UN Environment Programme

  The Cartagena Package on International Environmental Governance


United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

The UN Environment Programme, based at UN headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, the United Nations system’s designated entity for addressing environmental issues at the global and regional level. Its mandate is to coordinate the development of environmental policy consensus by keeping the global environment under review and bringing emerging issues to the attention of governments and the international community for action. In 2001, UNEP’s Governing Council established an Open-ended Intergovernmental Group of Ministers (IGM) to assess existing institutional weaknesses in international environmental governance (IEG), as well as identify future needs and options to strengthen IEG. The mandate of the IEG process was limited to examining how to strengthen the environmental pillar of sustainable development as additional measures to strengthen the broader sustainable development governance system. The outcome of the intergovernmental group was the adoption of a decision on IEG at the seventh Special Session of the Governing Council/GMEF’s in 2002. The decision includes the IGM report containing a range of recommendations, commonly referred to as the Cartagena Package, which prioritise:

  •  strengthening UNEP's role, authority and financial situation;
  • addressing universal membership of the Governing Council;
  • strengthening UNEP's science base;
  • improving coordination and coherence between multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs);
  • supporting capacity building, technology transfer and country-level coordination; and
  • enhancing coordination across the UN system, as well as the role of UNEP's Environment Management Group.

Since 2003, the Governing Council/GMEF has continued its discussions on environmental governance and has adopted several decisions on the implementation of the Cartagena Package. Regarding the strengthening of UNEP's financial base, the GC/GMEF adopted the pilot phase of the voluntary indicative scale of contributions in 2003. In the first phase, one-hundred-twenty-six countries pledged and paid their contributions, an increase of approximately 70% above the average number of 74 countries contributing annually to the Environment Fund during the previous years. More than 50 countries increased budget allocations for contributions, with 36 of them making their first pledges or resuming payments to the Environment Fund. Since then, the voluntary indicative scale of contributions has been used for the biennium's 2004-2005 and 2006-2007. The GC/GMEF is expected to decide on the further extension of the pilot phase in 2007.

Regarding capacity building and technology support, in February 2005 the Governing Council/GMEF adopted the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building . The Plan aims to strengthen the capacity of developing countries and of countries with economies in transition at all levels by providing systematic, targeted, long and short-term measures for technology support and capacity building. The Plan also aims to enhance delivery by UNEP of technology support and capacity building based on best practices from both within and outside UNEP, and to strengthen cooperation among UNEP, MEAs, and other bodies engaged in environmental capacity building, including the UN Development Programme, Global Environment Facility, and other relevant stakeholders.

On strengthening UNEP' science base, the 22nd session of the Governing Council/GMEF in 2003 adopted decision 22/1/IA establishing a process, referred to as the ‘Science Initiative,' which invited submissions to UNEP's Executive Director focusing on gaps and types of assessments, how UNEP and other organisations are currently meeting their assessment needs, and the options that exist for meeting any unfulfilled needs that fall within UNEP's role and mandate. Following an intergovernmental consultation in January 2004, UNEP proposed that the Governing Council, at its 23rd Session in 2005, adopt the Executive Director's process for the developing a coherent and dynamic framework for keeping the environment under review, called Environment Watch. While the proposal was not approved, the GC/GMEF called on the Executive Director to further develop the Environment Watch proposal. In July 2005, the second global consultation with all stakeholders was held, which resulted in the Environment Watch proposal being revised, updated, and re-structured to consist of five major components: conceptual framework; information network; assessment compact; capacity building programme; and a toolbox. Discussions on Environment Watch during the Ninth Special Session of the GC/GMEF in February 2006 were inconclusive, with many delegations suggesting further clarification on the proposal was still required. Further discussions on the Environment Watch proposal are expected to take place at GC-24/GMEF in February 2007.

Proposals on UNEP

G77 and China: South-South Cooperation and the Bali Strategic Plan
Jakarta, November 2005
The High-level consultation to consider the way forward for the South-South Cooperation component of the Bali Strategic Plan on Technology Cooperation and Capacity Building was convened in Jakarta , Indonesia from 23-24 November 2005.

Sweden's strategy in the United Nations Environment Programme 2004-2006
17 August 2004
Sweden 's strategy for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) 2004-2006 gives priority to issues of environmental monitoring, chemicals, water, sustainable consumption and production patterns, NGO participation and the implementation of environmental agreements (MEAs).

Sweden: International seminar on the future governance of UNEP
In November 2004, the Swedish government hosted an international seminar on the future governance of UNEP.


Proposals on the Establishment of a United Nations Environment Organisation (UNEO)

European Union: EU Council adopts conclusions on UN Reform, calls for UNEO
Brussels, 10 April 2006
The European Union's 2722nd General Affairs Council meeting held in Luxembourg on April 10, 2006 adopted Conclusion on follow-up to the UN World Summit, including humanitarian emergencies, Management Reform, the Mandate Review, the Secretary-General's High-level Panel on System-wide coherence, and transforming the UNEP into a UN Environment Organisation

France: Girardin on the UN Environment Organisation
Paris, 17 May 2006
According to official press releases, during a meeting between Brigitte Girardin, Minister Delegate for Cooperation, Development and Francophone, and Achim Steiner, Director-General of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and future executive director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the minister delegate reaffirmed France's commitment to the proposal to transform UNEP into a United Nations Environment Organisation

France: Chirac on the UN Environment Organisation
Vienna, 12 May 2006
In an address to the 4th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean, French President Jacques Chirac called on “Latin America to join the European Union in promoting the rapid creation of a UN Environment Organisation”

France: French Proposal on a UN Environment Organisation submitted to General Assembly
New York, February 2006
In February 2006, the French Ambassador to UN, Jean-Marc de la Sablière, submitted a progress report on the Group's activities to be circulated as an official document of the sixtieth session of the General Assembly, under agenda items 46 (Integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to the outcomes of the major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields) and 120 (Follow-up to the outcome of the Millennium Summit).

United Kingdom: Blair Calls for UN Reform, including UNEO
US, 26 May 2006
In an address to Georgetown University UK Prime Minister Tony Blair outlined several proposals for reforming the United Nations, including the: Security Council; role of the UN Secretary-General; humanitarian and development operations; IMF and World Bank; safe enrichment of nuclear power; the G+5; and a UN Environment Organisation. The address was the third of series of speeches by the Prime Minister on the challenges facing the international community.

Germany: Support for UN Environment Organisation
Germany, May 2006
Following the appointment by the General Assembly of Achim Steiner as the new Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in March 2006, German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued a joint statement reiterating Germany 's support for a UN Environment Organisation (UNEO).


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