New UNEP Publication Perspectives Paper 30: Now Out People and Pollution’ Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue at the United Nations Environment Assembly 3

I served as the moderator for the dialogue, which represents part of UN Environment’s commitment to deliver on the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development outcome document: ‘The Future We Want’. This document calls for “the active participation of all relevant stakeholders, drawing on best practices and models from relevant multilateral institutions and exploring new mechanisms, to promote transparency and the effective engagement of civil society” within the framework of its decision to strengthen the role of the United Nations Environment Programme as the
leading global environmental authority.
Stakeholder engagement has been an important component of the development of UN Environment since its inception at the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment. The concept of ‘Major Groups’ was pioneered by the first UN Environment Executive Director, Maurice Strong, when he was Secretary-General of the Earth Summit in 1992. He recognized that categorizing all  nongovernment actors under the term NGO or civil society meant that not all voices were being
heard. He understood that in policy discussions it is vital that women are able to provide a gender perspective, that youth can present the views of the next generation, that indigenous peoples are given the opportunity to talk about environmental impacts on their land, and that local and subnational governments can help inform national governments of the challenges to implementation at the local level. In 2004, UN Environment recognized the need to hear the voices of a broader range of stakeholders – beyond the nine Major Groups. This was also reflected by the UN as a whole in the 2030 Agenda.
Multi-stakeholder dialogues in other forums could also be used to inform the development of UN Environment’s own approach to embedding stakeholders in the workings of UN Environment
Assembly and UN Environment. The UN Commission on Sustainable Development from
1998 to 2001, is an interesting example. The first two days of each session were given over to four multi-stakeholder dialogues on issues that Member States were going to negotiate, enabling them to draw useful lessons into policy decisions. This approach might be worth considering for future UNEA sessions.
The development of the Sustainable Development Goals provides a good illustration of how governments, the UN and relevant stakeholders can contribute their expertise to negotiations, encouraging them to engage in the implementation of these goals and targets.
Multi-stakeholder partnerships will play a critical role in helping to implement UNEA decisions,
particularly if stakeholders are engaged in the development of those decisions. 
UNEP Perspective Paper 30 available here. 

UNEP's Major Groups and Other Stakeholder branch resources can be found here. 

Other UNEP Perspective Papers

  • Issue No. 1 Discussion Paper: Improving Public Participation in Environmental Governance
  • Jacob Werksman and Joseph Foti
  • Issue No. 2 Models for Local Government Organisations (LGOs) Involvement in a Strengthened UNEP Susanne Salz
  • Issue No. 3 Peoples’ Sustainability Treaties for Rio+20 Uchita De Zoysa 
  • Issue No. 4 Environmental and Sustainability Governance – Thoughts from an Industry Perspective
  • Thomas R. Jacob, T. R. Jacob & Associate
  • Issue No. 5 Opportunities and Challenges Facing Farmers in Transitioning to a Green Economy Agriculture Practice Patrick Binns, Westbrook Associates Llc
  • Issue No. 6 Ombudspersons for Future Generations: A Proposal for Rio+20 Catherine Pearce, World Future Council
  • Issue No. 7 Globalizing Environmental Democracy: A Call for International Action Lalanath De Silva, World Resources Institute & Jeremy Wates, European Environmental Bureau
  • Issue No. 8 Rio+20: A New Beginning Felix Dodds and Anita Nayar 
  • Issue No. 9 Building the Big Picture for a Green Economy The Green Economy Coalition - Oliver Greenfield and Emily Benson
  • Issue No. 10 Citizens’ Advisory Councils to Enhance Civil Society:Oversight of Resource Industries Richard Steiner, Professor, Oasis Earth, Anchorage, Antarctica
  • Issue No. 11 Strengthening UNEP’s Legitimacy: Towards Greater Stakeholder Engagement Joyeeta Gupta and Stephen Stec
  • Issue No. 12 Towards a Global Agenda of Sustainability and Equity: Civil Society Engagement for the Future We Want Leida Rijnhout, Uchita De Zoysa, Ashish Kothari, Hali Healy
  • Issue No. 13 Technology and Sustainability: Changing Our Perspective Peter H. Denton, Ph.D.
  • Issue No. 14 Illicit Wildlife Trafficking: An Environmental, Economic and Social Issue Elisabeth Mclellan (WWF), Rob Parry-Jones (WWF), Richard Thomas (Traffic), Colman O'criodain (WWF), Sabri Zain (Traffic)
  • Issue No.15 At the Post-2015 Sustainability Crossroads: Too Vital to Fail, Avoiding Too Complicated to Succeed: Business Perspectives and Priorities Norine Kennedy, USCIB
  • Issue No. 16 Implementing Principle 10 and The Bali Guidelines in Africa Benson Owour Ochieng
  • Issue No. 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda Sascha Gabizon, WECF International, Isis Alvarez And Simone Lovera GFC; Caroline Usikpedo NDWMD; Neth Dano Etc-Group
  • Issue No. 18 Pastoralist Participation and Networking in Policy Dialogue: Dimensions and challenges Pablo Manzano, Monica Agarwal
  • Issue No. 19 Universal Sustainable Development Goals.A Challenge fort he Rich Countries As Well As the Poor Stakeholder Forum - Derek Osborn, Farooq Ullah 
  • Issue No. 20 UNEP and Civil Society: An Exchange. A New Landscape for Stakeholder Engagement in UNEP? Mark Halle (IISD), Felix Dodds (GRI)
  • Issue No. 21 The Faith We Share and The World We Want Peter H. Denton, Ph.D.
  • Issue No. 22 Lessons From UNEA -2: Ensure Broader, Deeper Engagement in a Focused UNEA -3 Voices From Civil Society
  • Issue No. 23 Why Should the UN and in Particular UN Environment Engage More With Faith-Based Organizations? Arthur Lyon Dahl
  • Issue No. 24 Conflict Pollution and The Toxic Remnants of War: A Global Problem That Receives Too Little Attention Doug Weir
  • Issue No. 26 Community Based Monitoring to End Oil Contamination in Peruvian Amazon Camilla Capasso
  • Issue No. 27 Tackling Pollution Is Essential for Meeting SDG Poverty Objectives Dr Andrew Farmer
  • Issue No. 28 Impacts of Pollution on Our Health and The Planet: The Case of Coal Power Plants Ana Barreira, Massimiliano Patierno and Carlota Ruiz Bautista
  • Issue No. 29 The Impact of Pollution on Planetary Health: Emergence of an Underappreciated Risk Factor Philip J. Landrigan, MD, MSc


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