The key expectations of the EMG, when established in 2001 pursuant to the General Assembly resolution 53/242in July 1999, were that it would enable the UN bodies and their partners to share information, consult on proposed new initiatives, contribute to a planning framework, and agree on priorities and on the respective roles of agencies in the implementation of those priorities in order to achieve a more rational and cost-effective use of resources. It was intended to function through issue-management groups aimed at dealing with specific issues in a time-bound manner.
Since its inception, the Group’s mandate covers coordinated approaches, information exchange, promotion of joint action by United Nations agencies, and synergy among the activities of the United Nations agencies on environment and human settlement issues. The Group has held 20 meetings so far and has established issue-management groups on issues such as harmonization of reporting on biodiversity-related conventions, sustainable procurement, environmental aspects of water and sanitation, capacity-building in the areas of biodiversity and chemicals, UN system contribution to the biodiversity and the Aichi Targets, green economy and drylands.
In light of the2030 Development Agenda, Member States invited the Executive Director of UNEP to examine if the EMG, after having functioned for 14 years, has responded to the expectations and whether it is fit to respond to today’s coordination challenges in the field of environment.
The 20th meeting of the senior officials of the EMG, held on 25 September, 2014 in New York, considered this issue and agreed to establish a Task Team on the issue of maximizing the effectiveness of the EMG, to consider the EMG’s mandate, Terms of Reference, effectiveness and fitness for purpose more broadly, including its contribution to the 2030 Development Agenda.
At their 21st meeting in September 2015, the Senior Officials considered a draft report by the Task Team and decided to extend the mandate of the Task Team to “finalize the report taking into account the comments of the Senior Officials upon which the final report should be made available for the Executive Director of UNEP for his/her consideration for inclusion in the Executive Director's report to UNEA-2 in response to UNEA Resolution 1/11”.
The report Maximizing the effectiveness of the EMG in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was issued by the Task Team for submission to the preparatory process of the Second Session of the UNEA II. The report captures key findings and recommendations by the Task Team covering procedural issues related to EMG’s modalities of work as well as substantives issues related to EMG’s mandate and future focus to maximize its effectiveness in supporting the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Task Team will continue its consideration of the report’s recommendations and findings to identify their implications as well as the short and long term measures for enhancing the effectiveness of the EMG in supporting the 2030 development agenda.