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Fotolia 52752745 Subscription XXL mod 730  UNEP ON THE GROUND
UNECE Member States discuss the First UN Environment Assembly and beyond

On 28 October, UNEP organized a side event at the 20th session of the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy (CEP) and provided insights into the outcome of the First United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA1), updates on the implementation of the UNEA decisions, and its impact for UNEP’s work in the European region. The side event was attended by 35 UNECE Member States and several UNEP partners from the region.

UNEP's Director and Regional Representative for Europe, Jan Dusik made detailed presentation focusing on the Ministerial outcome document of UNEA, the resolutions and decisions adopted, as well as different sessions and events held at UNEA. Mr Dusik also highlighted the regional implications of the different resolutions by making links to different activities carried out in the region by UNEP and its partners while putting a strong emphasis on not duplicating what is done by others, but rather strengthening and building on existing work through partnership. Finally, an update was provided on the status of financial contributions by European countries to the Environment Fund of UNEP in 2014 vis-à-vis the Voluntary Scale of Contributions targets.


UNEP’s presentation was complemented by commentaries from two UNEA Bureau members from Belgium and Romania, who provided additional perspectives on the outcome of UNEA. The Bureau members commended UNEP for the excellent work in preparing and organizing UNEA1, and its contribution to the Post-2015/SDGs process; they also acknowledged that the political declaration and different resolutions are indicative of UNEP being on target on crucial environment sustainability issues. They welcomed UNEP's internal action plan for implementation of UNEA1 resolutions, but urged UNEP to keep it simple. Focus should be on the implementation of resolutions at national level and reporting progress at UNEA2. Finally, the Bureau members expressed their availability to discuss and exchange views with their regional groups.


During the discussion, a number of issues were highlighted, including the need to deliver on universal membership (practical engagement of Member States), concern over the sustainability of the regular budget contribution, complementarity of the regional fora, the need to resolve the stakeholders engagement policy, and also strong support to thematic debates at UNEA, to be well connected to the programme of work. In the context of the High-level Political Forum, simple reflection of the UNEA ministerial declaration was considered insufficient and more needs to be done to foster and catalyse the highest political leadership to ensure better synergies in order to feed into the discussions of the HLPF in the future, including specifically in the 2015 session. Participants also asked about the degree of cooperation between UNEP regional offices and regional economic commissions in various regions.


In terms of the link between the Environment for Europe (EfE) and UNEA, considering UNEA 2 and the next EfE ministerial conference are happening almost back to back triggers a need to work together to advance common objectives. The CEP being a platform for UNECE Member States to formulate environmental policy and support its implementation in Europe, a number of Member States highlighted the interlinkages between UNEA resolutions and the expertize that is available in the region to help implement the resolutions.

Member States appreciated UNEP’s role in the work of the CEP, and continued effort to share the outcome and implications of UNEA in the region, which they found very useful in translating into action at the national level.

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