News

UN General Assembly Adopts Resolution on UNEP Governing Council Designation

14 March 2013: During a plenary meeting on 13 March 2013, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a draft resolution that changes the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council to the "United Nations Environment Assembly of UNEP."

During the plenary meeting, delegates considered a note by the UN Secretary-General (A/67/784), circulated under sub-item (g) of agenda item 20 (Report of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on its twelfth special session). The note explains that the UNGA is invited to adopt a resolution, agreed to at the First Universal Session of the UNEP Governing Council (GC) held in February, to change the designation of the GC of UNEP. The resolution, contained in an Annex to the note, states that the UNGA decides to change the designation of the GC of UNEP to the United Nations Environment Assembly of UNEP. The draft resolution was adopted.

Immediately following adoption and while commending the decision to change the designation of the GC to reflect its universal character, Brazil recalled that the report of the First Universal Session of the UNEP Governing Council was supposed to be considered by the GA at its 68th Session in the fall. She said she would have preferred if normal practice had been respected, which would have entailed consideration of the report by UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and subsequently by the 2nd Committee of the UNGA. She stressed that the adoption of the resolution by the 67th GA must not constitute a precedent. Indonesia also raised a procedural concern regarding the timing of the adoption of the resolution, and opposed “picking and choosing” specific elements for adoption. Viet Nam commended the adoption of the resolution, noting that it exhibited the commitment agreed to at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) to strengthen UNEP.

Previously, membership in the UNEP Governing Council had been limited to 58 countries. In its resolution, the UNGA stated that the new designation does not change the function of UNEP's governing body or the overall mandate, aim and purpose of UNEP. [Note by the Secretary-General] [IISD Coverage of the First Universal Session of the UNEP Governing Council] [UNEP Press Release]