Promotion and strengthening of relationships, synergies and cooperation with other relevant conventions. Most governing bodies of multilateral environmental agreements include an agenda item along these lines at each meeting, but what does this mean in practice?
The chemicals and wastes conventions are often highlighted as candidates for enhanced synergies through cooperation and coordination, and next week’s Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants could set in place a process to develop greater action in this regard when it takes up the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Joint Working Group (AHJWG) on Enhancing Cooperation and Coordination among the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. The Basel and Rotterdam Conventions, at their respective COPs, have already agreed to the recommendations of the AHJWG and the development of joint administrative services and to convene a coordinated extraordinary meeting of the COPs to those Conventions, if the Stockholm COP takes a similar decision.
Also in May, the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) will undertake its annual effort to coordinate follow-up to the Rio Earth Summit and related agreements. This year, among other efforts to coordinate international policy related to agriculture, land, drought, desertification, rural development and Africa, the CSD Secretariat will seek to encourage greater engagement of implementing UN agencies, including through informal meetings of ministers, UN agency heads and heads of Governing Councils and Executive Boards of UN organizations.
A number of stories in this issue of Linkages Update
address additional ways that convention secretariats and parties have sought to promote greater institutional cooperation in international sustainable development policy. For example, the ASEAN workshop on harmonization of reporting to biodiversity-related conventions sought to build capacity in relation to the work that the UN Environment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and the biodiversity-related convention secretariats have undertaken to develop a framework to harmonize national reporting to these conventions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, at its 21-23 April meeting in Turkey, agreed to appoint someone from the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction to join the steering committee for the Special Report on managing the risks of extreme events and disasters. IPCC special reports themselves offer an additional means of cooperation, bringing the respected scientific body’s assessments to bear on issues that extend beyond its core focus. We will be reporting from the Stockholm COP and the CSD session, bringing you further examples of how greater cooperation can be promoted and is being implemented.