UN Environment Programme

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UN Environment Programme (UNEP)

The United Nations Environment Programme

UNEP is the United Nations’ designated entity for addressing environmental issues at the global and regional levels. Its core objectives are to serve as an authoritative advocate for the global environment, to support governments in setting the global environmental agenda, and to promote the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the UN system.

Being the authoritative voice on environment matters, one of its key mandates is to promote the development and implementation of international environmental law. In this regard, Member states vide Decision 27/9, adopted during the first universal session of UNEP’s Governing Council in 2013, called upon UNEP to lead the United Nations System and support national Governments in the development and implementation of environmental rule of law.

UNEP has therefore engaged in events and activities aimed at developing and enhancing environmental rule of law.

UN Environment Programme in 2013

United States views on international law [1] in relation to UN Environment Programme: In December 2012, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 67/213, establishing universal membership in the UN Environment Programme (“UNEP”) Governing Council and taking other steps to strengthen UNEP. U.N. Doc. A/RES/67/213. Strengthening UN Environment Programme was one of the commitments in the outcome document from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (“Rio+20 “) held in 2012. See this world legal encyclopedia (in relation to issues that took place in the year 2011) at 422-25 for a discussion of the U.S. submission contributing to the draft outcome document for Rio+20 conveying U.S. views on strengthening UNEP.

The United States participated in the first universal session of the UN Environment Programme Governing Council in Nairobi, Kenya in February 2013, at which the Governing Council took a decision (27/2) implementing resolution 67/213 and reforming the governance of UN Environment Programme in several key ways: mandating a subsidiary body to exercise greater member state control over UN Environment Programme agendas and budget; creating a high-level political segment at each meeting; eliminating the Global Ministerial Environmental Forum; and expanding stakeholder participation in UNEP. Judy Garber, Principal Deputy Assistant U.S. Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, delivered remarks at the session in Nairobi on February 18, 2013, when decision 27/2 was under negotiation. Ms. Garber’s remarks are excerpted below and available at (Secretary of State website) state.gov/e/oes/rls/remarks/2013/205109.htm. On March 13, 2013, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 67/251, renaming the UN Environment Programme Governing Council as the UN Environment Assembly of the UNEP. U.N. Doc. A/RES/67/251.

Stronger UN Environment Programme

The United States has long supported a stronger, more effective UNEP, and we are pleased with the reforms reflected in paragraph 88 of the Rio+20 outcome, which it is now our responsibility to implement. We believe it is essential to UNEP’s future that the structural governance issues pertaining to universal membership be resolved at this meeting. Our deliberations on governance are complete, and ongoing governance processes will not contribute to UNEP’s essential programmatic work.

Substantive Issues

The United States recognized that there are some substantive issues that Member States will need to discuss over the longer-term. These include a more robust substantive agenda for UNEP, the science-policy interface, and capacity building for environment in the context of development. Conversations on these items can take place in the context of UNEP’s Strategic Framework and Programme of Work discussions in future years. To ensure transparency and accountability, and to increase the voice of governments in setting UNEP’s environmental agenda, we support some key institutional reforms to be decided at this meeting.

Details

First, the United States believes it vital that UNEP’s universal body approve—review and approve— UNEP’s Strategic Framework before that framework is transmitted to New York for review. The Strategic Framework is the document that sets UNEP’s strategic direction, and forms the foundation for UNEP’s Programme of Work. Historically, governments have had limited opportunity to engage in the preparation of this critical document. With a view toward responsiveness to Member States, we believe this needs to change.

Regionally-representative working body

Second, the Us supported the creation of a regionally-representative working body, subsidiary to the universal body that will meet once annually to undertake performance and financial reviews and report to the main body on its findings.

Audit

This will be an audit body of sorts, which we anticipate will provide final approval for the Programme of Work and Budget before these documents are transmitted to New York in the fall. The main, universal body would also have the opportunity for a final stamp of approval on the Programme of Work, as the GC currently does.

UN Environment Programme in 2013 (Continuation)

United States views on international law [2] in relation to UN Environment Programme: Third, we want a clearer, more defined role for the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) based in Nairobi. The CPR should be empowered to take intersessional decisions at the request of the universal body, and should develop both UNEP’s Strategic Framework and Programme of Work and Budget for approval. The CPR’s presence in Nairobi and its ongoing work on programmatic issues are essential to inform consideration of the Strategic Framework by the main body and of the Programme of Work and Budget by the subsidiary working body.

Effective UN Environment Programme

UNEP needs to be more efficient and effective. As a part of this, the US needs to look at the frequency of meetings and their scheduling. To avoid overloading the agenda and increase both meeting impact and Member State input, UN Environment Programme main body meetings should take place every two years, as they are currently meant to, with less frequent ministerial sessions.

Participation of stakeholders

A fourth key piece is the participation of stakeholders. Their more integral participation is indispensible to increasing UNEP’s effectiveness and impact on the ground. United States supported a mechanism for stakeholder inclusion in UN Environment Programme meetings, as well as a portion of the ministerial segments devoted to stakeholder-government dialogue.

Resources

Notes

  1. Un Environment Programme in the Digest of United States Practice in International Law

Resources

Notes

  1. Un Environment Programme in the Digest of United States Practice in International Law

Hierarchical Display of UN Environment Programme

International Organisations > United Nations > UN programmes and funds

UN Environment Programme

Concept of UN Environment Programme

See the dictionary definition of UN Environment Programme.

Characteristics of UN Environment Programme

Resources

Translation of UN Environment Programme

Thesaurus of UN Environment Programme

International Organisations > United Nations > UN programmes and funds > UN Environment Programme

See also

  • Seed testing station
  • Juggernaut
  • Lorry
  • Lorry tanker
  • Trailer
  • Truck
  • UNEP
  • United Nations Environment Programme

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