SS-GATE Case Study – Carbon Offsetting Rio + 20 Conference 2012
The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation facilitated the Rio+20 offsetting initiative by building partnerships and leveraging the services of the South-South Global Assets and Technology Exchange (SS-GATE).
SS-GATE helped to offset the 3,600 tonnes of carbon emissions generated by 1,400 United Nations staff who traveled to Rio to participate, following previous similar efforts in offsetting over 3,500 tons of CO2 emissions from two major United Nations events: the United Nations Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China, and the 2011 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 17). Under the guidance of the Rio+20 secretariat, the UNDP Environment and Energy Group calculated UN staff emissions, largely from air travel. The emissions were then offset through certified emissions reductions (CERs) generated by replacing the charcoal consumption of 30,000 households in Lusaka City, Zambia. Installation of high efficiency stoves there will result in an 80 per cent reduction in energy consumption and will be powered by renewable biomass – in this case small twigs.
SS-GATE’s contribution in mobilizing financing for the initiative not only served to offset the emissions resulting from United Nations staff participation at the Rio+20 Summit, but also supported a clean development mechanism (CDM) project located in Zambia, one of the 48 least developed countries.
In addition, Ambassador Nassir Abdulaziz Al- Nasser, President of the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, presented an award to Ms. Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, for her “strong commitment and leadership in climate change and sustainable development.” SS-GATE also received an award for its special contribution in the carbon offsetting initiative and South-South technology transfer.
Beyond carbon offsetting, the United Nations also has a much larger role to play to facilitate the transfer of Southern knowledge and technologies that contribute to sustainable development in all of its three interconnected pillars – economic, social and environmental – on a South-to-South and demand-driven basis.