Guidelines and Policy Documents

UNEP and Indigenous Peoples:A Partnership in Caring for the Environment. Policy Guidance


The objective of this Policy Guidance to UNEP is to better understand and build on the Indigenous Peoples’ rights, knowledge, practices and systems that provide the framework for the harmonious relations that most Indigenous Peoples have with their environment. Furthermore, it aims to ensure that UNEP appropriately considers Indigenous Peoples in its activities and engages with Indigenous Peoples as important partners in environmental policy development and implementation on a regular basis.

Guidelines for Participation of Major Groups and Stakeholders in Policy Design at UNEP

This document specifically addresses cooperation between UNEP and Major Groups and Stakeholders in governance functions and policy formulation during UNEP policy processes. Interaction between Major Groups and Stakeholders and UNEP became more formalized in 2000 and has evolved into an annual process, including six Regional Consultative Meetings (RCMs) (link) and a Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum (GMGSF) (link). These meetings are designed to air views related to key issues on the UNEP Governing Council agenda – and more importantly to develop coherent Major Groups and Stakeholders responses to these issues. The Guidelines are also available in [Español].

A Guide on Participating in the GC/GMEF


TheUnited Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) of UNEP is the highest decision-making political authority of UNEP. It is where the political decisions concerning global environmental issues and development challenges are taken and important decisions on the budget and the Programme of Work of UNEP are adopted. UNEP Governing Council membership is determined by elections held during UN General Assembly sessions. 

Parallel to the session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) of UNEP, a Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GMEF) is also convened to review important and emerging policy issues in the field of the environment. Accredited Major Groups and stakeholders can participate in the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF). This guide provides Major Groups and stakeholders of civil society with information on the process.

Guidelines for the Development of National Legislation on Access to information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters


Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration of 1992 recognizes access to environment information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice on environmental matters. These ‘access rights’ remain as relevant today as they were almost two decades ago.

In order to catalyse and accelerate action in terms of implementing Principle 10, governments adopted the Guidelines for the Development of National Legislation on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters at the 11th Special Session of UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environmental Forum in Bali, Indonesia. These Guidelines though voluntary, demonstrate a willingness by Governments to more thoroughly engage the public at all levels to protect and manage the environment and related resources.

Commentary to the Guidelines for the Development of National Legislation on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters

This document comments on the above guidelines on access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters. 

Enhancing the Role of Major Groups and Stakeholders in the Implementation of UNEP's Programme of Work 2010 - 2011

Major Groups and Stakeholders are well-placed to communicate UNEP’s valuable work to wider audiences – too often UNEP produces high-quality and useful work which lacks a concomitant communications strategy to ensure wider impact. Communications strategies should be drawn up and relevant partners identified at the Programmatic Concept stage. Emphasis should be placed on tailoring messages to relevant Major Groups and Stakeholders; establishing partnerships with educational institutions to access Children and Youth; and exploring the role of UNEP National Committees in disseminating information.