Earth Negotiations Bulletin

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 A Reporting Service for Environment and Development Negotiations

 

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Published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)

 

Vol. 16 No. 37
Monday, 6 September 2004
 

SUMMARY OF THE SECOND SESSION OF THE UNEP WORKING GROUP ON AN INTERGOVERNMENTAL STRATEGIC PLAN FOR TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT AND CAPACITY BUILDING:

2-4 SEPTEMBER 2004

The second session of the UN Environment Programme’s High-level Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on an Intergovernmental Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building (IGSP) took place at UN headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, from 2-4 September 2004. The session was attended by over 200 delegates representing governments, UN agencies and programmes, secretariats of multilateral environmental agreements, intergovernmental organizations and civil society. Throughout the session, delegates met in plenary and in two working groups to consider the IGSP Chair’s “building blocks” paper, with the aim of producing a negotiating text for the third session of the intergovernmental working group, to be held from 2-4 December 2004, in Bali, Indonesia.

The meeting was held in a cooperative atmosphere, with almost no negotiation of proposed text, as delegates mostly engaged in substantive explanation of positions presented. The general feeling was that Nairobi presented a good opportunity to explore the “philosophy” of a strategic plan, while “serious bargaining” will start in Bali.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL STRATEGIC PLAN

In recent years, technology support and capacity building have become a key part of the quest for sustainable development. Issues encompassing human, scientific, technological, organizational, institutional and resource capabilities are core components of the mandate and work of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and feature prominently in both Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation. Capacity building, in particular, has become an explicit priority for the UN system.

Sixth Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/GMEF: The sixth Special Session of UNEP’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GCSS-6/GMEF) took place in Malmö, Sweden, from 29-31 May 2000. Ministers adopted the Malmö Ministerial Declaration, which called on the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to review the requirements for a greatly strengthened institutional structure for international environmental governance (IEG).

INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE REVIEW: Issues regarding IEG were subsequently taken up at the 21st session of the UNEP Governing Council/GMEF in February 2001. The Council established an Open-ended Intergovernmental Group of Ministers or Their Representatives to undertake a comprehensive policy-oriented assessment of existing institutional weaknesses, as well as future needs and options for strengthening IEG. The Group of Ministers met five times, and reported its work to the seventh Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/GMEF in 2002.

SEVENTH SPECIAL SESSION OF THE UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL/GMEF: The report on IEG was presented during the seventh Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, which was held in Cartagena, Colombia, from 13-15 February 2002. Delegates adopted decision SS/VII/1 on IEG, which contained an annex of the report of the Intergovernmental Group of Ministers (IGM). The IGM report underscored the need for UNEP to play a more prominent role in supporting country-level capacity building and training, and national-level coordination of the environmental component of sustainable development. The report also recommended that UNEP help strengthen regional environmental governance and improve coordination, implementation, capacity building and technology transfer in support of regional initiatives. It also recognized the need to strengthen the ability of developing countries and countries with economies in transition to participate fully in the development of international environmental policy, including support for countries to undertake the requisite implementation of international agreements at the national level. In terms of technology support, the decision highlighted the need to establish and facilitate arrangements for the transfer of environmentally-sound technologies to developing countries. The report also noted that UNEP, in cooperation with relevant regional and subregional organizations, could help strengthen regional environmental governance.

The IGM report also recommended that an intergovernmental strategic plan for technology support and capacity building be developed to improve the effectiveness of capacity building, and to address the gaps identified by assessments of existing activities and needs. In the report, the Council agreed that an intergovernmental strategic plan could be implemented through enhanced coordination between UNEP and other relevant bodies, including the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and that it should include an increased role for UNEP in country-level capacity delivery, particularly through greater collaboration with UNDP. The Council also decided that the plan should be built on two components: capacity building and training, and the national-level coordination of the environmental component of sustainable development.

Regarding capacity building and training, the IGM report recommended strengthening national institutions responsible for the environment and the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements. On national-level coordination of the environmental component of sustainable development, the report underscored the need for developing countries to have access to financial, technological and technical resources from the international community.

WORLD SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The World Summit on Sustainable Development convened from 26 August to 4 September 2002, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Summit adopted two main documents: the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI). Both documents address issues of technology support and capacity building. Paragraph 137 of the JPOI states that UNEP and other UN agencies should strengthen their contribution to sustainable development programmes and the implementation of Agenda 21 at all levels, particularly in the area of promoting capacity building.

22ND SESSION OF THE UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL/GMEF: The 22nd session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum took place from 3-7 February 2003, in Nairobi, Kenya. The GC/GMEF adopted decision GC.22/17, which requests UNEP’s Executive Director, in consultation with UNDP and the GEF, to prepare a draft strategic plan for presentation to the eighth Special Session of the Governing Council.

SIXTH MEETING OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT GROUP: The sixth meeting of the Environmental Management Group (EMG) was held in February 2004. The meeting focused on the environmental aspects of capacity building to identify the possible contribution and added value of the EMG to the ongoing efforts of the UN. The EMG decided to establish an Issue Management Group (IMG) on capacity building, with the mandate to develop a situation/needs analysis in the area of the environmental aspects of capacity building in the two pilot areas of biodiversity and chemicals. The outcome of the pilot surveys will determine the future work of the EMG in defining the scope and the design of a possible resource library. In March 2004, the EMG began working on a situation/needs analysis in the area of biodiversity, prepared with the assistance of UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Center (WCMC), and in the area of chemicals, with the assistance of the UN Institute for Training and Research.

EIGHTH SPECIAL SESSION OF THE UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL/GMEF: The eighth Special Session of UNEP’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum took place from 29-31 March 2004, in Jeju, Republic of Korea. Delegates considered the elements for a draft intergovernmental strategic plan for technology support and capacity building set out in a report of the Executive Director. The Council adopted decision SS/VIII/1, which underscored the need to provide developing countries and countries with economies in transition with assistance in implementing their environmental goals, targets and objectives, particularly those set out in the JPOI. The decision also highlighted the urgent need to develop a strategic plan. The Governing Council established a High-level Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group with the mandate to prepare an IGSP for consideration at the 23rd session of the Council in February 2005. The decision emphasized the need to receive inputs from relevant organizations and stakeholders, in particular the GEF and UNDP, as well as international financial organizations, UN agencies and the secretariats of multilateral environmental agreements. 

SEVENTH MEETING OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT GROUP: The seventh meeting of the EMG was held on 20 April 2004, in New York. The meeting discussed the IGSP and its linkages with the work of the EMG, and heard presentations on and discussed the outlines for the EMG’s study on capacity building in the areas of biodiversity and chemicals management. The meeting also established a second IMG on the overall outline of UN activities on environment capacity building, including all UN agencies mandates, portfolios and current activities.

UNEP’S COMMITTEE OF PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVES: The working group of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) to UNEP met on 5 and 19 May and 2 June 2004. Representatives identified issues that, in their view, should be taken into account in the process of developing the plan, and prepared a report to that effect.

UNEP CIVIL SOCIETY CONSULTATION: The Civil Society Consultation on the strategic plan was held at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, from 21-22 June 2004. Participants elaborated a document containing a set of recommendations, addressing issues such as guiding principles; the need to adopt a beneficiary’s perspective; enhancing the role of civil society; monitoring and evaluation; and financial resources.

UNEP EXPERT CONSULTATIONS: Expert Consultations on the IGSP were held in Geneva from 17-18 June 2004. The experts suggested basic principles of the strategic plan, calling for it to set out a vision of what ought to be achieved. The statement also addressed issues regarding: implementation, systemic analysis, needs’ assessment, demand-driven approaches, coordination and consultation, and regional needs.

FIRST SESSION OF THE IGSP: The first session of the IGSP took place at UN headquarters in New York on Friday, 25 June 2004. The aim of the session was to reach agreement on how the Working Group would proceed, and to engage in an initial exchange of views, as an input for the preparation of a draft strategic plan. The session's deliberations were incorporated into a Chair’s “building-blocks” paper, which will serve as the basis for the negotiations taking place at the second session of the IGSP.

THE 10TH SESSION OF THE AFRICAN MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON THE ENVIRONMENT: The 10th session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) was held in Sirte, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, from 29–30 June 2004. The meeting agreed to submit the capacity development component of the Action Plan of the Environment Initiative of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) as Africa’s input to the strategic plan and requested that this component be used as the basis of support for capacity building in Africa.

LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN REGIONAL CONSULTATION: The Latin America and the Caribbean regional consultation on the strategic plan was held in Mexico City on 29 July 2004. The meeting adopted a resolution calling on the IGSP process to recognize the importance of regional measures and perspectives as well as existing initiatives in the region, especially the 2003 Panama Declaration of Environment Ministers of Latin America and the Caribbean and the Initiative of Latin America and the Caribbean.

EIGHTH MEETING OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT GROUP: The eighth meeting of the EMG was held on 1 September 2004, in Nairobi. The main focus of the meeting was on the EMG’s work in the area of environment-related capacity building, including its contribution to the development of the Intergovernmental Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building. The EMG discussed the status and the progress of work of its Issue Management Group on the UN system’s environment-related capacity-building activities and initiatives in the two pilot areas of biodiversity and chemicals management. The Group also considered the draft outline prepared by its second IMG on the overall UN activities and initiatives on environment-related capacity building, and agreed to submit the current results of the two IMGs to the second meeting of the IGSP for its information and consideration. The Group commended the work of the two IMGs and observed that the two studies needed to be further developed, taking into account the additional inputs of the EMG members on their experiences and lessons learned with a view to better contributing to the discussions of the second and the third sessions of the IGSP.

REPORT OF THE SESSION

On Thursday, 2 September, IGSP Chair and UNEP Governing Council President Arcado Ntagazwa (Tanzania) opened the second session of the High-level Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on an Intergovernmental Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building (IGSP-2). Chair Ntagazwa informed delegates that as a result of the IGSP-1 session in June 2004, a Chair’s “building blocks” paper had been prepared for delegates’ deliberation at this session (UNEP/IEG/IGSP/2/2). He stressed the important task before the session was to identify the gaps and needs of developing countries and countries with economies in transition for capacity building and technology support. He highlighted UNEP’s extensive intergovernmental mandates in providing technology support and capacity building. He also stressed the importance of effective delivery of capacity building and technology support at the national and regional levels.

Kalonzo Musyoka, Kenya’s Minister of Environment, Natural Resources and Wildlife, proposed the establishment of a sub-committee chaired by a representative of the developed countries to look into financing matters related to the IGSP process. He welcomed regional contributions to the IGSP process, highlighting the 10th session of AMCEN, which, inter alia, submitted the capacity development component of the NEPAD Environmental Action Plan as an input to the IGSP.

Delegates then adopted the provisional agenda (UNEP/IEG/IGSP/2/1) without amendments. The US expressed its desire to start negotiations at this meeting with a more streamlined document in order to finalize the plan before GC-23/GMEF.

GENERAL STATEMENTS

In his introductory statement, UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer applauded efforts made by the African region and the Group of Latin American and Caribbean countries (GRULAC) for offering clear regional inputs on the issues of implementation, partnership and regionalization. He called for close cooperation among UN agencies, and informed the session that a draft memorandum of understanding (MOU) for cooperation between UNEP and UNDP will be finalized soon. He also referred to the important contribution of the EMG to the work of the IGSP, including the two analyses of UN environment-related capacity building in the areas of biodiversity and chemicals management, as well as the outline prepared on the UN’s overall environmental-related capacity building activities.

Pakistan, on behalf of the G-77/China, said that the Chair’s document was useful, and that the G-77/China hoped a concrete plan would be ready for completion at GC-23/GMEF.

The Netherlands, on behalf of the European Union (EU), suggested that UNEP prepare a draft plan for the next session, rather than a revised Chair’s paper. She warned of the pitfall of trying to be “over-complete,” and expressed preference for a more selective document. She emphasized several areas that should receive more prominence in the strategic plan:

  • communication and coordination;
     

  • coherence in the UN system in relation to implementation of the seventh Millennium Development Goal on environmental sustainability, and the JPOI;
     

  • UNEP’s role and cooperation with UNDP and multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs);
     

  • country ownership and tailoring capacity building and technology support to countries’ needs;
     

  • regional perspectives; and
     

  • the use of UNEP’s Environment Fund through a wider application of the voluntary indicative scale of contributions.

She also proposed that the plan be approved at GC-23/GMEF.

The Philippines stressed that the strategic plan be country-driven, with countries retaining sovereignty over their natural resources, and that effective technology transfer must be obtained through technology support. She called for clearly defined financial arrangements, and emphasized the contribution of the Asia-Pacific region to capacity-building efforts.

The Central African Republic outlined the African submission to the IGSP, as adopted by the 10th session of AMCEN, and also noted the needs felt by post-conflict countries in capacity building. Nigeria suggested a separate funding mechanism for the strategic plan.

Norway stressed the need for a draft plan for negotiation, and emphasized: a focused strategy and prioritization; better integration of capacity building in all UNEP divisions; the sharing of labor with its regional offices; and clarifying the role of the EMG and the UN Development Group (UNDG). Cuba, speaking for GRULAC, stressed the importance of clear regional priorities and south-south cooperation. Indonesia proposed financing capacity building and technology support from the UNEP budget, and called for the strategic plan to become a tool for enhancing synergies in the UN system.

The Russian Federation highlighted the importance of expanding UNEP’s activities and welcomed the emphasis on addressing the needs of countries with economies in transition. He underscored the need for UN inter-agency cooperation and maximizing the comparative advantages of different UN bodies and programmes. Noting that the UNDG has the mandate to coordinate development support in the UN system, Japan said that UNEP’s technology support and capacity-building activities should be undertaken in accordance with the UNDG. He said there was a need to evaluate existing activities, ensure better coordination and prioritization, and opposed any new financial mechanisms for the strategic plan. Mexico highlighted the need for UNEP to facilitate cooperation within countries and strengthen regional programmes.

China emphasized the need for financial resources, the availability of technology, policy arrangements, and institutional mechanisms as basic preconditions for the implementation of the strategic plan. He said a reporting system to monitor progress should be developed, which would allow UNEP to review and adjust the strategic plan as necessary. He emphasized that UNEP should play a core role in implementing the plan and urged UNEP to mobilize necessary resources for this purpose.

The US emphasized the need for the strategic plan to ensure implementation of existing Governing Council decisions. He stressed mainstreaming capacity building and technology support within UNEP, and proposed that the strategic plan be incorporated into UNEP’s Programme of Work and Budget for the upcoming biennium 2006-2007. He also highlighted the need to address the recommendations from the Intergovernmental Consultations on strengthening the scientific base of UNEP.

The World Bank identified the need to define the different types of capacity building and highlighted the need for indicators and benchmarks to measure and to assess the effectiveness of capacity-building interventions. UNDP welcomed the opportunity to work with UNEP to integrate the strategic plan into the UN system, and said this could be addressed through cooperative management arrangements. He said UNEP should respond to country requests through the UNDG, and work with UN country teams. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) outlined its medium-term strategy, which aims to enhance scientific and technical capacities, and stressed the need for a harmonized and synergistic platform for capacity building for the environment within the UN system. The United Nations University (UNU) outlined its activities related to building the capacity of the academic and policy-making communities, as well as its work related to the role of technology, including its development and transfer.

A civil society representative reported on the outcomes of a civil society meeting held on 1 September in Nairobi. She called for the strategic plan to recognize the need for equal access to technology support and capacity building for both men and women, and acknowledge the role of civil society as an important source of knowledge and expertise for regional and national sustainable development strategies. The African Regional Centre for Technology provided an overview of its programmes related to the implementation of technology development projects, including pilot projects, strategy development, training and human resources development, and access to information.

PREPARATION OF A DRAFT INTERGOVERNMENTAL STRATEGIC PLAN

Following the conclusion of general statements, Chair Ntagazwa handed over the session to the facilitators, Bagher Assadi (Iran) and Idunn Eidheim (Norway). Assadi announced that general discussions would begin with the section of the Chair’s “building blocks” paper addressing the Framework of the Strategic Plan. The first round of general observations was conducted on Thursday, 2 September. A second round was conducted on Friday morning, 3 September. On Friday afternoon, the session broke into two working groups: Working Group I, chaired by Eidheim, addressed: needs and gaps; objectives and functions; guiding principles and strategic considerations; and contents of the plan. Working Group II, chaired by Assadi, addressed the institutional and financial mechanisms. The two working groups continued their deliberations on Saturday morning, 4 September, with both working group considering new compilation texts prepared by the Secretariat. Delegates were asked to check whether the draft reflected the proposals made on Friday. Working Group II also began deliberations on the financial mechanism. A plenary discussion on the further development of the strategic plan was held on Saturday afternoon.

THE CHAIR’S “BUILDING BLOCKS” PAPER: The Chair’s “building blocks” paper is based on the report of UNEP’s Executive Director to GCSS-8/GMEF (UNEP/GCSS.VIII/5/Add.1), the outcomes of IGSP-1, as well as contributions from the CPR, expert and civil society consultations, and comments from several governments (UNEP/IEG/IGSP/2/2).

The Chair’s paper outlines the framework for the strategic plan. The first part of the paper contains a general introduction outlining relevant international decisions that spell out UNEP’s mandate for technology support and capacity building. The second part of the paper contains the framework of the strategic plan and includes sections and subsections addressing the following issues:

  • needs and gaps;
     

  • objectives and functions;
     

  • guiding principles and strategic considerations;
     

  • contents of the plan, outlining activities at the global, regional, and national levels as well as priority areas, the JPOI, south-south cooperation, information for decision-making: the role of science, monitoring and assessment and reporting;
     

  • institutional mechanism at the intergovernmental and secretariat levels; and
     

  • financial mechanism.

The paper also contains three annexes with the decisions of the 10th AMCEN session; the outcomes of the Latin America and the Caribbean regional consultation on the strategic plan; and examples of relevant UNEP activities related to technology support and capacity building. The Chair’s paper is available online at: http://www.unep.org/IEG/docs/Chair's text_IGSP2-2_K0472218_E_final_General.doc

NEEDS AND GAPS: In the first round of general observations, the G-77/China, supported by many other delegations, said that the paper could be shortened, since many of the needs and gaps outlined have already been identified in existing UNEP decisions, and much of the text consisted of background information. The US, supported by Australia, expressed concern about being too prescriptive in prioritizing needs and gaps in the paper. He said the strategic plan should be seen as a long-term process, and needs and gaps may change over time. Palestine called for redrafting this section to clearly identify the capacity building and technology support gaps of occupied territories. The EU said that needs and gaps should be identified at the national level. He said that one of the major problems is the lack of coordination, and the strategic plan should emphasize the need for coordination in the UN system. Mexico said it was necessary to keep the text on strengthening coordination within UNEP and the UN system. Norway said these issues could be approached in a more general manner, and that some needs and gaps could be addressed in the operational part of the paper. Switzerland urged keeping references to coordination and synergies, and the need to improve the current system. He said needs assessments should be integrated into existing structures and mechanisms.

In the second round of general observations, the US proposed a simple reference to the IEG decision adopted at GCSS-7/GMEF in Cartegena in 2002. Zimbabwe suggested changing the title of this section to “gaps and needs,” and, with India, proposed deleting paragraphs that provide a general overview of obstacles hampering progress in the implementation of sustainable development.

In the first meeting of Working Group I, several new amendments and proposals were suggested by delegations, including:

  • deleting the entire section (US);
     

  • acknowledging existing efforts on capacity building and technology support (EU);
     

  • calling on UNEP to develop a comprehensive database of all capacity-building activities undertaken with relevant international organizations and environmental conventions (G-77/China);
     

  • recognizing that to reverse the degradation of the environment at all levels, developing countries and countries with economies in transition need further support and assistance for developing adequate capacities and technological support to enable them to achieve commitments and targets consistent with relevant principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (EU);
     

  • retaining references to the report of the UNEP Executive Director on needs and gaps (EU);
     

  • deleting references that technology support and capacity building should be supported by financial mechanisms and be well-coordinated among intergovernmental organizations (US);
     

  • taking into account the UNEP guidelines on compliance with MEAs (US); and
     

  • retaining the reference to a UNEP inventory on capacity building and technology support activities (EU).

OBJECTIVES AND FUNCTIONS: In the first round of general observations, the US said the objectives of the strategic plan should be streamlined into three:

  • enhancing UNEP delivery systems of capacity building and technology support in line with its comparative advantages;
     

  • strengthening the capacity of governments to implement programmatic goals set by the GC/GMEF; and
     

  • improving cooperation between UNEP and other UN agencies.

Australia and Canada endorsed the US proposal, suggesting that this section be shortened to one paragraph. The G-77/China noted the importance of setting out clear objectives and functions, and expressed preference for retaining the entire section. Nigeria emphasized that one of the strategic plan’s functions is to improve regional plans and assist regional activities. Brazil supported a shorter version of the section, but stressed the need to reference financing. The EU said there is need to streamline the objectives and functions in order to establish a clear list. Norway said objectives and functions should be distinguished.

In the second round of general observations, Cuba proposed a reference to strengthening science-based capacity building. Canada suggested deleting several objectives, which they argued are more relevant to UNDP activities, and stressed the need to focus clearly on UNEP’s strengths and niche areas.

In the first meeting of Working Group I, several new amendments and proposals were suggested by delegations, including:

  • changing the title of this section to “objectives and guiding principles” and merging this section with several paragraphs from the section on guiding principles and strategic considerations (EU);
     

  • deleting the entire section and replacing it with the objectives outlined in the US non-paper (US);
     

  • deleting references to international agreements and time-bound measures (US);
     

  • mentioning the development of national research, monitoring and assessment capacity, and supporting national institutions in data collection, analysis and monitoring of environmental trends, establishing infrastructure for scientific development and environmental management in order to ensure the sustainability of capacity-building efforts (G-77/China); and
     

  • retaining reference to access to and transfer of environmentally sound technologies (Russian Federation).

GUIDING PRINCIPLES AND STRATEGIC CONSIDERATIONS: In the first round of general observations, Kazakhstan stated that capacity building and technology support should address concerns of countries with economies in transition. Mexico said that the strategic plan should serve to enhance regionalization in order to meet national and regional plans.

In the first meeting of Working Group I, several new amendments and proposals were suggested by delegations, including:

  • retaining the entire section as it stands (G77/China);
     

  • replacing the entire section with the section on objectives and functions (EU);
     

  • making reference to technology transfer and indigenous capacity building and technology support (G-77/China and Norway);
     

  • amending a paragraph to limit efforts to those within UNEP and national governments (US); and
     

  • adding a new paragraph stating that work on capacity building should not duplicate that provided by other organizations and programmes (US).

CONTENTS OF THE PLAN: In the first round of general observations, the G-77/China suggested deleting the paragraph on a review of existing agreements approved at the intergovernmental level. The African Regional Centre for Technology highlighted regional and subregional activities and called attention to waste management. The Central African Republic emphasized the plan’s role in assisting the development of UNEP’s response to national-level needs for capacity building. The Russian Federation drew attention to the need for the plan to be consistent with regional and subregional strategies, and said the plan should support regional priority activities. He also suggested including forestry issues in the priority areas.

The US said the main focus of the plan should be on regional and national levels. He noted that priority areas should be the ones where UNEP has comparative advantage. Many delegates believed the lengthy list of priority areas should be streamlined. The G-77/China and others proposed deleting text referring to the capacity building and technology support elements outlined in the JPOI, as it is repetitive and does not add value to the plan.

In the second round of general observations, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat requested that the subsection addressing the global-level dimension include a reference to the relevant work programmes and activities of MEA secretariats.

The US, Norway, Australia, Mexico, and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) proposed deleting the subsection on JPOI-related capacity-building and technology support decisions, and replacing it with a more general reference to the JPOI.

On the subsection addressing south-south cooperation, the US said it would not support a general reference to the Havana Programme of Action adopted at the South Summit in 2000.

On the subsection dealing with information for decision-making: the role of science, monitoring and assessment, Jordan proposed the inclusion of a reference to maintaining and supporting cleaner production centres at the national level.

On the subsection on reporting, Mexico called for a reference to the development of indicators to measure the effectiveness of the strategic plan, and Switzerland, supported by Ethiopia, said there was a need to include a reference to evaluating its implementation.

In the first meeting of Working Group I, several new amendments and proposals were suggested by delegations, including:

  • deleting a paragraph under the global-level subsection regarding a review of existing agreements approved at the intergovernmental level (G-77/China);
     

  • suggesting that the contents should move from the national level to the regional level and the global level (G-77/China); 
     

  • deleting several paragraphs under the global level subsection that are institutional issues (US);
     

  • supporting retention of references to MEAs (Norway and EU);
     

  • adding a reference to promotion of technology transfer within the regional level subsection (G-77/China);
     

  • deleting the entire subsection of priority areas (US);
     

  • retaining the entire subsection on priority areas, but being flexible with its location, including in an annex to the plan (G-77/China);
     

  • including forest issues in the priority areas subsection (Nigeria);
     

  • changing the title of the subsection of priority areas to “main areas of technology support and capacity building” (EU);
     

  • adding a reference to promotion of sustainable production and consumption in the priority areas (EU);
     

  • adding a reference to implementation of environmental obligations (EU);
     

  • adding a reference to food and security (African Regional Center for Technology);
     

  • deleting the entire subsection of south-south cooperation (US); and
     

  • adding a reference to the financing of the plan under the subsection on reporting (G-77/China).

INSTITUTIONAL MECHANISM: In the first round of general observations, several delegations made specific comments on this section of the Chair’s paper. The Russian Federation expressed doubts on proposals to establish additional mechanisms, such as a standing committee of the GC or joint meetings of the bureaus’ of the GC and the CPR. The US voiced strong opposition to the establishment of new processes or offices. He offered to circulate a US non-paper on the strategic plan, which was proposed as an alternative to the Chair’s paper. The EU, while expressing doubts on a standing committee, emphasized the need for enhancing UNEP as well as creating a broader role for it, in particular, in coordination matters. Australia and Switzerland said there was a need to avoid creating an additional layer of decision-making in UNEP.

In the second round of general observations, Kazakhstan, supported by the EU, opposed any new structures to aid the implementation of the strategic plan. He suggested that UNEP may need to increase its staff capacity to implement the strategic plan, and expand its regional networks, where necessary.

The G-77/China reiterated its view that new institutional mechanisms are required to support the strategic plan’s implementation. He opposed UNEP playing a role in the development and implementation of regional environmental programmes of action, and stressed the need to improve coordination with existing MEA mechanisms.

The EU called for a more specific role for UNEP in relation to strengthening coordination with the UN system and international financial institutions. He proposed deleting text suggesting that the strategic plan should become the implementation arm of the GC/GMEF. Peru urged differentiation between regional environmental action plans and the regionalization of the IGSP. Argentina, supported by South Africa, noted that the strategic plan is a tool for regional level and south-south cooperation, and should be flexible enough to reflect regional differences, with regional priority activities implemented through regional offices.

The G-77/China welcomed the EU’s comments on links between the IEG process and the strategic plan, but questioned its proposal for establishing an executive board, and stated that the issue of capacity building and technology support should not be linked to other matters. Norway emphasized the regional dimension of the strategic plan and said that regional and subregional inputs are important for the GC’s decisions. He supported procedures to change priorities, opposed the creation of a standing committee, and called for further discussion on the issue of joint meetings of the GC and CPR bureaus.

India emphasized the need for better oversight of the implementation of the plan. The Russian Federation opposed the creation of a standing committee and said the oversight role should be played by the GC/GMEF, with support from the CPR. The US suggested including reporting in the institutional mechanism section. He emphasized that cooperation among UN agencies should be undertaken by the UNDG, and that the implementation of the plan should involve the entire UNEP, including its divisions, offices and regional programmes, not only the Secretariat.

Switzerland opposed new institutional bodies. Australia supported the UNDG in playing a central role in coordinating UN agencies. Peru said that different approaches for institutional mechanisms should be taken for each region, since each has its unique goals and needs.

In the first meeting of Working Group II, a number of suggestions on revising and restructuring the Chair’s text were made, among them:

  • deleting reference to the EMG, UNDG and resident coordinators (G-77/China);
     

  • including the creation of an environment working group in UNDG, chaired by UNEP (Australia);
     

  • making reference to encouraging all UN agencies to keep the plan under review (EU);
     

  • mentioning the need for a collaborative approach and developing a process of consultation with non-UN organizations (US);
     

  • including reference to strengthening and updating the UNEP database (US);
     

  • replacing text on synergies with a reference to MEA cooperation (G-77/China);
     

  • stressing the need to provide budgetary allocations for the strategic plan (G-77/China);
     

  • introducing a separate heading for the regional dimension (Nigeria);
     

  • replacing paragraphs dealing with new institutional arrangements with a paragraph from the US non-paper, which focuses on mainstreaming capacity building and technology support in UNEP (US);
     

  • reflecting a flexible concept of regions (EU);
     

  • substituting paragraphs from the subsection addressing the secretariat level with those from the US non-paper, which focuses on the responsibilities of UNEP divisions and branches (US); and
     

  • stressing that reporting by recipient governments should not prevent future assistance, and rather improve capacity building measures (G-77/China).

FINANCIAL MECHANISM: In the first round of general observations, the G-77/China stressed the vital nature of financing for the strategic plan, emphasizing that “fresh resources” would be needed and that funding from available resources should not be at the expense of the Environment Fund. Yemen addressed the need to rectify geographical imbalances in capacity building. The EU, while accepting the notion of additional financial resources, thought that discussions on the subject were premature. Several developed country delegations raised questions concerning “regional capacity building plans,” as suggested in the Chair’s paper.

This issue was further discussed during the second meeting of Working Group II, with delegates proposing revisions to the Chair’s paper, in particular, on:

  • changing the title of the section to “financial resources” (EU);
     

  • referencing paragraph 34 on the strategic plan of decision SS/VII/1 and introducing the notions of additionality to the Environment Fund, adequacy, and independence of arrangements, so that financial contributions are not made at the expense of UNEP’s operational activities, as well as transparency and accountability (G-77/China);
     

  • stressing that financing should be primarily made through existing mechanisms, by strengthening the Environment Fund, and that there should be a wider application of the voluntarily indicative scale of contributions (EU);
     

  • replacing existing text in the Chair’s paper with a short paragraph from the US non-paper, which suggests deciding to use a target percentage of the Environment Fund for capacity building and technology support, possibly augmented by voluntary contributions (US); and
     

  • considering the overall cost involved for capacity building and technology support activities (Norway).

FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF THE STRATEGIC PLAN: In the final discussion on Saturday afternoon, IGSP Chair Ntagazwa stressed that the strategic plan must be seen as a means to contribute to the sound management of the environment for the benefit of all. Facilitators Eidheim and Assadi reported on the outcomes of the working group deliberations, noting that both groups produced compilation texts. Following the reports from the facilitators, Chair Ntagazwa said that in addition to the compilation texts from the two working groups, he would produce a Chair’s contribution for the third IGSP session in Bali in December 2004. He said his contribution would take on board all the comments and suggestions contained in the compilation texts, as well as other inputs from governments received during the intersessional period. He stressed that this would be done in consultation with the GC bureau and the facilitators.

The G-77/China, with Australia, underscored the importance of “freezing” consultations on the compilation texts, and said that the latter must serve as the basis for negotiations at the third session of the IGSP. He proposed that GC-23/GMEF adopt a comprehensive decision on the strategic plan, containing specific elements identified in the plan, and that it should be drafted in Bali.

The EU urged the Chair to produce a new text for the third session, which he said needs to be “more like a strategic plan” than the current Chair’s paper. He said more building blocks should be identified during the intersessional period, and that a clearer plan needs to be developed at the third session, which can serve as the basis for discussions at GC-23/GMEF.

Peru, supported by the G-77/China, Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria, urged the Chair to ensure that the regional positions were included in the compilation texts. Israel questioned whether the regional group inputs and priorities will remain the same, and inquired if they should be included in the main body of the plan or should remain as annexes.

While supporting regional priorities and inputs, the US said that including the regional inputs as an annex to IGSP would be problematic. He urged the regional groups to include their priorities as an input into the UNEP Programme of Work and Budget for the upcoming biennium. He also expressed concern about an extensive GC/GMEF decision on the strategic plan. UNEP Executive Director Töpfer said that capacity building and technology support was “an important part of UNEP’s life” and underscored the importance of implementing the strategic plan at the regional and subregional levels.

CLOSURE OF THE SESSION

Chair Ntagazwa announced that following consultations with the Indonesian government the dates for the third session have been set for 2-4 December, with the option of holding informal consultations on 1 December. Chair Ntagazwa thanked delegates, facilitators Eidheim and Assadi, and the UNEP Secretariat for their constructive participation in the session. He closed the meeting at 4:50 pm.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

GEF COUNCIL MEETING AND NGO CONSULTATION: The GEF Council meeting and NGO consultations will be held from 16-19 November 2004, in Washington, DC, United States. For more information, contact: GEF Secretariat; tel: +1-202-473-0508; fax: +1-202-522-3240; e-mail: secretariat@TheGEF.org; Internet: http://gefweb.org/participants/Council/Meeting_Schedule/meeting_schedule.html

NINTH MEETING OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT GROUP: The ninth meeting of the EMG will take place on 1 December 2004, in Bali, Indonesia. For more information, contact: Monika Linn, Head of the EMG Secretariat; tel: +41 22 917 8693; fax: +41 22 917 8024; e-mail: monica.linn@unep.ch; Internet: http://www.unemg.org

THIRD SESSION OF THE WORKING GROUP: The third session of the High-level Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group for the Intergovernmental Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building will be held in Bali, Indonesia, from 2-4 December 2004. For more information, contact: Beverly Miller, Secretary for UNEP Governing Council; tel: +254-2-623431; fax: +254-2-623929; e-mail: beverly.miller@unep.org; Internet: http://www.unep.org 

23RD SESSION OF THE UNEP GOVERNING COUNCIL: The 23rd session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environmental Forum is scheduled to be held from 21-25 February 2005, in Nairobi, Kenya. For more information, contact: Beverly Miller, Secretary for UNEP Governing Council; tel: +254-2-623431; fax: +254-2-623929; e-mail: beverly.miller@unep.org; Internet: http://www.unep.org  

The Intergovernmental Strategic Plan Mini-Portal

http://www.iisd.ca/process/intergovt_ISPintro.htm

Monitoring developments related to the United Nations Environment Programme Intergovernmental Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building

For more information or to add content to our mini-portal on the ISP, contact
Prisna Nuengsigkapian at prisna@iisd.ca 

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin � <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Changbo Bai, Richard Sherman, and Andrey Vavilov, Ph.D.. The Team Leader is Richard Sherman <rsherman@iisd.org>. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org> and the Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the Swiss Agency for Environment, Forests and Landscape (SAEFL), the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development - DFID), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Germany (through the German Federal Ministry of Environment - BMU, and the German Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation - BMZ), and the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. General Support for the Bulletin during 2004 is provided by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Government of Australia, Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, Swan International, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES) and the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute - GISPRI). Funding for translation of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin in French has been provided by the International Organization of the Francophonie (IOF) and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-212- 644-0217 or 212 East 47th St. #21F, New York, NY 10017, USA.