The first substantive session of the Ad Hoc Open Ended Working Group (AHWG) towards a Global Pact for the Environment (A/RES/72/277), convening at the United Nations headquarters in Nairobi, was opened Monday by Co-Chair Amal Mudallali, Lebanon.
Macharia Kamau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kenya, acknowledged France’s role in bringing forward the initiative and described how the proposed pact could help address a fragmented international environmental law framework. The Acting Director of UN Environment (UNEP) and Assistant UN Secretary-General, Joyce Msuya, invited frank discussion and encouraged an inclusive process that engages with civil society and academia.
After adopting the AHWG’s provisional agenda (A/AC.289/3) and considering financial issues for the process, the AHWG Co-Chairs, Mudallali and Francisco António Duarte Lopes, Portugal, invited delegates to offer general statements. Many delegations welcomed the report of the UN Secretary-General, entitled “Gaps in international environmental law and environment-related instruments: towards a global pact for the environment” (A/73/419), while some sought to ensure a wider member state-led discussion on gaps.
The G-77/China highlighted links between implementation gaps in international environmental law and the lack of resources, technology transfer, and capacity. The European Union called for a wider discussion than the content of the Secretary-General’s report, and cautioned against any weakening of existing international environmental standards. The African Group called for greater focus on the 1992 and 2012 Rio Declarations. The United States observed that the Secretary-General’s report does not comply with its mandate and is not fully objective nor an accurate reference text. She cautioned that many of the “gaps” identified in the report reflect intentional decisions by member states in specific MEAs, and that the report shows bias towards the option of a global pact. The Russian Federation warned against the AHWG setting up a new framework for environmental protection, given the functional role of fragmentation in helping achieve consensus on international environmental matters. Many other delegations gave general statements.
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.
Photos by IISD/ENB | Mike Muzurakis