#IFSAatUNEA Wrap-Up: Week 1

A weekly overview, part 1 of 2.

by Jonas Geschke

Today is Sunday, the 3rd of December. One week ago, Max and I arrived for the UNEA-3. What happened between then and now? Here’s an update.

On Monday and Tuesday (27th/28th Nov), the Global Major Groups and Stakeholder Forum (GMGSF) took place. During this Stakeholder Forum, people from international civil society met for discussions about environmental and pollution issues, as well as for breakout groups discussing the Global Major Groups’ statements for the UNEA. Here, Natalie attended both the Women and the Children & Youth major groups, I had a quick looking into the Science and Technology groups, and afterward– together with Max– attended the Children and Youth major group. Together with other delegates from Africa, Latin America, and Europe, we discussed how pollution affects children and youth and what we would like the ministers to consider during the UNEA-3 decision making. Unfortunately, the Children and Youth Major Group was not as efficient as it could have been, as the coordinator did only arrive on the second day of the Stakeholder Forum. (For the future, IFSA could better engage in UNEP and UNEA by providing coordination roles for the Children and Youth Global Major Group.)

A meeting of the Major Group on Children and Youth (YCMG) at the UNON headquarters.

Following the Stakeholder Forum, the Committee of Permanent Representatives held its pre-UNEA-meeting to discuss the draft resolutions for quicker decision making at the UNEA. The discussions were highly political (typical line-by-line and word-by-word discussions) and went on until late in the night.

Besides the Committee meeting, several side events took place for the participants of the Stakeholder Forum. Some of them targeted local grass-root problems regarding pollution and local development. Some of them targeted at educating the stakeholder delegates in how to most efficiently take part in UNEA (and policy processes generally). As such, a workshop by Mr. Felix Dodds was most interesting: “How to lobby in UNEP”. While most side events have been attended by a medium number of participants, this workshop was followed upon by the by far largest number of people (considering the side-events I have attended). Mr. Felix Dodds and Mr. Jan-Gustav Strandenaes, both UN Senior Advisors, talked about their experiences of engagement in UNEP and explained ways and methods how to plan and conduct lobbying. In the end, they presented “what to do” and “what not to do” in order to best communicate with political actors (such as ministers, ministers’ representatives, and high-level UNEP staff) and behave at international conferences.

Concluding the first week of UNEA, Max and I attended an excursion to the Amboseli National Park in Southern Kenya (just in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro). Amongst a long drive in a hot bus, great landscapes, and loads of animals, we got the chance to network with other delegates (eg. from the United Nations Association Canada, the German UN Youth Ambassadors, as well as some ministry representatives from Latvia, the Czech Republic, and Ecuador).

So now it is Sunday, the 3rd of December. Today, the Science-Policy-Business Forum is scheduled, with a very interesting side event on forests and life on land. We will keep you updated!

Best greetings, Jonas

The official profile of IFSA. The International Forestry Students' Association is a non political, non religious and non for profit organization that brings forestry students from all over the world in a wide spectrum of activities.

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