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Third Meeting of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Group of Ministers or their Representatives on International Environmental Governance
Algiers, Algeria; 9-10 September 2001

The third meeting of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Group of Ministers or their Representatives on International Environmental Governance (IGM-3) was convened in Algiers, Algeria, on 9-10 September 2001. Over 250 participants from 92 countries, including over 20 ministers, were in attendance.

Participants were invited to consider a revised report on International Environmental Governance by the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme and the Proposals of the President of the UNEP Governing Council, David Anderson, which delegates referred to as the "building blocks" document on IEG.

Participants also addressed, inter alia, a possible role for the Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GMEF) as a cornerstone of International Environmental Governance (IEG), and enhancing synergies and cooperation across MEAs while avoiding the creation of new institutions. Delighted at its outcome and achievements, participants reported that IGM-3 had charted a course that would steer negotiations to a speedy conclusion, possibly as early as IGM-4 in Montreal. Continued in ENB Summary...

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Sounds and images from Monday 10 September (day 2)
Working Group I
Mohammed Vali Moosa (South Africa) convened Working Group I for a discussion based on two of the themes in Chair Anderson's "building blocks" document, namely improving coherence in policy making - the role and structure of the GMEF, and strengthening the role, authority, and financial situation of UNEP. He explained that the intention of the working group was to inform the preparation of specific proposals to be tabled at IGM-4, in Montreal, in December 2001, and that the Executive Director of UNEP and the IGM Chair would prepare these proposals.
India, on behalf of the G-77/China, called for an evolutionary process without eroding structures such as the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). He clarification of: the role(s) of the UNEP Governing Council and the GMEF; the implications of universal membership of the GMEF; and the GMEF's legal relationship with COPs.
G-77/China Opening statement:
Part one  Part two
On the question of UNEP's transformation into a specialized agency, Canada argued that the proposed status change could break the logjams facing UNEP.
Colombia (represented here by Germán Garcia-Durán) called for clarification of the legal status of the GMEF and for more work on the interpretation of its UNGA mandate in Resolution 53/242.
Working Group II
Working Group II considered two "building blocks" in Chair Anderson's document, which deal with improved coordination and coherence between MEAs, and the role of the EMG in enhancing coordination across the United Nations system. Working Group Chair Philippe Roch (Switzerland) outlined the proposals contained in the paper and invited delegates' comments.
CITES said that: coordination and coherence must go beyond working with MEAs; the emergence of issues is unpredictable, thus posing difficulties for pre-defining work on coordination; there is potential for coordination of capacity building; and that competition over resources among agencies is a reality. He drew attention to the need for national-level coordination and requested that UNEP organize a meeting of the heads of Conventions and establish a clearinghouse for information on meetings.
Listen to presentation made by Willem Wijnstekers, Secretary-General of CITES
Working Group II at work, in Congress Room B.
Reports of the Working Groups to Plenary
Presenting his report on deliberations at Working Group I, Chair Moosa (photo at top of page) described the extremely active and constructive participation of 22 delegations. In general there had been support for Chair Anderson's "building blocks" with additional proposals to consider sustainable development, technology transfer, capacity building and finance.
Report of Working Group I

Presenting the Report from Working Group II, Rapporteur Richard Ballhorn (Canada) noted that discussion had focused on improving MEA coordination and coherence, that finance issues had been raised in the discussion under both issues, that only 20 minutes were dedicated to discussion of the EMG's role, and that finance issues had been raised in the discussion on both issues.
Report of Working Group II

Responding to the summary, the G-77/China: emphasized the need to recognize the role of the CSD as the high-level policy body of the UN on sustainable development, in accordance with GA resolution 53/242 and that the GMEF input to the MEAs must be advisory. This advice could address inter-linkages or crosscutting issues, but should not be policy advice.
Part one  Part two
Belgium, on behalf of the EU, highlighted its priorities: a pilot project on MEA clustering; a report from UNEP on functional clustering; acknowledgement that regional clustering is already happening; and the need for high-level executive representation in the EMG.
Part one  Part two

Explaining the next steps in the IEG deliberations, Chair Anderson said the UNEP Executive Director will incorporate participants' views in a revision of his Report on IEG and a summary of the main points will be distributed. Chair Anderson will present a refined proposal to IGM-4 in Montreal, Canada, on 1 December, to launch the final stage in the IGM process. During the intersessional period, he will undertake informal consultations with regional groups and others. Written submissions to the process will also be circulated. The United States, supported by Egypt, asked Chair Anderson to circulate his refined proposal ahead of IGM-4
Anderson describes the next steps

David Anderson, Canadian Minister of the Environment and Chair of IGM-3; Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of UNEP; Mohammed Vali Moussa, South African Minister of the Environment and Cherif Rahmani, Algerian Minister of the Environment; waiting in front of the Palais des Nations for the arrival of Ali Benflis, Prime Minister of Algeria.
Töpfer greets Prime Minister Benflis
Closing Plenary
UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer said while he had expected the meeting to be difficult, the President Anderson's "building blocks" had enabled the conclusion of a good meeting. He noted that delegates got down to business but that Cartagena would be the end of the IGM/IEG process. He also said he had learned that the information provided on the weaknesses of the IEG had not been sufficient, there was need for more clarification on the GMEF and EMG, and to emphasize environmental governance at the national level.
Töpfer's closing statement:
part one  part two
President Anderson said that the meeting had been productive and had advanced the IGM/IEG work, and acknowledged the importance of the spirit of ownership by delegates of this process and expressed hope that it would continue. He stated that regional groups had come with open and constructive minds and had offered good perspectives, noting especially the level of engagement and participation from Africa. He reminded delegates that the IED's success is vital for the broader preparatory process of Johannesburg. He expressed confidence about the possibility to conclude the IGM's work by the next session of the Governing Council.
Anderson's closing statement

Algerian Prime Minister Ali Benflis noted shortcomings in environmental governance and said he was confident that constructive debate had improved the quality of discussion. He stated that environmental protection requires additional financing, drew attention to the need to improve UNEP's financial base and expressed hope that the conclusions reached on institutional issues would result in revitalizing action on the global environment.
Prime Minister Benflis' closing statement

Media attention
Above: Töpfer being interviewed by Algerian radio (left) and television (right).
Below, from left to right: Rahmani, Anderson, Töpfer and Moosa during the closing press conference.
Palais des Nations Conference Center
Above and below: scenes from inside the Palais des Nations. Top left: Jorge Illueca, UNEP Assistant Executive Director chats with Willem Wijnstekers, Secretary-General of CITES.

IEG Secretariat web site with official documents
ENB Coverage of the Second IEG Meeting
ENB Coverage of the First IEG Meeting at the 9th Session of the CSD
ENB Summary of
Expert Consultations on International Environmental Governance
Linkages page for the UNEP Governing Council
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© 2001, Earth Negotiations Bulletin. All rights reserved.