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European Commission


Brussels, 25 February 2013

Statement by Commissioner Potočnik on the establishment of a UN Environment Assembly

"I welcome the outcome of the 27th UNEP Governing Council / Global Ministerial Forum held in Nairobi from 18th to 22nd February, particularly the establishment of a United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA).

This was the first Governing Council with universal membership, focussing on the implementation of the outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference, in particular on the operationalization of the strengthening and upgrading of UNEP decided in Rio.

The establishment of UNEA, subject to approval by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), is an important step which implements decisions taken at Rio+20 and will lead to a stronger UN environmental body with universal membership. Being attached directly to the UNGA will mean environmental considerations are better integrated into the UN system.

UNEA's high level segment will allow Ministers to make strategic and politically important decisions. This will lead to better political accountability and a stronger funding base of UNEA. 

The new governance structure will strengthen the preparation of decisions, also allowing capitals and stakeholders to participate and contribute. The structure will lead to better political leadership, improved efficiency and accountability.

It is in the EU's interest and that of our planet to see UNEP succeed in this new setting and I will do what I can to contribute to this happening.

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