The United Nations Environment Programme is a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly. The UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF) every year submits its report in which it highlights diverse environmental issues for the consideration of the General Assembly. Through its Second Committee, the GA considers these issues and convenes consultations among delegations, and adopts a draft resolution on some of the environmental issues on which the GC/GMEF would have adopted decisions. The UNEP New York Office liaises with the Second Committee in its consideration every year of the report of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF). The report is one of diverse issues that the Committee considers under its agenda item on sustainable development. Other issues include climate change, biodiversity, desertification, water resources, natural disasters, and conflict.

In ensuring that UNEP implements its mandate to keep under review the world environmental situation in order to ensure that emerging environ­mental problems of wide international significance receive appropriate and adequate consideration by Governments, the General Assembly has since 2000, adopted many resolutions on the UNEP work programme, which highlight some of the following:
  • Stressesthat the United Nations Environment Programme, as the principal body in the field of the environment within the United Nations system, should continue to play an important role in the implementation of Agenda 21.
  • Underlinesthe need for sufficient financial resources on a stable and predictable basis to ensure the full implementation of the mandate of the Programme.
  • Recalls the decision made at the World Summit on Sustainable Development to fully implement the outcomes of decision SS.VII/1 on international environmental governance adopted by the Governing Council at its seventh special session. EncouragesMember States, the Governing Council and the relevant bodies of the United Nations system to submit their comments, in a timely manner, on the important but complex issue of establishing universal membership of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, including its legal, political, institutional, financial and system-wide implications, in order to contribute to the report of the Secretary-General to be submitted to the General Assembly for consideration before its sixtieth session, in accordance with resolution 57/251.
  • Welcomes the adoption of the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity-building, calls for the intensification of ongoing efforts to implement the Plan with regard both to mobilizing adequate resources, from all sources, as well as the strengthening of cooperation between the United Nations Environment Programme and other stakeholders, based on their comparative advantages, and invites Governments and other stakeholders in a position to do so to provide the necessary funding and technical assistance for its full implementation.
  • Welcomes the continued efforts by the United Nations Environment Programme through the joint United Nations Environment Programme/Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Environment Unit, taking into account the respective mandates of relevant United Nations entities towards the strengthening of environmental emergency response and disaster prevention, preparedness and early warning systems.
  • Welcomes the endorsement of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management by the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum of the United Nations Environment Programme at its ninth special session, and invites Governments, regional economic integration organizations, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations to engage actively and cooperate closely to support the Strategic Approach implementation activities of the United Nations Environment Programme, including the Strategic Approach Quick Start Programme, including through providing adequate resources, as appropriate.
  • Emphasizes the need to further enhance coordination and cooperation among the relevant United Nations organizations in the promotion of the environmental dimension of sustainable development, and welcomes the continued active participation of the United Nations Environment Programme in the United Nations Development Group and the Environment Management Group.
  • Welcomes the continued efforts of the United Nations Environment Programme in shifting emphasis from delivery of outputs to achievement of results within its budget and programme of work, and also welcomes, in this regard, the United Nations Environment Programme Medium-term Strategy 2010–2013, which is results-based and elaborates six cross-cutting thematic priority areas of work and various means of implementation as a way of strengthening the work of the United Nations Environment Programme.
  • Recognizes the global challenges posed by mercury, and, in this regard, welcomes the work of the ad hoc open-ended working group on mercury, established by the Governing Council at its twenty-fourth session,9 to review and assess options for enhanced voluntary measures and new or existing international legal instruments.
  • Requests the United Nations Environment Programme to deepen its cooperation with related United Nations agencies, regions, subregions and existing South-South cooperation initiatives to develop joint activities and synergies of capacity in advancing South-South cooperation in support of capacity-building and technology support in the context of the Bali Strategic Plan and as reflected in the medium-term strategy for the period 2010–2013.
  • Reiterates the need for the United Nations Environment Programme to continue to conduct comprehensive, integrated and scientifically credible global environment assessments, in close consultation with Member States, in order to support decision-making processes at all levels, in the light of the continuing need for up-to-date, scientifically credible, policy-relevant information on environmental change worldwide, and in this regard encourages the Programme to undertake a comprehensive integrated global assessment, leading to the preparation of the fifth report in the Global Environment Outlook series, which should inform, as appropriate, the strategic directions of the Programme.
In addition to working with Member States in the context of the Second Committee, the New York Office also liaises with different regional and political groups such as the G77 and China, the European Union and CANZ (Canada, Australia and New Zealand). The Office also liaises with all UN member states, including Japan, Norway, the Russian Federation, Switzerland, and the United States of America and, on relevant issues.

Every year, the Office prepares a report for the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum on all the resolutions of relevance to the environment programme of work, which are adopted by each session of the General Assembly.

The UNEP New York Office facilitates interaction with member states in other committees such as the Committee on Programme Coordination (CPC), and the Fifth Committee and the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACQBQ), which deal with the UNEP strategic framework and programmes of work.

Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)
The work of the Commission covers a broad spectrum of economic, social and environmental issues. UNEP contributes to the work of the Commission, participating in its annual sessions on diverse thematic issues. The New York Office liaises with the Division for Sustainable (DSD) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). Some of the diverse thematic issues considered by the Commission over the past few years, and on which UNEP has mad significant contribution include: Africa; agriculture; drought and desertification; land; rural development; transport; chemicals; waste management (hazardous & solid waste); mining and 10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption & Production.

United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012 (Rio +20)
In December 2009, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/64/236, which among others, provides for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in 2012 in Brazil. UNEP is one of the UN funds and programmes, which are actively involved in support member states to prepare for the conference, which is popularly known as Rio +20 because it provides the international community with the opportunity 20 years the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assessing the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development and addressing new and emerging challenges. The UNEP New York Office liaises closely with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and 2010 Conference Secretariat in the preparatory process. The Office has and will continue to facilitate interactive dialogues on the conference’s two themes: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and the institutional framework for sustainable development. The Office contributes to the UNEP work on the green economy and international environmental government (IEG), both of which are of relevance to the Rio +20 process.

The UNEP New York Office facilitates strategic synergies in the efforts of the Member States to strengthen international environmental governance. Every year, it either drafts reports of the Governing Council on decisions and resolutions of the General Assembly, or facilitates the processing of GC reports to the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). It works closely with member states in consultations on draft resolutions on UNEP and subsequent adoption of such resolutions, contributing to the growing body of soft law on international environmental governance.

Munyaradzi Chenje is the Head of Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in the UNEP New York Office. Before the current assignment, he was the Head of the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) Coordination Section in the UNEP Division of Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA) at UNEP HQs in Nairobi, Kenya. He coordinated the preparation of and co-edited the fourth Global Environment Outlook: Environment for Development (GEO-4) assessment report. Between 2003 and 2005, he was the UNEP Africa Regional Coordinator for environmental assessment. Before joining UNEP in 2000, Chenje was the director of the Musokotwane Environment Resource Centre in Southern Africa based in Harare, Zimbabwe. Chenje’s expertise is in environmental assessment and governance processes. He is a member of the Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences and the IUCN Commission on Education and Communications.