In the CG, the two opposing sides proposed alternative formulations of the key operative paragraph: one alternative invited Member States to address the challenge of plastic debris by promoting solid waste management and innovation; the other urged all Member States to take actions to address single-use plastics by identifying and developing environmentally-friendly alternatives and action including, but not limited to, significantly reducing single-use plastic products by The new compromise formulation was forwarded to the plenary for adoption on Wednesday 13 March.
Points of disagreement included whether to:. Delegates requested more information about potential synergies with similar institutions, and warned against duplication of efforts. One country announced its intention to establish a regional knowledge hub on marine plastics in Southeast Asia. Delegates discussed factors contributing to the progress made by various countries in handling the problems of marine and coastal ecosystems, and agreed to note the GPA for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities is currently under review. It notes the ongoing initiative by Indonesia to establish an independent regional capacity center in Bali, Indonesia, and agrees to, inter alia :.
Sustainable coral reefs management: This draft, proposed by Indonesia and Monaco, was taken up on Monday, 4 March, and subsequently on Thursday and Friday, March.
A group of developed countries proposed further text stressing the importance of fully implementing actions to achieve Aichi Biodiversity Target 10 on coral reefs, and proposed developing guidelines and criteria for responsible coral restoration, where appropriate, for coastal defense and for restoration of fish nursery areas, as well as a review of possible funding mechanisms.
Several delegations called for greater recognition of differing national contexts. The resolution remained with most of its text bracketed. Contentious points included:. Delegates discussed, inter alia , whether and how to qualify references to indigenous people as stakeholders, with some arguing that there is no universal definition of this term. Several delegations also questioned whether UNEP should undertake a proposed global assessment on trends in rangelands and pastoralism, expressing concern about the costs involved, taking into account the recent gap analysis report. A group of developing countries explained that a regional rather than national approach is appropriate on this issue because of the absence of boundaries across rangelands.
The resolution, inter alia :. Disagreements emerged on whether to mention land degradation neutrality as a potential accelerator for achieving the SDGs, and text referring to the impact of climate change as a contributor to land degradation. Delegates discussed paragraphs relating to the post global biodiversity framework in depth, with two developed countries requesting to delete a reference to focusing on innovation, and another suggesting it should rather be focused on transformative change. Several delegations urged avoiding any language prejudging what this framework will do.
Further discussion took place in the COW WG 2, where some progress was achieved by working through language indicating level of ambition. Delegates found consensus late on Tuesday, 12 March. UNEA calls on Member States, and invites the private sector, academia, and relevant stakeholders to support innovative measures for strengthening and developing nationally and regionally based centers of excellence on sustainable biodiversity management and monitoring of land degradation.
The resolution was further discussed over the weekend of March, and in informal consultations.
They debated whether it would be appropriate to refer to the importance of mangrove ecosystems for reaching the nationally determined contribution NDC targets under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC , with one developing country arguing that it would be important for each country to make an additional effort toward mitigation targets, beyond what the ecosystem would naturally provide, while a developed country encouraged acknowledgement that some countries have included mangroves in their NDCs.
On Thursday, 7 March, discussions stalled over conflicting definitions of the concept: some delegates included inland and freshwater bodies, whereas others specified oceans and seas. Delegates agreed to suspend the discussions, pending informal talks that took place over the weekend of March. On Tuesday, 5 March, a developed country bracketed the entire text and suggested it could be merged with another resolution.
Delegates agreed to defer discussion until a revised draft was available. On Wednesday, 6 March, one country opposed language linking peatland conservation and restoration with climate mitigation and adaptation, and with implementation of the SDGs, also arguing that a proposal for UNEP to undertake a global peatland inventory and other actions duplicated work done under the Ramsar Convention.
A developing country proposed a reference to irresponsible clearing and burning of peatland as a driver for biodiversity loss, land degradation, and greenhouse gas emissions, while another objected to mentioning air quality deterioration in this context. On Friday, 8 March, a developed country opposed references to various MEAs, including the Paris Agreement, saying that these processes do not necessarily reference peatlands, and that valuable work takes place at all levels, not only the global level.
A coalition of developed countries highlighted their commitment to regional approaches, and stressed that there are co-benefits and synergies with other processes and conventions.
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UNEA requests UNEP, within existing resources and in consultation with the Ramsar Secretariat, to coordinate efforts to create a comprehensive and accurate global peatlands inventory. UNEA also encourages Member States and other stakeholders to enhance regional and international collaboration for the conservation and sustainable management of peatlands, including but not limited to:.
In WG 4, several delegates raised concerns about the objective of the resolution, which proposed a global assessment of potential risks and benefits of geoengineering technologies. They warned against, among others, potential duplication of work as the topic is already under consideration in other fora, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC and the lack of consensus on what technologies are captured by the term. Other delegations supported the resolution, suggesting the need to gather information is urgent and that UNEP is well placed to oversee this process.
On Tuesday, 5 March, some delegates cautioned that the negotiations were veering into the political domain of climate change, and two countries reserved on the entire text. Informal discussions during the week and over the weekend resulted in proponents presenting a revised resolution to the group on Sunday, 10 March, which was shorter and proposed a global report rather than an assessment.
No agreement was found. Promote gender equality, and the human rights and empowerment of women and girls in environmental governance: This draft resolution, submitted by Costa Rica, was introduced on Monday, 4 March.
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Delegates initially expressed broad support, with one delegation noting that the right to a healthy environment has not been recognized under international law globally thus far. One Member State also questioned the establishment of a direct link between poverty and environment in the resolution. Delegates disagreed on:.
In the resolution, UNEA considers that soils, forests, fisheries, water, biomass, among others, are principal sources of income, livelihood, food security, social protection, and employment.
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UNEA acknowledges that climate change, environmental degradation, desertification, natural disasters, loss of biodiversity, pollution, and other environmental changes can contribute to increased levels of poverty, which could contribute to human migration, displacement, and additional pressures on the recipient natural resource base. Several delegations supported the resolution on the grounds that dependency on mineral resources is expected to continue. They noted that, in the spirit of the Agenda, sustainability concerns should not come at the expense of economic and social dimensions and that this should be reflected in the text.
After informal consultations on Friday, 8 March, references to the expert group were eventually removed and the resolution was agreed on Saturday, 9 March. UNEA further:. Several countries noted its potential in assisting Member States in the development and implementation of environmental law. The resolution was agreed on Friday, 8 March. The resolution did not face much contention; the group agreed on text welcoming the development of the plan and recognizing it as the vehicle to implement the objectives of relevant UNEA resolutions, as well as voluntary commitments.
Informal consultations took place on Wednesday, 6 March, and negotiations resumed on Friday, 8 March. They also agreed to the addition of a new paragraph, suggested by a regional group, requesting UNEP to report on the implementation of this resolution at UNEA It requests that the monitoring mechanism:. Early points of contention included whether to:. On Tuesday, 12 March, CG 3 discussed and agreed on terms of reference for a steering committee to guide the future GEO process, including provisions for nominations of regionally representative advisors and experts to the group.
The decision also:. The Secretariat also noted that a draft decision would be posted on the meeting portal for Member State consideration.
Delegates debated whether to refer to the roles of UNEP Governing Bodies in providing oversight and guidance for aligning the UNEP POW and budget to reform of the UN development system, with one developing country emphasizing that the resolution should focus solely on procedural issues. The draft was further discussed informally on Sunday, 10 March. On Monday, 11 March, consideration of this draft decision was assigned to COW CG 3, and the group discussed intersessional arrangements.
A developed country argued for better defining the function and role of the annual subcommittee of the CPR, suggesting this would be the appropriate forum for beginning discussions on the POW and budget. Delegates considered detailed proposals for reviewing and improving the processes of UNEA and its subsidiary bodies, including various possibilities, such as:. A group of developing countries reserved on the whole text, and one Member State questioned the need for the decision to be taken at UNEA, rather than being referred to the CPR. On Tuesday, 12 March, a group of developing countries requested separating the procedural aspects of this decision from its substantive aspects relating to intersessional arrangements and a proposed review of UNEA processes.
Delegates discussed whether to take a decision to convene OECPR-5 back-to-back with UNEA-5, with one group of developing countries preferring to set the dates in a procedural decision to be adopted at UNEA-4, whereas some others favored addressing this concern in the intersessional process. Several developed country delegates proposed to forward the new proposal for discussions in the COW.
The Assembly adopted the decision without comment. She said unsustainable consumption and production is driven by human greed. He then noted that, despite these disappointments, civil society organizations would continue working tirelessly with all stakeholders. The High-level Segment opened on Thursday, 14 March. As Heads of State and Government made their way from the One Planet pavilion to the auditorium at UNEP headquarters, delegates were welcomed by a choir performance, dedicated to the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday while en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi.
Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya, welcomed all participants and stressed the importance of integrating traditional and cultural knowledge in pathways to SCP. He recognized the contributions of indigenous African groups and traditional spiritual leaders to natural resources management.
Emmanuel Macron, President of France, warned that the international community is not on track to limit global warming and reduce biodiversity loss.
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He called for innovative solutions to address water resources management and dependence on biomass, a source of cooking fuel in his country. Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, highlighted the need for urgency and upscaling actions towards a sustainable future, especially in relation to biodiversity loss, climate change, and changing unsustainable consumption habits. National statements: Delegates delivered statements during the High-level Segment, highlighting their national actions to address environmental challenges and undertake SCP, including zero-waste policies and reducing food waste.
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Some speakers expressed satisfaction with the resolutions approved earlier in the week, welcoming, for example, the resolutions on marine plastic pollution and sustainable mobility. Leadership Dialogues: Three dialogues took place on Thursday and Friday, comprising panel discussions and interactions with participants from the floor. Environmental challenges related to poverty and natural resources management, including sustainable food systems, food security and halting biodiversity loss: On Thursday, moderator Nikhil Seth, UN Institute for Training and Research UNITAR , introduced panelists and questioned how to address multiple environmental challenges in an integrated manner, referring to the GEO-6 report calling for urgent actions at a larger scale.
Joshtrom Kureethadam, Holy See, said he found hope in four groups: young people, indigenous communities, religious communities, and women.