Environment agreements contributing to success of the MDGs

18/07/2005

High-level brainstorming on the role of MEAs in supporting the Millennium Development Goals

On 13-14 July 2005, UNEP hosted in Nairobi, Kenya, a high-level workshop on the role of the Multinational Environment Agreements (MEAs) in supporting the Millennium Development Goals, attended by the heads of Ramsar, CBD, CMS, CITES and Basel Convention secretariats, as well as representatives from the Ozone secretariat, various UNEP divisions, and the United Nations University. The meeting was opened by the Executive Director of UNEP, Klaus Töpfer, who urged the workshop to examine the question of how the environment can be mainstreamed into the MDGs, and indeed be in support of, but not subservient to, development generally.

It was agreed that arguments about the importance of the environment have probably been made, but are not widely accepted. The MDGs have considerable political support but have no legal basis, yet the MEAs with their legal basis could provide significant legal and administrative support to a strong implementation of the MDGs.

A key conclusion was on the need to identify the interface between the work of MEAs and poverty alleviation and the importance of finding ways of increasing cooperation at national level. One way forward might be to identify linkages with specific ecosystems (e.g., wetlands) between, say, Ramsar, CBD and the Millennium Project programmes, especially at national level. It was clearly identified that the national focal points of the different MEAs really need to work together more comprehensively and cohesively in order to help deliver some of these objectives.

A programme of work to develop over the longer term was discussed, and UNEP agreed to take this initiative forward. In the short term there is a need to have the MEAs work closely to provide inputs for the Millennium+5 summit set for New York in mid-September 2005, through, inter alia, the actions of UNEP.

For Ramsar, as the 9th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Kampala in November comes very soon after the MDG summit, there will be the opportunity to focus on the summit outcomes, and especially to use discussions of draft Resolutions 3, 5, 10 and 15 as a means to develop the Convention's role in the policy debates, as well as the on-ground actions and activities, which will flow from the summit.

For further information on the meeting, see http://www.iisd.ca/sd/sdhlb/13july.htm.

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