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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
23 Feb
25 Feb &


Highlights from Wednesday, 23 February

Delegates to GC-23/GMEF met in the morning for the final session of the ministerial consultations to conclude discussions on the internationally agreed development goals, including those in the Millennium Declaration. The Committee of the Whole met in the morning, afternoon and evening to hear statements from MEA Secretariats, and consider cooperation and coordination within the UN system and several draft decisions. Contact groups on chemicals management, the Programme of Work and Budget and the drafting group met throughout the day and late into the evening. Above photo: Wangari Maathai, Nobel Laureate and Assistant Environment Minister, Kenya


Ministerial Consultations

UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer, GC President Rachmat Witoelar, and moderator of the discussions UK 's Minister for Environment and Agri-Environment, Elliot Morley. During the morning consultations, delegates discussed the draft President's Summary entitled the “Nairobi Communiqué.”

UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer (left) said that it is not a negotiated document, but a discussion paper which reflects views expressed at the ministerial consultations for the GC President to present to CSD-13. Many delegations supported the draft Summary.


Referring to the President's draft Summary, Daniel Mittler, Greenpeace, noted with approval the linkage made between poverty and the environment., and urged participants to extend debt relief to all developing countries. Enele Sopoaga, Tuvalu supported the thrust of the draft President's Summary. Italy supported the contents of the draft President's Summary and suggested adding “innovative mechanisms” and “partnerships” into “ Recommendations” under MDG Goal 1.

Adnan Amin and Halifa Drammeh, UNEP (left) and Elizabeth Thompson, Barbados ' Minister of Physical Development and the Environment consulting (right)

Knut Arild Hareide, Norway's Environment Minister (left) suggested making a strong statement on sanitation in the President's Summary.

UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer chatting with delegates (left) and John Turner, US, speaks with Malik Amin Aslam Khan, Pakistan's Minister of State for the Environment, and Moderator Eliot Morley. When discussing the draft President's Summary at the Ministerial Consultations, the US said that when mentioning debt and trade, reference should be made to mutual responsibilities, and opposed reference to 0.7% of GDP for ODA as an already established target.

Zaheer Fakir, South Africa, Rejoice Mabudhafasi, South Africa 's Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. South Africa and Lesotho's Minister of Environment Mathabiso Lepono

South Africa called for the inclusion of a reference to gender equality and environment skills in school curricula; and noted that the elimination of illiteracy should include a reference to adult illiteracy


Erna Witoelar, UN Special Ambassador for the Millennium Development Goals, and Surendra Shrestha, UNEP Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, who presented the findings of the UNEP report “After the Tsunami - Rapid Environmental Assessment,” highlighting: damage to coastal ecosystems; water and soil contamination; hazardous wastes; infrastructure damage; impact on livelihoods; and indigenous knowledge.
During the discussions on the tsunami, Erna Witoelar, UN Special Ambassador for the Millennium Development Goals, made a presentation on whether tsunami aid would compete with the implementation of the MDGs; Pasi Rinne, Chair, Asian Tsunami Task Force, introduced the activities of UNEP's Tsunami Task Force, and emphasized the importance of developing an early-warning system and environmental assessments; and the Sri Lankan delegate who gave a presentation on his country's experience in dealing with the aftermath of the tsunami.


Committee of the Whole
Shafqat Kakakhel, UNEP Deputy Executive Director, and COW Chair Beat Nobs
Monika Linn, UNEP (left), introduced the EMG's report. She outlined the EMG's input into the Bali Strategic Plan, and its future work programme. and CITES Executive Secretary Willem Wijnstekers underscored the importance of synergies, cooperation and the need for continuous information exchange. He noted the expanding role of CITES in the broader areas of conservation, including on the sustainable use of biodiversity.

Monique Barbut, Director of UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, gave an overview of the arrangements for Stockholm COP-1, identifying several major issues, including the: review process for entries in the register for specific exemptions; financial mechanism and MOU with the GEF; arrangements for the COP on monitoring data on POPs and their transport; rules of procedure; and POPs review committee.

Hamdallah Zedan, CBD Executive Secretary (right) , provided an overview of the key outcomes of COP-7, SBSTTA-11 and ABS-3, highlighting: the draft Programme of Work on Island Biodiversity; work on indicators and subtargets for the 2010 biodiversity target; biodiversity and climate; and the launch of negotiations on an international regime on access and benefit sharing


Indonesia (above), facilitator of the consultations on the draft decision on the Asian Tsunami

Ministerial Roundtable on Future Climate change Developments
Contact Group: Budget and Programme of Work

Contact group chair Frederic Renard (Belgium)


In considering the draft decision on administrative and other budgetary matters, delegates approved new text from the EU requesting the Executive Director to explore the possibilities for improving financial information flows between UNEP, UNON and convention secretariats.


Press Conference with Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai


Ratemo Michieka, Director General, National Environment Management Authority , UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai and Moses Ikiara, Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research & Analysis (KIPPRA)

Press Conference: A Civil Society Statement in Response to President Bush's Brussels Speech

Faith Gemmill, International Indian Treaty Council, Gwichin Nation of Alaska, Davinder Lamba, Chair, Global Civil Society Forum, Mazinzira Institute, Jean Luc Roux, Greenpeace, and Elenita Dano, Third World Network


The Institute@GC-23/GMEF
The training session on how to improve urban air quality through clean fuels and vehicle technologies was preceded by presentations on the topic by Bakary Kante, UNEP, Netherlands Environment Peter Minister Van Geel, Ratemo Michieka, Director General, National Environment Management Authority, and Ms. Ares, US Environmental Protection Agency

Miscellanous 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 relavent meetings:

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