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Programme Steering Committee Meeting June 29th 2016, Brussels, Belgium

The Programme Steering Committee (PSC) is the main annual meeting that brings together the main partners involved in the ACP MEAs 2 (Programme hereon). The Programme was designed based on the recognition that ACP countries have various levels of capacity related to the implementation of MEAs and in that there are a lot of opportunities for South-South cooperation between the ACP regions. Thus, the project aims to promote environmental sustainability in the ACP countries by building capacity – whether it is institutionally or technically – in the mainstreaming and implementation of MEAs in the regions.

The PSC meeting was hosted by the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (ACP Secretariat) in Brussels, Belgium on June 29, 2016. It was preceded by two preparatory meetings: the meeting between UN Environment and the regional hubs of Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific on June 27, 2016 and an all partners' meeting held on June 28, 2016. In addition to the participants from the day before, the all partners' meeting included the participation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and project partners such as UNEP - World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and local NGOs.

The Steering Committee members included representatives from the ACP Secretariat; the project manager from the European Commission; the UN Environment coordination team and representatives from FAO. Given the vast geographical reach of the Programme, the PSC provided an important shared platform for all the stakeholders to engage and learn from each other on their achievements over the past year.

Hightlights from the Programme Steering Committee

  • The PSC meeting took place shortly after the United Nation’s Environment Assembly (UNEA), which brought together an unprecedented number of environment ministers and representatives from 173 countries as well as the historic adoption of 25 resolutions to tackle global environmental issues. The Programme's work has gotten greater impetus and support in international environmental governance. As a number of resolutions are linked to MEAs, with one of them particularly promoting synergies between biodiversity-related MEAs and UNEP (resolution 2/17), this has given the Programme's work greater impetus and support in international environmental governance.
  • The Programme has the ambition to implement more than 80 activities over 4 years, for the components managed by the UN Environment in the three regions, responding to very precise objectives focused on two specific clusters of MEAs in the areas of biodiversity and the sound management of chemicals and waste with an emphasis on synergies.
  • During the last year of implementation, the Law Division at UN Environment continued to develop its capacities to ensure the overall coordination, support, and strengthening of the Programme, including through the recruitment of new dedicated staff.
  • With the Programme expected to end in December 2017, discussions around sustainability brought up interesting approaches. It became evident that sustainability is a concept that is being tackled differently in the three regions. As for the Pacific hub, the current Programme has enabled co-funding for a new GEF project that will ensure long-term continuity for part of the ACP MEA activities. Meanwhile, coordinators from the Caribbean and Pacific Hub highlighted the creation of knowledge and institutional infrastructure is in itself a reflection of the sustainability of the project.

Some recommendations from the meeting

  • Synergistic implementation emerged as a significant theme through the discussions. The regional coordinators along with the project coordinator from FAO and other project partners were able to better understand each other’s work through the presentations and suggested points of greater synergy in the work, which will be developed following the meeting.
  • Through one of the activities that was presented, the importance of technology for data gathering and enhanced reporting was discussed. UNEP-WCMC presented on the Online Reporting System (ORS), which is an online platform that allows those reporting on various MEAs to do so systematically and efficiently. Recommendations were made on how there needs to be greater political leveraging of these technological platforms. Thus, it is crucial for regional partners to support member states and MEA Parties in greater utilization and adoption of such technological tools.

For more information contact, Ladu Lemi, (email: UNEP.