Highlights for Wednesday, 31 May 2006
The second High-Level Meeting on Envisioning the Next Steps for Compliance with and Enforcement of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) opened on Wednesday morning, 31 May 2006. Bakary Kante, Director, Division of Environmental Conventions, UNEP, opened the meeting and welcomed participants on behalf of UNEP, while reiterating UNEP’s commitment towards the Colombo Process and in developing supporting mechanisms to facilitate implementation. Bakary Kante highlighted that there is no more time for “business as usual” and noted the responsibility of this meeting to provide added value to the process. He said that constraints to MEA implementation and compliance have already been identified and it is now time to put forward an action plan to facilitate governmental initiatives.
Philippe Roch, Chair of the meeting and former Secretary of State and Director of the Swiss Agency for the Environment, Forests, and Landscape, welcomed participants and introduced the agenda. He said that there is no poverty alleviation without a sound environment, although some countries consider that there is a mismatch between environmental conservation and development goals. He stated the need to find practical solutions to improve environmental governance through the building-up of trust on MEA processes. He recalled that the first High-Level Meeting on Envisioning the Next Steps for Compliance with and Enforcement of Multilateral Environmental Agreements in Colombo, Sri Lanka, produced an agreed Chairman’s Summary containing a list of issues related to institutional structures, interlinkages and instruments to improve overall MEA implementation.
Mr. Lal Kurukulasuriya, Rapporteur of the meeting and Director General, Centre for Environmental Research, Training and Education (CERTI), said the Colombo meeting primarily focused on identifying the causes of ineffective MEA implementation to find ways to chart a course to strengthen MEA compliance and enforcement. While noting that each MEA is an entity in itself with its specific competence and mandate, he stressed that the interdependence and interaction between MEAs must be borne in mind when developing an action plan. He said that there was a wide range of socio-economic and institutional issues, which together with the lack of financial resources, constituted the basis for ineffective compliance.
In the afternoon, participants took part in a session discussing institutional structures related to MEA implementation at the international and national levels, stimulated by statements made by Iwona Rummel-Bulksa, Division of Policy Development and Law, UNEP and Dan Ogolla, Convention on Biological Diversity.