Guidelines and Policy Documents

Stakeholder Engagement Handbook

For over 40 years, civil society stakeholders have been key contributors to implementing the mandate of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). UNEP strives to ensure effective, broad and balanced participation of Major Groups and Stakeholders (MGS) as they play a central role in providing expertise and relevant knowledge. They also channel the voices of those most likely to be directly affected by environmental problems and related policies, and call needed attention to emerging issues as they reach out to their respective communities and the public at large. Increased demand for civil society engagement is a direct outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

We are happy to share with you today UNEP's Stakeholder Engagement Handbook that UNEP developed in cooperation with UN NGLS. This Handbook aims to inform and guide Major Groups and Stakeholders by introducing in detail the currently applied rules, mechanisms and practices for MGS engagement in UNEP’s work. It is based on the Rules of Procedure of the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEA).

The Handbook complements the Guidelines for Participation of Major Groups and Stakeholders in Policy Design at UNEP and other related documents.

It contains ten sections:

  • Section 1: The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) and Its Subsidiary Organs;
  • Section 2: Engagement Approach;
  • Section 3: Accreditation;
  • Section 4: Participation in Agenda-Setting and Decision-Making Processes;
  • Section 5: Access to Information;
  • Section 6: Major Groups and Stakeholders Body – Spaces and Roles;
  • Section 7: Expert Input and Advice, and Partnerships for Implementation;
  • Section 8: Funding for Stakeholder Engagement at UNEP;
  • Section 9: Code of Conduct at Meetings Hosted by the UN; and
  • Section 10: UNEP’s Major Groups and Stakeholders Branch/Secretariat for Governing Bodies and Stakeholders.

Currently, Member States are negotiating a new UNEP Policy on Stakeholder Engagement and it is anticipated that this new Policy will be in place by the time of the second session of UNEA, in 2016. After that, the Handbook will be amended accordingly.


Guidelines for the Development of National Legislation on Access to information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters

Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration of 1992 recognizes access to environment information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice on environmental matters. These ‘access rights’ remain as relevant today as they were almost two decades ago.

In order to catalyse and accelerate action in terms of implementing Principle 10, governments adopted the Guidelines for the Development of National Legislation on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters at the 11th Special Session of UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environmental Forum in Bali, Indonesia. These Guidelines though voluntary, demonstrate a willingness by Governments to more thoroughly engage the public at all levels to protect and manage the environment and related resources.


Bali Guideline Implementation Guide

The UNEP Governing Council adopted the Bali Guidelines in 2010 as a tool to assist countries in filling gaps in national and sub-national legislation in order to facilitate broad access to information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters. In 2012 UNEP and UNITAR joined hands to promote the Bali Guidelines, including through a project to develop a Guide to the Guidelines implemented by the World Resource Institute (WRI). Drafted with assistance from a global Advisory Group, the Guide is intended to be a practical tool for the use of governments, major groups and stakeholders, legal professionals, implementing authorities and others engaged in the application of Rio Principle 10. It includes a full range of actual examples of implementation of national law and practice to support policy makers, legislators and public authorities in their daily work of applying the Bali Guidelines for the Development of National Legislation on Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matter, realizing the provisions of Principle 10 in practice. It can be used to assist states in undertaking their own gap analysis of national legislation. It takes into account the range of diversity of systems of law throughout the world and aims to fit this diversity.

Please click here to download the Bali Guideline Implementation Guide.