Decisions and resolutions on UN Environment governing bodies

The following table presents the chronology and evolution of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) governing bodies since the establishment of UNEP in 1972 through General Assembly resolution 2997 (XXVII).  The table highlight key points from relevant UNEP governing bodies decisions and General Assembly resolutions that have imply cations for the development of UNEP governing bodies. The table shows, for example, that the discussion about endowing universal membership in the UNEP Governing Council dates back to as early as 1998 (taking 14 years of intergovernmental negotiations to establish universal membership at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012). 

Years & Key decisions related to the governance of the UN Environment Programme

1972: 15 December - 27th session of the General Assembly

GA resolution 2997   Institutional and financial arrangements for international environmental cooperation

  • The General Assembly (GA) establishes the Governing Council (GC) of UNEP, composed of 58 members elected by GA for 3-year terms.

1973: 12-22 June : 1st session of Governing Council, Geneva

  • Decides that Governing Council should hold 1 regular session annually for 2 weeks in Nairobi during the period February/March.

1974: 11-22 March - 2nd session of GC, Nairobi

Decision 19(II)   Rules of procedure

  • Adopts the rules of procedure for the conduct of Governing Council business of Governing Council.

1975: 17 April-2 May : 3rd session of Governing Council, Nairobi

Decision 45(III)   Establishment of permanent missions to UNEP

  • Requests Governments to establish permanent missions to UNEP.

Decision 46(III)   Relationships with non-governmental organizations

  • Requests the Executive Director to develop working relationships with non-governmental organizations.

1976: 30 March-14 April : 4th session of Governing Council, Nairobi

  • No major decision taken related to UNEP governing bodies.

1977: 9-25 May : 5th session of Governing Council, Nairobi

Decision 104(V)   Informal consultations with Governments

  • Decides to hold informal consultations with Governments between consecutive Governing Council sessions, once for 1 day prior to the opening of Governing Council session in Nairobi and once for at least 3 days at a date and place to be determined by Governing Council.

1978: 9-25 May: 6th session of GC Nairobi

Decision 6/1   Programme policy and implementation

  • Requests the Executive Director to study the question of the periodicity and duration of Governing Council sessions and to report the study results to the informal consultations.

1979: 18 April-4 May: 7th session of Governing Council Nairobi

Decision 7/1   Programme policy and implementation

  • Decides to continue convening its annual sessions until 1983 and to re-examine this subject in 1982.
  • Further decides to limit the duration of its sessions to 10 working days.

1980: 16-29 April: 8th session of Governing Council Nairobi

Decision 8/1   Programme policy and implementation

  • Decides to hold a session of special character in 1982 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the UN Conference on the Human Environment.

Decision 8/2   Governing Council of UNEP in 1982 – session of a special character

  • Recommends to General Assembly to adopt a resolution conferring Governing Council membership to all UN Member States for the special session.

Decision 8/19   Arabic as an official and working language of Governing Council of UNEP

  • Recommends to General Assembly to favorably consider the financial implications to the regular budget of the introduction of Arabic as an official language of Governing Council.

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