United Nations

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Bioenergy > Organizations > International organizations > United Nations (UN)

The United Nations Building in New York City

United Nations (UN) agencies relevant to bioenergy issues include:






  • Africa: Stop Human Rights Abuses Fuelled By EU Biofuels Policy, Says Actionaid, 25 April 2012 by ActionAid (London): "As the European Commission is given an opportunity to revise the EU's biofuels targets in 2012, a new ActionAid report reveals that the EU continues to ignore that its biofuels policies are driving up global food prices and pushing people in poor countries off their land."
    • "'Fuel for thought' highlights that increased demand for biofuels may push global food prices to crisis levels; EU's biofuels policies alone could push up oilseed prices by up to 33%, maize by up to 22%, sugar by up to 21% and wheat by up to 10%, between now and 20201."
    • "Laura Sullivan, ActionAid's Head of European Advocacy said: 'If it continues to ignore the impacts of its biofuels policy on people living in some of the poorest parts of the planet, the EU will effectively be sponsoring hunger and human rights abuses on a massive scale'."
  • "The ActionAid report, launched at a biofuels debate with participants from the European Commission, United Nations, NGOs and business, shows how a series of dodgy deals by European companies have led to mass displacements and rights abuses in countries in Africa and Latin America." [1]


  • Failure to act on crop shortages fuelling political instability, experts warn, 7 February 2011 by The Guardian: "World leaders are ignoring potentially disastrous shortages of key crops, and their failures are fuelling political instability in key regions, food experts have warned."
    • "Food prices have hit record levels in recent weeks, according to the United Nations, and soaring prices for staples such as grains over the past few months are thought to have been one of the factors contributing to an explosive mix of popular unrest in Egypt and Tunisia."
    • "The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation said this week that world food prices hit a record high in January, for the seventh consecutive month. Its food price index was up 3.4% from December to the highest level since the organisation started measuring food prices in 1990."[2]


  • World 'dangerously close' to new food crisis, United Nations says, 17 November 2010 by the Washington Post: "The bill for global food imports will top $1 trillion this year for the second time, putting the world 'dangerously close' to a new food crisis, according to the United Nations."
    • "The warning by the world body's Food and Agriculture Organization adds to fears about rising inflation in emerging countries from China to India."
    • The FAO's Food Outlook "report said it was crucial that farm production - particularly of corn and wheat - 'expand substantially' in 2011-12 to meet expected demand and rebuild world reserves."
    • "But the FAO also said the production response may be limited, because rising food prices have made other crops, including sugar, soybeans and cotton, attractive to grow."[3]
  • UNECE Black Carbon Group Holds First Meeting, 28 June 2010 by Climate-L.org: "The first meeting of the Ad Hoc Expert Group on Black Carbon under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) was held in Brussels, Belgium, on 17-18 June 2010."
    • "During the meeting, national experts and policymakers from Europe, North and South America and Asia reviewed the current state of black carbon research, discussed knowledge gaps, and explored future strategies for reducing the pollutant’s emissions."
    • "By the end of 2010, the Group, chaired by Norway and the US, is expected to provide options for potential revisions to the 1999 Gothenburg Protocol, enabling parties to the Convention to mitigate black carbon as part of a broader particulate matter strategy for health purposes and to achieve climate co-benefits."[6]
  • Food and water drive Africa land grab, 29 April 2010 by UPI: "[T]he scramble for Africa is intensifying, with investment banks, hedge funds, commodity traders, sovereign wealth funds, corporations and business tycoons out to grab some of the world's cheapest land -- for profit."
    • "China has leased 6.91 million acres in the Democratic Republic of Congo for the world's largest oil palm plantation."
    • "According to various assessments, up to 123.5 million acres of African land -- double the size of Britain -- has been snapped up or is being negotiated by governments or wealthy investors."
    • "As the foreign purchases of African land multiply unchecked, the United Nations and the World Bank are seeking to bring the land-grabbing under some sort of control."[8]
  • UN ‘exaggerated’ meat impact on climate change, 25 March 2010 by Farmer's Guardian: "A leading scientist has accused the UN of exaggerating the impact of meat and dairy production on climate change."
    • "A 2006 UN report published by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation claimed meat production was responsible for 18 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions....The report, titled 'Livestock’s Long Shadow', added agriculture had a greater impact on global warming than transport."
    • "But Professor Frank Mitloehner, an air quality specialist from the University of California at Davis (UCD), said agriculture’s impact had been exaggerated....He said the UN figures totted up emissions from farm to table – including the impact of growing the feed, from livestock and from processing....However, transport emissions only considered emissions from fossil fuels burned while driving."
    • "He said leading authorities in the US agreed raising cattle and pigs for food accounted for about 3 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, while transportation created an estimated 26 percent."[9]


  • UN's forest protection scheme at risk from organised crime, experts warn, 5 October 2009 by guardian.co.uk: "International police, politicians and conservationists warn that the UN's programme to cut carbon emissions by paying poor countries to preserve their forests is 'open to wide abuse'".
    • "...academics and environment groups with long experience working with the logging industry and indigenous communities said that both government and private schemes are being set up with no guarantees to protect communities who depend on the forests. 'Decisions are being rushed, communities are not consulted or compensated and the lure of money from cutting emissions is overiding everything,' says Rosalind Reeve of forestry watchdog group Global Witness."
  • UN's Ban calls deforestation summit, 3 September 2009 by AFP: "UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Thursday he planned to bring together leaders of the world's most forested nations, including Brazil and Indonesia, for a meeting this month to discuss deforestation" on 22 September.
    • "The UN Environment Programme recently underlined that since trees and plants absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), stemming deforestation could be a tried and tested method in tackling climate change instead of more ambitious carbon capture projects."
    • The proposed meeting in New York would coincide with the UN summit on climate change."[10]


  • Biofuels win at summit but UN food envoy fights on, 5 June 2008 by Reuters: "The rapidly growing global bio-energy industry escaped unscathed from a food summit on Thursday, but its wings must be clipped to stop fuel-from-food stoking world hunger, the U.N. envoy on the right to food said."
    • "Under pressure from Washington, a draft summit declaration avoided negative language on biofuels, instead saying they present 'challenges and opportunities' and calling for an 'international dialogue' on the issue."
    • "Olivier De Schutter, an independent U.N. expert on the right to food, said countries opposed to biofuels had given in, rather than hold out against the pro-biofuel countries and risk sinking the broad declaration vowing to fight hunger.[11]
  • U.N. Chief to Prod Nations On Food Crisis, 2 June 2008 by the Washington Post: "U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will issue an urgent plea to world leaders at a food summit in Rome on Tuesday to immediately suspend trade restrictions, agricultural taxes and other price controls that have helped fuel the highest food prices in 30 years, according to U.N. officials....The United Nations will also urge the United States and other nations to consider phasing out subsidies for food-based biofuels -- such as ethanol".
    • The article notes that a "World Bank analyst estimated that biofuel production has accounted for 65 percent in the rise of world food prices, while the IMF has concluded that biofuel production is responsible for 'a significant part of the jump in commodity prices.'"[12]

United Nations edit
International organizations and initiatives edit
Multilateral agreements: Kyoto Protocol: Clean Development Mechanism

International initiatives: Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) | International Biofuels Forum
Bilateral agreements: Brazil-Indonesia Consultative Committee on Biofuels | US-Brazil Ethanol Partnership
Organizations: Global: Global Environmental Facility | United Nations (FAO, UNDP, UNEP) |
OECD: IEA / IEA Bioenergy (Task 40)
Regional: Latin America: Inter-American Development Bank | International Ethanol Commission
Asia: Asian Development Bank | Core Agriculture Support Program (CASP)


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