Environmental health – disease from environmental risks
New WHO Report (March 2016) “Preventing disease through healthy environments: a global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental risks”. See: http://www.who.int/quantifying_ehimpacts/publications/preventing-disease/en/
Economic cost of the health impact of air pollution in Europe - WHO Europe, study published 29 April 2016. ---
A staggering US $ 1.6 trillion is the economic cost of the approximate 600 000 premature deaths and of the diseases caused by air pollution in the WHO European Region in 2010, according to the first-ever study of these costs conducted for the Region. The amount is nearly equivalent to one tenth of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the entire European Union in 2013. - - -The economic value of deaths and diseases due to air pollution – US$ 1 600 000 000 000 – corresponds to the amount societies are willing to pay to avoid these deaths and diseases with necessary interventions. In these calculations, a value is attached to each death and disease, independent of the age of the person and which varies according to the national economic context. --- Air pollution: the single largest environmental health risk --- Over 90% of citizens in the Region are exposed to annual levels of outdoor fine particulate matter that are above WHO's air quality guidelines. This accounted for 482 000 premature deaths in 2012 from heart and respiratory diseases, blood vessel conditions and strokes, and lung cancer. In the same year, indoor air pollution resulted in an additional 117 200 premature deaths, five times more in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.
A new book to remember a milestone in the debate not only about sustainable development but also the need of reform of international environmental governance: Defining Sustainable Development for Our Common Future. A History of the World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Commission). By Iris Borowy, Routledge, November 2013.
The UN World Commission on Environment and Development, chaired by former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, alerted the world to the urgency of making progress toward economic development that could be sustained without depleting natural resources or harming the environment. The Brundtland Report strongly argued that sustainable development must be based on social, economic and environmental grounds, and that this change in perception must also have institutional implications at national and international levels. Some 30 years after the Brundtland Commission started its work we are still struggling with it.
More …. http://www.routledge.com
Rio+20 (2012) --- The Future We Want - The final document adopted at Rio+20 Conference, available at: http://www.uncsd2012.org/thefuturewewant.html
The Contested Legacy of Rio+20, by Maria Ivanova, (September 20th, 2012). See: http://uncsd.iisd.org/guest-articles/the-contested-legacy-of-rio20/
Rio+20 - Failure or step in the right direction? - The reactions to the outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development 20-22 June 2012 were mixed. The final document “The Future We Want” received sharp criticism, from NGOs and scientists, while politicians saw certain progress. Dr. Lothar Guendling looks at the conference results and the possible perspectives for international environmental policy. More ... http://www.georgiatoday.ge/article_details.php?id=10245#
Green Economy – The Breakthrough To Change And Sustainable Development? - From 20-22 June more than 100 Heads of States and Governments and over 25000 participants are expected at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development called “Rio+20”. It will mark the 20th anniversary of the legendary conference at Rio in 1992. Dr. Lothar Guendling, Attorney in Luxemburg and international advisor to the Grigol Robakidze University Institute for Public Law and Administration and its Research Centre for European Environmental Law in Tbilisi looks at the importance and possible outcome of the upcoming global gathering. More ...
Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals: Text adopted in September 2015, with UN General Assembly Resolution, http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/69/L.85&Lang=E
A critical view: Sustainable development is accepted by all, in theory and as a concept; to make it a reality is a different story. The world is still far from abandoning the unsustainable way of production and consumption. For all those who read German, here is a critical view at where we are on the way to a sustainable and green economy: Kathrin Hartmann, Aus kontrolliertem Raubbau, 2015, Blessing-Verlag,
EU environmental policy and law
"Living well, within the limits of our planet" --- New EU environmental action program formally adopted.
On 15 November 2013 the Council adopted a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on a general union environment action programme to 2020 (PE-CO_S 64/13, 15519/13 ADD1 REV1). Adoption of the legislation followed an agreement reached during the informal discussions with the European Parliament on 19 June 2013. The seventh Environment Action Programme entitled "Living well, within the limits of our planet" replaces the sixth programme, which expired in July 2012.
More at: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/envir/139603.pdf
Complying with EU environmental legislation: see the monthly infringement procedures at: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/legal/law/press_en.htm
EU enlargement and the environment
For the annual enlargement packages, see: http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/countries/strategy-and-progress-report/index_en.ht
Free trade and the environment
"Making TTIP environmentally sound", German Advisory Council on the Environment, opinion released 24 February 2016, more at: http://www.umweltrat.de/EN/TheGermanAdvisoryCouncilOnTheEnvironment/thegermanadvisorycouncilontheenvironment_node.html
Paris Agreement 2015
New publication (in German): “Unter 2 Grad? Was der Weltklimavertrag wirklich bringt“ (Below 2°? What the world climate agreement is really good for). --- Details: Sommer, Jörg & Müller, Michael (Hrsg.), Unter 2 Grad? Was der Weltklimavertrag wirklich bringt. 320 S., Stuttgart (Hirzel-Verlag, 2016), ISBN 978-3-7776-2570-6, Euro 19,80
Contributions by: Franz Alt, Hans Diefenbacher, Ottmar Edenhofer, Christian Flachsland, Jochen Flasbarth, Thomas Friesel, Hartmut Graßl, Rüdiger Haum, Peter Hennicke, Lukas Hermwille, Anton Hofreiter, Pierre Ibisch, Hartmut Ihne, Andreas Jung, Claudia Kemfert, Ulrike Kornek, Maria Krautzberger, Manfred Kriener, Martin Kaiser, Mojib Latif, Reinhold Leinfelder, Claude Martin, Matthias Miersch, Volker Mosbrugger, Michael Müller, Kai Niebert, Hermann E. Ott, Nick Reimer, Holger Rogall, Sabine Schlacke, Ann-Kathrin Schneider, Uwe Schneidewind, Susanne Schwarz, Christoph Seidler, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Jörg Sommer, Frank Uekötter, Barbara Unmüßig, Beate Weber-Schuerholz, Hubert Weiger, Anders Wijkman, Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker. --- The book will be published on 22 April 2016, the day when the Paris Agreement will be signed. --- More: http://www.hirzel.de/service/suche.html
Launch of maps tracking "near real-time" Indonesian deforestation and fires (March 2016):
As a new forest fire crisis builds in the country, with fire hotspots numbering in the hundreds on many recent days, Greenpeace Indonesia today launched a mapping tool allowing the public to monitor fires and deforestation in near-real time, and see to an unprecedented extent who controls the land where they are taking place. - http://www.greenpeace.org/seasia/id/kepohutan/
Dams, environment, human rights:
Ethiopia, Omo River Valley: Survival reports Italian corporation to OECD over dam disaster (March 2016). See: http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/11172
New book: Whales and Elephants in International Conservation Law and Politics. A Comparative Study. By Ed Couzens, Routledge, Nov 2013
This book examines the current state of international environmental law and wildlife conservation through a comparative analysis of the treatment of whales and elephants. In particular, it describes the separate histories of international governance of both whales and elephants, presenting the various treaties through which conservation has been implemented. It also addresses weaknesses of the regulatory framework and suggests abandoning the individual treaty approach and moving towards “a synergistic approach involving multilateral environmental agreements – ‘ecosystems of legal instruments’ “. --- http://www.routledge.com/books/details/
New IUCN protected area guidelines
Borrini-Feyerabend, G., N. Dudley, T. Jaeger, B. Lassen, N. Pathak Broome, A. Phillips and T. Sandwith (2013), Governance of Protected Areas: From understanding to action. Best Practice Protected Area Guidelines Series No. 20, Gland, Switzerland, IUCN. xvi + 124pp. ---
The guidelines are available online at: www.iucn.org/publications
German Advisory Council on Global Change Flagship Report 2013: World in Transition: Governing the Marine Heritage
Despite numerous international treaties and voluntary commitments, the seas are still being massively overfished, polluted and increasingly exploited as the Earth's last resort. In view of the oceans’ poor condition the WBGU developed a long-term vision of the conservation and sustainable use of the blue continent: All marine zones with the exception of territorial waters should be declared the common heritage of mankind. In order to move closer to this ultimate goal for ocean governance, the WBGU also makes recommendations for action that link up with ongoing political processes. In this context it examines the example of two focal themes: food (sustainable fisheries and aquaculture) and energy from the sea. The report shows that sustainable stewardship of the oceans is urgently necessary, that the seas can be incorporated into a transformation towards a low-carbon, sustainable society, and that such a transformation can achieve substantial benefits worldwide both for a sustainable energy supply and for food security.
The report is in German, with an English summary. The flagship reports of the Council are all available online. ---
The English version has been published in February 2014 ---
More ... http://www.wbgu.de/fr-2013-oceans
Arctic: new report on biodiversity impacts of sea ice changes (Oct 2013): Life Linked to Ice examines the consequences for biodiversity of the dramatic changes occurring to sea ice. It was prepared by the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna working group (CAFF), and both draws from and builds on Arctic Council assessments in order to present an overview of the state of knowledge about sea-ice-associated biodiversity. The report is intended as a briefing and reference document for policy makers. ---
Fishery practices in the Arctic: new report on destructive fisheries (March 2016), see:
The legacy of Chernobyl and Fukushima. - A new report addresses the unsettled problems of nuclear energy uses:
At the occasion of remembering Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2011) the Federal Minister for the environment declared (10 March 2016): "Nuclear energy has no future". See: www.bmub.bund.de/presse.
At the same time (March 2016), the German Federal Constitutional Court considers the case brought before it by power supply companies that the phasing out of nuclear energy in Germany decided in 2011 by the federal government was unconstitutional. Information: http://www.dw.com/en/top-court-to-rule-on-german-nuclear-phaseout/a-19117079
Calendar of events
For a comprehensive all-inclusive and regular preview of upcoming events in the environment and sustainable development fields, including major international conferences and meetings, see: