Worldwide Government Initiatives for the Environment

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‘Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance.’ – Ban Ki Moon

Africa: Ivory Coast
• Ivory Coast has the highest level of biodiversity in West Africa, with over 1,200 animal species and 4,700 plant species. However, the country suffers from deforestation and oil spillage.
• The national government set out measures to conserve over 230 ‘protected forests’, known as forêts classées, but has caused concerns among human forest residents as 24,000 residents forcibly evicted since July 2016.
• In 2017, Ivory Coast (world’s largest cocoa producer) and Ghana set up the ‘Ghana-Cote d‘Ivoire Sustainable Cocoa Initiative’ to improve the pay of cocoa farmers and prevent cross-border smuggling of cocoa.

Asia: Japan
• Although Japan is the 3rd largest economy in the world, it still ranks 26th in 2014 on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), a measure of countries’ care for the environment. Japan currently faces issues concerning air pollution from power plant emissions resulting in acid rain and threatening aquatic life.
• Since the New Growth Strategy (2009), Japan approached a more encompassing sustainability program that recognizes social values, ecological protection, and economic growth by promoting a low-carbon economy, smart material-cycle measures and preserves equilibrium with respect to the use of natural resources.
• Recently in July, The Tokyo Metropolitan Government established a new energy saving campaign to make Tokyo switch to LED Lighting to help improve energy efficiency in households. This is where Tokyo residents who bring two or more incandescent bulbs to their local home appliance store will in exchange receive one LED bulb.

Europe: United Kingdom
• Home to approximately 5,000 miles of coastline and a temperate climate, the UK ranks 12th on the EPI (with a score of 77.35).
• The UK Government has supported the use of green technologies by providing financial incentives to companies that use renewable energy for generating heat and enforcing energy-saving methods in the workplace.
• Following France’s commitment to take polluting vehicles off the road by President Macron, the UK plans to ban the sale of all diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040 due to warnings that the UK’s high level of air pollution could be responsible for 40,000 premature deaths a year.

The Americas: Ecuador
• The small South-American country Ecuador remains the 8th most bio-diverse country on earth, with 20,000 species of plants and over 1,500 species of birds. However, Ecuador has one of the highest deforestation rates and worst environmental records in South America as a result of oil exportations, logging and road building.
• In 2007, the Ecuadorian Government officially granted the Cofán indigenous people rights to their land. Subsequently, the Cofán people alongside the Condor Bio Reserve established a park ranger program to cease illegal hunting and decelerate ranching/growing practices.
The Galapagos Islands National Park and Marine Reserve was created in 1959 by the Ecuadorian Government, protecting 97% of the landmass of the islands and marine life in an area of approximately 25,000 miles (40,000 km).

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Oceania: Australia
• Australia is one of the top 10 countries for the EPI, with a score of 82.4 out of 10 and a 2.32% change in environmental protection over 10 years. As over a quarter of Australia’s GDP is spent on mining, the country faces issues such as soil erosion, desertification.
• One of the major international environmental policies Australia is involved in is combating desertification and is one of the 193 countries which signed the United Nations Convention on Combating Desertification aiming to reduce desertification and droughts.
• Across Australia, city councils are developing green buildings, electric transport, and emissions targets. Adelaide is Australia’s greenest city having successfully reduced carbon emissions by 20% between 2007 to 2013 and aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020.

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