Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Monaco Will Host Major Global Ministerial Environment Forum

Feb 11: The biggest gathering of environment ministers to take place since the climate change breakthrough in Bali will be happening in Monaco later this month under the theme "Mobilizing Finance for the Climate Challenge". More than 100 ministers from across the globe are scheduled to attend the 10th Special Session of the UN Environment Programme's (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GMEF) -- the world's forum for environment ministers -- alongside senior figures from industry and economics; science; local government; civil society, trades unions and intergovernmental bodies. The meeting takes place in the small European country of Monaco, February 20-22.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said, "The last climate convention meeting delivered the Bali Road Map. This is the path along which over 190 countries are traveling in order to deliver a new and decisive climate deal by Copenhagen in 2009. Mobilizing finance, focusing markets and unleashing innovation will be central to successfully negotiating the Road Map and avoiding too many detours and dead ends. We are already glimpsing a transition to a low carbon society. Billions of dollars are now being invested in renewable energy and hundreds of institutions with trillions of dollars of assets are now endorsing investment principles that reflect environmental alongside social and governance concerns. Designing and delivering a Green Economy will not only avert dangerous and debilitating climate change. It can address the wider sustainability challenges outlined in UNEP's recent Global Environment Outlook from loss of biodiversity and rapid ecosystem degradation to collapsing fish stocks and depleted soils. In doing so, it opens the door to true sustainable development - development that benefits rich and poor alike by unleashing creativity and innovation, spawning new technologies and industries and stimulating new kinds of green employment patterns. In short, it is about investing in tomorrow's economy today."

Other key issues on the table in Monaco include the approval of UNEP's new Medium-Term Strategy for 2010-2013. It is designed to evolve the institution into a more efficient, focused, effective and results based environmental body of the United Nations better equipped to deal with the sustainability challenges of the 21st century. Ministers will also address the issue of International Environment Governance and how well UNEP is placed to address the challenges and opportunities outlined in the recently published landmark report, Global Environment Outlook-4 [
See WIMS 10/26/07] .

Also to be considered are reports on improved funding for the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management and the extent to which the international community is moving forward on the management of the hazardous heavy metal mercury. Ministers will also be presented with a key report on tackling illegal international trade in hazardous substances alongside one outlining recommendations on how to improve waste management including recycling in developing economies.

Meanwhile in New York, the United Nations General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim convened the February 11-12, 2008, thematic debate entitled "Addressing Climate Change: The United Nations and the World at Work," at the UN Headquarters. Two interactive panel discussions were scheduled: Rising to the Challenge: Partnerships on Climate Change; and Responding to a Multifaceted Challenge: The UN at Work. On February 12, discussions were open to all in which Member States to make statements [See links below].

Access a lengthy release with extensive links to additional information (click here). Access the 10th Special Session website for complete details including links to session documents and information (click here). Access a release with links to the individual speeches at the UN meeting (click here). Access the homepage for the 62nd session of the UN General Assembly (click here). Access the UN thematic debate website with links to information and documents (click here). [*All, *Climate]