Friday, 25 February 2022, the final day of the meeting, seemed to have crept up on the Open-ended Committee of Permanent Representatives (OECPR), almost by surprise. Delegates, though visibly tired from late night consultations, pressed forward, scrambling between different clusters of issues to finalize draft resolutions for consideration by UNEA 5.2, which is set to begin on Monday, 28 February 2022.
Delegates held back-to-back discussions, with a view to finalizing text, addressing, among others: the sound management of chemicals and waste; sustainable and resilient infrastructure; and mineral resource governance. These, and several other draft resolutions, were forwarded to UNEA for further consideration, after delegates were unable to complete their work.
In the closing plenary, they forwarded three clean resolutions to UNEA for adoption on: sustainable nitrogen management; the future of the Global Environment Outlook (GEO); and animal welfare-environment and sustainable development nexus. Although they did not complete their work, delegates discussing the intergovernmental negotiating committee on plastic pollution tentatively agreed that the committee would address plastic pollution, including in the marine environment.
Informal meetings have been planned for the weekend, including on the draft ministerial declaration on UNEP@50.
Ukraine bracketed the entire draft resolution on compliance of equitable geographical representation and balance in the secretariat of UNEP, which had been proposed by the Russian Federation. In the closing plenary, several delegations subsequently rejected the resolution, reiterating that the OECPR is not the correct forum to address this issue.
Ukraine, the EU, US, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, and the UK used this opportunity to condemn the violation of Ukraine’s territorial sovereignty by the Russian Federation.
In her closing remarks, UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen thanked delegates for all their work, praising her staff for their dedication to the process. Closing the meeting, Committee of Permanent Representatives Chair Luísa Fragoso (Portugal), appreciated the “spirit of Nairobi” guiding negotiations on difficult issues, and wished delegations the best of luck as they finalize their work at UNEA. She gaveled the meeting to close at 11:44 pm.