In 2012, UN Member States adopted ‘The Future We Want’ as the outcome document of Rio+20, setting out ways to strengthen and upgrade UNEP.
A report of the UNEP Executive Director on the implementation of this mandate was issued ahead of UNEA-4.
The report highlights the sixth edition of the Global Environmental Outlook, the 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report, UNEP’s role as custodian agency for 26 SDG indicators, and the Environment Live knowledge infrastructure.
UNEA-4 will meet in Nairobi, Kenya, from 11-15 March 2019.
February 2019: A report on strengthening and upgrading the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) concludes that “further action is required” to strengthen UNEP so it can fulfill its role as the leading global environmental authority, in order to uphold strengthened international environmental governance. The report issued by UNEP’s Executive Director outlines steps taken in the past several years to respond to the strengthening and upgrading mandate issued in 2012.
In 2012, UN Member States adopted ‘The Future We Want’ as the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), setting out ways to strengthen and upgrade UNEP. The UN General Assembly (UNGA) then decided to establish universal membership for UNEP’s governing body, then known as the Governing Council. The first universal meeting of the body took place in February 2013, following which its name was changed to the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA).
The report of the UNEP Executive Director titled, ‘Implementation of Paragraph 88 of the Outcome Document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Entitled “The Future We Want”’ (UNEP/EA.4/16), was issued ahead of UNEA’s fourth session, which will meet in Nairobi, Kenya, from 11-15 March 2019. On coordination within the UN system, the report notes that UNEP consolidates the UN system’s support for the delivery of the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs.
GEO-6 will provide policy options for achieving the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda with multiple co-benefits across the SDGs.
On the science-policy interface, the report highlights two major reports: the Global Environmental Outlook, the sixth edition of which (GEO-6) UNEP will submit to UNEA at its upcoming session; and the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR), which is issued every four years. According to the Executive Director’s report, GEO-6 will be the only UN report to offer “an overarching analysis of all the major global environmental issues.” It aims to underpin UNEA’s decision-making process and support the UN system in addressing the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda, including by informing discussions at the HLPF. GEO-6 will provide policy options for achieving the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda “with multiple co-benefits” across the SDGs.
On the GSDR, the report explains that the UNEP Secretariat is involved in generating data and statistics on implementation of the SDGs. The forthcoming issue of the GSDR will inform discussions of the HLPF in 2019. The document also reports that UNEP serves as the custodian agency for 26 environment-related indicators of the SDGs.
The Executive Director’s report describes efforts around environmental information and awareness raising as part of the mandate from Rio+20. It highlights Environment Live, which is a “knowledge infrastructure” for sharing authoritative environmental data and information. Environment Live includes an SDG Synergies portal that allows users to: access indicator-level data; track a country’s progress in reporting on data; and show relationships between data pertaining to the SDGs and related multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs).
The report also addresses: governance; financial resources; capacity building and technology support; consolidation of headquarters functions and strengthening of regional presence; and stakeholders’ participation and engagement of civil society. [Implementation of Paragraph 88 of the Outcome Document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Entitled “The Future We Want”] [SDG Knowledge Hub story: UNEA at a Glance: What You Need to Know about the Environment Assembly’s Fourth Session] [IISD RS Coverage of UNEA-4]