09 July 2020 - Parks could provide a way to reduce communicable diseases and address other societal ills, argues Justin Hollander, professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at the School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University.
Viet Nam's work to address marine plastic pollution
Chairman of Indonesia's Waste Pickers Union (IPI) on COVID-19
03 July 2020 - This video message was created by IPI and shared during the NPAP Indonesia Digital Conference on 22 April 2020.
The business case for tackling plastic waste
03 July 2020 - Plastics reduction and climate change are sustainable investors' top priorities. Solutions to plastic waste must come from all sectors. Financial institutions have a unique vantage point from which to address this issue.
03 July 2020 - The World Economic Forum's Global Plastic Action Partnership sat down with Audrey Choi, Chief Sustainability Officer and CEO of the Institute for Sustainable Investing at Morgan Stanley, to discuss the role financial institutions can play in tackling plastic waste.
What is ‘sustainable finance’? How is it different from ‘business as usual’?
We define sustainable investing as taking traditional investment practices and strategies and enhancing them with additional insights gained from considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. We believe this can provide added insights into risks that could affect investments, as well as provide unique opportunities for investors.
Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing has been polling investors since 2015 on their thoughts and attitudes around ESG. Over that time, investor interest in sustainable investing has grown from 71% in 2015, to 75% in 2017, and jumped to 85% among US investors last year. Investors have also told us they believe their investment decisions can impact the issues they care about most, with 84% wanting products that will allow them to match their investment choices with their values, and 86% saying that they believe ESG practices may potentially lead to better profitability and maybe better long-term investments.
One obstacle to sustainable investing is the myth that doing so means sacrificing returns. In fact, our own analysis of 11,000 mutual and exchange-traded funds over 15 years finds that sustainable funds do not deliver lower returns – but they may offer lower downside risk. They exhibit less volatility, and on average, the downside deviation of sustainable funds is 20% smaller than traditional funds.
I believe sustainable investing will continue to accelerate and attract more assets as investors increasingly recognize the value of ESG data, driving the full integration of sustainable investing into mainstream investing.
You’ve pledged to prevent, reduce and remove 50 million metric tons of plastic waste from the environment by 2030. How will you achieve this?
In April 2019, we made a major firm-wide commitment, the Morgan Stanley Plastic Waste Resolution, to facilitate the prevention, reduction and removal of 50 million metric tons of plastic waste from rivers, oceans, landscapes and landfills by 2030. We believe that tackling the plastic waste problem will take a systemic and holistic approach across the economy that considers everything from materials engineering and industrial design to consumer use and recycling infrastructure. It will require cross-sector collaboration from governments, philanthropy, industry, finance and individuals.
To meet this goal, we are leveraging all of Morgan Stanley’s businesses and our operations to reduce plastic waste by developing new investment products, underwriting bonds to help reduce plastic waste and offering low-minimum portfolios to positively influence the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal on ocean conservation while we continue to work with municipalities, public agencies, universities, hospital systems and other public and not-for-profit entities to finance improvements to collection, recycling and disposal systems for plastic waste.
We hope that our pledge inspires other businesses and financial institutions, and so far we’ve seen some really amazing progress. In April, we underwrote a $10 million World Bank blue bond with proceeds focused on plastic waste reduction in oceans and the promotion of marine resources. Just six months later, we were the sole green structuring advisor and lead underwriter for PepsiCo’s $1 billion inaugural green bond offering that focused on key initiatives around PepsiCo's sustainability agenda, including their commitment to reduce the virgin plastic content across their beverage portfolio by 35% by 2025.
What role can – and should – financial institutions play in accelerating action on plastic pollution?
We’ve always believed that solutions at scale have to come from across the plastics value chain because no one company, industry sector or individual alone can clear away the billions of metric tons of plastic waste already in our environment or curb the ever-increasing amount of new plastic waste that is generated daily. Currently 79% of all the plastic waste ever produced remains with us. Plastic packaging worth up to $120 billion per year is used once and then thrown away. This is an enormous waste of resources.
As a global financial institution, we believe that we have a unique vantage point from which to work with the different actors who need to be a part of plastic waste solutions. We can also connect investors seeking to align their portfolios with plastic waste reduction to the entrepreneurs and corporations focusing on creating less plastic waste. By bridging these investors and companies, we believe we can contribute to the systems change we need to retain the beneficial qualities of plastic in the economy, while reducing the environmental downside of plastic waste.
02 July 2020 - The Smart Cities first webinar held on 21 May 2020, organised by the UNDP Global Centre for Technology, Innovation, and Sustainable Development and in partnership with Metabolic with featuring speakers from UNDP Kenya.
About the speakers:
Tamara Streefland leads Metabolic’s Cities Program, connecting urban professionals around the world with high-impact circular economy strategies. Tamara has worked on a wide range of urban resilience projects, focused on integrating biodiversity in cities, community health, and water- and waste systems, in cities including Amsterdam, Warsaw, and New York City. Her background as an earth scientist, coupled with experience in collaborative design and systems thinking, allows her to integrate knowledge on ecological impacts with creative solutions that engage novel technologies and are sensitive to social issues. She also enjoys teaching on the topic of complex contemporary urban challenges.
Mr. Geoffrey Omedo is a Portfolio Analyst within the Environment and Resilience Unit of the UNDP Kenya Country Office. He is a climate change expert with over 15 years of experience within the Government of Kenya and the United Nations system (United Nations Development Program - UNDP, United Nations Industrial Development Organization-UNIDO, United Nations Office for Project Services – UNOPS, United Nations Volunteers Program – UNV). Mr. Omedo’s professional career has covered 4 UN Agencies (UNV, UNOPS, UNIDO, and UNIDO) where he has coordinated and technically supported programs in natural resource management, climate change, energy, water, agriculture among others. His current area of specialty is in climate change programs (mitigation, adaptation) and specifically sustainable and innovative financing models.
Towards the New Normal: Learning from the crisis to improve territorial governance
01 July 2020 - The first session of the Policy, Legislation, and Governance Webinar Series, titled Towards the New Normal: learning from the crisis to improve territorial governance, was held on Monday 29th of June.
01 July 2020 - The first session of this webinar series titled Towards the New Normal: Learning from the crisis to improve territorial governance jointly organised with the global network United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) took place on Monday,June 29, 2020.
The objectives of this session were to:
Understand the challenges that local authorities are facing to finance and handle the Covid-19 recovery as well as the role of national governments in supporting local governments.
Learn more about the governance mechanisms that have functioned in the face of Covid-19 and will be kept for the recovery phase.
Discuss the mechanism/policies/legal frameworks for local government to promote a sustainable economic recovery and coordinate actors and sectors as a forward-looking integrated territorial response.
Discuss the ways to support Local and Regional governments in their responsibility and roles when facing post-COVID recovery, as they continue to be in front lines for most challenges.
The session was jointly organised by UN-Habitat and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).
DAVID NABARRO, Imperial College IGHI | WHO COVID-19 Special Envoy | 4SD Leadership Mentoring Geneva CH
EMILIA SAIZ, Secretary-General of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)
SHIPRA NARANG SURI, Chief, Urban Practices Branch (OIC), Global Solutions Division, UN-Habitat
EMANI KUMAR, Deputy Secretary-General, ICLEI; Executive Director, ICLEI South Asia
MOHAMED SEFIANI, Mayor of Chefchaouen (Morocco) and President of the Forum of Intermediary Cities of UCLG
Oliver Hillel – Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Anne Amin – Legal Specialist -UN-Habitat
Karim Hussein - Senior International Development Expert and Strategic Advisor
The session was moderated by:
Firdaous Oussidhoum, Special adviser to the Secretary-General UCLG
Webinar: Cities and Covid-19 - food access for vulnerable communities in practice
01 July 2020 - The Covid-19 pandemic is putting pressure on food supply chains, both globally and locally, disrupting urban food systems worldwide. This is posing a number of challenges for cities that must quickly react to ensure that all their citizens continue to access safe and nutritious food.
FAO, UNEP, ICLEI, RUAF and Rikolto share the experiences of 3 cities: New York City (USA), Kampala (Uganda) and Quito (Ecuador).
27 June 2020 - The prestigious Pritzker Forum on Global Cities, co-organized by the Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs and the Financial Times, was cancelled this year due to the pandemic. They asked leading experts from around the world, including the Executive Director of UN-Habitat Maimunah Mohd Sharif, to join them in putting together a video on the important role of city leadership.
Precollinear Park – A placemaking project
“Precollinear Park” was supposed to be a temporary reuse of a dead streetcar line. Instead, it became the Italian city’s newest green space.
TURIN TURNED AN ABANDONED TRAMWAY INTO A LINEAR PARK
Turin debuted its first-ever linear park in June 2020, but it wasn’t expected to stay open long. A 700 meter (2,300 foot) stretch of former tramway handed over by the city to cultural association Torino Stratosferica for temporary conversion, the green strip straddling a bridge on the River Po in Italy’s fourth-largest city was approved as public space for just a few summer months, to give pandemic-beleaguered residents a bit of extra space for outdoor, socially distanced recreation.
Inaccessible, but not barren. Much of the tramway was already shaded by an avenue of mature trees, and thick wild grasses sprouted on the stretch occupying the central reservation of a bridge across the river. It thus took little — some flower boxes here, a few benches and pallets for seating there — to convert the overgrown space into something useable by the public. Over the summer, Torino Stratosferica reopened the space as a public park, using the section on the Regina Margherita bridge to house an open-air exhibition on possible urban transformations for the city, while the old terminus became a small square shaded by mature beeches. All this was managed for the modest cost (so far) of 18,000 euros (about $22,000) raised by Torino Stratosferica, topped up by 2,500 euros in crowdfunding.
The park project proved especially valuable in 2020. When Covid-19 hit Italy in March, it did so hard and early. Since no other Western country had experienced the full-blown pandemic — and comparatively little was then known about the disease’s transmission and treatment — Italians endured a particularly traumatic first wave. City parks closed entirely in March, and anti-transmission measures were widely obeyed to the letter in Italy. Even when conditions eased over the summer, many continued to be avoided public parks, since the low risk of distanced outdoor exercise was not yet fully clear. The open nature of the linear park helped coax back those who had felt unsafe in the conditions of the reopened parks, and also provided an extra strip of pedestrian space for the busy avenues.
“During the quarantine and its unfathomable government decrees, when people were not allowed in parks, some residents felt safe walking their dog at Precollinear Park, and enjoyed the breeze on the bridge, because technically ‘this place isn’t a real park,’” says a Torino Stratosferica release. These are unusual circumstances, to be sure, but show the value of green areas that straddle the boundary between street and park.
Now it looks like the park may stay. Further exhibitions are planned when the weather warms up, while the strip’s edges are due to be planted with cooling, carbon-absorbing bamboo. Looking at the park now — a pleasant but fairly featureless strip of green — it may not look like the radical transformation. But it still shows how to make a city greener and more open even with just a light touch and minimal funding.
Author: Feargus O'Sullivan is a writer for CityLab in London, focused on European infrastructure, design and urban governance (@FeargusOSull).
On June 20, 2020 our nonprofit launched its first placemaking project, in Turin. PrecollinearPark is about turning a dismissed tramway line terminus, and its 500-meter of tracks, into a temporary green public area.
COVID-19 has laid bare the long-standing inequities faced by people around the world – especially those with limited access to health care, infrastructure and other essential services. In cities, home to over half of the world’s population, such chasms have been deepened by the pandemic. Although urbanization has been accompanied by lower poverty, job creation and growth, distribution of such urban gains has been uneven, often marked by striking spatial, social and economic inequalities within cities.
In reimagining the post-COVID-19 future, policymakers, international agencies, and other non-state actors are all concerned with getting it right. It has become evident that without addressing inequities that have left many behind, it is impossible to build inclusive cities that are livable and prosperous for all. How can we introduce new ways of (re)building cities from an equity perspective, prioritize the poor and vulnerable in decision-making, and enhance overall the resilience of cities? This World Bank Live session engages with a rich set of panelists to discuss the path forward.