Ninth Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GMEF)
7-9 February 2006 | Dubai, United Arab Emirates
International Conference on Chemicals Management
4-6 February 2006 | Dubai, United Arab Emirates


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Highlights from Tuesday, 7 February 2006

On the opening day of the ninth Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/ Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GMEF), delegates met in plenary in the morning to hear opening statements and address organizational matters. In the afternoon, participants held ministerial consultations on energy and environment. They also convened a Committee of the Whole (COW) to discuss issues relating to international environmental governance. Photo caption: Swiss President Moritz Leuenberger and UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer

Formal Opening of the Council/Forum

 
 

Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director, UN-HABITAT, stressed the links between environmental degradation and urban poverty, and highlighted cooperative efforts between HABITAT and UNEP.

Hamad A. Al Midfaa, Minister of Health and Chairman of the Federal Environment Agency, United Arab Emirates, noted the importance of the energy, chemical management and tourism policy issues to be discussed in the ministerial consultations, and highlighted his country's achievements in these areas.

Rachmat Witoelar, State Minister of the Environment of Indonesia and President of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, said the 2005 World Summit had reaffirmed that sustainable development is a key element of the overarching framework of UN activities, and had recognized key environmental issues such as chemicals management and energy as international priority issues. He stressed that States must work together to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) targets, and emphasized the importance of implementing the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity-building and promoting South-South cooperation to increase capacity building and technology support.

 
 

A moment of silence was held for the late Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum (left) and Gambian President Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh (right)

Stressing the need for international support for capacity building and technological assistance, Gambian President Jammeh highlighted the importance of implementing the Bali Strategic Plan and called for a “Dubai Global Compact on the Bali Strategic Plan,” and the creation of a special trust fund for implementation in selected pilot countries.

 
 

Moritz Leuenberger, President of Switzerland, stressed the need for countries to follow the polluter pays principle, strengthen international environmental governance institutions, and set clear environmental goals.

 
 
 
UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer described the GMEF's work including the Malmö Declaration and the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building. He expressed his appreciation to all those who have supported UNEP, and
said energy was high on the agenda of the Commission on Sustainable Development, as energy demands increased among the world's population.
 
Oman (left) highlighted his government's commitment to environmental protection in the context of tourism and to the safe management of chemicals and wastes, and called for robust decisions on both issues, as well as energy. Monique Barbut, Director, Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE), UNEP, stressed UNEP's involvement in the SAICM process and its future role in implementation, including support to the secretariat and the administration of the trust fund for the Quick Start Programme.
 
 

Ministerial Consultations on Energy
 
 

UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer said energy was high on the agenda of the Commission on Sustainable Development, as energy demands increased among the world's population. From left to right: UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer, GC President Rachmat Witoelar, Beverly Miller, Secretariat, Margaret Beckett, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Christine Churcher, Minister of Environment and Science, Ghana, and Spanish Environment Minister Cristina Narbona

 
 

Via videoconference, HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan said the Club of Rome's model of “limits to growth” was still valid, and stressed the need to focus on energy security, climate change, and access to energy by developing countries. In her keynote address, Margaret Beckett, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, stressed the need for a new paradigm to achieve economic prosperity, and to address the issue of sustainable energy production and consumption.

 
 
An interactive video conference was held with HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan
 
 

Christine Churcher, Minister of Environment and Science, Ghana, and Spanish Environment Minister Cristina Narbona

Moderator Narbona (right) stressed the unsustainability of the current world energy model, and the importance of involving all social strata. Many speakers emphasized the importance of renewable energy, energy efficiency, technology transfer and innovation.

 

Committee of the Whole
 
 
Ivar Baste, Division of Early Warning and Assessment UNEP, Shafqat Kakakhel, UNEP Deputy Executive Director, and COW Chair Beat Nobs
 

COW Chair Beat Nobs (left) during the discussions on international environmental governance

Shafqat Kakakhel, UNEP Deputy Executive Director, introduced the agenda item on international environmental governance, focusing on three aspects: Environment Watch, the Environmental Management Group (EMG), and the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity-building. Delegates also discussed universal membership for UNEP's Governing Council.

Regarding Environment Watch, Uganda, for the G-77/China, noted the need to nominate national and regional focal points and make reporting procedures more user-friendly and less complicated.

 
Regarding universal membership of the Governing Council, Jamil Ahmad, Pakistan, expressed concern at plans to forward to the UN Secretary-General recommendations emerging from a ministerial dinner.

Miscellaneous Photos
 
 
 
 

Relevant links:

 Pre-session events and Parallel Events

ENB coverage of relevant and preparatory meetings:

ENB coverage of the 23rd Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, Nairobi Kenya, 2005

Eighth Special Session of GC and the Fifth Global Ministerial Environment Forum, Jeju, South Korea, 2004

ENB coverage of UNEP's Intergovernmental Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building:

  • ISP-3 Bali, Indonesia, 2-4 December, 2004
  • ISP-2 Nairobi, Kenya, 2-4 September, 2004
  • ISP-1 New York, US 25 June, 2004

ENB Coverage of the process for the Further Development of a Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM):

 
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