14 Mar 2013 Press release Sustainable Development Goals

GA Approves Establishment of UN Environment Assembly in Support of the Strengthening and Upgrade of UNEP

Nairobi, 14 March 2013 -The UNEP Governing Council - home to the world's largest annual gathering of environment ministers - will in future be known as the United Nations Environment Assembly of UNEP, following a new resolution by the UN General Assembly.

The re-designation endorses a decision by governments at the 1st Universal Session of the UNEP Governing Council, held last month under the themeRio+20: From Outcome to Implementation,to rename UNEP's governing following the recent strengthening and upgrading of the organization to universal membership.

The newly-named United Nations Environment Assembly of UNEP reflects the full and future participation of all 193 UN member states in UNEP's governing body. Prior to 2012, membership had been limited to 58 countries only.

The upgrading to universal membership - confirmed by the UN General Assembly in December 2012 - implemented commitments made by world leaders at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) to strengthen the ability and role of UNEP to deliver the environmental dimension of sustainable development.

Member states at the Governing Council in February stressed the key role of UNEP in providing the international community with comprehensive, science-based, environmental assessments, such as the Global Environment Outlook (GEO) series.

Countries also formally backed the roll-out of a decade-long initiative to 'decouple' economic growth from the unsustainable use of natural resources, known as the 10 Year Framework of Programmes for Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP for SCP).

The UNEP-hosted initiative will promote sustainable public procurement, buildings and construction, and ecotourism, among other areas.

In its resolution, the General Assembly stated that the new designation does not change the functions of UNEP's governing body, or the overall mandate, aims and purposes of UNEP.

Notes to Editors

The full text of the UN General Assembly resolution 'Change of the designation of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme' is available at: http://www.unep.org/pdf/environment_assembly_draft_resolution_A67_784.pdf

Full outcomes and coverage of the 1stUniversal Session of the UNEP Governing Council (February 2012) is available at:http://www.iisd.ca/unepgc/27unepgc/