In preparation for the third session of the UN Environment Assembly in December 2017, UNEA President Edgar Gutiérrez-Espeleta circulated points for possible inclusion in a ministerial outcome document on the theme, 'Toward a pollution-free planet'.
The UNEA Bureau has discussed the roadmap toward UNEA-3, its structure, and agenda, and the Committee of Permanent Representatives discussed ways to strengthen UN Environment and UNEA to effectively deliver on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
8 May 2017: Preparations for the third session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-3) in December 2017, on the theme ‘Toward a Pollution-Free Planet,’ are moving forward. Edgar Gutiérrez-Espeleta, UNEA President and Costa Rica’s Minister for Environment and Energy, has circulated points for possible inclusion in a ministerial outcome document, based on Member States’ input. Meanwhile, permanent representatives in Nairobi discussed ways to strengthen UNEA and UN Environment.
UNEA-3 is scheduled for 4-6 December 2017. Prior to UNEA-3, the Open-Ended Committee of Permanent Representatives (OECPR) will meet from 29 November to 1 December.
In a letter dated 8 May 2017 and addressed to environment ministers, Gutiérrez-Espeleta notes that pollution is one of the main obstacles to achieving the SDGs, as it destroys ecosystems and hampers economic growth. The letter proposes points for a non-binding ministerial outcome focused on measures to fight pollution, such as: wastewater treatment; action on marine litter, microplastics and single-use plastics; and a global ban on lead in paint. Ministers’ responses are invited, and the document will be further discussed at a preparatory retreat in Costa Rica from 10-11 June 2017. Gutiérrez-Espeleta previously invited ministers’ contributions to the draft outcome document in a letter of 5 April, which noted his aim of concluding a wide consultation process with Member States, partners, stakeholders, and regional and political groups before the OECPR convenes in late November.
The UNEA bureau met on 18 April 2017, in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss the roadmap toward UNEA-3, its structure, and agenda. Also during April, the US submitted two draft resolutions for possible adoption by UNEA-3, proposing improvements to water quality monitoring and ‘legal solutions’ on lead in paint, while Norway submitted a resolution on action against marine litter.
On 18 May 2017, the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) discussed ways to strengthen UN Environment and UNEA to effectively deliver on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The CPR is the intersessional subsidiary organ of UNEA, and is made up of Member States’ representatives in Nairobi.
Discussions suggested having the MEAs report to the HLPF through UNEA, and a more active norm-setting role for UNEA.
A secretariat briefing note on the CPR meeting highlights suggestions to: prioritize national and regional-level activities for implementing the resolutions adopted by UNEA; have the multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) report to the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) through UNEA; and play a more active role as a norm-setter within the UN system through the Environment Management Group (EMG). The note also stresses the importance of developing a new stakeholder engagement policy in line with the Rio+20 outcome document, ‘The Future We Want.’ Further discussions will take place when the Government of Switzerland hosts a Workshop on International Environmental Governance in Glion, Switzerland, from 20-22 June 2017, with the participation of government delegates, representatives of UN Environment and the MEA secretariats.
UNEA-2 took place from 23-27 May 2016 on the theme of ‘Delivering on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,’ and adopted 24 resolutions. Areas of focus included implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the illegal trade in wildlife, and marine litter. Discussions stalled in the final plenary due to disagreement on a draft resolution calling for an environmental assessment of the Gaza Strip. While informal discussions on a new stakeholder engagement policy and the ministerial outcome document took place on the sidelines of UNEA-2, neither was adopted. Ministers did endorse the Global Thematic Report on ‘Healthy Environment, Healthy People.’ [Letter of 5 April from UNEA President to Environment Ministers] [Roadmap to UNEA-3] [Structure of UNEA-3] [Compilation of Draft Resolutions] [Briefing Note on International Environmental Governance] [UNEA Bureau 18 April Meeting Summary] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on UNEA-2 Outcomes] [IISD Sources] [UNEA-CPR Bureaux Joint Meeeting 22 March Meeting Summary]