The environment crisis became the most serious issue of our time, experienced by 8 out of 10 people from Europe and Central Asia region. Even if greenhouse gas emissions are stopped, their effect shall be experienced for many more centuries. The impact of climate change and solutions for Republic of Moldova were discussed today at the 5th edition of the Social Good Summit, organized in Chisinau by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Green City Lab.

“People who are already vulnerable will be disproportionately affected by climate change. Mass migration and conflicts will result. According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, 10 million new internal displacements were recorded globally between January and June 2019. Of the total, 7 million displacements were triggered by natural disasters, ranking climate change as the main driver of displacement and migration”, said Dima Al-Khatib, UNDP Resident Representative in the Republic of Moldova.

In Moldova, UNDP is partnering with the Government, the civil society and the private sector to develop and promote adaptation policies and solutions in agriculture, forestry, transport, energy and disaster risk reduction sectors. UNDP supports pilot projects on green urban development, low emission urban mobility planning, energy efficiency and using renewable energy in buildings as well as efficient waste management.

The caricaturist, Alex Buretz, displayed a part of his works related to climate change at the Social Good Summit. The artist said that the topics that he is drawing are taken from real life and target harmful daily behaviors that people are not aware of. This refers, among others, to launching helium filled balloons, burning tires or using plastic bags. Alex Buretz also added that soon he will launch a comics series on climate change.

The electric energy supplier, Gas Natural Fenosa, shared the outcome of a social experiment carried out in partnership with UNDP when around 20 thousand consumers were encouraged to reduce their energy consumption.

In addition, ABS Recycling explained how their plastic recycling facility is operating, and the participants were encouraged to collect different types of waste separately to facilitate plastic recycling, which is one of the main environment pollutants.

Another issue discussed at the Summit was the condition of Nistru River, which provides water for over 90% of the population from Chisinau municipality and from which 8 million people from Moldova and Ukraine are depending. The water in the river is considerably more polluted than the standard, and the town of Soroca and several other towns are discharging waste water directly into the Nistru River without treating them first. At the same time, the hydro-electric plants built on the river lead to a significant cooling of the water, drying of the river and affected the flora and fauna along the whole river basin. The singer and activist, Pasa Parfeni, committed to organize a festival that would involve both banks of Nistru River and place this topic on the public agenda.

Julien Ducarroz, CEO, Orange, made a presentation on the concept of circular economy, reducing consumption and using renewable energy in operating mobile phone networks. He presented the Orange Green Program, through which, the company wants to reduce CO2 emissions, as well as services provided to clients and communities such as smart metering, installing five stations for monitoring the quality of the environment in Chisinau and smart lightning in Moldovan towns.

At the same time, Orange and the European Space Agency will be UNDP’s partners in organizing an urban mobility hackathon in mid-October, which will use geospatial data from mobile phones to propose solutions for the municipal public transport issues.

The private sector has a significant responsibility to promote and cultivate the principles of sustainable development, thinks Vadim Rotaru, the head of the human resources and communication department of Metro. He said that the Metro networks recycles 350 tons of plastic, paper and wood in Moldova every year. Metro’s program is based on four pillars – resource management, products and supply networks, employee safety and involvement and dialog. “70% of our clients welcome the initiative to replace plastic bags, and 40% of our clients don’t buy bags – this is what an experiment conducted by Metro during half a year showed.”

Starting with 2009, the Social Good Summit is simultaneously conducted in dozens of countries in September, when world leaders meet at the General Assembly of the United Nations to discuss global issues and their solutions. Acknowledging that the voices and ideas of citizens connected through social networks and technologies can be a force for change, UNDP, Mashable, 92 Street Y and the United Nations Fund extend the global UN dialog and involve innovators, activists and business people from around the world in this discussion.

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