Feature Story

Many artisanal miners use mercury to separate gold from the ore, exposing themselves, their communities, and the local ecosystems to the negative health and environmental impacts of mercury. A lack of access to education, land title, resources, finance, training and alternative clean and efficient mineral processing technologies hinders miners from switching to alternative, mercury-free gold processing methods.

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To build back greener from the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and its partners are enhancing support for climate governance across a network of interconnected programs.

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St. Kitts and Nevis’ mountainous terrain is largely made up of sandy loam, cut through with ‘ghauts’ – narrow, deep gullies that deliver rainwater down the slopes. While the ghauts play a key role in maintaining the islands’ forest ecosystems, they are also ideal channels for eroding soil – and shifting land use, coupled with a lack of soil conservation measures, has resulted in acute erosion around the Federation.

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Having engaged dozens of companies and trained over 2,300 individuals at an advanced level, the largely Global Environment Facility funded South Africa Industrial Energy Efficiency project is now witnessing a nation-wide shift and impact. To date, the program has helped companies avoid a staggering $245 million in energy costs in South Africa as well as 5.8 million tons of CO2 emissions. This is roughly equivalent to the per capita emissions of more than 600,000 South Africans.

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The need to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as part of the Paris Agreement has focused attention on the highly polluting transport sector, which accounts for a quarter of global GHG emissions. According to the World Resources Institute, to meet the Paris Agreement targets, emissions from the transport sector must peak around 2020 and fall 9 percent by 2030.

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Due to the large volume of goods involved, coupled with a relatively minimal risk of detection and arrest, seaports are key transit gateways for illegal wildlife products. According to the Elephant Trade Information System, up to 72% of ivory is trafficked by sea.

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The Junior Ranger Program in Papua New Guinea empowers local children - from pre-school to teenage years - to help look after nature. It's made possible through the GEF-funded and UNDP-implemented Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program.

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In the wake of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and realizing the need to disseminate information about the spread and prevention of COVID-19 and other health-related issues, the Community Tablet initiative, with support received from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the GEF, is conducting digital campaigns in Mozambique communities that are otherwise excluded from digital information.

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COVID-19 recovery provides an opportunity to future-proof economies: for cities to clear their air, green their open spaces, and embrace solutions that help decarbonize and drive down resource use and related impacts on ecosystems, while creating new jobs.

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In Somaliland, water is life. With support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and funding from the GEF Least Developed Countries Fund, the government of Somaliland has helped farmers like Fardosa Mohamed get access to water for drinking, cooking, and watering livestock. It’s a vital resource for Fardosa and her family – and now also key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 by making it easier to wash hands and clean household items.

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