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Sustainable Development in a Time of Transition
Arab Region Environment & Energy Community of Practice 2014
Khartoum, 13 – 15 May 2014
The 2014 Arab Energy & Environment UNDP Community of Practice (CoP) event takes place in Khartoum, 13 – 15 May. The event builds on a series of recent international gatherings to elaborate a common UNDP vision and strategy for the region in order to achieve the new strategic plan goals of sustainable development in the dynamic, complex and changing transitional context that currently defines development in the Arab region
As the world moves towards the 2015 target date of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it is apparent that progress has been lagging in the area of environment and energy, as development threatens to surpass our planetary boundaries. Recent debates over the future post-2015 development framework, and outcomes of the 2012 Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, highlight that long-term goals of inclusive and sustainable development will not be achieved unless the world moves rapidly towards more sustainable use of natural resources such as energy, water and land, while reducing our collective impact on climate change and loss of biodiversity.
UNDP global, regional and country strategies are aligned with this emerging post-2015 development consensus. Building on UNDP’s global leadership in the area of environment and energy over the past 20 years, UNDP’s new Strategic Plan (2014 - 2017) now articulates a forward looking vision of how to address issues of sustainability in the post-2015, post-Rio+20 era. Issues such as sustainable energy and energy efficiency, sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and effective management of land and water resources are critical to achieving development goals globally.
These issues are also critical to the Arab region, as reflected in the new UNDP Regional Programme (2014-17). While the world transitions to a new development consensus globally, the Arab region moves through a complex and systemic transition from political, social, economic and environmental perspectives, with significant consequences for its development trajectory. The region remains the world’s most water-insecure and food-import dependent region on the planet, while seeing serious trends of land degradation and desertification and rising risks from climate change.
With growing economic vulnerabilities, the region also faces challenges in the energy sector, both in terms of reduced fiscal space in energy-import countries, as well as rising energy use intensity rates and declining reserves in energy-export countries. Sustainable energy pathways have thus grown in importance, as demonstrated by the rise of renewable energy and energy efficiency strategies and targets. In some countries, governance transitions bring challenges as well as opportunities to craft new regimes for sustainable use of natural resources and the environment, while in others emergence of serious crises and conflicts call for contextualization of sustainability solutions into crisis response and recovery.
UNDP cooperation has adapted to levels of complexity and uncertainty with a series of new UN Development Assistance Frameworks and Country Programme Documents having emerged alongside the new Strategic Plan and Regional Programme. Issues of environment and energy have an important position in these new documents, as these issues rise up national policy agendas and become serious risks to the long-term sustainability of development goals. In particular, through the support of UNDP - Global Environment Facility (GEF), UNDP is now supporting a number of nationally-implemented projects on issues of energy efficiency, renewable energy, climate adaptation, biodiversity and land degradation, with a combined regional value of over $100 million mobilized from GEF-managed funds. Also critical has been the rise of expanded programming on environment and energy with countries based on contributions from Government cost-sharing, bilateral and multilateral donors and private partners.
Recent years have seen two preliminary CoPs for the Arab region in 2012 and 2013, bringing together the majority of Country Office focal points in the region for discussions on country office challenges and priorities, and global trends and opportunities. Both years also saw Regional Bureau for Arab States Cluster Meetings with Country Office Senior Management representatives exploring the importance of environment and energy issues in emerging UNDAFs and CPDs across the region, many of which have environment and energy as a core part of UNDP’s local cooperation in the region. Recent times have also seen the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit, the region’s hosting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change CoP-18, and a series of post-2015 regional consultations - all of which saw critical prioritization of environment and energy issues in regional and national development policy.
The 2014 Arab E&E CoP will build on this series of recent gatherings to elaborate a common UNDP vision and strategy for the region in order to achieve the new SP goals of sustainable development in the dynamic, complex and changing transitional context that currently defines development in the Arab region. In doing so, the CoP will serve as a platform for debate and discussion on issues such as:
- Implications of new Strategic Plan for UNDP architecture and environment & energy cooperation in the Arab region
- Contextual shifts in the region, CO challenges and priorities for global/regional support
- Overview of GEF-5 results and GEF-6 opportunities and work plan in the Arab region
- New global UNDP programmes on extractive sector, sustainable energy, biodiversity, etc.
- Emerging partnerships with regional entities in the Arab region, and review of ongoing regional initiatives on climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity and ecosystem services, drylands development, environmental governance, etc,
- Tailoring environment and energy cooperation in specific contextual typologies including crisis/post-crisis contexts as well as high income/NCC contexts
The 2014 Arab E&E CoP will be convened by the UNDP Regional Centre in Cairo (RCC), and prepared in close coordination with and participation of UNDP Country Offices in the region, the RBAS Regional Programme Division, the UNDP-GEF team in Bratislava Regional Centre, relevant UNDP Headquarters units and UNDP Sudan Country Office as co-host for the gathering. It will have as its core participants E&E focal points from the 17 COs in the Arab region and the oPt, with CO representatives playing a lead role in sessions and providing overviews of UNDP’s work locally. The CoP will also engage representatives from other UNDP-affiliated global units engaged in environment and energy cooperation in the Arab region, such as the GEF Small Grants Programme, Drylands Development Centre, Water Governance Facility, and Low-Emission Capacity Building initiative.
To join the discussions live during the event, please follow our Twitter feed #ArabEnvioNow!