For the first time since its composition in October 2010, the Civil Society Advisory Group on International Environmental Governance (IEG) had a full-day meeting in person in the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi on 18 February. The Advisory Group, co-chaired by Negusu Aklilu from Ethiopia (GEG Forum Emerging Leader) and Arthur Dahl from Switzerland, includes several GEG Project staff and collaborators as members.
The meeting started up with introductions, since many of the members from all over the world met in person for the first time, after having collaborated via e-mail in the work of producing an Information Document with civil society perspectives on IEG for the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum starting next week.
The mandate of the Advisory Group was clarified in a joint meeting with the UNEP Major Groups Facilitating Committee, the body who selected its members and to which it responds. It was explained that while an important role of the group is to spread news about the IEG Reform agenda and to seek input from a broader civil society, the Advisory Group is really meant to be a think-tank of experts and should not be an attempt to stimulate a parliament. While the Advisory Group is composed of members from nine different major groups of civil society and six world regions, they are not to be seen as representatives who can speak for their respective group. Instead each member is expected to contribute to the common work by sharing their personal expertise and perspectives.
In the production of common papers and think-pieces, the Advisory Group should not be pulled back to seek consensus and to reflect the lowest common denominator. While it is helpful to point out in which areas there are agreement, it is equally important that future papers strive to capture everybody’s differences and concerns.
In regard to what thematic areas the Advisory Group will concentrate on in the coming months and years, a prioritization and final decision still needs to be taken. Your feedback on what would be most useful can be sent to email@example.com.
Some of the suggested areas are the following:
- Respond to the next questionnaire from UN DESA on inputs to the preparation process for the Rio 2012 conference.
- Analyze advantages and disadvantages of creating a World Environment Organization.
- Provide technology assessment and monitoring for areas beyond national sovereignty, like global commons (geo-engineering, deep sea mining, ocean fisheries).
- Further deliberate on the topic of advantages for developing countries in international environmental governance (IEG).
- Analyze the impact of IEG on Africa, with arguments from an African perspective.
- Coupling IEG and the Green Economy.
- Integrate IEG into global governance and provide suggestions for the institutional arrangement for sustainable development.
- Examine the link between expert/scientific advice and decision-making, and what is needed to bridge academic perspectives with policy making.
- Produce a civil society toolkit describing concepts related to international environmental governance.