36 Envtl. Pol'y & L. 1 (2006)

handle is hein.journals/envpola36 and id is 1 raw text is: 







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   The 19' special session of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
and the Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GMEF) took place at the beginning of February 2006. Due
to the extensive UN/GA report in this issue, there was not enough space for an in-depth report on the UNEP
meeting, which will follow in the next issue.
   Two very remarkable things occurred at the UNEP/GMEF meeting: The first was that over 120 ministers
of the environment participated in the meeting, something that has never happened before. The second was
that this was the last time that Prof Klaus Thpfer would act as UNEP's Executive Director at the Governing
Council. Both facts had a strong impact on the whole proceedings. Not only in the final plenary, but also
during the conference, there was not one delegation that did not praise Klaus Tipfer's achievements but there
is a general feeling of uncertainty on what will follow.



   Another development within the UN system was the announcement this month by Kofi Annan of the forma-
tion of a high-level panel to explore how the UN system could work more coherently and effectively in the
areas of development, humanitarian assistance and the environment. This action follows the call in the Out-
come  Document adopted at the 2005 World Summit for the UN Secretary-General to commission work on
how to improve United Nations system-wide coherence across the various areas mentioned. The 15-member
panel is expected to complete its work by mid-2006, to allow for presentation of its recommendations to the
UN  General Assembly in September 2006.



   We  are glad to report that with the ratification in January by Hungary, the Carpathian Convention has
now come  into force. The Slovak Republic, Ukraine and the Czech Republic had previously ratified. UNEP
has played a key role in developing the Convention, which is aimed at balancing the economic needs of the
people with the need to conserve the environment, and also covers Poland, Romania and Serbia and Monte-
negro.



   Readers may have been following the dispute in the US media on the story that the politically appointed
public affairs people at NASA HQ were rejecting  the interpretation of climate data gathered by scientists
working for NASA. The main scientist involved, Jim Hansen, had noted in a well-received presentation that,
given the newest data on global warming, there was perhaps only another 10-year window of opportunity to
tackle rising growth rates of carbon dioxide before the planet would be committed to a dangerous  anthro-
pogenic climate change. It is the same scientific problem world-wide. But the apparent desire of some vested
interests to limit the flow of climate information is probably counter-productive and will only succeed in
alienating those scientists who are at the forefront of the fight against global warming.

                                                                                 28 February 2006

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