Creating Safe Public Spaces amidst COVID-19
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.

When we asked investors last year about which areas of ESG they were most passionate, climate change and plastic reduction topped their list. In 2018, the number of earnings calls that included mentions of “plastic waste” increased 340% year over year. Matching this growth in interest, the amount of assets allocated towards sustainable investing has also grown; in the US, $3 trillion was allocated to sustainable investments in 2009, and by 2018, this had quadrupled to $12 trillion. Globally, one in every three dollars is now focused on sustainable assets, topping $30 trillion — up 34% over the previous two years. More recently, green bonds have experienced significant growth — from $2.6 billion in 2012 to more than $200 billion in 2019.

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.

Read the full article here:

Basics of a Circular Economy
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.

Follow us on:

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

View the concept note and more information about the webinar:

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).

Leadership in Cities amidst COVID-19
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.
Accelerating Toward Green & Inclusive Mobility | Transforming Transportation 2023
Improving Adaptive Capacity and Risk Management of Rural communities in Mongolia - Project Overview
Led by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, with the Ministry of Agriculture and Light Industry as a key partner, the 7-year UNDP-supported project 'Improving Adaptive Capacity and Risk Management of Rural communities in Mongolia', seeks to strengthen the resilience of resource-dependent herder communities in four aimags (provinces) vulnerable to climate change: Khovd, Zavkhan, Dornod and Sukhbaatar, thus covering steppe, desert steppe, mountain, mountain steppe and forest steppe zones.

Improving Adaptive Capacity and Risk Management of Rural communities in Mongolia - Project Overview

Published by UNDP Climate on 24 April 2023

With an observed temperature increase of 2.1°C over the past 70 years, Mongolia is among the countries most impacted by climate change. Increased temperatures, coupled with decreased precipitation, have resulted in a drying trend impacting pastures and water sources, and shifting natural zones.

Responses to climate impacts by herders have not been informed by climate information or by the potential impact of those responses on land and water resources. Unsustainable herding practices and livestock numbers are further stressing increasingly fragile ecosystems and related ecosystem services.

Herder households make up one third of the population in Mongolia, approximately 160,000 households or 90 percent of the agriculture sector. Around 85 percent of all provincial economies in are agriculture-based. While herder households are the most exposed to climate risks, their scale and thus potential impact also means that tailored interventions can support transformational change towards more climate-informed and sustainable herder practices, benefitting the sector, the economy and the environment.

With funding from the Green Climate Fund, the project focuses on three complementary outputs:

  • Integrating climate information into land and water use planning at the national and sub-national levels
  • Scaling up climate-resilient water and soil management practices for enhanced small scale herder resource management
  • Building herder capacity to access markets for sustainably sourced, climate-resilient livestock products.

Learn more: