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C - Election of Officers

13. At the opening meeting of the session, the Council elected the following officers by acclamation:

President: Mr. Arnoldo José Gabaldón (Venezuela)

Vice-Presidents: Mr. Sid-Ali Ketrandji (Algeria)

Mr. T. P. Sreenivasan (India)

Mr. Boris Maiorski (Russian Federation)

Rapporteur: Mr. Paul Haddow (Canada)

14. In his acceptance statement, the President said that the reduction in the financial resources available to UNEP represented a lowering of the political influence exerted by the organization. The Council needed to address three major questions: why UNEP was going through such hard times;

what the Council's aspirations were for the global environmental agenda; and what steps were needed to transform UNEP into the body that the Council wanted it to be. He observed that a revision of the role and functions of UNEP should be seen in the context of, first, the ongoing system-wide reform of the United Nations system; second, the need for environmental considerations to be more effectively factored into the decision-making processes of the United Nations system; and, third, a revision of the relationship of UNEP with the relevant actors in the environmental field, particularly, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). He noted that global environmental improvement was the primary objective and that it was necessary to improve the governance, effectiveness and efficiency of UNEP and to enhance its decentralization, including by strengthening the autonomy of its regional offices and the participation of non-governmental organizations in its work.