Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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 A Reporting Service for Environment and Development Negotiations

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

Vol. 16 No. 16
Monday, February 12, 2001

SUMMARY OF THE 21ST SESSION OF THE UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL AND SECOND GLOBAL MINISTERIAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM:
5-9 FEBRUARY 2001

The 21st session of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council and Second Global Ministerial Environment Forum took place from 5-9 February 2001, at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Approximately 900 participants, including ministers and senior government officials from over 100 countries, as well as representatives of UN agencies, international organizations, academia, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), business and industry, and youth organizations, attended the week-long gathering. Fifty-four of the fifty-eight member States of the Governing Council were represented.

Delegates met in Plenary sessions and a Committee of the Whole (COW) throughout the week. The Plenary considered a range of policy issues, governance, UNEP’s contribution to future sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), follow-up to General Assembly resolutions, and linkages among and support to environmental and environment-related conventions. The COW addressed numerous programmatic, administrative and budgetary matters, including UNEP’s work programme and budget for the biennium 2002-2003.

On the meeting’s final two days, a high-level ministerial dialogue was held to discuss implementation of the Nairobi Declaration on the Role and Mandate of UNEP and the Malmö Ministerial Declaration. Topics included energy policy issues, governance, the specific needs of Africa, UNEP’s contribution to the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio+10), the linkages between environment, health and poverty, and environmental vulnerability to natural and man-made disasters. The meeting also included special side events and briefings on new and recent UNEP initiatives and reports on issues ranging from climate change and renewable energy to the loss of the world’s indigenous languages and cultures.

The Governing Council concluded its work by adopting over 30 decisions on issues including global governance, environmental law, desertification, biosafety, climate and atmosphere, the chemicals agenda, and UNEP’s budget for the biennium 2002-2003. With most participants strongly endorsing UNEP’s pivotal role and its development of a cost-efficient, effective programme of work, the session provided an occasion to press for some much-needed additional funding and move beyond the reform process into expansion mode. A sign that UNEP is raising its sights far beyond its own restructuring came in the form of discussions on challenges and opportunities, including how to address the growing debate on global governance, as well as discussions linking environmental degradation to poverty, and on the need to enhance support to Africa.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL

UNEP was established as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in 1972, which also created an action plan for environmental policy, an Environment Fund, and a declaration of 26 principles on the human environment. Established to provide a forum for the international community to address major and emerging environmental policy issues, the UNEP Governing Council generally meets every two years, with special sessions sometimes convened between meetings. The Governing Council consists of 58 States that serve four-year terms on the basis of the following equitable geographic distribution: 16 African, 13 Asian, 13 Western European and Others, 10 Latin American and Caribbean, and 6 Eastern European States. The Council reports to the UN General Assembly. Its responsibilities include: promoting international environmental cooperation and recommending policies to achieve this; providing policy guidance for the direction and coordination of environmental programmes in the UN system; reviewing the state of the global environment; and promoting the contribution of relevant scientific and other professional communities to the acquisition, assessment and exchange of environmental knowledge and information and to the technical aspects of the formulation and implementation of environmental programmes within the UN system.

In addition to monitoring and assessing the state of the environment and disseminating this information to governments and NGOs, the Governing Council’s achievements have included the initiation of negotiations on many major environmental agreements, including the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade.

UN CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT: In 1992, the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) reaffirmed UNEP’s mandate and supported an enhanced and strengthened role for UNEP and its Governing Council. The Council was called on to continue its role with regard to policy guidance and coordination, taking into account the development perspective. UNCED adopted Agenda 21, the action plan for implementing sustainable development, which lists 14 priority areas on which UNEP should concentrate, including: strengthening its catalytic role in promoting environmental activities throughout the UN system; promoting international cooperation; coordinating and promoting scientific research; disseminating environmental information; raising general awareness; and further developing international environmental law.

19TH GOVERNING COUNCIL: In 1997, the Governing Council met for its 19th session, the first part of which took place from 27 January - 7 February in Nairobi. The meeting was suspended on the final day when delegates could not agree on a proposal for the creation of a high-level committee to provide policy guidance to UNEP. As a result, officials from 34 countries met in Geneva on 21 March 1997, and decided to create a new multinational committee to mediate the dispute and offer advice on UNEP’s future. The 19th session resumed at UNEP headquarters from 3-4 April 1997, where delegates established the High-Level Committee of Ministers and Officials (HLCOMO) as a subsidiary organ of the Governing Council. The HLCOMO was given the mandate to: consider the international environmental agenda and make reform and policy recommendations to the Council; provide guidance and advice to UNEP’s Executive Director; enhance UNEP’s collaboration and cooperation with other multilateral bodies, including environmental conventions and their secretariats; and help mobilize adequate and predictable financial resources for UNEP. The HLCOMO consists of 36 members elected by the Council from members of the United Nations and its specialized agencies. Members serve for two years and represent regions as reflected by the current structure of UNEP’s Council.

Delegates also adopted the Nairobi Declaration on the Role and Mandate of UNEP, which, inter alia, revised the UNEP Committee of Permanent Representatives’ (CPR) mandate to: review, monitor and assess the implementation of the Governing Council’s decisions on administrative, budgetary and programme matters; review UNEP’s draft programme of work and budget; review reports requested of the Secretariat by the Council on the effectiveness, efficiency and transparency of the Secretariat’s work; and prepare draft decisions for consideration by the Council based on inputs from the Secretariat. The Nairobi Declaration was formally endorsed at the UN General Assembly Special Session for the review of the implementation of Agenda 21 in June 1997.

FIFTH SPECIAL SESSION: The Governing Council held its fifth special session in May 1998. This session adopted decisions on: the evaluation of UNEP’s management and administrative support; revitalization, reform and strengthening of UNEP; preparations for CSD-7; freshwater; the Rotterdam Convention; the Global Environment Facility (GEF); and land degradation. The Council decided to review the status of UNEP’s ongoing reform at its 20th session to provide the 55th session of the UNGA with its policy conclusions on institutional arrangements within the UN system and the role of UNEP in that context. The special session also confirmed the member States elected to the HLCOMO.

20TH GOVERNING COUNCIL: The 20th session of the Governing Council took place at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, from 1-5 February 1999, and marked the first meeting of the Council since the adoption of the Nairobi Declaration, the UNGA Special Session to review the implementation of Agenda 21, and the appointment of Klaus Töpfer as UNEP’s fourth Executive Director. The meeting demonstrated restored faith in UNEP as the prominent UN agency with responsibility for the environment. The Council took over 30 decisions on a range of topics including: the Environment Fund and administrative and other budgetary matters; linkages among and support to environmental and environment-related conventions; preparations for CSD-7; and policy issues, including the state of the environment, coordination and cooperation within and outside the UN, UNEP governance and emerging policy issues.

SIXTH SPECIAL SESSION: The first Global Ministerial Environment Forum – in the form of the Sixth Special Session of UNEP’s Governing Council – took place in Malmö, Sweden, from 29-31 May 2000. The purpose of the Forum was to institute a process for regaining policy coherence in the field of the environment, in direct response to the need for such action emphasized in the 1998 report of the UN Secretary-General on environment and human settlements.

The Forum provided UNEP and its Governing Council with a key opportunity to influence the international environmental agenda of the 21st century. Environment ministers discussed major global environmental challenges in the new century and strategic policy responses to such issues, as well as the roles of the private sector and civil society. Consideration was also given to the need to ensure the effective and efficient functioning of UNEP governance mechanisms, and possible financial implications. Central themes of the Forum were the need to match commitments with action, the role of UNEP in international environmental politics, and concerns about how to make Rio+10 a "real" success.

REPORT OF THE MEETING

László Miklós (Slovakia), the outgoing Governing Council President, formally opened the meeting following a musical performance by a quintet of drummers from Kenya and Tanzania, which was accompanied by video messages urging universal responsibility for the environment. President Miklós noted some significant achievements since the Governing Council’s 20th session in 1999. He said 43 decisions had been adopted, which had led to a number of positive resolutions by the UN General Assembly. He added that the Malmö Declaration had made a significant contribution to the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000, and to preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio+10) scheduled for 2002 in South Africa.

UNEP Deputy Executive Director Shafqat Kakakhel then read a message by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. In his message, Annan said the World Summit on Sustainable Development should take concrete action, and urged efforts to achieve ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by 2002. He said strong financial support is necessary to address environmental threats, and called for ongoing partnerships among governments, civil society and the private sector.

Francis Nyenze, Kenyan Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, highlighted links between environmental degradation, poverty and lack of resources and said environmental policies must meet basic needs and encourage sustainable economic growth in developing countries. He stressed disparities in energy consumption, and called for sustained international commitment to improved energy efficiency and renewable energy, as well as measures to increase public awareness.

Representatives of the UNEP Youth Advisory Council made a statement calling for implementation of policies, not more meetings and negotiations. They emphasized the link between poverty, overconsumption and environment and called on governments to: cancel debt; fulfill ODA commitments of 0.7% of GNP; impose green taxes on international trade; develop and utilize sustainable development indicators; and create incentives, policies and measures to reduce consumption. They urged for the establishment of a trust fund for youth activities.

Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director, Habitat, noted a revitalized spirit of cooperation and synergy between UN Center for Human Settlements (UNCHS) and UNEP programmes. On the issue of human settlements and environment, she stressed that equitable sustainable development could not be addressed without first achieving effective decision-making structures, secure tenure and good urban governance.

UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer identified major global environmental challenges, including the loss of cultural diversity, energy concerns in Africa, the debate on genetically-modified organisms, increasing global populations, rural to urban migration patterns and environmental security issues. On global energy needs, he expressed the hope that discussions on Africa’s renewable energy needs would contribute to CSD-9. Citing recent evidence of increasing global temperatures, he highlighted the need for a successful conclusion to current climate negotiations. He also stressed the importance of addressing international governance issues and the value of cooperation with civil society, and emphasized the need for implementation of existing international agreements and decisions.

ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: On Monday, 5 February, the Plenary elected the Bureau by acclamation: David Anderson (Canada) as President; Rosa Elena Simeón Negrín (Cuba), Janusz Radziejowski (Poland) and Tupuk Sutrisno (Indonesia) as Vice Presidents; and Kezimbira Miyingo (Uganda) as Rapporteur. President Anderson underscored the clear link between environment and human health and, noting the negative effects of globalization, said the challenge is to find ways to influence economic forces to work for the environment. He said the success of the World Summit on Sustainable Development depends on the mobilization of the private sector and civil society, the use of innovative and inclusive strategies, the identification of effective and acceptable solutions and the establishment of institutions to support implementation of outputs.

The Plenary then adopted the agenda and organization of work for the meeting (UNEP/GC.21/1 and UNEP/GC.21/1Add/1), including a proposal that the Governing Council meet in Plenary and concurrently in a Committee of the Whole (COW). Plenary also adopted President Anderson’s proposal on the Chairs of the various groups: Janusz Radziejowski for the COW; Rosa Elena Simeón Negrín for the drafting group; and Tupuk Sutrisno to assist the President with the Plenary sessions.

PLENARY

The Plenary, chaired by President Anderson, and assisted by Vice President Sutrisno, met ten times during the week to discuss various policy issues, the outcome of the first Ministerial Environment Forum held in Malmö, follow-up to UN General Assembly resolutions, linkages among relevant conventions, and UNEP’s contribution to future sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development. It also addressed governance issues and the chemicals agenda.

State of the environment: Executive Director Töpfer introduced policy issues relating to the state of the environment (UNEP/GC.21/2) on Monday, 5 February. The G-77/China called on UNEP to focus on implementing decisions taken over the last three years. He supported, inter alia, a balanced and integrated approach to the trade and environment issue, further discussions on environmental governance, an expanded scope for the Highly Indebted Poor Countries’ initiative, a wider donor base for UNEP, and an evaluation of implementation of Rio commitments during the preparatory process for the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

The EU outlined UNEP activities it considers important, including support to Africa. The US commended UNEP’s substantive achievements, improved administration, and increased transparency in its operations. He announced a contribution of US$100,000 toward studying the effects of mercury.

Russia noted UNEP’s role in promoting public awareness and providing assistance to governments on nature conservation and development of environmental laws. Indonesia highlighted UNEP’s role in institution building for environmental protection in developing countries, including provision of technical and legal assistance. Iceland called attention to recent assessments on the state of the marine environment and suggested establishing an intergovernmental panel on marine pollution, based on the IPCC model.

EMERGING ISSUES, OUTCOME OF THE SIXTH SPECIAL SESSION, AND CONTRIBUTION TO THE CSD: Executive Director Töpfer introduced the agenda items for discussion on emerging policy issues, the outcome of the sixth special session of the Governing Council, and contributions to future sessions of the CSD. Regarding support to Africa, Japan, with the EU and Norway, emphasized UNEP’s role in solving Africa’s environmental challenges and the need for adequate resources. The EU, Malawi and Kenya stressed linkages between poverty and environmental problems. Kenya advocated increased UNEP support for implementation of the Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) and, with Algeria, supported inclusion of desertification as a GEF programme area.

Kenya and the EU supported enhancing UNEP’s work in emergency preparedness and response. India expressed the hope that the recent earthquake in India would encourage discussion on natural disasters, and called for developing cost effective, earthquake-resistant technologies. Barbados said issues relevant to small island developing States (SIDS) deserve special attention in preparations for the Summit, and called for measures to enable full participation of developing countries at environmental meetings.

The UN Economic Commission for Europe, supported by the Czech Republic, noted the importance of the Aarhus Convention in the area of environmental democracy and its usefulness as a model for agreements in other areas. The European Commission highlighted the crucial role UNEP plays in ensuring that international trade and capital markets promote sustainable development, and supported environmental impact assessments of trade agreements and enhancing UNEP’s engagement with the private sector. Switzerland said it had relaunched the debate within the WTO on the relationship between the WTO and environmental regimes. The Gambia called for UNEP’s assistance in ensuring that trade and investment policies are more responsive to dictates of sustainable development, while New Zealand urged approaching trade and environment with caution to avoid unjustified trade barriers.

The Environment Liaison Center International recommended that the Governing Council commit new, stable and timely financial resources, and environmental agreements be universally ratified by 2002.

GOVERNANCE: Delegates discussed global environmental governance and UNEP governance in Plenary on Wednesday, 7 February, during the Ministerial Forum on Friday morning and in contact groups held on Thursday and Friday. Decisions on both UNEP governance and global governance were adopted on Friday.

International Environmental Governance: During the initial discussion on governance in Plenary on Wednesday, Executive Director Klaus Töpfer said the World Summit on Sustainable Development should review requirements for strengthened institutional structures for governance. Canada reported on an informal meeting that had discussed its proposal to establish an eminent experts’ panel to provide an analysis of governance and elaborate views and options. Japan, Egypt and others said consideration of environmental governance must be conducted within the broader context of sustainable development. Many countries, including the EU, Egypt and Mauritius, opposed establishing any new organization or institution on governance, and while agreeing that international environmental governance should be strengthened, preferred building on and enhancing existing institutions. The EU suggested an ad hoc intersessional working group could undertake a review of governance and present proposals on how to strengthen environmental governance, which could contribute to preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

During the Ministerial Forum on Friday, delegates revisited the issue of international environmental governance. President Anderson circulated his non-paper on the subject, which called for a mechanism to undertake an analysis of institutional weaknesses and an assessment of future needs for strengthening international environmental governance. The non-paper states that the mechanism should include balanced representation of governments, utilizing expertise of the CPR and UNEP and benefiting from views of other UN entities, international financial institutions and experts and institutions outside the UN system. Japan expressed support for the non-paper. The EU expressed concern with the non-paper and supported a strong open-ended intergovernmental group, and a governance system that would contribute to empowering small and developing nations to participate more effectively. The G-77/China supported an open-ended, transparent group to address the governance issue in the broader context of sustainable development. Most delegates supported an intergovernmental group, with many stressing that it should be at the ministerial level.

The UK said political leadership was necessary for the outcome to carry full credibility and authority within the UN. South Africa reiterated that the issue of governance is a political question that must be addressed at the ministerial level. He underscored that developing countries are not sufficiently empowered by existing institutions. A number of delegates, including the UK and Burkina Faso, suggested a ministerial group composed of two ministers per region.

Delegates agreed that UNEP had a central role to play in the process of addressing governance, and many advocated that the role be strengthened. India said the Executive Director should take the lead in moving the process forward with the support of the CPR. Pakistan supported strengthening the CPR in Nairobi, which in turn would strengthen UNEP. Argentina said work should not be restricted to the CPR, since it is a limited committee. Switzerland, with Kenya and others, supported involving both the CPR and ministers. Switzerland said the examination should involve the entire system, noting the Environment Management Group is the first step in the reform process, and supported concluding deliberations for approval by the Heads of State at the Summit. India, Colombia and others proposed, and the Forum agreed, that a contact group be established for further discussions. The contact group, chaired by Raúl Estrada (Argentina), worked on Friday afternoon to reach consensus on the decision.

In the Friday evening closing Plenary, Chair Estrada reported the results of the group and introduced the draft decision on international environmental governance, which calls for the establishment of an intergovernmental group to address the issue. He said effort was required to obtain funds for developing country participation in meetings, and the report of the meeting should note that there must be regional balance. China said the decision had been put forward hastily, and full consultations were not possible regarding the establishment of the intergovernmental group. He asked that his reservation be placed on the record. The UK said the first meeting should take place no later than the end of April and asked that this be included in the report of the meeting.

Final Decision: The decision on international environmental governance (UNEP/GC.21/CW/L.4):

  • calls on UNEP and member States of the UN and its specialized agencies to intensify efforts to implement GA resolution 53/242 on environment and human settlements as a basis for further institutional strengthening;

  • decides to establish an open-ended intergovernmental group of ministers or their representatives, with the Executive Director as an ex-officio member, to undertake an assessment of existing institutional weaknesses, as well as future needs and options for strengthened environmental governance, including the financing of UNEP, and to present a report to the next meeting of the Global Ministerial Environment Forum;

  • requests the CPR to provide its due contribution to this process in an expeditious manner;

  • requests the Executive Director, in consultation with governments, to review the state of international environmental governance and elaborate a report to be submitted to the group at its first meeting;

  • decides that the process should incorporate views of other UN entities, international financial institutions, expert institutions, major groups and individuals outside the UN system;

  • decides that the next Ministerial Forum should discuss the report and provide input on future requirements of environmental governance in the broader context of sustainable development as a contribution to the World Summit on Social Development;

  • requests the Governing Council President to inform the CSD of views expressed by ministers at this session; and

  • requests the Executive Director to seek additional financial resources to facilitate the participation of developing countries.

UNEP Governance: The discussion on UNEP governance was held in Plenary on 7 February and in the COW on 8 February. Following this, a contact group was established to discuss the proposed amendments. The issue was taken up again in the Ministerial Forum on Friday morning and in the COW session in the afternoon, where the decision was adopted.

In the discussion on 7 February, many delegates called for strengthening UNEP and broadening its financial base, and called for more predictable funding. Many also reaffirmed UNEP’s role as the leading global environmental authority.

In the Ministerial Forum, delegates discussed UNEP governance in the broader context of international environmental governance, many reiterating that strengthening UNEP would ensure a stronger role for UNEP in international environmental governance. Many delegates, including the G-77/China, the EU, Malta, Mexico, India, the Czech Republic, New Zealand, Norway, Austria and China, reiterated reform based on strengthening UNEP, and again called for broadening UNEP’s financial base and ensuring stable and predictable funding. The UK urged for alternative proposals that would ensure sufficient funding. The Netherlands stressed the importance of UNEP as an institution for exchanging views and national experiences on sustainable development, as well as a forum for negotiating MEAs.

In the COW on Friday afternoon, Raúl Estrada, who also chaired the group on international environmental governance, reported on the results of the contact group. He reported general agreement on the draft decision, but noted deletion of paragraphs requesting the Executive Director to ensure that capacity building and technical assistance remain important components of UNEP’s work programme, and to provide official documentation to countries eight weeks ahead of CPR meetings. Deputy Executive Director Kakakhel noted that the standard deadline is six weeks. A paragraph on the Global Compact was also removed, although the EU noted its belief that the Compact is a very useful initiative. The COW adopted the decision as amended.

The decision on UNEP Governance and the implementation of GA resolution 53/242 (UNEP/GC.21/CW/L.4) is divided into two sections. The first section relates to UNEP governance including governance aspects of GA resolution 53/242. This decision, inter alia:

  • supports strengthening the role of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum as the policy organ of UNEP;

  • calls on able governments to provide financial resources to facilitate developing country participation in all Governing Council/ Global Ministerial Environment Forum sessions; and

  • calls for dissolution of the High-level Committee of Ministers and Officials (HLCOMO).

The second section on implementation of other aspects of the GA resolution:

  • urges the Secretary-General to secure adequate human and financial resources required for the proper functioning of the secretariat of the Environmental Management Group (EMG);

  • invites the Executive Director to approach relevant UN organizations and propose reviewing jointly their roles in the area of the environment;

  • encourages strengthening collaboration with UNCHS;

  • supports continuing efforts to enhance policy coherence and synergies among international legal instruments;

  • urges the Secretary-General to provide the necessary resources to UNEP from the regular UN budget and to consider ways of lending support to strengthening UNEP in preparation for and the outcome of the World Summit on Sustainable Development;

  • encourages multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) to involve the Environmental Management Group in enhancing complementarities;

  • supports the enhancement of UNEP’s role as GEF implementing agency;

  • calls for the prompt strengthening of UNEP in the areas of information, monitoring and assessment and early warning information on threats; and

  • encourages further promotion of the engagement of civil society in addressing environmental challenges.

COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

The Committee of the Whole (COW) met eight times from 5-9 February to consider the Programme, the Environment Fund, and administrative and other budgetary matters (UNEP/GC.21/6 and UNEP/GC.21/7). Vice-President Janusz Radziejowski chaired these sessions, with Michael K. Koech (Kenya) acting as Rapporteur. In addition, the COW established a working group, chaired by Ivo Sieber (Switzerland), to assist its work on budget- and programme-related issues. The COW also referred many draft decisions to a drafting group, chaired by Rosa Elena Simeón Negrín, formed to support the Plenary and the COW.

On Monday, 5 February, the COW engaged in a general discussion on the programme, the Environment Fund, and administrative and other budgetary matters. On Tuesday, 6 February, the COW began consideration of UNEP’s seven subprogramme areas of the programme of work for the 2002-2003 biennium, which are:

  • environmental assessment and early warning;

  • policy development and law;

  • policy implementation;

  • technology, industry and economics;

  • regional cooperation and representation;

  • environmental conventions; and

  • communications and public information.

Delegates also started considering draft decisions relevant to these subprogrammes, agreeing to transmit four draft decisions to the drafting group to finalize text. Consideration of the subprogramme areas and relevant draft decisions continued on 7-8 February, with a number of informal contact groups being formed to assist the COW with its work, and texts also being forwarded for editing by the drafting group. On Friday, 9 February, the COW adopted by acclamation over 30 decisions and its report of the meeting (UNEP/GC.21/CW/L.1, UNEP/GC.21/CW/L.1/Add.1 and Add.2). The report was subsequently adopted by the closing Plenary on Friday evening.

BUDGET-RELATED ISSUES: Budget-related issues were considered by the COW on Monday, 5 February, and were referred to the working group. The working group met from 6-8 February and discussed four draft decisions related to budget issues: the Environment Fund budgets – proposed biennial programme and support budget for 2002-2003; administrative and other budgetary matters; the Mercure satellite communications system; and a loan from the Environment Fund Financial Reserve for expansion of United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON). The working group reported back revised versions of these draft decisions to the COW on Friday morning, 9 February. The COW adopted the texts after making minor additional amendments.

The Environment Fund budgets: Proposed biennial programme and support budget for 2002-2003: On Monday, 5 February, Deputy Executive Director Shafqat Kakakhel introduced reports on the Environment Fund budgets – proposed biennial programme and support budget for 2002-2003 (UNEP/ GC.21/6 and Add.1). He noted extensive preparatory and consultative work in preparing the draft budget. He outlined UNEP’s financial situation, stating that implementing the proposed Environment Fund Programme of US$119.9 million for 2002-2003 would imply a reduction in Fund resources in real terms, but would require an increase in contributions compared to 1998-99. He urged governments to provide UNEP with adequate resources to meet its objectives, and noted the need to broaden donor base. A general discussion followed.

The working group on budgetary matters considered the proposed biennial programme and support budget for 2002-2003 on Tuesday, 6 February, in an information exchange session between delegations and the Secretariat. On Wednesday, 7 February, the group completed a paragraph-by-paragraph consideration of the draft decision on the Environment Fund budgets proposed for the 2002-2003 biennium, and agreed to forward an agreed revised text to the COW.

The COW considered the working group’s revised text on Friday morning, 9 February. On a paragraph appealing to the UN General Assembly to consider a substantial increase in its regular budget allocation to UNEP and United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) for 2002-2003, the EU deleted reference to text adding that this was "with the understanding that the related additional appropriations will not result in an increase in the current nominal level of the UN’s regular budget." The US recognized inadequate resources available for UNEP/UNON, while noting that its policy on UN funding was not to support an increase in regular UN funding. The COW adopted the decision with the EU’s amendment.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.21/CW/L.5) approves the proposed biennial programme and support budget for 2002-2003 and appropriations for the Environment Fund of US$119.9 million. Out of this, US$100 million is allocated for the programme of work, US$5 million is allocated to the Fund programme reserve, and US$14.87 million for the support budget. The decision also, inter alia: reconfirms the Executive Director’s authority to reallocate resources between programmes by up to 20%; urges the Executive Director to further increase the level of the financial reserve to US$20 million as and when carry-over resources become available; and endorses the formats of the budget and programme of work. In addition, the decision expresses growing concern over the shrinking number of countries that contributed to the Fund in 2000, and recognizes that the funding base needs to be broadened to include all countries, especially those that have developed a greater capacity to contribute. The decision expresses concern that current funding from the UN regular budget is not sufficient to provide for the Programme’s core functions, and appeals to the UN General Assembly to consider a substantial increase for 2002-2003.

Administrative and other budgetary matters: On Monday, 5 February, Deputy Executive Director Shafqat Kakakhel presented to the COW the document on administrative and other budgetary matters (UNEP/GC.21/7), which reports on consultations on achieving stable, adequate and predictable funding, and on management of trust funds and counterpart contributions. In the general discussion that followed, several delegates noted the need for a broader donor base. Australia encouraged UNEP to seek private sector funding, but stressed that UNEP’s work programme priorities should remain independent of private sector pressures.

The working group considered administrative and other budgetary matters on 6 February in an information exchange session between delegations and the Secretariat. On 8 February, the group considered a draft decision on these matters, and proposed and discussed numerous amendments. Participants agreed to forward a revised text to the COW. The COW considered and adopted the working group’s revised text on Friday morning, 9 February.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.21/CW/L.5) is divided into two sections. In the section on stable, adequate and predictable funding, the decision expresses concern that total financial resources for the programme of work have not increased over the last three years, while contributions to the Environment Fund have declined. It supports UNEP’s strategy on resource mobilization (UNEP/GC/21/7/ Add.1) and requests the Executive Director to renew efforts to improving UNEP’s financial situation, particularly with regard to increasing the number of contributing countries. Stressing the need for a broader contribution base and for stable, adequate and predictable funding, it calls on governments and other relevant parties to provide financial and other resources to UNEP.

In the section on management of trust funds and counterpart contributions, the decision notes and approves seven new general trust funds established since the Governing Council’s twentieth session, including a fund for Implementing National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans. The decision also approves five new technical cooperation trust funds, and the extension of numerous general and technical trust funds. It approves the closure of the Fund in support of the UNEP/Habitat Balkans Task Force on Environment and Human Settlements, as well as three technical cooperation funds.

Mercure satellite communications system: This draft decision was noted in the COW on Tuesday, 6 February, and considered in the afternoon working group session on budget matters, as well as on Thursday, 8 February. Agreed text was reported back to the COW and adopted on Friday, 9 February.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.21/CW/L.5) notes the successes of the Mercure system since its establishment in 1994, such as the UN-compatible cost-effective Internet and video-conferencing. It asks the Executive Director to implement his action plan (UNEP/ GC.21/7/Add.2) to address UNEP’s strategic information and communication technology requirements, while ensuring continuity of services currently provided through UNEPnet/Mercure. It welcomes the Director’s actions to maximize cost efficiency and provide this service on a cost-recovery basis to UN bodies and agencies at UNON, and requests him to invite other UN bodies and agencies at UNON to participate.

Loan from the Environment Fund financial reserve: On Monday, 5 February, Deputy Executive Director Kakakhel drew delegates’ attention to a proposal that the Governing Council approve a loan of US$8 million from the Environment Fund Financial Reserve to allow for immediate action on office construction at UNON. The working group on budget matters considered the issue on Tuesday and Thursday. The COW adopted the decision on Friday, agreeing to several amendments proposed by the EU, including a new preambular paragraph noting that this transaction will not adversely affect the programme of work.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.21/CW/L.5) authorizes an advance of up to US$8 million from the Environment Fund’s financial reserve to the UN Secretariat on a loan basis towards construction of additional office accommodations, subject to approval on construction by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions and other competent authorities, as appropriate. It also asks the Executive Director to ensure that the loan includes a provision that there should be an immediate repayment, should he request it.

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AND EARLY WARNING: Deputy Executive Director Kakakhel introduced UNEP’s environmental assessment and early warning subprogramme on Tuesday, 6 February. He outlined outputs such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the Global International Water Agreement (GIWA), and the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) publication, which was followed by a general discussion. From 6-9 February, delegates discussed draft decisions relating to this subprogramme: the environmental situation in the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories, and the Global Marine Assessment.

The environmental situation in the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories: On 6 February, the COW discussed this draft decision. Egypt said it would table alternative text on behalf of the Arab Group, adding that a decision should take into account recent environmental and humanitarian violations in the region. Israel indicated that it supported the existing draft text. Chair Radziejowski said the COW would reconsider this matter once alternative texts were received. Informal consultations were conducted on 7-8 February. In the COW on Friday, 9 February, Egypt, on behalf of the Arab Group, presented a final proposal. Several delegates supported the proposal, underscoring environmental concerns. Opposing, the US and Israel highlighted it was a political issue and not under UNEP’s mandate. The US urged that the decision be removed from the table. Chair Radziejowski forwarded the draft decision to the final Plenary, which was unable to reach consensus. The US called for a vote, seconded by Egypt, and the draft decision was adopted by a vote of 19-1, with 34 abstentions.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.21/CW/CRP.3) authorizes UNEP to assess the environmental repercussions of the recent violations on the occupied Palestinian territories and to assist the Palestinian Authority in its efforts to address the urgent environmental challenges. It also requests the Executive Director to provide a comprehensive report on the environmental situation in the above-mentioned territories and to present these findings to the Committee of Permanent Representatives.

Global Assessment of the state of the marine environment: On 6 February, Iceland presented a proposal for a global assessment of the marine environment. Chair Radziejowski indicated that the COW would take up the draft decision on 9 February. Several delegates discussed amendments to the draft on Friday morning, resulting in the establishment of an informal consulting group to resolve outstanding linguistic and technical issues. Consensus was reached during the morning, leading to the adoption of the decision in the COW.

Final Decision: The final decision (UNEP/GC.21/CW/CRP.2) authorizes furthering ongoing work to improve the existing knowledge base on the state of the marine environment in cooperation with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and other UN agencies in consultation with the Environmental Management Group (EMG). It also, inter alia, requests the Executive Director to explore the feasibility of establishing a regular process for the assessment of the state of the environment with active involvement by governments, building on ongoing assessment programmes.

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY DEVELOPMENT AND LAW: The COW addressed UNEP’s subprogramme on policy development and law on Tuesday morning, 6 February. The US, with Egypt and Australia, expressed concern over the proposed activities regarding strengthening the legal basis of the precautionary approach, as contained in the Rio Principles, and a global survey on the status of the application of environmental norms by military establishments.

From 6-9 February, delegates convened in the COW, the drafting group and in informal negotiations to consider draft decisions relevant to this subprogramme. These draft decisions relate to: the CCD, UNEP’s water policy, the UN Forum on Forests, environmental law, implementation of the Malmö Declaration, governance, and the role of civil society. The COW adopted all these decisions on Friday, 9 February.

Implementation of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification: On 6 February, several delegates proposed linguistic amendments to the draft decision on the CCD. The EU highlighted UNEP’s role in combating land degradation and encouraged it to coordinate closely with the GEF. The draft decision was forwarded to the drafting group for final linguistic editing. On 7 February, the drafting group discussed and approved the final text. The decision was then forwarded and adopted by the COW on 9 February.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.21/L.6) mandates support for the implementation of the CCD in those countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa. It also, inter alia, requests the Executive Director to strengthen collaboration with the World Bank and UNDP with a view to enhancing GEF assistance to countries for activities identified in the GEF’s action plan on land degradation, in view of inter-linkages between land degradation and the GEF’s focal areas.

UNEP’s water policy and strategy: On 6 February, delegates discussed UNEP’s water policy and strategy. Several delegates disagreed on whether "transboundary" or "international" waters/water courses was the appropriate term. A draft text was forwarded to the drafting group. On 7 February, after some debate in the drafting group, delegates accepted the draft. The decision was adopted in the COW on Friday morning.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.21/L.6) mandates the Executive Director, inter alia, to enhance, through the International Environmental Technology Center, the transfer of environmentally sound technologies for water management, with due attention to the use of local technologies, the identification and analysis of the costs, effectiveness and strengths and limitations of alternative technologies, and awareness-raising initiatives on technology development and transfer in the water sector.

UN Forum on Forests (UNFF): On Tuesday, 6 February, the COW addressed a draft decision proposed by Iran on the UNFF and enhancing UNEP’s role in relation to forest issues. Several delegates proposed amendments and the matter was set aside for further consideration. On 9 February, following informal consultations, the draft was re-addressed by the COW and adopted pending minor textual amendments.

Final Decision: The decision authorizes, inter alia, the Executive Director to support the programme of work of the UNFF and the functioning of its Secretariat, as during the IPF/IFF process.

Implementation of the Malmö Ministerial Declaration: In the afternoon of Tuesday, 6 February, the COW considered this draft decision. On 8 February, several countries in the drafting group expressed concern that the Malmö Declaration has superseded the Nairobi Declaration and redefined UNEP’s mandate. Others stressed the importance of implementing the Malmö Declaration and the Executive Director’s mandate to monitor and report on such implementation. After lengthy debate, the draft decision was approved unchanged, with the understanding that the Malmö Declaration has not superseded the Nairobi Declaration or changed UNEP’s mandate.

Final Decision: The final decision (UNEP/GC.21/L.6) adopted by the COW on 9 February, authorizes further steps in the implementation of the Malmö Declaration as it relates to UNEP’s mandate, including coordination with the UN system, through, inter alia, the EMG. It also requests the Executive Director to transmit the Malmö Ministerial Declaration as well as the present decision to all relevant United Nations bodies, programmes and agencies to promote its implementation.

Programme for the development and periodic review of environmental law for the first decade of the twenty-first century: On Wednesday, 7 February, the COW considered this draft decision. Egypt expressed concerns over the limited representation by developing countries’ legal experts on talks regarding the Montevideo III Programme relating to environmental law. She proposed text calling for a review of the implementation of the Programme by 2002, rather than 2005. Canada, the US and Australia opposed this, and the COW adopted the decision without amendment.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.21/L.6) mandates the Executive Director to implement the Programme, within available resources, through the UNEP work programme and in close collaboration with States, conferences of the parties and secretariats of multilateral environmental agreements, other international organizations, non-State actors and persons. It also decides to review the implementation of the Programme not later than at its regular session in 2005.

The role of civil society: The COW considered this draft decision on 7 February. The EU highlighted the significance of civil society partners and Norway proposed the establishment of an ad hoc NGO committee. Canada, supported by the US, Antigua and Barbuda, India and Australia, expressed concern that establishing an ad hoc NGO committee assumed a foregone conclusion of the consultative process. The draft decision was forwarded to the drafting group. On 8 February, delegates in the drafting group approved amendments made in the COW deleting reference to the establishment of an ad hoc NGO Committee. On 9 February, the COW adopted the draft decision noting a request by one delegation that the definition of civil society be consistent with the language of the Malmö Declaration.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.21/L.6) mandates the Executive Director to further the consultative process, including at the regional level, with governments, civil society, the private sector and other major groups on ways and means to enhance the active engagement and participation of civil society in the work of UNEP. It also decides to include in agenda item entitled "Strengthening the role of civil society, the private sector and other major groups in the work of UNEP."

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY IMPLEMENTATION: The COW considered this subprogramme on Tuesday, 6 February. Deputy Executive Director Kakakhel noted that it represents UNEP’s implementation arm that translates policy into action, and outlined its key objectives. Following a general discussion, the COW considered a number of relevant draft decisions relating to protecting the marine environment from land-based activities, the strategic framework on environmental emergencies, institution-building, and guidelines relating to compliance, enforcement and environmental crime. After discussions in a drafting group, the COW adopted the decisions on 9 February.

Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA): The COW conducted a general debate on this subject on 6 February. Iceland urged UNEP to collaborate with other UN agencies in implementing the GPA. Colombia, supported by Cuba, the US, and Mauritius, suggested including a reference to the implementation of the Cartagena Protocol Concerning Pollution from Land-based Sources. The US urged UNEP to move forward on an intergovernmental review of implementation of this Protocol. At the request of the COW, the drafting group considered a draft decision on the GPA on 7 February. Delegates agreed to accommodate a concern related to national sovereignty, and an amendment encouraging UNEP to promote environmental data sharing through a web-based geographic information system.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.21/L.6) urges governments to, inter alia: implement the GPA through the regional seas programme; actively contribute to the first intergovernmental review meeting on implementation of the GPA; and ensure relevant UN agencies and organizations incorporate implementation of the GPA into their work programmes. The decision requests the Executive Director to develop programmes to share environmental data through a web-based geographic information system; further collaborate with private sector to enhance their contribution to the GPA; and submit a progress report on its activities to the next Governing Council session.

Further improvement of the strategic framework on environmental emergency prevention, preparedness, assessment, response and mitigation: The COW considered this draft decision on 7 February. Switzerland proposed identifying gaps in civil liability regimes and supporting existing efforts on assessing non-economic liability compensation regimes under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). Canada expressed concern regarding quantification of non-economic environmental costs. China proposed an environmental emergency fund for developing countries. The draft decision was forwarded to the drafting group for further consideration. Delegates in the drafting group could not agree on the Swiss proposal containing several new operative paragraphs and sent the draft decision back to the COW.

On 8 February, delegations held informal consultations on Switzerland’s proposal and presented a revised text to the drafting group. Despite expressions of uncertainty about terms such as "man-made accidents and disaster" and "non-economic environmental harms," delegates approved the text with minor amendments.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.21/L.6) requests the Executive Director to:

  • receive comments on the strategic framework on emergency prevention, preparedness, assessment, response and mitigation and therefore to support its implementation;

  • produce an analysis of the causes and long-term environmental effects of emergencies and possible policy implications for consideration at the next Governing Council session;

  • support the Parties to the CBD in their efforts to address non-economic environmental harms; and

  • strengthen cooperation between UNEP and other relevant international organizations to assess protection of the environment from accidents and man-made disasters.

The decision also calls on governments to: ratify and proceed with implementation of the existing legal instruments dealing with this issue; develop and strengthen national legal and institutional arrangements for environmental emergency management; and provide assistance to developing countries in responding to environmental emergencies.

Policy and advisory services in key areas of institution-building: The COW considered this issue on 7 February. The EU called for elaboration of a proposal on public access to information. The COW referred the text to the drafting group, which approved the draft decision with amendments that request the Executive Director to present a report on international legal instruments.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.21/L.6) requests the Executive Director to:

  • further strengthen UNEP’s activities in providing technical, legal and policy advice to governmental and regional and subregional institutions dealing with environmental matters;

  • continue to undertake actions to improve public access to information on environmental matters and environmental policy instruments and to promote the development of relevant skills and capacity of the key stakeholders and partners; and

  • present a report on international legal instruments reflecting provisions contained in Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration.

The decision calls on governments to: enhance access to environmental information and to encourage participation by all relevant sectors of society in the decision-making process; and take measures to establish judicial and/or administrative procedures for legal redress and remedy for actions effecting the environment that may be unlawful or infringe on rights under the law.

Preparation of draft guidelines on compliance with international environmental agreements and on effective national environmental enforcement and international cooperation and coordination in combating environmental crimes: On 7 February, delegates commented on this draft decision. China, with Colombia and Egypt, expressed concern over the uncertainty of compliance guidelines, the implications of enforcement guidelines on national sovereignty, and lack of clarity on the term "environmental crime." Japan and Norway noted the utility of guidelines on compliance. Several delegates said the original draft decision text considered by the CPR enjoyed more support than a text proposed by China. The Chair of the COW formed a contact group to further consider the draft decision.

On 8 February, the contact group submitted to the COW a consensus text relating to guidelines on compliance with multilateral environmental agreements and effective national environmental enforcement and international cooperation and coordination in combating environmental crimes.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.21/L.2) mandates the Executive Director to develop draft guidelines on compliance and on effective national environmental enforcement and international cooperation and coordination in combating environmental crime as a priority issue in 2001, to support ongoing development of compliance regimes within the framework of international agreements. It also requests the Executive Director to take into account that an important element of those draft guidelines could be a stronger role of the International Criminal Police Organization and the World Customs Organization in combating environmental crime.

TECHNOLOGY, INDUSTRY AND ECONOMICS: Under this subprogramme, delegates considered trade and environment, as well as a number of chemicals-related matters, including the Rotterdam Convention and the POPs Convention. After discussions on these issues in the COW, the drafting group and an informal contact group, these decisions were adopted on 9 February.

Trade and environment: The COW held a brief discussion on trade and environment on 8 February. China, the US and Egypt, said there was the possibility that linking environment and trade could result in discriminatory trade barriers or investment flaws. A contact group was convened, which considered the draft decision, and reached consensus.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.21/CW/L.3) recommends that the Executive Director should pursue further actions related to trade and environment, in close cooperation with the WTO and UNCTAD. It also makes a number of requests to the Executive Director, which include the further strengthening of the Secretariat to enable it to assist countries to develop mutually supportive trade and environmental policies and to periodically consult and brief governments on UNEP’s work in this area and to report to the next Governing Council session.

Chemicals: The Governing Council adopted five decisions on chemicals related to: the Rotterdam Convention; the POPs Convention; assessment of mercury; lead in gasoline; and chemicals management. Delegates discussed the issues related to chemicals during a panel discussion in Plenary on Tuesday, and in a small working group on Thursday and Friday.

On Wednesday, 7 February, the Plenary held a panel discussion on the Chemicals Agenda, followed by a general debate. Delegates briefly discussed locating the three chemical conventions in Geneva to promote synergies and avoid duplication, as proposed by Switzerland. Many delegates supported a US proposal for a global assessment of mercury, with some also supporting assessments of other heavy metals of concern. The US said a mercury assessment should not prejudge what actions, if any, should be taken, and pledged US$100,000 for such a study. Iceland supported elaborating a voluntary international code to phase-out lead in gasoline. Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic supported investigating the merits of elaborating a global strategy on chemicals management. The US opposed another global strategy on chemicals. A working group was established to further consider the issues and met on Thursday and Friday.

In the COW, on 9 February, the working group reported on its outcome, noting that five decisions had been approved. On mercury assessment, delegates reached consensus on the paragraph stressing the importance of precautionary principle and preventive action for protecting human health and the environment.

Rotterdam Convention: The decision on the Rotterdam Convention (UNEP/GC.21/CW/L.6) calls for its entry into force as soon as possible, preferably by the IFCS in 2003, and calls for a voluntary trust fund on interim arrangements.

POPs Convention: The decision on the POPs Convention (UNEP/ GC.21/CW/L.6), inter alia: calls on governments to adopt and sign the Convention at the Diplomatic Conference in Sweden; encourages entry into force by 2004; urges the Executive Director to assist in implementing resolutions with a view to facilitating capacity building, early entry into force and financing; appeals to governments as well as intergovernmental and NGOs and the private sector to provide financial resources for implementing interim arrangements; and requests the Executive Director to invite the GEF to consider ways of implementing relevant resolutions to be taken in Stockholm.

Mercury assessment: The decision on mercury assessment (UNEP/GC.21/CW/L.6) includes a preambular clause underlining the need to take preventive actions to protect human health and the environment, mindful of the precautionary approach. The decision invites the Executive Director to initiate a process to undertake a global assessment of mercury and its compounds. The decision also requests the Executive Director to report on the results of the assessment to the 22nd Governing Council and to consider whether there is a need for assessments of other heavy metals of concern.

Lead in gasoline: The decision on lead in gasoline (UNEP/GC.21/ CW/L.6) calls on governments to eliminate the use of lead in gasoline and urges governments, intergovernmental organizations, the IFCS and civil society to assist national governments, particularly developing countries, in phasing-out lead in gasoline through funding, capacity building, information and technical assistance.

Chemicals management: The decision on chemicals management (UNEP/GC.21/L.6) includes a preambular clause underlining the need to take preventive actions to protect human health and the environment, mindful of the precautionary approach. The decision, inter alia: requests the Executive Director to assist in the development of an information exchange network on capacity building for the sound management of chemicals; invites countries to share national experiences; and requests the Executive Director, in consultation with relevant organizations, to examine the need for a strategic approach to international chemicals management and to report to the Global Ministerial Environment Forum in 2002.

REGIONAL COOPERATION AND REPRESENTATION: Deputy Executive Director Kakakhel introduced the subprogramme and its related draft decision on support to Africa to the COW on Wednesday, 7 February. The EU supported UNEP’s strengthened role in this area, and suggested text linking poverty and the environment. While delegates agreed on most issues, Morocco and several other developing countries proposed language on additional financial resources relating to developing country preparations for and participation inthe UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) COP-7 and the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

The drafting group considered the draft on 8 February. Delegates supported a proposal to specify that such support should be "within available resources," although concern was raised that emphasizing support to Africa could result in lack of support to other countries. The COW adopted the draft decision on support to Africa on 9 February.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.21/CW/L.2) calls on governments to enhance their financial support to the Global Mechanism for effective implementation of the CCD and on donors to provide financial support and expertise for the region’s successful organization of FCCC COP-7 and the Summit. It requests the Executive Director to, inter alia, support actions to enhance various environmental conventions, promote understanding of the linkages between poverty and environment and report on progress made to the CPR at the next Governing Council session.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONVENTIONS: On Wednesday, 7 February, the COW considered a number of decisions relevant to UNEP’s subprogramme on environmental conventions. It approved draft decisions on the status of international conventions and protocols in the field of the environment, and on the establishment of a new regional seas programme for the Central-East Pacific region. Draft decisions on atmosphere and climate issues, coral reefs, biosafety, and strengthening of regional seas programmes were referred to a drafting group for further work on 8 February. They were subsequently reported back to the COW, and adopted on 9 February.

Coral Reefs: This decision (UNEP/GC.21/L.6) requests the Executive Director to increase fund-raising efforts to support coral reef-related activities. It also asks the Executive Director to increase existing collaboration between UNEP and multilateral environmental conventions such as the FCCC, the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the CBD and the Ramsar Convention, as well as with the FAO, WTO, UNDP and UNESCO, with a view to addressing the economic, social and environmental urgency of achieving sustainability in the management and use of coral reefs.

Biosafety: This decision (UNEP/GC.21/L.6) requests the Executive Director to mobilize resources to support developing countries and countries with economies in transition for capacity-building and risk-assessment capabilities in the field of biosafety that would facilitate effective implementation of their national biosafety frameworks in the context of the Cartagena Protocol.

Atmosphere: The COW considered this issue on 7 February. The EU and others expressed concern over text on adverse impacts of response measures under the FCCC and the Kyoto Protocol, given the status of climate negotiations. The issue was referred to the drafting group.

On 8 February, the drafting group considered a proposal made by Colombia, which requested research programmes, capacity building for developing countries and technical assistance to developing countries. A draft decision was approved and presented to the COW for consideration. On 9 February, the COW received an Australian proposal, which called for scientific, technological and socioeconomic research to further understanding of climate change issues and international cooperation for education and training programmes. The US supported Australia’s proposal and withdrew its reservation on the previous draft decision. Iran proposed a reference to avoiding adverse effects caused by climate change to developing countries. The EU expressed its general objection to the draft decision, noting that climate change should be dealt with in the context of the FCCC. An informal contact group convened briefly and finalized the draft decision. The COW then adopted the draft decision proposed by the contact group.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.21/L.2) contains four sections. In the section on the Climate Agenda and the World Climate Impact Assessment and Response Strategies Programme, the decision requests UNEP and the Executive Director to: further promote the need for technical assistance to developing countries in order to implement MEAs; continue to carry out activities related to Climate Impact Assessment and Response Strategies in partnership with the other agencies collaborating in the Climate Agenda; and continue to collaborate with relevant international organizations to further the objectives of the Agenda. The decision calls on governments to:

  • protect the climate system for the benefit of the present and future generations of humankind;

  • promote scientific and technological and socioeconomic research to further understanding of the causes, effects, magnitude and timing of climate change and the economic and social consequences of response strategies;

  • promote international cooperation to develop and implement education and training programmes;

  • support international organizations involved in the implementation of the Climate Agenda for its effective implementation; and

  • develop policies and measures to protect the climate system against human induced change.

In the section on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the decision requests the Executive Director to support the Panel and to ensure the participation of experts from all regions and to disseminate the findings of the Panel. The decision also requests the Panel to continue to update the assessment of available information on climate change and to report to the next Governing Council session on the progress of its activities. It calls on governments to continue to support the activities of the Panel and to contribute to the Panel’s Trust Fund.

On Global Climate Observing System, the decision requests the Executive Director to continue to support the activities of the joint planning office of the Global Climate Observing System in facilitating participation of experts from developing countries in its activities. It also urges governments to address deficiencies in the climate observing networks and bring forward any capacity-building needs to the attention of the FCCC.

On programmatic support to atmosphere-related conventions, the decision urges the Executive Director to continue programmatic activities in support of the FCCC, the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol and to encourage the exploitation of synergies between these instruments. It also calls upon the Executive Director to continue to liaise with relevant UN agencies and international organizations to address the issue of systematic observations and assessment of the ozone layer.

Status of international conventions and protocols in the field of the environment: This decision (UNEP/GC.21/L.6) authorizes the Executive Director to transmit a status report to the General Assembly at its fifty-sixth session, focusing specifically on institutional capacity building. It urges States to sign, ratify or accede to conventions and protocols to which they are not yet Parties.

Establishment of a regional seas programme for the Central-East Pacific region: This decision (UNEP/GC.21/L.6) requests the Executive Director to assist governments of the Central-East Pacific in furthering negotiations of a regional agreement for the protection and sustainable development of the Central-East Pacific. It also asks the Executive Director to invite multilateral funding institutions to future meetings of the Central-East Pacific Regional Seas Programme.

Regional seas programmes: The decision (UNEP/GC.21/L.6) is divided into four sections. The section on the continued revitalization of the regional seas programme requests UNEP’s Executive Director to continue to give priority to revitalizing regional seas conventions, support the preparation of a strategic approach to financing regional seas programmes and assist them in mobilizing resources.

The section on horizontal cooperation among regional seas conventions and action plans asks the Executive Director to support recent twinning arrangements between conventions/actions plans and to support new arrangement for such cooperation. It also urges Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic and the Abidjan Convention for Cooperation in the Protection and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the West and Central African Region to support negotiations on a twinning arrangement.

In the section on collaboration with global environmental conventions, the decision:

  • invites the Rotterdam Convention, the POPs Convention and regional seas programmes to cooperate on capacity building and information exchange to help countries meet their obligations under the two chemicals treaties;

  • encourages cooperation between the regional seas programmes and the Convention on Biological Diversity with a view to harmonizing work plans;

  • requests the Executive Director to support cooperation between regional seas programmes and CITES; and

  • asks the Executive Director to continue restructuring UNEP’s Marine Mammal Action Plan through greater coordination with several relevant conventions.

The decision’s final section, on partnerships with international organizations, asks the Executive Director to promote regional seas conventions’ and actions plans’ involvement in the UN Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea and other preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. It supports greater cooperation between regional seas conventions and action plans with regional fisheries bodies, including formalizing mutual observer status, as well as other FAO-UNEP linkages. It also requests the Executive Director to: support the establishment of a joint International Maritime Organization/UNEP forum on emergency response to marine pollution; work closely with the Coastal Global Observing System; and strengthen links with members of the Administrative Commission on Coordination Subcommittee on Oceans and Coastal Areas.

Implementation of the Northwest Pacific Plan: This decision requests the Executive Director to establish the Northwest Pacific Action Plan Regional Coordinating Unit as a UNEP-administered secretariat of the Northwest Pacific Action Plan. It also requests the Executive Director to negotiate with Japan and the Republic of Korea on host country agreements for co-hosting a single Regional Coordinating Unit.

COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLIC INFORMATION: The COW addressed this subprogramme briefly on 8 February, approving its aims and outcomes. During general discussions in the COW, Plenary and the high-level ministerial forum, a number of speakers highlighted UNEP’s role in raising public awareness as a means to mobilize understanding of and action on critical environmental issues.

Canada and the EU submitted a draft decision on youth participation and engagement, drafted by youth representatives attending the meeting. On Friday morning, Canada reported that despite the COW’s tacit agreement on the text Thursday, informal discussions between various delegates and youth representatives had resulted in additional minor amendments, which the COW also adopted.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.21/CW/CRP.4), adopted as amended: decides to discuss at its 22nd session ways to engage and involve young people in UNEP’s work; invites the Executive Director to seek extra-budgetary funds to support this work; and requests the Executive Director to declare engagement and involvement of young people a priority by giving consideration to efforts in four areas.

PARTICIPATION OF UNEP IN THE WORK OF THE GEF: A brief discussion of this issue was held on 7 February and the draft decision was forwarded to the drafting group, which made a few amendments on 8 February. The COW adopted the decision on 9 February. During the COW discussion of the consensus text submitted by the drafting group, the EU inquired how the increased budget of the GEF would impact on UNEP. Ahmed Djoghlaf, Chief of UNEP GEF Unit, said it would result in an increase in the UNEP budget.

Final Decision: The Council’s decision (UNEP/GC.21/CW/L.2) requests the Executive Director to keep governments informed on further progress achieved in enhancing the role and mandate of UNEP in the GEF.

HIGH-LEVEL MINISTERIAL FORUM

The high-level ministerial forum was held on Thursday, 8 February, and Friday morning, 9 February. Attended by government ministers and senior officials from over 100 countries, the forum began with an opening ceremony, followed by a roundtable ministerial dialogue to consider implementation and development of the Nairobi and Malmö Declarations. Delegates then discussed environment and poverty issues, dividing into two break-out groups on poverty and pollution and on poverty and health. On Friday morning, the high-level forum concluded with exchanges of views on environmental vulnerability of natural and manmade disasters, followed by discussions on governance.

OPENING CEREMONY: In his introductory remarks, President Anderson reminded delegates of the importance of the Ministerial Forum leading up to the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. Nitin Desai, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said he considered the session to be the launch for the Summit. Mohammed Valli Moosa, South African Minister of Environment and Tourism, underscored the need for public mobilization and proposed seven elements to guide discussions on governance, including: defining workable institutional arrangements; addressing finances, including examining decision-making of international financial institutions; and instituting a system that empowers developing countries to participate meaningfully.

Two children spoke to the gathering, saying they were making two sculptures: a tree symbolizing the tree of life; and a bridge, symbolizing dialogue among civilizations, and bridges between rich and poor and young and old.

UNEP/UNON/UNCHS Staff Union President Mary Odhiambo paid special tribute to UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer on efforts to promote open staff dialogue. Tokiko Kato, UNEP Envoy of Japan, stressed concern over a changing global environment and performed two songs. Klaus Töpfer emphasized the need for a successful World Summit on Sustainable Development resulting in concrete decisions and actions. He called for financial backing to assist UNEP to fulfill its commitment to the Summit. Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi highlighted UNEP’s financial constraints, stressed mobilization of traditional and non-traditional resources, and urged the private sector to make contributions.

ROUNDTABLE MINISTERIAL DIALOGUE: Following the opening speeches, the ministerial roundtable on implementation and development of the Nairobi and Malmö Declarations convened. The EU supported: a global chemicals strategy; enhanced international environmental governance; renewed partnerships; adequate resources; and strengthening the GEF. The Russian Federation said the trend toward globalization and growth of environmental risks demands new approaches to solving environmental problems. He also called for a joint group for cooperation in providing assistance to disaster-affected countries and a global network for information exchange.

UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Nitin Desai highlighted preparatory activities for and expectations of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and stressed the importance of national preparations. He said the Summit was expected to address, inter alia: globalization; the anti-poverty agenda; financing for development; and international environmental governance.

MINISTERIAL CONSULTATIONS ON ENVIRONMENT AND POVERTY: In the afternoon, the Plenary discussed environment and poverty issues. Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s former Minister of Finance and Planning, and Foreign Affairs, discussed linkages between poverty and environment, recommending, inter alia, that UNEP consider establishing a task force on environment and poverty to further explore linkages. Ann Kern, Executive Director, Sustainable Development and Health, WHO, highlighted links between health, environment and poverty, noting that disease undermines economic progress and has spread with globalization. She called for action on: indoor pollution, water and sanitation, global warming and chemicals. The Plenary then split into two break-out groups: poverty and pollution; and poverty and health. Following the break-out group meetings, the Plenary reconvened to hear brief reports from the Chairs of the groups.

Poverty and pollution: This group was chaired by Dutch Environment Minister Jan Pronk, who posed three questions to the group: is overconsumption causing "overpollution" and thereby increasing poverty elsewhere; is pollution equally affecting the poor and the rich; and should priority be given to anti-pollution measures or to poverty eradication? Many delegates agreed that overconsumption leads to overpollution. Some participants distinguished between global and local pollution, noting that both are the result of inefficient resource use. Most participants said the poor are most affected because even if the degree of pollution is comparable, the rich have more resources to combat its effects. Many delegates said priority should be given to poverty eradication rather than anti-pollution measures, noting that once people are informed and educated, they are better able to fight pollution. Some said the two strategies should be integrated and addressed concurrently, and noted that pollution was inevitable with economic growth, and should be controlled at source.

Renewable energy utilization, biotechnology, cleaner production and recycling were highlighted as poverty combatants, and a number of delegates opposed single input solutions to poverty. International measures suggested by the group include: regulation of companies; fighting illegal transport of toxic waste and dumping; and debt relief measures to free-up resources for both anti-poverty and anti-pollution strategies.

Poverty and health: This group was chaired by Harry Ian Thompson, Malawi’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs. Delegates highlighted the following issues for consideration for UNEP’s input for the World Summit on Sustainable Development: water, sanitation, pollution and waste management and the impacts on health of mercury, depleted uranium, PCBs, DDT and dioxin. Delegates differed on whether UNEP, or FAO and WHO, should provide leadership on these issues.

Due to differences in regional priorities, delegates agreed to have regional preparatory processes and, in order to enhance implementation, supported participation by health and environment ministers. A representative of the Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment (GLOBE) urged the involvement of Parliamentarians, since they influence resource use, supply bilateral and multilateral aid and ratify and implement treaties. Regarding capacities, delegates from small Pacific island States stressed challenges in waste disposal, while African countries called for financial, technological and capacity-building support aimed at self-sufficiency.

There was consensus that the outputs of the Summit should be action-oriented and manageable. They should target rural and urban needs as appropriate, distinguish between developed and developing countries’ responsibilities, and enhance synergies. Delegates stressed the need to ratify pending environmental agreements to avoid their proving counterproductive to the Summit.

ENVIRONMENTAL VULNERABILITY OF NATURAL AND MAN-MADE DISASTERS: On Friday, 9 February, a ministerial consultation on environmental vulnerability of natural and manmade disasters was held. Max-Planck Institute Director-General Hartmut Grassl spoke on anthropogenic climate change, redefining the concept of disaster, and outlined five main characteristics of anthropogenic climate change. Michael Glantz of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, elaborated an inter-agency study of the 1998-99 El Niño and its impacts, which was conducted in 116 countries to investigate what did and did not work for governments in responding to El Niño, and highlighted the lessons learned. Gerhard Putman-Cramer, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), noted OCHA’s work on environmental considerations in disaster response, and stressed the need to address emerging issues, such as climate change and mass population displacement.

In the ensuing dialogue, Saint Lucia said increasing environmental degradation exacerbates the impact of disasters, called for a holistic approach to disaster management, and outlined the elements of a possible disaster management programme. China said man-made disasters could be tackled through improved land management and access to water projects, while Singapore said such disasters arise from mismanagement and called for a multiple approach to their resolution. Niger asked whether desertification could be classified as an anthropogenic or man-made disaster. Monaco highlighted the consequences of coastal disasters and called for increased safety of marine transport, whereas Barbados and Bangladesh expressed concern about the increased cost of disaster insurance and welcomed UNEP’s efforts in this regard.

Noting the cooperation between UNEP and Latin American parliamentarians, Mexico highlighted parliamentarians’ roles in conventions’ ratification, proposed negotiating with financial institutions to mobilize resources for disasters and urged youth participation in environmental work. Whereas Botswana called for UNEP’s strengthening and said there is no need for a global environmental organization at this stage, Tanzania emphasized the need for a structure and funding that enables UNEP to respond and coordinate an effective early warning system. The US noted the need to explore and strengthen existing programmes. Welcoming UNEP’s strategy for environmental emergency, Indonesia called for further cooperation between OCHA and UNEP and for the further development of early warning mechanisms to meet developing country needs. CCD Executive Secretary Arba Diallo noted the need to involve, at the outset, countries stricken by disasters and drought, in order to strengthen existing mechanisms.

In their closing remarks: Hartmut Grassl said the Kyoto protocol and subsequent enforcement agreements would serve as a kind of insurance policy to lower risks; Michael Glantz noted two important emerging concepts namely, climate and climate-related flash points and disaster diplomacy; and Gerhard Putman-Cramer urged countries to make use of a number of tools for prevention and mitigation that are available from the international strategy for disaster reduction.

CLOSING PLENARY

On Friday evening, delegates met for the closing Plenary, adopting remaining draft decisions and the report of the meeting (UNEP/GC/21/ L.2 and Add.1). Delegates adopted a decision on the provisional agenda, date and place of the Governing Council’s seventh special session and twenty-second regular session, both of which will also incorporate a session of the Global Ministerial Environment Forum (UNEP/GC.21/L.3). The decision requests the Executive Director to consult with member States on the date and venue of the seventh special session, and to report on this to the Bureau by 31 July 2001. It also decides to hold the twenty-second regular session at Nairobi from 3-7 February 2003.

Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, stressed the importance of collaboration between UNEP and UNESCO and supported a greater scientific input into environmental policy making. He said the opportunity to mobilize political will and encourage action through the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development should not be missed.

Bangladesh, on behalf of the Asia Group, highlighted the spirit of collaboration that had contributed to the successful outcome of the session. Colombia, for the Latin America and Caribbean Group, noted that UNEP had benefited from recent reforms resulting in greater dynamism, depth and efficiency in developing its activities. Speaking for the Western Europe and Others Group, the UK identified future challenges of feeding Governing Council discussions and outcomes into CSD-9 and contributing to the preparations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Morocco, on behalf of the African Group, thanked UNEP’s Executive Director for revitalizing UNEP and supporting Africa.

Slovakia, on behalf of Central and Eastern Europe, commended President Anderson for the success of the session. India, on behalf of the G-77/China Nairobi Chapter, noted the session’s contribution to raising awareness on key environmental challenges among relevant stakeholders, while stressing that much remains to be done.

The EU expressed hope that Global Ministerial Environmental Forums will continue and adjust as experience is gained and noted with satisfaction the outcomes of the meeting, including the programme of work, decisions taken on chemicals and water strategies, the new ten-year programme on international environmental law, and the launch of a high-level political preparatory process on international environmental governance.

Kenya noted the session’s innovations and expressed satisfaction at the positive consideration given to poverty and environment. Noting that the issue of environmental governance seemed to have taken center stage, he reiterated Kenya’s confidence in UNEP as the lead international environmental agency and said governance initiatives should not deviate from this path.

In his closing remarks, UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer thanked delegates for their hard work and dedication. He called for ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and drew attention to the symbolic "tree of life" constructed by local children. Noting this was the first time a Governing Council and Global Ministerial Environment Forum had met concurrently, he said a thorough analysis of this meeting would be undertaken to eliminate any shortcomings at future sessions.

President Anderson highlighted agreements reached during the session, including: the Council’s input to the World Summit for Sustainable Development; the need to ratify the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent and the POPs Convention; the need to remove lead from gasoline; and the assessment of mercury and its compounds. He called for financial support to UNEP, in particular if it is expected to play a major role after the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, and then invited delegates to view a 14-minute presentation of a different "final official document," – an on-screen video-montage of highlights from the session. He then gaveled the meeting to a close at 8:00 pm.

A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF THE UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL

FIGHTING FIT

Since the previous regular Governing Council session in 1999, UNEP has been striving to demonstrate its revival and return to good health. Its supporters point to a transformation from what was once labeled an "uninspired" and "isolated" under-performer to what is now a trim organization that punches above its weight, a change dating back to the mandate provided by the 1997 Nairobi Declaration combined with Klaus Töpfer’s arrival as Executive Director. However, while the session in 1999 was marked by optimism that such a recovery could happen, the latest meeting was an opportunity to demonstrate that now, it actually has.

At the conclusion of the Governing Council’s 21st Session, many delegates expressed general satisfaction with the outcome. With most participants strongly endorsing UNEP’s pivotal role and its development of a cost-efficient, effective programme of work, the session was an occasion to press for some much-needed additional funding and move beyond the reform process into expansion mode. A sign that it is raising its sights far beyond its own restructuring came in the form of discussions on challenges and opportunities, including how to address the growing debate on global governance ahead of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, as well as discussions on the need to enhance support to Africa by linking environmental degradation to poverty.

GOVERNANCE IS HERE…FOR GOOD OR ILL

Governance was the most compelling issue taken up at the meeting, and the reason many ministers made the trip to Nairobi. The issue was considered on two levels: global environmental governance and UNEP governance.

At the international level, this was a chance to make contributions to a global level reform process, particularly in the lead-up to the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. The emergence of the global governance debate is seen as both an opportunity and a risk for UNEP. New international governance architecture is high on the agenda for the World Summit, giving UNEP the possibility of being reaffirmed in the role of the global environmental authority, or possibly taking an even broader responsibility in the context of sustainable development. The risk lies in the role being given to a new organization rather than UNEP.

Whereas justification for discussion on global governance came from the proliferation of MEAs, many developing country delegates tied this issue to UNEP governance, suggesting that UNEP could play this role, and that funding should be leveraged for this rather than establishing new architecture.

Expectations were high at the start of the session with the anticipation that delegates would reach agreement on a decision for a process for discussing global governance and how it relates to UNEP. Proposals were put forward and discussed, but as actual negotiations on the draft text began only on Friday, some felt that they missed the opportunity to clearly define governance at this session, and delegates left with differing views as to the purpose of the process they had just decided upon. However, some were pleased that UNEP’s role in the process had been given such prominence, believing its participation to be indispensable. Reflecting this positive view, Governing Council President David Anderson praised the decision to set up an intergovernmental group of ministers and other senior officials as a "major achievement" in which "nobody lost, everybody won."

HEALTHY…BUT NOT WEALTHY

On budget and the programme, the good news was that UNEP’s work programme and budget received overwhelming support. Careful preparation through extensive consultative work with the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) appears to have paid off. The work programme and budget reflected the CPR’s concerns and priorities and was appreciated by member States.

The bad news is that, despite the expressions of confidence and pledges of contribution from some traditional donor countries, actual payments and honoring of promises remain underwhelming. In fact, UNEP’s donor base continues to decline. As one NGO participant noted, there was a certain irony that UNEP chose to hold a ministerial session on environment and poverty given that these are the two issues that most reflect its own internal focus. In fact, the funding issue represents a serious problem. As senior UNEP officials reminded delegates, no matter how streamlined and efficient the organization manages to become, ultimately the work programme needs additional funding. UNEP clearly hopes that the funding problems will be resolved and countries will begin to put their money where their mouths are.

Unfortunately for UNEP, that did not happen at this meeting. Although delegates from both developing and developed countries spoke continuously of the need to provide UNEP with timely and adequate resources to meet its objectives, as well as the need to broaden donor support, there were no major new pledges at this meeting. There was some sign of hope when the EU, which already contributes nearly two-thirds of the budget, indicated that it could consider the matter.

AFRICAN ANXIETY?

Although the major focus on the needs of Africa at this meeting was widely applauded, some African delegates, in particular those from the poorest and most vulnerable to climatic changes, questioned the sincerity of a commitment that fails to take decisive action on the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and on compliance and liability. The low-key involvement of African countries in the process was another feature remarked upon. This lacuna was attributed by some to the lack of negotiating skills among the African delegates and inadequate preparations due to resource constraints. In the light of the centrality to Africa of the issues identified for the Summit preparations, including water, and sanitation and poverty, and the unanimous endorsement to support Africa, the region’s preparedness for the Summit process will be a real test of UNEP’s ability to deliver on its programmes, and link these to sustainable development issues.

MAD COW DISEASE?

Some delegates expressed disappointment regarding the organization of the meeting, particularly of the COW. Many participants felt that the process was confusing and frustrating, and there was a lack of clarity in proceedings that at one point threatened to leave the heavy workload unfinished. The forwarding of texts by the Chair to the drafting group, which originally seemed to have a simple mandate to carry out editorial/linguistic changes, added to the early confusion. The mood in the drafting group became tense as it began to address substantive and often political issues in text it was receiving, leaving participants with no option in some cases but to send the decisions back to the COW. While the malady turned out to be treatable through the convening of several last-minute contact groups on Thursday and Friday, it created what many considered an unnecessary burden on negotiators to engage in late night talks.

On reflection, the COW’s approval of over 30 draft decisions produced some noteworthy successes, including decisions to undertake a global study on health and environmental impacts of mercury, several decisions on the chemicals agenda, such as an initiative on removing lead from gasoline, the approval of the Montevideo III Programme on environmental law, and the contributions to the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

As for the ministerial session, some expressed disappointment regarding the extent of ministerial input to the process. Several delegates also expressed dissatisfaction with the numerous room changes. While only a technical matter, they felt it disrupted the flow of discussions and ideas. On more substantive matters, several participants suggested that smaller group meetings and less issues under a broader heading might focus the meeting. The general sense, though, seemed to be that the ministerial session was fairly successful, raising some critical or emerging issues such as environment and poverty, environment and health, and disaster management at just the right moment.

On another process issue, many delegates suggested that the proliferation of meetings is starting to take a toll, both financially and time-wise. The Minister from New Zealand said her travel budget now exceeds her country’s contribution to UNEP. Although delegates supported regional preparatory processes in the run-up to the 2002 Summit, UNEP needs to find innovative ways to assure adequate preparation among delegates, while rationalizing the number of meetings.

LONG-TERM PROGNOSIS…

While the session appeared to give UNEP a clean bill of health, there was a general feeling that it had not generated the same level of excitement or interest, as was the case two years ago at the last regular Governing Council session, or last year at the special session in Malmö. Certainly, there were fewer government ministers present, and some participants expressed the sentiment that the ministerial forum should be held biennially instead of annually.

However, one observer suggested that this is simply the product of success – UNEP has settled in to a more efficient but predictable pattern, and that it is only natural that the sense of excitement generated at its revival is unsustainable. While this may be true, it is also clear that UNEP’s challenging work programme, pressing need to turn donor confidence into donor funding, and desire to expand its scope to link environment with poverty and the wider sustainable development agenda, present major challenges. All this, and the risks and opportunities posed by the fast-approaching World Summit on Sustainable Development, have some commentators suggesting that even with its new sense of vigor, UNEP will be in for a hectic, testing time. As one delegate observed, "UNEP faces some stern challenges…but it has everything to play for."

THINGS TO LOOK FOR

CBD SBSTTA-6: The sixth meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice will meet from 12-16 March 2001, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: the CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: secretariat@biodiv.org; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org/sbstta6/

12TH GLOBAL WARMING INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE & EXPO - KYOTO COMPLIANCE REVIEW: This meeting will be held in Cambridge, UK, from 8-11 April 2001. For more information, contact: Dr. Sinyan Shen, The Global Warming International Center Headquarters, Naperville, Illinois, USA; tel: +1-630-910-1551; fax: +1-630-910-1561; e-mail: syshen@megsinet.net; Internet: http://www2.msstate.edu/~krreddy/glowar/gw12c.html

NINTH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (CSD-9): The ninth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development will be held in New York from 16-27 April 2001. This session will focus on: atmosphere; energy/transport; information for decision making and participation; and international cooperation for an enabling environment. The topic of the multi-stakeholder dialogue segment will be energy and transport. Prior to CSD-9, intersessional meetings will be held from 26 February – 2 March (Energy Expert Group), 6-9 March (Working Group on transport and atmosphere) and 12-16 March (Working Group on information for decision-making and participation and on international cooperation for an enabling environment). For more information, contact: Andrey Vasilyev, Division for Sustainable Development; tel: +1-212-963-5949; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail: vasilyev@un.org; Internet: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd9/csd9_2001.htm#. For information for major groups, contact Zehra Aydin-Sipos, Division for Sustainable Development; tel: +1-212-963-8811; fax: +1-212-963-1267; e-mail: aydin@un.org.

CSD-10 (PREPCOM): The tenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development is expected to convene for a meeting in New York from 30 April – 2 May 2001 to serve as the Preparatory Committee for the ten-year review of UNCED (World Summit for Sustainable Development). For more information, contact: Andrey Vasilyev, Division for Sustainable Development; tel: +1-212-963-5949; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail: vasilyev@un.org; Internet: http://www.un.org/rio+10/index.html. For information for major groups, contact Zehra Aydin-Sipos, Division for Sustainable Development; tel: +1-212-963-8811; fax: +1-212-963-1267; e-mail: aydin@un.org.

DIPLOMATIC CONFERENCE ON PERSISTENT ORGANIC POLLUTANTS (DIPCON): The diplomatic conference for the signing of the POPs Convention is scheduled to take place from 21-23 May 2001, in Stockholm, Sweden. For more information, contact: Jim Willis, UNEP Chemicals; tel: +41-22-917-8111; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: chemicals@unep.ch; Internet: http://irptc.unep.ch/pops/

14TH SESSIONS OF THE FCCC SUBSIDIARY BODIES/ RESUMED COP-6: The 14th sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will take place from 21 May – 1 June 2001, in Bonn, Germany. This meeting may also serve as the resumed COP-6 (as outlined under COP-6 decision FCCC/ CP/2000/L.3). For more information, contact: the FCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: secretariat@unfccc.int; Internet: http://www.unfccc.int

YOUTH CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: This meeting will be held in Borgholm, Sweden, from 23-27 May 2001. An official part of the Swedish EU Presidency, the conference will contribute to youth preparations for the 2002 UN World Summit on Sustainable Development. For more information, contact: Conference Secretariat, Swedish Ministry for the Environment, tel: +46-8-440-8670; fax: +46-8-203-530; e-mail: camilla.funke@lsu.se or helena.klingvall@lsu.se; Internet: http://www.eu2001.se/eu2001/calendar/meetinginfo.asp?iCalendarID=1367

FIRST UNEP/GEF GLOBAL INTERNATIONAL WATERS ASSESSMENT (GIWA) GENERAL ASSEMBLY: This General Assembly of the GIWA project will take place in June 2001. It will be preceded by meetings of the GIWA Methods Peer Review Board on 2 March, and the GIWA Steering Group, from 3-5 March. All these meetings will take place in Kalmar, Sweden. For more information, contact: GIWA Coordination Office, Kalmar, Sweden; tel: +46-480-447350; fax: +46-480-447355; e-mail: info@giwa.net; Internet: http://www.giwa.net

CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN ENDANGERED SPECIES STANDING COMMITTEE: The CITES Standing Committee will meet in Paris in June 2001. For more information, contact: CITES Secretariat, tel: +41-22-917-8139; fax: +41-22-797-3417; e-mail: cites@unep.ch; Internet: http://www.cites.org

FIRST SUBSTANTIVE SESSION OF THE UN FORUM ON FORESTS: This meeting will be held from 11-22 June 2001, in New York. For more information, contact: Secretariat, UN Forum on Forests; tel: +1-212-963-6208; fax: +1-212-963-3463 e-mail: barsk-rundquist@un.org; Internet: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/unff_2001_fsm.htm

21ST SESSION OF THE OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP OF THE PARTIES TO THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL: This meeting is provisionally scheduled to be held from 25-29 June 2001, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: Ozone Secretariat; tel: +254-2-62-1234 or 62-3851; fax: +254-2-62-3601 or 62-3913; e-mail: ozoneinfo@unep.org; Internet: http://www.unep.org/ozone

FIFTH SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE UN CONFERENCE TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION: COP-5 is scheduled to meet from 17-28 September 2001, in Bonn, Germany. For more information, contact: UNCCD Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-2800; fax: +49-228-815-2898/99; e-mail: secretariat@unccd.int; Internet: http://www.unccd.int

SECOND MEETING OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL COMMITTEE FOR THE CARTAGENA PROTOCOL: This meeting will take place in Montreal, Canada, from 1-5 October 2001. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: secretariat@biodiv.org; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org

EIGHTH PIC-INC MEETING: The eighth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for the Preparation of the Conference of Parties of the Rotterdam Convention for the Application of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade (INC-8) will be held from 8-12 October 2001, in Rome. For more information, contact: Niek van der Graaff, FAO; tel: +39-6-5705-3441; fax: +39-6-5705-6347; e-mail: Niek.VanderGraaff@fao.org; or Jim Willis, UNEP Chemicals; tel: +41-22-917-8111; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: chemicals@unep.ch; Internet: http://www.pic.int/

13TH MEETING OF THE PARTIES TO THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL: MOP-13 will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from 15-19 October 2001. For more information, contact: Ozone Secretariat; tel: +254-2-62-1234 or 62-3851; fax: +254-2-62-3601 or 62-3913; e-mail: e-mail: ozoneinfo@unep.org; Internet: http://www.unep.org/ozone

FCCC COP-7: This meeting is scheduled to take place from 29 October - 9 November 2001, in Marrakech, Morocco. For more information, contact: the FCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: secretariat@unfccc.int; Internet: http://www.unfccc.int/

CBD SBSTTA-7: The Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention on Biological Diversity will meet from 12-16 November 2001, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat, Montreal, Canada; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: secretariat@biodiv.org; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org/

WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (RIO+10): This UN Summit for the 10-year review of progress in implementing the outcome of the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio in 1992, will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2002. The exact dates are yet to be determined. The Summit will aim to reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable development at the highest level. More information is available online at: http://www.un.org/rio+10/

UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL: The 22nd regular session of the UNEP Governing Council is scheduled to be held from 3-7 February 2003 in Nairobi. For more information, contact: UNEP; tel: +254-2-621234; fax: +254-2-624489/90; e-mail:  cpiinfo@unep.org; Internet: http://www.unep.org

 

  • This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © enb@iisd.org is written and edited by Changbo Bai changbobai@hotmail.com, Emily Boyd emily@iisd.org, Leila Mead leila@iisd.org, Wagaki Mwangi wagaki@iisd.org, Chris Spence chris@iisd.org, and Thomas Yongo Tyongo@aol.com. The Digital Editor is Ken Tong ken@iisd.org. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. pam@iisd.org and the Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI kimo@iisd.org. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the United States (through USAID), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), and the European Commission (DG-ENV). General Support for the Bulletin during 2001 is provided by the German Federal Ministry of Environment (BMU) and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation (BMZ), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Austria, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Norway, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment of Finland, the Government of Australia, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, and the Ministry of the Environment of Japan (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies � IGES). Logistical and travel support for coverage of the UNEP Governing Council has been provided by UNEP. The Bulletin can be contacted by e-mail at enb@iisd.org and at tel: +1-212-644-0204; fax: +1-212-644-0206. IISD can be contacted by e-mail at info@iisd.ca and at 161 Portage Avenue East, 6th Floor, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 0Y4, Canada. The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and other funders. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications only, and only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services. Electronic versions of the Bulletin are sent to e-mail distribution lists and can be found on the Linkages WWW server at http://enb.iisd.org. The satellite image was taken above Nairobi �2001 The Living Earth, Inc. http://livingearth.com. For information on the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, send e-mail to enb@iisd.org.