An online global meeting on the Montevideo Programme V on environmental law has provided a foundation for the next decade of work.
The meeting selected an initial focus area - legal responses to address the air pollution crisis - and designated a steering committee which will begin working immediately.
An in-person, resumed session of the global meeting will take place in 2023.
An online global meeting on the Montevideo Programme V on environmental law has provided a foundation for the next decade of work. The meeting designated a steering committee which will begin working immediately, and the global meeting will hold a resumed session in person in early 2022.
The Fifth Programme for the Development and Periodic Review of Environmental Law (Montevideo Programme V) is a series of ten-year programmes adopted by the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), which aim to turn science-based policies into action-oriented rules and standards of conduct. The programme has also conceived multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) such as the Basel and Rotterdam Conventions on hazardous wastes and chemicals.
Environmental law is essential to the right to a healthy environment, which in turn is critical for the sustainable development agenda.
The online meeting for the Montevideo Programme V took place from 2-4 June 2021. In addition to designating the steering committee to guide implementation, the meeting also adopted work modalities, considered possible priority areas, partnerships, and stakeholder engagement, and selected an initial focus area: legal responses to address the air pollution crisis.
The UNEA has called for Montevideo Programme V to be implemented in a way that aligns with UNEP’s medium-term strategy. The 2018-2021 strategy has seven focus areas: climate change; resilience to disasters and conflicts; healthy and productive ecosystems; environmental governance; chemicals, waste and air quality; resource efficiency; and environment under review. The 2022-2025 strategy will focus on three objectives:
- building climate stability, including net zero greenhouse gas emissions and resilience in the face of climate change;
- ensuring humanity prospers in harmony with nature; and
- preventing and controlling pollution, ensuring good environmental quality and improved health and well-being for all.
The newly appointed Steering Committee will begin immediately and guide Programme work through the end of the Second Global Meeting, tentatively planned for 2023.
Opening the meeting, Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director, said environmental law is essential to the right to a healthy environment, which in turn is critical for the sustainable development agenda. She also urged participants to take advantage of the new Law and Environment Assistance Platform (LEAP) and to increase collaboration and engagement among the Programme’s partners “to shift the needle to a sustainable and just future for all.” [Earth Negotiations Bulletin meeting coverage]