Reports and Books
Uganda Wetlands Atlas - Volume I
United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Development Programme

This publication has been driven by the need to address the rising concerns about the impact of human activities on wetlands in Uganda, particularly those around the Kampala metropolitan area. This visual portrayal is clustered into five major themes: an introductory overview of wetlands management, institutional, policy and legal framework for general awareness of issues in the wetlands of Uganda and the Kampala metropolitan area; a brief overview of major wetland systems in the study area comprised of Kampala City, Mukono and Wakiso districts; a general description of the drivers of wetland changes, with detailed analysis for selected hotspots in Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono; wetland pressures, impacts, constraints and opportunities; and strategies for ensuring the wise use of these vital but fragile ecosystems. With up-to-date maps, recent and historical satellite images, ground photographs, data tables, graphs and compelling storylines, the Wetlands Atlas provides a vivid depiction of the state of Uganda’s major urban and peri-urban wetlands. It is envisaged that this Atlas will serve as an important reference tool for policy makers, legislators, corporate bodies, environmentalists, educators, students and the general public.


Download: Uganda Wetlands Cover_Volume I.pdf, Uganda Wetlands Atlas_Volume I.pdf
2015
Reports and Books
Regional State of the coast Report Western Indian Ocean: Split
United Nations Environment Programme, Bosire, Jared, Paula, José, Schleyer, Michael H.
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2015
Reports and Books
Interim Assessment of Revised National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPS)
United Nations Environment Programme, Fridtjof nansens instiutt, Global Environment Facility, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC)

This interim assessment of post-2010 NBSAPs undertakes a preliminary review of how countries have considered the Strategic Plan of the CBD and the readiness to achieve the Aichi Targets at national level.


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2015
Reports and Books
Towards a Theory of Sustainable Finance
United Nations Environment Programme

Recent years have displayed a growing discontent in society regarding the functioning of financial agents and markets. This is leading to an emerging consensus that the financial system is in need of reform. The crisis of 2008 and onwards has demonstrated how misaligned incentives and poor regulations impose extreme and detrimental risks on both the financial system itself and society at large. But a more general problem is the seemingly inability of financial markets to address the more pressing sustainability challenges of our time, such as global poverty and the threat of climate change. These systemic flaws do not only pose a practical challenge for the world’s leaders, but they also pose a theoretical challenge for contemporary researchers||to rethink the role of financial markets in society. If this role can no longer be defined solely in terms of profits and economic efficiency, then how should it be defined? In his acclaimed book on the financial crisis, Joseph Stiglitz (2010) stresses the need for a new vision for the financial system. Rather than just “muddling through” – that is, putting out the most immediate fires but not addressing the root of the problem – we should seize the opportunity to rethink the system from the ground up. This paper is an attempt to do just that||to “think outside the box”. The paper presents a theoretical model of a different and more sustainable role for financial agents and markets that is justified by systematic philosophical arguments and reasoning. My main locus of interest is to reflect on the aims and activities of financial agents themselves and how they may become a more positive part of society. However, the paper also reflects on the place and content of financial regulations and public policy. The aim of the model is to stake out a middle ground between the dominant view of finance, focusing only on profits, and contemporary calls for either more regulation by the authorities or greater social responsibility by agents themselves. In doing so, the aim is to present a vision that is both desirable and achievable. A first a note on the methodology: The paper is normative rather than descriptive. It does not review how the financial system currently functions, but rather how it ought to function in the future. For this reason, I draw upon concepts, theories and arguments from the literature in both theoretical economics and normative philosophy. Some readers may feel that the models and suggestions under discussion are rather detached and abstract. But I should stress that this is not a good reason for dismissing them. Instead the suggestions should be evaluated for how robustly and effectively they provide a sustainable and plausible alternative to the current regime. The goal is to identify a new direction for finance which the majority of commentators will recognize as both desirable and achievable. It should thus come as no surprise if, despite the abstractness of the models and reasoning, the end result is a fairly straightforward idea about how the financial system can be improved. The paper proceeds as follows: It first outlines the dominant view of finance and notes some of its strengths and weaknesses. Thereafter it introduces and evaluates contemporary calls for either more regulation by the authorities or greater social responsibility by agents themselves. In light of current evidence with both of these suggestions, a new theory is presented which I tentatively call the two-level model of sustainable finance. Finally, the paper closes with a discussion on what the theory implies in terms of both adequate behaviour by financial agents themselves and effective regulation by the authorities. The main results are summarized at the end of the paper.


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2015
Reports and Books
Aligning Africa’s Financial System with Sustainable Development: Briefing
United Nations Environment Programme

Adequate, appropriate finance is crucial for Africa’s sustainable development. Its availability depends on African countries developing financial systems that can effectively draw on and deploy to best use domestic and international, private and public sources. With the growing importance, in particular, of both domestic sources of finance, and private investment (both domestic and international), it is critically important that Africa’s financial and capital markets develop in ways that will promote sustainable development on the continent. Aligning a financial system with sustainable development does not happen automatically. The increasing scale and sophistication of Africa’s financial system alone will not achieve it. Indeed, international evidence amply demonstrates that financial and capital markets can — and often do — become detached and fail to adequately serve the long-term needs of inclusive sustainable development.


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2015
Reports and Books
UNEP environmental, social and economic sustainability framework
United Nations Environment Programme

The ESES Framework is UNEP’s response to call by member states in Rio+20 for strengthening UNEP. It is compliant with the requirements of “A Framework for Advancing Environmental and Social Sustainability in the United Nations System (2012),” prepared by the Environmental Management Group (EMG), and the ‘Environmental and Social Safeguards’ and Gender’ Policies of the Global Environment Facility (GEF).


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2015
Reports and Books
The Economics of Land Degradation in Africa: Benefits of Action Outweigh the Costs;A complementary report to the ELD Initiative
United Nations Environment Programme

Land degradation and desertification are among of the world’s greatest environmental challenges. It is estimated that desertification affects about 33 % of the global land surface, and that over the past 40 years erosion has removed nearly one-third of the world’s arable land from production. Africa is particularly vulnerable to land degradation and desertification, and it is the most severely affected region. Desertification affects around 45 % of Africa’s land area, with 55 % of this area at high or very high risk of further degradation. It is often considered that land degradation in Africa has been vastly detrimental to agricultural ecosystems and crop production and thus an impediment in achieving food security and improving livelihoods. However, much of the literature lacks empirical underpinnings, quantifying this loss and assessing the cost of inaction, the cost of action, and benefits of action against land degradation. From the viewpoint of land degradation as a state and a process, the cost of action against land degradation includes investments to restore degraded land and reduce the rate of degradation of degrading land. This can be achieved by adopting mechanical and biological measures, and by improving land productivity. The returns to such investments are considered as benefits of action through prevention of crop damages and the derived loss in productivity. There are several other ecosystem services, on-site as well as o«-site, but due to the lack of data availability we were constrained in estimating the comprehensive benefits of action. Of course the loss in productivity and hence the benefit of action would vary based on the state and process of land degradation. The overarching aim of this exercise is to assess the cost of inaction and benefit of taking action by countries to address erosion induced soil nutrient depletion as a part of land degradation in arable lands used for cereal production. By providing continental level empirical analysis of a cropland area of 105 million hectares (accounting for 45 % of total arable land in the continent) across 42 countries in Africa over a span of 15 years (starting from 2016), the fundamental objective is to align empirical data and economic valuation to help inform policy decisions in the future. The report reviews the regional level data on the economic costs of soil erosion related to land degradation. It also analyzes the limitations and challenges of using such data and the discrepancies emerging from various methodologies. It also delves into the methodological approach utilized for regional level estimates and the cost benefit analysis of taking action against soil- erosion-induced nutrient losses on arable lands used for cereal production, which is one aspect of land degradation. This is done by using an econometric modelling approach that estimates the costs of inaction, costs of action and the net benefits of action against erosion-induced soil nutrient depletion using national level economic and biophysical data. It focuses on the regional estimates for Africa and a cost-benefit analysis of soil nutrient inflows versus soil nutrient outflows, or what is considered the overall soil nutrient balance. The results indicate that in the next 15 years, starting from 2016, inaction against soil erosion will lead to a total annual loss of NPK nutrients of about 4.74 million tons/year, worth approximately 72.40 billion PPP USD in present value, which is equivalent to 5.09 billion PPP USD per year. As a supporting ecosystem service, the loss of NPK nutrients will lead to a cost in the provisioning of ecosystem services in the form of cereal yields. A one percent increase in the total amounts of nutrients depleted from all the croplands of a country causes a 1.254 Kg/ha decline in cereal yield. In other words, countries with a higher rates of total nutrient depletion from croplands have relatively lower cereal yield per hectare than countries with lower nutrient depletion. Thus, the present value of net benefits of taking action against soil erosion on the 105 million hectares of croplands in the 42 countries over the next 15 years (2016-2030) will account for about 2.48 trillion PPP USD or 62.4 billion USD per year, which is equivalent to 5.31 % of their average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for 2010–2012. This tells us that by taking action against soil-erosion-induced nutrient depletion in cereal croplands in the period 2016–30, the economies of the 42 countries could grow at an average rate of 5.31 % annually compared to 2010–2012 levels. Considering that the annuity value of the cost of inaction is 12.3 % of the average annual GDP of these 42 countries over the same period, the cumulative cost of inaction, which in other words measures the maximum benefits of action, is far greater than the cumulative cost of action.


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2015

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