UNEP's Stakeholder Engagement Policy

The Rio+20 outcome document “The Future We Want” in its paragraph 88(h), invites UNEP to review its mechanisms for Major Groups and Stakeholders’ participation. It states:

“We are committed to strengthening the role of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) as the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda (…) (and) (h) Ensure the active participation of all relevant stakeholders drawing on best practices and models from relevant multilateral institutions and exploring new mechanisms to promote transparency and the effective engagement of civil society.”

Subsequently, the UN Environment Programme Governing Council at its First Universal session in February 2013 adopted the Decision 27/2 on institutional arrangements which requests, in its paragraph 7: Mechanisms for Stakeholder Engagement in UN Environment Programme

“Decides that the governing body will ensure the active participation of all relevant stakeholders, particularly those from developing countries, drawing on best practices and models from relevant multilateral institutions and will explore new mechanisms to promote transparency and the effective engagement of civil society in its work and that of its subsidiary bodies, inter alia by:

  1. Developing by 2014 a process for stakeholder accreditation and participation that builds on the existing rules of procedure and takes into account inclusive modalities of the Commission of Sustainable Development and other relevant United Nations bodies;
  2. Establishing by 2014 mechanism and rules for stakeholders expert input and advice;
  3. Enhancing by 2014 working methods and processes for informed discussions and contributions by all relevant stakeholders towards the intergovernmental decision making process”

Furthermore, Paragraph 17 of the same decision states:

“Decides to enhance transparency and openness in its work and in this regard request the Executive Direction to establish a written access-to-information policy;”

In response, UN Environment Programme is currently developing new modalities for stakeholder engagement in UN Environment Programme, and takes this opportunity to broaden the scope and address the engagement with stakeholders in its work as well as in the implementation of its Programme of Work; in particular on:

  • New accreditation modalities;
  • Working methods and processes for stakeholder contribution towards the intergovernmental decision-making process;
  • Mechanisms for expert input and advice; and
  • A new access-to-information policy, including the use of modern information and communication technology to enhance stakeholder engagement and access to information.

The draft Stakeholder Engagement Policy was discussed at the first session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-1) in 2014.  While considerable progress has been made since the Policy was debated in the first meeting of the Open-ended Committee of Permanent Representatives to UN Environment Programme(24-28 March 2014), UNEA-1 could not conclude with an agreed text of the Policy and relevant amendments of the Rules of Procedures.  In the period between UNEA 1 and UNEA 2 (May 2016), the UNEA President led an informal process on reaching a consensus regarding outstanding elements of the policy and presented her proposal to the OECPR 2 in February 2016 and subsequently to UNEA 2. Member states were not able to reach an agreement during UNEA 2. This means that UN Environment Programme will continue to apply its current stakeholder engagement policy.

RELEVANT DOCUMENTS

1. Proposal of the UNEA President for the SEP, as presented to UNEA 2 in May 2016

2. Report of the UNEA President to the Annual CPR Subcommittee Meeting, October 26-29, 2015 and the 132nd meeting of the CPR, October 30, 2015

3. Draft - Stakeholder Engagement Policy as presented to the First Open-Ended meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives, held from 24 to 28 March 2014, in Nairobi, Kenya

4. UN Environment Programme Stakeholder Engagement Policy. Working draft with proposed changes as discussed but not concluded by UNEA 1. Version from June 27, 2014

5. Options for Stakeholder Engagement in UN Environment Programme , November 2013

This document was prepared by the UN Environment Programme Secretariat at the request of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to UN Environment Programme (CPR) to inform the discussions on stakeholder engagement in UNEP. The table within the report presents different options for stakeholder engagement in UN Environment Programme , the current practices in UN Environment Programme , a brief assessment of those practices, one to three options of proposed new modalities for engagement and mechanisms building on existing practices, and makes a reference to the organisations within the multilateral system that apply those modalities or mechanisms, as appropriate or if they exist.

Options for Stakeholder Engagement in UN Environment Programme

6. Informal consultation of UN Environment Programme’s Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) with the Major Groups and Stakeholders Facilitating Committee and Regional Major Groups and Stakeholders Representatives held on September 9, 2013

7. Independent group of experts on options for stakeholder engagement
The Expert Group deliberated on different options for stakeholder engagement between September and October 2013.

8. Review of current practices of stakeholder engagement in multilateral organizations, July 2013 
The purpose of this report is to inform the discussions on the establishment of new mechanisms for stakeholder engagement that build on practices in multilateral organisations. The organisations listed in the report have been selected for review based on: (i) most commonly cited practices because of their uniqueness (both among stakeholders and Member States); and (ii) progressive practices which go beyond the mere status of observer and accommodate more constructive engagement with stakeholders.

9. Report of Expert Group Meeting on “Models and Mechanisms of Civil Society Participation in UN Environment Programme: Building on the Experiences of Multilateral Organisations”, January 22 - 23, 2013, Geneva, Switzerland 
This report presents a summary of the discussions and outcomes of the Expert Group Meeting that took place on January 22-23 in Geneva, Switzerland, which gathered 22 participants with extensive experience in governance, transparency and public participation, and environmental issues. Participants reviewed gaps in current engagement practices, looked at best practices across the multi-lateral system, and made some proposals for the future.

Models and Mechanisms of Civil Society Participation in UN Environment Programme: Building on the Experiences of Multilateral Organisations

10. Online survey on models and mechanisms of civil society participation in UN Environment Programme
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) undertook an online survey with Major Groups and Stakeholders (MGS) in order to collect feedback on UN Environment Programme’s current engagement system and inputs on new models of participation that can respond to the needs of all stakeholders. The objectives of the survey were to: (i) Map out the gaps in UN Environment Programme’s current engagement systems; (ii) Document cases of best/good practices within other multilateral organisations; (iii) Identify potential avenues for engagement and new models of participation. The survey was opened from 7 December 2012 to 9 January 2013.