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POLICY ISSUES

1. As agreed by the Council at the 1st meeting of the session, item 4 and its four subitems were taken up together. The item was taken up by the Council at the 2nd plenary meeting of the session, on 1 February 1999.

2. In considering these items the Council had before it the following documentation:

(a) Under agenda item 4, the policy statement by the Executive Director (UNEP/GC.20/2) and his statement made at the opening meeting of session (UNEP/GC.20/2/Add.1);

(b) Under item 4 (a) (State of the environment), the progress report of the Executive Director on the Global Environment Outlook process (UNEP/GC.20/3), supplemented by two information documents, a summary and synthesis of GEO-2000 (UNEP/GC.20/INF/8) a preliminary version of the draft assessment strategy prepared by an expert team of external consultants on environmental observing and assessment strategy (UNEP/GC.20/INF/18); and the report of the Executive Director on the environmental situation in the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories (UNEP/GC.20/4), supplemented by a note by the Executive Director transmitting an updated report on the environmental situation in those territories (UNEP/GC.20/INF/9). It also had before it draft decisions submitted by the Committee of Permanent Representatives on the Global Environment Outlook (UNEP/GC.20/L.1, draft decision 1) and on the environmental situation in the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories (UNEP/GC.20/L.1, draft decision 2);

(c) Under item 4 (b) (Emerging policy issues), the report of the Executive Director on the Programme for the Development and Periodic Review of Environmental Law beyond the year 2000 (UNEP/GC.20/5); the report of the Executive Director on the promotion of access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters (UNEP/GC.20/45), supplemented by two information documents, on communications and public information services 1999-2001 (UNEP/GC.20/INF/2) and on the study on dispute avoidance and dispute settlement in international environmental law and the conclusions of the UNEP International Group of Experts on Dispute Avoidance and Dispute Settlement in International Environmental Law (UNEP/GC.20/INF/16); the report of the Executive Director on reform of INFOTERRA to ensure better public access to environmental information (UNEP/GC.20/46), supplemented by an information note by the Executive Director transmitting the Washington Statement by the members of the UNEP/INFOTERRA Advisory Committee on the reform of the UNEP global environmental information exchange network, INFOTERRA, to ensure better public access to environmental information (UNEP/GC.20/INF/17). It also had