of the Committee of Permanent Representatives of UNEP
10 December 2019
Interventions on behalf of the European Union
and its Member States
Agenda Item 4: Report of the Executive Director
- Chair, Madam Deputy/Executive Director, distinguished colleagues; it is my privilege to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
Serbia and Ukraine align themselves with this statement.
- Allow me to start by thanking the Deputy/Executive Director for her report. As we also said on previous occasions, this is a very useful and appreciated information tool and we encourage you to maintain it.
- Among many important pieces of information, the report brings to us this very alarming message from the "fresh form the press" Emissions Gap report: that our planet is on its way to warm up to 3.2 degrees Celsius instead of the 1.5 that we believed so far. This grave perspective adds up to this year's environmental assessments, including the Global Environment Outlook, the IPCC and IPBES reports, telling us that we are not on track at all to achieve the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.
- At our end, we take this extremely seriously. Tomorrow, the new European Commission will present a legislative package called the European Green Deal, which will become a new growth strategy for the European Union. It will provide for achieving climate neutrality by 2050, a strategy to protect our biodiversity, and for a just transition towards a non-polluting, circular economy and sustainable agriculture. We will look to partnering on this ambitious agenda beyond our borders, also recognising that we will continue supporting our development partners to implement their national programmes. I am therefore pleased to share with you that the European Commissioner for International Partnership, Jutta Urpilainen chose Nairobi for her first visit abroad to attend the ACP summit.
- We will also look forward to collaborating with UNEP and I would also like to thank particularly the Deputy Executive Director for taking part in our discussions on cooperation with Africa and on the Arctic, to mention just the two most recent ones.
- Chair, it has been short but intense time since our October CPR meeting. We have made some important steps, advancing us on the road to UNEA-5. We would like to thank you, the UNEA Presidency and the Secretariat for the great job and skilful handling of these processes. However, UNEA-5 taking place in just a bit more than one year from today, we would like to offer a few thoughts.
- First, we congratulate the UNEA Bureau on having chosen the theme for UNEA-5. It has been timely, inclusive and respectful process. Choosing a theme that gives a chance to highlight the important role that nature-based solutions play for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals also accommodates the broad consensus amongst member states and stakeholders. We look forward to further developing a background documentation for UNEA-5 to help prepare meaningful outcomes guided by the theme.
Second, the UN General Assembly requested UNEA-5 to prepare a political declaration for a UN high-level meeting to strengthen the implementation of international environmental law and international environmental governance. Ladies and Gentlemen, the EU and its Member States believe that the substantive recommendations agreed earlier this year in Nairobi provide a good basis to identify the building blocks for that declaration. We therefore see the need for an inclusive and transparent process, involving the CPR as well as non-resident Member States and relevant stakeholders, that should be agreed following the ongoing consultations. The EU and its Member States believe that the first meeting should take place no later than in first half 2020 in Nairobi, in order to identify and discuss possible building blocks and work towards an agreement well ahead of UNEA-5. A clear and well scheduled inter-sessional process will be the best service to UNEA-5 which will receive a consensus-based product for its consideration and will not be overshadowed by lengthy negotiations of that document, as also realised by other member states. We recommend that the Secretariat is tasked to prepare an input paper that lists possible options to address the substantive recommendations agreed by the Ad Hoc Open Ended Working Group in order to assist member states in taking well informed decisions.
- Related to that, the EU and its Member States welcome the ongoing consultations on the commemoration of UNEP and the 1972 Stockholm conference. We must not waste the opportunity to reflect on where we progressed and where we failed over the last 50 years in protecting the environment, and use the momentum to agree on actions that will be critically needed to fully achieve the environmental dimension of sustainable development. The EU and its Member States believe that one single ambitious high-level UN meeting in 2022 will have the most impact. We welcome the offer of Sweden to host such a meeting in Stockholm and the collaboration with Kenya in this regard.
- There are many more processes, some of which will be discussed later today. Allow us to just recognise and thank for the good progress so far on the Review of UNEA and its subsidiary bodies co-facilitated by Mr. Marcus Davies of Canada and Mr. Mapopa Kaunda of Malawi in an inclusive and effective manner.
- I thank you Chair, I thank you colleagues.