Day 1: Paulina and Cait reporting
Today, the Global Civil Society Forum (GCSF) began in Nairobi. Session 1 presented the two key themes of the Governing Council, as well as different opportunities for civil society to get involved at the GC25/GMEF.
The GC/GMEF will take place from Monday to Friday. The Ministers of Environment will have 2 sessions every day, one in the morning and one if the afternoon, for ministerial consultations. At the same time the Committee of the Whole will session to discuss the decisions to make. Originally only 3 representatives of the civil society and 3 alternates were going to be in these sessions. However, in response to a request from members of the civil society, UNEP arranged the presence of 9 major group representatives and 9 alternates. Therefore we (children and youth) will have an assured seat and an alternate in all these sessions.
In the second session, major groups were called on to partner with different stakeholders. The Tunza Youth Strategy was mentioned as an example here, which should be supported by all major groups. Also the objectives for enhancing the role of Major Groups and Stakeholders in the implementation of UNEP's 2010-2011 Programme of Work were set out by Hannah Stoddart from the Stakeholders Forum for Our Common Future:
* To assess the strategic and institutional pre-requisites (including necessary tools, processes and resources) and recommend a framework for enhancing the role of major groups and stakeholders in implementing the POW2010-11
* To identify the kinds of partnerships with major groups and stakeholders that will assist in implementing the programme of work
* To highlight examples of successful partnerships with major groups and stakeholders in order to support the above
* To map major groups organizations that are accredited to UNEP according to the six thematic priority areas
* Identifying role of major groups and stakeholders branch where appropriate
The last meeting of the afternoon featured an open dialogue with Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP. Dr. Steiner laid out five indicators of succession at the Governing Council meeting.
1. Success of the Mercury Group
2. Establishment of a mandate and timeline for reaching a decision on weather an IPCC platform for biodiversity is needed – timeline for reaching answers
3. Program of Work and budget
4. Green Economy issues
5. International Environmental Governance
Dr. Steiner also emphasized the need for civil society to push hard for change, in order to help governments to make small steps. He pointed out that "this is just one moment in a political process," and spoke to the importance to be opportunistic, articulate avenues for change while looking for the best times for transformative decisions. He affirmed that "we are on the verge of a very interesting political moment".
In the question and answer session, Anne Walraven, after wishing Dr. Steiner a happy Valentine’s day <3, express our need for UNEP, and especially Dr. Steiner, to encourage governments to include official youth representatives in their national delegations. He didn’t have time to answer our question so we had to catch up with him after the session. We had a short conversation and he told us that UNEP cannot decide for the governments who they take in their official delegations, but he was encouraging and advised us to bring the issue up in the plenary sessions.