The virtual session of the First Global Meeting of the National Focal Points Under the Fifth Programme for the Development and Periodic Review of Environmental Law (Montevideo Programme V) focused half of its first day on one crucial agenda item: discussion of the proposals for priority areas for Programme implementation.
The eight areas proposed by the Secretariat, based on a January 2021 survey of national focal points, include:
- legal responses to address the air pollution crisis;
- legal responses to combat the climate crisis;
- legal responses to combat the biodiversity crisis;
- legal responses to strengthen frameworks on environmental crime and environmental liability;
- strengthening information and data exchange, and raising awareness of environmental law;
- public participation, access to information, and access to justice;
- environmental law and the three pillars of the Charter of the United Nations; and
- strengthening education and training in environmental law.
All delegates making interventions expressed support for the areas, as well as for the proposal for an initial Programme implementation focus on air pollution.
The meeting also considered reports on the status of national focal points and on Programme implementation, activities, and funding. The Secretariat reported the designation of 136 national focal points to date, with more expected in the coming months. Regarding implementation status, the Secretariat said that while the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed many activities and fundraising, the Secretariat nonetheless has:
- conducted outreach to Programme partners;
- developed communication products regarding the Programme;
- launched the UNEP Law and Environment Assistance Platform (LEAP) to coordinate information exchange and activity implementation under the Programme; and
- prepared a global assessment of air pollution legislation, a survey of national policy and legislation on the management of different kinds of COVID-19-related waste, and a survey of environmental courts and tribunals.
The virtual session of the First Global Meeting of National Focal Points for Montevideo Programme V will reconvene on 3 and 4 June 2021 to continue discussion on: priority areas for implementation, partnership and stakeholder arrangements; the designation of a steering committee for implementation; and modalities of work for the steering committee.
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