WCEL Members Engage with Global Pact for the Environment

WCEL Members have played significant roles in advancing the Pact since the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 72/277 "Towards a Global Pact for the Environment." WCEL Members continue to actively engage in developing the Global Pact in numerous capacities. 

Cyriaque N. Sendashonga

The United Nations’ discussions on the Global Pact for the Environment are rapidly advancing. On 10 May 2018, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 72/277 “Towards a Global Pact for the Environment” and the 25 May 2018, the UN held a Meeting to Advance the Global Pact for the Environment that established a working group under the auspice of UN Environment. From the early stages and throughout this process, WCEL has collaborated on the Global Pact through its partners and members.  At the request of WCEL, the IUCN Council endorsed the Global Pact and reaffirmed IUCN’s convening role at the May 2018 Council Meeting.

UN Environment, a partner of WCEL, will provide secretariat services to the working group established by the UN General Assembly. An organizational meeting of the working group on the Pact is scheduled for 5-7 September in New York under the leadership of the two appointed Co-chairs, Mr. Francisco António Duarte Lopes, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Portugal to the UN and Ms. Amal Mudallali, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Lebanon to the UN. This meeting will agree on the modalities going forward and the number as well as duration of substantive meetings to be held by the working group.

On 17 July 2018, during the High Level Political Forum (HLPF), WCEL Member and International Council of Environmental Law (ICEL) Representative to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Dr. Victor Tafur, participated in Global Pact for the Environment: a tool in implementing the 2030 Agenda, hosted by the French Government.  He circulated a Note by former WCEL Chair and current ICEL Executive Governor, Professor Nicholas A. Robinson, on “Essential Principles of International law, The Pact and the U.N. 2030 Agenda.” At this forum,  Cyriaque N. Sendashonga Global Director, IUCN Policy and Programme Group, also participated, discussing the Global Pact as a tool for States in implementing the 2030 Agenda. This High Level Political Forum was broadcast on UN Television Network

On 10 June 2018, Nilufer Oral, member of the WCEL Steering Committee and the United Nations International Law Commission, organized a panel on the Global Pact for the Environment at the United Nations in Geneva. Yann Aguila, one of the leaders of the Global Pact Initiative and Chair of the Environmental Committee of the Club des Juristes, and Professor Makane Mbengue, University of Geneva Law School and a member of the Global Pact Group of Experts, together with Nilufer Oral, also a member of the Group of Experts, spoke to the 34 members of the International Law Commission. Yann Aguila gave a detailed overview of the background, purpose, and current status of the Global Pact following the adoption by 143 States of the United Nation General Assembly Resolution. Professor Mbengue explained the need for the Global Pact through several key international cases. Nilufer Oral provided a review of some of the key principles of the Global Pact. ILC Members asked questions after the session and expressed strong interest in the initiative. The prospects for the Global Pact and its principles of law were discussed also at a dinner convened by IUCN WCEL and ICEL, on 24 May 2018, honoring the ILC on its 70th anniversary, in New York City.

To provide further information on the major developments toward negotiations on the Global Pact, Teresa Parejo-Navajas, Professor of Law at Carlos III de Madrid University, Spain, Senior Policy Advisor to the SDSN,  and WCEL Member, wrote a paper, The Global Pact for the Environment: A Framework for the Consistent Realization of the Sustainable Development Goals.  WCEL will stay the forefront of Pact discussions, with its partners, and encourages all WCEL members to engage in this important global dialogue.

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