Meeting of AG members in Abu Dhabi 11 December 2011

December 11, 2011
Eye on Earth Summit, Abu Dhabi, UAE
 
Attendees:
AG IEG: Mehdi Jaaffar, Kassem El Saddik, Sateeshkumar Belliethathan, Hindoou Oumarou Ibrahim, Robert Bakiika and Neth Dano.
MGFC: Mildred- Women’s Representative.
UNEP MGS Branch: Alexander Juras attended the last 20 minutes (of the 2 hour meeting)
 
Agenda items:
1- Discuss the unresolved issue of IEG AG status
2- UNEP feedback
3- Suggest the way forward
 
1- Discuss the unresolved issue of IEG AG status
After noting and agreeing on the content and urgency of Arthur’s Issues concerning the Advisory Group on IEG raised in his email dated 6 December 2011, the attendees revisited a critical moments since its inception:
• Starting from the ministerial recommendation at Helsinki calling to establish an advisory group to explore the IEG options from a civil society perspective.
• The ToR which many felt that it fell short in specifying the rule of engagement between the AG and MGFC
• Geneva meeting (October 2010) which created a misunderstanding regarding the AG and its relationship with both UNEP and MGS (it was compared to the relationship of a child with his surrogate and genetic mother). The issue of the group independent stance emerged. An uncomfortable spirit was felt since then.
• The main deliverable to the GC/GMFE 2010: The attendees acknowledged it was a great success that raised people’s appetite to claim parenthood of the group. We reminded ourselves with:
o   UNEP (Achim) was satisfied with the quality of the deliverable. He asked for the AG advice/ position on a couple of issues that would input into Rio+20.
o   Arthur’s passionately and genuinely addressing the GC to make use of the expertise of the IEG AG.
• The latest AG input to the Rio+20 draft zero- the attendees:
o   acknowledged the pivotal role played by Arthur in drafting, single-handedly coordinating the group’s feedback, compiling its input and finalizing the deliverable.
o   Stopped at the way AG members dissociated themselves from the deliverable. The incident that raised again the status of the AG and MGFC.
o   Stressed that the AG is a group of expert who were nominated/ selected/ elected given their expertise. While acknowledging the AG representation mirrors that of the MGFC and respects its relationship to the MGFC, the Advisory Group should operate as an independent group. To that end, the AG needs to define its engagement rules with the MGFC.
• The attendees stressed that the AG legitimacy is drawn from the group’s capability to deliver quality contribution regardless of its affiliation.

• The attendees noted the current revision of the UNEP Guidelines and the foreseen change in the committee composition.
 
2- UNEP feedback
• Alexander joined the group at its request to provide feedback on the AG.
o   Alex’ colleagues are disappointed of the AG contribution to Rio+20 draft zero document since it does not express its support/recommendation to strengthening UNEP!
o   UNEP expected the AG to deliver on “the models for civil society engagement/ participation in IEG” one of the main Government requests.
o   UNEP still support AG (while there is no means to invest in AG). AG might not necessarily limit itself on advising UNEP!
 
3- Suggest the way forward
• The attendees agreed to share the discussion with the colleagues meeting in NY the sooner.
• AG needs to define its mandate and frame its affiliation and role.
• The attendees stressed that the AG legitimacy is drawn from the group’s capability to deliver quality contribution regardless of its affiliation.
• AG needs to better understand the internal dynamics and mode of decision making at the MGFC (are decision taken by consensus, voting…? How does it deal with a MG disassociating itself from a MGFC position?)
• AG needs to think of innovative means to sustain itself:
o   A suggestion to check the UNOCHA model might be useful.
o   A suggestion to seize the opportunity of the UNEP guidelines review to influence the status of the group

• As for the AG work modality, the attendees stressed that the working group model used to prepare the first deliverable (last February 2011) proved to be effective.
• AG should prepare for the second round of the “Draft Zero” review to be called for in the first week of Jan 2012.
• AG should arrange for a face-to-face meeting around the GMG Forum in Feb 2012 (Reserving one full day meeting to resolve the various issues and address the above concerns is a must).
Generally, Mildred (MGFC Women’s Group) expressed its support to AG to define its role and craft its accountability and affiliation.