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III - CO-ORDINATION OUESTIONS

158. In considering agenda items 5 (a) and (b) concurrently at its 7th and 8th plenary meetings, the Governing Council had before it the re ' Dort of the Administrative Committee on Co-ordination (ACC) (UT-iEP/GC.8/4, part I), the Executive Director's report on other co-ordinption questions (UNEP/GC.8/4, part II), three interagency memoranda of understanding (UIT7P/GC/INFORP4-ATION/6/Add. 3, 4 and 5) and a report on a meeting with multilateral development financing organizations (UNEP/GC.8/IITF.1).

159. Introducing the item, the Executive Director said that ACC felt the main cause of interagency co-ordination problems lay in the wide scope and complexity of UNEP's activities, and its members appreciated the serious consideration given by the Executive Director to their difficulties. They believed that U-NEP should play a leading role in presenting the views of the United Nations system to the Preparatory Committee for the new International Development Strategy, to ensure that the strategy took full account of environmental considerations. ACC considered UNEP's work on interrelationships between resources, environment, population and development to be fundamental to its mandate, and its members were willing to co-operate with UNEP in the development of the system-wide medium-term environment programme, but required guidelines for their detailed contributions which would need to be agreed upon. They also welcomed the proposal for the establishment of intergovernmental regional committees, and of guidelines on assessing and minimizing adverse environmental impacts of development activities. ACC felt that Governing Council decision 7/3, pa ragraph 6, on review of projects of more than four years' duration, would be useful in the development of new cooperative activities, while the full transfer of responsibility for projects to the agencies concerned would be facilitated by system-wide medium-term planning and the consequent Changes in budgetary procedures. Regarding desertification, ACC had identified the major obstacles to implementation of the Plan of Action, in particular the limited finances available.

160. Regarding other co-ordination questions, the Executive Director recalled his remarks in his introductory statement regarding the system-wide medium-term environment programme (see para. 28 above), and requested advice on whether the programme perspective document should be submitted to the Council at its ninth or its tenth session. In his view, the document would be more meaningful if it were held over to the tenth session so as to leave more time for its preparation. At the ninth session, the Council would then have before it the medium-term plan 1980-1983, comprising a brief recapitulation for the first two years of the period and, for the second two, a preliminary programme budget exercise illustrating the application of the rqedium-term programme methodology, as well as a document on the goals and objectives of the system-wide programme. At its tenth session, it would consider the system-wide medium-term -programme and the perspective and programme performance documents.

161. The Executive Director also drew attention to the co-ordination between UDTEP an(. )ITCHS and tiDIEP's co-operation with the regional commissions.

162. During the discussion of this item, many delegations, welcoming the frank nature of the re-Qort of ACC to the Governing Council, generally supported the conclusions and recommendations made in the report, which also made it clear that some difficulties in the co-ordination of environmental q uestions were still experienced, and one delegation said that the Executive Director should abide strictly by the recommendations of ACC. Another delegation stressed that co-ordination of environmental activities at the national level was a difficult exercise, which explained the problems which could be faced when similar attempts were made at the international level.

163. One delegation stated it would welcome a further strengthening and extension of ACC's involvement in environmental Drotection. It was joined by another in suggesting that Governments should co-ordinate their -positions in other agencies of the United 1,Tations system so that the executive heads of those agencies could also have the decisions of ACC fully implemented. Another delegation said it would have li1r.ed to see more concrete evidence that UNEP's catalytic action had stimulated changes in the agencies programme budgets. One delegation felt that concentration on key areas of high priority would have been helpful in raking for more effective co-operation within the United ',\Tations system, and another that a better utilization of thematic joint programming should make possible a more rational development of programme activates with the agencies. Another said that U-.NEP should not necessarily take the lead in making special arrangements for co-ordination on every issue where need for consideration of environmental issues was identified: in many cases, it might be sufficient for UNEP to be represented in discussions organized by other organizations. Another noted that there seemed to be some contradiction in the ACC report between the need for concentration and the all-pervasive nature of environmental issues.

164. Some delegations welcomed the signature of memoranda of understanding between UDTEP and TJT-QESCO and between UTFP and UTCHS. The close co-operation developed with the regional commissions was equally welcomed, and one delegation suggested that the Executive Director might give consideration to strengthening the environmental co-ordination unit of ESCAP.

165. Two delegations welcomed UIJEP's efforts which had led to the signature by multilateral development financing agencies of the declaration of principles on the incorporation of environmental considerations in development -policies, programmes and projects.

166. l,lith regard to the cooperation with UTTCHS, many delegations welcomed the close relationship between the two secretariats. It was felt that there was no need to hold each year two meetings of the Executive Directors of UNEP and U@TCHS with the Bureaux of the Governing Council and the Commission on Human Settlements. One delegation referred to the recommendation adopted at the second Joint meeting that at future meetings progress reports should be provided on joint activities, and suggested that the reports adopted at the joint bureaux sessions be made available to the Governing Council.

167. The Executive Director's proposals regarding the development of the system.wide medium term environment programme were welcomed. The process would highlight the role of ACC, which had been well stated in its report to the Governina Council, and permit meaningful development of the essential tools of joint programming and thematic joint programming. Agreement on the contents of the system-.wide progrn,-Me would require extensive negotiations with UTTEP's partners. That programme had a capital. role to play in coordinating the environmental activities of the UnitedTTations system, and would be helpful in enabling the Governing Council to play uhe role envisaged for it in General Assembly resolution 2997 (XXVII) in terms not only of co--ordination but also of the advice it provided other executive organs in the system. The conclusion of the Joint Inspection Unit that there should be a more detailed explanation of the reasons for the choice of particular programmes was endorsed: in addition, the document should afford a means of assessing results achieved ensuring that programmes which had served their purpose were replaced by new ones. It was felt that the methodology for preparing the system-wide programme would permit simple and pragmatic project evaluation, and that the document should provide the basis for the consideration by the Committee for Programme and Co-ordination (CPC) of the environment chapter of the United 1,Tations medim-term plan. One delegation said that the document put before CPC should be the same as that submitted to the Governing Council.

168. One delegation stated that, in its view, the procedure was too complex: it would have been more effective to continue the present satisfactory programmatic approach, together with simultaneous development of the system-wide programme inorder to adapt the present programme document to the decisions of the General Assembly regarding co-ordination within the United T@lations system.

169. It was felt that in the period up to the ninth session, the emphasis should be on the development of a framework and detailed objectives for the system-wide programme at the programme and subprogramme levels, enabling the Council to make appropriate decisions as a basis for the drafting of the over-all programme. The development of consistent objectives would require intensive interagency co-operation, which should also result in guidelines for the agencies' contribution to the system-wide programme. Many delegations expressed the view that in conformity with the recommendations of CPC, the Governing Council should not consider a revised medium-term presentation for 1980-1983 at its ninth session. Rather, given the complexity of the process of the development of the system-wide programme for 1984-1989, the Council should have the usual programme documentation before it at that session, and consider the system-wide programme as proposed, at its tenth session. In view of the amount of work required by UNEP and by the co--operating agencies, to develop both the system-wide programme and perspective document, one delegation said that a separate budget line for the purpose should be envisaged.

170. Several delegations commented on the sample chapter of the system-wide programme discussed by Sessional Committee I. A number considered that it was too detailed, and material relevant to the decision-making function of the Governing Council should be extracted and submitted to the Council separately from the detailed material, although the latter provided a management tool which should be available to the Council upon request. On the other hand, the view was also expressed that a detailed presentation, as foreseen in the sample, was essential. The Council could then olinnse to concentrate on the policy issues, which could be highlighted, in the context of the t'ul I py,trtt=,,Lttt,luii - C)rie delegation said that the level of detail for the first two years should be at the four-digit budget line

A number of delegations referred to the Proposed perspective document. Some elt that it should be presented to the Council at its ninth session providing a ,,-;3is for decisions on the objectives for 198li--19@')9, and C--ivin- the Executive Iiii-ector guidance on the negotiation of the systeri.-wide programme. Ilowever, it was ,eiterally considered that preparation of the perspective for the tenth session il-oiild enable the secretariat to provide a better document, based on adequate consultations with the co-operation agencies, and using appropriate outside expertise and a systems approach. Great efforts would however be required on the part of the secretariat in order to prenare an action.-oriented perspective document of the highest quality. One JeleCation questioned the need for a separate perspective document-. it would be better integrated into the programming process if it were developed as the introduction to the systera-wide programme. A number of delegations supported that view.

172. Two delegations said that the document should be reasonably short and should be prepared in such a way as to identify a problem, describe the problem and identify -possible alternative courses of action, indicating a preference for one of them. One of those delegations, referring to the Executive Director's sizc,,gestion that the perspective document should reflect UNEP's perception of environmental problems and appeal to others to follow certain paths, said that such a document might be valuable as a manifesto, but would not be appropriate for a programming element which should be succinct and clearly phrased.

173. Several delegations highlighted the importance of the programme performance report, and the need to link it to the methodology for such reports being developed by CPC was mentioned.

171. One delegation said that co-ordination of U-PIEP's activities would be more effective if the Programme could strengthen and maintain the confidence of member States. If it did not, it might follow the same course as the United nations itself, gradually being influenced by the super-Powers and becoming ineffective where the problems of small nations were concerned. To build Lip the necessary confidence, regionalization of UNEP's programmes and administration would be desirable, with no expansion of the headquarters as currently envisaged. Such re-ionalization, delegatin- more responsibilities to the regional offices, would D,ake it easier to handle such issues as use of non--convertible currencies, research and development, and evaluation, and should be put into effect no later than the beginning of the second environment decade. LTiTEP7s current work on technology assessment was influenced by guidelines and strategies developed industrialized countries, despite the fact that exported technologies might not need to, or could act, incorporate the sane environmental safeguards as in the country of origin. Its resources for research and development should not be enrolled for activities of interest primarily to technologically advanced countries, such as the CO2 problem, heavy metals, environmental impact assessment of' transport, or the war industry: for such issues, the polluter pays" principles should apply. It would also be useful to evaluate the benefits of the many Meetings conducted by MTP,, in terms not only of cost but of the human resources and time they consumed.

175. Speaking on behalf of the co--operating agencies, the representative of UiIL-sl,@O drew attention to the section of the report of ACC concerning current problems O,' coordination and co-operation and expressed the hope that the difficulties, wi-iic@'. did not always arise from the UIIEP secretariat, could be mitigated. ReferrinG to the systeri--wide mediuni-term environment programme, he stressed the complexity of' the over-all programme planning process of the United Nations, particularl- since different organizations had different conceptual approaches and planning mechanisms, and it was difficult to identify objectives and activities relating specifically to the subject of environment. lfhile indicating that current difficulties in co--ordination were not primarily due to the absence of a systemwide plan, he reiterated the willingness of the co-operating agencies to assist UNEP in its development, and to start the relevant work with the UNEP secretariat without delay.

176. At the conclusion of the debate the Mcecutive Director expressed satisfaction at the concrete guidance he had received from the Council on the subject of the programme documentation. He fully agreed that embarking on the development of a system-wide medium-term environment programme was a most difficult and pioneering task. The co."-operating agencies had agreed on the need for intensive high.-level discussions with UNEP. He was in entire agreement with that approach, and envisaged a series of meetings, the first to be held shortly. It was his hope that agencies would be forthcoming in assisting UNEP in the coming year, although he recognized the additional workload that would represent for them.

177. The guidance received from the Council could be summarized as follows:

(a) There would be no requirement to present the perspective document in,tg8l

(b) The detailed information which had to be available to enable the Council to take concrete decisions could bring the size of medium-term plan or system-wide medium-term environment programme documents to some 400 pages. while the Council would wish to base its review on a much shorter document, the detailed background material should be made available to the Council members as an information paper, or circulated, if feasible, before the session. The system-iride programme should be a management tool not just for UNEP staff, but for the co-operating agencies and for the Council itself;

(c) The systemwide medium-terni environment programme would be prepared on tli.e basis of the review by the ninth session of the Council of objectives at the -programme and subprogramme levels. The information it contained would be very detailed for 1984-1985, less so for the next two years, and much less again for the last two. The information content would be upgraded every two years so that the Council could continue to discharge its policy functions

(d) There seemed to be no agreement as yet on whether he should submit a medium-term plan for 1980-11083 to the ninth session, present a document in the format of the programme document or act in accordance with his recommendation that a first preliminary trial of the programme budgeting exercise should be prepared,

The secretariat did not intend to develop elaborate or com-.olex evaluations in the context of the system-wide programme, but simply to present good achievement indicators.

l78. On other aspects of co-ordination, many delegations had welcomed the frank statements of ACC. He was very much in agreement with the report of ACC, and indeed was responsible for the preparatory process for the report. As one delegation had pointed out, there could be some ambiguity in two paragraphs of the report, but that derived from the difficulty of reconciling the over-all broad role of UNEP with the wish to concentrate on a few issues on which tangible results could be achieved. Efforts would continue to be made with the co-operating agencies to prepare comprehensive information at Level Two - a difficult exercise, however - and to see how the separation between Fund and programme matters, in terms of documentation and of its review by the Council, could be avoided. It would indeed seem attractive, moreover, to present the same programme documentation to both the Governing Council and the Committee for Programme and Co-ordination. However, that would not be possible because of limitations in the number of pages acceptable for the environment chapter of the United Nations medium-term plan and because CPC and the General Assembly would not review information concerning the programmes of the agencies. Thought should nevertheless be given as to how to make the information on UNEP's proposed activities in the system-wide programme available to CPC in the environment chapter of the United Nations medium-term plan.

179. In reply to a statement by one delegation, the Executive Director felt he had to emphasize that UNEP did not follow the views of a given group of countries, but was maintaining, as he had indicated in his introductory statement, a balanced programme from which all countries could benefit. Its activities were of a global nature, and he thus did not envisage decentralization of the programme to the regional offices. Nor would it be possible to make an evaluation of meetings; they were part of a programme and could thus not be taken in isolation.

Action by the Governing Council

180. The decision on programme policy and implementation includes the action by the Governing Council in respect of co-ordination questions.

181. In addition, at the 12th meeting of the session, on 29 April 1980, the Council adopted by consensus a draft decision suggested by the Bureau on co-ordination between UNEP and UNCHS (Habitat) (UNEP/GC.8/L.12) (see annex I, decision 8/5).