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GC Today - 18 February 2009

Coverage of the Day's Proceedings:

Committee of the Whole

State of the environment: The COW considered four reports: SIDS; UNEP’s water policy and strategy; South-South cooperation in achieving sustainable development; and waste management. Delegates adopted the reports following general comments, before turning to the related omnibus draft decision.

Regarding South-South cooperation, delegates agreed on all but one of the operative paragraphs on resource mobilization. Chair Uosukainen invited the G-77/China, the EU, US and others to consult in an informal drafting group.

On waste management, due to the large number of amendments, Chair Uosukainen requested and delegates agreed to consult informally.

Regarding support to Africa, South Africa introduced draft text and several delegations called for the decision to be aligned more closely with the MTS. An informal group facilitated by Chair Kalibbala was established and convened in the afternoon.

Costa Rica withdrew its draft decision on the Earth Charter, to avoid overlaps with the Bali Strategic Plan.

Coordination and cooperation with major groups: UNEP Deputy Executive Director Angela Cropper presented the final review report of the long-term strategy on the engagement and involvement of young people in environmental issues. She requested delegates to endorse its second long-term strategy in which youth activities have been more closely aligned to the six cross-cutting priorities in the MTS 2010-2013. Following statements by youth representatives, delegates endorsed the new strategy.

Contribution of UNEP as an implementing agency of GEF: The UNEP Secretariat tabled a document on the status of the Environment Fund, noting that more than 400 UNEP-implemented projects have been approved since the first GEF replenishment. The Secretariat, however, reported that UNEP’s share of GEF funding had fallen by 7% during the fourth replenishment. While expressing support for UNEP’s activities, the US underscored the need for further GEF reform, including establishment of an independent monitoring entity, to restore donor confidence.

Coordination and cooperation with the UN system on environmental matters: The COW heard a report on UNEP’s role in the “One UN” Initiative including its leadership on water, energy and climate change activities.

On an intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services (IPBES), delegates welcomed proposals to establish a tentative 2010 deadline to report on progress and the draft decision was forwarded to the COW.

Regarding the world environment situation, the group considered additional text proposed by the EU under future global assessment of environmental change. Delegates voiced concern about the cost of integrated and thematic UNEP assessments, and sought clarification on whether such assessments would be covered under the programme of work and budget. Agreement was reached on strengthening the policy relevance of the next Global Environment Outlook (GEO-5).

On environmental law, views were polarized over the adoption of guidelines for the development of national legislation on access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters, and the issue remains outstanding.

Regarding IEG, several delegates proposed language to contextualize the follow-up to paragraph 169 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome on UN system-wide coherence. However, others felt that opening discussion on this would duplicate ongoing discussion in a parallel session and the issue was not debated.

The Group continued working paragraph-by-paragraph through the draft decision on the proposed biennial programme and support budget for the biennium 2010-2011. A small drafting group consisting of JAPAN, the EU, US, NORWAY and others met to work on text relating to transparency, consultations and prioritization, and delegates subsequently accepted the revised language.

Source : ENB


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