From the 2nd till the 4th of June, the First Global Meeting of National Focal Points took place in the virtual format. It was organized by the United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) under the Fifth Programme for the Development and Periodic Review of Environmental Law (Montevideo Programme-V): Delivering for People and the Planet. Lake Baikal Foundation was invited to the meeting as an accredited organization with observer status at the UN Environment Assembly.
Montevideo Programme-V is an intergovernmental programme designed to guide the identification and implementation of priority actions in the field of environmental law to be undertaken by the UNEP, in collaboration with other relevant actors for the decade beginning in 2020. In order to develop effective and inclusive environmental law, the Montevideo Programme-V includes activities aimed at creating practical guidelines, tools, innovative approaches and resources, at engaging civil society and ensuring access to justice in environmental matters, as well as building partnerships in this area.
At the First Global Meeting of National Focal Points, the participants discussed the implementation of the Montevideo Programme-V. Thus, the national coordinators identified a priority area for the implementation of the Programme which is the regulation of air pollution as part of the general direction «Pollution». In the coming years, a global effort will be made to review and disseminate best legal practices and solutions in this area. In addition, national focal points will join forces to review and develop the law on addressing climate change and reducing biodiversity. According to the UNEP medium-term strategy for 2022-2025, climate change, reducing biodiversity, and environmental pollution form the «three planetary crises» that put humanity at risk of irreversible changes in its relationship with the natural world. That is why the activities of the Montevideo Programme-V will be aimed at solving these global problems, with an emphasis on air pollution from the point of view of legal regulation.
In the multilateral discussions, many national coordinators agreed that the involvement of civil society and access to information and justice are key challenges for the implementation of the Montevideo Programme-V. Much attention was also paid to the importance and promotion of partnerships in the field of environmental law, as it was repeatedly stated by representatives of Member States and Co-Chair of the First Global Meeting of National Coordinators Mr. Tim Epp.
Finally, the UNEP Legal and Environmental Assistance Platform (UNEP-LEAP), which is the digital backbone of the Montevideo Programme-V, was presented at the meeting. With this platform, stakeholders are able to use knowledge bases and view country profiles to access up-to-date environmental news, legal norms and methodological materials, as well as resources on environmental law.
Lake Baikal Foundation expresses its gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the global meeting on the review and modernization of environmental law.