Summary report, 20–22 February 2008

10th Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GCSS-10/GMEF)

The tenth Special Session of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GCSS-10/GMEF) took place from 20-22 February 2008, in the Principality of Monaco. Over 800 participants, including delegates from 138 countries, as well as representatives of UN agencies, international organizations, business and industry, academia, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and women and youth organizations, attended the three-day gathering. Fifty-six of the 58 members of the Governing Council were represented.

Delegates convened in plenary sessions, a Committee of the Whole (COW), and several contact and drafting groups to consider draft decisions. Ministerial consultations addressed the emerging policy issues of mobilizing finance to meet the climate challenge, and international environmental governance (IEG) and UN reform. The GC/GMEF concluded its work by adopting five decisions on: the UNEP Medium-term Strategy 2010-2013 (MTS)chemicals management, including mercury and waste management; the Global Environment Outlook (GEO)sustainable development of the Arctic region; and the International Decade for Combating Climate Change.

As delegates left the Grimaldi Forum conference centre on Friday evening, they expressed satisfaction with the outcomes of GCSS-10/GMEF, in particular the decision on the MTS that authorizes the Executive Director to use it in formulating the strategic frameworks and programmes of work of UNEP. The debates on the emerging policy issues were also welcomed, with many commenting that GCSS-10/GMEF conveyed a sense of urgency to find solutions for the climate change and IEG challenges.


Upon the recommendation of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, the UN General Assembly, in its resolution 2997 (XXVII) of 1972, established UNEP as the central UN node for global environmental cooperation and treaty making. The resolution also established the UNEP Governing Council (GC) to provide a forum for the international community to address major and emerging environmental policy issues. The GC’s responsibilities include the promotion of international environmental cooperation and the recommendation of policies to achieve this, and the provision of policy guidance for the direction and coordination of environmental programmes in the UN system. The GC reports to the UN General Assembly, which also elects the GC’s 58 members for four-year terms, taking into account the principle of equitable geographical representation. The GMEF is constituted by the GC, as envisaged in UN General Assembly resolution 53/242. The purpose of the GMEF is to institute, at a high political level, a process for reviewing important and emerging policy issues in the field of the environment.

GC-19: The nineteenth session of the GC convened in two segments from 27 January - 7 February 1997, and from 3-4 April 1997, in Nairobi, Kenya. Delegates adopted the Nairobi Declaration on the Role and Mandate of UNEP, which expanded the mandate to include: analyzing the state of the global environment; assessing global and regional environmental trends; providing policy advice and early warning information on environmental threats; and catalyzing and promoting international cooperation and action, based on the best scientific and technical capabilities available.

GC-20: GC-20 took place from 1-5 February 1999, in Nairobi, and adopted over 30 decisions on a range of topics, including: the Environment Fund, administrative and budgetary matters; linkages among and support to environmental and environment-related conventions; and policy issues, including the state of the environment, coordination and cooperation within and outside the UN, UNEP governance and emerging policy issues.

GCSS-6/GMEF: The sixth Special Session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GCSS-6/GMEF) took place from 29-31 May 2000, in Malmö, Sweden. Ministers adopted the Malmö Ministerial Declaration, which agreed that the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) should review the requirements for a greatly strengthened institutional structure for IEG.

GC-21/GMEF: GC-21/GMEF took place from 5-9 February 2001, in Nairobi. Delegates established the Open-ended Intergovernmental Group of Ministers or Their Representatives (IGM) to undertake a comprehensive policy-oriented assessment of existing institutional weaknesses, as well as future needs and options for strengthening IEG. They also adopted decision 21/7, which requested the UNEP Executive Director to examine the need for a strategic approach to international chemicals management (SAICM).

GCSS-7/GMEF: GCSS-7/GMEF was held from 13-15 February 2002, in Cartagena, Colombia. In its decision SS.VII/1, GC/GMEF adopted the IGM report, which contains recommendations aimed at strengthening IEG, including through: improved coherence in international environmental policy-making; strengthening the role and financial situation of UNEP; improved coordination among and effectiveness of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs); and capacity building, technology transfer and country-level coordination. Delegates also adopted decisions including on SAICM at the global level.

WSSD: The WSSD was held from 26 August - 4 September 2002, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) sets out a framework of action to implement the commitments originally agreed at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. The JPOI, among other things, emphasizes that the international community should fully implement the outcomes of UNEP decision SS.VII/1 on IEG.

GC-22/GMEF: GC-22/GMEF took place from 3-7 February 2003, in Nairobi. Delegates adopted more than 40 decisions on issues relating to IEG, post-conflict environmental assessment, UNEP’s water policy and strategy, SAICM, a mercury programme, support to Africa, production and consumption patterns, and the environment and cultural diversity.

CSS-8/GMEF: GCSS-8/GMEF took place from 29-31 March 2004, in Jeju, Republic of Korea. At the conclusion of the ministerial consultations, delegates adopted the “Jeju Initiative,” containing the Chair’s summary of the discussions and decisions on: small island developing states; waste management; regional annexes; and the implementation of decision SS.VII/1 on IEG.

GC-23/GMEF: The GC-23/GMEF took place from 21-25 February 2005, in Nairobi. Ministers considered the implementation of internationally agreed development goals, and adopted decisions on, among other things: the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity-building; IEG; chemicals management; UNEP’s water policy and strategy; gender equality and the environment; poverty and the environment; and strengthening environmental emergency response and developing disaster prevention, preparedness, mitigation and early warning systems.

2005 WORLD SUMMIT: The 2005 World Summit was held at UN headquarters in New York, from 14-16 September. Delegates recognized the need for more efficient environmental activities in the UN system, through, inter alia, enhanced coordination, improved policy advice and guidance, and strengthened scientific knowledge. They further agreed to explore the possibility of a more coherent institutional framework, including a more integrated structure, building on existing institutions and internationally agreed instruments, as well as treaty bodies and UN specialized agencies.

ICCM: The International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM) was held from 4-6 February 2006, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, immediately prior to GCSS-9/GMEF. Delegates completed negotiations and adopted the SAICM, including a high-level declaration, overarching policy strategy and global plan of action.

GCSS-9/GMEF: GCSS-9/GMEF was held from 7-9 February 2006, in Dubai, and adopted the decision on SAICM. Ministerial consultations addressed, inter alia, policy issues relating to energy and the environment, chemicals management, and tourism and the environment. The plenary discussion on IEG, outcome of the 2005 World Summit, and GC universal membership did not produce an agreed outcome and delegates decided that the report of the meeting should reflect the divergent views expressed.

GC-24/GMEF: GC-24/GMEF convened from 5-9 February 2007, in Nairobi. Delegates adopted 15 decisions on issues relating, inter alia, to: chemicals, including a provision to establish the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group to Review and Assess Measures to Address the Global Issue of Mercury; the world environmental situation; IEG; South-South cooperation; waste management; 2010-2020 UN Decade for Deserts and the Fight Against Desertification; UNEP’s updated water policy and strategy; and support to Africa in environmental management and protection. The GC/GMEF also approved the budget and work programme for the 2008-2009 biennium.


On Wednesday morning, 20 February 2008, Bakary Kante, Director of UNEP Division of Environmental Law and Conventions, opened the GCSS-10/GMEF. GC/GMEF President Roberto Dobles Mora (Costa Rica) thanked the Principality of Monaco for hosting the GCSS-10/GMEF, noting the responsibility of all participants to show leadership in responding to environmental challenges. He underlined the importance of the fourth edition of the Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4) report and the UNEP Medium-term Strategy 2010-2013 (MTS) to this session.

In a video statement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the importance of addressing climate change and said UNEP can contribute by developing better financing, mitigation and adaptation methodologies and strengthening environmental institutions.

Inga Björk-Klevby, UN-HABITAT Deputy Executive Director, on behalf of UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka, called for empowering cities to develop low-carbon economies and mobilize financial resources including through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner announced that His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco has been nominated for UNEP’s 2008 Champions of the Earth Award in recognition of his personal interest in and political commitment to environmental issues. Noting the record number of high-level participants at GCSS-10/GMEF, he emphasized the Forum’s role as a source of inspiration to drive the transformation to a greener economy. 

Prince Albert II said that the fate of nations is inextricably linked to ecological resources. He highlighted scientific evidence of climate change, referring to his own observations of the effects of severe warming in the Arctic, and described Monaco’s record in addressing the challenge of climate change.

ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: Delegates adopted the draft agenda without amendment (UNEP/GCSS.X/1 and Add.1) and agreed on the GCSS-10/GMEF’s organization of work.

NOBEL PRIZE LAUREATES PANEL DISCUSSION: Introducing the discussion, UNEP Executive Director Steiner noted that over the past three years the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded twice for commitment on environmental issues. 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Wangari Maathai, in a speech delivered on her behalf, drew attention to the current political instability in Kenya, and underscored the links between environment and peace, pinpointing trees as symbols of both. Mohan Munasinghe, Vice-Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), described practical solutions and policy options to integrate climate change responses into sustainable development strategies.

UNEP EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S POLICY STATEMENT: On Wednesday morning, UNEP Executive Director Steiner delivered his policy statement (UNEP/GCSS/X/2), in which he focused on the process of transforming UNEP into a results-based organization and on moving from a “brown” to a “green” economy. He highlighted progress made on programmatic coherence, quality and performance of business processes, fund management and fiduciary responsibility, gender representation and senior management recruitments. Steiner noted the recently strengthened financial situation of UNEP as a sign of donor support, and recognized some developing countries that, for the first time, had made voluntary contributions to the Environment Fund according to the indicative scale of contributions. Noting the need to complement, not duplicate, international action on climate change, he outlined UNEP partnerships, including the Green Jobs Initiative and work with the World Trade Organization (WTO) on links between climate change and trade policy.

Steiner also presented the proposed MTS (UNEP/GCSS/X/8), noting that its six cross-cutting thematic priorities – climate change, disasters and conflicts, ecosystem management, environmental governance, harmful substances and hazardous waste, and resource efficiency – are areas where UNEP can make a “transformative difference.” He highlighted the MTS as a significant step in making UNEP more effective, efficient, results-focused and science-based, as requested by GC-24. He stressed that delivering the MTS to the GC a year earlier than requested was aimed at incorporating strategic guidance from the GCSS-10/GMEF in developing UNEP’s future programmes of work. Emphasizing that the MTS has no budget attached to it, he said that its approval is important to give strategic instructions for pursuing UNEP reform.

In the ensuing discussion, the US noted the need to find innovative mechanisms for financing climate change and welcomed the development of the MTS. He also proposed to minimize the number of decisions negotiated at the GC/GMEF special sessions, and suggested that all decisions apart from the MTS could be deferred to GC-25/GMEF next year. Switzerland noted it was ready to discuss the idea of minimizing decisions, while Women, speaking for several major groups, opposed restricting the decision-making authority of the GCSS/GMEF.

Slovenia, on behalf of the European Union (EU), supported approval and full implementation of the MTS. Norway pledged additional funding for its implementation. Supporting the MTS priority areas, Pakistan highlighted: phasing out old technologies and increasing investment into clean and safe production methods; capacity building for the management of ecosystems, hazardous substances and wastes; and strengthening interlinkages among MEAs.


Under the chairmanship of GC/GMEF President Dobles, ministers and heads of delegation held panel discussions and roundtables to discuss the themes of mobilizing finance to meet the climate challenge, and international environment governance and UN reform (UNEP/GCSS/X/9), from Wednesday afternoon to Friday morning. They engaged in an active dialogue that produced a rich mix of ideas, perspectives, observations and experiences. The outcomes of these discussions are reflected in the non-negotiated President’s summary.

MOBILIZING FINANCE TO MEET THE CLIMATE CHALLENGE: Role of national policies in enabling investment: Moderated by James Cameron, Vice Chairman, Climate Change Capital, the panel discussion took place on Wednesday afternoon.

Noting that finance and technology are two key areas for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Rachmat Witoelar, Minister of Environment, Indonesia, advocated supportive policies and regulations to shift private sector investments to low GHG emitting technologies, and develop fair, cost-effective and transparent funding mechanisms.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer stressed that a key challenge for the upcoming climate regime negotiations is to find the appropriate mix of financial tools to support “green growth” worldwide, especially in the developing world. He outlined approaches such as the CDM, emission-trading schemes, voluntary offset schemes, export credits and loan guarantees.

Guangsheng Gao, Director-General, National Development and Reform Commission, China introduced his country’s national programme on climate change, which aims for a 15% renewable energy share by 2020, and emphasized the importance of public-private cooperation.

Sigmar Gabriel, Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany, announced a new initiative on auctioning CO2 emission allowances that is expected to raise €400 million annually, €120 million of which will be made available for climate funding in developing countries.

Erik Solheim, Minister of Environment and International Development, Norway, stressed the need for a global price on carbon, and technology transfer and financial assistance to developing countries.

Batilda Burian, Minister of State for Environment, Tanzania, prioritized, inter alia: providing incentives for innovation and the deployment of new technology; shifting funding towards climate-friendly investments; and promoting carbon markets.

Juan Somavia, Director-General, International Labour Organisation (ILO), underscored the role of enterprise in mobilizing finance to address the climate challenge; the potential of “green jobs”; and the role of the ILO in promoting social dialogue.

Are the financial markets ready? This panel discussion, moderated by Bert Koenders, Minister for Development Cooperation, the Netherlands, took place on Thursday morning.

Given the expected shortfall in public funding, Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility (GEF), outlined requirements for private sector engagement, including: clear policy goals; public institutions supporting technological “leapfrogging” in developing countries; governmental financial support for innovation; and distributing transformation costs effectively.

Michael Liebreich, CEO, New Energy Finance, said that the estimated US$100-140 billion needed for clean energy development is available. Observing increasing investments in many parts of the world, he pointed to imbalances in investment flows, with funds going predominately to Brazil, India and China, but not Africa.

Robert Tacon, Risk Management Head, Standard Chartered Bank, and UNEP Finance Initiative Chairman, noted rapid progress in the field of responsible investment. He emphasized the need for regulations by 2009 to allow markets to expand.

Kristalina Georgieva, Director, Strategy and Operations, Sustainable Development, and Vice President, World Bank, emphasized the importance of pricing carbon.

Andreas Carlgren, Minister of Environment, Sweden, described Swedish and European experiences in pricing carbon as part of the effort to “green” the tax system. He emphasized that considerable GHG emission reductions achieved in Sweden since 1990 coincided with significant economic growth.

Neil Eckert, CEO, Climate Exchange PLC, emphasized the need for a high carbon price and market predictability. He encouraged all developing countries to host CDM projects, citing strong market demand.

Olav Kjørven, Director, Bureau for Development Policy, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), argued that financial markets are not yet ready to mobilize necessary finances to address the climate challenge, identifying three major constraints: the absence of a carbon price; insufficient proactiveness of the financial sector; and imperfections in the multilateral system.

In the discussion, South Africa expressed concern that a new fund for climate change adaptation, to be established by the World Bank, would duplicate the Adaptation Fund under UNFCCC. Georgieva responded that the World Bank intends to create a small fund aimed at helping developing countries make a transition to a low-carbon economy, underlining it will not overlap with the UNFCCC Adaptation Fund. Maldives called for small island developing states (SIDS) to have better access to finance and renewable energy technologies. New Zealand highlighted an emissions trading scheme involving sectors like agriculture and forestry. The Netherlands stressed the importance of developing countries’ access to finance and technology, with Belarus noting that the same should apply to the countries with economies in transition. Japan announced its plan to create a US$10 billion multilateral fund for mitigation, together with the UK and the US.

Mobilizing capital – the local perspective: Moderated by UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, the ministerial discussion on the topic was held on Thursday afternoon.

Apirak Kosayodhin, Governor of Bangkok, described the city’s climate change strategy, which envisages a 15% reduction of GHG emissions by 2012. Fernando Ibanez, CEO, Saguapac, presented a project on reducing methane produced in the treatment of wastewater in Bolivia, encouraging the transfer of this technology to other countries. Noting that 40% of Ghanaians do not have electricity, Andrew Etwire, CEO, Power World Limited, described his company’s work on providing energy efficient technologies to companies and individuals.

Barbara James, CEO, Henshaw Capital Partners, proposed measures to boost investment in clean energy in Africa, including removing restrictions on venture capital investments by pension funds and insurance companies. Harish Hande, Chairman, SELCO Solar Light, drew attention to perceived and real market distortions associated with renewable energy, arguing that the main barriers are related to policy, rather than finance.

Roundtable reports: On Thursday afternoon, facilitators of the four roundtables reported to the ministerial consultations on the issues and recommendations arising from discussions held on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. While some groups opined that financial markets are generally ready to mobilize the necessary capital, others believed they were constrained by a lack of clear policy frameworks. They agreed that while funding was available, it was not equally distributed geographically.

The facilitators emphasized, among other things, policy measures, including: national policy and regulatory frameworks, institutional strengthening, and support for research on energy-efficient technologies. On financial measures, they prioritized: finding alternative sources of financing; developing incentives; optimizing public finance; reducing market barriers; and exploring taxation mechanisms.

The facilitators stressed the role of UN agencies in developing a comprehensive climate change framework with a coherent financial architecture to provide adequate and predictable financing. They said efforts to address climate change should go hand-in-hand with actions to achieve sustainable development and poverty reduction. It was also emphasized that the architecture of the carbon market and CDM needs to be made more accessible to developing countries that require additional funding for adaptation.

INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE AND UN REFORM: This panel discussion took place on Friday morning and was moderated by Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, South Africa.

João Paulo Capobianco, Vice-Minister of Environment, Brazil, reported on the outcomes of the Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development on IEG held in Rio de Janeiro in September 2007, including the four options proposed, namely: an independent UN institution; creating an umbrella body, composed of existing institutions such as UNEP, GEF and the World Bank; empowering regional organizations; and enhancing the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). He said Brazil supports the second option.

Amb. Claude Heller (Mexico), Co-Chair of the Informal Consultative Process on the Institutional Framework for the UN Environmental Activities, reported on the progress of consultations on IEG since the Options Paper was presented to the UN General Assembly in June 2007. He noted member states’ willingness to take a gradual approach on IEG, but said the establishment of a UN Environment Organization (UNEO) requires more discussion. Co-Chair Amb. Peter Maurer (Switzerland) outlined the proposal for a General Assembly resolution that would elaborate on the seven building blocks identified in the Options Paper, as well as on future needs, and define a way forward. He also urged delegates to leverage political support nationally for the resolution.

Francisco Santos, Vice-President of Colombia, drew attention to IEG challenges using the example of coca production driving deforestation in his country. Claudia McMurray, US Assistant Secretary of State, said the US believes that the current IEG structure has its advantages. She supported strengthening UNEP to improve its efficiency and effectiveness, and called for clearly defining the mandates of various institutions, strengthening cooperation and adopting a bottom-up approach. James Leape, WWF Director-General, lamented the lack of momentum on IEG despite the urgency of environmental challenges documented in the GEO-4. Mark Halle, Director of Trade and Investment, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), argued that the current IEG system is not equipped to deal with the ever-growing challenges, and advocated for the environment to be placed at the heart of economic and political decision-making.

In the discussion, many speakers expressed support for keeping Nairobi as the location of the UN environmental agency headquarters, and called for increased financial contributions to UNEP. The EU emphasized the need for a more coherent IEG system, welcomed the progress made on identifying options, stated its support for the identified building blocks, and stressed that formal negotiations on IEG reform should start during the General Assembly’s 63rd session. France outlined its reasons for leading efforts towards a UNEO, urging UNEP to take the lead on developing a more coherent IEG structure. Germany further proposed to work simultaneously on improving the current status of UNEP and designing the future IEG system.

Supporting the establishment of a UNEO: Iceland emphasized its potential role in policy-setting; Portugal regretted the inefficient use of resources despite efforts to improve coordination; Italy said good governance is a precondition for effective implementation; and Finland urged greater coherence among the MEAs. Guinea stressed that UNEP should lead efforts to reach agreement on the “environmental roadmap.” The Republic of Korea reiterated commitment to strengthening IEG and willingness to participate in UNEO discussions. Zimbabwe said UNEP should evolve from a programme to a fully-fledged organization, while Maldives supported a wider and stronger mandate for UNEP in order to assist countries in fighting climate change and achieving sustainable development. Switzerland expressed concern that the IEG process has lost momentum, calling for shared implementation of the Options Paper’s recommendations between the GA and UNEP GC/GMEF. Senegal highlighted the link between the reform of IEG and that of the UN system as a whole.

Expressing reservations on UNEO, Mexico favored “regeneration” of UNEP before seeking radical transformation. Japan noted that institutional reform alone will not resolve all environmental problems, advocating UNEP’s guidance to the MEAs. Malaysia opposed the creation of a new UN agency on environment. Thailand emphasized the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. Iran favored an efficient, small UNEP as opposed to a large ineffective organization.

Acknowledging the divergent views on IEG, the US noted that the proposed General Assembly resolution would help identify common ground. China underscored strengthening the role of the GMEF in guiding policy development, and enhancing UNEP’s policy role vis-à-vis the GEF. With Indonesia, he also advocated integrating IEG into the broader sustainable development framework, and making capacity building in developing countries an IEG priority. India highlighted the importance of development and poverty reduction objectives. Nigeria called for the urgent implementation of the Bali Strategic Plan.

Responding to the issues raised, Halle said that there is consensus on strengthening IEG, but no agreement on how to do it. Leape emphasized the need to move to a stronger institutional structure. McMurray and Amb. Maurer highlighted the need to be specific and creative when discussing IEG and, with Capobianco, underscored incorporating sustainable development in designing the IEG structure.

Summarizing the discussion, UNEP Executive Director Steiner emphasized that having divergent views on IEG is neither a reason nor an excuse for inaction, and expressed hope that concrete steps can be defined at GC-25/GMEF.

President’s Summary: On Friday in plenary, Robert Calcagno, State Councillor for Environment, Monaco, and Chair of the Group of Friends of the President, presented the President’s summary on the outcomes of the ministerial consultations and recommendations for action by UNEP. He noted that discussions on the first theme, “Mobilizing finance to meet the climate challenge,” had highlighted that while economic growth is compatible with addressing climate change and investment capital is available, financing for adaptation remains limited. In this respect, deliberations stressed the urgency to make the UNFCCC Adaptation Fund fully operational. On the second theme, “International environmental governance and UN reform,” Calcagno said that converging views had been put forward on the need to strengthen UNEP in parallel with a dialogue addressing more far-reaching ideas. In addition, he reported that the GC/GMEF had expressed interest in contributing to the IEG discussion.


The COW was established by the plenary on Wednesday afternoon, and concluded its work on Friday morning. It was chaired by Jan Dusík (Czech Republic), Vice-President of the GCSS-10/GMEF. Boonam Shin (Republic of Korea) was elected as COW Rapporteur. The COW took up the following agenda items: policy issues: state of the environment; environment and development; follow-up and implementation of the outcomes of UN summits and major environmental meetings, including GC decisions. It heard presentations by the MEA secretariats. The COW was also entrusted with discussing draft decisions prepared by the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) in Nairobi, establishing a number of contact and drafting groups. Unless otherwise mentioned, all decisions were adopted in closing plenary on Friday.

POLICY ISSUES AND MEETINGS FOLLOW-UP: Chair Dusík introduced policy issues: state of the environment (UNEP/GCSS.X/3; INF/2; INF/8), and environment and development (UNEP/GCSS.X/4; 5; 6; 7; INF/6; INF/7); as well as the follow-up to and implementation of the outcomes of the UN summits and major intergovernmental meetings, including the decisions of the GC (UNEP/GCSS.X/2; 8; INF/3; INF/4). Bakary Kante, UNEP, presented on the context and challenges pertaining to IEG.

GCSS-10/GMEF DECISIONS: Agnes Kalibbala (Uganda), CPR Chair, introduced the draft decisions prepared by the CPR (UNEP/GCSS.X/L.1), followed by the US tabling a draft decision on decision-making at special sessions of the GC/GMEF (UNEP/GCSS.X/CRP.1). Algeria introduced a draft decision on the International Decade for Combating Climate Change (UNEP/GCSS.X/CRP.2).

UNEP Medium-term Strategy 2010-2013 (MTS): The draft decision (UNEP/GCSS.X/L.1) was introduced in the COW on Wednesday, when Chair Dusík established a contact group, co-chaired by Jeremie Robert (France) and Juan Carlos Cue (Mexico).

The discussion focused on the status of MTS, whether it is to be “approved” by the GCSS-10/GMEF, “welcomed”, or simply “taken note of” or “acknowledged”. Furthermore, delegates questioned whether the MTS fully reflects UNEP’s mandate and current activities. The US noted that while the MTS is useful, it leaves out a number of important UNEP activities, like regional seas, expressing concerns that some programmes that do not fit into the six cross-cutting thematic priority areas may be lost. The US argued against “approving” the MTS, as it had not been negotiated by governments, and suggested “welcoming” it as “a” guide for UNEP. Similar views were expressed by Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland, the latter cautioning against the MTS changing the mandate of UNEP. The US and Japan also favored a bottom-up approach in determining UNEP’s budget and programme of work. The EU, supported by Norway and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, called for a straightforward “approval” of the MTS as an “excellent” document and as “the” basis for UNEP’s further work, and complementary to the Cartagena Package. India called for scientific capacity building in developing countries and for the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities to run through the MTS. Argentina suggested including text on water policy in the operative part of the decision. NGOs urged governments to approve the MTS.

The discussion in the contact group on Thursday centered on the first operative paragraph in the original CPR draft, which “approves the MTS as the basis”. The EU reiterated preference for this particular formulation. This was met with objection from the US and others, who argued that government priorities, rather than the MTS, should form the “basis”, and cautioning against language that could affect future negotiations. Different alternatives were suggested to replace the words “approves” and “basis”. There was also insistence from some countries that budgetary issues arising from the MTS should be based on states’ priorities, rather than the MTS.

Following the successful outcome of contact group deliberations, the COW approved the revised draft decision on Friday.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GCSS.X/CW/CRP.2) notes the open, transparent and extensive consultation process undertaken by the Executive Director with the CPR in developing the MTS, that the document is well-focused and results-based, elaborates six cross-cutting thematic priority areas of work, and emphasizes the need to implement fully the Cartagena Package. The GC/GMEF welcomes the Strategy’s particular emphasis on enhancing the capacity of UNEP to deliver on the Bali Strategic Plan, notes that the Executive Director will consider views expressed on the MTS at the session and fully integrate any policies approved by the GC into UNEP’s programme of work.

In the operative section of the decision, the GC/GMEF welcomes the MTS and authorizes the Executive Director to use it in formulating the strategic frameworks and programmes of work and budgets for 2010-2011 and 2012-2013, and as a means to encourage coordination among UNEP divisions, without prejudicing the outcome of government negotiations on these issues. It also notes that any budgetary issues arising from the MTS will be addressed through the programmes of work and budgets approved by the GC based on priorities expressed and agreed by member states, and requests the Executive Director to inform governments about the implementation of the MTS at regular intervals and submit a progress report to GC-26 in 2011.

Chemicals management, including mercury and waste management: The COW discussed the omnibus draft decision on chemicals management, mercury and waste management (UNEP/GCSS.X/L.1) on Wednesday. New Zealand encouraged the Ad hoc Working Group on Mercury to develop practical solutions so as to offer recommendations to the GC-25/GMEF. The EU welcomed synergies between the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. Argentina called for national standards on products containing mercury, with the US supporting voluntary measures, and NGOs favoring legally binding commitments. Antigua and Barbuda proposed including a reference to least developed countries and SIDS in the draft decision. The COW approved the decision, as amended by Antigua and Barbuda.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GCSS.X/CW/L.2) recalls recent GC/GMEF decisions on chemicals and waste management. It also:

  • acknowledges with appreciation the reports of the Executive Director on chemicals management, the progress of the Ad hoc Working Group on Mercury, and waste management;
  • takes note of the tangible recommendations for developing countries, in particular least developed countries and SIDS, in the Executive Director’s report on waste management;
  • decides to consider programme-related matters raised in the Executive Director’s reports at GC-25/GMEF; and
  • requests the Executive Director to report on the implementation of decisions 24/3 on chemicals management and 24/5 on waste management at GC-25/GMEF.

Global Environment Outlook: On Thursday, the COW discussed the draft decision on the response to the findings of GEO-4 (UNEP/GCSS.X/L.1). Many supported the decision, noting the value of the report and calling for strengthening UNEP’s scientific base. Leading opposition to the draft, the US said the report had not been endorsed by all stakeholders, and that past GEO reports had not been endorsed by GC decisions. Chair Dusík established a drafting group to finalize language. In the afternoon, discussions continued on the revised draft decision. The EU expressed reservations on references to the negotiated GEO-4 Summary for Decision Makers. The US opposed any decision on GEO-4, noting, among other things, that the full text had not been negotiated and contained inaccuracies.

The draft decision was not approved by the COW.

On Friday, Chair Dusík announced that Switzerland had held informal consultations and prepared a revised draft decision on the Global Environment Outlook: Environment for Development, which was approved by the COW without amendment.

Final Decision: In its final decision (UNEP/GCSS.X/CW/L.2/Add.1), the GC/GMEF, inter alia, welcomes GEO-4, including the Summary for Decision Makers and in-kind contributions and statements that endorse the Summary. The decision:

  • expresses concern over the evidence in the assessment of unprecedented environmental changes at all levels and the time lag in addressing them;
  • acknowledges that current environmental degradation represents a serious challenge for wellbeing and sustainable development and underscores the benefits of early action;
  • welcomes progress made and encourages sharing of best practices;
  • stresses that the transition to sustainable development may involve hard choices and that UNEP should promote such efforts and lead by example; and
  • encourages governments, UNEP and others to work to achieve sustainable development and to act to prevent, mitigate and adapt to unprecedented environmental change.

The GC/GMEF further requests the Executive Director to:

  • encourage and support national assessments within the framework of the Bali Strategic Plan; and
  • prepare, in consultation with the CPR, for GC-25: an overview of international environmental assessments, identifying gaps and duplication, in cooperation with MEA secretariats and others, and options for the development of a global assessment of environmental change and its implications for development, including a cost analysis and an indicative benefit analysis.

International Decade for Combating Climate Change: On Wednesday in the COW, Algeria introduced a draft decision on an International Decade for Combating Climate Change (UNEP/GCSS.X/CRP.2). He explained that replacing an earlier draft decision on a “Year” with the revised one on “Decade,” was intended to underline the need for long-term efforts.

During the discussion on the draft decision on Thursday, the EU noted that the proposal needed thorough consideration, the US said it was untimely given the amount of climate change activities in the coming years, and Japan expressed doubt that UNEP was the appropriate forum to adopt this decision. The US also expressed concern about the already stretched resources of UNFCCC, while Mauritius argued that most activities were at the country level, thus not affecting the UNFCCC’s budget.

Several developing countries and NGOs voiced support for Algeria’s draft decision. Zimbabwe emphasized that UNFCCC should be involved in implementing the climate change decade, while Argentina highlighted its importance for least developed countries and SIDS. NGOs, together with Women, noted that “UN International Years” have been successful in mobilizing public attention at the national level. Chair Dusík established a drafting group to resolve differences.

Following lengthy deliberations in the drafting group throughout Thursday, Mauritius introduced a revised draft decision to the COW on Friday morning. The decision was approved as amended by the drafting group.

Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GCSS.X/CW/L.2/Add.1), among other things, recalls the provisions of the UNFCCC, notes the significance of the findings of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report and reaffirms the GC’s commitment to support efforts on climate change adaptation and mitigation. It also invites ECOSOC to consider proclaiming an International Decade for addressing Climate Change for the period 2010-2020, and to inform the General Assembly on this matter prior to its 63rd session.

Sustainable Development of the Arctic: On Thursday, delegates discussed the draft decision on the sustainable development of the Arctic region (UNEP/GCSS.X/L.1). The US welcomed text recognizing the work of the Arctic Council, and the EU called for increased awareness of Arctic environmental issues. The COW approved the draft decision.

Final Decision: In its preamble, the decision (UNEP/GCSS.X/CW/L.2), inter alia: recalls decision 22/11, which requests the Executive Director to provide continuous assessments and early warning on emerging issues related to the Arctic environment; recognizes that continuing efforts are needed in particular in relation to melting Arctic sea ice; recalls World Environment Day 2007 on the theme of “Melting ice – a hot topic”; notes the impacts of climate change on polar and other regions and on their ecosystems and communities; and acknowledges efforts of the Arctic states to protect the region’s environment. The decision:

  • commends the Arctic Council for its activities related to the Arctic environment and its inhabitants;
  • encourages UNEP to cooperate with the Arctic Council, MEAs and others;
  • urges stakeholders to apply the precautionary approach and to conduct environmental impact assessments;
  • requests relevant bodies to enhance the scientific basis for informed decision-making through the promotion of international scientific collaboration and coordination on Arctic change;
  • encourages UNEP to join others to seek means to sustain and enhance Arctic observing networks beyond the International Polar Year research phase; and
  • requests stakeholders to expedite the implementation of measures to facilitate adaptation to climate change at all levels.

Decision-making at special sessions of the GC/GMEF: The draft decision on decision-making at special sessions of the GC/GMEF (UNEP/GCSS.X/CPR.1) was submitted by the US. The decision’s intent was supported by several countries, including Switzerland and India, which argued for keeping the outcome of special sessions to non-negotiated summaries. Japan asked the Secretariat to select special session topics in consultation with member states.

While recognizing concern with the proliferation of decisions, the EU, China, Cuba, Mexico, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Mauritius and NGOs opposed the draft, arguing that limiting decisions to regular sessions would diminish the importance of special sessions, with Mexico saying that ministers should decide on any limitations to the decision-making capacity of the GC/GMEF. The US clarified that the intention was not to change GC/GMEF rules of procedure, but to establish criteria for adopting only genuinely urgent decisions.

The issue was referred to informal consultations. On Thursday afternoon, the US reported lack of consensus despite a “robust” discussion, and withdrew the draft decision. The COW agreed to record the views expressed on this issue in the meeting’s report. However, in the discussions, differences surfaced on whether the consultations were accurately reflected in the draft COW report.

INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE WITH MEA SECRETARIATS: Janos Pasztor, Director, UN Environment Management Group, facilitated a dialogue on “Multilateral environmental agreements and environmental governance” held on Thursday. Several speakers addressed the issue of synergies. The Ozone Secretariat highlighted interlinkages between the UNFCCC and the Montreal Protocol, with the Multilateral Fund Secretariat noting that more work needs to be done to achieve dual benefits. The Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions advocated sector programmes involving all relevant stakeholders, while the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) outlined the successful work of the Biodiversity Liaison Group. The Ramsar Convention underlined the importance of partnerships among MEAs, and the Convention on Migratory Species noted the need to improve MEAs’ scientific base and streamline environmental governance. The Basel Convention cited the catalytic role of MEA secretariats. The UN Convention to Combat Desertification described MEAs’ challenges as primarily managerial and institutional.

Noting that not all countries are parties to all MEAs, the US called for clarification on the legal aspects of synergies among them. Kenya described efforts to implement MEAs in a coordinated fashion through a national framework agreement, and Botswana said effective transboundary ecosystem management requires neighboring countries to be parties to the same conventions.

ADOPTION OF THE REPORT OF THE COW: On Friday morning in the COW, delegates further considered the draft report of the COW (UNEP/GCSS.X/CW/L.1 and Add.1), which was adopted with several amendments. Most of them concerned the discussion on the US draft decision on decision-making at GC/GMEF special sessions, which several countries thought unnecessarily detailed. Mexico, supported by Cuba, noted that “some governments,” rather than “many” “expressed sympathy” for (rather than “supported”) the general aims of the draft decision. Mexico also proposed deleting part of the references to the US’ informal consultations with interested parties. Switzerland said that, while it supported a limitation of the number of decisions, the GCSS/GMEF should take decisions when needed. The US argued that the report was a true reflection of his presentation, but agreed to some minor textual changes.

In the section covering MEAs, two amendments were proposed and accepted: India suggested text on UNEP’s cooperation with MEAs; and the US added language stating that cooperation among MEAs is subject to the approval of their governing bodies.


Delegates convened in plenary for the closing ceremony of GCSS-10/GMEF on Friday afternoon.

COW Chair Dusík presented the report of the COW (UNEP/GCSS.X/CW/L.2/Add.1), which was adopted without amendment. President Dobles introduced the draft decisions approved by the COW (UNEP/GCSS.X/CW/L.2 and L.2/Add.1), which were also adopted without amendment. The GC further approved the Bureau’s verbal report on credentials. Delegates considered and adopted the GCSS-10/GMEF report (UNEP/GCSS.X/L.2), without amendment.

Jean Pastorelli, Government Counsellor for External Relations, Monaco, said that no government can contest the need to eliminate pollutants and combat the effects of climate change, calling for the transition to a low-carbon economy.

During the closing statements, the EU voiced appreciation for the lively debate on UN reform and highlighted the adoption of the MTS decision among the meeting’s achievements. Switzerland described GCSS-10/GMEF as a productive meeting, which sends a signal about the urgency of climate change. The US highlighted the ministerial discussion on mobilizing finance as particularly productive, and the debate on IEG as constructive. She noted the US was pleased with the GC’s decision on the Arctic, noting her country’s special interest in the region.

Argentina, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, applauded the adoption of the MTS and the GEO decisions. Mexico, on behalf of the Latin America and the Caribbean region, also welcomed the adoption of the MTS decision, and noted the need for regional consultations on UNEP’s programmes of work and budgets. Mozambique, for the African Group, called for financial and technical support for Africa to address the challenges of climate change, economic growth and poverty reduction in an integrated manner. Benin added that Africa pins its hopes on the UN system to help the continent meet the climate challenge.

New Zealand announced it will be hosting the 2008 World Environment Day and noted the collective responsibility to find solutions to the climate challenge. Nepal said the MTS would guide efforts to protect the global environment and mountain ecosystems.

UNEP Executive Director Steiner said GCSS-10/GMEF exemplified “what good governance is all about,” illustrated by civil society involvement, adoption of the MTS, and the meeting’s contribution to the climate change and IEG debates. He expressed appreciation to His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco for his participation and support, and thanked delegates and UNEP staff for their contribution.

In his closing speech, President Dobles referred to “rewarding days” in Monaco, and said the GCSS-10/GMEF achieved its objectives. He called the session “historic,” one which provided strategic guidance and reaffirmed the common goal of a strengthened UNEP. He thanked Prince Albert II and the people of Monaco for their exceptional hospitality. After paying tribute to outgoing GC/GMEF Secretary Beverly Miller, President Dobles gaveled the meeting to a close at 4:36 pm. 


Special Sessions of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GCSS/GMEF) provide a unique opportunity for ministers to meet to freely debate the emerging environmental challenges and chart the way forward for UNEP and, more broadly, the global environmental agenda.

With environmental leadership being the latest addition to Monaco’s many claims to fame, the Principality offered an inspiring setting for such far-reaching discussions at GCSS-10/GMEF. Overall, the meeting sought to answer how what is still considered by many as a small, under-resourced and unempowered UN programme can make best use of intellectual, financial and political capital, and time.

The stakes were high but the risk was well worth it. With a record level of ministerial participation including over 100 high-level delegates, the endorsement of the UNEP Medium-term Strategy for 2010-2013 (MTS), a meaningful discussion on ways of leveraging finance to respond to the climate challenge, and a strong focus on the future of both UNEP and the GMEF, most felt that the meeting came up trumps.


Heartened by the recent financial injections into the Environment Fund, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner took a gamble: he submitted the MTS to the GC/GMEF a year ahead of schedule, a decision he motivated by the need to obtain governmental guidance for the development of UNEP’s programmes of work and budgets. At the outset, there was skepticism on getting the MTS through the hoops as this was a non-negotiated Secretariat-produced document that offered a new approach to shaping UNEP’s future activities around six cross-cutting thematic priority areas.

Despite the fact that the initial language calling on the GC/GMEF to “approve” the MTS was slightly weakened in the final text that “welcomes” the MTS, the decision “authorizes” the Executive Director to use the Strategy in formulating the programmes of work and budgets in the coming years. Many delegates commented that the Executive Director had played his cards right and has received a vote of confidence to transform UNEP into a stronger, more focused and effective organization able to rise to existing and future challenges. Clearly, the next priority is finding additional resources to turn the MTS wish-list into reality, and it appears that, at least in the short-term, UNEP has been dealt a decent hand, with its budget up by nearly twenty percent.


Securing adequate funding, which is central not only to the future of UNEP but also to the environmental cause as a whole, depends on exploring new avenues and effectively involving a broader constituency, first and foremost the private sector. GCSS-10/GMEF addressed this through its theme of mobilizing finance to meet the climate challenge. The debate was seen as most constructive, as well as one that offered an opportunity to showcase some of UNEP’s lesser-known activities, such as the Finance Initiative, which successfully promotes responsible private sector investment. Some also wondered if UNEP might now be better positioned to hit the jackpot by attracting donor funds from the coveted coffer of resources for reducing emissions from deforestation

The discussions further seem to have brought UNEP closer to reaching the objective of placing the environment at the heart of economic decision making, and many thought that UNEP’s good rapport with the private sector is an ace up its sleeve.


On the subject of decision-making, GCSS-10/GMEF grappled with a draft decision tabled by the US limiting decisions taken at special sessions, so that countries focus on high-level exchanges. However, many felt that more precious time at this meeting was spent on discussing the proposal than what it had intended to save, and eventually, after unsuccessful informal consultations, the draft was shelved.

While a total of five decisions were adopted in Monaco, it nonetheless appears that the trend of keeping the number of decisions to a minimum at future special sessions will prevail, not in the least because of the time and resource implications for both member states and the Secretariat. The debate also had a deeper meaning of drawing attention to broader governance issues, with some commenting that it served as a useful reminder as to the original purpose of the GMEF.


Ultimately, the session demonstrated that the international environmental governance debate should not distract countries from taking immediate and concrete steps to empower UNEP by bringing in funds and concentrating on critical programmatic objectives. As one delegate noted, “the ghost of a UNEO has receded” despite continuing voices of support from the European Union, with another underscoring that UNEP can be “regenerated” without necessarily undergoing a radical institutional transformation.

In the words of GC/GMEF President Dobles, GCSS-10/GMEF proved to be a “historic session,” as it provided much-needed strategic direction to UNEP and reiterated commitment, backed by political and financial support, to a strengthened UNEP. As the stakes in the quest to find solutions to the world’s environmental problems are growing higher than ever, it was clear to delegates filing out of the Grimaldi Forum conference centre that governments and business leaders need to play a sure and open hand to come up with an appropriate response.


FOURTH MINISTERIAL MEETING OF G8 GLENEAGLES DIALOGUE ON CLIMATE CHANGE, CLEAN ENERGY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The Gleneagles Dialogue will take place from 14-16 March 2008, in Chiba, Japan. The Dialogue is a multi-year, multi-government, public-private policy dialogue on climate change and clean energy issues, the findings of which will be submitted to the G8 summit. For more information, contact: Preparatory Task Force for the G8 Environment Ministers Meeting, Ministry of Environment, Japan; tel: +81-3-3581-3351 (ext. 6279); fax: +81-3-5521-8276; e-mail:; internet:

THIRD MEETING OF THE AD HOC JOINT WORKING GROUP ON ENHANCED COOPERATION AND COORDINATION BETWEEN THE BASEL, STOCKHOLM AND ROTTERDAM CONVENTIONS: The third meeting of the Ad Hoc Joint Working Group will take place from 25-28 March 2008, in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: Donata Rugarabamu, Senior Legal Advisor, Secretariat of the Basel Convention; tel: +41-22-797-8219; fax: +41-22-797-3454; e-mail:; internet:

FIRST SESSION OF THE AD HOC WORKING GROUP ON LONG-TERM COOPERATIVE ACTION UNDER THE UNFCCC AND FIFTH SESSION OF THE AD HOC WORKING GROUP UNDER THE KYOTO PROTOCOL: The first meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action, a new body established at COP 13 in Bali, will take place from 31 March - 4 April 2008, in Bangkok, Thailand. The purpose of the meeting will be to develop the Group’s work programme. The fifth session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol will be held concurrently. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail:; internet:

UNEP GLOBAL MERCURY PARTNERSHIP MEETING: The meeting will develop an overarching framework for the UNEP Global Mercury Partnership and will be held from 1-3 April 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, contact: UNEP Chemicals Branch, Division of Technology, Industry and Economics; tel: +41-22-917-8183; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail:; internet:

28TH SESSION OF THE IPCC: This meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is scheduled to be held from 9-10 April 2008, in Budapest, Hungary. For more information, contact: IPCC Secretariat; tel: +41-22-730-8208; fax: +41-22-730-8025/13; e-mail:; internet:

CITES 17TH MEETING OF THE PLANTS COMMITTEE AND 23RD MEETING OF THE ANIMALS COMMITTEE: These meetings will be convened from 15-19 April 2008 (Plants), and 19-24 April 2008 (Animals) in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, contact: tel: +41-22-917-8139/40; fax: +41-22-797-3417; e-mail:; internet:

16TH SESSION OF THE CSD: The sixteenth session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD 16) will be held from 5-16 May 2008, at UN headquarters in New York. This review session will focus on agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa. For more information, contact: CSD Secretariat; tel: +1-212-963-8102; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail:; internet:

UNITAR-YALE CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE AND DEMOCRACY: This Conference will take place from 10-11 May 2008, at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, US, on the margins of CSD 16. Participants will consider “Institutions, public participation and environmental sustainability: bridging research and capacity development.” For more information, contact: Achim Halpaap, Manager, UNITAR Environmental Governance and Democracy Program; tel: +1-203-436-4938; fax: +1-203-432-6597; e-mail:; internet:

INTERNATIONAL GEF WORKSHOP ON EVALUATING CLIMATE CHANGE AND DEVELOPMENT: The GEF Evaluation Office is organizing a workshop from 10-13 May 2008, in Alexandria, Egypt to share experiences in evaluating projects and programmes aimed at the nexus between climate change and development. For more information, contact: Secretariat of the International Workshop, GEF Evaluation Office; tel: +1-202-458-8537; fax: +1-202-522-1691; e-mail:; internet:

CARTAGENA PROTOCOL COP/MOP 4: The fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (COP/MOP 4) will take place from 12-16 May 2008, in Bonn, Germany. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail:; internet:

CBD COP 9: The ninth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity will take place from 19-30 May 2008, in Bonn, Germany. A high-level segment will be held from 28-30 May. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail:; internet:

G8 ENVIRONMENT MINISTERS’ MEETING: This meeting will convene from 24-26 May 2008, in Kobe, Japan in preparation for the G8 Summit to be held 7-9 July 2008, in Toyako, Japan. For more information, visit

UNFCCC SUBSIDIARY BODIES MEETING: The 28th sessions of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Body for Implementation and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice will take place from 4-13 June 2008 in Bonn, Germany. The second session of the Ad hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action under the Convention and the second part of the fifth session of the Ad hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol will be held from 2-12 June 2008. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail:; internet:

WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY 2008: In partnership with UNEP, New Zealand is hosting World Environment Day on 5 June 2008 on the theme “CO2: Kick the Habit: Towards a Low Carbon Economy”. For more information, contact: tel: +64-800-933-2008; e-mail:; internet: or

TWELFTH SESSION OF AMCEN: This meeting of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment is convening from 7-12 June 2008, in Johannesburg, South Africa. For more information, contact: Peter Acquah, AMCEN Secretariat; tel: +254-20-762-4289; e-mail:; internet:

BASEL CONVENTION COP 9: The ninth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes will convene from 23-27 June 2008, in Bali, Indonesia. For more information, contact: Secretariat of the Basel Convention; tel: +41-22-917-8218; fax: +41-22-797-3454; e-mail:; internet:

FOURTH IUCN WORLD CONSERVATION CONGRESS: The fourth IUCN World Conservation Congress will be held from 5-14 October 2008, in Barcelona, Spain. The first half of the Congress will be the World Conservation Forum, from 6-9 October 2008. For more information, contact: IUCN; tel: +41-22-999-0000; fax: +41-22-999-0002; e-mail:; internet:

SECOND MEETING OF THE AD HOC OEWG ON MERCURY: This meeting of UNEP’s Ad hoc Open-ended Working Group on Mercury is tentatively scheduled to be held from 6-10 October 2008, in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information, contact: UNEP Chemicals Branch, Division of Technology, Industry and Economics; tel: +41-22-917-8183; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail:; internet:

PIC COP 4: The fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention is scheduled to take place from 27-31 October 2008, in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: Rotterdam Convention Secretariat; tel: +41-22-917-8296; fax: +41-22-917-8082; e-mail:; internet:

MONTREAL PROTOCOL MOP 20: This meeting is scheduled to take place from 16-20 November 2008, in Doha, Qatar, in conjunction with the eighth Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention. For more information, contact: Ozone Secretariat; tel: +254-20-762-3850/1; fax: +254-20-762-4691; e-mail:; internet:

FOLLOW-UP INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT: A Follow-up International Conference on Financing for Development to Review the Implementation of the Monterrey Consensus is scheduled for 29 November - 2 December 2008, in Doha, Qatar. Several meetings will also be held during the year in preparation for the Conference, including six substantive informal review sessions on the six thematic areas of the Monterrey Consensus. For more information, contact: Financing for Development Office; tel: +1-212-963-2587; fax: +1-212-963-0443; internet:

CMS COP 9: The 9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) will take place from 30 November - 5 December 2008, in Rome, Italy. For more information, contact: CMS Secretariat; tel: +49-228 -815-2401/02; fax: +49-228-815-2449; e-mail:; internet:

UNFCCC COP 14 AND KYOTO PROTOCOL COP/MOP 4: The 14th meeting of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 4th Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol are scheduled to take place from 1-12 December 2008, in Poznan, Poland. These meetings will coincide with meetings of the UNFCCC’s subsidiary bodies. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail:; internet:  

GC-25/GMEF: The twenty-fifth session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum will take place in Nairobi, Kenya, in February 2009 (exact date to be determined). For more information, contact: Secretary of UNEP Governing Council; tel: +254-20-76234311; fax: +254-20-7623929/7623748; e-mail:; internet:

Further information