This week’s Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction will be carbon neutral, in line with the “Greening the UN” initiative which aims at climate neutrality. Accordingly, the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) secretariat, which is organising the conference - attended by some 1,800 participants from more than 300 Governments and regional/national organisations – undertakes various efforts to minimize the “carbon footprint” of the four-day event.
“Good environmental practice is a basic requirement for UNISDR” says Assistant Secretary-General and Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction Margareta Wahlström. “Curbing greenhouse gas emissions is a prerequisite to reducing disaster risk efficiently, as climate change has already significantly raised the number and intensity of many natural hazards” continues Wahlström.
Next to other actions, UNISDR has made a significant financial commitment: The carbon emissions resulting from the meeting will be offset by supporting a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) approved project with a strong disaster risk reduction component. After the event, a greenhouse gas inventory will be made in order to calculate the exact tonnage of carbon dioxide produced by all participants’ travel and conference facility energy consumption.
A call for tender will be organized to select the most compelling project. The active direct measure could be a reforestation action to reduce the risk of droughts, land slides, floods or desertification. Other examples include Mangrove planting to protect coastal zones from the storm or tsunami impacts, as well as a watershed regeneration or soil conservation programme.
Participants have been strongly encouraged to fly economy or take the train, use public transport and avoid any unnecessary printing, photocopying and waste production. UNISDR itself is 'walking the talk' by printing all conference material on recycled paper, choosing a caterer which uses local and organic products and hosting a ‘Green Desk’ at the conference venue.
> Strategy for a climate-neutral UN
> More on the Global Platform