On Thursday, the first substantive session of the Ad hoc Open-Ended Working Group heard a brief report on the progress of deliberations this week in Nairobi. Co-Chair Francisco Duarte Lopes, Portugal, reported that many delegations had recognized the existence of gaps and challenges while others held different views, and further efforts would be needed to establish which gaps need to be addressed as part of the AHWG mandate.
Delegates began to consider arrangements for a second substantive session in Nairobi. Lopes proposed to delegates that the provisional agenda for the second session could feature consideration of possible options to address possible gaps in international environmental law (IEL) and environment-related instruments. The upcoming session would give delegations “space for sharing views” ahead of recommendations to the UNGA. Delegations and others, including civil society, were invited to provide further written inputs to the Co-Chairs, ideally by 20 February 2019. Discussion of various counter-proposals from delegations is to be taken up on Friday. Some voiced concerns about having enough time to prepare meaningful contributions to a second session.
Delegates also began to consider the final chapter of the Secretary-General’s report, which focuses on conclusions.
Among the issues raised were, inter alia:
- Attitudes to the Secretary-General’s report, and whether it had gone beyond its mandate;
- Whether the case has begun to be made for bringing all IEL principles into a new international instrument (pact);
- The contribution of non-binding and national-level approaches to environmental law, including the Stockholm and Rio Declarations;
- Limiting a new instrument to areas of IEL with no current institutional home;
- The AHWG’s need for new information inputs, including a comprehensive analysis of IEL principles and environment-related instruments; and
- Possible recommendations to the UNGA to encourage related work on IEL.
IISD Reporting Services, through its Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) Meeting Coverage, is providing daily web coverage and will provide a summary and analysis report from the 1st Substantive Session of the Ad Hoc Open Ended Working Group Towards a Global Pact for the Environment.