UNEA-2 meets to discuss the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda
May 24, 2016  //  By:   //  Blog Post, Featured  //  No Comment

On May 23, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) opened the second session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) focusing on the topic of “Delivering on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda”. Described by UNEP’s Executive Director Achim Steiner as “truly a UN Environment Assembly” the meeting brings together over 2,000 delegates representing 170 governments, civil society organizations, international organizations and members of the scientific community, among other stakeholders.

This second session of UNEA comes after the transformation, in 2012, of UNEP Governing Council to universal membership, opening participation to all 193 United Nations member states. UNEA-2 is set to address multiple international environmental policy issues, such as illegal wildlife trade, chemicals and waste, environment and conflict, and ecosystems management, as well as UNEP‘s Medium-Term Strategy for 2018-2021 and the Programme of Work for the biennium 2018-2019. The outcomes will contribute to the discussions at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) that will take place in New York in July 2016.


As  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his welcome message sent to the Assembly, 2016 is a critical year to make the ambitions and objectives of sustainable development a reality. In this direction, UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner recognized the impact of UNEA and its critical leadership in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and international environmental agreements.

After the opening ceremony, the Assembly’s work started with the election of the President and Bureau of UNEA-2. New President Edgar Gutiérrez Espeleta from Costa Rica highlighted the need to transform traditional development paradigms and to develop national policies framed on the global challenge of sustainable development. Sessions in the Committee of the Whole and the drafting groups are then to review the resolutions submitted by member states.

Multiple side events are also taking place, including the Sustainable Innovation Expo and the Green Room events, all of them discussing various dimensions for the role of UNEA, UNEP, governments, international organizations and stakeholders on the design and implementation on strategies to achieve the environmental dimension of the Sustainable Development Agenda.

UNEA is in session until May 27, 2016

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About the Author :

Natalia Escobar-Pemberthy joined the GEG team in September 2011as a research assistant for the UMass Center of Governance and Sustainability. Natalia graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2005 and its currently a PhD Student in the Global Governance and Human Security program at UMass Boston

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