United Nations Environment Management Group (EMG)

About EMG

The Environment Management Group (EMG) is a United Nations (UN) System-wide coordination body on environment and human settlements. It was established in 2001 pursuant to the General Assembly resolution 53/242 in July 1999.

The resolution supported the proposal of the Secretary-General to establish an environmental management group contained in his report on Environment and Human Settlements (A/53/463).

The EMG membership consists of the specialized agencies, programmes and organs of the United Nations including the secretariats of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements.

The group is chaired by the Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and supported by a secretariat provided by UNEP. The Secretariat is located in Geneva, Switzerland.

The EMG identifies issues on the international environmental agenda that warrant cooperation, and finds ways of engaging its collective capacity in coherent management responses to those issues.

In accordance with its Terms of Reference the EMG works through technical meetings, Issue Management Groups and task forces. Representatives of intergovernmental bodies, civil society and international non-governmental organizations can be invited to contribute.

From addressing biodiversity loss and dry-land challenges to supporting the transition to a green economy and promoting sustainable practices in UN policies, management and operations: - EMG aims to be at the forefront of the environmental agenda. With a membership consisting of the specialized agencies, programmes and organs of the UN system, the Group collectively identifies issues that warrant joint efforts and may benefit from its combined capacity. EMG works closely with relevant intergovernmental bodies and the Chief Executives Board - the principal UN coordination body.

Addressing environmental change and enhancing human well being

The protection and enhancement of human well-being - as it relates to health, material needs, good social relations and security – is a common denominator for the United Nations system and the ultimate goal of sustainable development. Increasing environmental change puts human well-being at risk and needs to be addressed as a priority across the
United Nations system.

The members of the EMG are currently engaged in collective action to address the following pressing issues on the environmental agenda:

Supporting the Biodiversity Agenda
With contribution from 27 entities across the UN system a report and joint statement titled Advancing the biodiversity agenda was prepared as a One UN contribution to the CBD Conference of Parties (COP10) in Nagoya, Japan. COP 10 welcomed the report and
requested the EMG to identify measures for a systemwide implementation of the biodiversity strategic plan and contribute to the UN decade on biodiversity (2011- 2021). The Secretary General has also requested the EMG to take immediate action to follow up the work initiated with its special report, and this work is now underway.

Supporting UNCCD incombating desertification and droughts
With contributions from 20 UN entities, a UN systemwide Global Drylands report and statement that sets an agenda for action on drylands is being prepared for launch at the UN GA Special high level event on desertification and the in the 10th COP of the UNCCD in 2011 (South Korea). The work is initiated in a response to calls by member states for support for the drylands agenda, particularly the implementation of the UNCCD
10 Year Strategic Plan. Consultations with the subsidiary bodies of the UNCCCD are underway.

Supporting Member States in the transition to a green economy
As a contribution to the preparatory process for Rio+20, a UN systemwide report on Green Economy is being prepared, documenting how the UN system including the Bretton Woods institutions can collectively assist countries in making the transition to a green economy. It focuses on building complementarity, strengthening UN system-wide partnerships and «operationalizing» the green economy concept across the UN system.
The report will identify key policy issues, areas where the UN system is already actively involved, avenues for further engagement, as well as other needs.”A progress report was made available for the first intersessional meeting for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development of 10-11 January 2011. The final draft of the report will be submitted to the second intersessional meeting on 14-15 November 2011.

Walking the talk
And enhancing Sustainable Management in the UN
Nearly fifty UN entities have been involved in honouring the UN system commitment on moving towards climate neutrality including by estimating and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Following the first ever GHG footprint of the entire UN system in 2009, with the support of the UNEP Sustainable UN facility (SUN), the second edition of the UN footprint (from headquarters down to field offices and peace-keeping operations), will be launched at the UNEP 26th Governing Council. A UN sustainable management strategy and system for the United Nations is being prepared in 2011. A number of shared methodologies and tools for UN agencies to reduce their emissions, implement sustainable procurement, manage buildings in a more efficient way are now available at a devoted
award winning website for UN organizations - Greening the Blue.
www. greeningtheblue.org.

Considering a UN system-wide approach to social and environmental safeguards
Close to 20 UN entities are involved in exploring options for a UN system common strategic approach to environmental and social safeguards at all levels of planning, programming and implementation. Current practices have been assessed with a view to identify possible conceptual frameworks that could provide a balanced approach to the challenge of cross cutting environmental and social issues, flexibility and accountability. A flow chart of the conceptual framework may be viewed on the EMG website. The work
is envisaged to be completed by the end of 2011.

Supporting consultations on International Environmental Governance
The EMG has responded to the invitation by the Governing Council of UNEP to contribute to the work of the Consultative Group of Ministers or High-Level Representatives on International Environmental Governance. Acting in their individual capacity, EMG members have provided inputs to and commented on draft documents and participated in meetings of the Consultative Group. A note entitled Environment in the UN system has been prepared by UNEP in support of the consultative group with extensive inputs from the UN system and includes some indicative data on agencies financial contribution to the environmental agenda.
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EMG contact
International Environment House
11 Chemin des Anémones
CH-1219 Châtelaine, Geneva

Tel: (+41) 22-917-8693
Fax: (+41) 22-917-8024


EMG in India