News

Ministers at UNEA Adopt Outcome Document

Executive Director of UNEP, Achim Steiner, poses for a photo with President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, Prince Albert II of Monaco, and ministers, heads of delegation and UN executive officers at UNEA's high level segment27 June 2014: The High-Level Segment of the first session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) adopted a Ministerial Outcome Document pledging the promotion of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns and action against illegal trade in wildlife.

Ministers and international leaders including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN General Assembly President John Ashe, and UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator Helen Clark attended UNEA's High-Level Segment (HLS) held from 26-27 June. At a lunchtime briefing for delegates preceding the HLS, Macharia Kamau, Co-Chair of the Open Working Group (OWG) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), highlighted the 17 draft SDGs and the unprecedented scale of the UN consultative process. Ministers discussed SDGs and the post-2015 development agenda, and took part in a ministerial dialogue on illegal trade in wildlife.

At the closing plenary, delegates adopted a Ministerial Outcome Document. Leading up to adoption, they debated whether or not to include mention of the principle of common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR) in the Document, and though CBDR is not explicitly mentioned, the final Document reaffirms commitment to the full implementation of the Rio+20 outcome document and "all the principles" of the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.

In the Document, ministers call for the promotion of SCP patterns, including through sustainable lifestyles and resource efficiency; and action to prevent, combat and eradicate the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products. On climate change, they call on parties to keep working towards the adoption of an ambitious outcome under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which will be applicable to all parties in 2015. They also support reinforcing efforts to halt biodiversity loss and combat desertification, drought and land degradation, and to foster the development of genuine and durable partnerships to address environmental challenges faced by small island developing states (SIDS).

In addition, Ministers held consultations on the sidelines of UNEA in regional and other groupings. On 25 June, a SIDS Ministerial consultation took place, in preparation for the Third International Conference on SIDS in Apia, Samoa, in September 2014. On 26 June, ministers and senior officials of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), representing 10 Central Asian countries, discussed their ongoing cooperation, and agreed to focus on addressing natural disasters, at their next meeting. A ministerial working dinner on preparations for the forthcoming climate negotiations in Lima, Peru, and Paris, France also took place on 26 June. On 27 June, the G-77/China hosted a lunch in commemoration of the G-77's 50th anniversary.

The UNEA, which took place at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, from 23-27 June 2014, involved more than 1,200 participants including environment ministers, heads of international organizations, government representatives, civil society representatives and business leaders. The second session of UNEA will be held at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya from 23-27 May 2016. [UNEA Website] [Statements from Ministerial Plenary on SDGs] [Statements from Ministerial Dialogue on Illegal Trade in Wildlife] [IISD RS Coverage of UNEA]