Kenya at the UN Environmental Programme

united-nations-environment-programme Kenya and UNEP

Since 1972, Kenya has been proud to host the headquarters of the UN Environmental Programme. This was the first UN agency to have its headquarters in the ‘third world’ at a time when the environment was much lower in the global agenda than it is today. In 1976, UNEP moved to its new offices in Gigiri on Limuru Road in a large plot of land donated by the people of Kenya to the United Nations. The headquarters was designed by Nairobi architects David Mutiso and Braz Menezes, the same pair who designed the Kenyatta Conference Centre – probably Nairobi’s most iconic building which for a long time also housed the Kenya Missions to UNEP and UN-Habitat. The sure rise of the environment in the global agenda and the resulting rising status of UNEP means that Nairobi as host of all UN member states attending the UN Environmental Assembly, starting in June 2014, can be termed the Environment Capital of the World.

UNEP Rises in the Global Agenda

UNEP's upgrading to Universal Membership following the Rio+20 Summit (otherwise known as the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development) speaks to a critical step in the 'Future We Want' as resolved by world leaders in September 2012. It means that all 193 UN member states are now empowered to participate in setting the global environment agenda and governing the UNEP Secretariat at the biannual UN Environmental Assembly of UNEP. The landmark resolution increased the role of UNEP as the 'leading environmental authority' that sets the global environmental agenda and was adopted 40 years after UNEP was established by the General Assembly, following the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. UNEP is now called for to lead the UN system on environmental matters through coordination and research establishing a strong science-to-policy interface.

The UN General Assembly Decision on Upgrading UNEP

The most critical part of UN General Assembly Resolution 66/288 (The Future We Want) in regard to UNEP is Paragraph 88 which the Kenya Mission to UNEP seeks to effect in full bears highlighting.

88. We are committed to strengthening the role of the United Nations Environment Programme as the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. We reaffirm General Assembly resolution 2997 (XXVII) of 15 December 1972 establishing the United Nations Environment Programme and other relevant resolutions that reinforce its mandate, as well as the Nairobi Declaration on the Role and Mandate of the United Nations Environment Programme of 7 February 199730 and the Malmö Ministerial Declaration of 31 May 2000.31 In this regard, we invite the Assembly, at its sixty- seventh session, to adopt a resolution strengthening and upgrading the United Nations Environment Programme in the following manner:

(a) Establish universal membership in the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme, as well as other measures to strengthen its governance as well as its responsiveness and accountability to Member States;

(b) Have secure, stable, adequate and increased financial resources from the regular budget of the United Nations and voluntary contributions to fulfil its mandate;

(c) Enhance the voice of the United Nations Environment Programme and its ability to fulfil its coordination mandate within the United Nations system by strengthening its engagement in key United Nations coordination bodies and empowering it to lead efforts to formulate United Nations system-wide strategies on the environment;

(d) Promote a strong science-policy interface, building on existing international instruments, assessments, panels and information networks, including the Global Environment Outlook, as one of the processes aimed at bringing together information and assessment to support informed decision-making;

(e) Disseminate and share evidence-based environmental information, and raise public awareness on critical, as well as emerging, environmental issues;

(f) Provide capacity-building to countries, as well as support, and facilitate access to technology;

(g) Progressively consolidate headquarters functions in Nairobi, as well as strengthen its regional presence, in order to assist countries, upon request, in the implementation of their national environmental policies, collaborating closely with other relevant entities of the United Nations system;

(h) Ensure the active participation of all relevant stakeholders, drawing on best practices and models from relevant multilateral institutions and exploring new mechanisms to promote transparency and the effective engagement of civil society.

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Author: admin
Posted: June 10, 2014, 4:12 pm

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