The new, improved United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) has a COW (Committee of the Whole) and even does CPR (Committee of Permanent Representatives) … but it is not exactly off to a good start. From the IISD’s report of proceedings on Feb. 18:
ORGANIZATIONAL MATTERS: The plenary elected Hassan Abdel Hilal, Minister of Environment, Forests and Physical Development, Sudan, as GC-27/GMEF President. Ryutaro Yatsu (Japan), Antonio Otávio Sá Ricarte (Brazil) and Idunn Eidheim (Norway), were elected Bureau Vice-Presidents; and Beata Jaczewska (Poland) was elected Rapporteur.
With CANADA, the US also expressed concern regarding the President of the session, noting that Sudan is currently subject to UN Security Council sanctions and therefore is not an “appropriate choice for leadership.” [emphasis added -hro]
Did this concern result in any corrective action on the part of the new, improved UNEP? Not bloomin’ likely! But the “concern” did make it into the “final” report from the IISD.
For the record, here are some interesting (if not telling) word counts from this final report:
* Including this gem from UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) head honcho, Christina Figueres who:
observed that “strengthening UNEP is not an end in itself but a means to an end.” She called for enhancing UNEP’s ability to support governments and people on the path towards sustainability and welcomed the UNFCCC decision on the Climate Technology Centre to entrust it to an international consortium led by UNEP, which she said will accelerate understanding of, and access to, clean technology to help address global technology challenges. [emphasis added -hro]
24 Green economy
57 Executive Director**
** aka Akim Steiner who’s never encountered a possible “concern” that could not be transformed into a full-blown threat to the future of the planet requiring … you guessed it … more of our money.
I think the following would be an excellent theme song for the Alarmist-in-Chief, Steiner, don’t you?
But I digress …
16 Law (in close proximity to one or more of:)
142 environment/environmental*** and/or
*** including 3 instances of “environmental crimes”
I would strongly encourage you to read the entire IISD summary for yourself. But in the meantime, here are some of my impressions …
The new, improved UNEP is – in effect – a means of increasing the tentacles, reach and budget of Achim Steiner – and his army of acoloytes and lesser lights. One can put out one hell of a lot of propaganda with disposable financial resources as noted by:
The final decision (UNEP/GC.27/CW/L.5) contains sections on: the medium-term strategy for the period 2014-2017 and biennial programme of work and budget for 2014-2015, and management of trust funds and earmarked contributions.
Regarding the medium-term strategy, the GC, inter alia:
• approves the medium-term strategy for the period 2014-2017 and the programme of work for the biennium 2014-2015, as well as, approves appropriations for UNEP in the amount of US$245 million, of which US$110 million is allocated to 2014, and a maximum of US$122 million is allocated to defraying post costs for the biennium for executive direction and management, programmes of work, the Fund programme reserve, and programme support;
And lest we forget, the UNEP is an organization – which, to the best of my knowledge, has yet to comply with voluntary reporting of its procurements – is the highest flying carbon emitting UN agency, with “Air travel as a proportion of total emissions: 94%”.
Oh, and one more – not in the least bit surprising – takeaway. It seems that whatever voice has already been granted – and enhanced – to the accredited NGOs (or in UN-speak “civil society”) is just not enough. Be sure to take a look at the section:
COLLABORATION AND PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
While Major Groups warmly welcomed the commitment of Rio+20’s paragraph 88(h) to “explore new mechanisms” to promote UNEP’s transparency and effective engagement of civil society, some developing countries expressed concern about the modalities for achieving this, and the implications for the intergovernmental character of its governing body. Participation in decision making, especially, was seen as the prerogative of states, including, for some, the ability to make written submissions on pending GC [Governing Council] decisions.
Major Groups expressed disappointment with what they saw as a conservative GC decision. Some lamented that the decision drew on only generalities from the eleven principles of stakeholder participation that the Major Groups had agreed on at the Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum that took place prior to the GC
Translation: Watch for more pressure tactics from Big Green’s high profile NGOs … no doubt coming soon to a monitor near you, courtesy of duly trained activist-tainted “journalists” (aided and abetted, I suspect, by a flurry of Press Releases and/or “papers” from the UNEP’s vast publication empire and its affiliates in Gleickland and/or facsimiles thereof).
Not to mention a (timely or coincidental?!) forthcoming paper in which, as blogger Jurriaan Maessen notes the authors (one of whom happens to be the notorious Paul Ehrlich) propose:
arousing the concept of cognitive dissonance in the minds of people in order to guide the herd towards “proenvironmental” citizenship.
[and very conveniently suggest]:
“Teams might be supported by permanent entities that maintain communication with policymakers; these will differ among nations but could be attached to the United Nations and its subsidiary bodies in the international context. One potential model is a national commitment of scientific talent in the service of United Nations agencies.”
“These teams could also be charged with anticipating crises and evaluating potential policy responses in advance, since detailed evaluation in the midst of a crisis may be problematic; such emergency preparedness would probably focus on the immediate effects of policies on behaviors rather than on changing social norms, because this is likely to be of greatest relevance in a crisis.”
YMMV, but the view from here is that it is long past time for those of us in the civilized world to insist that our governments obtain a “divorce” from the United Nations and all its subsidiary agencies and programs.
The fact is that the policies they have succeeded in engineering to date are [h/t Robin Guenier via discussion at Bishop Hill, (Feb 24, 2013 at 5:52 PM)]:
damaging, potentially disastrous and, in any case, pointless