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Focus on SDGs at European Development Days

The tenth anniversary of the European Development Days (EDDs) focused on delivering on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on 15-16 June in Brussels, Belgium in Europe.


This year UN Environment participated in three sessions and contributed to the UN Stand in the EDD Village which showcased the 2030 goals. The stand was visited by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Queen Mathilde of Belgium among others.


The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (hosted by UN Environment) organized a session titled ‘Quick wins for climate and development’ focusing on mitigating short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) - powerful air pollutants with multiple adverse effects on human health, the environment, climate change and economic growth.


Not only does acting on SLCPs in key sectors have the potential to reduce projected warming by 0.6°C by 2050, it could also avoid millions of premature deaths from air pollution annually, avoid millions of tonnes of annual crop losses, and increase energy efficiency.


Sunday Leonard, Science Officer at the UNEP-CCAC Secretariat, emphasised that we already have the necessary tools and knowledge to mitigate SLCPs, but that fighting them needs to be mainstreamed in climate action and development.


The International Resource Panel (IRP), launched by UN Environment in 2007, organized a session on sustainable resource use and management which touched upon the broader themes of sustainable consumption and production and the circular economy.


Janez Potočnik, Co-Chair of UN Environment IRP, stressed that “we simply can’t ignore what is happening,” with regards to natural resource use, adding “this matters for you and for the generations to come.” Moving towards a circular economy, addressing knowledge gaps between countries and regions and making cities healthier and more sustainable are crucial in addressing resource scarcity and the unsustainable way we use our natural resources, he underlined.


Marisol Estrella, Programme Coordinator for UNEP’s Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, meanwhile participated in a session co-organised by the European Commission, UN Environment and Conservation International on ecosystem-based approaches to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation.


It is becoming increasingly clear that these disasters are exacerbated by environmental degradation and climate change. Ecosystem-based approaches to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation offer integrated solutions to these global challenges.


The session looked at the results and conclusions from pilot demonstration projects such as one in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where strategies to reduce sedimentation, flood risk and erosion were put into practice.


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