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Regional Forums

Through its Regional Offices, UNEP provides support to intergovernmental and other ministerial processes in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and West Asia Regions for the purpose of enhancing the capacity of key decision-makers and stakeholders and reinforcing mechanisms to develop and implement appropriate policies and programmes in the region. More details can be found here.  

The African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) is the principal forum for African ministers of environment to discuss matters of relevance on the environment. UNEP will continue to host the Secretariat of the Conference.

The African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) promotes cooperation, security, social and economic development and poverty eradication of member states through the management of water resources and provision of water supply services. UNEP will continue to provide technical support to the Bureau of AMCOW (otherwise known as the Steering Committee) and the consultative processes of its Technical Advisory Committee as well as host and manage the AMCOW Trust Fund.)

Forum of African Ministers of Energy (FEMA) provides political leadership, policy direction and advocacy to increase access, better utilization and management of energy resources for a sustainable social and economic development of Africa. The Forum is supported by a Technical Advisory Committee which comprises experts from participating governments and select agencies such as UNEP. As a follow-up to the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, UNEP will continue to extend support to the energy sector in the region, in particular, the strengthening of FEMA.

Asia and the Pacific
The annual Sub-regional Environmental Policy Dialogue (SEPD) brings together Ministers and eminent civil society representatives from all five sub-regions of the Asia Pacific region, namely:  Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia and the South Pacific.  The overall objective of the Subregional Environmental Policy Dialogue includes provision of policy advice to GC/GMEF and UNEP’s regional strategy and possible consolidation of a common Asia-Pacific view on an informal basis for global environmental fora. UNEP serves as the Secretariat for the annual SEPD, and facilitates preparation of background documentation, logistical support for in liaison with the host Government, and documentation of the meeting records/recommendations.

The “Environment for Europe” process is a unique partnership of the member States within the UNECE region (ROE  & RONA), organizations of the United Nations system represented in the region, other intergovernmental organizations, regional environment centres, non-governmental organizations and other major groups. UNEP has been closely associated with the “Environment for Europe” process since the beginning, and UNECE serves as secretariat to the process. While UNEP is closely associated in almost all aspects of the process, in close cooperation with UNECE, the latest Ministerial Conference held in Belgrade in October 2007, entrusted particular leading responsibilities to UNEP in certain areas such as SCP and biodiversity, while encouraging the Environment and Security Initiative (see below) to continue to aim at reducing environment-related security risks and limit potential environmental damage in participating countries.  

Carpathian Convention aims at protecting the ecosystem of the Carpathian Mountains and contributing to sustainable development in the region.UNEP will continue to host the Interim Secretariat and further support the Convention’s implementation by coordinating  follow-up activities and projects.

Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea: the overall objective is the protection of the Caspian environment from all sources of pollution including the protection, preservation, restoration and sustainable and rational use of the biological resources of the Caspian Sea. UNEP will continue to host the Secretariat

Environment and Security (ENVSEC) Initiative: the overall goal of this UNEP/UNDP/OSCE/REC/UNECE/NATO partnership is to contribute to reduction of environment and security risks, and strengthen cooperation between and within countries that are vulnerable to environmental damage and competition over natural resources. In addition to having launched the partnership in 2003, UNEP holds its Secretariat on behalf of all 6 partners and implements a significant part of its field activities, in the Balkans, Caucasus, eastern Europe and Central Asia. The latest ENVSEC Board meeting suggested that UNEP’s responsibilities in the partnership should be further enhanced in the near future. 

Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy (PEBLDS) is a framework to promote regional cooperation and build capacity for the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity in pan-Europe, in particular the EECCA region, and provides biodiversity-related input to the Environment for Europe process. The principal aim of the Strategy is to ensure the sustainability of the natural environment with special emphasis on concerted pan-European actions. UNEP will continue to act as the Secretariat jointly with the Council of Europe.

Latin America and the Caribbean
The Forum of Ministers of the Environment is the most representative and important political gathering on environmental policies and responses in the region. The support provided by UNEP as Secretariat of the Forum is not limited to organizing meetings and preparing support documents, since over the years a partnership among the Governments has developed and UNEP has helped to narrow the gap between regional and global environmental agendas.

Together with the international institutions that joined the Forum (UNEP, UNDP, ECLAC, IDB and the World Bank) as part of its Inter-Agency Technical Committee (ITC), the Forum has been able to channel international cooperation activities into environmental areas in the region. These international institutions assist both in identifying financial sources for projects and studies and in coordinating rapid and flexible responses to national and regional environmental needs.

West Asia
The Council of Arab Ministers Responsible For the Environment (CAMRE) is the regional mechanism to maintain coordination and cooperation among Arab countries in all matters related to environment and sustainable development.

The cooperation between UNEP and the League of Arab States (LAS) was formally established in 1986 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), according to which UNEP pledges support to LAS Technical Secretariat, the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment (CAMRE) and its Bureau.  This support is aided through the establishment by UNEP of the Arab League Liaison Office (ALLO), in Cairo.

UNEP has continued its support to CAMRE over the years, with emphasis on priority programmes identified at the annual Ministerial Meetings.  The Jeddah regional MOU (1999) signed between UNEP, CAMRE, the Regional Organization for Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (PERSGA) and the Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME), enables the consolidation of available resources, avoids duplication and ensures that regional activities focus on the priorities identified by the Ministerial Councils and within the UNEP global environmental programme. UNEP will continue to participate in all meetings of CAMRE and its Bureau, provide updated reports of activities in the region and contribute to discussions and identification of priorities

Joint Committee on Environment and Development in the Arab Region (JCEDAR)
The Joint Committee on Environment and Development in the Arab Region (JCEDAR), is comprised of the CAMRE Bureau and representatives of regional and international organisations serving the Arab region. Both UNEP and ESCWA with the CAMRE Technical Secretariat will continue to provide secretariat support to JCEDAR.  Through the Secretariat the priorities identified by CAMRE are elaborated into programmes for action.