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COP23 awarded Certification for Sustainable Conference as it closes

COP23 awarded Certification for Sustainable Conference as it closes

(Sponsored by GIZ Ghana, Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ghana Chamber of Mines)

Bonn, Nov. 19, GNA – The UN Conference of Parties (COP23) on Climate Change that closed in Bonn on Friday has been awarded as the first UN Climate Change Conference to receive official certification for eco-friendly performance.

Federal Environment Minister, Ms Barbara Hendricks and Mr Ovais Sarmad, Deputy Executive Secretary of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) were presented with the Eco-management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) certificate.

The certificate verifies the event management’s successful and environmentally-friendly organisation of the conference.

A joint press release issued by the Federal Environment Ministry of Germany and UN Climate Change and made available to the GNA here in Bonn, Germany, noted that the event managers were already aiming for the consistent prevention of environmental burdens when planning began eleven months ago, and their work was documented in the environmental statement required under EMAS.

Ms Hendricks said: “We have succeeded in making this Climate Change Conference environmentally friendly and sustainable. This is an important signal for a conference which is not just about negotiations, but also about taking action.

“It goes without saying that there is still room for improvement in certain areas – this COP only marks the start of the learning curve. I highly recommend using EMAS as the yardstick for future Climate Change Conferences.”

On his part, Mr Sarmad said: “I want to thank the German government, the people of Bonn and my own staff for embracing wholeheartedly the UN climate conference 2017 and its ambition to be the greenest COP ever.

“We are fortunate indeed to be headquartered in a country that is working towards a determined transition to an environmentally-friendly and ever more sustainable future.

That said, achieving the high EMAS certification approval was not a given. But here I think we have together raised the sustainability bar of UN conferences with some 28,800 people participating over the two weeks.

“I am sure many will look to what has been achieved, within the UN system and beyond, for inspiration on how all events and conferences can play their part in meeting the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.”

In awarding the certificate, all goals and measures were documented in the environmental statement, then assessed on-site over several days by environmental verifiers and subsequently validated.

The measures assessed included waste avoidance and strict waste separation, climate-friendly catering, excellent local public transport, climate-neutral shuttle services and environmentally sound and reusable materials also for the temporary structures.

Energy supply and water consumption were also among the areas to be reviewed in the follow-up.

The role of the 650 volunteers who supported the conference and received training on COP23 environmental issues, should not be underestimated. They inform participants, for instance, about the numerous drinking fountains throughout the conference premises (almost 50) where participants could refill their COP23 reusable bottles they received on registering.

The environmental verifier confirmed that that approach also worked well.

After the conference, data on consumption, collected data and the goals and measures of the original environmental statement would be evaluated and examined again by the environmental verifier.

This would include a precise calculation of the unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions caused, for example, by the arrival and departure of the participants.

These emissions would be offset with certified emission reduction (CERs) credits from particularly ambitious international climate action projects.

The IHK (The Chamber of Commerce and Industry) of Duisburg, which was responsible for Bonn, also handed over the registration certificate for the official EMAS database.

COP23 would be added to the EMAS register, which now contains over 9,000 sites of companies and organisations committed to environmental protection.

The conference that attracted over 25,000 visitors was hosted together by the Republic of Fiji and the German Government.

From 6-17 November, thousands of government delegates and leaders from all sectors of society gathered in Bonn, located within the Westphilian part of Germany under the Presidency of Fiji, to discuss how to make progress for a successful, inclusive and ambitious implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

This included negotiations on the implementation guidelines for transparent climate action under the Paris Agreement, as well as showcasing cooperative climate action, including on vulnerability and resilience, from around the globe.

The Paris Agreement was established on at COP21, held in Paris in 2015, where the parties negotiated what was known as the Paris Agreement, which established specific actions and targets for reducing greenhouse gases emissions, mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change, and financing mitigation and adaptation efforts in developing countries.

The agreement took effect nearly a year later while signatory countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius and to make strong efforts to keep the rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The Paris Agreement is especially significant because it is a legally binding agreement.

Source: GNA