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IN THE CORRIDORS

Following from UNEP Executive Director Elizabeth Dowdeswell’s statement on Monday that the Governing Council will reconvene on 1 April to resolve “governance” differences, government experts on UNEP have conducted numerous consultations in the corridors and are optimistic that a consensus agreement will be reached by the end of March. Observers note that the 1 April meeting immediately precedes CSD-5 as well as the point at which UNEP’s resources will be depleted given the threat by the US, the UK, Spain and others to withhold funding until the issue is resolved. One proposal under consideration would establish a new intersessional body comprised of environmental ministers that could provide strategic guidance, while the Nairobi-based Committee of Permanent Representatives would continue to monitor programme implementation. Some, however, have questioned the need for a new body and whether that body’s membership would be fixed, open-ended or elected. Consultations are also reported on how best to structure and agree to further reforms for consideration by the 52nd session of the UN General Assembly and the 20th session of the UNEP Governing Council.