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On 10 May 2018, the UN General Assembly (the Assembly) adopted, resolution 72/277 entitled “Towards a Global Pact for the Environment”.  

The initiative for a Global Pact for the Environment aims to provide an overarching framework to international environmental law aimed at further solidifying, consolidating as well as advancing international environmental law considering pressing environmental challenges. The initiative also aims to improve the implementation of international environmental law in furtherance of the Sustainable Development Goals as well as globally agreed environmental goals and targets.

According to the resolution’s text, the Assembly decided to establish an ad hoc openended working group to consider a technical and evidence-based report that identifies and assesses possible gaps in international environmental law and environment-related instruments with a view to strengthening their implementation. The report is to be submitted to the Assembly’s seventy-third session in 2018 providing a platform to discuss possible options to address these gaps. This may include the need to convene an intergovernmental conference to adopt such an international instrument. The working group has been mandated to present its recommendations to the General Assembly during the first semester of 2019.

The Assembly decided that the ad hoc open-ended working group shall hold the following sessions, in accordance with established practice:

(a) An organizational session, to be held for a duration of three working days, by the end of the seventy-second session of the General Assembly, in New York, to examine matters related to the organization of the work of the ad hoc open-ended working group, including the duration and number of its substantive sessions; and

(b) Substantive sessions, to be held in Nairobi, the first of which at least one month after the submission of the report of the Secretary-General. 

Attendance at the sessions of the ad hoc open-ended working group as observers is open to relevant non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, as well as to those that were accredited to relevant conferences and summits.  The first substantive session of the working group shall meet in Nairobi, between 14-18 January 2019. 

The full agenda will be released at a later date. Consult background information on the Global Pact for the Environment.

For more information about this event, you may contact

  • Delegates from developing countries seeking financial assistance should contact United Nations Environment Programme as soon as possible by e-mail to Angela.Kariuki[at]un.org and Sarah.muchiri[at]un.org not later than 5 August 2018. Please also fill out the funding support request form.
  • Members, as well as observers, are requested to register the names of representatives, alternate representatives and advisers through the e-List of Participants module on the e-deleGATE portal. An e-mail should also be sent to the New York Office of the United Nations Environment Programme at environmentny[at]un.org.
  • NGO participants should register by creating an Indigo account and register by filling in the form at by 28 August 2018.