06 Dec 2023
11:00–12:30

Lieu: International Environment House II & Online

Organisation: Geneva Environment Network, Bureau régional du PNUE pour l'Europe

This Geneva briefing provided an update on the preparations for the sixth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-6), which will take place from 26 February to 1 March 2024, in Nairobi.

About this Event

This briefing provided an update on the preparations for the sixth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-6), which will take place from 26 February to 1 March 2024, in Nairobi.

The United Nations Environment Assembly is the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment. This session’s theme “Effective, inclusive and sustainable multilateral actions to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution” focuses on addressing the interlinkages of the three planetary environmental crises.

A series of leadership and multi-stakeholder dialogues and more than 30 official side events and associated events are expected to lay the ground for strengthened global and regional coordinated efforts by the United Nations Environment Programme, Member States, and partners to deliver high-impact action.

UNEA-6 will also highlight the importance of cooperation with multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) with a full day, 28 February 2024, devoted to the discussion with a view to enhancing its relationship with the MEAs by strengthening convergence of actions and sharing of experiences.

The Assembly will be preceded by the sixth meeting of the Open-ended Committee of Permanent Representatives (OECPR) – the preparatory meeting of the UNEA agenda and pre-negotiates and deliberates the content and wording of proposed resolutions, declarations and decisions for endorsement and approval by the Assembly – taking place from 19 to 23 February 2024.

Speakers

By order of intervention.

Arnold KREILHUBER

Director, Europe Office, UNEP | Chair

H.E. Amb. Omar ZNIBER

Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva | UNEA-6 Presidency

Michel TSCHIRREN

Head, Global Affairs Section, Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland

Radhika OCHALIK

Secretary, Secretariat of Governing Bodies and Stakeholders | Director, Governance Affairs Office, UNEP

Monika STANKIEWICZ

Executive Secretary, Minamata Convention on Mercury

Jacqueline ALVAREZ

Chief, Chemicals and Health Branch, UNEP

Elisa TONDA

Chief, Resources and Markets Branch, UNEP

Patrizia HEIDEGGER

Deputy Secretary General and Director for EU Governance, Sustainability and Global Policies, European Environmental Bureau

Highlights

Video

Live at the International Environment House II.

Live in the Room

Summary

Welcome

Arnold KREILHUBER | Director, Europe Office, UNEP

  • Welcome all to this briefing that aims to provide updates on the preparations for UNEA-6.
  • Various processes led here in Geneva are also contributing to addressing the triple planetary crisis and to actions and measures to be adopted at UNEA. This has also been highlighted in some of the events convened by the Geneva Environment Network throughout this year. We are also joined this morning by various colleagues heading the UNEP work on chemicals and pollution and on resources and markets from Geneva, where UNEP has strong partnerships and engagements with the UN System.
  • Despite ongoing disruptions from the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate crisis, a weak global economy, and rising socio-political tensions, we have witnessed multilateralism in action since the last meeting at UNEA5. From UNEP@50 to Stockholm+50, negotiations to end plastic pollution, mandate for science-policy panel, recognition of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, a new Biodiversity Framework and Fund, as well as new global framework on chemicals.
  • These are moments to celebrate and build up on them, but a candid assessment of the SDGs has shown the world is severely off track, and the SG has called for a strong political will and the utilization of available technologies, knowledge, and resources to reignite progress towards achieving the SDGs.
  • With the same spirit, UNEA6 envisions to initiate bolder multilateral actions around implementing the GBF, water, minerals and metal use, nutrient management, the risks and environmental impacts of new technologies, and aligning the financial system with sustainability.
  • UNEA-6 is expected to provide its input to the Summit of the Future, and the simple fact is that environment must be better integrated across the entire multilateral system, and with the increased demand for UNEP support at the country level, the international community has to put the requisite resources to UNEP to fulfill its mandate.
  • UNEA-6 will also highlight the importance of cooperation with multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) with a view to enhance its relationship with the MEAs, and we have a dedicated session for this in today’s briefing. We have in Geneva five of the global MEAs administrated by UNEP and a few other global and regional ones administrated by key actors, such as IUCN and UNECE.
  • This week is still a busy day for the environmental community, as we have many colleagues and stakeholders attending COP28. Nevertheless, we wanted to have an opportunity to make a point on how we are moving towards UNEA-6, as the 10th Annual Subcommittee meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to UNEP convened in Nairobi on 20-24 November 2023.

H.E. Amb. Omar ZNIBER | Permanent Representative of Morocco to the United Nations in Geneva

  • The election of Morocco to the Presidency of UNEA-6 represents a recognition of Morocco’s commitment to the international effort to combat climate change and to protect the environment.
  • This commitment stems from the vision of our leader, His Majesty King Mohammed VI, who has been personally engaged in these matters for a long time.
  • This engagement is also realized by the current presidency, various programs and sectors that are enabling Morocco to reach almost 30% of our electricity consumption by renewables, a huge achievement for a developing country like Morocco.
  • Through its presidency, Morocco is fully committed to contributing to the mainstreaming and effective integration of the environmental dimension in the implementation of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.
  • Our planet is currently facing a triad of environmental problems caused by climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. This calls for urgent and collective action to mitigate impacts avoid the reaching of the threshold of irreversibility and ensure a sustainable and habitable future for the generations to come.
  • UNEA seeks to be held under the very pertinent theme of effective inclusive and sustainable multilateral actions to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution’. It will provide a center stage of environmental multilateralism and reinvigorate leadership that can deliver timely, effective and inclusive actions commensurate with the scale and speed of response needed to address the triple planetary crisis.
  • Morocco is firmly convinced that UNEA-6 should promote adequate and coherent implementation of the actions and commitments contained in the 14 resolutions adopted by UNEA-5 – including those related to plastic pollution and chemical products and waste – as well as in the outcome documents of previous sessions of the Assembly.
  • Morocco is strongly engaged in fighting plastic pollution. In Geneva, it stands among the countries driving the process within the World Trade Organization.  UNEA-6 ministerial declaration will address plastic pollution.
  • Morocco was also part of the group of countries proposing in the Human Rights Council the resolution on the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment later adopted in July 2022 in the General Assembly.
  • UNEA-6 outcomes must be bold, time-bound and ambitious to deliver on the current environmental challenges. They need to represent the current collective thinking of prevailing environmental issues and will be a vital step in the need for action.
  • During the 10th Annual Subcommittee Meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives, the President of UNEA-6 emphasized the importance of the active participation of major groups and stakeholders. Their role in a successful UNEA-6 will be key not only thanks to their contributions, advice and inputs but also through the effective implementation of resolutions and decisions to be adopted by the UNEA-6.
  • Morocco is very grateful to all member states for their valid inputs on the draft of the ministerial declaration and supports an inclusive, open and transparent process on the development of this ministerial declaration.
  • The fourth informal consultation of the second draft of the ministerial declaration takes place on 7 December 2023 in a hybrid format. It will offer the opportunity to jointly review the second draft and provide concrete comments and inputs paragraph by paragraph. This reading of the second draft will allow for the circulation of a clean final version of the draft of the ministerial declaration.
  • With this constructive and inclusive approach to the ministerial declaration, Morocco hopes to conclude consultations on the draft of the ministerial declaration before the opening of UNEA-6 and the last consultation to take place during the sixth meeting of the open-ended CPR, which will take place from 19 to the 23 February 2024.
  • We are aware that negotiations are never easy. There may be some difficulties but time is of essence. Without the full cooperation of all stakeholders, it would be even more difficult. Morocco will maintain its neutrality and impartiality as President of the conference, but we have also to voice on behalf of the developing countries who are suffering more than others in the face of the triple planetary crisis.
  • If we do not meet our purpose, the development will become probably more of a shimmer aspect than a reality for countries like Morocco. Studies demonstrate that environmental deterioration is negatively affecting our GDP.

Michel TSCHIRREN | Head, Global Affairs Section, Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland

  • The United Nations Environment Assembly is the world’s highest level decision-making board body on the environment and member states and stakeholders will come together to discuss action to meet the sustainable development goals.
  • With the UNEA-6 theme ‘effective, inclusive and sustainable multilateral actions to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution’ the session will focus on addressing the interlinkages of the three planetary environmental crises.
  • With climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution we face three major environmental crises that have severe impacts. This situation asks for enhanced and well-designed measures to protect human health and the environment and achieve sustainable development.

Environmental multilateralism matters.

  • The last two years have delivered significant gains for environmental cooperation. Among these, the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, a breakthrough for biodiversity and the UNEA-5 decision to establish a science-policy panel on chemicals, waste and pollution prevention and to start negotiations for an international legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution. Again, the Global Framework on Chemicals to address issues on chemicals and waste and important MEAs decisions.
  • The planned MEAs day at UNEA-6 highlights the importance of multilateral Environmental Agreements. MEAs are a strong foundation and key elements of the international environmental cooperation. They allow us to address challenges that we cannot solve on a national level.
  • Several important MEAs are in Geneva. They interact with other organizations located in Geneva, like WTO’s dialogue on plastic pollution with the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions (BRS) Secretariat and UNEP’s chemicals and waste branch.

We are currently not yet where we want and need to be. International cooperation must be improved through more effective inclusive and networked multilateralism. UNEA-6 offers the opportunity to initiate decisive multilateral action by providing a platform for decision-makers and stakeholders. It offers the opportunity to reach global agreements on the most emerging and important environmental issues.

  • Switzerland looks forward to good deliberations and ambitious outcomes of UNEA-6. We look forward to the leadership and multi-stakeholder dialogues and side events.  All of this will set the ground for strengthened global and regional coordinated efforts and for setting the course for the future.

Preparation for UNEA-6

Radhika OCHALIK | Secretary, Secretariat of Governing Bodies and Stakeholders | Director, Governance Affairs Office, UNEP

  • UNEA participation is open to all member states, intergovernmental organizations with observant status with the UN General Assembly and UNEA, UN system entities, MEAs and major groups and stakeholders that are accredited to UNEP and its governing bodies.
  • The UNEP’s executive director’s report to UNEA-6 focuses on the following topics:
  1. Implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework;
  2. Advancing integrated approaches for a water-secure world;
  3. Ensuring responsible mining and sustainable minerals and metals used for the sustainability transitions needed;
  4. Advancing cooperation around nutrients, especially phosphorus;
  5. Climate altering technologies and measures;
  6. Aligning the financial system for sustainability;
  7. Elevating the environment within the multilateral system under each of the topics.
  • ED Inger Andersen suggested recommendations and actions for the consideration of member states. She mandated progress reports on the implementation of previous UNEA resolutions available on the website.
  • The regional ministerial environmental fora organized by UNEP Regional Offices have already taken place in Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Oman and Panama.
  • Member states had fruitful discussions in all regional fora and identified possible draft proposals for submission to the UN environment assembly.
  • In advance of each of these ministerial fora, the major groups and stakeholders also met to prepare for these consultations and prepare for their input to UNEA-6.

Structure of UNEA-6

MEAs Day

  • For the first time, UNEA will consider cooperation with multilateral environment agreements on 28 February 2024. The ‘MEAs Day’ aims to strengthen the engagement of the MEAs in UNEA to promote coherence between UNEA, UNEP and the MEAs.
  • Following the Opening session from 9 to 10 am, two 3-hour Leadership Dialogues will take place
    • Dialogue 1: Strengthening science-policy interface for effective implementation of environmental commitments.
    • Dialogue 2: Strengthening cooperation between UNEA, UNEP and MEAs to enhance effective implementation at the national level including through means of implementation.
  • On top of discussions, exhibitions will be organized for the whole week of to showcase cooperation.
  • Related side events will also be held from Wednesday to Friday in dedicated spaces.

High-level segment: Leadership Dialogues, National Statements, Multistakeholder Dialogue

  • The opening of the UNEA-6 High-level segment will be on Thursday, 29 February, and will be followed by National Statements and three high-level leadership dialogues and a Multistakeholder Dialogue on Thursday, 29 February and Friday, 1 March 2023:
    • Leadership Dialogue 1: Science, data, and digitalization for effective and inclusive multilateralism in addressing the three planetary environmental crises | Thursday, 29 February 2024, 15:00 to 16:30 EAT.
    • Leadership Dialogue 2: Aligning finance with global goals on Friday, 1 March 2024, 10:00 to 11:30 EAT.
    • Leadership Dialogue 3: The future of environmental multilateralism – how can it be more effective, inclusive and sustainable? on Friday, 1 March 2024, 11:30 to 13:00 EAT.
  • Multistakeholder Dialogue on the theme of UNEA-6 on Thursday 29 February from 16:30 to 18:00 EAT
  • Leadership Dialogues concept notes will be shared in December and will include guiding questions to help prepare interventions.
  • More information is available on the dedicated page. Find more information on National Statements on the dedicated page.

Major Groups and Stakeholders’ Participation

  • Youth Environment Assembly on 17 and 18 February at UNON
  • Global Major Groups and Stakeholder Forum (GMGSF 21) on 24 and 25 February 2024 at UNON
  • Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue on 29 February 2024 Green Room reserved primarily for the participating Major Groups and Stakeholders of civil society for morning and evening briefings, ad-hoc meetings, events and bilateral meetings

Side Events

  • UNEA-6 will include more than 30 official side events, some held in person and some online.
  • An unprecedented number of applications were sent and the announcement of the selected one will be communicated tentatively at the end of December 2023.

Associated events:

    • 31st meeting of the International Resource Panel
    • 10 YFP Board Meeting
    • Annual Climate and Clean Air Conference
    • Cities and Regions Summit
    • Science Policy Business Forum

Participation Modalities

Ministerial Declaration Consultations

  • The informal consultations on the draft ministerial declaration is open for participation and attendance by the intergovernmental organizations, UN system representatives as well as major groups and stakeholders.

Announcement of draft resolutions at the 10th Annual Subcommittee meeting of the CPR

At the 10th Annual Subcommittee meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives held from 20-24 November 2023, various Member States announced draft resolutions:

  1. United States of America: Promoting regional cooperation to improve air quality globally.
  2. Saudi Arabia: Strengthening international efforts to halt land degradation, restore degraded lands and increase ecosystem and communities’ resilience to drought.
  3. Japan: Promoting synergistic approach to address the triple crisis on climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution and support sustainable development.
  4. European Union, on behalf of the EU and its Member States: Stepping up efforts for enhancing the circular economy transition domestically, regionally, and globally.
  5. European Union, on behalf of the EU and its Member States: Effective and inclusive solutions to strengthen water policies for sustainable development in the context of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.
  6. Malawi: Enhancing the role and viability of regional forums for environmental ministers and environmental authorities and regional offices in achieving multilateral cooperation to tackle environmental challenges.
  7. Malawi and Morocco: Fostering national action to address environmental challenges through increased cooperation between UNEA, UNEP, and MEAs.
  8. Ukraine: Environmental assistance and recovery in areas affected by armed conflicts.
  9. Senegal and Switzerland: Follow-up to UNEA resolution 5/12 on the environmental aspects of minerals and metals management.
  10. Ethiopia: Global alliance on highly hazardous pesticides.
  11. Switzerland: Sound management of chemicals and waste.
  12. Switzerland: Solar radiation modification.
  13. Dominican Republic: Addressing complications caused by sargassum seaweed.
  14. Cameroon, on behalf of several States: Standards, norms and criteria for the implementation of Nature-based Solutions for supporting sustainable development.
  15. Sri Lanka: Effective, Inclusive and Sustainable Multilateral Actions towards Climate Justice.
  16. Sri Lanka: Sustainable management of Cascade System.
  17. India: Sustainable lifestyles.

The Secretariat informed of its intention to submit two draft proposals as follows:

  • a. Amendments to the Instrument for the Establishment of the Restructured Global Environment Facility, as contained in the report of the Executive Director (UNEP/EA.6/12).
  • b. Management of trust funds and earmarked contributions.
  • c. Provisional agenda, date and venue of UNEA-7.

  • All drafts and concept notes are being made available on a UNEP resolution portal.
  • Following the submission of drafts, the UNEP Secretariat will prepare a technical note with information such as initial legal assessments and preliminary budget implications for implementing the draft.

Registrations and travel support

  • Registration opened on 13 September 2023 and will close on 9 February 2024
  • Invitation letters were issued indicating a specific registration link for Member States. Other participants can register on INDICO.
  • VISA fee will be waved for all the participants.
  • Travel support can be guaranteed to maximum two delegates from developing countries.
  • The deadline to apply is 20 December 2023.
  • Member States: The link for registration was sent via email to the CPR members and the environmental focal points
  • Intergovernmental Organizations who have observer status with the UN General Assembly and UNEA:  the registration link is provided on the website under the registration tab.
  • Accredited major groups and stakeholders, NGOs, and Civil Society: the registration link is provided on the website redirecting to the relevant page on the Indico portal.
  • Member states and other categories of participants need to upload the composition of the delegation for approval of registration.

Budget and Funding Gap

  • We would like to thank the delegations of Australia, France, Hungary, Morocco, New Zealand, Switzerland and the European Commission for their generous contributions and pledges towards UNEA-6 to support the participation of representatives from developing countries and stakeholders.
  • The funding gap still remains at $815,000 USD and we kindly encourage member states who are in a position to do so to contribute to the UNEA budget.

Major Environment Agreements at UNEA-6

Monika STANKIEWICZ | Executive Secretary, Minamata Convention on Mercury

  • The theme of UNEA-6 is a reminder of the ongoing triple planetary crisis caused by us humans. It reflects an important role for UNEA to take a holistic approach to addressing the planet crisis and lead the environment on the global agenda.
  • UNEP and UNEA have this special position where they can help MEAs lift environmental issues.  UNEA MEAs Day will be an opportunity for MEAs to showcase our work and participate in un considerations on how to further enhance cooperation and coordination to achieve our common goal of addressing the environmental crisis.
  • Each MEA has a unique mandate and a role to play in addressing the triple planetary crisis through a concrete set of obligations and commitments.
  • MEAs are dynamic processes so each time the Conference of Parties (COPs) meets, new obligations and commitments are added.
  • The Fifth Meeting of the COP to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (Minamata COP-5) agreed to amend annexes to the convention, which among others will result in a complete phase-out of florescent lamps and a  full shift to mercury-free LED lights,  which also have energy saving gains.
  • MEAs are only successful to the extent to which the provisions are implemented by parties or the other way around, effective implementation of MEAs is a strong foundation of addressing the triple planetary crisis.
  • UNEA-6 is a key moment where we can promote the implementation of MEAs, which have a long tradition of cooperation among each other and with other UN entities within clusters.
  • Cooperation and coordination across all MEAs have been recently initiated and demand for it is currently increasing with the adoption of the Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and of the Global Framework for Chemicals.
  • UNEA-6 is an excellent opportunity to further add significance and showcase the benefits of such a collaboration, also for the quick implementation of these two new agreements. This approach is already fully supported by parties to MEAs. For instance, the Minamata Convention parties adopted a decision on Mercury and the Kunming- Montreal Global Biodiversity Frameworks that included a mandate for the Secretariat to further work on the substance of concrete content of both agreements to support national level work to have an integrated approach to those agreements but also encouraging parties to look into possibilities in Mercury action into the projects developed under GEF in the area of biodiversity and other focal areas and integrated programs.
  • During a side event organized by the Minamata Convention and the BRS Convention at the climate change COP, discussions delved into decarbonization, detoxification and linkages and opportunities for synergetic action.  During the event, some countries presented their national work on how they develop policies to integrate the obligations from multiple MEAs, representing excellent examples.
  • I look forward to UNEA-6 further promoting such an integrated approach to national implementation and to the adoption of a set of resolutions.
  • I trust member states of UNEA who are also parties to the Minamata COP-5 will seek coherence between UN resolutions and decisions of MEAs governing bodies to advance the environmental agenda. As in the past, the Minamata Convention will engage in future implementation of these new resolutions as appropriate.
  • An example of how MEAs supported UNEA resolutions is resolution 5/12 on environmental aspects of minerals and metals management where Secretariats of our convention engaged to inform on the progress we achieving towards regulating Mercury use and waste stream management in artisanal and small-scale gold mining.
  • Inclusive participation of stakeholders shines at UNEA. MEAs also play a part and can learn from each other how to ensure that each important group of stakeholders is meaningfully engaged in the decision-making processes.
  • MEAs are ready to engage and contribute in UNEA-6.

Spotlight on Key Thematics for International Geneva

Jacqueline ALVAREZ | Chief, Chemicals and Health Branch, UNEP

  • The chemicals and pollution agenda potential in offering climate solutions is often undermined. For example, the recently agreed Global Framework on Chemicals created momentum to raise the chemicals agenda connecting it with economies, jobs and various other underlooked intersections.
  • Chemicals are often addressed from the perspective of the waste that they generate or the harm that they bring. We need to link and scale up finances related to these. This framework provides that space and that opportunity to address the chemical and pollution crisis.
  • Lead, a heavy metal used for fishing and car batteries, is in our blood systems 8 to 10 times more than 10 years ago. Its harm has been known for decades and we have not been able to tackle it. The  Issues of Concern report to be launched at UNEA-6  lists heavy metals as one. Direct economic losses amount to 10.3 trillion US dollars.
  • Cadmium caused 2.33 million deaths in 2019 alone. NO2 right caused the deaths of 1.8 million people in the same year.
  • The  Issues of Concern report to be launched at UNEA-6  lists heavy metals, endocrine-disrupting chemicals,  antimicrobial resistance drivers, and plastic additives, among others.
  •  We need to address this agenda urgently. The science-policy panel under negotiation and UNEA are opportunities for member states to change the paradigm and trigger change.
  • Chemicals and health resolutions will include:
    • air pollution;
    • chemicals and waste;
    • circularity.
  • We must connect the dots and tackle pollutants holistically. Environmental issues are not something that only one sector can deal with, we need to scale up and connect. UNEA-6 offers a decisive multilateral platform to connect.
  • We, as UNEP are in your hands but most, importantly the world is in your hands.

Elisa TONDA | Chief, Resources and Markets Branch, UNEP

  • Geneva has been the protagonist from the beginning to the end of a process building on UNEA resolution 5/12, which looks into the environmental aspects of mining and metals.
  • This process also underpins one of the six axes of the ED Report on UNEA-6 that allow to propel more effective inclusive and sustainable multilateral action.
  • To secure responsible mining and more sustainable use of minerals and metals, we have been reflecting during the past year in the context of a set of regional intergovernmental consultations that started in April in Geneva  and have gone throughout the world until July of this year. These had their concluding moment in Geneva in September with the Global Intergovernmental Consultations.
  • The Global Consultation discussed twenty-four non-prescriptive proposals: ideas that were put on the table by member states building on multi-stakeholder discussions that took place here in Geneva. Five of these came out as strong elements, where it was felt that the community around the table, UNEP and other intergovernmental organizations that joined the process could make a difference. Areas flagged as a priority included:
  1. Undertaking a global assessment of existing standards certifications and frameworks that speak to the sustainability of minerals and metals.
  2. The management of sand and the role of a global observatory on the use of sand.
  3. Contact point to continue the conversation. t the global consultation, we were able to celebrate the fact that 120 member states had appointed focal points. In the context of our global consultation, we attempted to institutionalize the dialogue with these focal points.
  4. Capacity-building; technical assistance and technology transfer.
  5. Recognition of the already ongoing efforts in this agenda, a strong call for international cooperation. Various secretariats of multilateral environmental agreements have been following us throughout the project and supporting the preparation of solid background information for all the discussions undertaken during the past year.
  • The governments of Senegal and Switzerland have already announced that a resolution will be tabled to take forward that work and build on the process undertaken this year.
  • The Geneva Community has been collaborating on a resolution on circular economy transitions that speaks to how different sectors would transform themselves to address the triple planetary crisis and what collaboration around that transition would look like.
  • With an outstanding number of actors working on these sectors in Geneva, we are working on that subject.  The concept note for this resolution stresses what would be required to step up efforts on the environmentally sound management of waste. The resolution intends also to look into some specific sectors that build on the work that has been done in earlier resolutions on this subject: the mobility sector and the textile sector, among others. It calls for more international cooperation to ensure progress around Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.
  • The resolution stresses the importance of basing work on circular economy and sustainable consumption and production and uses of science.
  • UNEA-6 will also be the moment when the Global Resources Outlook 2024 developed by the International Resource Panel will be launched and guide further reflections.

Major Groups and Other Stakeholders Perspectives

Patrizia HEIDEGGER | Deputy Secretary General, Director for EU Governance, Sustainability and Global Policies, European Environmental Bureau

  •  Preparations for UNEA-6 are in full swing. These started back in July with the first in-person stakeholder consultation in Rabat, Morocco during the Retreat of the Bureaux.
  • Since then, all regions have held their regional consultation meetings and the Major Groups and Stakeholders have also been engaged in the 10th annual subcommittee of the CPR held in late November, where we provided ideas and inputs.
  • The Regional Consultation meeting for the European Group was held  last week in Bratislava with support from UNEP and hosted by the Slovak Environment Ministry.  We are about to finalize our joint regional statement with a lot of ideas and inputs on all of the draft resolutions.
  • We had participants from more than 30 countries in the region and seven out of the nine major groups. Discussions touched upon:
    • Sound management of chemicals and waste and welcomed the Swiss initiative to keep this topic on the UNEA agenda. We encourage work on the rapid implementation of the new Global Chemicals Framework to advance the phase-out of forever chemicals at the global level and to advance towards mandatory disclosure of information on the chemical composition of manufactured materials and products at global level. Members of the MGS are closely following the development of the dedicated science-policy panel. There are some concerns over its independence. We hope we can all ensure there is no conflict of interest as a result of industry involvement.
    • The draft resolution on solar radiation modification. Following some capacity building on this topic, we concluded that these technologies come with enormous risks. For instance, stratospheric injections would have to be continued for hundreds if not thousands of years to stop triggering a so-called ‘termination shock’ where temperatures on Earth would suddenly rise if we stopped such technologies. ‘s Advice from the advisory committee to the Human Rights Council (Impact of new technologies intended for climate protection on the enjoyment of human rights ( Advance Unedited Version) claim that solar geoengineering technologies are some of the most extreme and existentially threatening technology ever conceived.  We call on negotiators to support the call for a non-use agreement on solar engineering and to strengthen the existing moratorium on geoengineering under the CBD.
    • Mining metals and minerals. We welcome the renewed Swiss initiative to continue work on this topic and encourage member states to look at raw materials and resources not only to reduce the negative socio-environmental impact of mining but from a systems change approach on how we can minimize mining or the opening of new mines as much as possible. Focus should be on secondary material use and solutions that focus on the demand-side reduction of virgin raw materials. For example, by looking into consumption corridors in particular for those countries that have the highest per capita and total material consumption rates. On the medium to long term, we will need an international treaty to ensure global governance of raw materials to ensure the equitable and sustainable use of the world’s resources, including a definition of of material use reduction targets.
    • The European Union resolutions on circular economy and water policy are a reason for stakeholders to be excited to engage. Circular economy must be advanced through international regulation and standards for product policy, eco-design, and sustainable materials.
    • We welcome the initiative from the Ukrainian government for a draft resolution on the environmental impact of armed conflict. However, the second draft of the ministerial declaration does not address the effects of conflict and military activities on the global climate environment and development challenges at a time when the devastating impact of war is not only contributing to serious pollution hotspots and impacting valuable natural areas but is setting back countries and whole regions on their path to carbon neutrality, zero pollution and restored nature.
  • The joint regional statement will outline positions and ideas on all announced resolutions.
  • We will reach out to some of the governments who have announced draft resolutions to continue the dialogue.
  • Engagement with the broadest possible public is auspicated at 21st Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum (GMGSF 21) that will take place from 24-25 February 2024  and throughout the whole UNEA-6 process.

Q&A

Q: How will major groups and stakeholders be involved in the decision-making processes?

Radhika OCHALIK:  Major groups and stakeholders will be in the room during the open-ended CPR where negotiations of draft resolutions take place. We have received a request from Member States during the annual subcommittee for co-facilitators – once identified and appointed –  to have a consultation with major groups and stakeholders on all draft resolutions and decisions submitted in advance of the open-ended CPR. We will work with the Bureau of the CPR and the core facilitators to arrange for that. Major groups and stakeholders will participate in the interactive session of all MEAs dialogues, leadership dialogues as well as their own multi-stakeholder dialogue during UNEA-6.

Negotiations will be open for participation of all stakeholders and the floor will be open for discussion. Major groups and stakeholders will have an opportunity to speak during the moment when national statements are delivered during the high-level week. We are working with the Secretariat of the Civil Society Office in Governance Affairs to have major groups and stakeholders speak at the opening of UNEA-6.

Monika STANKIEWICZ: At the Minamata Convention COP-5 one of the adopted decisions was on the effect of mercury on indigenous people and on local communities. In that decision, parties agreed to broaden the participation of indigenous people’s local communities and other stakeholders in projects and programs under the Minamata Convention. We would like stakeholders to attend with the intention of making contribution. They are sitting at the table and for indigenous people in chemical cluster, this is a novelty. I hope others will follow suit

Jacqueline ALVAREZ: The peculiarity of this global framework on chemicals is multistakeholder-based and has multisectoral character. This entails decision-making is taken by all representatives. The final decisions come from member states but the discussion and the dialogue is promoted openly and transparently and they can influence directly and provide text and inputs to resolutions, information and meeting documents. In the chemicals and waste cluster, this is a unique feature.

Elisa TONDA: I want to compliment the work done by the co-chairs of the intergovernmental consultations on mining and metals: the government of Pakistan and Switzerland. While the resolution was clear on that the discussion was led by governments with other stakeholders as observers, what was systematically done was advancing intergovernmental consultation in a workshop setting. This allowed delegates and the national focal point to hear, interact and discuss with the different stakeholders and understand where science, industry, indigenous and local communities are currently so all perspectives could then be reflected on and brought into the intergovernmental consultation setting. These happened throughout the process which allowed the creation of an open and transparent exchange and was reflected in the co-chair summary.

Q: Should UNEA dedicate a session to bringing together stakeholders who deal with data and science to discuss an integrated approach that makes data and science effectively contribute to addressing the environmental crisis?

Jacqueline ALVAREZ: We are open to having that type of discussion. Next week the second session of the open-ended working group for establishing the science-policy panel (OEWG-2) will be an appropriate place for this type of discussion. Data, data management, and implications and the impact of that data.

Radhika OCHALIK: UNEA-6 will host a leadership dialogue on  science dataand digitalization. That would be an opportunity for discussion on this topic. The Science-Policy Business Forum will also take place in the context of UNEA and will be another venue for this topic as well as potentially during side events, the MEAs day and the MEAs-organized side events.

Elisa TONDA: The Global Resources Outlook to be launched at UNEA-6 will deal extensively with data on the sustainable use of resources. The International Resource Panel meeting will happen back to back with UNEA-6 and we will benefit from the presence of scientists that are behind that report. Hopefully, that will be also a very inspiring opportunity to exchange with member states the opportunity of relying on data in the decision-making processes that speaks to patterns of consumption and production.

Q: SDG12 on sustainable use, production and consumption. The South Center recently conducted a study assessing the progress of the SDGs in Least Developed Countries (LDCs), which are measured by a global indicator framework. SDG 12.2 can be met as the measurement detexts a lower national consumption in raw materials if you export more raw materials.  LDCs progressing on that indicator not because they are more efficient consumers but because they have exported more raw materials since the adoption of the SDGs.

When we talk about data and global goals, we rely on sectoral frameworks,  but when we discuss SDGs this aspect should be looked at as the indicator that exporting more raw material than what you consume equals being more sustainable seems counterintuitive.

Arnold KREILHUBER: Would you have any specific proposal for UNEA-6 to take this up?

Respondent: There is a review of the indicator framework: the 2025 review. It is a process starting in the statistical commission. From UNEP’s side, refining the indicators for SDG12 can be looked at and proposed as a mandate for UNEP to provide input in that process.

Elisa TONDA: It is indeed counterintuitive, and I expect this to be a loophole. If there is any of the material flow accounting framework which is the basis through which SDG 12.2 indicator is calculated and is at the basis of all the work of the International Resource Panel and of the sustainable consumption and production hotspot assessment tool. I would be very keen to look into the specific case and I would be very surprised if that is the message it conveys.

Wondwosen (Wondy) Asnake Kibret: SDG12.2 talks about material consumption per capita, so that may be the problem. In terms of stakeholder participation, the executive director’s report dedicates its first point on how to engage indigenous and local communities in the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework.  There is a huge space in terms of participation.

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