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South East Europe gears up for UN Environment Assembly

01 April 2016 | United Nations Environment Programme News Release

Yesterday evening, ministers and government representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina , Kosovo*, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia had a first opportunity to discuss the upcoming UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) with the Director and Regional Representative of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Mr Jan Dusik.Mr. Branimir Gvozdenović, Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism of Montenegro organized a working dinner together with Mr Dusik to foster an exchange of views and form a common approach among South East European leaders ahead of what we call the ‘Parliament of the Environment’ taking place on 23-27 May in Nairobi.

During the dinner, ministers and their delegations heard more on the decisions that will be taken at the next session of the Assembly, which will reinforce environmental governance at all levels. Draft resolutions currently under negotiation already give a clear signal of the political will to see concrete steps taken in crucial areas such as the sound management of chemicals, increased protection of our oceans and fast progress on implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, to name but a few.

Minister Gvozdenović thanked UNEP for its continued support in advancing sustainable development in South-East Europe. “I am glad that this occasion will serve also as an opportunity for ministers to hear more details about the upcoming UNEA2 session and UNEP’s work in our region,” he said. “It is my firm conviction that the sub-region of South Eastern Europe can align and agree on the joint role at UNEA and I invite colleagues to join me in this mission,” he said.

Mr Dusik said: “Regional and subregional ministerial environment cooperation plays a critical role in consensus-building and decision making with regard to the environmental dimension of sustainable development, and support the establishment of linkages between national, regional and global environmental agendas. I am thus hoping for your support in the UNEA-2 process and follow up on its decisions and resolutions.”

The event was organized in light of the Regional Cooperation Council Ministerial Conference on the Environment.

UNEP has for nearly a decade been working with governments and other partners in the region on a wide range of environmental matters, including strengthening environmental governance and supporting mainstreaming of countries there into various international processes.

As UNEP’s governing body, UNEA is attended by representatives from all UN member states and a broad range of stakeholders. It is intended to allow environmental issues to have a similar status to those of peace, security, finance, health and trade.

*References to Kosovo shall be understood in the context of UN Resolution 1244 (1999)

About UNEA

In May, hundreds of key decision makers, businesses and representatives of intergovernmental organizations and civil society will gather in Nairobi for UNEA-2 at the United Nations Environment Programme headquarters in Nairobi.

The assembly will be one of the first major meetings since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement. The resolutions passed at UNEA-2 will set the stage for early action on implementing the 2030 Agenda, and drive the world towards a better, more just future.

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