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Civil Society Involvement

The United Nations Environment Programme Regional Office for North America (UNEP RONA) collaborates with a wide range of civil society partners, including non-governmental organizations, the private sector, the scientific community, environmental research organizations and academic institutions.

UNEP RONA hosts meetings with civil society to discuss issues of significance to UNEP, such as capacity building, sustainable consumption and production and poverty. Through its annual North American Civil Society Consultations, UNEP RONA actively solicits the view of civil society on environment-related policy matters, such as those being considered by the annual Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF). Major groups represented at these consultations include women, youth, indigenous people, farmers, and representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local authorities, trade unions, business and industry, as well as scientific and technological communities.

Civil Society Organizations are encouraged to become accredited to UNEP, so that they can participate fully in its annual GC/GMEF. For information about the accreditation process and the benefits that come with it, please click here. For information concerning UNEP's civil society engagement, please visit UNEP’s Major Groups and Stakeholders webpage.

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UNEP's Regional Office for North America (RONA) held its North American Major Groups Consultation on 3 – 4 December, 2013, at the U.S. Green Building Council in Washington, D.C.

This meeting offered an opportunity for civil society to provide input into the first-ever session of UNEP’s United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), scheduled for June 23-27 2014, in Nairobi, Kenya. Among other items, the first session will deal with a range of important environmental policy issues, including how best to address emerging environmental challenges, achieve global environmental goals, and promote stakeholder engagement in UNEP.

UNEP RONA’s North American Major Groups and Stakeholders Consultation similarly included a focus on improving stakeholder engagement and integrating environmental sustainability into the Post-2015 Agenda.

The consultation also provided inputs to UNEP's 15th Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum (GMGSF), to be held immediately prior to the UNEA. Specifically, the consultation produced a document of priority messages from North American civil society, which will be delivered directly to the GMGSF.

The following items are available:

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2012 UNEP North American Major Groups and Stakeholders Consultation

UNEP's Regional Office for North America (RONA) held its North American Major Groups Consultation on 12 – 13 December, 2012, at the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C.

This meeting offered an opportunity for civil society to provide input to the 27th Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF), scheduled for February 18 - 22 2013, in Nairobi, Kenya. Among other items, this upcoming GC/GMEF will include discussions on how UNEP can advance and implement the outcomes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Conference (Rio+20).

UNEP RONA’s North American Major Groups and Stakeholders Consultation similarly included a focus on the outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference, including both the official outcome document – The Future We Want – as well as the numerous initiatives and partnerships launched at the Conference.

The consultation also provided inputs to UNEP's 14th Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum (GMGSF), to be held on 16 – 17 February 2013 just prior to the GC/GMEF. Specifically, the consultation produced a document of priority messages from North American civil society, which will be delivered directly to the GMGSF.

For questions regarding the consultation please contact Emily Werner  at emily.werner@unep.org.

The following items are available:

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2011 UNEP North American Major Groups and Stakeholders Consultation

UNEP's Regional Office for North America (UNEP-RONA) held a North American Major Groups Consultation on October 13-14, 2011, at the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C.

This meeting offered an opportunity for civil society to provide input to the 12th Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF), which took place February 20-22, 2012, in Nairobi, Kenya. This GC/GMEF focused on the main themes of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Conference (Rio+20), which took place June 20-22, 2012, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Issues to be covered at UNEP RONA’s North American Major Groups and Stakeholders Consultation include the following:

  • Green Economy
  • Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development (IFSD) and International Environmental Governance (IEG)
  • State of the Environment and Emerging Issues
  • Upcoming events and activities related to Rio+20

For questions regarding the consultation please contact Emily Werner at emily.werner@unep.org.

The following items are available:

Background Documents

In addition to those noted under the November 2010 consultation:

Rio+20

Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development & International Environmental Governance

Green Economy

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2010 Consultation on Rio+20

The Member states of the United Nations have agreed to hold a United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in May 2012 – 20 years after the "Earth Summit" that took place in the same city in 1992.  One of the two issues that will be the focus at UNCSD, or more commonly know as Rio+20,  is "the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication".

In support of this milestone event, the United Nations Environment Programme’s Regional Office for North America (UNEP RONA) held a Consultation on Rio+20 on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 in San Francisco.More than 40 senior business, finance, government and non-profit sector leaders came together to brainstorm around the theme "Mobilizing the Green Economy”  .  A Green Economy can be broadly understood as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.  To successfully make the transition to a green economy, environmental considerations need to be effectively taken up in public policies, private investment, and other sectors.

The Consultation facilitated the discussion and development of possible initiatives and commitments around the Green Economy that could be adopted or launched at UNCSD. The Consultation invited participants to consider what concrete measures could help to mobilize a global shift to a Green Economy, and generated discussion around three areas where global initiatives have great potential: mobilizing public and private finance, clean technology, and enabling policies at the sub-national level.  However, other ideas surfaced that complimented the agenda.

The Consultation was a valuable forum to exchange ideas and an important step in an ongoing process towards establishing a Green Economy.

The following items are available:

2010 UNEP North American Major Groups Consultation

UNEP's Regional Office for North America (UNEP-RONA) will be holding a North American Major Groups Consultation on Friday, November 5, 2010 at the World Resources Institute in Washington, DC.

This meeting is in keeping with UNEP's engagement with civil society, and will focus on the various themes of the 26th Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GC/GMEF), scheduled for 21-25 February 2011, in Nairobi, Kenya.

UNEP's 2011 Ministerial Consultations will concentrate on the following areas:

  • International Environmental Governance (IEG)
  • Green Economy
  • Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP)

Our North American Major Groups Consultation will provide inputs to a 2-day meeting of UNEP's 12th Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum (GMGSF), to be held in Nairobi from 19-20 February 2011. We also intend to use the consultation to discuss the Rio+20 Conference, to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2012.

For questions regarding the consultation please contact Carolin Sanz-Noriega at carolin.sanz-noriega@unep.org.

The following items are available:

Background Documents

International Environmental Governance

Sustainable Consumption and Production

Green Economy

2009 UNEP North American Civil Society Consultation

UNEP RONA held its annual Civil Society Consultation at the headquarters of Conservation International in Arlington, VA on Friday, January 8, 2010.  The consultation was attended by 50 participants representing 35 organizations, including NGOs, women’s groups, the scientific and technological community and business and industry, as well as five representatives from the United States State Department, and nine UNEP staff members. The consultation was held to support the 11th Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum (GMGSF) and the 11th Special Session of the UNEP GC/GMEF meetings in Bali, Indonesia, on February 21-26, 2010.

The objective of the consultation was to develop North American Civil Society input to the key issues on the agenda of the GC/GMEF, i.e. International Environmental Governance (IEG), the Green Economy, Biodiversity and Ecosystems and Chemicals.  The participants also discussed major North American events in 2010, including the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB), Earth Day and World Environment Day.  Participants in the Consultation also selected two UNEP-sponsored representatives to represent North America at the upcoming GMGSF meeting and the GC/GMEF conference. 

The following items are available for download:

2008 UNEP North American Civil Society Consultation

The 2008 UNEP North American Regional Civil Society Consultation was held at the offices of the World Resources Institute in Washington, D.C. on 13-14 November to prepare for the 10th UNEP Global Civil Society Forum (GCSF) and the 25th session of the UNEP GC/GMEF held from 16-20 February, 2009, in Nairobi, Kenya. The consultation was attended by 44 participants representing 33 organizations.

The issues discussed at the consultation were some of the main issues on the agenda for the upcoming UNEP GC/GMEF: Globalization and the Environment --- Global Crises: National Chaos?, and International Environmental Governance and UN Reform: IEG: Help or Hindrance? The meeting also aimed to provide feedback on UNEP’s proposed 2010-2011 Programme of Work.

The following items are available for download:

2007 UNEP North American Civil Society Consultation

UNEP RONA held its annual Civil Society Consultation at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on November 1-2 in Washington DC. Attended by some 50 participants representing 43 organizations, the consultation was held in preparation for the ninth UNEP Global Civil Society Forum (GCSF) and the 10th Special Session of the UNEP GC/GMEF meetings held in February 2008 in Monaco. The consultation was one of six regional meetings held worldwide.

The aim of the meeting was to provide input into the key items on the agenda for the Governing Council, focusing particularly on the substantive issue: Globalization and the Environment: Mobilizing Finance to Meet the Climate Challenge. The meeting also aimed to provide input into UNEP’s 2010-2013 Medium-Term Strategy, and to provide guidelines for improving civil society participation in the UNEP consultation process.

The following items are available for download:

2006 UNEP North American Civil Society Consultation

UNEP RONA convened a Regional Civil Society Consultation at the United Nations Foundation, in Washington, DC, on November 2nd and 3rd, 2006 to prepare for the Eighth UNEP Global Civil Society Forum and 24th Session of the UNEP GC/GMEF, held in Nairobi, Kenya, in February 2007.

Issues addressed included globalization, ecosystem services and human wellbeing; water and the environment; chemicals management; and gender and the environment. 

The following items are available for download:

In addition to the Consultation, a number of important discussions involving civil society took place in 2006. On Wednesday, July 12, 2006, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), in cooperation with UNEP RONA and the Major Groups and Stakeholders Branch, hosted an informal Roundtable on International Chemical Issues. Maged Younes, Chief of UNEP's Chemicals Branch and David Ogden, Executive Coordinator of the Stockholm POPs Convention Secretariat, briefed participants on current development related to the Stockholm Convention on POPs, the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM), mercury, and other international chemicals issues in which UNEP is playing a lead role.

Additional items are available for download:

2005 UNEP North American Civil Society Consultation

UNEP’s North American Civil Society Consultation was hosted by the United Nations Foundation in Washington, D.C., on 28 October 2005.  This civil society consultation was intended to provide input into the Ninth Special Session of the UNEP GC/GMEF, which were held in February 2006, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 

The following items are available for download:

UNEP RONA also hosted a number of meetings involving civil society in 2005, and some of the summaries of the discussions are available for download: