New York, September 20, 2022 – Events, regardless of their size, are a significant source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and sustainability impacts. With the aim of enabling environmentally friendly events and evaluating the sustainability performance of events, the Gulf Organization for Research and Development (GORD), the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). developed an online tool for green events (GET). This platform was first presented in 2021 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland.
The GET online portal was unveiled in a virtual ceremony on September 14, 2022, marked by the presence of representatives from GORD, the UNFCCC Secretariat and UNEP. Among the dignitaries speaking at the event were Dr. Yousef Alhorr, Founding Chair of GORD, Ms. Isabella Marras, Senior Program Officer Interagency Affairs, UNEP, and Mr. Connor Barry, Manager, Engagement Division, UNFCCC Secretariat.
dr Speaking to the audience attending the launch event, Alhorr said: “Last year at COP26 we jointly presented this pioneering solution to the world. As COP27 approaches, we are proud to deliver on our promise and offer an end-to-end solution aimed at making events greener around the world. Between COP26 and now, GET has undergone extensive road testing by various organizations and promoters. The fact that the portal is ready in less than a year from its initial launch is a testament to stakeholders’ commitment and commitment to climate action and sustainability.
“The GET web portal was developed using a highly process-oriented and transparent approach. And while its planning and development required years of research and hard work, GET’s real value lies in simplifying the arduous processes required to assess and improve the sustainability profiles of events,” added Dr. Alhorr added.
With the GET online portal now open to the public, organizations can work towards their climate change goals by making their events greener. The platform helps event organizers to systematically assess the GHG emissions profile and sustainability impacts of the proposed event at the planning stage, design mitigation measures and transparently report the actual sustainability impacts and GHG emissions of their events. Events supported by the GET go through a comprehensive assessment framework that includes aspects related to venue construction, venue operations, flight, ground transportation, communications, audiovisual systems, production and exhibition, accommodation and catering.
UNFCC’s Mr Barry said: “The Green Events Tool was born as a project to help the UN system plan and run more sustainable events and has evolved into a tool available to all interested stakeholders worldwide. We hope it will help reduce the impact of the events we all host and look forward to user feedback to continue improving and expanding it.”
UNEP’s Ms Marras said: “The UN system is firmly committed to reducing its climate and environmental footprint and aligning with the UNFCCC recommendations to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Events are an important part of how the United Nations works and fulfills its mandates. For this reason, the GET is an important tool to support the UN system in fulfilling its obligations and reporting obligations. In addition to improving environmental sustainability, encouraging the use of virtual or hybrid events has the added benefits of increasing inclusivity, accessibility and gender equality. We are pleased that this tool is now available to organizations in the UN system and beyond.”
The main purpose of the GET is to encourage action to reduce the negative impact of events, including their carbon footprint, at the planning and implementation stages. This is achieved by documenting activities that have an impact on sustainability aspects and GHG emissions, as well as calculating GHG (carbon footprint) emissions. It also enables transparent reporting of the calculated carbon footprint and measures to address sustainability; Third party verification process (optional but recommended) to obtain a sustainability rating; and recommending the use of high quality carbon credits to offset unavoidable greenhouse gas emissions.
NOTES TO EDITORS
GORD is a non-profit organization that leads the sustainability milieu of the MENA region. Headquartered in the Qatar Science and Technology Park, GORD drives the transformation of societies, industries and the built environment by influencing business ethos, fostering innovation and developing capacity to enable low-carbon, sustainable growth for current and future generations. The main activities of the organization include research and development, standard setting, green building certification, accreditation services, voluntary carbon markets, performance testing, knowledge dissemination and advisory services on sustainability and climate change to governments, non-governmental, public and private organisations.
About the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and fosters partnerships in environmental protection by inspiring, informing and empowering nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without jeopardizing that of future generations.
With 198 parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near-universal membership and is the overarching agreement of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change and to step up efforts to further limit the rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The UNFCCC is also the overarching treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The ultimate goal of all agreements under the UNFCCC is to stabilize concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at levels that prevent dangerous human intervention in the climate system, within a timeframe which allows ecosystems to adapt naturally and enable sustainable development.
For more information contact:
Keishamaza Rukikaire, Head of News and Media, UN Environment Programme