Delegates at the 11th special session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GCSS-11/GMEF) convened in the morning for the opening ceremony, followed by consideration of organizational matters and policy statements. In the afternoon, delegates convened for ministerial consultations on environment in the multilateral system. The Committee of the Whole (COW) also met in the afternoon.
OPENING CEREMONY: Oliver Dulić, Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning, Serbia and President of the GCSS-11/GMEF opened the meeting and highlighted the Belgrade process on IEG in the context of preparations for Rio+20. R.M. Marty M. Natalegawa, Foreign Minister, Indonesia, emphasized the need for balance between environment and economic development. Angela Cropper, Deputy Executive Director, UNEP, read a message from the UN Secretary-General, in which he urged parties to be “bold and creative” on IEG. Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, said IEG encompasses more than management and includes implementation, financing and action on the ground. Steiner then presented the UNEP Award for Leadership in Ocean and Marine Management to President Yudhoyono of Indonesia.
President Yudhoyono welcomed ministers and participants to Bali. He highlighted the importance of coordination, coherence and efficiency in international environmental cooperation, and supported strengthening UNEP.
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: The GCSS/GMEF elected Luis Javier Campuzano (Mexico) and Henry Njombo (Republic of Congo) as Vice-Presidents, and agreed to the agenda(UNEP/GCSS.XI/1). Delegates established a COW chaired by John Matuszak (United States), an open-ended drafting group, chaired by Daniel Chuburu (Argentina), and a Nusa Dua declaration drafting group co-chaired by Dian Triansyah Djani (Indonesia) and France Jacovella (Canada).
POLICY STATEMENT BY THE UNEP EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Achim Steiner highlighted the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity-building as an integral part of UNEP’s Medium-Term Strategy. He also highlighted UNEP’s green economy initiative and continued efforts to improve effectiveness and efficiency. Steiner emphasized that GCSS-11/GMEF represents an opportunity to prepare for the Rio+20 Summit. He noted that sustainable development requires a broad international diplomatic effort.
Environment in the multilateral system: Daniel Chuburu (Argentina), Chairman of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to UNEP (CPR), submitted the seven draft decisions negotiated by the CPR, some of which contain brackets. He noted that no consensus was reached in Nairobi on adopting the draft Nusa Dua declaration/statement/communiqué. President Dulić announced that, following consultations, a revised version would be distributed. INDIA said the G-77/CHINA favored a “declaration.” The EU emphasized the importance of the green economy and urged the transformation of UNEP into a specialized agency.
The US reaffirmed that the special sessions of the GC/GMEF should be devoted to ministerial consultations rather than decision-making. He emphasized that the declaration to be adopted should be concise and truly ministerial in nature. Chile, for GRULAC, announced that they would table a draft decision in response to the Haiti earthquake.
JAPAN noted its expectation for a successful outcome at the sixteenth Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Mexico in late 2010, and expressed continued commitment to support efforts in the area of biodiversity, including hosting COP-10 of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
KENYA voiced continued support to UNEP. INDIA highlighted the need for building capacity and enhancing the science-policy interface. CHILDREN AND YOUTH expressed commitment to gradually transforming society and creating a sustainable future.
ENVIRONMENT IN THE MULTILATERAL SYSTEM: Paolo Soprano, on behalf of Stefania Prestigiacomo, Minister for Environment, Land and Sea, Italy, and Co-Chair of the Consultative Group, reported on constructive discussions of the Consultative Group of Ministers and High-level Representatives on IEG. Macharia Kamau, Kenya’s Representative to UNEP and UN-Habitat, on behalf of John Michuki, Minister for Environment and Mineral Resources, Kenya, and Co-Chair of the Consultative Group, presented the outcome of the Belgrade Process (UNEP/GCSS.XI/4).
In a video address, Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, inter alia, committed to enhancing cooperation and coordination with UNEP.
Gusti Mohammad Hatta, Minister of Environment, Indonesia, and Basel Convention COP President, stated that the ExCOPs established an unprecedented mechanism for synergies, applicable to other frameworks.
Achim Steiner stated that a number of the recommendations of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) management review (UNEP/GCSS.XI/5) had been taken up, and highlighted the draft decision on IEG and the proposed Nusa Dua declaration as opportunities to guide the Rio+20 preparations and the role of the GC/GMEF in IEG.
Plenary discussion: On IEG, the need for incremental as well as broader reforms was highlighted in many interventions. Statements also pointed to strengthening the role and credibility of UNEP, and using Rio+20 as an opportunity for improving IEG. The EU supported a UN specialized agency for environment, and stated that the CBD COP in October 2010 presents an opportunity to promote synergies among MEAs. JORDAN expressed concern with the proliferation of environmental institutions. MALAYSIA advocated a targeted coordination approach, not requiring the development of a new organization. The US stated reforms are necessary to improve effectiveness and efficiency, noting that UNEP has implemented improvements that need time to show results.
A representative from the JIU presented a report (GCSS.XI/INF/10) on the environmental profile of the United Nations system organizations.
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE
Organization of work: Chair Matuszak opened the COW and delegates approved the programme of work (UNEP/GCSS.XI/CW/CRP.1). Angela Cropper welcomed delegates on behalf of the UNEP Executive Director.
Emerging policy issues: environment in the multilateral system: Intergovernmental science-policy platform on biodiversity and ecosystem services (IPBES): The Secretariat introduced the sub-item (UNEP/GCSS.XI/7 and UNEP/GCSS.XI/L.1). The EU, US, KENYA, SENEGAL and SWITZERLAND supported a third intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder meeting to decide whether to establish an IPBES. The US suggested that the IPBES would need to, inter alia: have a clear mission; be independent from but responsive to policy bodies; and have a rigorous peer review process. INDIA and KENYA said governance issues still needed to be addressed, and SENEGAL emphasized that this should be done at the third intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder meeting, rather than at the GCSS/GMEF. BRAZIL pointed at the need for IPBES to include capacity building, and CHINA said it should not increase the burden of developing countries. SWITZERLAND preferred one mechanism, scientifically independent, following the model of the IPCC, and supporting all biodiversity-related institutions. Delegates tasked the drafting group with finalizing the decision.
Environmental situation in Haiti: The Secretariat introduced the draft decision (UNEP/GCSS.XI/CRP.1), which was supported by many countries, and the Chair asked delegates to submit any proposed amendments in writing.
Progress report on mercury: The Secretariat introduced the progress report (UNEP/GCSS.XI/6), noting the total cost of the negotiation process is estimated to be US$12.5 million. INDIA underscored its agreement to negotiate a treaty on mercury in the spirit of collaboration, and highlighted its preference for voluntary approaches. CHINA stressed the financial implications of the new convention. SWITZERLAND highlighted the need for a strong framework to address chemicals, said the mercury regime should consider this, and looked forward to discussing this at GC-26/GMEF. Delegates agreed to take note of the report.
Consultative process on financing options for chemicals and wastes: The UNEP Secretariat introduced the matter and invited parties to provide guidance on the consultative process. In the ensuing discussion, INDIA highlighted the need for a substantial transfer of resources to finance chemical and waste obligations. BRAZIL noted that the financing options included in the paper should be narrowed down. NORWAY and JORDAN said the informal consultative process should be formalized. MEXICO highlighted the links between the consultative process and the synergies process. The EU stressed the need to bring others, including chemical and waste secretariats, into the consultative process. The US noted the relevance of linking the consultative process and SAICM. Delegates agreed to establish a Friends of the Chair group, chaired by Mexico, to finalize the draft decision on the consultative process.
NUSA DUA DECLARATION: The Drafting Group met in the late afternoon and considered sections in the draft declaration on climate change, sustainable development and IEG. When the group adjourned at 6:30 pm, it had discussed most of the draft with a few square brackets remaining. Discussions resumed later in the evening and continued late into the night.
DRAFT DECISIONS WORKING GROUP: The group met in the afternoon and continued into the early evening. It took up the draft decision on the IPBES (UNEP/GCSS.XI/L.1). The group proceeded with the first reading of the draft, and several countries emphasized that the decision was intended to be procedural, so no substantive text should be included. Delegates debated the inclusion of “possible mechanisms” or “mechanism(s)” to improve the science-policy interface. Compromise language was eventually adopted, which speaks of “improving” the interface without reference to any mechanism. Delegates agreed to convene the third intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder meeting in June 2010. The draft decision was then forwarded to the COW for approval.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As delegates milled around the pool during the evening reception, chatter focused on the seamless transition from ExCOPs to GC/GMEF. Many hailed the ExCOPs as resoundingly successful, not only for the three Conventions, but also for UNEP, which had proved, in the lead up to Rio+20 discussions, that synergies were possible and that UNEP could handle them.
While the drinks flowed, however, several noted that the biodiversity conventions were not as suited to “synergyzation”, and predicted that while synergy devotees would expand their push to these instruments, success was unlikely due to their greatly differing nature.
On IEG, delegates predicted a tense Thursday, as the draft decision will be negotiated.