Prior to the resumed fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly, Major Groups and other Stakeholders prepared inputs on: marine and plastic pollution; biodiversity and nature-based solutions; chemicals and waste; green recovery and circular economy; and strengthening international environmental governance, including a political declaration on UNEP@50.
The Youth Environment Assembly addressed topics including marine litter and plastic pollution, climate and environmental justice, climate anxiety, and how best to increase meaningful participation during UNEA-5.2 and beyond.
Civil society and youth representatives convened preparatory discussions ahead of the resumed fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) and the UNEA Special Session to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the creation of the UN Environment Programme in 1972 (UNEP@50).
The 19th session of the Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum (GMGSF-19) brought together more than 650 participants over a series of sessions from 7-10 February 2022. This virtual Forum was self-organized by the Major Groups Facilitating Committee (MGFC), the European Environmental Bureau, and Women Engage for a Common Future.
Stakeholders stressed the need to protect the legacy of the 1972 Stockholm Conference by accelerating implementation on the ground.
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary of GMGSF-19 reports that Major Groups and Stakeholders (MGS) “offered their vision, as well as entry points for addressing the sustainability challenges of our time, namely how to: ensure the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss, and pollution—notably in the chemicals and agri-food sectors—contribute more to repair the damage caused; and accelerate progress towards all of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in this final decade of action.”
GMGSF-19 focused on five thematic clusters, which were aligned with UNEA-5.2 draft resolutions. The clusters were:
- marine and plastic pollution;
- biodiversity and nature-based solutions (NbS);
- chemicals and waste;
- green recovery and circular economy; and
- strengthening international environmental governance, including a political declaration on UNEP@50.
Among the MGS positions agreed during this meeting were the need for UNEA to:
- strengthen systemic approaches to addressing the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution;
- recognize the importance of the ‘One Health’ approach for addressing linkages across human, animal, and environmental health and wellbeing;
- take firm action to advance progress on chemicals and marine and plastic pollution;
- ensure social and environmental safeguards, as well as the scientific independence of UNEP and UNEA’s advisory bodies, in environmental protection;
- strengthen follow-up to UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution 73/333 on environmental governance, through a focus on improved coordination of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), financing and enforcement, and MGS capacity building for more effective monitoring; and
- protect the legacy of the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Conference), which led to the establishment of UNEP, by accelerating implementation on the ground, backed up by financial support, capacity building, and robust enforcement and monitoring of environmental laws at higher levels.
The MGS adopted two outcome documents: the Joint MGS Statement ‘The UNEP We Want,’ and the Global Joint Statement Towards UNEA-5.2.
The Youth Environment Assembly held a kick-off session in a hybrid format from 19-20 February 2022, under the theme, ‘The Power in YOUth.’ Discussions addressed marine litter and plastic pollution, climate and environmental justice, climate anxiety, and how best to increase meaningful participation during UNEA-5.2 and beyond, among other topics.
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary of the YEA kick-off sessions highlights that youth speakers stressed the importance of partnerships for sustainable mindsets, collaborating on waste management with other youth present at the YEA 2022, the role of technology, partnerships for conservation particularly at the grassroots level, the need for tools to measure global and local impacts of environmental action, and the call from the Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY) to include a human-rights based approach in the UNEA resolution on the sound management of chemicals and wastes.
The second part of the 2022 YEA will take place from 25-27 February, immediately prior to UNEA-5.2.
UNEA-5.2 will consider draft resolutions related to marine/plastic pollution, nature-based solutions and biodiversity, chemicals and minerals, green recovery and circular economy, and organizational and administrative matters.