of the Annual Subcommittee of
the Committee of Permanent Representatives of UNEP
22 October 2018
Opening statement on behalf of the EU and its MS
- Madame Chair, Mister Executive Director, distinguished delegates and observers, ladies and gentlemen; it is my privilege to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
Ukraine aligns itself with this statement.
- We would like to thank the Secretariat of the UN Environment Programme for the preparation of this very important meeting and for their crucial role they carry out. The EU and its Member States believe the Annual Subcommittee meeting is one of the critical instruments to fulfil the core mandate of the CPR, which includes in particular the oversight of the Programme of Work and Budget, including the UNEA resolutions.
- We expect this Annual Subcommittee meeting to provide the UN Environment Programme with relevant guidance for the implementation of the Programme of Work in the remaining period of the biennium 2018-2019. Transparency and collective decision-making with member states would minimize the need for detailed steering of project activities, leaving room for cutting-edge work, building a wide consensus for proper implementation of new policies, and more efficient horizontal programmes. In this respect, we will seek a comprehensive presentation of the activities undertaken and planned for to achieve the objectives agreed, following the adoption of the Programme of Work at UNEA 2, as well as the requests made to UN Environment Programme through UNEA resolutions.
- At this meeting, we would also like to discuss how CPR oversight as well as communication between the CPR and the Secretariat, including the Executive Director can be improved. In particular, reporting of ongoing activities and the planning thereof, including of intended initiatives that will have major impacts on the Programme of Work, either in scope or in budget must be improved. We anticipate that this weeks’ discussions will provide many opportunities to reflect on these issues and, more importantly, that we can draw conclusions in this regard.
- As we move forward, the EU expects that the CPR and its subcommittees will be consulted with any ongoing and new, strategic initiatives, which require substantive resources or core support from UNEP or could generate significant political interest or effect how UN Environment Programme will act in its outreach.
- In our view, substantially advancing the preparation of the draft Programme of Work and Budget for 2020-2021 is another critical objective for this meeting. We appreciate the work by the Secretariat so far. We especially welcome the broad alignment of the document with the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda, as well as the recognition of UN Environment Programme's role in implementing the environmental dimension of the goals, although we still see areas of improvements possible in this context.
- Relating back to the point made on transparency and the importance of having shared ownership of strategic multilateral or bilateral initiatives, we would like to see ongoing and upcoming activities as well as their financing outlined in the Programme of Work and Budget for 2020-2021. This relates in particular to UN Environment’s engagement in partnerships with the private sector, and its engagement on South-South-Cooperation.
- Another important aspect to recognise in the new Programme of Work and Budget is UN Environment Programme’s role in the UN Development System reform, and the associated possible financial consequences.
- We also look forward to discussing further improvements, notably in the context of the indicators framework, the relationship with activities in the context of UNEA resolutions and decisions as well as its articulation of core activities.
- Concerning the proposed Budget for 2020-2021, we would like to reiterate our commitment to the Environment Fund as one of the main instruments for funding the Programme of Work and our continuous desire to strengthen the Fund. We will insist to ensure that core expected results and activities should be attributed to this source of funding. A balance in funding between the Environment Fund and ear-marked support is crucial to achieve a long-term perspective in programming and ensure the independent position of UN Environment Programme.
- We take note of the Secretariat’s attempt to balance the ambition on the delivery of results with the reality of mobilising Secretariat’s resources for seeking finances. We believe there is merit in further discussing in-depth the proposed budget with the Secretariat and its impact on the anticipated budgets from different sources of funding, to enable UNEA to take well-informed decisions.
- We also welcome the inclusion of the discussion on the draft Implementation plan “Towards a Pollution-Free Planet” in the agenda of the Annual Subcommittee meeting. Like other high impact activities, we agree that the Plan should be seen in the context of the Programme of Work and the Budget; both in 2019 as well as in the proposed Programme for 2020-2021 and that its implementation should be integrated. We therefore recommend that the discussion on the Implementation Plan be integrated in agenda items corresponding to the relevant sub-programmes, both for the current and the coming biennium. We would also appreciate further clarification as to how the implementation plan and relevant outcomes of UNEA 4 are intended to interact.
- In conclusion, we hope that this meeting's outcome will provide a good basis for the Secretariat to further develop the Programme of Work and Budget, so it can be agreed at UNEA4 and provide a solid basis for UN Environment Programme to continue to provide assistance to Member States in addressing the environmental challenges of today and tomorrow in a relevant and balanced manner, and contribute to delivering the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda in an effective way.
- Finally, yet importantly, we would strongly welcome a Chair’s summary at the end of the meeting. We find it very important that relevant conclusions and recommendations are duly documented for their successful implementation and follow up by the CPR.
I thank you and wish all of us a very productive meeting.