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120+ civil society groups heard

UNEP has listened to views from over 120 civil society groups based in Europe in order to further strengthen how it works with stakeholders for the environment.


The Regional Consultation was held in the run up to the next UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) - UNEP’s governing body - which will focus on how to deliver on the environmental dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Civil society views always feed into the discussions guiding UNEP’s work. The body works with nine Major Groups and Stakeholders (MGS) – including farmers, women, workers and trade unions and indigenous peoples - so as to ensure that this benefits all parts of society.


The Health and Environment Alliance, Organics International and CEE Bankwatch were among organisations taking part in the discussions.


During the event, priority areas of action called for by MGS included mercury, waste, education, resource mobilisation from the private sector and policies to protect the environment and health, linked to several of the SDGs.


For example, countries that have not yet ratified the Minamata Convention on mercury were called on to do so. The stakeholders also called for gender and age-specific data to be made available on implementation of the SDGs, so that the vulnerability of women, children and the elderly to dangerous chemicals can be measured for example.


Governments should also call on UNEP to develop instruments covering – among other areas – subsidies and taxation, fair and green trade and public finance, said the MGS. Work carried out under UNEP’s Inquiry on the design of a sustainable financial system was commended in this regard.


The consultation meeting took place in Brussels at the end of 2015 and was organised in partnership with the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Environmental Bureau.


The previous day, the same organisations took part in an exchange of views with decision-makers including the European Commission on the governance mechanisms needed for successful environmental action.


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