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ESCWA offsets all of its emissions for the first time, becoming Climate Neutral

Beirut , Lebanon

According to the latest edition of Greening the Blue, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) has joined a number of UN entities in achieving climate neutrality for 2016.
“ESCWA has an emissions reduction strategy in place and will soon work on establishing its Environmental Management System as well,” said Mohamed Ali Alhakim, Executive Secretary of the Regional Commission.
“ESCWA aims to contribute to global efforts to offset the effects of climate change on Arab States by helping to make its facilities and operations climate neutral and more resource efficient,” he continued.

The Commission’s total emissions for 2016 were estimated at 5,019 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2eq), with 16 per cent generated from travel, while 84 percent were facilities related.
The Greening the Blue report—the UN’s annual study on its environmental impacts—includes data from 67 entities that reported their greenhouse gas emissions for 2016, covering 264,221 personnel.
The data reveals that the UN emitted a total of 1.90 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2016—and average of 7.18 tCO2eq per capita. Facilities (headquarter offices, field offices, warehouses etc.) accounted for 46 per cent of the UN’s greenhouse gas emissions, air travel for 42 per cent and other travel for the remaining 12 per cent.

Of the 67 reporting entities, 39 offset all of their reported greenhouse gas emissions for the year, making them climate neutral. Four other entities offset a portion of their 2016 greenhouse gas emissions, taking the proportion of offsets to 37 per cent of the UN’s reported greenhouse gas emissions for 2016.
“Regional assessments conducted by ESCWA in collaboration with its global and regional partners confirm that the threats posed by climate change on Arab States are real,” warned Mr. AlHakim, noting that water scarcity is becoming more apparent at the annual and seasonal levels across the Arab region.
To take further “climate action”, water saving technologies have been put into place at ESCWA to reduce water waste, alongside efforts to recycle the materials used in its daily work. 

The Commission is also increasingly moving towards virtual meetings, taking advantage of developments in communication technology, and promoting the use of such technology to its member countries, including use of WebEx and video conferencing.