place to test and pilot innovations and to support South-South cooperation in scaling up to much larger countries, such as Nigeria with over 200M people. Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari expects the eNaira to increase its country’s GDP by $29 billion over the next 10 years. He claims that the digital currency will “help many people and businesses move from the informal into the formal sector, thereby increasing the tax base of the country”. According to the IMF, CBDCs can also benefit the economy by making payment systems more cost-effective since they have lower transaction costs, by enhancing financial inclusion as they providing those “unbanked” easier access to money on their phone and by improving the flow of cross-border payments. 

Image: Sofiane Mahjoub/UNDP
 
 

On 13 November, 2021 country delegates at the COP26 agreed on the text of the Glasgow Climate Pact. This agreement, left many stakeholders dissatisfied by the lack of strong commitments. However, on a more positive note, COP26 permanently anchored the ocean and its importance in the multilateral climate change regime. The agreed text specifically highlights “the importance of ensuring the integrity of all ecosystems, including in forests, the ocean and the cryosphere, and the protection of biodiversity […]”. The Pact also invites relevant work programmes and bodies under the UNFCCC “to consider how to integrate and strengthen ocean-based action in their existing mandates and work plans and to report on these activities within the existing reporting processes”, and the Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice “to hold an annual dialogue to strengthen ocean-based action and to prepare an informal summary report thereon and make it available to the COP”. This represents an additional opportunity for SIDS (or Large Ocean States) to lead by example through their innovative ocean-based action as exemplified by the recent announcement of Fiji’s plans to issue its first sovereign Blue Bond by 2022 to support MPAs and a decarbonized shipping sector. 

Resources
Image: "The fundamental links between climate change and marine plastic pollution" Ford et al., 2021
 

Climate change and plastic pollution have a nefarious combined effect on the health of oceans 


A recent study exploring the combined effect of climate change and marine pollution on the ecosystems of the ocean have found a fundamental link, demonstrating that both crises are connected, and their nefarious effects are worsening the health of the oceans.  

This link can be broken down into three main issues: firstly, the GHG emissions of the lifecycle of plastics from production, through transport and ending at disposal are forecasted at 56 billion Mt of carbon-dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) in GHGs between 2015 and 2050. This is the equivalent of 10-13% of the remaining carbon budget and will contribute to a more rapidly changing and warning climate. Secondly, more frequent extreme weather events such as floods, storms and typhoons will increase the dispersal of mismanaged plastic waste between land and sea, causing inappropriately-disposed plastics to end up in waterways and ultimately in the oceans. Moreover, as more sea ice melts due to the increasing surface temperate of the ocean, it releases the microplastics that it had trapped in ice in the past. All these factors will increase the amount of plastic found in the ocean. This takes us to the third issue, which is the negative impacts on the flora and fauna of the oceans. The effects of climate change and of plastic pollution on marine species have been proven and substantiated through multiple studies. These include the effects of a warming ocean on coral reef ecosystems, leading to bleaching and reef death, as well as changes to community composition, ecosystem function or even biogeochemical cycles of the ocean, leading to a facilitation of invasive species. Entire ecosystems become vulnerable, with fish, birds and sea turtles consuming more plastics and often dying consequently.  

Solutions must be integrated to tackle the interconnected issues that we face. Unfortunately, climate change and marine pollution are often presented as separate or competing issues when it comes to the oceans. The reality is more complicated, and more studies are demonstrating these links more clearly. The core issue here is clear: we cannot continue relying on finite resources and we must strive to implemented integrated solutions on a large scale. This is the same approach the UNDP SIDS offer and the UNDP plastics offer take, looking at interconnected issues and ensuring sustainable finance and circular economy models are at the foundation when proposing and implementing solutions.  

Image: UN News

Extreme sea level events will increase in frequency even under 1.5 °C of warming 
 

While the ambition of the Paris agreement requires a 45 per cent cut of emissions by 2030 compared to 2010 levels, the aggregate greenhouse gas emission level, taking into account implementation of all submitted nationally determined contributions, is estimated to be 13.7 per cent above the 2010 level in 2030. This puts SIDS on the frontlines of the climate crisis. In addition to sea-level rise, which is expected to lead to increases in coastal flooding and erosion in low-lying countries, climate change is expected to increase the frequency of extreme sea levels, causing extensive damages to both human settlements and coastal ecosystems. 

A recent study described changes in extreme sea levels associated with global warming levels scenarios ranging from 1.5 to 5 °C in 7000+ locations all over the world. The study revealed that by 2100, even under 1.5 °C of warming, more than 50 per cent of investigated locations will experience the present-day 100-year extreme sea level event at least once a year. The study also indicated that countries located in the tropics will be more vulnerable than the ones in Northern high latitudes. 

While the recently agreed Glasgow Climate Pact requests parties to revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets in their NDCs by the end of 2022 and explicitly plans to reduce coal usage, SIDS are leading the way by enhancing their mitigation efforts and boosting their adaptation capabilities, as highlighted in one of our previous SIDS bulletin.   

2021 TIWB Annual Report

Tax Inspectors Without Borders continues to significantly boost domestic revenue mobilisation in spite of COVID-19 crisis. This effective capacity building initiative run by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) continues to strengthen developing countries’ ability to fight tax avoidance by multinational enterprises, with operations running in 47 countries and more than USD 850 million generated in new tax revenues since July 2020.

SDG7 Global Roadmap

A global roadmap setting out milestones needed to achieve a radical transformation of energy access and transition by 2030, while also contributing to net zero emissions by 2050, was issued on 3 November by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, as an outcome of the High-level Dialogue. A report of the Dialogue was also issued, giving more detail on the roadmap's recommendations as well as statements and commitments made at the Dialogue.

Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform: Lessons and Opportunities

​Removing fossil fuel subsidies is key to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit climate change. However, if poorly planned, fossil fuel subsidy reform can lead to price increases that could impact the poorest and trigger social unrest. Beyond being environmentally impactful, such reforms must be socially and economically fair to be accepted by citizens. UNDP's research highlights the key factors for such reforms to be successful. 

A Guide to Carbon Pricing and Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform

This report intends to provide policy makers in developing countries with a "beginner's guide" to implement carbon pricing and fossil fuel subsidy reform policies, informing them about the best practices, lessons learned, comparative advantages and distributional impacts such policies. The paper will also particularly analyze the impact of carbon policies on vulnerable groups and recommend solutions to increase effectiveness of the policies studied. 

Alternative uses of pre-tax fossil-fuel subsidies per year

This note performs a series of arithmetic comparisons of the estimated global amount of pre-tax fossil-fuel subsidies (FFSs) distributed per year to offer an understanding of what they cost across the developing world. A first exercise focuses on what is often termed ‘poverty eradication’, which consists of lifting the current incomes of the poor population up to at least the value of the corresponding poverty line. A second exercise looks at how much of basic economic security to protect the livelihoods of the less advantaged groups during the COVID-19 crisis FFSs could pay, for how many people and for how long. Finally, a third exercise compares the amount of FFSs with that required to inoculate the global population against COVID-19.
 
 

“Climate Islands” - Episode #3 – Youth4Climate

Vinzealhar Nen shares her local and global experiences of raising awareness about environmental challenges and impacts of climate change in Papua New Guinea - and the urgency for youth involvement in climate action. The podcast also discusses her recent journey to the #Youth4Climate Summit, in Milan, as a youth delegate for the Pacific region ahead of a gathering of world leaders at COP26. 

Blockchain for Agri-Food Traceability

 Blockchain for Agri-Food Traceability explores the technology’s potential in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to the agri-food sector, leveraging its unique features like its decentralised nature, immutability of data, and smart contracts. The report also highlights key considerations for implementing an end-to-end traceability system that is scalable, sustainable, and inclusive, ensuring that the most disadvantaged stakeholders — the small-scale producers — are not left behind.

Strengthening governance during the COVID-19 pandemic

This short publication provides a snapshot of governance challenges that UNDP’s country partners have faced, the ways that UNDP is responding while navigating the specific issues that COVID-19 has brought, and the impact of UNDP’s work across the five regions where it operates, illustrated through 15 country case studies. 

Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in the Pacific

This publication outlines the key characteristics of the existing entrepreneurship ecosystem in Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. The report presents recommendations for short-, medium-, and long-term sustainable development of the ecosystem of the seven Pacific Island countries. Findings from this document are utilized under the newly launched Pacific Digital Economic Programme (PDEP) to plan and implement activities that help in enabling inclusive digital economies in the Pacific.

Maldives plans a "floating city" as sea levels rise

The atoll nation of Maldives is creating an innovative floating city that mitigates the effects of climate change and stays on top of rising sea levels. The Maldives Floating City is designed by Netherlands-based Dutch Docklands and will feature thousands of waterfront residences and services floating along a flexible, functional grid across a 200-hectare lagoon.

Catching the last wave with Mahendra Kumar (PhD)

The guest for this episode of  the UNDP Pacific Office's podcast "Catching the last wave" is Dr. Mahendra Kumar, a senior climate change specialist with wide experience in climate change, development, energy and environment programs in Asia-Pacific and Africa. With Dr. Mahendra, we focused on the latest IPCC report and especially what does it mean for the Pacific region. We also talked about the strategies of Pacific Small Island Developing States to advocate on key priorities at international climate negotiations and the specific demands leading up to COP26 in Glasgow.
 

Upcoming Opportunities and Events

Transforming food systems and combating climate change

Following the COP26 summit to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, this virtual event will serve as an opportunity to underscore the inextricable link between climate and food, building on the outcome of both the UN Food Systems Summit and COP26, and looking into next year’s COP27. On Thursday, November 18 from 16:00 – 17:30 EAT / 08:00 – 09:30 EST. The event includes an interactive session with live feedback from the audience and will be conducted in English with simultaneous translation provided in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish.

When: November 18, 2021
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Nature Based Solutions and Investments for Sustainable Tourism in Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union
 

This event is the fourth of a cycle of five events on Sustainable Tourism organized by UNDP and the EU-LAC Foundation. The objective of this space is to focus on environmentally sustainable tourism practices and models (circular procurement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve resource efficiency; water management, waste management, food, transport, construction, etc.), diversification of tourism supply by reducing seasonality of demand while strengthening local communities and the local cultural sector (cultural, community-based tourism), promotion of intra-national/regional tourism, raising awareness and encourage more sustainable tourist behavior, as well as their often-greater difficulties that have affected the environment in which the tourism industry is based upon. 

When: November 18, 2021
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New Solutions for tech for democracy and human rights: bringing in global and local voices

As part of the #Tech4Democracy Conference, this session highlights voices from a range of stakeholders from around the world. Civil society, youth representatives, and other non-state actors from across governance eco-systems will present their experiences and evidence on challenges and opportunities on how to drive a progressive agenda for an open, safe, and inclusive digital world where technology works for democracy and human rights. The session is jointly facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Global Focus and will be kicked off by Executive Director of the Togolese Civil League, Farida Nabourema, followed by a message from the UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner. Based on a series of roundtables with Southern Voice, a network of +50 think tanks in the Global South, and a scan of the horizon for some of the most promising pro-democracy digital projects taking place today, the session takes the audience on a roundtrip across the globe to present key challenges and approaches on how to make digital technology a vehicle for democracy and human rights. The #Tech4Democracy Conference is hosted by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

When: November 18, 2021
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Guinea-Bissau Digital Transformation Week

During the past year, UNDP Guinea-Bissau has been working on and exploring the digital transformation thematic in its initiatives and engagements with the government, civil society, and private sector. As a first attempt to try to bring the topic of Digital Transformation in Guinea-Bissau to a broader audience, both internal and external, UNDP Guinea-Bissau is organizing its 1st Digital Transformation Week, in collaboration with the World Bank Group. Throughout the week of the 15th of November, experts, from not just UNDP and World Bank, will come together to discuss and present their initiatives around digital transformation and the possibilities of digital solutions to a sustainable development.

When: November 15-19
Find zoom links to all webinars HERE

Vote for the top 10 short films from Mobile Film Festival

In partnership with the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Global Programme on Nature for Development, the 17th Mobile Film Festival has selected top 50 short (1-minute each) films for 2021, on the theme of ‘Making Peace with Nature’— being screened at the UN climate conference COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland. The public will be able to view and vote on the 50 films at this link to participate in the Audience Award. The top 10 films out of the 50 will be presented at the award ceremony on December 8, 2021.

World Ocean Summit Asia-Pacific

The regionally-focused World Ocean Summit Asia-Pacific agenda will provide the platform for nuanced conversation and tailored discussion to catalyse the blue economy. The summit will convene 100 speakers and 2000 participants virtually over five days. Dedicated tracks on shipping, marine renewable energy, plastics, aquaculture, and fishing will provide insight focused on the Asia-Pacific. Plenary sessions will centre on pressing concerns for the ocean and cities and seek solutions for climate change mitigation and the dangerous decline of biodiversity in the region. A full track dedicated to finance will bring together executives from across the investment community.  Speakers will share their experience of innovative blue-finance mechanisms to maximise the direction of mainstream finance towards the sustainable blue economy. 

When: December 6–10 2021
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