Important Steps Taken in Espoo towards a More Efficient UN
A high-level meeting was organised at TKK Dipoli in Espoo on 21–23 November to promote a reform of international environmental governance. The meeting’s final act contains several measures to reinforce international environmental governance. Finland’s Minister of the Environment Paula Lehtomäki and Margaret Kamar, Kenya's Assistant Minister for Environment and Mineral Resources, co-chaired the meeting.
The meeting’s participants were unanimous in setting the objective of formulating an environmental strategy to permeate the entire United Nations system. In addition, the meeting achieved the strategic intent of increasing cooperation between numerous international environmental agreements. The will to enhance mutual communication between scientific panels and networks was also expressed.
The participants in the Espoo meeting considered it important to improve the availability of information on the environment and its use in political decision-making, especially in developing countries.
There was widespread support for reinforcing the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The European Union is also pushing the formation of a new environment organisation within the UN.
Recommendations for UNEP in February
The UNEP Senior Management Team established an international ministerial working group in February 2010, tasked with discussing an extensive reform of environmental governance. Every continental region in the UN is represented in the working group.
The purpose of the ministerial group is to reform environmental governance, which is currently fragmentary and scattered, and to boost collaboration between UN organisations and programmes in enforcing environmental policy. The current governance system is not effective enough in responding to growing global environmental challenges.
The Espoo meeting will submit its recommendations to the UNEP Senior Management Team, which will take them to the preparatory meetings for the 2012 Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development.
The ministerial working group first convened in Nairobi, Kenya, in July. The Espoo meeting involved high-level representatives from more than 40 countries.
Tita Korvenoja, Senior Adviser, Ministry of the Environment,
tel. +358 50 301 4605
Hanna Ekman, Special Adviser to the Minister of the Environment, tel. +358 400 873 743, email@example.com