The next meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5), will take place in February 2021 in Nairobi under the leadership of the Minister of Climate and Environment of Norway, Mr Ola Elvestuen, President of UNEA-5.
UNEA-5 will bring together representatives of Governments, Civil Society, the Private Sector, Academia and other relevant stakeholders to discuss and decide upon the most urgent and emerging issues related to the environment as well as sustainable development, including the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The theme of the Assembly is currently under discussion and will be decided upon in early December 2019 and is likely to focus on Nature-based solution for sustainable development.
Having Civil Society Organizations and other non-state actors, represented by the nine Major Groups, fully engaged in the preparation of Assembly meetings as well as in implementing agreed outcomes, has always been of paramount importance to the United Nations Environment Programme. Nearly fifty years of experience prove that this enriches the intergovernmental decision-making process and adds transparency and legitimacy.
It is important for UNEP that all stakeholders including the private sector, science, media etc. are fully engaged in UNEA and its preparatory process.
On 9 – 10 June 2020 the two Bureaus of the United Nations Environment Assembly and the Committee of Permanent Representatives, which is responsible for oversight and review and for preparing the decisions and resolution to be taken by UNEA, will get together in Oslo, Norway, for a UNEA preparatory meeting in the form of a retreat. As for similar retreats held previously (e.g. in Tallinn, Estonia in 2018), an international consultation targeting Major Groups and Stakeholder, and a public forum, targeting the general public, media, individual companies and other stakeholders, will be organized back-to-back to the retreat meeting.
Major Groups and Stakeholders Engagement towards UNEA-5
The term Major Groups and Stakeholders (MGS) was coined in Agenda 21 at the Rio Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 and refers largely to not-for-profit, non-governmental organizations, accredited and not accredited to UNEP. MGS consist of nine different Major Groupsand other non-governmental, not-for-profit stakeholders such as faith-based organizations
The proposed MGS consultation to be held in June in Oslo in 2020 is part of a larger roadmap of MGS engagement towards UNEA 5 as illustrated by the following timeline.
Engaging the Public, Media, Scientists and the Individual Companies
Engaging Major Groups and Stakeholders is only one element of engaging all relevant stakeholders towards UNEA-5. In addition to engaging with non-governmental, not-for-profit organizations, it is important to engage as far as possible the general public, media, interested individual companies, scientists and others.
Engagement with the general public will be largely governed by UNEP’s communication strategy for UNEA-5. Contributions from the science community beyond those organized within the nine Major Groups, will be an integral part of the UNEA-5 preparatory process, including by providing scientific input to the UNEA theme. Their engagement will also take place through the UN Global Science – Policy – Business Forum on the Environment which is likely to be held in conjunction with UNEA 5. Furthermore, the participation of the business community will be guided by UNEP’s corporate Private Sector Engagement Strategy and take place under the umbrella of a Sustainable Innovation Expo which is organized on the margins of UNEA 5.
Major Groups and Stakeholders Consultation, June 7 – 8, 2020
The consultation has the following objectives:
- Increase the relevance of UNEA 5 by facilitating active and meaningful engagement by relevant stakeholders globally in the UNEA 5 preparatory process; Strengthen the inter-action and information flow between UNEA and CPR Bureaus and Major Groups and Stakeholders; Enrich the UNEA and CPR Bureau retreats with input and expertise from non-state actors, represented by the nine Major Groups and other Stakeholders;
- Provide a platform for Major Groups and Stakeholders to discuss the UNEA theme, and to develop their input and positions with a view to contribute to the outcome of UNEA 5;
- Strengthen the general capacity and knowledge base of civil society organizations and relevant stakeholders regionally and globally with regard to environmental multilateral processes;
- Promote an increased number of civil society organizations and other stakeholders that engage with UNEP, including through formal accreditation;
- Raise awareness among MGS about the commemoration of the creation of UNEP and of Stockholm + 50 in 2022 and support meaningfully participation in the preparatory process.
The consultation is expected to result in:
- A set of proposals to be included in consolidated positions and statements from Major Groups and Stakeholder worldwide for UNEA 5;
- Proposals and ideas for inputs from Major Groups and Stakeholders on the UNEA theme;
- Input of MGS to the UNEA/CPR Bureaus’ retreat, in form of oral and/or written statements;
- Preparation of inputs to regional ministerial fora in the run-up to UNEA-5 and to other MGS consultations;
- Development of concrete proposals on how to ensure a well-organized and impactful Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum during UNEA 5;
- Consultation on expectations and preparation of positions for Stockholm+50.
The meeting will be open to all interested Major Groups and Stakeholders. It is expected that up to 150 representatives of Major Groups and Stakeholders will participate in person at the event. While many will come from various locations from around the globe, it is (due to the location of the meeting) anticipated that most participants come from Nordic countries and in particular Norway. Broader participation will be offered through state-of-the-art video/teleconferencing/web streaming facilities.
For members of UNEP’s Major Groups Facilitating Committee, Regional Facilitators and representatives of organizations from developing countries and from organizations from East European Central Asia and Caucasus Countries, financial support for the participation in the event will be provided, subject to available funding.
Timing and Location
The consultation will take place on June 7 - 8, 2020 in Oslo, Norway. The exact location is still to be determined.