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23rd Session of the UNEP Governing Council /
Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC-23/GMEF)

21-25 February 2005 | Nairobi, Kenya


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Daily Web coverage
25 Feb &


Highlights from Friday, 25 February

Delegates adopt decisions on chemicals, gender, Asian tsunami, and procurement practices of UNEP Among other things, delegates agreed on Friday to take action on heavy metals and to strengthen UNEP's finances and work in areas ranging from water and women to disaster preparedness and scientific assessment.On Friday, delegates met in a morning Plenary session and heard a report from the African Business and Sustainable Development Roundtable. The budget contact group met briefly to finalize the draft decision on POW and budget. The final text was forwarded to the Plenary for adoption. Delegates also met in a morning COW session to approve draft decisions on: the provisional agendas of the CGSS-9/GMEF and GC-24/GMEF; environmental and equity considerations in the procurement practices of the UNEP; poverty and the environment; chemicals management; and gender equality and the environment. In the afternoon, the final Plenary convened to: adopt ten decisions and reports of the ministerial consultations, and the report of the session. Delegates also listened to regional groups' statements, closing remarks by the Executive Director, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai and Vice-President Laurent Sedogo, on behalf of the GC President

Closing Plenary


UNEP Deputy Executive Director Shafqat Kakakhel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai, and UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer

Professor Wangarai Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, expressed hope that the Bali Strategic Plan would empower people in developing countries to utilize technology and resources for their people. She asked delegates to do what they could to help the environment.



Vice President Laurent Sedogo of Burkina Faso presided over the closing Plenary (right) and made closing remarks on behalf of the GC President, expressing satisfaction at the result of the meeting in charting UNEP's future course to realizing the MDGs. He said the session could be considered a landmark in the story of UNEP. Emphasizing the Bali Strategic Plan as a “leap into the future,” he called on governments to provide financial resources to support the plan within their capacities.
During his closing statement, UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said this was the most important GC/GMEF meeting in UNEP's history, and expressed UNEP's commitment to promote the integration of the environment into every component of the development agenda.
Delegates read the decisions during the Closing Plenary (left), and Philippe Roch, State Secretary, Director, Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests and Landscape, and COW Chair Beat Nobs
Claudia McMurray, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, US (left), congratulated the contact group on chemicals management for its work, and expressed satisfaction with the decision on chemicals, as it will ensure immediate action on mercury.She also said the US pledged more than one million dollars to support the Mercury Programme and the mercury partnerships approach adopted at GC-23/GMEF.
Budget Contact Group Chair Frederic Renard, Permanent Representative to UNEP from Belgium (center) presented the decision on the Programme of Work and the budget, which was adopted without amendment. Regarding a paragraph on staffing tables for 2006 –2007 in the decision, the US stated that it does not intend to increase contributions to fund any new positions.
Drafting Group Chair Paul B. Lolo, Nigeria (right) presented drafting decisions on water and IEG.
Claudia McMurray, US, with Tanzanian Environment Minister Arcado Ntagazwa (left) and Bagher Assadi, Iran, speaks with Jill Hanna, European Commission
Elliot Morley, UK, speaking for the EU (left), emphasized that the EU was satisfied with the decisions adopted, including the Bali Strategic Plan, and those related to chemicals, gender equality, poverty and environment, and water, and stated that he looked forward to bringing this input to CSD-13 and the General Assembly Millennium Summit Review Meeting; Elliot Morley with the delegate from Sri Lanka (center); and Lowell Flanders, UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs, expressed concern over a paragraph in the decision on poverty and the environment that calls on governments to integrate environmental decisions into social and economic considerations.

Morning Plenary

Cameron Rennie, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (left), presented the results of the African Business and Sustainable Development Roundtable, which focused on challenges and opportunities related to access to water and electricity in Africa . He said that participants discussed, inter alia, issues related to: private investment; transparency and accountability; new business models; corruption; and modalities for risk sharing.
UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer (center) emphasized the this was the first GC meeting with such comprehensive input from the private sector and hoped this format would be continued in the future.
Zambia (right) pointed out that the presentation did not include discussions on debt that had taken place during the roundtable, and stated that the scarce investment flows into Africa contributes to unemployment

Nigeria made closing remarks on behalf of the Africa Group, and thanked everyone for their great work. The Netherlands during the Closing Plenary and Rapporteur Donald Cooper (Bahamas) presented the report of the Session to the GC for adoption

Committee of the Whole

Antonio Gonzales, International Indian Treaty Council, speaking for Indigenous Peoples, said indigenous peoples are disproportionately affected by mercury releases and contamination, and urged UNEP to support further long-term international action on mercury, including a legally-binding instrument. He also said indigenous peoples have been primarily impacted due to tons of mercury being disposed of within their environment as a result of historical gold mining on their lands.


COW Chair Beat Nobs speaks with Margaret McCauley, US (lefT) and delegates line up to get the final decision documents in the COW


Olivier Deleuze, Major Groups and Stakeholders Branch, Division of Policy Development and Law, UNEP (left) and Beat Nobs with Wolfgang Bahenne, Center for Environmental Law


Executive Secretary of the Basel Convention, Sachiko Kuwabara-Yamamoto (left) and Antonio Gonzales, International Indian Treaty Council (right)
John Buccini, UNEP Chemicals, with Viveka Bohn, Chair of the Chemicals Contact Group (left); and COW Chair Beat Nobs
Alessandro Peru, Italian Ministry of the Environment (left) and delegates discussing the draft decision on gender (right)

Press Conference highlighting decisions taken by the GC, including the decision on mercury
Viveka Bohn, Chemicals Contact Group Chair, UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer, GC President Rachmat Witoelar and John Buccini, UNEP Chemicals

Miscellaneous Photos


 Pre-session events and Parallel Events

ENB coverage of relevant and preparatory meetings:

ENB coverage of UNEP's Intergovernmental Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building:

  • ISP-3 Bali, Indonesia, 2-4 December, 2004
  • ISP-2 Nairobi, Kenya, 2-4 September, 2004
  • ISP-1 New York, US 25 June, 2004

Other relevant meetings:

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