In 2016, the Paris Agreement came into force. It was a sign of commitment and hope for a greener future. With our planet facing extreme weather conditions and abrupt climate changes, we must act swiftly!

Photo: UNDP

As I am writing this article, 13,000 people are trapped in Zermatt, a famous Swiss ski resort, due to an unusually extreme snowfall, the Niagara Falls, on the border of the US and Canada, are partially iced up, Singapore is flooded and a drought in Central Spain is alarming both the authorities and population. And the list is all but exhaustive. Year after year, we are facing increasingly extreme weather conditions that affect everybody’s lives, rich or poor.

SDG 13 is about Climate Action and it has everything to do with our countries’ commitment to put into practice the Paris Agreement. Turning it into reality requires political will, but also the involvement of the private sector, as well as organizations and citizens. The 143 countries that ratified the Paris Agreement have to join efforts and develop national adaptation plans in response to climate change. Developed countries will have to inject about USD 100 billion per year to help achieve target by 2020. Disaster risk reduction strategies and climate change adaptation programs still need to be implemented in many countries to help prevent dramatic consequences such as human losses, forced migration and hunger.

Our Horyou community has been fully committed to SDG 13 through either supporting organizations that monitor and promote climate action, or fostering and participating in meaningful debates about that critical topic. Every year, Horyou organizes the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum, a global event that frequently addresses the issue of climate change. SIGEF 2016 was one of the most important COP 22side events in Marrakesh. It hosted many organizations, alongside prominent members of civil society and government officials who highlighted their country’s commitment to climate action.

During SIGEF 2017, in Astana, UN officials, international delegations and private sector experts gathered to assess the most important achievements and urge for more. In 2018, SIGEF will take place in Singapore, and Horyou will take the debate to the next level. More information regarding this fifth edition will be provided shortly!

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps promote climate action in your region or anywhere in the world. You can also show your support by participating in #HoryouLightChallenge! Be the change, be Horyou!

The Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum organized by Horyou will discuss Future Energy, Smart Cities, SDGs, and lead official delegation to EXPO 2017 Astana

SIGEF 2017 will take place in Astana, Kazakhstan
SIGEF 2017 will take place in Astana, Kazakhstan

Horyou, the Social Network for Social Good, announces the 4th edition of SIGEF, the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum. The world-class event will take place on the 5th of September 2017, at Rixos President Astana Hotel in Astana, Kazakhstan. It will be followed by an official delegation’s visit to EXPO 2017 on the 6th and 7th of September.

With a team of top-class international speakers, panellists and moderators, SIGEF will cover three of the most critical issues of our time – Smart Cities, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Future Energy. «With SIGEF, Horyou is committed to encourage multi-stakeholders to gather, interact, and establish partnerships to shape better times to come. SIGEF will bring together social entrepreneurs, impact investors, philanthropists, government officials and representatives from civil society, to spread the message that we can all be changemakers», says Yonathan Parienti, founder and CEO of Horyou.

Opening ceremony of SIGEF 2016 with Yonathan Parienti, Founder of Horyou, H.E Rosalie Matondo, Minister of Environment Republic of Congo, Dr. Ali Bin Samikh Al Marri, Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) in Qatar, HRH Prince Nawaf bin Saad al Saud, Chairman of the Al-Hilal Saudi football club and Yasuhiro Yamamoto, President of Eneco Holdings.
Opening ceremony of SIGEF 2016 with Yonathan Parienti, Founder of Horyou, H.E Rosalie Matondo, Minister of Environment Republic of Congo, Dr. Ali Bin Samikh Al Marri, Chairman of the National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) in Qatar, HRH Prince Nawaf bin Saad al Saud, Chairman of the Al-Hilal Saudi football club and Yasuhiro Yamamoto, President of Eneco Holdings.

Last year, SIGEF was the leading side event at the UN COP22, in Marrakesh, Morocco. The 3-day conference was attended by a 2500-wide international audience, while offering a space for non-profit organizations from all around the world, staging artistic acts, organizing an Horyou Foundation dinner, and presenting an award for social impact projects. It was the first SIGEF to be held out of Europe and in Africa.

This year, reinforcing its global presence and impact, Horyou is organizing the first SIGEF in Central Asia, with an agenda of discussions deeply anchored in the future of our interconnected societies. At the opening and end of the one-day SIGEF conference, the participants will have the opportunity to meet and greet some of the most important players in social entrepreneurship, as well as business leaders, funders and government officials, during a special networking session.

On the 6th and 7th of September, Horyou and the SIGEF team will lead an official visit to the country pavilions of EXPO 2017 Astana, the biggest future energy gathering this year. «We are thrilled to bring our SIGEF international delegations to connect with participants from all continents who are attending EXPO 2017 Astana, to build bridges of collaboration and foster sustainable solutions that will benefit our societies», says Parienti.

More information on The agenda can be consulted here. Click to apply for speaking and to buy your ticket for SIGEF 2017.

About Horyou

Horyou is the social network for social good. Through technology, innovation and social entrepreneurship advocacy, it promotes meaningful and global interactions amongst its adherent organizations, members and personalities. With its platform, App and Spotlight, the first Global Social Currency for Impact, Horyou helps transform positive ideas into concrete actions while building constructive relationships both online and offline.

The Horyou App is available for free download via iOS and Android.

For more information visit

As the next Conference of the Parties COP23, to be held on 6-17 November, in Bonn, Germany, is being prepared, a group of 79 states and the EU made a call to action and announced more funds to the Pacific Region, heavily affected by climate change and the rising level of oceans.

The UN Climate Conference is part of the preparation events for the COP23
The UN Climate Conference is part of the preparation events for the COP23

The EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States made the call at a UN climate change conference, ahead of the upcoming G7 and G20 leaders’ summits and the next annual UN climate negotiations COP23.

Together, the European Union and the 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) developing countries make up more than half of the signatories of the Paris Agreement on climate change. They urged all partners to keep up the momentum created in 2015.

As an example of commitment and increased cooperation, the EU has announced an allocation of 800 million euros, up to 2020, to support the Pacific Region. Around half of this amount would be directed exclusively to climate action. The EU will also provide another 3 million euros to support Fiji’s COP23 Presidency.

In the last few months, the EU has taken the lead on Climate Action among the G7 states, given the change of presidency in the US and the uncertainty about the commitment of one of the biggest greenhouse gases emitters globally.

Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete said: “Today more than ever, Europe stands by its long-term partners most vulnerable to climate change. We, developed and developing countries together, will defend the Paris Agreement. We are all in, and our joint commitment to this agreement today is as in Paris: irreversible and non-negotiable.”

The UN climate conference took place from 8-18 May to prepare the ground for the next Conference of the Parties COP23, to be held on 6-17 November 2017, in Bonn.

Engagée sur les thèmes de la préservation des forets et de l’accès à l’eau potable aux populations des pays africains, la ministre de l’Économie forestière, du Développement durable et de l’Environnement de la République du Congo, Rosalie Matondo, était une invitée très spéciale du SIGEF à Marrakesh, lors de la COP22. Paneliste au premier jour du Forum, elle nous a parlé sur les projets du gouvernement congolais pour l’environnement et sur l’importance de la COP22 pour mettre les accords sur le changement climatique en action.

La ministre Rosalie Matondo a parlé au publique du SIGEF
La ministre Rosalie Matondo a parlé au publique du SIGEF

Pouvez-vous nous expliquer sur vos projets de préservation des forêts au Congo et son impact social?

Les forêts, comme nous le savons, régulent les équilibres climatiques mondiaux. Étant conscients de cela, nous avons lancé un grand programme national de reforestation et de reboisement d’un million de plantations. Nous avons une grande superficie de forêts naturelles au Congo et nous sommes conscients que nous devons les préserver. D’un autre coté, le bois est encore utilisé comme source d’énergie extraite des forêts naturelles dans beaucoup de nos pays. C’est pourquoi le gouvernement de la République du Congo a lancé ce programme de reforestation et reboisement, afin que les populations non seulement continuent à utiliser le bois comme source d’énergie, le bois issu des plantations, mais également à pouvoir faire un grand projet de séquestration du carbone.

Le deuxième projet c’est “L’eau pour tous”. Le gouvernement congolais a lancé un programme d’installation de 4 mille forages dans les villages où l’eau de source pose encore un problème. Cela permet l’approvisionnement de l’eau potable mais également d’alléger la pénibilité des femmes qui dans les villages sont obligées de faire des kilomètres pour aller puiser le l’eau.

Durant la COP22, le gouvernement Congolais a lancé un fond de préservation des forêts. De quoi s’agit-il?

C’est le fond bleu pour le Bassin du Congo, toujours pour cet accès à l’eau mais également pour les systèmes de production modernes de l’agriculture, donc des systèmes d’irrigation. La COP22 pour nous c’est une opportunité de financement et de transfert de technologie. Nous savons que les gouvernements peuvent participer au financement de nos projets. Notre attente ici c’est que, déjà, tous ensemble, nous travaillions sur le transfert de technologies et tous ensemble, nous réfléchissions sur la mobilisation et le financement.

La ministre de l’Économie forestière, du Développement durable et de l'Environnement de la République du Congo
La ministre de l’Économie forestière, du Développement durable et de l’Environnement de la République du Congo

Quelles sont les axes de développement de la République du Congo pour la COP22?

Nous avons les acquis de la COP de Paris, parce que nous partons de là. Dans la COP de Paris, les pays du Bassin du Congo avaient donné leur position, et nous, la République du Congo, avons appuyé cette position des pays d’Afrique, des pays du Bassin du Congo et également des 77 pays plus la Chine. Pour nous, toutes les décisions prise lors de la COP21 de Paris sont incontestables, maintenant nous devons aller vers l’opérationnalisation ; c’est pourquoi je remercie son altesse royale qui a mis l’accent sur l’action ici sur la COP22. Nous devons aller vers l’action. Je crois que toutes nos populations sont fatiguées des promesses qui n’apportent pas de solutions. La COP21 à Paris a démontré que nous avons tous pris conscience de la gravité de la situation et même les pays qui n’ont pas signé le Protocol de Kyoto ont signé l’Accord de Paris. Nous avons vu avec quelle rapidité l’Accord est entré en vigueur et c’est un espoir pour la planète toute entière. Nous voulons nous accrocher à cette espoir et trouver des solutions et mettre en action.

De quelle manière le changement climatique a affecté le Bassin du Congo et quelles sont les mesures pour réduire cet impact?

Le Bassin du Congo est la zone où la déforestation est la moins importante. Nous n’avons que 0,05% de déforestation. Mais nous n’en sommes pas contents. Nous savons que ce poumon là, comme le poumon de l’Amazonie, peut aider la planète. C’est pourquoi la République du Congo, après les années 2000, a opté dans sa législation pour une gestion durable des forêts, avec un aménagement forestier, avec la certification forestière, avec le programme national de reforestation et reboisement ; au total, 13% de son territoire est ainsi protégé. Tous ces efforts convergent vers la contribution à la préservation de cet écosystème. Et nous allons vers un fond bleu pour le bassin du Congo qui va aider à la gestion des plans d’eau mais aussi à l’approvisionnement des populations.

Écrit par Vivian Soares

Em pronunciamento na COP 22, em Marrakesh, Ministro do Meio Ambiente Sarney Filho anuncia que o País sediará o Fórum Mundial da Água em 2018

Ministro do Meio Ambiente, Sarney Filho, durante as negociações da COP22
Ministro do Meio Ambiente, Sarney Filho, durante as negociações da COP22

Brasília será a sede do Fórum Mundial da Água em 2018. Com o tema “Compartilhando Água”, o evento discutirá a relações entre crises hídricas e mudanças climáticas, conforme anunciou o ministro Sarney Filho durante a COP22 em Marrakesh. Com uma série de crises hídricas recentes em seu histórico, o país tem uma posição-chave na conservação dos mananciais, tanto por sua importância geográfica quanto por seu papel de líder regional.

“Nossos cursos d’água e rios estão altamente comprometidos, não só na região Nordeste, mas no Sudeste também”, alertou o ministro. Apesar de as crises estarem evidentemente relacionadas às mudanças climáticas, ele ressaltou que as bacias menos protegidas de vegetação foram mais afetadas. O desmatamento de matas ciliares em bacias como a do Rio São Francisco, por exemplo, é um exemplo da necessidade de agir com rapidez – hoje, 10km de água salgada estão entrando pelo leito do rio em sua foz e há apenas 2% de reservas.

O Fórum Mundial da Água, segundo Sarney Filho, será uma oportunidade de discutir temas como integração de recursos hídricos à gestão pública, participação das comunidades locais e políticas de disponibilidade de água. “Precisamos priorizar iniciativas sustentáveis e resilientes em projetos de infraestrutura. A água engloba, direta ou indiretamente, todos os objetivos de desenvolvimento sustentável”, afirmou.

O diretor presidente da Agência Nacional de Águas (ANA), Vicente Abreu, afirma que o processo de escassez hídrica de diversas regiões do país trouxe grandes aprendizados. “Muita coisa evoluiu nos últimos 20 anos em gestão de recursos hídricos. Mas há uma grande fragilidade do Brasil diante de eventos externos, tanto em águas superficiais quando nos aquíferos”, alerta. A crise hídrica, segundo ele, é uma ameaça constante, mesmo em um país em que se convencionou dizer ter uma grande disponibilidade do recurso.

“Em 2014, o Sistema Cantareira, em São Paulo, chegou a inacreditáveis 25% negativos”, relembra. O curioso neste caso, diz Abreu, é que muitos interpretaram o evento como uma seca isolada. Outro exemplo mais recente é o da cidade de Rio Branco, no Acre, que enfrentou em 2016 a maior cheia e a maior seca dos últimos 30 anos. “Precisamos preparar um modelo de gestão, construir reservatórios e mudar os padrões de consumo”, diz.

Estiagens vêm afetando diversas bacias brasileiras
Estiagens vêm afetando diversas bacias brasileiras

Alguns setores, como o de agricultura, já estão se adaptando às novas demandas, reduzindo o uso de água e trabalhando com mais eficiência. É nas cidades, porém, onde se encontram os desafios mais preocupantes – as perdas ultrapassam os 50% e o consumo é elevado, chegando a 320 litros por habitante por dia. O número considerado adequado é de 80 a 120 litros. “Precisamos repensar o consumo e considerar alternativas que foram rejeitadas no passado como redução de perdas, reuso urbano de água e dessalinização”, afirma.

A boa notícia é que o quadro pode ser revertido com políticas públicas e mudanças culturais, que já estão em curso. “Crimes ambientais como o de Mariana trouxe a atenção para a bacia do Rio Doce. A qualidade da água tornou-se uma das preocupações principais das pessoas”. A expectativa é que o Fórum Mundial da Água se torne uma das conferências mais importantes, em que os temas da água e das mudanças climáticas sejam definitivamente conectados. “A água deve fazer parte de nossa agenda política relevante para garantirmos segurança hídrica sustentável para todos os usos no nosso País”, disse o diretor presidente da ANA.

Escrito por Vívian Soares

Flagship report “UNDP and Climate Change: Scaling up Climate Action to Achieve the SDGs"
Flagship report “UNDP and Climate Change: Scaling up Climate Action to Achieve the SDGs”

A new UNDP document launched during the COP 22, in Marrakech, links climate action with sustainable development. The flagship report “UNDP and Climate Change: Scaling up Climate Action to Achieve the SDGs” is in its second edition and highlights local initiatives relating to climate change mitigation and adaptation.

“The report showcases how each of the actions taken to address climate change has profound and concrete results that benefit human, social and economic development”, said UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Assistant Administrator Magdy Martinez-Soliman. The UNDP document looks at efforts that empower communities in all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including education, healthcare, food security and women empowerment. By using country examples, the document illustrates with infographics and stories how the more than 800 UNDP programmes are contributing to achieve the 17 SDGs.

Examples abound: In Ecuador, the Zero Hunger initiative whereby farmers are increasing their water supply access by reviving traditional water control and combining small dams and dikes with modern reservoirs and irrigation techniques, is a fine one. Samoa, where youth and women are supported by educational programmes to start micro-enterprises in agro-businesses is another.

The UNDP impact reached more than 140 countries through access climate grant finance, providing a 2.8 USD billion portfolio. Almost 40% of the portfolio on adaptation efforts, while 22% are linked to forestation projects and mitigation actions for sustainable energy. 11% support issues like institutional strengthening, finance and capacity building, and nearly 11% help countries to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement.   “Thanks to the Paris Agreement, we now have a path for the world to work together on an integrated solution to climate change,” said Martinez-Soliman. “It is now our responsibility to work with our partners to follow this path and to help achieve climate and development priorities.”

The report reiterates the COP 22 message for the climate – the deal is done; the time to act is now.

Written by Vivian Soares

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