‘The Montevideo Programme V is a flagship programme for UNEP and our Member States to strengthen environmental rule of law across the globe,’ stated Ms. Inger Andersen, the Executive Director of UNEP, in her opening remarks during the Online Session of the First Global Meeting of National Focal Points under the Fifth Programme for the Development and Periodic Review of Environmental Law (Montevideo Programme V).

Over 200 national focal points and stakeholders joined forces during the three-day online session, held from 2-4 June 2021. The First Global Meeting of National Focal Points marked the official launch of UNEP’s Law and Environment Assistance Platform (LEAP) to promote information exchange and support the delivery of the Programme. Furthermore, it achieved three main outcomes:

  • Based on a survey shared with all national focal points in January, as well as the thematic, foundational, and enabling subprogrammes of the UNEP medium-term strategy for 2022-2025, the Secretariat outlined eight proposed priority areas for implementation, outlining ‘legal responses to address the air pollution crisis’ as an initial priority area. Delegations broadly supported and adopted this initial priority area, stressing its importance at national, regional, and international levels.
  • Additionally, national focal points designated fifteen representatives to serve on the first Steering Committee for Implementation, covering all five United Nations Regional Groups of Member States. The Steering Committee began its work at the closure of the first meeting and will continue doing so until the end of the Second Global Meeting.
  • Lastly, national focal points adopted the draft modalities of work of the Steering Committee. These include, inter alia, information on the term of office and vacancies, provisions regarding the meetings of the Steering Committee, and reporting requirements.

As highlighted by Mr. Arnold Kreilhuber, Acting Director of UNEP’s Law Division, ‘the international legal community has come together and took decisive steps to ensure that through the successful implementation of the Montevideo Environmental Law Programme, environmental rule of law is strengthened around the globe and that environmental law can deliver for people and the planet.’

The in-person session of the First Global Meeting of National Focal Points will be convened in 2022 at a date and location to be determined. Please do not hesitate to contact the Secretariat through LEAP’s online form should you have any questions or comments.

For more information about the event, including a summary report, please see the International Institute for Sustainable Development Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage.