Open Dialogue between UNEP Executive Director & Civil Society at UNEP's 8th Global Civil Society Forum
Nairobi, Kenya - An open dialogue between civil society representatives and UNEP Executive, Achim Steiner took place yesterday as part of UNEP's 8th Global Civil Society Forum, where Steiner called attention to the crucial moment we are living in. He pointed out than now more than ever before, environmental issues such as those related to climate change come to the fore of the international agenda, emphasising that this poses fundamental challenges and demands to all those from the environmental field, both in the governmental and non-governmental spheres.He said that this also demands increasing dialogue between trade, economic, social and environmental organizations.
Steiner told civil society delegates that the upcoming Ministerial Forum on Globalization and the Environment will provide opportunities for Governments, other UN organizations and civil society to elaborate on agendas for mutual engagement. Mr. Steiner further noted the importance of strengthening and designing more productive ways of engagement between UNEP and civil society, including business.
More than 160 participants from 65 countries are taking part in the 8th Global Civil Society Forum (GCSF) from 3 to 4 February.
The Forum is a prelude to the 24th UNEP Governing Council / Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC / GMEF). This year’s programme of work, developed in collaboration with the newly established Global Steering Committee, aims at increasing impact and interaction with the GC / GMEF.
The Forum is the main entry point for civil society participation at the governance level in the GCSF cycle. It is built around six regional consultation meetings. 270 representatives from 94 countries have been involved through previous months in discussions on policy issues related to water, chemicals management, gender and the environment and globalization, ecosystem services and human-well-being at the regional level. This process produced the Global Civil Society Statement to the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum at its twenty-fourth session (UNEP/GC/24/INF/).
A dialogue session between the Forum and the Executive Director of UNEP will take place on Saturday 3 of February to exchange ideas and perspectives on the main themes dominating the GC agenda this year and elements of the Global Civil Society Statement to the GC.
During the course of the Forum, UNEP will present new modalities to improve the engagement of major groups, in the long term. Modalities for discussion include: improved and continuous engagement at governance level, new forms of consultations including issue-based consultations, communication and feedback to the constituencies, linking engagement at governance, and programmatic and regional levels.
Participating in the Forum will be E. Neuhaus, Executive Manager of the Brazilian Forum of NGOs and Social Movements for Sustainable Development (FBMOS), and T. Hammond, Senior Program Advisor from IUCN, The World Conservation Union, who will present the position of the Global Civil Society Committee representing the 6 UNEP regions. The Forum and panelists from various major groups will then be invited to react and share their views. Special civil society experts taking part in the Forum this year include - K. Otto-Zimmermann, Secretary-General, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) Local Governments for Sustainability; J. Gerber, Chief Operating Officer, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD); J. Mati, Research Associate, CIVICUS World Alliance For Citizen Participation; L. Royer, Occupational Health Safety Environment and Sustainable Development Director, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC); and J. Rockström, Executive Director, Stockholm Environment Institute.