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UNEP GC 26/GMEF Discusses Green Economy, International Environmental Governance

27 February 2011: The 26th session of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC 26/GMEF) convened from 21-24 February 2011, at the UN Office in Nairobi, Kenya.

During the week, delegates convened in plenary sessions, a Committee of the Whole (COW), ministerial consultations and roundtables, a drafting group, and contact groups to consider draft decisions. From Monday to Wednesday, ministerial consultations and roundtables addressed the themes of the green economy and international environmental governance (IEG). On the green economy, delegates noted numerous success stories where a green economy transition is successfully taking place at the national level and that countries can learn from the success of others. On IEG, they highlighted that the challenge for the UNEP GC is about moving the conversation beyond the common diagnosis of the problem and beginning to articulate a forward-looking consensus on reform objectives.

The GC-26/GMEF concluded its work by adopting 17 decisions. In the decision on IEG, the GC invites the PrepCom of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) at its second session to initiate a full analysis of the financial, structural and legal implications and comparative advantages of the options identified in the Nairobi-Helsinki Outcome utilizing the expertise of relevant UN system entities, including UNEP and relevant stakeholders and major groups eligible to participate in the PrepCom.

In the decision on the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the GC requests the UNEP Executive Director to convene the plenary meeting in 2011 in cooperation with the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

In the decision on the budget and biennial programme of work for 2012-2013, the GC approves appropriations for the Environment Fund of US$190.962 million divided among six programmes, including climate change. In the decision on enhanced coordination across the UN system, the GC requestes the Environment Management Group (EMG) to promote coherence in programming environmental activities in the UN system, and continue supporting the implementation of the UN climate-neutral strategy.

In the decision on organizing the third intergovernmental review meeting of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (IGR3-GPA), the GC requests the Executive Director to support the expert workshop on the role of marine and coastal biodiversity and ecosystems in adaptation to and mitigation of climate change impacts.

In closing the plenary, GC President Rosa Aguilar Rivero and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner congratulated delegates for their active participation, “immensely constructive spirit” and for moving sustainable development towards a greener future. [IISD RS Coverage] [Meeting Website] [UNEP Press Release]