On 22 February 2013, in Nairobi, the First Universal Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum recommended new institutional arrangements, including  that the UN General Assembly rename the Governing Council as the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme.
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 The United Nations Environment Programme Governing Council was established by UN General Assembly resolution 2997 (XXVII)  on 15 December, 1972 as a subsidiary body of the Assembly. The 58 members of the Council are elected by the General Assembly, for four-year terms, taking into account the principle of equitable regional representation. Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 53/242 (Report of the Secretary-General on environment and human settlements) of 28 July 1999, the Global Ministerial Environment Forum is convened annually to review important and emerging policy issues in the field of the environment, with the Governing Council constituting the forum either in its regular or special sessions.

Governing Council Decisions

The UNEP Governing Council has adopted about 700 decisions and resolutions, and four declarations since the Programme was established in 1972. The four declarations are the:


The decisions and resolutions are available by year through the following links: Regular and Special Sessions. For more information visit:http://www.unep.org/resources/gov/overview.asp


Every year, the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF) submits its report in which it highlights diverse environmental issues for the consideration of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council. Through its Second Committee, the GA considers these issues, liaising as relevant and appropriate with Member States and 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 other UN member states, including Japan, Norway, the Russian Federation, Switzerland, and the United States of America and, on relevant issues.


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). Following these consultations, the GA adopts a resolution on some of the environmental issues highlighted in the GC/GMEF report. The UNEP GC/GMEF report is one of many 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.

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

[UN1] 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 through which the GA. among others:

  • Stresses that 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.
  • Underlines the 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. Encourages Member 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, 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.