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V - Co-ordination Questions

1. As decided by the Council at its St plenary meeting (see chapter I, para. 14, above), agenda item 6 (a) and those parts of item 6 (b) dealing with the implementation of the Plan of Action to Combat Desertification were discussed in the Programme Committee. The discussion on these parts of the item are to be found in the Programme Committee's report, which is reproduced in annex II to the present proceedings.

2. In considering the remaining parts of the item, at its 7th meeting, on 29May, the Council had before it the following

documentation: chapter II of the 1989 Annual Report of the Executive Director (UNEP/GC.16/2); chapter II of the 1990

Annual Report of the Executive Director, (UNEP/GC.16/3); the report of the Executive Director on strengthening of inter-

agency co-ordination mechanisms related to the environment (UNEP/GC.16/10); part I of the 1989 report of the

Administrative Committee on Co-ordination to the Governing Council at its sixteenth session (UNEP/GC.16/13 and Corr.1

(English and French only)); part I of the 1990 Report of the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination to the Governing

implementation of General Assembly resolution 44/227 (A/46/138-E/1991/52, transmitted to the Council by a note of the

Executive Director (UNEP/GC.16/14)); and memorandum of understanding concerning co-operation between UNEP and

other agencies of the United Nations system (UNEP/GC.16/Inf.3). It also had before it a draft decision on the reports of ACC

submitted by the Committee of Permanent Representatives (UNEP/GC.16/L.12).

3. Introducing those parts of the item, the Executive Director stated that UNEP served as the secretariat for many important inter-agency co-ordination mechanisms, namely, the Designated Officials on Environmental Matters (DOEM), the Committee on International Development Institutions for the Environment (CIDIE), the Ecosystems Conservation Group (ECG), and the Inter-agency Working Group on Desertification (IAWGD). In response to signals from partner-agencies that better secretariat services were required, he had assigned two of his special assistants to those functions. In addition, he was requesting two junior Professional staff members to assist in that work.

4. Turning to the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of General Assembly resolution 44/227, covering earlier Assembly resolutions on the Environmental Perspective to the Year 2000 and Beyond and the report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, the Executive Director stated that the report in question had been submitted to the Governing Council for transmission to the General Assembly through the Economic and Social Council.

5. One representative questioned the adequacy of existing co-ordination machinery, notably ACC and DOEM, stressing the fact that the latter, which had been established to replace the Environment Co-ordination Board, lacked a clear legal basis. Further, he stated that an institutional structure commensurate with current environmental challenges should be established. A number of others supported the proposal to revive the Environment Co-ordination Board with an expansion of its initial mandate so that it might serve as an Environment and Development Co-ordination Board. Another stated that that proposal merited further consideration. Still another suggested that a new environmental co-ordinating body, composed of senior officials of every United Nations body concerned with environmental action, be established under a United Nations under-secretary-general.

6. As for the Executive Director's proposal that a new unit be established within UNEP for co-ordination, a number of representatives remarked that, since co-ordination was a major part of UNEP's mandate, the entire UNEP secretariat, rather than a single unit, should deal with that function.

Action by the Council

7. The Council then proceeded to consider and adopt, at its 8th meeting, a number of decisions on co-ordination questions (decisions 16/18, 16/19, 16/20 and 16/21). The text of the decisions is included in annex I to the present proceedings, and their process of adoption, including any comments made at the time, is recorded in chapter II, paragraphs 56-63, above.