Partial AG meeting Bonn, 3 September 2011

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Major Groups and Stakeholders Advisory Group on International Environmental Governance

Partial AG meeting
Bonn, Germany, 3 September 2011

Present: Arthur Dahl, Neth Dano, Sébastien Duyck, Lucy Mulenkei, Sara Svensson, Philip Vergragt, Christine von Weizsäcker.
Present in Bonn for side discussions but unable to attend the AG meeting: Robert Bakiika, Sascha Gabizon and Susanne Salz.

It was agreed that the highest priority is to submit proposed text for the zero draft of the conference outcome to the Bureau of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) by its 1 November 2011 deadline. The text should be in a format suitable for copying and pasting into the zero draft, with a short introduction on its significance relative to the conference themes. Longer background materials will be posted on the AG IEG web site where they can be consulted by the UN secretariat staff compiling the text as necessary. The total submission should not exceed 5-7 pages.

Given that there seems to be little interest in civil society in the specifics of institutional structures, the members present concluded that the AG should propose a number of specific recommendations for strengthened IEG from a civil society perspective, such as on implementation of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration, an ombudsman for future generations, linking the environment and human rights, strengthened scientific advice, and assessment of new technologies with planetary impacts. If these core demands are included in an upgraded UNEP, then the AG would encourage civil society to support such an upgrade. If the governments lean toward the creation of a Sustainable Development Council, then the same mechanisms could be included in, or shifted to, such a council when it is created.

Other topics could be proposed for inclusion elsewhere in the zero draft, such as mechanisms to provide ethical input to UN policy-making, steps towards managing common resources starting with the oceans, and proposals for reorienting and managing the green economy.

Since most of the drafting groups have not functioned very well and time is now short, it was agreed that members/alternates should submit their proposed text to the co-coordinators, who are charged with selecting, compiling and editing the final submission to the bureau. Drafts received in time will be posted on the web site and circulated periodically on the googlegroups list-serve so that members (and others) can comment. The members present volunteered to submit text in their areas of interest, and other members/alternates are encouraged to do the same.

The AG members and regional coordinators and representatives who will participate in the Regional Preparatory Meetings for Rio+20 being organized by the UN Regional Commissions are encouraged to contribute inputs based on the work of the AG, drawing both on the information document for the UNEP Governing Council, and on our proposals for the UNCSD Bureau, as far as they are developed at the time of the regional meetings. Members' contributions and the latest texts as they evolve will be available on the AG web site.

The zero draft will be released by the Bureau in early January. The AG should be prepared to review and comment on the draft before the informal informals in February, March and April. AG members should continue to lobby for its proposals directly and through their major groups and regions up until the final decisions in Rio. Hopefully some members will be going to Rio even if more funding for the AG is not forthcoming. We should look for opportunities to partner with other organizations in events to support our proposals. The four days between PrepCom 3 and Rio+20 will be particularly important. There may also be events in the two days after UNCSD to discuss implementation, where the AG might also be able to make inputs in keeping with the final part of its mandate.

Sara and Sascha, who are also on the MGS Facilitating Committee, said that the committee had meet the previous day, and would issue a call for additional volunteers as alternates on the AG, to replace existing and expected vacancies. Sascha herself (who arrived just after the close of the AG meeting) said that her responsibilities leading up to Rio+20 would preclude her from contributing to the AG, so she also hoped to replace herself.