For over 40 years, civil society stakeholders have been key contributors to implementing the mandate of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). UNEP strives to ensure effective, broad and balanced participation of Major Groups and Stakeholders (MGS) as they play a central role in providing expertise and relevant knowledge. They also channel the voices of those most likely to be directly affected by environmental problems and related policies, and call needed attention to emerging issues as they reach out to their respective communities and the public at large. Increased demand for civil society engagement is a direct outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).
We are happy to share with you today UNEP's Stakeholder Engagement Handbook that UNEP developed in cooperation with UN NGLS. This Handbook aims to inform and guide Major Groups and Stakeholders by introducing in detail the currently applied rules, mechanisms and practices for MGS engagement in UNEP’s work. It is based on the Rules of Procedure of the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEA).
The Handbook complements the Guidelines for Participation of Major Groups and Stakeholders in Policy Design at UNEP and other related documents.
It contains ten sections:
- Section 1: The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) and Its Subsidiary Organs;
- Section 2: Engagement Approach;
- Section 3: Accreditation;
- Section 4: Participation in Agenda-Setting and Decision-Making Processes;
- Section 5: Access to Information;
- Section 6: Major Groups and Stakeholders Body – Spaces and Roles;
- Section 7: Expert Input and Advice, and Partnerships for Implementation;
- Section 8: Funding for Stakeholder Engagement at UNEP;
- Section 9: Code of Conduct at Meetings Hosted by the UN; and
- Section 10: UNEP’s Major Groups and Stakeholders Branch/Secretariat for Governing Bodies and Stakeholders.
Currently, Member States are negotiating a new UNEP Policy on Stakeholder Engagement and it is anticipated that this new Policy will be in place by the time of the second session of UNEA, in 2016. After that, the Handbook will be amended accordingly.