Ladies and gentlemen
On behalf of the Executive Director, I warmly welcome you all to the Committee of the Whole of the 12th Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum.
This week's meeting of ministers responsible for the environment comes just four months before the UN Conference on Sustainable Development or Rio+20 scheduled for the end of June.
Many issues under discussion during this Committee of the Whole link to our shared goal of a positive and transformational outcome at Rio+ 20 in order to accelerate and scale-up the implementation of a sustainable 21st century.
Indeed some of the draft decisions before you could form the basis of several potential cooperative agreements and pathways during, and beyond, Rio+20. An example is the draft decision on Sustainable Consumption and Production which supports the endorsement of the Ten Year Framework of Programmes.
We have a challenging but I hope exciting few days ahead us and am sure we can move forward in the spirit of multilateral collaboration and goodwill that traditionally accompanies discussions and deliberations in the Committee of the Whole.
Excellences, delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
We have before us a total of seven draft decisions covering 16 issues relating to UNEP's work programme, its Medium Term Strategy and future directions. These include;
- International Environmental Governance
- Enhancing cooperation and coordination within the chemicals and wastes cluster
- Consultative process on financing options for chemicals and wastes
- Sustainable Consumption and Production
- The world environment situation
- Enhanced Coordination Across the UN System, including the Environment Management Group
Within the broader Rio+20 theme of the International Framework for Sustainable Development IEG is a topic that has matured considerably as a result of regional preparations for the June Summit.
Some of the elements of the draft decision that perhaps I can highlight include:
- Strengthening the role of environment ministers in setting the global environmental agenda ;Inviting the biodiversity-related conventions to begin a synergies process and the UNEP Executive Director to continue administrative synergies of those secretariats of MEAs administered by UNEP
- Adopting the Bali Strategic Plan as a UN-system wide plan for capacity building and technology support
- Extra-budgetary funding to increase support for the UNEP regional offices and expanding the MEA Focal Point programme
The Manila Declaration concluded in the Philippines last month at the Third Intergovernmental review of the Programme for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land Based Activities is presented here to the Committee of the Whole for information.
This Declaration focuses the GPA on three persistent problems that the world has been grappling with – nutrients which ultimately reach the coast and can lead to 'dead zones'; wastewater which also contributes to degrading coastal waters and marine litter which affects all of us in many ways from water quality to shipping operations.
With a leaner GPA secretariat, forging partnerships with governments, the private sector and civil society will become even more critical in the coming 5 years and UNEP as the secretariat looks forward to building those relationships with member states.
Enhancing cooperation and coordination within the chemicals and wastes cluster
The draft decision among other things underlines the importance of continuing efforts to strengthen the cooperation and coordination in the chemicals and wastes cluster beyond the three chemicals and wastes-related conventions and to explore long term solutions for this important cluster.
Consultative process on financing options for chemicals and wastes
The consultative process was initiated by the UNEP Executive Director in 2009. Following five consultative meetings with governments and other stakeholders, the Executive Director's final report is in front of you.
The Integrated Approach as outlined in the report presents key elements of the four financing tracks as contained in the Outcome Document from the Consultative Process.
Following expected further consultations the Executive Director will submit a final proposal for an integrated approach on financing options for chemicals and wastes for consideration at the third meeting of the International Conference on Chemicals Management in 2012 and the Governing Council in 2012.
Sustainable Consumption and Production
It is clear that most governments were disappointed by the Commission on Sustainable Development's failure last year to adopt the comprehensive Ten Year Framework of Programmes on SCP developed at that session.
Many governments are now looking to Rio+20 as a way of adopting this framework and launching its implementation.
The draft decision before you provides an opportunity to strengthen UNEP's mandate on SCP, calls on governments to support the adoption of the 10 Year Framework of Programmes at Rio+20 and offers UNEP's support in its implementation beyond June.
The World Environment Situation
This week UNEP launches its GEO-5 summary for policymakers (SPM) in advance of the full report scheduled now for early June 2012—to coincide with World Environment Day.
As Governments have negotiated and endorsed the GEO-5 SPM in Gwangju City less than 3 weeks ago you have the opportunity to build on its findings as you consider pathways to Rio+20.
Building on the Eye on Earth Summit in Abu Dhabi for example, this decision includes a strong call for bridging the knowledge and the data gaps that still abound world-wide in 2012.
Filling these knowledge gaps and networking the required information is essential for keeping the World Environment Situation under review.
Finally we have the issue about enhanced Coordination Across the UN System, including the Environment Management Group
I believe that UNEP and the Executive Director with support of other Heads of UN agencies and MEAs have revitalized this important coordination system that indeed reflects UNEP's founding mandate 40 years ago.
I would hope that this draft decision, including encouragement for the Group which the UNEP Executive Director chairs to continue its consultations on advancing the framework for environmental and social sustainability in the UN system including climate neutrality and supporting the biodiversity and Drylands agendas finds favour here in the Committee of the Whole.
Excellences, ladies and gentlemen,
This week we have an opportunity to strengthen the voice, with a view to strengthening the role of the ministers responsible for the environment—globally but also nationally and regionally
Together we have a few short days and a journey to Rio+20 of a few short months.
This week is a moment to be bold and to express your convictions, your aspirations and your collective determination and leadership for the Future We Want.
With that, I open the meeting and in this process, Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Delegates, the secretariat remains at your service.