Summary report, 3–7 February 2003
22nd Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC22/GMEF)
The 22nd session of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council and fourth Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GMEF) took place from 3-7 February 2003, at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. Nearly 1000 participants, including delegates from 148 countries, as well as representatives of UN agencies, international organizations, academia, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), business and industry, and youth organizations, attended the week-long gathering. Fifty-three of the fifty-eight member States of the Governing Council were represented.
The first part of the meeting consisted of two days of Plenary sessions and a Committee of the Whole (COW). The Plenary considered a wide range of topics, including emerging policy issues, the role of civil society, international environmental governance (IEG), linkages among environment-related conventions, and the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). The COW, which met throughout the week, addressed various programmatic, administrative and budgetary matters, including UNEP’s Programme of Work and budget for the biennium 2004-2005. It also addressed coordination and cooperation within and outside the United Nations system, follow-up of post-WSSD UN General Assembly resolutions, and UNEP’s contribution to the Commission on Sustainable Development.
From Wednesday, 5 February, through Friday morning, 7 February, high-level ministerial consultations were held on the theme, "Implementation of the Outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development." Sessions focused on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), regional implementation of the WSSD’s outcomes, the promotion of sustainable production and consumption patterns, and the use of the natural resource base to help combat poverty, including UNEP’s contribution to the WSSD’s biodiversity commitments.
The Governing Council concluded its work by adopting more than 40 decisions on issues relating to international environmental governance, post-conflict environmental assessment, water policy and strategy, a strategic approach to chemicals management, a mercury programme, support to Africa, production and consumption patterns, and the environment and cultural diversity. After protracted negotiations, delegates also adopted UNEP’s Programme of Work and budget for the biennium 2004-2005.
Although many participants had high expectations that this meeting would be the major environmental follow-up to the WSSD, the overloaded agenda and some difficult political issues hampered efforts to focus on practical WSSD implementation. It remains to be seen how UNEP’s role in the implementation of WSSD commitments will intersect with other UN agencies within the broader scope of sustainable development discussions at the eleventh session of the Commission on Sustainable Development to be held in April in New York, and how UNEP’s role might be affected.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL
UNEP was established as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in 1972, which also created an action plan for environmental policy, an Environment Fund, and a declaration of 26 principles on the human environment. Established to provide a forum for the international community to address major and emerging environmental policy issues, the UNEP Governing Council meets every two years, with special sessions convened between meetings. The Council consists of 58 member States that serve four-year terms on the basis of the following geographic distribution: 16 African, 13 Asian, 13 Western European and Others, 10 Latin American and Caribbean, and 6 Eastern European States.
The Council reports to the UN General Assembly. Its responsibilities include: promoting international environmental cooperation and recommending policies to achieve this; providing policy guidance for the direction and coordination of environmental programmes in the UN system, including the technical aspects of formulating and implementing environmental programmes; reviewing the state of the global environment; and promoting the contribution of relevant scientific and other professional communities to the acquisition, assessment and exchange of environmental knowledge and information.
UN CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT: In 1992, the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) reaffirmed UNEP’s mandate as the lead environment programme within the UN system and supported an enhanced and strengthened role for UNEP and its Governing Council. The Council was called on to continue its role with regard to policy guidance and coordination, taking into account a development perspective. UNCED adopted Agenda 21, the action plan for implementing sustainable development, which lists 14 priority areas on which UNEP should concentrate, including: strengthening its catalytic role in promoting environmental activities throughout the UN system; promoting international cooperation; coordinating and promoting scientific research; disseminating environmental information; raising general awareness; and further developing international environmental law.
19TH GOVERNING COUNCIL: In 1997, the Governing Council met for its 19th session, the first part of which took place from 27 January - 7 February, in Nairobi. The meeting was suspended on the final day when delegates could not agree on a proposal for the creation of a high-level committee to provide policy guidance to UNEP. The session resumed at UNEP headquarters from 3-4 April 1997, where delegates established the High-Level Committee of Ministers and Officials as a subsidiary organ of the Governing Council. This Committee was later disbanded.
Delegates also adopted the Nairobi Declaration on the Role and Mandate of UNEP, which revised the UNEP Committee of Permanent Representatives’ (CPR) mandate to: review, monitor and assess the implementation of the Council’s decisions on administrative, budgetary and programme matters; review UNEP’s draft Programme of Work and budget; and prepare draft decisions for consideration by the Council based on inputs from the Secretariat. The Nairobi Declaration was formally endorsed in June 1997 at the UN General Assembly Special Session for the review of the implementation of Agenda 21 (UNGASS).
20TH GOVERNING COUNCIL: The 20th session of the Governing Council took place in Nairobi, from 1-5 February 1999, and marked the first meeting of the Council following UNGASS, the adoption of the Nairobi Declaration, and the appointment of Klaus Töpfer as UNEP’s fourth Executive Director. The Council adopted over 30 decisions on a range of topics, including: the Environment Fund, administrative and budgetary matters; linkages among and support to 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.
SIXTH SPECIAL SESSION: The first Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GMEF-1) – in the form of the sixth special session of UNEP’s Governing Council (GCSS-6) – took place in Malmö, Sweden, from 29-31 May 2000. The purpose of the GMEF was to institute a process for ensuring policy coherence in the environment field, as proposed in the 1998 report of the UN Secretary-General on environment and human settlements. In this regard, it concluded that UNEP’s role was to be strengthened and its financial base broadened. Environment ministers adopted the Malmö Ministerial Declaration, which agreed that the WSSD should review the requirements for a greatly strengthened institutional structure for international environmental governance (IEG).
21ST SESSION OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL AND GMEF-2: The 21st session of the Governing Council/second Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GMEF-2) took place from 5-9 February 2001, in Nairobi. On the meeting’s final two days, a high-level ministerial dialogue discussed implementation of the Nairobi Declaration and the Malmö Ministerial Declaration.
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE PROCESS: The 21st session of the Council 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, including the financing of UNEP.
The IGM met five times, and reported to the Governing Council’s seventh special session (GCSS-7)/third Global Ministerial Environment Forum, which was held in Cartagena, Colombia, from 13-15 February 2002.
SEVENTH SPECIAL SESSION: At GCSS-7, delegates reviewed the implementation of decisions taken during the Governing Council’s 21st session. They also considered UNEP’s activities in relation to Agenda 21, particularly with reference to its preparations for the WSSD, including IEG.
The IGM had failed to reach agreement on a number of critical issues, in particular on strategies to ensure predictable and stable funding for UNEP and on universal membership of the GMEF. However, these issues were resolved during GCSS-7, at which delegates adopted the IGM report on IEG and agreed to transmit it to the third Preparatory Committee session for the WSSD.
The GCSS-7 also adopted decisions related to: a strategic approach to chemicals management at the global level; compliance with and enforcement of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs); development of a strategy for the active engagement of civil society, the private sector and major groups in the work of UNEP; implementation of the Global Programme of Action (GPA) for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities; and the environmental situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The World Summit on Sustainable Development met from 26 August – 4 September 2002, in Johannesburg, South Africa. As stipulated in UN General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 55/199, the WSSD’s goal was a high-level ten-year review of UNCED to reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable development.
The WSSD negotiated and adopted two main documents: the Johannesburg Declaration and the Plan of Implementation. The Johannesburg Declaration outlines the path taken from UNCED to the WSSD, highlights present challenges, expresses commitment to sustainable development, underscores the importance of multilateralism and emphasizes the need for implementation. The Plan of Implementation is designed as a framework for action to implement the commitments originally agreed at UNCED as well as new ones, and includes chapters on poverty eradication, consumption and production, the natural resource base, globalization, health, small island developing States (SIDS), Africa, other regional initiatives, means of implementation, and the institutional framework for sustainable development.
REPORT OF THE MEETING
The Governing Council’s 22nd session/fourth Global Ministerial Environment Forum opened on Monday morning, 3 February, with an audio-visual presentation stressing that, in spite of the many challenges, action to protect the environment can be successful. UNEP Deputy Executive Director Shafqat Kakakhel delivered a message from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, highlighting the significance of this session, which is taking place five months after the WSSD. He stressed UNEP’s critical role in developing a programme that contributes to implementing the WSSD’s outcomes.
David Anderson, Canada’s Environment Minister and the Governing Council’s outgoing President, outlined achievements during his tenure, including the completion of the first global mercury assessment, the Great Apes Survival Project, the adoption of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), and the release of the third Global Environment Outlook (GEO-3) report in 2002. He also reported on efforts to improve IEG, and linked this to the increased financial support for UNEP from a number of governments. Looking ahead, he said UNEP is uniquely positioned to ensure that the environmental aspects of the WSSD are implemented.
Highlighting milestones reached in Monterrey, Doha and Johannesburg, UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer said the Governing Council has an opportunity to strengthen the achievement of sustainable development and the contribute to the eradication of poverty. He stressed that the Governing Council should aim to implement the WSSD’s Plan of Implementation by advising on the 10-year framework of programmes for sustainable consumption and production, improving capacity building, monitoring and assessing global environmental change, promoting the use of new technologies, and ensuring that trade and environment policies are consistent and mutually supportive.
Arthur Chaskalson, Chief Justice of South Africa’s Constitutional Court, reported on the Ad Hoc Meeting of Judges for the Development of a Plan of Work, organized as a follow-up to the Global Judges Symposium and held from 30-31 January 2003, in Nairobi. Observing that environmental management involves a chain of actors including the judiciary, he said the manner in which judges discharge their responsibilities influences attitudes and law enforcement. He outlined the results of recent meetings aimed at increasing judicial capacity building, and reviewed plans to facilitate exchange of views and guidance.
Newton Kulundu, Kenya’s Minister of the Environment, reported on the new government’s domestic policy initiatives and voiced support for NEPAD. He commended UNEP’s focus on poverty eradication and its cooperation with the Drylands Development Center and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT). He supported the establishment of a trust fund for the management of environmental emergencies and urged the timely payment of pledges to the Environment Fund, based on the voluntary indicative scale of contributions.
Morocco, on behalf of the G-77/China, underscored UNEP’s role in implementing the environmental aspects of the WSSD’s outcomes, and said civil society’s participation in UNEP should be encouraged. He called on donor countries to reverse the decline in ODA and meet their commitments on capacity building and technology transfer. He supported strengthening UNEP’s work to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns, and drew attention to UNEP’s report on the environmental situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Greece, on behalf of the European Union, said UNEP has an important role in implementing the environmental dimension of sustainable development and underlined the link between poverty and the environment. He highlighted urgent issues to be addressed by the Governing Council, including: sustainable consumption and production patterns; the global mercury assessment; a strategic approach to the safe management of chemicals; IEG with increased participation of civil society; biodiversity loss; marine transport of hazardous substances; and the regional implementation of the WSSD’s outcomes.
On Monday morning, delegates elected Ruhakana Rugunda, Minister of Water, Lands and Environment of Uganda, as President of the Governing Council. They also elected Suk Jo Lee (Republic of Korea), Juan Pablo Bonilla (Colombia), and Tanya Van Gool (Netherlands) as Vice-Presidents, and Václav Hubinger (Czech Republic) as Rapporteur.
The Governing Council then adopted the agenda for this session (UNEP/GC.22/1) and agreed to the recommendations from UNEP’s Executive Director on the organization of work (UNEP/ GC.22/1/Add.1/Rev.2). The credentials of delegations were approved on Friday, 7 February.
In conducting their work, participants convened in Plenary sessions, a Committee of the Whole (COW), a Drafting Committee, and several contact groups. The COW was chaired by Governing Council Vice-President Tanya Van Gool, while Jürgen Weerth (Germany) chaired the Drafting Committee. Delegates considered and adopted a wide range of decisions on agenda items relating to policy issues, implementation of the WSSD, linkages among environment-related conventions, follow-up of General Assembly resolutions, and programmatic, administrative and budgetary matters. Many of these decisions had been considered and approved prior to the start of the meeting by the UNEP Committee of Permanent Representatives. This report is organized based on the agenda.
POLICY ISSUES, WSSD OUTCOMES AND LINKAGES AMONG ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENTS
The agenda items on policy issues, the outcomes of the WSSD, and linkages among MEAs were addressed throughout the week in Plenary, the COW, and the high-level Ministerial Consultations. Issues addressed included the state of the environment, emerging policy issues, civil society’s role in UNEP’s work, coordination within and outside the UN, and IEG.
Negotiations in the COW, the Drafting Committee, and several contact groups, resulted in the adoption of over 40 decisions relating to these agenda items. The decisions, which were all adopted in Plenary on Friday, 7 February, covered a wide range of relevant issues, including water policy, climate and atmosphere, chemicals, cooperation and collaboration, environmental assessment, and cultural issues. This section outlines discussions and decisions, based on the relevant agenda item or sub-item.
STATE OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND EMERGING POLICY ISSUES: Global Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment: This issue was addressed briefly in Plenary on Monday, 3 February, and taken-up at greater length by the COW the following day. UNEP Deputy Executive Director Shafqat Kakakhel reviewed policy issues raised by the global assessment of the state of the marine environment (UNEP/GC/22/2/Add.5). Referring to the relevant decision of the Governing Council’s 21st session (UNEP/GC/21/13), which initiated UNEP’s work on a marine assessment process, he introduced a draft decision outlining UNEP’s follow-up activities. The issue was then taken up in the Drafting Committee, which considered a revised version of the text, submitted by Iceland. After making a number of further amendments, the Committee approved the decision, which was adopted in Plenary on Friday morning, without further amendment.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3) requests UNEP’s Executive Director to arrange for UNEP’s active participation in preparatory work to establish a regular reporting and assessment process. It calls on the Executive Director to identify existing UNEP budgetary and programmatic resources that can be used to support this work. A report is to be presented to the UN Secretary-General in 2003, and to the Governing Council at its eighth special session in 2004. The decision also authorizes the Executive Director to seek extrabudgetary resources, including through the establishment of a trust fund, to support developing countries’ participation in a regular assessment process.
World Conservation Monitoring Centre: The draft decision on UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), which was forwarded to the Governing Council by the CPR prior to the session, was taken-up by the Drafting Committee on Tuesday, 4 February. Several speakers expressed concern that the proposal to expand the WCMC’s mandate to include policy development would conflict with its current role as an impartial body. The matter was resolved the following day after a compromise was reached on language referring to the focus of the Centre’s activities. The text was forwarded to the Plenary, which adopted the decision with several further amendments on Friday afternoon.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3) requests the Executive Director to continue supporting the development of the WCMC, including its work in providing data and information of the highest quality, accessibility, and inter-operability, and to establish collaborating centers in developing country regions, subject to the availability of voluntary contributions. The decision endorses the strengthening of the World Database on Protected Areas and supports a memorandum of understanding with the World Conservation Union (IUCN) on global protected area issues.
Post-conflict Environmental Assessments: This issue was briefly taken up in the Plenary and discussed at length by the Drafting Committee on Tuesday and Wednesday. The draft decision on this topic provoked considerable debate, with some delegates suggesting text referring to countries experiencing ongoing armed conflict, rather than restricting it to those in the post-conflict phase. After some discussion, delegates agreed to focus only on post-conflict situations, although a number of minor amendments were made to the text. The decision was adopted by the Plenary without further amendment.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3) commends UNEP’s role in undertaking post-conflict environmental assessments. It requests the Executive Director to further strengthen UNEP’s ability to conduct such work, and to ensure that UNEP is able to respond to requests from concerned States, as well as to report to the relevant UN bodies and commissions for further follow-up.
Environmental Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: UNEP’s recently completed desk study outlining the environmental situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (UNEP/ GC.22/INF/31) was taken up by Plenary on Monday, 3 February. Syria argued that the study went beyond UNEP’s mandate, and requested that the document be redrafted to remove paragraphs that referred to Israel’s role vis-à-vis regional environmental cooperation, particularly in relation to desertification. Deputy Executive Director Shafqat Kakakhel responded that informal consultations would be held. These consultations resulted in agreement on a draft decision, which was adopted in Plenary without further amendment.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.4) expresses grave concern over the "continuing deterioration and destruction of the environment in the Occupied Palestinian Territories." It welcomes the desk study and its recommendations, and asks the Executive Director to implement these recommendations within UNEP’s mandate, and to act as an impartial moderator on urgent environmental problems when requested by both parties. The decision also requests the Executive Director to continue coordinating UNEP’s work in this area, including promoting capacity building, encouraging technology transfer, and promoting the participation of the Palestinian Authority in relevant MEA meetings and processes.
UNEP’s Water Policy and Strategy: Consideration of UNEP’s water policy and strategy, in particular the implementation of the water-related outcomes of the WSSD, was briefly taken up in Plenary on Tuesday, 4 February, with a decision approved by the Drafting Committee on Thursday night. The decision was adopted in Plenary without amendment.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3/Add.1) notes that UNEP should play an active role in the follow-up to the water-related outcomes of the WSSD and to continue to implement the water policy and strategy within its mandate and according to priorities identified by the Governing Council in line with the relevant chapters of Agenda 21. It urges the Executive Director to assist regional bodies and national governments to develop and implement strategies, plans and programmes with regard to integrated river basin, watershed and groundwater management. It requests the Executive Director to strengthen UNEP’s strategy with respect to the transfer of environmentally-sound technologies, regional and global assessments of water resources, international and regional cooperation, integrated freshwaters- coastal area management, groundwater vulnerability assessment and management, and collaboration with UN-HABITAT.
Global Programme of Action for Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (GPA): The draft decision forwarded by the CPR to the Governing Council was taken up in the Drafting Committee on Thursday, 6 February, and adopted in the Plenary the following day, without comment or amendment.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3/Add.1) requests the Executive Director to: promote the concept of integrated coastal area and river basin management; facilitate scientific, management and institutional linkages between freshwater and coastal/marine management; further develop the key principles of the guidance on municipal wastewater management; and assess the feasibility of organizing regional consultations for the development of wastewater emission targets at the national and subnational level. It urges governments to involve financial institutions, NGOs, the private sector and major groups in implementation, particularly through partnerships.
Coral Reefs: The draft decision forwarded to the Governing Council by the CPR was taken up in the COW on Tuesday, 3 February, and subsequently addressed in a contact group. The group considered the role of UNEP in providing support for the International Coral Reef Initiative, and the US said the Initiative should remain independent from UNEP. The Drafting Committee considered and approved the draft decision on 6 February, after the new text emerged from the contact group, with several amendments. The decision was adopted by the Plenary on Friday morning.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3) requests the Executive Director to provide support to the International Coral Reef Initiative, in particularly its network, and to support the realization of coral reef-related outcomes of the WSSD.
Adaptation to Climate Change: This decision was debated at length both in the Drafting Committee, beginning on 5 February, and in a contact group, only to be reopened again in the Committee. The US and several other countries called for avoiding initiatives that would duplicate activities of the UNFCCC, and for ensuring that the decision focuses on UNEP’s work on adaptation. Other delegations insisted on specific linkages in the text to the provisions of several climate change related documents, including the Marrakesh Accords and the Kyoto Protocol. A compromise draft was approved in Plenary on 7 February.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3) recalls the UNFCCC and related declarations and accords, and states that UNEP should strengthen its role and activities to support national adaptation programmes of action for LDCs, as well as develop programmes to reduce the vulnerability of developing countries, that include the transfer of technology to meet the specific needs arising from adverse effects of climate change. It also states that UNEP should avoid duplication of activities under the UNFCCC.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): A draft decision on the IPCC was introduced by Kenya during the meeting, and considered by the COW on Thursday, 6 February. The COW approved the text with the inclusion of several minor amendments, and the decision was adopted in Plenary the following day.
Final Decision: The decision on the IPCC (UNEP/GC.22/CW/ L.2) commends the Panel’s "excellent work" and notes the completion of its Third Assessment Report. It request UNEP’s Executive Director to cooperate with the World Meteorological Organization to ensure that the IPCC continues its work and that it has wide and effective developing country participation. The decision also requests the Executive Director to disseminate widely the IPCC’s findings, complementing the efforts of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on Article 6 (education, training and public awareness). It urges governments to support the IPCC to ensure the successful completion of its fourth assessment, and asks the IPCC to report on its work to the Governing Council at its 23rd session.
Asian Brown Cloud: This issue was initially addressed by the COW on Monday, 3 February. India, supported by Pakistan and Indonesia, questioned the appropriateness of the Governing Council discussing the draft decision. The decision, based on a study conducted in collaboration with the Indian Ocean Experiment initiative (UNEP/GC.22/INF/32), requested the Executive Director to investigate and, as necessary, extend the scope of the study, and identify policy responses. On the same day in the Drafting Committee, India argued that the "brown cloud" was actually a haze seen only for short periods in winter, and was also found in other parts of the world. He stressed that the study bordered on sensationalism, and, supported by Iran, China and Brazil, suggested dropping the draft decision from the Council’s agenda. The US noted that scientific work may continue irrespective of a Governing Council decision. On Wednesday, 5 February, the Drafting Committee decided not to adopt a decision on this issue.
Enhancing UNEP’s Role on Forest-related Issues: This issue was taken up by the COW on Thursday, 6 February, when delegates discussed a short draft decision introduced by Iran. The decision was approved, with minor amendments, and formally adopted in Plenary the following day.
Final Decision: The text on forest-related issues (UNEP/ GC.22/CW/L.1) recalls an earlier Governing Council decision to continue supporting the multi-year programme of work of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF), and stresses the need to implement the proposal for action submitted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests/Intergovernmental Forum on Forests on strengthening the management, conservation and sustainable development of all forest types, particularly in developing countries with low forest cover. It also requests UNEP’s Executive Director to support the work of the Tehran Process on low forest cover countries to strengthen their capacity.
Rotterdam Convention: Delegates considered the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade in a contact group on Tuesday, 4 February. They discussed draft text on ratification of the Convention, with Australia favoring language recognizing that the decision to ratify conventions is a sovereign one. The decision was adopted by the Plenary on Friday afternoon.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.7) invites States and regional economic integration organizations to ratify, accept, approve or accede to the Rotterdam Convention, and calls on them to make voluntary contributions, support operations for the first Conference of the Parties, and ensure the full participation of developing countries and countries with economies in transition in the work of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee. It requests the Executive Director, in consultation with FAO, to continue to promote cooperation between the Secretariat of the Rotterdam Convention and other relevant conventions.
Stockholm Convention: The decision on the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants was briefly addressed in the chemicals contact group on Tuesday, 4 February. The decision was adopted on Friday afternoon.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.7) invites States and regional economic integration organizations to ratify, accept, approve or accede to the Stockholm Convention, authorizes the continued participation of UNEP Secretariat in an interim Secretariat of the Stockholm Convention, and welcomes the efforts of the Global Environment Facility to provide a funding structure for the Convention. The decision requests the Executive Director to continue promoting full cooperation between the interim Secretariat and the secretariats of other relevant conventions, take further action to facilitate voluntary implementation of the Convention, and assist in the implementation of decisions.
Lead: After brief discussion in the chemicals contact group, the draft decision on lead was submitted to the Plenary after the insertion of text requesting the Executive Director to provide additional resources for its implementation. The decision was adopted on Friday afternoon, 7 February.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.7) encourages the sound management of lead-containing wastes through the application of technical guidelines and the reduction of lead exposure. Governments are called on to act in cooperation with the private sector, on the phase-out of leaded gasoline and lead-based paint. The decision notes that these goals are to be achieved in cooperation with members of the Inter-Organizational Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals, supported by financial and technical assistance from governments, intergovernmental organizations and NGOS.
Mercury Programme: The draft decision on a mercury programme was first raised in Plenary on Tuesday, 4 February. Many delegates expressed appreciation for UNEP’s Global Mercury Assessment (UNEP/GC.22/INF/3). The issue was then taken up in the chemicals contact group later that day. The group deliberated over proposals from the EU and US and amendments suggested by Norway, eventually agreeing on the need for immediate action on mercury but divided on medium and long-term actions. On Thursday, the group agreed to an annex to the decision, adapted from the US proposal, to guide immediate action, in light of recommendations of the global mercury assessment. The EU and Norway argued strongly for text providing for the possibility of a proposal for a legally binding instrument at the Governing Council’s 23rd session. This was opposed by Australia, New Zealand and the US, who advocated focusing resources on immediate action. After long discussions and compromise on both sides, delegates drafted text on medium- and long-term actions on mercury. Following objections by Switzerland that the use of the term "Mercury Programme" in the text could eliminate possibilities for future action on other heavy metals under the same framework, the group agreed to use the phrase "action on mercury" in the text. The final text agreed by the group late on Thursday afternoon includes requirements to consider further action on other heavy metals at the Governing Council’s 23rd session. The decision was adopted in Plenary on Friday.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.7) notes that there is sufficient evidence from UNEP’s Global Mercury Assessment to warrant immediate national action to protect human health and the environment from releases of mercury and its compounds, facilitated by technical assistance and capacity building from the Executive Director, governments and relevant international organizations. It requests the Executive Director to consult and cooperate with other intergovernmental organizations in order to avoid duplication. The Executive Director is also requested to invite submission of governments’ views on medium- and long-term actions on mercury, and to compile and synthesize these views for presentation at the Governing Council’s 23rd session, with a view to developing "a legally binding instrument, a non-legally binding instrument, or other measures or actions." All countries are urged to consider making voluntary contributions to support implementation of the decision, with additional resources requested from the Executive Director. Further action on other heavy metals is to be considered at the Governing Council’s 23rd session.
Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management: The draft decision on the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) was discussed briefly in Plenary on Tuesday, 4 February, and then taken up by the chemicals contact group, when proposals submitted by the EU and Switzerland were introduced. On Wednesday, delegates discussed the role of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) in the development of the SAICM, and agreed on text that takes note of the work of the IFCS but does not give it the lead role. There was disagreement among delegates regarding the level of substantive guidance for the SAICM, with the EU, supported by Norway and Switzerland, advocating clear guidance, and Australia, the US and Colombia expressing concerns that a prescriptive framework could restrict future actions. The EU’s text was rejected in favor of more open language. The EU and Norway then highlighted the mandate issued by the Governing Council to address heavy metals, while a representative from FAO emphasized the need for cooperation between the various UN agencies working on chemicals. The SAICM draft decision was finally agreed on Friday, after the insertion of text referring to heavy metals and a final paragraph requesting additional funding for implementation from the Executive Director.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.7) mandates the SAICM Steering Committee to proceed with the further development of a strategic approach to be regularly reviewed in light of the WSSD’s target. Governments, intergovernmental organizations and other actors are requested to suggest draft elements of an approach taking into account economic, social and environmental aspects of chemicals management to be assessed at an international conference, possibly coordinated with the ninth special session of the Governing Council in 2006. The decision stresses the need for cooperation with other agencies, organizations and stakeholders and for coordination with other relevant conventions, and invites financial contributions from governments and other stakeholders.
Further Improvement of Environmental Emergency Prevention, Preparedness, Assessment, Response and Mitigation: The decision on this issue was briefly considered in Plenary on Monday, 3 February, and subsequently discussed in the Drafting Committee on 5 February. The Committee inserted a positive reference to the activities of the joint Environment Unit of UNEP and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and to its support for refugee-hosting countries. The text was adopted in Plenary on Friday without further amendment.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3) welcomes the actions of the joint UNEP/OCHA unit and of the advisory group on environmental emergencies, requests the Executive Director to establish a process for the regular review of the strategic framework on emergency prevention, address capacity building to improve the ability of developing and transition countries to respond to emergencies, and supports refugee hosting countries in rehabilitating damaged environments and ecosystems.
Support to Africa: Delegates took up this issue in Plenary on Monday, 3 February, and in the COW on Tuesday. The draft decision was then taken up in the Drafting Committee on Wednesday. South Africa called for the decision to recognize the New Partnership for Africa’ Development (NEPAD) as the overarching framework for the international community to support sustainable development in Africa, and the US suggested using language from the WSSD’s Plan of Implementation. The Committee agreed to the draft decision with minor amendments, including a provision dealing with assistance to African countries in their preparations for MEA conferences. The decision was adopted on Friday morning in Plenary.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3) calls on African governments to take action and assume responsibility for the implementation of sustainable development, and on donors to support the implementation of NEPAD. It requests the Executive Director to:
- support the implementation of Governing Council decisions within the framework of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), the African Union and NEPAD;
- assist in the development of NEPAD’s environmental initiative and take the lead role in the implementation of certain programme areas;
- support the African Ministerial Conference on Water; and
- promote the linkages between poverty, health, trade and environment as a means of making people’s livelihoods more productive and environmentally sustainable.
Poverty and the Environment in Africa: Issues relating to poverty and the environment were taken up by a number of ministers and other high-level officials on Wednesday and Thursday, 5-6 February, during the high-level segment of the GMEF. (See page 12 of this report.) Following these discussions, a draft decision on poverty and the environment was submitted by Kenya and presented in the COW on Thursday, 6 February. Kenya’s draft text had focused on poverty generally. However, after comments from Argentina and Brazil requesting that it be restricted to Africa, the text was amended to reflect this. The decision was adopted in Plenary on Friday, 7 February.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/CW/L.1):
- requests the Executive Director to develop a strategy for implementation of the poverty eradication commitments in the WSSD’s Plan of Implementation;
- recognizes UNEP’s role in poverty eradication;
- encourages cooperation on NEPAD;
- promotes policy integration;
- seeks to operationalize UNEP’s conceptual framework on poverty and the environment; and
- requests the Executive Director to report on progress on poverty-environment activities at the Governing Council’s 23rd session.
Sustainable Development of the Arctic: The need to protect the Arctic marine environment was stressed in Plenary by Iceland, on behalf of the Arctic Council, on Monday, 3 February. The draft decision was approved by the Drafting Committee on Tuesday and adopted in Plenary on Friday morning, 7 February, without comment or amendment.
Final Decision: This decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3) encourages cooperation between UNEP and the Arctic Council, Arctic parliamentarians, the Indigenous Peoples Secretariat, and the private sector, and continued support for UNEP as an implementing agency in a portfolio of projects, funded by the Global Environment Facility, addressing environmental issues in the Arctic. It requests the Executive Director to provide continuous assessments and early warning on emerging issues related to the Arctic.
Small Island Developing States: The decision on small island developing States (SIDS) was submitted by the Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC), Papua New Guinea and Samoa and presented in the COW on Thursday, 6 February. An earlier version of the draft decision focused solely on Caribbean SIDS, was amended after consultations with Papua New Guinea and Samoa resulted in agreement to broaden its focus to all SIDS. Text referring to funding for UNEP activities related to SIDS was approved by the budget contact group, after lengthy procedural discussions, and forwarded to the COW. The decision was adopted in Plenary on Friday, 7 February.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/CW/L.1) identifies the need to strengthen the capacity of SIDS to achieve the sustainable development goals outlined in the Barbados Plan of Action, supports the development and execution of partnerships in the context of the WSSD, and requests the Executive Director to continue to increase funding to SIDS during the biennium 2004-2005.
Regional Implementation of UNEP’s Programme of Work: This issue was discussed at length on Wednesday afternoon, 5 February, during the high-level segment of the GMEF, when ministers and other officials considered regional work on implementation of the outcomes of the WSSD. (See page 11 of this report.) In light of these discussions and a UNEP paper on this issue (UNEP/ GC.22/8 and Corr. 1), a draft decision was prepared and submitted by GRULAC. The decision was considered and approved by the COW on Thursday, 6 February, and formally adopted in Plenary the following day.
Final Decision: The decision on regional implementation (UNEP/GC.22/CW/L.2) endorses the priorities for regional action contained in the discussion paper. It underlines the crucial role of the regional offices in carrying out UNEP’s work, particularly in relation to capacity building and technology transfer, and requests the Executive Director to ensure that these offices have the capacity to carry out their work and to respond to the WSSD’s call for support to regional and subregional initiatives. The decision also requests the Executive Director to identify the percentage of the Environment Fund budget from each Division that will be allocated to activities at the regional level, and to include this information in the Programme of Work for 2006-2007.
Environment and Cultural Diversity: This issue was briefly referred to in the COW on Tuesday, 4 February, in statements by Algeria, Kenya and Mexico. A revised draft decision on environment and cultural diversity was introduced on 6 February, by GRULAC with the EU. However, the US questioned the concept, warned against its possible impact on trade and economic development, and argued that it went beyond UNEP’s mandate. A shorter compromise version was explored by interested delegations, and a final text was adopted in Plenary on Friday.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3/Add.1) requests the Executive Director to conduct a survey, in cooperation with UNESCO, on the state of current work and developments on environment and cultural diversity, paying particular attention to human well-being, and to report back to the Governing Council at its 23rd session.
Sustainable Production and Consumption: This issue was discussed at length on Thursday morning, 6 February, during the high-level segment of the GMEF. (See page 11 of this report.)
On Friday, 7 February, a decision on this topic was addressed in a contact group, which worked from a text submitted by the EU (UNEP/GC.22/CRP/Rev.1), however discussions stalled on language defining the role of UNEP in the development of a 10-year programme for sustainable consumption and production, the inclusion of the title of the joint Life Cycle Initiative programme of UNEP and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), and text outlining plans for the development of an international code of conduct on sustainable production and consumption (UNEP/GC.22/L1). The US argued that inclusion of the words "life cycle initiative" was unacceptable due to concerns over trade restrictions and, with Australia and the G-77/China, strongly objected to a code of conduct, finding it unrealistic and premature. The EU, supported by Switzerland and Norway, agreed to drop text relating to the code of conduct, in return for stronger language on UNEP’s role regarding the 10-year framework of programmes supporting the shift to sustainable production and consumption. After lengthy discussions, the decision on sustainable production and consumption was adopted in Plenary on Friday evening.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L1/Add.5) reinforces current UNEP activities and programmes and requests the Executive Director to support initiatives to enhance corporate responsibility and accountability and consumer awareness, taking into account gender issues and the different circumstances of countries. It recognizes the requirement for further training, awareness raising and capacity-building programmes on sustainable production and consumption, in particular in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. The Executive Director is requested to take an active role in cooperation with governments, other relevant UN agencies and intergovernmental organizations in pursuit of the development of the 10-year framework of programmes for sustainable production and consumption, as outlined in the WSSD’s Plan of Implementation.
CIVIL SOCIETY’S ROLE, COORDINATION WITHIN AND OUTSIDE THE UN, AND LINKAGES AMONG ENVIRONMENTAL AGREEMENTS: Civil Society – Amendment to Rule 69 of the Governing Council’s Rules of Procedure: The CPR, which had worked on this issue prior to this Governing Council session but had been unable to reach consensus, presented the Council with a draft decision containing bracketed text. The issue was taken up by the Drafting Committee, where divergent views were reiterated on the modalities for the participation of civil society in the Governing Council. While some delegates said participation should be at the discretion of the Governing Council, others preferred the practice of formal accreditation with ECOSOC and the CSD. Differences remained until the G-77/China suggested a short compromise text, which was adopted in Plenary on Friday, 7 February.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3/Add.2) recalls the requirements of rules 70 and 71 of the Governing Council’s rules of procedure and decision SS.VII/5 of its seventh special session. The decision provides for the CPR to continue its work as mandated by decision SS.VII/5 in considering the amendment of rule 69 and any consequential amendments of the rules of procedure, taking into account the evolving relationship between civil society and the UN system and the ongoing UN reform process.
Engagement and Involvement of Youth in Environmental Issues: A draft decision on this issue was taken up in the Drafting Committee on Tuesday, 4 February. Argentina proposed additional new text urging that UNEP’s proposed long-term strategy on youth (UNEP/GC.22/3/Add.1/Rev.1) be implemented at the regional and subregional levels and calling on governments to develop programmes to sensitize and educate youth in sustainable development. The Committee agreed to the draft decision, which was subsequently adopted in Plenary without further amendment.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3) calls for the establishment of a trust fund to support engaging youth in environmental issues, requests the Executive Director to seek extra-budgetary resources, in particular from the private sector, and invites governments in a position to do so to provide both financial and human resources to support the implementation of the strategy. It also requests the Executive Director to present a mid-term report at the ninth special session of the Governing Council in 2006 and a final report at the twenty-fifth session of the Governing Council in 2009.
UNEP’s Strategy for Sport and the Environment: UNEP Deputy Executive Director Shafqat Kakakhel introduced the draft decision on UNEP’s Strategy for Sport and the Environment in the COW on Tuesday, 4 February. In a Drafting Committee session later that day, the text was supported with the inclusion of several minor amendments, and was formally adopted by the Plenary on Friday, 7 February.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3) recognizes that sport can mobilize people to support and participate in sustainable development issues and endorses activities in UNEP’s sport and environment programme. It highlights the need for financial resources to facilitate expansion of the programme (in particular for the programme on sport and the environment for young people in developing countries), and for the promotion of environmental issues at major sporting events. The decision also requests governments to inform UNEP of relevant activities undertaken in their countries.
Engaging Business and Industry: The issue of engaging business and industry was taken up in the COW on Tuesday, 4 February by UNEP Deputy Executive Director Shafqat Kakakhel, who introduced the draft decision on the subject. The decision was subsequently discussed during Thursday’s ministerial consultations, when several delegates noted the importance of involving business and industry in sustainable development. Following consultations between the US and EU on the degree of government regulation required in this area, the Drafting Committee accepted a revised text based on the WSSD’s formulation on this matter, and the Plenary adopted the decision the following day.
Final Decision: The decision on engaging business and industry (UNEP/GC.22/L.3) requests that member States submit elements for guidelines for cooperation between UNEP and business and industry to the Executive Director by 1 October 2003, and asks the Executive Director to distribute these elements to all member States by 15 November 2003, allowing UNEP to begin the development of consistent guidelines.
UNEP’s Role in Strengthening Regional Activities in the Economic Cooperation Organization Subregion: This issue was taken up by the COW on Thursday, 6 February, when delegates discussed a draft decision submitted by Iran, a member country of the Economic Cooperation Organization (a group of ten central Asian States founded in 1985). The text was approved after language that could be interpreted as implying the need to establish a new UNEP regional office was deleted. The decision was formally adopted in Plenary the following day.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/CW/L.2) asks UNEP’s Executive Director to support and promote the environmental initiatives of the Economic Cooperation Organization region and to increase the financial capacities of UNEP’s regional offices to support the Organization’s member countries through technology transfer and capacity building.
Regional Seas Strategies for Sustainable Development: A draft decision on this issue – which was considered and forwarded to the Governing Council by the CPR prior to the session – was considered by the Drafting Committee, which made a number of alterations to the original text, including replacing text that "calls on" governments to take various steps with language that "invites" these steps instead. The decision was adopted by the Plenary on Friday, without further amendment.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3/Add.1) requests UNEP’s Executive Director to support regional seas conventions and action plans in incorporating a variety of strategic elements in their programmes of work. It also requests the Executive Director to continue providing financial, technical and administrative assistance to the conventions and plans, and develop initiatives aimed at securing long-term sustainability, taking into account the WSSD’s outcomes. The decision calls on all littoral states of shared inland waters to collectively establish the legal instruments needed for the protection of the environment, as soon as possible. It requests the Executive Director to support the establishment of new regional seas conventions and action plans, subject to additional funding and requests from governments. Finally, the decision invites governments to, inter alia: take a more proactive role in all stages of implementation of the work programmes of relevant conventions and action plans; develop "ownership" of these conventions and plans; and provide additional resources to the secretariats to strengthen implementation.
The Northwest Pacific Action Plan: A short draft decision on this issue – which was considered and forwarded to the Governing Council by the CPR prior to the session – was considered by the Drafting Committee on Thursday, 6 February. The original text was amended to include an additional operative paragraph requesting UNEP’s Executive Director to facilitate the finalization of host country agreements with Japan and the Republic of Korea to co-host the Regional Coordinating Unit. The decision was formally adopted in Plenary on Friday, 7 February.
Final Decision: In addition to the text inserted by the Drafting Committee, the final decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3/Add.1) requests UNEP to continue serving as the interim secretariat for the Plan until the co-hosted Regional Coordinating Unit is operational, and to facilitate the development and implementation of a GEF project on land-based activities in the Northwest Pacific region.
The Northeast Pacific Action Plan – La Antigua Guatemala Convention: A short draft decision on this issue was considered by the Drafting Committee on Thursday, 6 February. The original text, which had been drafted by the CPR, was amended to "invite" rather than "call on" countries to ratify the Convention for Cooperation in the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Northeast Pacific. The decision was adopted in Plenary the following day, without further amendment.
Final Decision: The final decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3/Add.1) encourages countries in the region to convene a second Intergovernmental Meeting of the Plan of Action and requests UNEP to provide assistance. It also calls for the establishment of a Regional Coordinating Unit.
The South-East Pacific Action Plan – The Lima Convention: A short draft decision on this issue was submitted on Tuesday, 4 February, by the Latin America and the Caribbean Group (GRULAC). The proposed text was briefly considered in the Drafting Committee, and adopted in Plenary on Friday, 7 February.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3/Add.1) requests UNEP’s Executive Director to strengthen horizontal cooperation and the twinning arrangement established by the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific and the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme. It also asks UNEP to support an interregional conference to develop knowledge on the state of the marine environment in the entire Pacific.
The Abidjan and Nairobi Conventions: The draft decision forwarded by the CPR to the Governing Council for consideration was addressed in the Drafting Committee on Thursday, 6 February. The final decision was adopted in Plenary on Friday morning, 7 February, without amendment.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3/Add.1) invites countries to ratify or accede to the two Conventions, take necessary steps to implement them, and to strengthen them by making contributions to their respective trust funds. It also requests the Executive Director to provide technical assistance and legal advisory services to facilitate ratifications of the Conventions and to ensure that UNEP’s regional seas programme focuses on activities that make the Conventions effective instruments for sustainable development, by addressing poverty, health and environment, to the benefit of all actors within African coastal States.
Brussels Declaration and the Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs): A draft decision on this issue was submitted by Benin, on behalf of the LDCs. It was briefly discussed and approved by the Drafting Committee on Wednesday, 5 February, and adopted by Plenary without amendment.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3/Add.3) resolves that UNEP should continue to give special attention to LDCs, landlocked countries and SIDS, including cooperation with the Office of the High Representative for these countries, with a focus on effective implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action.
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE: Strengthening UNEP’s Scientific Base and Establishing an Intergovernmental Panel on Global Environmental Change (IPEC): The draft decision on this issue, which had been forwarded to the Governing Council by the CPR, was presented in the COW on Tuesday, 4 February, and subsequently referred to a contact group. In the contact group, delegates agreed on a need to strengthen UNEP’s capacity and the links between science and policy-making, but many delegations questioned the value of an IPEC. The EU and Norway supported the concept. After lengthy discussions, the draft decision was replaced with a text that refers to the establishment of such an institution as one of several options. The decision was adopted in Plenary on Friday, 7 February.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/CW/L.3) invites submissions to the Executive Director focusing on gaps and types of assessments, how UNEP and other organizations are currently meeting their assessment needs, and the options that exist for meeting any unfulfilled needs that fall within UNEP’s role and mandate. The decision also solicits views addressing, inter alia, scientific credibility, the interaction between science and policy development, the role of existing institutions, and avoiding duplication. It requests the Executive Director to make the results publicly available and to prepare a synthesis report on the consultations to the Governing Council by its eighth special session.
Follow-up to General Assembly Resolution 57/251: The issue of universal membership of the Governing Council, including its legal, political, institutional, financial and system-wide implications, was deliberated in the Drafting Committee throughout the week. Delegations agreed that differences could not be resolved easily, and focused on formulating a procedure for obtaining views on the issue from governments and UN agencies that would not duplicate a similar process established by the UN General Assembly.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3/Add.2) requests the Executive Director to invite governments to submit written comments on the subject by 31 October 2003, and to submit a report incorporating comments from governments to the eighth special session of the Governing Council in 2004. The decision incorporates reference to launching a pilot phase for a voluntary indicative scale of contributions to UNEP. It also requests the Executive Director to develop an intergovernmental strategic plan for technology support and capacity building, to be submitted to the Governing Council’s eighth special session in 2004.
Status of International Conventions and Protocols in the Field of Environment: The decision on this issue, which was forwarded to the Governing Council by the CPR, was adopted by the Plenary on Friday, 7 February, without amendment.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3/Add.1), addressed and adopted by the Plenary on 7 February, "invites" countries to "consider" signing, ratifying, or acceding to environmental conventions expeditiously and to proceed with their implementation. It also authorizes the Executive Director to transmit comments made by delegations on the need for institutional capacity building to the 58th session of the UN General Assembly.
Montevideo Programme: A report on the implementation of the Programme for the Development and Periodic Review of Environmental Law for the First Decade of the Twenty-first Century (Montevideo Programme III) was taken-up briefly by the COW on Monday, 3 February. The one-paragraph draft decision on the Programme was introduced to the COW two days later, and adopted without amendment by the Plenary on Friday.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3/Add.1) requests UNEP’s Executive Director to provide the Governing Council at its 23rd session with a comprehensive report on the implementation of the Montevideo Programme III.
Enhancing the Application of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development: A draft decision on this issue was forwarded to the Governing Council by the CPR and considered by the Drafting Committee on Thursday, 6 February. Strongly held positions were expressed, with the G-77/China, supported by the US, objecting to the preparation of global guidelines on the application of Principle 10, which addresses access to information, decision-making and judicial procedures relating to the environment. They also questioned a Canadian suggestion that countries should make submissions on their national laws related to Principle 10. The EU preferred retaining the original text from the CPR. A compromise text was finally negotiated, and was formally adopted in Plenary the following day.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3/Add.1) requests UNEP to intensify efforts in the key areas of capacity and institution-building and to assess the possibility of promoting, at the national and international levels, the application of Principle 10 to determine if there is value in initiating an intergovernmental process to prepare global guidelines on applying Principle 10. It requests UNEP’s Executive Director to produce a report on progress made in preparing the guidelines, for review at the Governing Council’s 23rd session.
Follow-up to the Global Judges Symposium: The draft decision on this issue was discussed in the Drafting Committee on Wednesday, 6 February, with several countries noting their inability to implement the judges’ recommendations. Others emphasized the need to improve the capacity of judiciaries. The decision was approved with several minor amendments, and adopted in Plenary on Friday, 7 February.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3) recalls the Global Judges Symposium hosted by South Africa, and calls on the Executive Director to support, within the framework of the Montevideo III Programme, the improvement of the capacity of judges, prosecutors, legislators and other relevant stakeholders with a view to mobilizing their potential for the enforcement of environmental law and promoting access to justice and public participation in decision making and access to information.
PROGRAMME, THE ENVIRONMENT FUND AND ADMINISTRATIVE AND OTHER BUDGETARY MATTERS
ENVIRONMENT FUND BUDGET: BIENNIAL PROGRAMME AND SUPPORT BUDGET FOR 2004-2005: The draft decision on the Environment Fund budget, biennial programme and support budget for 2004-2005 was taken up in the COW and in a contact group chaired by John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda). The contact group met throughout the week.
On Tuesday, 4 February, the contact group began by considering the draft decision forwarded by the CPR, with disagreements soon emerging, in particular over the approval of the Programme of Work as outlined in the Report of the Executive Director (UNEP/ GC.22/6), the inclusion of financing for UNEP’s work on chemicals and the provision of financing for SIDS. The US, Australia, Sweden and several others cautioned against the inclusion of issue-specific priorities in the budget decision; however, Canada, Finland and the Bahamas and several others supported it, arguing that it was necessary to increase funding to these areas. After extensive deliberations, delegates agreed to text that was referred to the chemicals contact group and the COW for inclusion in the relevant decisions.
After almost a full day of informal bilateral and multilateral negotiations on the outstanding text relating to the approval of the budget and the Programme of Work, the contact group reached agreement early on Friday evening, on a compromise proposal tabled by Canada and amended by the Chair, to note concerns submitted by member States to the Executive Director in writing within six weeks of the conclusion of the Governing Council’s 22nd session.
The final decision was adopted by the Plenary on Friday evening, 7 February, with comments from the US, the EU and the G-77/China. The US noted its strong commitment and large financial contribution to UNEP; however, he stressed that the proposed Programme of Work includes initiatives outside of UNEP’s traditional strengths and suggested that other initiatives had not received adequate consideration by the Governing Council. While joining the consensus on the decision, he could not endorse either the programme overview or the subprogramme narratives. He expressed a desire to work with other delegations and the Executive Director to strengthen the drafting process and review the budget and accompanying Programme of Work.
The UK, on behalf of the EU, expressed its full support for UNEP, the Programme of Work and budget, and endorsed UNEP’s central role in WSSD follow-up. Morocco, on behalf of the G-77/ China, supported the statement of the EU and called for a strong UNEP to carry out its mandate as outlined in the Programme of Work.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3/Add.4) approves appropriations for the Environment Fund in the amount of US$130 million for the biennial programme, which includes:
- environmental assessment and early warning;
- environmental policy development and law;
- environmental policy implementation;
- technology, industry and economics;
- regional cooperation and representation;
- environmental conventions; and
- communications and public information.
It also requests the Executive Director to ensure that all Fund programme activities approved by the Governing Council are provided with resources from the Environment Fund, and to submit a draft budget and Programme of Work for the biennium 2006-2007 to the Governing Council’s 23rd session for consideration and approval.
AMENDMENTS TO THE INSTRUMENT FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE RESTRUCTURED GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT FACILITY: The draft decision forwarded by the CPR to the Governing Council for consideration was agreed in the Drafting Committee on Monday afternoon, 3 February, without amendment. The final decision was adopted in Plenary on Friday morning, 7 February.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3) adopts the amendments agreed to at the Second GEF Assembly in October 2002, which endorsed land degradation (primarily desertification and deforestation) and persistent organic pollutants as new GEF focal areas.
REVISION OF THE FINANCIAL RULES OF THE UNEP FUND AND OF OTHER RELATED RULES AND GUIDELINES: The draft decision forwarded by the CPR to the Governing Council for consideration was approved by the Drafting Committee on Tuesday, 4 February, without amendment and was formally adopted in Plenary on Friday morning, 7 February.
Final Decision: The decision (UNEP/GC.22/L.3) approves several language revisions to UNEP’s financial rules, the general guidelines for the execution of projects, and institutional and financial arrangements for international environment cooperation.
ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS: The draft decision forwarded by the CPR to the Governing Council contains two separate decisions addressing the management of trust funds and counterpart contributions and the loan from the Environment Fund financial reserve. The decisions were addressed in the Drafting Committee on Tuesday, 4 February, and were adopted in Plenary without amendment.
Final Decisions: The decision on the management of trust funds and counterpart contributions (UNEP/GC.22/L.3) approves the trust funds established since the Governing Council’s 21st session for, inter alia, the Environmental Assessment of Afghanistan, the Dams and Development Unit, the Secretariat for the Environment Management Group, and the Global Assessment of Mercury and its compounds. It also approves the extension of several general and technical cooperation trust funds and the closure of various other trust funds.
The decision on the loan from the Environment Fund financial reserve (UNEP/GC.22/L.3) notes with satisfaction the Executive Director’s report on the loan and progress achieved in the construction project to expand facilities at the UN Office in Nairobi (UNON), and requests him to report to the CPR on further progress of the loan drawdowns.
AGENDA, DATE AND VENUE OF FUTURE MEETINGS
On Friday, 7 February, delegates approved the agenda for the eighth special session of the Governing Council/fifth Global Ministerial Environment Forum, and agreed that it will be held from 29-31 March 2004, in the Republic of Korea. They also adopted the agenda for the Governing Council’s 23rd regular session/sixth Global Ministerial Environment Forum, and agreed that it will take place from 21-25 February 2005, in Nairobi (UNEP/GC.22/L.5).
HIGH-LEVEL MINISTERIAL CONSULTATIONS
The Global Ministerial Environment Forum segment of the meeting was held from Wednesday to Friday morning, 5-7 February. The segment took the form of ministerial consultations focusing on UNEP’s contribution to implementation of the WSSD’s outcomes. Sessions focused on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), regional implementation of the WSSD’s outcomes, the promotion of sustainable consumption and production patterns, and the use of the natural resource base to fight poverty. The consultations were attended by ministers and senior government representatives from over 100 countries.
OPENING STATEMENTS: The ministerial consultations opened on Wednesday morning with a performance by a Kenyan musical group of their song, "Working Together As One."
Governing Council President Ruhakana Rugunda emphasized the opportunity presented by this meeting to determine how UNEP should contribute to implementing the WSSD’s outcomes.
UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer highlighted the challenges facing Africa, asserting that "putting poverty to the sword should be our mantra." Observing that the commitments set by the WSSD and other forums are achievable, he urged ministers to take decisions that translate goals into action.
Nitin Desai, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, stressed the need to consider the implementation of the WSSD’s outcomes at the regional level, and improve stakeholder involvement and coordination within the UN system. He suggested that the CSD could add value by supporting the integration of economic, social and environmental considerations, and highlighted UNEP’s crucial role in realizing environmental goals.
Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT Executive Director, emphasized the cooperative relationship between her organization and UNEP, and stressed the interlinkages between the environment and human settlements.
Kenyan Vice President Michael Wamalwa Kijana emphasized the need for good governance, transparency, accountability, and clear policies regarding civil society participation, particularly for youth and women. He highlighted as priorities poverty eradication, biodiversity, benefit sharing, conflicts and combating terrorism, HIV/AIDS, UNEP funding, and the special needs of Africa.
NEW PARTNERSHIP FOR AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT: Delegates considered implementation of the WSSD’s outcomes in the context of NEPAD (UNEP/GC.22/8/Add.1) on Wednesday morning, 5 February. Abdoulaye Wade, President of Senegal, outlined the objectives of NEPAD, stressing the value of its focus on good governance, regionalism, and the private sector. He said NEPAD must promote private sector initiatives in infrastructure, education, health, agriculture, new information and communication technologies, environment, energy, and address access to developed countries’ markets.
Mohamed Valli Moosa, South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, reflected on the WSSD’s high-level commitment to sustainable development and its focus on poverty alleviation. He suggested that CSD-11 could help integrate work on the WSSD, and stressed UNEP’s role.
Amara Essy, Secretary-General of the African Union, reported on the launch in 2002 of the African Union – the successor to the Organization of African Unity – and its links to NEPAD.
In the subsequent discussion, the EU supported regional and subregional work through existing initiatives such as NEPAD, and reported on EU partnerships on water and energy. Uganda, speaking as President of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), stressed the need for donor assistance in implementing NEPAD and the WSSD. China said NEPAD’s success will depend on the participation of all African countries and on donor countries meeting funding commitments. Kenya identified Africa’s foreign debt and the costs of imported fossil fuels as barriers to poverty reduction and sustainable development.
The Netherlands underscored NEPAD’s emphasis on African leadership, ownership and initiative, involvement of civil society and private sector participation, and poverty eradication. Senegal and Nigeria emphasized the need for concrete action to implement NEPAD. The Czech Republic stressed the importance of good governance, democracy, stability and respect for fundamental human rights, and questioned how strategic environmental assessments and environmental impact assessments would be factored into NEPAD initiatives. Algeria and France underscored the linkages between the environment and cultural diversity. Poland identified NEPAD as a model for other regions. Libya said NEPAD solutions must originate from Africa and address regional specificities.
President Wade concluded the session by responding to the issues raised, noting the need to focus on infrastructure development, debt relief, energy generation, and NEPAD funding.
REGIONAL IMPLEMENTATION: On Wednesday afternoon, participants in the ministerial consultations considered UNEP’s role in the regional implementation of the WSSD’s outcomes (UNEP/GC.22/8 and Corr.1).
Many speakers highlighted the environmental problems affecting their regions, outlining policy responses and existing partnerships with UNEP. China and Saudi Arabia supported strengthening UNEP’s activities at regional and subregional levels.
On UNEP’s regional role, several speakers emphasized capacity building, with the Czech Republic urging assistance for information exchange on best practices, and Bhutan calling for more support for LDCs. Mali said UNEP should assist South-South cooperation. Several delegates highlighted the need for UNEP to adopt a bottom-up approach, and some proposed increased collaboration with other UN agencies and stakeholders. Canada suggested further work on health-environment linkages. Regarding funding for UNEP’s work, Brazil supported the channeling of a percentage of the Environment Fund budget to the regional offices.
Speakers also reported on regional-level activities such as the Arab Initiative and the Latin American and Caribbean Initiative for Sustainable Development. Germany drew attention to the Environment for Europe Conference to be held in Kiev in May 2003.
SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION: On Thursday morning, 6 February, David Anderson, Canada’s Minister for the Environment, chaired the session on sustainable production and consumption, and introduced a background paper on the issue (UNEP/GC.22/8/Add.2). Noting that current consumption and production trends are unsustainable, he asked delegates to: identify appropriate policies and pricing structures; consider how to stimulate the development of appropriate new technologies; examine how changes in consumption and production patterns contribute to poverty eradication; and provide guidance on UNEP’s role in this area.
Delegates identified a range of legal and economic policies and instruments. China highlighted the phase-out of outdated technologies and the use of environmental auditing, and the US, Colombia, and Switzerland supported tax-based or other market incentives for business and industry. The UK and Australia supported eliminating harmful subsidies. Poland underscored the benefits of consumer awareness and several speakers referred to eco-labeling. Norway said developed countries should provide assistance to developing countries to "leapfrog" to more sustainable technologies.
On UNEP’s role, Norway said UNEP must take a lead in developing the WSSD’s ten-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production in consultation with other organizations and agencies. The UK said the CSD should review regional and national progress against baselines based on the WSSD’s outcomes, and could work with UNEP to identify the resources and follow-up required. Speakers also highlighted the need for improved indicators and information, training, capacity building, collaboration, partnerships, and financial assistance.
USING THE NATURAL RESOURCE BASE TO FIGHT POVERTY: On Thursday afternoon, Governing Council President Rugunda opened the session on using the natural resource base to fight poverty and on UNEP’s contribution to the WSSD’s biodiversity-related commitments (UNEP/GC.22/8/Add.3). Delegates considered:
- how to fully utilize the natural resource base in fighting poverty;
- how existing regional programmes could enhance UNEP’s new guidelines on poverty and the environment;
- what role UNEP can play in developing national, subregional and regional plans for poverty eradication incorporating WSSD and other goals; and
- how UNEP can use the WEHAB agenda in promoting sustainable livelihoods.
Many speakers underscored linkages between poverty and biodiversity, and endorsed the WSSD’s outcomes. Several delegates noted the importance of involving business and industry, NGOs, local and indigenous communities, and other stakeholders. Mexico and others stressed the need to share genetic resources equitably. Switzerland supported awareness-raising and conservation activities, and Mozambique linked the work of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention to Combat Desertification (CCD) and other environmental conventions to efforts aimed at alleviating poverty in Africa.
On UNEP’s role, Belize said it should help developing countries retain benefits from their genetic resources. The UK said UNEP needs a much closer relationship with UNDP and the CSD to deliver the WSSD’s outcomes, and Denmark said the WEHAB initiative must be translated into action. Speakers also drew attention to UNEP’s activities relating to land use, water resources, energy, forestry, and natural resource management.
REPORT ON THE OUTCOME OF THE MINISTERIAL CONSULTATIONS: On Friday morning, 7 February, Governing Council President Rugunda reported to Plenary on discussions and outcomes from the ministerial consultations held during the previous two days (UNEP/GC.22/L.6).
Noting that the discussions had yielded some important conclusions and recommendations, President Rugunda highlighted many delegates’ view that the environmental components of the NEPAD Action Plan should be finalized as soon as possible, and that UNEP should play a strong role in supporting this. On regional implementation, he underscored speakers’ recommendations that regional partnerships with other institutions and ministerial forums should be fostered and supported by UNEP, that the role and capacity of UNEP’s regional offices and programmes should be enhanced, and that capacity building should be a key component of UNEP’s regional work. Regarding sustainable consumption and production, he noted support for UNEP strengthening its sustainable consumption and production activities and taking a leading role in developing and implementing the WSSD’s ten-year framework of programmes on consumption and production. Finally, on use of the natural resource base to fight poverty, he took note of the important role UNEP has in awareness-raising and promotion of partnerships among stakeholders, WEHAB implementation, capacity building, provision of legal and technical assistance, and operationalization of UNEP’s conceptual framework on poverty and ecosystems.
On Friday afternoon, 7 February, delegates met in Plenary to consider the report of the meeting (UNEP/GC22/L.2 and Adds.1 & 2). After proceeding paragraph-by-paragraph and making a number of technical and editorial amendments to the text, the Governing Council adopted the report. Delegates also adopted the report of the Committee of the Whole (UNEP/GC.22/CW/L.1).
Due to delays caused by ongoing negotiations on the Programme of Work and budget and on consumption and production patterns, the meeting did not come to a close until Friday evening, when decisions on these issues were finally adopted. Following the adoption of these decisions, delegates made their closing remarks.
Many speakers thanked the Kenyan Government, UNEP and its Executive Director for hosting and organizing the meeting. Uganda, speaking for AMCEN, said this session of the Governing Council had built on the work of the WSSD, particularly in relation to Africa. He called for further strengthening of UNEP’s Regional Office for Africa.
The UK, on behalf of the EU, thanked delegates for maintaining the momentum from the WSSD, and said the EU would remain faithful to the commitments it had made. Asserting that UNEP’s role as the lead environmental agency had been confirmed, he said EU ministers were committed to making the Global Ministerial Environment Forum the key worldwide arena for international policy guidance on environmental issues.
The Slovak Republic, speaking for the Eastern European Group, said the decisions taken at this gathering represented a practical step forward from the WSSD. He highlighted action on education, capacity building and science, which he said would lead to a strengthening of the scientific basis of UNEP’s work.
Morocco, on behalf of the G-77/China, indicated that it was satisfied with the outcomes of the meeting, although results on some issues had not lived up to expectations. Egypt, for the Arab Group, drew attention to the decision on the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
Declaring this to be "one of the most successful sessions in recent times," Kenya said the Governing Council had charted a way forward towards regional implementation of the WSSD. She noted that decisions had been taken on a wide range of issues, adding that the challenge was now to translate these agreements into action.
UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer said it had been a difficult but positive week. Acknowledging that some mistakes had been made, he welcomed criticism and feedback on how to continue improving the organization, adding that UNEP was dedicated to keep striving for perfection. Drawing attention to the fact that this was the most well-attended Governing Council session ever, he expressed the wish that the two years leading into the next session would result in ongoing progress and advances in UNEP’s work.
Governing Council President Rugunda expressed pleasure at the successful completion of the Governing Council’s work. Calling particular attention to the focus on Africa and NEPAD, he said UNEP should play a leading role in its implementation. Expressing his appreciation to all participants and organizers for their hard work, he gaveled the meeting to a close at 8:45 pm.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF THE UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL
The gathering of delegates for the 22nd session of the UNEP Governing Council marked its first meeting since the conclusion of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg. Riding on the momentum generated from the WSSD, governments, civil society and UNEP officials had high expectations. However, the expectations within these constituencies varied considerably. Some participants saw the meeting as a tool to strengthen the commitments made in Johannesburg, some viewed it as an opportunity to implement those commitments, while others considered it an ideal moment for UNEP to broaden its own range of activities. The result was a session full of energy and good intentions, but stretched in too many different directions.
A HEAVY AGENDA
This was the biggest Governing Council session that UNEP has ever had – not only in terms of the number of participants and governments represented, but also in the number of documents. Almost 1000 participants filled the conference rooms and over 40 decisions were adopted. The inordinate number of issues put up for discussion, the contact groups created to address them, and the mountains of working and information documents, left many delegations scrambling, with one complaining that "we cannot be in five places at once." With a broad agenda structured by items, sub-items, and sub-sub-items, negotiators had little time to concentrate on priority issues. As a result, many of the final decisions simply deferred substantive action to future Governing Council sessions.
The format of documents created further problems. Some delegates had difficulties matching working and information documents to the draft decisions. Some CPR veterans also voiced the perennial complaint of a lack of communication between Permanent Missions in Nairobi and capitals, or between the Secretariat and member States, while others took a more cynical view, suggesting that it was never the intent of some delegations to seriously entertain adopting certain proposals.
The heightened awareness of the need for stronger policies under the environmental pillar of sustainable development catalyzed by the build-up to and conclusions from the WSSD, provided almost ideal conditions and inspired political will for the Governing Council to elaborate effective tools for the implementation of Agenda 21 and the WSSD Plan of Implementation. However, some delegations, such as those from the G-77/China, left the closing Plenary remarking that the Governing Council had failed to achieve this. Supporting a strong UNEP, they felt that rather than spurring focused discussion on WSSD implementation, the agenda had taken delegates in other directions. The sheer volume of documents and draft decisions, the heavy agenda, and the determination of some delegations to advance new commitments over implementing existing ones, slowed the impetus for progress.
The agenda was littered with controversial emerging "hot" issues, many of which were not priorities in the WSSD Plan of Implementation or did not figure in Johannesburg. According to some delegates, politically sensitive but highly visible draft decisions on the Asian Brown Cloud, the "super-assessment" Intergovernmental Panel on Global Environmental Change (IPEC), universal membership for the Governing Council, the voluntary indicative scale of contributions, and the environment and cultural diversity, diverted attention from WSSD implementation issues and ignited debate. The relatively insubstantial outcomes on these issues and the time spent on fruitless arguing left many negotiators frustrated and drained.
A number of countries seemed eager to use the WSSD’s momentum to push for even stronger commitments. According to some observers, the EU, with its stringent environmental standards, made attempts in the negotiations on chemicals and sustainable consumption and production to move beyond WSSD commitments. Other developed countries, such as the US, and developing countries, including South Africa, resisted this.
The Secretariat did a valiant job; it had a tremendous range of issues to address and high expectations to satisfy. However, with the broad agenda and delegates’ differing aims, some felt the development of a leading role for UNEP had little chance to take root. But, that view was far from universal. At the close of the meeting, the EU and some Eastern European countries clearly felt that in spite of difficulties, the momentum from the WSSD had been maintained and UNEP "got there in the end." Supporting their opinion, these delegates noted the adoption of over 40 decisions and argued that UNEP’s leading role in environmental policy had been confirmed.
The issue of UNEP’s role in international environmental governance arose again at this meeting; however, it manifested itself in a more discrete fashion than in recent years. Initiatives such as IPEC, the policy-making expansion of the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, implementation of NEPAD’s Environment Initiative, and the draft decision on environment and cultural diversity were seen by some as motivated by a desire to expand UNEP’s activities beyond its mandate contained in the 1997 Nairobi Declaration.
This perception led to tensions between the US, which sought to contain UNEP’s role in sustainable development, and the EU and others more eager to expand UNEP’s role. This was particularly evident in the budget discussions on the Programme of Work. The US, Japan, Australia and others concerned about the organization’s ambitions pressed for a focus on established areas. Others, including the EU, Norway and Switzerland, were more flexible on the Programme of Work. There were also strains between those countries favoring WSSD implementation focused at the domestic level, and those that envisaged UNEP taking an international approach. This latter aspect was evident in discussions on IPEC, where Norway and the EU supported a new UNEP-centered intergovernmental organization, while the US, Japan, Russia and others were wary of the idea.
GLOBAL MINISTERIAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
The GMEF provided a welcome opportunity for high-level interaction on some pressing environmental matters. Discussions on key issues including NEPAD, regional implementation of the WSSD’s outcomes, promotion of sustainable production and consumption patterns, and UNEP’s contribution to the WSSD’s biodiversity commitments, had the potential for results that could give negotiators guidance on the way forward and the opportunity for a declaration on UNEP’s role in these areas. Instead, ministers often appeared unsure of the substance of the issues and unprepared for the specificity of some of the topics. This resulted in general dialogue that many felt provided little vision on UNEP’s future role and activities. There were exceptions to this. Some delegations, such as the UK and South Africa, made important contributions by advancing solutions to issues of international environmental governance, and Senegal’s comments on the attributes and needs of NEPAD were seen as valuable. The exchanges of views and ideas that the dialogue inspired may assist in the mainstreaming of environmental protection objectives into domestic and regional policy-making, raising awareness of UNEP’s budgetary needs, and advancing sustainable development objectives. However, their overall impact on UNEP’s activities remains questionable.
Despite its shortcomings, the GMEF laid the foundation for more constructive work in the future. Attracting high-level decision-makers to discuss these issues in a common forum can be viewed as an achievement in itself. The EU commented at the close of the meeting that as the Forum becomes more established there is the potential for it to become an important global mechanism for international guidance on environmental issues. The task for UNEP is to organize it in a manner in which both practical and substantive results are produced.
PARTICIPATION OF CIVIL SOCIETY
The meeting was, again, inconclusive on the issue of broader participation of civil society organizations in Governing Council proceedings – a painful, although expected, blow for the environmental NGO community. Most government positions, with the exception of the EU, still favor tightly controlled access that would hinge on a legally intricate process of amending the Council’s rules of procedure. Another exhausting debate resulted in another postponement. Surprisingly, although NGO attendance in the conference rooms was not at all restricted, they did not actively seek to influence the debate.
Despite the hiccups, the Governing Council concluded with some important results. Negotiations in UNEP’s traditional areas of expertise, such as chemicals, led to strong decisions. The mercury programme and the Strategic Approach on International Chemicals Management were proclaimed in the closing Plenary as important first steps in meeting the Johannesburg commitments.
Decisions were also reached on UNEP’s water policy and strategy, the regional seas programme, and coral reefs. UNEP’s role in early warning, assessment and monitoring was maintained with decisions on the global assessment of the marine environment and post-conflict environmental assessments.
Efforts to address regional needs more effectively were also successful, with decisions on SIDS, support to Africa, poverty and the environment in Africa, and a stronger focus on the regional implementation of UNEP activities. Action on the WSSD’s 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production patterns supported advancements made in Johannesburg in this area. Decisions to increase environmental awareness and education were also viewed as successes, through resolutions addressing sports and UNEP’s long-term youth strategy.
ONE STEP FORWARD...
In some respects, this meeting of the Governing Council was not considerably different from the last regular Governing Council meeting in Nairobi where organizational problems, insignificant outcomes from the GMEF, and controversial ideas characterized the week. However, there were also significant differences, the most visible of which was the impact of the WSSD on the negotiations, which brought high, if not unattainable, expectations.
Like the WSSD Plan of Implementation, many of the Governing Council’s decisions lacked precise deadlines, timeframes, and delivery systems, which in this case would have facilitated the practical realization of the commitments made in Johannesburg. All States saw the opportunities that the timing of the Governing Council meeting presented; however, many observers felt that an overloaded agenda ended in fewer substantive results than the opportunity provided. The end product was little concrete action on the implementation of the WSSD’s commitments.
It remains to be seen how UNEP’s role in the implementation of WSSD commitments will intersect with other UN agencies within the broader scope of sustainable development discussions at the eleventh session of the Commission on Sustainable Development to be held in April in New York, and how UNEP’s role might be affected. The next challenge for the UNEP Secretariat will be to facilitate smooth decision-making at the next Governing Council session. This could in large measure determine UNEP’s position and role within the evolving UN system.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR
WTO SPECIAL SESSION OF THE COMMITTEE ON TRADE AND ENVIRONMENT: This meeting will take place from 12-13 February 2003, to be followed by the regular session of the Committee on 14 February, in Geneva, Switzerland. Discussions at the Special Session will focus on clarifying the relationship between international trade and specific multilateral environmental agreements. For more information, contact: WTO; tel: +41-22-739-5111; fax: +41-22-731-4206; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.wto.org
UNEP WORKSHOP FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF A FRAMEWORK FOR STRATEGIC INTEGRATED ASSESSMENT: This workshop will take place from 13-14 February 2003, in Chavannes-de-Bogis, Switzerland. The meeting will focus on the establishment of a working group to develop a framework for strategic integrated planning. For more information, contact: UNEP Economics and Trade Branch; tel: +41-22-917-8243; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.unep.ch/etu/etp/events/Integrated%20Assessment/Feb2003.htm
THIRD UNEP WORKING GROUP MEETING ON ECONOMIC INSTRUMENTS: This meeting is scheduled for 17-18 February 2003, in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, contact: UNEP Economics and Trade Branch; tel: +41-22-917-8243; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.unep.ch/etu/etp/events/Economic_Instruments/2003_17Feb.htm
20TH SESSION OF THE IPCC: This session will take place from 19-21 February 2003, in Paris, France. For more information, contact: IPCC; tel: +41-22-730-8208; fax: +41-22-730-8025; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.ipcc.ch/
EIGHTH MEETING OF THE CBD SUBSIDIARY BODY ON SCIENTIFIC, TECHNICAL AND TECHNOLOGICAL ADVICE (SBSTTA-8): The Convention on Biological Diversity’s SBSTTA will meet from 10-14 March 2003, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org/
CBD OPEN-ENDED INTER-SESSIONAL MEETING ON THE MULTI-YEAR PROGRAMME OF WORK: The Convention on Biological Diversity’s inter-sessional meeting on the multi-year programme of work of the Conference of the Parties up to 2010, will take place from 17-20 March 2003, in Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: CBD Secretariat; tel: +1-514-288-2220; fax: +1-514-288-6588; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.biodiv.org/
UNEP CAPACITY BUILDING MEETING ON ENVIRONMENT, TRADE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: This meeting will take place from 27-28 March 2003, in Mexico City. This meeting is held in collaboration with the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation and will address environmental goods and services, the TRIPS agreement, trade liberalization in agriculture, and the use of economic instruments to achieve environment and trade objectives. For more information, contact: Charles Arden-Clarke; tel: +41-22-917-8168; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.cec.org/symposium/
EXPERT MEETING ON SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION: This international expert meeting will take place in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 31 March – 3 April 2003. A report of this meeting will be submitted to CSD-11. For more information, contact Ralph Chipman, UN Division for Sustainable Development; tel: +1-212-963-5504; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev
11TH SESSION OF THE UN COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The 11th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development will take place from 28 April - 9 May 2003, in New York. For more information, contact the Division for Sustainable Development Secretariat, tel: +1-212-963-3170; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd11/csd11_2003.htm
19TH SESSION OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL OF UN-HABITAT: The 19th Session of the Governing Council for the UN Human Settlements Programme will take place from 5-9 May 2003, in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information, contact: Joseph Mungai, Secretary to the Governing Council and Chief External Relations and Interagency Affairs; tel: +254-2-23133/623132/ 623131; fax: +254-2-624175/624250; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.unhabitat.org
FIFTH MINISTERIAL "ENVIRONMENT FOR EUROPE" CONFERENCE: This meeting will take place from 21-23 May 2003, in Kiev, Ukraine. The Conference, which is being sponsored by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), will address environmental policy in transition; environmental monitoring; the third pan-European environmental assessment report; environmental strategy for countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia; environment, water and security in Central Asia; mountain initiatives; environmental education; and energy. For more information, contact: Ella Behlyarova; tel: +41-22-917-2376; fax: +41-22-917-0630; e-mail: Ella.Behlyarova@unece.org; Internet: http://www.unece.org
THIRD SESSION OF THE UNITED NATIONS FORUM ON FORESTS (UNFF-3): The third session of the UNFF will take place from 26 May - 6 June 2003, in Geneva, Switzerland. Delegates will discuss a variety of issues, including: means of implementation; progress in implementation, specifically related to economic aspects of forests, forest health and productivity, and maintaining forest cover to meet present and future needs; and common items. For more information, contact: Mia Soderlund, UNFF Secretariat; tel: +1-212-963-3262; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/forests.htm
18TH SESSIONS OF THE SUBSIDARY BODIES OF THE UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE (UNFCCC SB-18): UNFCCC SB-18 will take place from 1-12 June 2003, in Bonn, Germany. The Subsidiary Bodies will meet to continue negotiations on the institutional and implementation aspects of the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.unfccc.int
55TH ANNUAL MEETING OF THE INTERNATIONAL WHALING COMMISSION: This meeting will take place from 16-20 June 2003, in Berlin, Germany. For more information, contact: International Whaling Commission; tel: +44-0-1223-233971; fax: +44-0-1223-232876; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.iwcoffice.org/2003_meeting.htm
SEVENTH SESSION OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE OF THE STOCKHOLM CONVENTION: This meeting will take place from 14-18 July 2003, in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, contact: Interim Secretariat for the Stockholm Convention; tel: +41-22-917-8191; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.chem.unep.ch/pops/
SIXTH CONFERENCE OF PARTIES TO THE CONVENTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION (CCD COP-6): The Sixth Conference of Parties to the Convention to Combat Desertification will take place from 25 August - 5 September 2003, in Havana, Cuba. For more information, contact: UNCCD Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-2802; fax: +49-228-815-2898/99; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.unccd.int/
FIFTH WORLD PARKS CONGRESS – BENEFITS BEYOND BOUNDARIES: The World Parks Congress, sponsored by the IUCN, will take place from 8-17 September 2003, in Durban, South Africa. The Congress occurs once every decade. For more information, contact: Peter Shadie, IUCN Programme on Protected Areas; tel: +41-22-999-0159; fax: +41-22-999-0025; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://wcpa.iucn.org/wpc/wpc.html
FIFTH MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE OF THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION: The Fifth WTO Ministerial Conference will take place from 10-14 September 2003, in Cancun, Mexico. This meeting will be a stock-taking exercise and a review of progress on the Doha Declaration. For more information, contact: WTO; tel: +41-22-739-5111; fax: +41-22-731-4206; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.wto.org/
FOURTH SESSION OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL FORUM ON CHEMICAL SAFETY: This meeting will take place from 1-7 November 2003, in Bangkok, Thailand. For more information, contact: Judy Stober, IFCS Executive Secretary; tel: +41-22-791-3650; fax: +41-22-791-4875; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.ifcs.ch
PIC INC-10: The 10th session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for an International Legally Binding Instrument for the Application of the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, will take place from 17-21 November 2003, in Geneva, Switzerland. For more information, contact: Interim Secretariat for the Rotterdam Convention; tel: +41-22-917-8183; fax: +41-22-797-3460; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.pic.int
NINTH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE UNITED NATIONS FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE (COP-9): COP-9 is scheduled for 1-12 December 2003, in Milan, Italy. The conference will continue deliberations from SB-18. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.unfccc.int/
EIGHTH SPECIAL SESSION OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL/FIFTH GLOBAL MINISTERIAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM: This meeting will take place from 29-31 March 2004, in Seoul, Republic of Korea. For more information, contact: Secretary for UNEP Governing Council; tel: +254-2-623431/ 623411; fax: +254-2-623929/623748; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.unep.org