Zoï’s mission to ‘reveal, explain and communicate connections between the environment and society’ lies right in the heart of environmental governance. Problem-solving in a participatory manner always depends onhigh quality information. We are striving towards innovative solutions tailored to the different communities’ needs from global players to individuals operating locally.
We focus both on contents – making highly communicative information products - and methods – ‘cookbook’ approaches to generating environmental information for decision-making that can easily be replicated by governments, corporations and individuals. In addition, we also provide training in environmental information management.
Zoï Environment and GRID-Arendal regularly publish VITAL GRAPHICS or VISUAL SYNTHESES, a series of fundamental communication initiatives that promote the interaction between science and the various stages of the policy and decision-making cycle.
Zoï Environment Network is participating in and following larger scale global assessments, such as the IPCC’s, GEO etc. to capture and broadcast their findings at the regional and national levels. In wider-Europe, we support the European Environment Agency (EEA) in producing ‘modern’ regional assessments and eventually building up a shared environmental information system. Zoï has also a wide experience addressing urban environmental issues, eventually helping cities to become ‘greener’.
The Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) is Europe’s initiative to modernize and simplify the collection, exchange and use of environmental data and information. Initially implemented in the European Union, the approach is gradually being tested by Europe’s eastern and southern neighbours. Zoï, together with the Austrian Environment Agency and an IT group Eau de Web in Romania supports the European Environment Agency (EEA) in implementing SEIS in the 16 countries of Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus (in association with REC Caucasus), the Balkans and in the Mediterranean region. Zoï is busy preparing the "SEIS Cookbook".
Zoï Books are produced for the United Nations, the European Union, regions, countries and a growing community of readers world-wide. We closely cooperate with GRID-Arendal in providing environmental information for decision-making.
Our digital library is available here.
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Water for Life
Pollution and Waste
Belarus is one of the most important transit countries for gas and oil as it offers the shortest route between the Russian gas and oil fields and the main Western European markets. Most of the country’s pipeline system was built in the mid-to-late 1960s and now faces widespread technical renovation. The environmental safety of pipelines crossing Belarus has been an issue for the country’s environmental authorities, the civil society and the neighbouring states.
Within the framework of Environmental and Security Initiative (ENVSEC) the international project, “Environmental Safety of Oil and Gas Pipelines in Belarus”, has been implemented by Zoï Environment Network on behalf of the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
SDC has started a dialogue to address the linkages between climate change, environment and disaster risks on the one hand, and migration and economic development on the other. The dialogue includes thematic inputs, e-discussions and a workshop organized in Morocco in March 2016, with a particular focus on North Africa. This brief focuses on the climate change/environment and migration nexus and synthesizes the main findings from this process to date, including the relevant literature. While addressing this nexus in general, this brief has a specific focus on North Africa and explores different types of migration.
This publication, which includes Zoï graphics, is an advance executive summary of the study «Riding towards the green economy: cycling and green jobs» by the UNECE Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme (THE PEP). It is the first attempt to collect evidence on the number of cycling-related jobs from cities using a standardized approach in the pan- European region. We have received data and information from 37 cities or regions in 15 countries in the region.
The overall objective of the project is to support the further implementation of SEIS principles and practices in the six Eastern Partnership countries. This project builds on the achievements and results of the previous cooperation activities under the ENPI-SEIS1 project (implemented over the 2010-2015 period) and aims to further develop the capacities of the relevant authorities in the areas of:
This publication, for which Zoï has provided innovative maps and infographics, contains the results of nexus assessments that have been carried out within the UNECE Water Convention’s programme in the Alazani/Ganykh in the Caucasus, the Sava in South- Eastern Europe and the Syr Darya in Central Asia. The nexus assessments describe the characteristics of such resources as water, food and land, energy and ecosystem services, as well as their governance. Graphics illustrate the links identified. Climate change and socioeconomic drivers, and their effects on intersectoral dynamics, are also considered. Finally, a broad range of beneficial response actions are outlined. Such solutions to the nexus include institutions, information, instruments, infrastructure as well as international coordination and cooperation.
This examination of the environment and security nexus in the South Caucasus comes a decade after an initial assessment that raised awareness about the risks of environmental degradation in a region at the brink of economic boom and littered with ethno-territorial conflicts. The consensus at that time was that environmental cooperation had the potential to build confidence and eventually to help resolve conflict. Since 2004, there were setbacks within the overall geopolitical situation in the Southern Caucasus with an open conflict between Russia and Georgia in 2008 and very little progress in resolving the so-called frozen conflicts. The aim of this study, which analyzes the 2014-2015 situation, is to reinterpret the environment and security paradigm, and one of the study’s main findings is that despite the fragility of the region, new social movements may provide unexpected opportunities for progress.
These Safety Guidelines and Good Industry Practices for Oil Terminals are designed to prevent incidents at oil terminal facilities and to limit the consequences for human health and the environment should they occur. They are based extensively on accepted and published good practice procedures to ensure conformity with international standards.
The safety guidelines and good practices, as presented in this publication, were endorsed by the Conference of the Parties to the Industrial Accidents Convention and by the Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention). Both bodies encouraged Parties and other ECE member States to disseminate the guidelines for use by the appropriate authorities. The guidelines have been reissued in 2014 to update the references and provide a basis for their application throughout the region, following their review by the Joint Expert Group on Water and Industrial Accidents. Authorities, pipeline operators and the public are invited to apply these guidelines and good practices, which are intended to contribute to limiting the number of pipeline accidents and the severity of their consequences for human health and the environment.
What can ordinary people do for the environment? This is a short video explaining the concept of 'green economy’ to the broad public in Belarus, in Belarusian with English subtitles. Prepared in Minsk through the 'Ecoproject Partnership’ NGO, Zoï’s partner in the media and awareness component of the Environment and Security initiative’s project in Belarus. The video was launched at the National Environmental Forum in Minsk on 20 May 2015.
Over the last four years, the European Union has been engaging the countries of the Eastern Partnership - Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – in regional cooperation with the aim to improve national capacities for managing and sharing environmental data and information. The Synthesis Report, available in English and Russian, presents the outcomes of this cooperation, implemented in the framework of the project ‘Towards a Shared Environmental Information System in the European Neighbourhood’, funded by the European Commission and implemented by the European Environment Agency with the assistance of Zoi Environment Network.
Zoï has contributed to UNECE water assessments and helped facilitate implementation of UNECE and United Nations conventions in Central Asia. Based on its previous work with Afghanistan, Zoï was invited to assist in the facilitation of the Afghan-Tajik cooperation process. In the development of this atlas, Zoï’s special talents for presenting environmental issues visually have been of particular value.
Economic development and natural resource management are top priorities for cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Republic of Tajikistan. For both countries the adequate knowledge and sharing of information about natural resources and hazards are important.
With 100 photos and 50 maps and graphics based on official sources and original research, this well-illustrated atlas presents information at the river basin – as opposed to the national – level, and portrays challenges from the regional rather than the country perspective. With the objective of supplementing information already available in each of the countries, the atlas is designed to help local policymakers and experts as well as readers outside the region, donors and the international community understand the basin’s natural resources, common needs and priorities. It starts with brief introductions to the countries, illustrates the Amu Darya River basin as a part of the Aral Sea basin and provides details on the Upper Amu Darya.
Today, environmental crimes amount to more than $100 billion a year. Those high-profit, low-risk crimes are destroying ecosystems, dramatically impacting on climate change and devastating local economies. Nevertheless, they are extremely hard to fight as they are constantly hidden within legal Environmental crimes are not soft crimes. They often occur in countries with a high rate of corruption involving violence and impacting directly on the poorest population. Environmental crimes take full advantage of the financial opacity (tax havens, e.g.) and the weakness of the worldwide transportation system trade, take advantage of tax havens and are mostly controlled by huge criminal organizations such as mafias or illegitimate firms. This brochure provides an overview of the situation, identifies some of the most important points and suggests ways to fight against this global threat.
This report is the most comprehensive assessment of global Mercury emissions and speaks directly to governments involved in the development of the global treaty on mercury. It presents updates from the UNEP Global Mercury Assessment 2013 in short and punchy facts and figures backed by compelling graphics, that provide governments and civil society with the rationale and the imperative to act on this notorious pollutant.
The report reveals in a striking manner the linkages between environment and security in the occupied Palestinian territory. The message is clear: environmental degradation in Palestine only increases the security risks. Solutions are complex and highly depend on fair and flexible accords between Palestine and Israel, eventually Palestinian independence giving full sovereignty over environmental resources.
The ‘SEIS cookbook’ is a guide to understanding the concept of Shared Environmental Information System. The bulk of the cookbook is devoted to case studies which show national and international implementation of SEIS elements, including at the EEA. These examples are collectively used to identify an emerging set of common trends, methods, tools and lessons which have been integrated into the ‘SEIS checklist’. The checklist can be used as a self-assessment tool to measure progress and identify areas that need further development.
The objectives of the toolkit are to help the parties to mining activities express their interests and concerns in a constructive way and to identify areas of mutual benefit. The idea is to contribute to the prevention or resolution of conflicts and ultimately to the economic and social development of a region in an environmentally responsible manner.
Although this toolkit is based on experiences in Central Asia and makes extensive use of findings from case studies in the region, we consider it globally applicable, within the limitations naturally given by the fact that each case is unique.
This briefing paper provides a compact comparison of the mining laws of Finland and the Kyrgyz Republic. The paper has been prepared as part of the research project “Environmental Security, Mining and Good Governance” funded by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The briefing paper contributes to an increased understanding on the part of the project’s parties and stakeholders of the differences in mining legislation in countries like Finland and Kyrgyzstan. The comparison also generally highlights the variety of issues that can be regulated in a legal instrument controlling mining activities.
This toolkit companion is an illustrated overview of the trends and challenges in environment, mining and development of the Kyrgyz Republic and Central Asia. It focuses on environmental security in the mining sector and highlights selected causes and ingredients of recent mining-related conflicts, the lessons learned and the opportunities for solutions. The information comes from interviews with key stakeholders during fieldwork and desk studies, from official and scientific sources and from media accounts. The toolkit companion strives to maintain complete and up-to-date information and to take the neutral position in assessing the local mining conflicts and identifying solutions. It provides Kyrgyz and region-specific material in support of the toolkit application.
During the last decade, to boost the national economy, Kyrgyzstan has strived to develop its mining industry through efforts to attract foreign investors. However, at the same time, Kyrgyzstan has had an increasing number of conflicts between mining companies and local communities. Study of the Chatkal Valley case suggests that the local resistance now leading to severe conflicts may have been encouraged by poor governance of the mining industry and lack of cooperation between stakeholders, also contributing are the industry’s and some levels of government’s lack of acknowledgement of social impacts and community interests. We argue that adequate assessment and management of the social impacts of mining are vital to the sustainable development of both the industry and the society in which it operates.
The United Nations Environment Programme 2011–2013 strategy focuses on six thematic priorities – climate change; resource efficiency; disasters and conflicts; environmental governance; harmful substances and hazardous waste; and ecosystem management. As part of its effort to come to terms with these priorities, UNEP engaged Zoï to create thematic maps for use as objective tools for priority setting in the European region.
This flyer provides a quick picture of the report prepared by the UN Environment Management Group (EMG) on UN System contribution to the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity which was submitted to the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
This report is the product of inter-agency consultations aimed at ensuring greater environmental and social sustainability in the United Nations’ work. The report notes that while many individual United Nations entities have adopted assessment policies and practices, the United Nations System acting together can do even more, including by developing a common sustainability framework and relevant indicators. The initiative looks to build on the internationally agreed sustainability norms and principles of the last 30 years by adapting the best practices of environmental and social assessment procedures and management systems to United Nations System activities.
Behind this brief pocket book there is an impressive process of change in the Western Balkans: On a regular basis, environmental data are being collected and compiled by the authorities as well as by civil society and the private sector. Information is being passed on to those who want to know what the environmental situation is, so as to be able to compare against targets and thresholds and take action. More than 100 professionals from the region have contributed to this unique compilation of data and indicators, thus helping build the indispensable foundations of democracy in a region, which is step by step becoming an integrated part of Europe.
Reliable information about the environment and in particular water resources is required for the sustainable future of Central Asia. This paper was presented at the UNECE workshop “Managing water information in Central Asia” in December 2011 in Kazakhstan.
The fundamental objective of the GEO Cities project is to promote a better understanding of the interaction between urban development and the environment, providing the region’s local governments, scientists, policy-makers and the public with reliable and up-to-date information to help them improve urban environmental planning and management. The GEO Cities assessments provide information on the
In September 2009 the United Nations Environment Management Group agreed to establish an Issue Management Group on Green Economy. This group was tasked to prepare a report to assess how the United Nations system could coherently support countries in transitioning to a green economy. The report is expected to facilitate a common understanding of the green economy approach and the measures required for the transition. The report is also envisioned to contribute to the preparatory process for the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) where “the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication” is one of the two themes; the other is “the institutional framework for sustainable development”.
The Second Assessment of Transboundary Rivers, Lakes and Groundwaters is the most comprehensive, up-to-date overview of the status of transboundary waters in the European and Asian parts of the UNECE region. It covers more than 140 transboundary rivers, 25 transboundary lakes and about 200 transboundary groundwaters. It has been prepared upon request by the Sixth “Environment for Europe” Ministerial Conference as an input for the Seventh Ministerial Conference in Astana in September 2011.
Special issue - Versii newspaper (Chernivtsi, Ukraine)
Newspaper article in Wochenzeitung (German) - Russian - English
Alex Kirby's broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 27th October 2011
Audio mp3 file
IHPA- POPs Newsletter
Zoï helps the EMPIS-SEIS (European Neighborhood Policy Instrument - Shared Environmental Information Systems) National Focal Points prepare the Country Reports and associated action lists. These assessment reports describe the existing institutional cooperation in the partner countries in the field of water resources, atmospheric air, soil and biodiversity protection and waste management, assesses current environmental inter-institutional cooperation in these priority fields and identifies the country's capacity for taking SEIS implementation forward.
Maps of Central Asia: Aral Sea basin, Kazakhstan (south part), Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.
Europe contributes to global environmental pressures and accelerating feedbacks through its dependence on fossil fuels, mining products and other imports. Conversely, changes elsewhere increasingly affect Europe. This assessment of global megatrends focuses on the impact of global pressures on Europe. A global-to-European perspective is relevant for European environmental policy making because Europe’s environmental challenges and management options are being reshaped by global drivers such as demographics, technologies, trade patterns and consumption.
This report reflects the current situation on public health in the country, including children’s health, and the impact of environmental factors on their health, as well as an overview of national priorities, policies and activities that were conducted to improve the existing situation.
This publication integrates two streams: the arguments of leading researchers for a more fundamental response to the multiple threats to our single planetary environment with the artistic vision of a world in which everything has been redistributed to achieve radical equity. Both argue for a new way of managing the earth and its resources - a way that provides for everyone’s basic needs. The alternative? Science, they say, offers the probable answer: a return to the dark ages.
This report is the First State of Environment (SOE) Report for Afghanistan and provides readers with an overview of the key environmental issues, factors and drivers of environmental change in Afghanistan, and highlights the latest achievements and prospects ahead.
Each chapter of the report gives an overview of the context, importance and use of natural resources, what is known about their current conditions, trends and linkages to regional or global factors. The report also reveals how Afghanistan’s natural resources - if managed in an efficient and sustainable manner - could provide the basis for future economic growth and stability.