United Nations

A/53/463


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

6 October 1998

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH




                                                       A/53/463
       
                                                       Original: English

       
General Assembly       
Fifty-third session
Agenda item 30
United Nations reform: measures and proposals


                    Environment and human settlements


                     Report of the Secretary-General


Contents         

                                                          Paragraphs   Page

  I.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    1-5        3

 II.  United Nations Task Force on Environment and Human
      Settlements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    6-10       3

III.  Recommendations for action at the Secretariat level    11-32       4

      A.  Inter-agency coordination. . . . . . . . . . . .     11        4

      B.  Linkages among and support to environmental and
          environment-related conventions. . . . . . . . .   12-14       5

      C.  United Nations Environment Programme, United
          Nations Centre for Human Settlements and United 
          Nations Office at Nairobi. . . . . . . . . . . .   15-20       5

      D.  Information, monitoring, assessment and early
          warning. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   21-23       6

      E.  Intergovernmental forums . . . . . . . . . . . .   24-28       6

      F.  Involvement of major groups. . . . . . . . . . .   29-30       7

      G.  Future initiatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   31-32       7

 IV.  Recommendations for action by intergovernmental 
      bodies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   33-51       8

      A.  Linkages among and support to environmental and
          environment-related conventions. . . . . . . . .   36-37       8


      B.  Intergovernmental forums . . . . . . . . . . . .   38-46       8

      C.  Involvement of major groups. . . . . . . . . . .   47-51       9

  V.  Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   52-53      10

Annex

      Report of the United Nations Task Force on Environment 
      and Human Settlements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    11    

 

        I.     Introduction


1.   The report of the Secretary-General entitled
"Renewing the United Nations: a programme for reform"
(A/51/950) was the result of a thorough review of the
activities of the United Nations with the objective of
identifying ways in which the United Nations could more
effectively and efficiently meet the challenges that lie ahead
as we enter the new century and a new millennium. The
report noted, however, that reform is not an event but a
process, and that although the proposals made are important
for the ways in which they would produce a stronger, more
resilient and more flexible United Nations in the short term,
they are also important for the general direction they would
impart for the future evolution of the Organization.

2.   An important aspect of the work of the Organization
that was addressed by the report was the area of
"Environment, habitat and sustainable development". The
report reviewed the experience and achievements of the
United Nations in this area, and noted that of all the
challenges facing the world community in the next century,
none will be more formidable or pervasive as the attainment
of a sustainable equilibrium between economic growth,
poverty reduction, social equity and the protection of the
Earth's resources, common and life-support systems. The
report also noted that the General Assembly, at its
nineteenth special session, had emphasized the difficulties
and divisions that continue to impede progress towards
agreement on the cooperative measures required to deal
with these issues and to ensure enforcement of existing
agreements.

3.   The report further reviewed developments since the
United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development (UNCED), including the proliferation of new
actors in the field and their expanding participation in
United Nations forums; the emergence of the Commission
on Sustainable Development as an important policy forum;
augmented environmental capacities in United Nations
organizations; the transition to a predominantly urban
world; and the disappointing response to the needs of
developing countries for new and additional resources. The
report concluded that this experience demonstrated the need
for a more integrated systemic approach to policies and
programmes throughout the range of United Nations
activities in the economic and social field through
mainstreaming the Organization's commitment to
sustainable development. This would require closer
cooperation and interaction between the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations
Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), and between both
entities and other departments, funds and programmes in the
economic, social and development areas.

4.   The report reaffirmed the role of UNEP as the
environmental voice of the United Nations, and that high
priority must be given to according it the status, strength
and access to resources it required to function as the
environmental agency of the world community, as
confirmed by the Nairobi Declaration adopted by the
nineteenth session of the UNEP Governing Council. The
report emphasized the need to strengthen UNEP's role as
the focal point for harmonization and coordination of
environment-related activities, and noted that the 
Secretary-General intended to lend his full support to that 
process. It was considered timely to take immediate steps 
to strengthen UNEP and Habitat, while considering the fundamental
changes that might be required to clarify and focus their
structures and functions within a reformed United Nations
and to revitalize political and financial support for them.

5.   In order to initiate this process, action 12 of the
Report provided that the Secretary-General, in consultation
with Governments, the Executive Director of UNEP and the
Executive Director of Habitat, would develop new measures
for strengthening and restructuring the two organizations,
based on General Assembly resolution 2997 (XXVII) and
32/162, and taking into account the decisions and
recommendations of the Governing Council of UNEP and
the Commission on Human Settlements, and would make
recommendations to the General Assembly at its fifty-third
session.


       II.     United Nations Task Force on 
               Environment and Human Settlements


6.   In order to initiate the process of preparing
recommendations for the fifty-third session of the General
Assembly, the Secretary-General established the Task Force
on Environment and Human Settlements under the
chairmanship of the Executive Director of UNEP. The Task
Force was composed of 21 eminent persons, including
ministers, senior government officials, senior United
Nations officials and non-governmental organizations
representatives. Its terms of reference included a review of
current structures and arrangements through which
environmental activities are carried out within the United
Nations to evaluate the efficacy of those arrangements and
make recommendations for such changes and improvements
required to optimize the work and effectiveness of the
United Nations environmental work, as well as the work of
UNEP as the leading environmental organization. The
proposals were to be prepared for the consideration of the
Secretary-General and subsequent submission to the
General Assembly.

7.   The Task Force met four times, and delivered its
report to the Secretary-General on 15 June 1998; the report
of the Task Force, including its composition and terms of
reference, is contained in the annex.

8.   The recommendations of the Task Force report
represent the completion of another important step in the
overall reform of the United Nations, as well as the
beginning of a process designed to equip the United Nations
to concretely address the pressing environmental and
sustainable development problems currently facing the
international community. In making its recommendations,
the Task Force proceeded on a commonly shared conviction
that the institutional fragmentation and loss of policy
coherence as a result of the number of separate
environment-related intergovernmental processes had
resulted in a loss of effectiveness in the work of the United
Nations in the area of environment and human settlements.
The Task Force examined the existing organizational
arrangements within the United Nations to determine how
they might be changed to better meet international
environmental and human settlements challenges, and how
existing United Nations structures and arrangements could
be optimally redesigned to deal with the problems that will
concern the international community in the coming decades.
The Task Force derived its overall guidance from the
conviction of the Secretary-General, as expressed in his
1997 reform report, that the United Nations must take the
lead in building a new international system through greater
unity of purpose, greater coherence of efforts, and greater
agility in responding to an increasingly dynamic and
complex world.

9.   The main findings of the Task Force are reflected in
24 recommendations contained in seven sections on:

               (a)     Inter-agency linkages;

               (b)     Linkages among and support to environmental
and environment-related conventions;

               (c)     UNEP, Habitat and the United Nations Office
at Nairobi;

               (d)     Information, monitoring, assessment and early warning;

               (e)     Intergovernmental forums;

               (f)     Involvement of major groups;

               (g)     Future initiatives.

10.  The recommendations are designed to enhance
coordinated action by the United Nations and begin the
process of improving overall policy coherence, and
represent the sum of measures that, in the view of the Task
Force, must be taken to revitalize the work of the United
Nations in the environment and human settlements in the
short term. Similar to the approach of the initial proposals
of the Secretary-General on reform, the recommendations
require decisions and measures to be taken at different
levels, i.e., both at the Secretariat level and at the
intergovernmental level. The recommendations are spelled
out in detail, together with their underlying rationale, in the
report of the Task Force (see annex). However, they are
summarized briefly below, clustered according to the level
at which the decisions have to be taken.



      III.     Recommendations for action at the
               Secretariat level


        A.     Inter-agency coordination


11.  Recommendation 1 of the Task Force relates to
improved inter-agency coordination. In response to the
perceived need for effective coordination, the Task Force
recommended that the Secretary-General establish an
environmental management group under the chairmanship
of the Executive Director of UNEP. The group would adopt
a problem-solving, results oriented approach that would
enable United Nations bodies and their partners to share
information, consult on proposed new initiatives and
contribute to a planning framework and develop agreed
priorities and their respective roles in the implementation
of those priorities in order to achieve a more rational and
cost-effective use of their resources. It would also provide
a forum and a mechanism to enhance complementarity
between the analytical and normative activities of UNEP
with the operational role of the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP). As such, the group
would follow the "issue management" approach outlined by
the Secretary-General in his reform report. The group would
be supported by Secretariat arrangements that would draw
on the existing substantive capacity of UNEP and Habitat.
The reports of the group could be made available to relevant
intergovernmental bodies to enhance intergovernmental
policy coherence. The Task Force recommended that
following the conclusion of the current General Assembly
session, the Secretary-General consult with members of
ACC and decide on the establishment of the group.


        B.     Linkages among and support to environmental 
               and environment-related conventions


12.  A series of actions are recommended under
recommendation 2 of the Task Force that have implications
both at the secretariat and intergovernmental levels for
UNEP, and are consistent with the mandate of UNEP as
contained in relevant General Assembly resolutions and
UNEP Governing Council decisions.

13.  In pursuance of these recommendations, the Executive
Director of UNEP would take action to:

               (a)     Base UNEP support to global and regional
conventions on its capacities for information, monitoring
and assessment, which should also be strengthened
(recommendation 2 (a));

               (b)     Continue to sponsor joint meetings of heads of
convention secretariats to ensure that the work programmes
established by conferences of parties to conventions and the
substantive support provided by UNEP are complementary,
fill gaps and take advantage of synergy (recommendation
2 (b)).

14.  The Task Force also recommended that the
Secretary-General, through the Executive Director of UNEP, invite
Governments and conferences of parties to consider the
implications of operational inefficiencies and costs arising
from the geographical dispersion of convention secretariats
and ways of overcoming this. Further consultations among
the relevant United Nations entities will be required to
develop the modalities for the implementation of this
recommendation, and should result in specific proposals
being made to the relevant intergovernmental bodies for
their consideration (recommendation 2 (d)).


        C.     United Nations Environment Programme,
               United Nations Centre for Human
               Settlements and United Nations Office
               at Nairobi


15.  The Task Force recognized and emphasized the
central importance of stabilizing and strengthening the
Nairobi location of the United Nations. In its
recommendations 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, which are intended for
action by the Secretary-General and the Executive Director
of UNEP and of Habitat, the Task Force has addressed,
inter alia, security, the strengthening of the United Nations
Office at Nairobi, the exploitation of the synergy deriving
from the co-location of UNEP and Habitat, and the
development of a financial strategy.

16.  Although several of these measures can be
implemented immediately, others will require further
consultation with Governments or the presentation of further
proposals to intergovernmental bodies. Action that can be
taken immediately involves the implementation of
recommendations 3, 4, 5 and 6. In this regard, the 
Secretary-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi 
will commence a consultative process with the Government of
Kenya with a view to improving physical security, as well
as recommending to heads of United Nations organizations
with representation at Nairobi that they relocate their offices
to the United Nations compound.

17.  With respect to recommendation 5, steps have already
been taken for the strengthening of the United Nations
Office at Nairobi to provide common administrative
services to both UNEP and Habitat. The provision of
additional regular budget resources, as well as the
possibility of relieving UNEP and Habitat of paying rent,
is currently under positive consideration by the Secretary-General, in
particular in the context of the 2000 2001
biennial budget.

18.  The Secretary-General has already designated the
current Executive Director of UNEP as Director-General
of the United Nations Office at Nairobi, as well as acting
Executive Director of Habitat, thus partially implementing
recommendation 6. Further consideration will be given to
the full implementation of this recommendation by the
Secretary-General.

19.  In recommendation 7, the Task Force proposes that
UNEP and Habitat derive greater benefit from their common
location in terms of administrative efficiency and
programmatic synergy. It recommends that UNON be
utilized to unify the administrative services of the two
organizations; that common support services for
information, press and library facilities be established, that
the planning and implementation of the two programmes be
more tightly linked given their complementarity; and that
the possibility of co-locating regional offices be assessed.
These recommendations constitute practical measures that
can be undertaken in the short term by the Executive
Director of UNEP and Habitat to make significant
economies and enhance synergy. Action taken will be
notified to the UNEP Governing Council and the
Commission on Human Settlements, while also indicating
the means through which the respective oversight and policy
guidance roles of the two governing bodies will be
maintained.

20.  In view of the urgent need to ensure a sound financial
basis for both organizations, proposals for a financial
strategy will also be presented to the governing bodies of
the two organizations consistent with recommendation 8.


        D.     Information, monitoring, assessment and
               early warning


21.  Both organizations carry important responsibilities
related to the monitoring and assessment of critical
developments in their respective fields of expertise, as well
as the responsibility to provide relevant and useful
information for decision makers in developing countries.
In addition, both must be equipped to notify Governments
at an early stage of negative or harmful developments in
their respective fields that require either preventive or
remedial action to be taken by the international community.

22.  The Task Force recognized the central importance of
strengthening and focusing the capabilities of the two
organizations to play an important role in servicing the
information requirements of member countries. In
recommendations 9 and 10, a series of measures are
proposed to be carried out by the secretariats of the two
organizations. The recommendations are consistent with
decisions and recommendations made in the respective
governing bodies of UNEP and Habitat, as well as by the
General Assembly and the United Nations Conference on
Human Settlements (Habitat II), and comprise the following
complementary measures:

               (a)     High priority should be given to developing
capacity in the field of information, monitoring and
assessment and serving as an "environment guardian" in
providing the necessary information to enable the sound
stewardship of the global environment by the international
community;

               (b)     The Earthwatch system should be reviewed and
a determination made of the steps required to transform it
into an effective, accessible, well advertised, science-based
system capable of meeting the needs of decision makers;

               (c)     Intensive networking and cooperation should be
undertaken with national and international partner
institutions to this end;

               (d)     Problems, action- and result-oriented
environment and human settlements indicators for
sustainable development should be elaborated;

               (e)     Capacity should be strengthened and developed
to serve as a clearing house for data and information,
including information from non-governmental organizations
and other grass-roots sources;

               (f)     A system of information, monitoring and
assessment should be designed and maintained so as to
maximize its ability to provide early warning of
emergencies;

               (g)     UNEP should consider establishing a capability
to identify potential environmental and related conflicts, and
to provide information and analysis for the development of
preventive measures.

23.  All the above recommendations are complementary
to existing intergovernmental guidance emanating from the
UNEP Governing Council, the Commission on Human
Settlements and Habitat II. In the case of UNEP in
particular, the Executive Director will be preparing a report
for the consideration of the Governing Council of UNEP at
its forthcoming session that will elaborate his proposals
further in the context of the biennial work programme of
UNEP for 2000 2001.


        E.     Intergovernmental forums


24.  The recommendations made by the Task Force in
relation to intergovernmental forums have been formulated
in direct response to the perception of institutional
fragmentation and loss of policy coherence with the growth
in the number of separate environment-related
intergovernmental processes, and they thus constitute a
comprehensive set of measures intended to begin the
process of regaining policy coherence in the field of the
environment and human settlements.

25.  The proposed measures are contained in
recommendations 11 to 17 and are primarily directed to
intergovernmental bodies. Measures calling for action at the
secretariat level are complementary, and would underpin
intergovernmental action.

26.  In recognition of the importance of integrating
regional perspectives into the global agenda,
recommendation 12 proposes that UNEP regional offices
assist Governments in the regions in defining regional
priorities reflecting regional needs and promoting their
integration in the global agenda. It also proposes that in the
implementation of regional priorities, UNEP involve
specialized agencies and other institutions, including
financial institutions. These proposed measures are
consistent with the evolving role of regional offices of
UNEP and the Executive Director will further elaborate on
the implementation of this recommendation at the next
session of the UNEP Governing Council.

27.  With respect to Habitat, recommendation 15 (a)
proposes that the Executive Director consider ways to build
the capacity of the Habitat Centre to implement the Habitat
Agenda, in particular by strengthening the normative core
activities of Habitat and developing it into a well financed
centre of excellence. The implementation of this resolution
is central to the currently ongoing development of proposals
for the reform and restructuring of Habitat being undertaken
by the Executive Director. Concrete proposals and report
on progress in this respect will be provided to the next
session of the Commission on Human Settlements.

28.  The Task Force also noted the importance of the
effective use of Global Environment Facility (GEF)
resources, and proposed in recommendation 17 that
collaboration between the three GEF implementing agencies
be intensified. This recommendation will be conveyed to
the concerned agencies, and will inform the further
development of the UNEP/GEF strategy.


        F.     Involvement of major groups


29.  The Task Force recognized the global trends that
imply a growing role for elements outside Governments in
actions and decisions affecting environment and human
settlements, including the activities of the United Nations
system. Agenda 21 was of particular importance in this
regard. The Task Force reviewed the experience of
international processes, and made a series of proposals in
recommendations 18 to 23 at both the intergovernmental
and secretariat levels with the intention of facilitating a
coherent approach to the need to constructively engage 
non-governmental organizations and civil society in the work of
the United Nations.

30.  Recommendations 19, 21, 22 and 23 contain the
following proposals for action by the secretariat:

               (a)     UNEP and Habitat should examine ways of
constructively engaging business and industry in their work.
This is already an ongoing process in both organizations,
and will be strengthened within guidelines established by
the respective governing bodies;

               (b)     UNEP and Habitat, with UNDP, should identify
and make provision to meet the needs of southern non-governmental
organizations for capacity-building, keeping
in mind the importance of networking. Inter-agency
consultations are proposed on this issue, among others, to
develop a cooperative approach;

               (c)     UNEP and Habitat should establish a specialized
unit to provide non-governmental organizations with
necessary information, in collaboration with UNDP, and to
ensure that the capacities and contributions of non-governmental 
organizations are utilized. The Executive
Director is currently considering modalities for the
implementation of this recommendation in the context of
the reorganization of Habitat and UNEP;

               (d)     Non-governmental organizations should improve
collaboration amongst themselves to contribute effectively
to the work of UNEP and Habitat, and establish focal points
for this purpose;

               (e)     United Nations agencies involved in
environment and human settlements should take steps to
enable major groups to participate in their activities and
meetings. The Secretary-General, through the Executive
Director, will bring this recommendation to the attention of
the relevant agencies;

               (f)     UNEP and Habitat should strengthen their
systems of receiving and responding to information from
non-governmental organizations, especially on emerging
problems, and encourage non-governmental organizations
to provide information on new problems.


        G.     Future initiatives


31.  The Task Force, in concluding its work, also
considered a number of forward-looking proposals designed
to project the process initiated by its report more into the
future. On recommendation 24, the Task Force made a
number of proposals, including:

               (a)     The Executive Director of UNEP would
undertake wide-ranging consultations in preparation for the
next session of the UNEP Governing Council;

               (b)     These consultations would culminate in a two-day
"environment forum" immediately before the next
session of the Council, and would include wide
representation from Governments and the non-governmental
sector;

               (c)     The Commission on Human Settlements would
provide forward-looking perspectives as part of this
process, which would also contribute to the preparations for
the five-year review of the Habitat Agenda in the year 2001.

32.  The Executive Director is currently reviewing
modalities for how this process of preparation both for the
Governing Council and the Commission on Human
Settlements may best be organized, and will be consulting
Governments through the Committees of Permanent
Representatives of UNEP and Habitat on this issue.


       IV.     Recommendations for action by
               intergovernmental bodies


33.  In addition to the recommendations for action at the
level of the respective secretariats of the United Nations,
the Task Force recommended a number of actions to be
taken by various intergovernmental bodies. Taken together,
it was the view of the Task Force that the totality of its
report provided a comprehensive approach to commencing
the required reform in the area of environment and human
settlements. The actions proposed at the intergovernmental
level are an essential component of the overall reform
package, and are directly related to the major concern of the
Task Force in terms of enhancing the policy coherence and
coordinated action by the United Nations system in the field
of environment and human settlements.

34.  The recommendations requiring intergovernmental
action are reviewed briefly below, together with an
indication of the appropriate intergovernmental body to
which the recommendation is addressed. The Secretary-General 
supports the recommendations of the Task Force,
and considers that their implementation will go a long way
in enhancing policy coherence and coordination within the
United Nations system.

35.  Recommendations for action by intergovernmental
bodies are made primarily with regard to environmental and
environment-related conventions, intergovernmental forums
and involvement of major groups, and are outlined below.


        A.     Linkages among and support to
               environmental and environment-
               related conventions


36.  In addition to the various recommendations on which
action will be taken by the Secretary-General and the
Executive Director and that will lead to proposals to be
reviewed at the intergovernmental level, the Task Force
(recommendation 2 (c)) proposed that the President of the
UNEP Governing Council be invited to consult the
presidents of the conferences of parties of selected
conventions on arrangements for periodic meetings to
address cross-cutting issues arising from the various
conventions. The Executive Director of UNEP and the
heads of the respective convention secretariats would
organize and participate in these meetings, the results of
which would be brought to the attention of the UNEP
Governing Council and respective conferences of parties.

37.  The implementation of this recommendation would
be consistent with the mandate of UNEP arising from the
nineteenth special session of the General Assembly, and
would also facilitate the review of progress achieved by the
conventions, as indicated in Assembly decision 52/445 of
18 December 1997.


        B.     Intergovernmental forums


38.  Most of the recommendations of the Task Force in this
area are intended for action by intergovernmental bodies,
and constitute a comprehensive series of measures designed
to enhance coherent and coordinated action at the
intergovernmental level on environment and human
settlements issues throughout the United Nations system.

39.  The proposals include general recommendations to
Governments, as well as specific measures to be taken by
the General Assembly, the UNEP Governing Council, the
Commission on Human Settlements and the Committee of
Permanent Representatives to UNEP as a formal subsidiary
body of the UNEP Governing Council.

40.  Recommendation 11 is rooted in the conviction of the
Task Force that Governments must provide consistent
guidance to the different intergovernmental organizations
in the United Nations system, and recommends that
Governments make additional efforts to achieve consistency
of national positions in different intergovernmental forums.
In this regard, an effective environmental management
group mechanism would be invaluable in providing
coordinated overviews of activities, plans and policy
approaches in various issue areas by concerned United
Nations agencies. Modalities for making relevant
information from the environmental management group
available to intergovernmental bodies will be defined as the
group is established.

41.  Recommendation 13 proposes significant and
important institutional adjustments designed to begin to
overcome the fragmented approach to intergovernmental
policy-making and provide a forum in which high-level
debate on global issues is informed by a comprehensive
approach to the international environmental agenda.

42.  The Task Force (recommendation 13 (a)) proposes
that an annual, ministerial-level, global environmental
forum be instituted with a number of important functions.
It also proposes that regular biennial sessions of the UNEP
Governing Council constitute that forum in the years that
it meets, and that in alternate years the forum should take
the form of a special session of the Governing Council
meeting in different regions of the world and including
regional issues on its agenda. The Governing Council of
UNEP is a subsidiary body of the General Assembly, and
the Secretary-General recommends that action on this
proposal be taken by the Assembly at its current session.

43.  Recommendation 13 (b) makes a number of very
useful recommendations on future agendas of the Governing
Council and the structuring and timing of its meetings to
enhance coordination with the Commission on Sustainable
Development and the conferences of parties of
environmental and environment-related conventions. The
Executive Director will provide concrete modalities for the
consideration of the UNEP Governing Council at its next
session for the implementation of these proposals.

44.  Recommendation 13 (c) contains an important
proposal with significant institutional implications that
require the action of the General Assembly at its current
session. The Task Force proposes that the membership of
the UNEP Governing Council be made universal. The
recommendation is made in the context of the increasing
importance of global environmental issues that touch on all
countries with significant implications for them, and the
need for a coordinated policy to those problems and wide
participation in those discussions by member countries. This
would be consistent with the mandate of UNEP as contained
in General Assembly resolution 2997 (XXVII), and would
further enhance the coordinating authority of the Council
as envisaged by the General Assembly with regard to the
development of international environmental policy, which
is currently made in a fragmented manner.

45.  In recommendation 14, in order to further streamline
the functioning of intergovernmental oversight, the Task
Force proposes that matters relating to the programme,
budget and operations of UNEP and Habitat be reviewed
by their respective Committees of Permanent
Representatives. In this regard and in the light of the
recommendation to establish an annual ministerial forum,
the future role of the UNEP High-Level Committee of
Ministers and Officials should be considered. The Executive
Director will provide a number of options to the Governing
Council at its next session in the light of the decisions of the
Assembly at its fifty-third session.

46.  In support of its recommendation to the Executive
Director to build the capacity of Habitat to implement the
Habitat Agenda (recommendation 15 (a)) the Task Force
proposes in recommendation 15 (b) that the Commission on
Human Settlements pay particular attention to its role in
monitoring the implementation of the Agenda and take steps
to prepare for the review of the Agenda in 2001. The
Executive Director will present proposals on these issues
to the Commission at its next session, taking into account
the outcome of the fifty-third session of the General
Assembly. In line with the importance that the Task Force
attached to the effective use of GEF resources, it is
proposed in recommendation 16 that UNEP's role in
providing environmental advocacy, analysis and advice in
shaping GEF priorities and programmes be strengthened
consistent with UNEP's envisaged role in the GEF
instrument and as the lead agency in the United Nations
system for environment. Specific proposals in this regard
will be presented to the next session of the Governing
Council by the Executive Director, and the Council will also
be invited to make its recommendations to the GEF
Assembly on the strengthened role of UNEP.


        C.     Involvement of major groups


47.  Several recommendations were made by the Task
Force on the involvement of major groups that require
action at the intergovernmental level, which would be
augmented by secretariat actions described above.

48.  In recognition of the positive experience of Habitat
II at Istanbul, the Task Force proposes that the Commission
on Human Settlements consider the establishment of a
special status for local authorities. Proposals in this regard
will be put before the Commission at its next session by the
Executive Director.

49.  In recommendation 18 (b), it was also proposed that
structured meetings of major groups be organized in
conjunction with meetings of the Commission on Human
Settlements and the UNEP Governing Council, and that
representatives of major groups be accorded the opportunity
to formally present their views to these bodies.

50.  Recommendation 18 (c) recognizes the valuable
experience gained with respect to major groups in the
Commission on Sustainable Development process, and
proposes that all United Nations agencies encourage
participation by major groups, and that the Secretary-General 
issue general guidelines on these matters. This
matter will be considered further in the context of the
deliberations of ACC on relations with civil society,
including the question of preparation of guidelines.



51.  Finally, in recommendation 20 it is recommended that
the accreditation process of the Economic and Social
Council and other agencies dealing with environment and
human settlements be speeded up. This recommendation
will be conveyed to the relevant bodies by the Secretary-General.


        V.     Conclusion


52.  It is the view of the Secretary-General that the report
of the United Nations Task Force on Environment and
Human Settlements constitutes an important step, both in
the overall process of United Nations reform and in
undertaking the urgent adjustments required in the
international system to tackle the pervasive and serious
threats to the global environment and decisively move the
process of urbanization in a sustainable direction.

53.  This is, however, the beginning of a process. The
positive consideration of these recommendations by the
General Assembly will allow the commencement of a
process that can bring substantial gains to the international
community in future and allow it to have institutions at its
service that are capable of addressing the immense
challenges of the future.


                             Annex

    Report of the United Nations Task Force on Environment and
                       Human Settlements


Contents         

                                                       Paragraphs   Page

  I.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    1-3         12

 II.  Historical background. . . . . . . . . . . . . .    4-15        12

III.  Needs and responses. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   16-64        14

      A.  Inter-agency linkages. . . . . . . . . . . .   19-28        14

      B.  Linkages among and support to environmental 
          and environment-related conventions. . . . .   29-31        15

      C.  UNEP, Habitat and the United Nations Office 
          at Nairobi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   32-35        17

      D.  Information, monitoring, assessment and early
          warning. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   36-41        18

      E.  Intergovernmental forums . . . . . . . . . .   42-52        19

      F.  Involvement of major groups. . . . . . . . .   53-60        22

      G.  Possible role of a reconstituted United Nations
          Trusteeship Council. . . . . . . . . . . . .   61-64        24


Appendices

  I.  Membership of the Task Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    26

 II.  Terms of reference of the Task Force . . . . . . . . . . . .    28


        I.     Introduction


1.   The Secretary-General, in his report entitled
"Renewing the United Nations: a programme for reform"
(A/51/950), recognized the need for a more integrated,
systemic approach to policies and programmes throughout
the whole range of United Nations activities in the
economic, social, and development fields. As part of this
effort, he informed the General Assembly that he would, in
consultation with Governments and the heads of the United
Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United
Nations Centre on Human Settlements (Habitat), develop
new measures for strengthening and restructuring those two
organizations, based on General Assembly resolutions 2997
(XXVII) and 32/162 and taking into account decisions and
recommendations of the Governing Council of UNEP and
the Commission on Human Settlements. He committed
himself to making recommendations to the General
Assembly at its fifty-third session, in 1998.

2.   To assist him in this respect, in 1998 the Secretary-General
constituted a Task Force composed of high-level
advisers from Governments, civil society and within the
United Nations. The membership of the Task Force is listed
in appendix I and its terms of reference in appendix II.

3.   The Task Force met four times: on 1 April 1998 at
New Delhi; on 26 and 27 April 1998 at New York; on 29
and 30 May 1998 at Bonn; and on 13 to 15 June 1998 at
Geneva.


       II.     Historical background


4.   The first major intergovernmental conference on the
environment was the United Nations Conference on the
Human Environment, held at Stockholm in June 1972. That
Conference adopted a farsighted Declaration and
Programme of Action and led to the creation of UNEP by
the General Assembly with a mandate to catalyse and
coordinate environmental actions within the United Nations
system. The General Assembly decided that UNEP's
headquarters should be located at Nairobi. The UNEP
Governing Council became the world's primary
environmental forum. The two decades following the
Stockholm Conference saw many international actions to
protect the environment, including the negotiation of many
global and regional conventions.

5.   The Stockholm Conference recognized that the built
environment deserved special attention, and recommended
the holding of a further United Nations conference on this
subject. The United Nations Conference on Human
Settlements was held at Vancouver from 31 May to 11 June
1976. One of the perceptions that emerged at Vancouver
and has since been reinforced is that human settlements are
an integral element of development, and should be a high
priority at the national level.

6.   The Vancouver Conference decided on the Vancouver
Declaration and Action Plan, which made national
Governments and the international community aware of the
plight of human settlements worldwide. It also led to the
creation of the United Nations Centre for Human
Settlements (Habitat), which was established in 1978. In
view of the substantial overlap between environmental and
human settlements issues, Habitat was located at Nairobi
alongside UNEP. Existing United Nations activities and
programmes, including the Centre for Housing, Building
and Planning established in the mid-1960s and the United
Nations Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation
established by UNEP, were integrated into Habitat. Habitat
was to service a new intergovernmental body, the United
Nations Commission on Human Settlements, and carry out
an integrated work programme, including research, policy
guidance, training, technical cooperation and information.
Mechanisms were put in place to encourage cooperation
between UNEP and Habitat.

7.   Twenty years after Stockholm, the United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED)
was held at Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. UNCED drew even
more popular participation and media coverage than the
Stockholm Conference, including greater participation by
non-governmental organizations and other major groups of
society from developing countries. Unlike the Stockholm
Conference, UNCED was attended by scores of heads of
Government. UNCED approved the Rio Declaration on
Environment and Development, Agenda 21 (a compendium
of actions needed to achieve sustainable development) and
the Non-legally Binding Authoritative Statement of
Principles for a Global Consensus on the Management,
Conservation and Sustainable Development of All Types
of Forests (Forest Principles). It also witnessed the signature
of major conventions on climate change and biological
diversity.

8.   The United Nations Conference on Human
Settlements (Habitat II) was held at Istanbul in June 1996.
It adopted the Istanbul Declaration, in which the nations
present endorsed the universal goals of ensuring adequate
shelter for all and making human settlements safer, healthier
and more liveable, equitable, sustainable and productive.
The Habitat Agenda that was agreed on at Habitat II is the
global plan of action to improve human settlements
conditions for the next 20 years. Habitat is charged with
coordinating its implementation among United Nations
agencies and facilitating its application by Governments,
as well as among other major groups of society.

9.   From the time of the Stockholm Conference, it was
recognized that environmental issues could not be treated
as afterthoughts or dealt with solely by "end-of-the-pipe"
approaches, but that environmental considerations must be
integrated into the activities of sectoral and development-oriented
institutions. Many changes of this kind occurred
during the 1970s and 1980s, and the pace of change has
accelerated since UNCED and Habitat II. As a result, the
international agenda for environment and development has
been transformed, and the context in which the United
Nations must operate has changed radically. The changes
within the United Nations system have been conceptual and
organizational; meanwhile, the context has been altered by
the emergence or continuation of sweeping global trends.

10.  The concept of sustainable development links
economic, social, and environmental concerns, and has been
adopted by the world community. Agenda 21 assigns a
broad range of responsibilities for action to United Nations
organizations and bodies, national Governments, and many
other international and national groups. Environmental
issues have appeared increasingly on the agendas of
development-oriented institutions, including UNDP, the
World Bank, the regional multilateral development banks
and such specialized agencies as the World Health
Organization (WHO), the World Meteorological
Organization (WMO), the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United
Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
(UNESCO) and the United Nations Industrial Development
Organization (UNIDO), and the regional commissions. The
"greening" of these bodies has been a necessary and
welcome step, but the integration of environmental
considerations in their programmes clearly needs to go
further. There has also been a welcome recognition of the
need to move in these directions among some sections of
business and industry.

11.  The United Nations structure was altered after
UNCED by the creation of the Commission on Sustainable
Development, which provides a high-level forum for
environmental, developmental, social and economic issues.
The Inter-Agency Committee on Sustainable Development
(IACSD), a standing committee of the Administrative
Committee on Coordination (ACC), has brought together
the United Nations bodies concerned with these issues and
has helped to coordinate their work. IACSD's system of
designating agencies to be task managers for specific issue
areas has decentralized the responsibility for developing
coordinated policy positions in key areas of sustainable
development, especially as inputs to the Commission on
Sustainable Development. The Global Environment Facility
(GEF) has been established as a mechanism for financing
activities to deal with some global environmental problems.

12.  The establishment of the Commission on Sustainable
Development, IACSD and GEF has created additional
institutional arrangements alongside UNEP in the field of
environment and sustainable development, and has
highlighted the need to review the role of UNEP and the
UNEP Governing Council in this context. The number of
international legal instruments concerned with the
environment has continued to grow. Demands on ministers
and Governments have increased because of the
multiplication of high-level meetings, including those of the
conferences of parties to international conventions. At the
same time, the financial resources available to support
international and national actions for sustainable
development have fallen far short of what is required, and
UNEP's own Environment Fund has declined substantially.

13.  Whereas there were institutional changes in the United
Nations structure in the field of environment following
UNCED, there were no such institutional developments in
the field of human settlements following Habitat II. Rather,
the Commission on Human Settlements was assigned a
central role in monitoring, within the United Nations
system, the implementation of the Habitat Agenda; acting
as a catalyst to promote adequate shelter for all and
sustainable human settlements development; advising the
Economic and Social Council on human settlements issues;
and assisting the Economic and Social Council in
coordinating the implementation of the Habitat Agenda
within the United Nations system. Unfortunately, the
situation has deteriorated and Habitat has lacked the
capacity to carry out these tasks. The absence of any
significant institutional change subsequent to the Habitat
II Conference has hampered the effective implementation
and follow-up of the outcome of that Conference.

14.  Human demands on the global life support system
continue to mount as poverty and affluence spread in
parallel through the globe. Despite all the efforts made since
the Stockholm Conference, the environment continues to
deteriorate in many parts of the world. Some social,
economic and technological trends are exacerbating these
problems. In addition, rapid urbanization is outstripping the
provision of the services needed for health and welfare.
New and unexpected problems will certainly continue to
arise. Much more vigorous and effective coordinated action
will then be required at all levels. Better monitoring and
assessment and enhanced means of providing effective
information to Governments will also be crucial.

15.  International action will continue to be essential in
meeting these challenges. The United Nations system must
play a central part in this action, in cooperation with other
components of society. Agenda 21 and the global plan of
action contained in the Habitat Agenda broke new ground
by addressing a broad spectrum of stakeholders who should
be involved in the process of developing and implementing
policies and actions for environment and human settlements.


      III.     Needs and responses


16.  These developments, trends, and challenges will
influence and to a great extent define the role of the United
Nations in the field of environment and human settlements.
The ways of the past will not suffice in this new era. The
Task Force has concluded that the United Nations and its
governmental and non-governmental partners will need
reformed structures and new methods in order to optimize
their effectiveness.

17.  The main roles of the United Nations in the field of
environment and human settlements are to:

               (a)     Facilitate intergovernmental consensus and
international cooperation on environmental components of
policies and actions for sustainable development, including
legally binding commitments;

               (b)     Promote support, especially from developed to
developing countries, so as to facilitate the implementation
of agreed environmental and human settlements action
plans, especially Agenda 21 and the Habitat Agenda;

               (c)     Involve, encourage, and support relevant
stakeholders so that they make their appropriate
contribution at the global, regional, national, and local
levels;

               (d)     Monitor and assess existing and emerging
environmental problems, alert policy makers and the world
public to them, and advocate and coordinate measures and
action to tackle these problems and their causes, thereby
reducing future risks;

               (e)     Provide support and resources to enable the
effective implementation of global and national
commitments relating to the environment and human
settlements, and to build capacity for environmental action
in developing countries.

18.  The remaining sections of the present report consider:

               (a)     The linkages at the inter-agency level between
the United Nations institutions concerned with environment,
sustainable development and human settlements, including
environmental and environment-related conventions;

               (b)     Linkages among and support to environmental
and environment-related conventions;

               (c)     The internal needs of the United Nations system,
especially those of UNEP and Habitat at Nairobi;

               (d)     The United Nations role (the Earthwatch
function) in collecting, evaluating, and disseminating
environmental data and information, including the United
Nations responsibility for early and emergency response in
the field of environment and human settlements;

               (e)     The intergovernmental structure of the United
Nations in the field of environment and human settlements;

               (f)     The involvement of civil society and of profit-making
enterprises;

               (g)     The possible role of a reconstituted United
Nations Trusteeship Council.


        A.     Inter-agency linkages


19.  The Task Force considers that the United Nations
system needs a strong and respected UNEP as its leading
environmental organization. For this purpose, UNEP needs
to be given adequate financial, staff and information
capacities. In particular, it should be the recognized centre
of a network of information, monitoring, assessment and
early warning, and should play to the full its role as an
implementing agency of GEF.

20.  The Task Force's review of existing United Nations
structures and arrangements in the field of environment and
human settlements, linked to different issues and including
in-depth examination of the energy and water sectors, has
revealed that current United Nations activities are
characterized by substantial overlaps, unrecognized
linkages and gaps. These flaws are basic and pervasive.
They prevent the United Nations system from using its
scarce resources to best advantage in addressing problems
that are crucial to the human future; harm the credibility and
weight of the United Nations in the environmental arena;
and damage the United Nations working relationship with
its partners in and outside of Government.

21.  What is needed is a problem-solving, results-oriented
approach that enables United Nations bodies and their
partners to share information about their respective plans
and activities; to inform and consult one another about
proposed new initiatives; to contribute to a planning
framework that permits the plans and activities of each
participant to be reviewed within the framework of the
whole range of activities being carried on by all
participants; and to consult with each other with a view to
developing an agreed set of priorities and on the measures
through which each participating organization can best
contribute to those priorities and achieve a more rational
and cost-effective use of their respective capacities and
resources.

22.  These needs were recognized by the Secretary-General
in his report on reform under the heading "Strategy 8:
Institute an issue management system" (see A/51/950, paras.
248-250).


     [BOLD] Recommendation 1

               The Task Force recommends that in order to
          meet these needs with respect to the environment
          and human settlements, the Secretary-General
          should establish an environmental management
          group. It would replace the existing Inter-Agency
          Environment Coordination Group, which should
          be abolished [unbold] 

23.  The environmental management group would be
chaired by the Executive Director of UNEP, supported by
a secretariat. The Chair would report to the Secretary-General. 
The group would include as core members the
main United Nations entities concerned with environment
and human settlements. Particular meetings would involve
additional United Nations entities, financial institutions, and
organizations outside the United Nations system that have
experience and expertise relevant to the issues on the
agenda.

24.  The environmental management group would be
concerned with environment and human settlement issues
in the context of the linkages between environment and
development, as defined at UNCED and subsequently
elaborated. Habitat should be a prominent participant in the
group, which should structure its operations so as to achieve
an integrated United Nations work programme that bridges
the gaps that have existed between the two areas.

25.  The most important goal of the environmental
management group should be to achieve effective
coordination and joint action in key areas of environmental
and human settlements concern. Another important
objective should be to assist intergovernmental bodies in
the area of environment and human settlements, in particular
the UNEP Governing Council and the commission on
Human Settlements, in the preparation of coordinated inputs
to intergovernmental forums, notably the Commission on
Sustainable Development. The group should report on an
informational basis to ACC, and should bring an
environmental perspective into the work of IACSD. The
group should establish time-bound task forces or working
groups covering clusters of issues in which representatives
of the main institutions involved in a particular issue can
work together quickly to solve important problems (for
example, the recently reconstituted Ecosystem Conservation
Group).

26.  The environmental management group should include
convention secretariats among its participants, when
needed. In addition to facilitating the kinds of linkages
among conventions that are recommended in section III.B
below, the group should act to ensure that there are
appropriate linkages among activities that occur under
conventions and relevant activities elsewhere in the
international system.

27.  The Task Force considered the question whether the
environmental management group should produce a single
United Nations environmental programme, similar to the
former system-wide, medium-term environment programme.
The Task Force concluded that in view of fast-moving
global trends, a static programme, no matter how frequently
it is updated, is bound to lag behind real needs. Instead, the
group should create a dynamic process for review of
planned activities and modification of goals and activities
in the light of new knowledge. However, subgroups of the
environmental management group may agree on sharply
focused action plans as a means of coordinating actions at
the programme level and allocating resources in the most
effective manner.

28.  Regional action and regional coordination are
essential in the field of environment and human settlements.
At the level of field operations, the existing system of
United Nations resident coordinators is responsible for
effective coordination of activities related to environment
and human settlements, and should be strengthened. The
environmental management group should from time to time
review the effectiveness of this coordination.


        B.     Linkages among and support to
               environmental and environment-related
               conventions


29.  The creation of a large number of legally binding
instruments in areas of environmental concern has been a
major success of the international community. However, as
a result of decisions by Governments, the secretariats of
environmental and environment-related conventions have
been located in diverse geographic locations, with little
regard to the functional relationships among conventions.
That dispersal has resulted in loss of efficiency because of
inability to take advantage of synergies among conventions
and substantial costs through loss of economies of scale and
fragmentation of administrative, conference and
infrastructure services. The period after UNCED led to a
significant increase in activities related to environmental
and environment-related conventions, and the number of
international meetings of relevant treaty bodies has
increased significantly. This has created additional burdens,
especially for ministers.

30.  Bearing in mind that the main policy decisions under
conventions are taken by their respective conferences of
parties, which are autonomous bodies, strengthening of the
linkages between conventions with a view to achieving
synergies and multiple benefits and promoting coherence
of policies and actions should be a long-term strategic goal
of the international community. Intergovernmental bodies,
including the General Assembly in paragraphs 119 and 123
of the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda
21 (see General Assembly resolution S/19-2 of 28 June
1997, annex), have identified the need for more effective
linkages and support. Decisions of the General Assembly
at its nineteenth special session, in 1997, and prior decisions
by the General Assembly and the UNEP Governing Council
have provided a clear basis for UNEP to foster such
linkages. Pursuant to these mandates, UNEP has sponsored
annual meetings of the secretariats of selected
environmental conventions, which have addressed common
issues, such as implementation at the national level,
including development of relevant national legislation and
institutions, capacity-building and technical assistance.

31.  Further steps are needed to strengthen linkages and
provide support that will ensure that the international
community derives maximum benefit from the investments
it has made in this system of international instruments.


     [BOLD] Recommendation 2

               The Task Force recommends that, in addition
          to integrating convention secretariats and
          convention-related issues in the work of the
          environmental management group, the following
          actions should be taken by UNEP in pursuance of
          the above-mentioned mandate from the General
          Assembly at its nineteenth special session:

               (a)     UNEP's substantive support to global
          and regional conventions should be founded on
          its capacities for information, monitoring and
          assessment, which need to be strengthened
          substantially and urgently for this purpose. UNEP
          should build its capacity and its networks of
          support in order to ensure the scientific
          underpinning of conventions, to respond to their
          requests for specialized analysis and technological
          assessments, and to facilitate their implementation;

               (b)     The Executive Director of UNEP should
          continue to sponsor joint meetings of heads of
          secretariats of global and regional conventions,
          and should use this forum to recommend actions
          to ensure that the work programmes established
          by the conferences of parties to the conventions,
          together with substantive support offered by
          UNEP, are complementary, fill gaps and take
          advantage of synergy, and avoid overlap and
          duplication. These meetings also should explore
          ways of fulfilling common substantive and
          administrative needs. Recommendations from
          these meetings should be presented to the
          conferences of parties by the respective
          secretariats;

               (c)     The Governing Council of UNEP should
          invite its President to consult the presidents of
          conferences of parties to selected conventions on
          arrangements for periodic meetings between
          representatives of those conventions in order to
          address cross-cutting issues arising from the work
          programmes of these bodies and policy approaches
          being followed by them. The Executive Director of
          UNEP and the heads of the respective convention
          secretariats would organize and participate in
          these meetings. The conclusions of these meetings
          would be brought to the attention of UNEP's
          Governing Council and the respective conferences
          of parties by the respective secretariats;

               (d)     Concerned about the operational
          inefficiencies and costs arising from the
          geographical dispersal of convention secretariats,
          the Task Force recommends that the Secretary-General, 
          through the Executive Director of UNEP,
          invite Governments and Conferences of Parties to
          consider the implications of this trend and ways to
          overcome the resulting problems. Every effort
          should be made to co-locate new conventions with
          other conventions in the same functional cluster
          (for example, biological resources,
          chemicals/waste, marine pollution) and with
          institutions with which they have a particular
          affinity. With respect to existing conventions,
          approaches should include promoting cooperation
          among the secretariats within each cluster with a
          view to their eventual co-location and possible
          fusion into a single secretariat, and, in the longer
          term, should include the negotiation of umbrella
          conventions covering each cluster [unbold] 


        C.     UNEP, Habitat and the United Nations at Nairobi


32.  It was recognized at the time of the Stockholm
Conference that environment and human settlements issues
are closely related. In consequence, the Vancouver
Conference decided to locate Habitat alongside UNEP at
Nairobi. Subsequent events have strengthened this
relationship, and the worldwide trend towards urbanization
seems certain to forge even closer links. Yet cooperation
between UNEP and Habitat is still limited.

33.   The Task Force discussed the Nairobi location of the
United Nations, and agreed that there is an urgent need to
strengthen it. Nairobi is the only location of a major United
Nations office in the developing world (the other major
offices, in addition to United Nations Headquarters in New
York, are the United Nations Offices at Geneva and
Vienna). The United Nations Office at Nairobi should have
arrangements in keeping with its status. There are several
requirements for achieving this goal in addition to the
already mentioned need for closer coordination between
UNEP and Habitat. They include better communications
capabilities, improved physical security, an enhanced
United Nations presence at Nairobi and adequate access to
the regular budget of the United Nations with respect to
administrative costs. The Task Force:

               (a)     Commends the Government of Kenya for the
efforts already taken to improve communication between
the Nairobi location and the rest of the world, but urges the
Executive Director to work together with the Government
to enhance and strengthen communications capabilities by
allowing unrestricted access to the Mercure satellite at a
reasonable cost;

               (b)     Is aware of the socio-economic problems of the
region and the difficulty of ensuring physical security for
United Nations staff and related personnel, yet recognizes
that lack of security makes it difficult for UNEP and Habitat
to attract and retain the highly qualified staff that they must
have to succeed in their missions;


      [BOLD]  Recommendation 3

               The Task Force recommends that the
          Secretary-General, through the Director General
          of the United Nations Office at Nairobi, request the
          Government of Kenya to address further the
          problem of physical security


          Recommendation 4

               The Task Force recommends that other
          United Nations agencies, funds, and programmes
          be stimulated to establish or expand activities at
          Nairobi so as to transform the United Nations
          compound at Nairobi into a fully active United
          Nations Office [unbold] 

               (c)     Notes that UNEP and Habitat are the only
United Nations entities with global responsibilities that have
their headquarters in a developing country, reflecting the
commitment of the international community to strengthen
capacity in developing nations to address the issues of
environment and human settlements. Currently, these
organizations conduct their work under difficult financial
conditions;


     [BOLD]  Recommendation 5

               The Task Force recommends that the United
          Nations Office at Nairobi, which provides common
          services to UNEP and Habitat, be strengthened
          and be provided, as an exceptional measure, with
          sufficient resources from the regular budget to
          fulfil its tasks, and that the United Nations
          consider the possibility of relieving UNEP and
          Habitat from paying rent [unbold] 

               (d)     Believes that the Secretary-General acted wisely
when he designated one individual to head UNEP, Habitat
and the United Nations Office at Nairobi;


     [BOLD]  Recommendation 6

               The Task Force recommends that UNEP,
          Habitat and the United Nations Office at Nairobi
          continue in the future to be directed by one person [unbold] 

               (e)     Sees the measures suggested above as important
ingredients in a process that would enhance confidence in
UNEP and Habitat, facilitating the attainment of a broader,
more stable and predictable financial basis for the two
organizations.

34.  There are a number of ways in which UNEP and
Habitat can benefit from their co-location. Among them are
common administrative functions, common support
institutions, common programme activities and the
possibility of co-located regional offices.


     [BOLD]  Recommendation 7

               The Task Force recommends that the
          Executive Director of UNEP and Executive
          Director of Habitat:

               (a)     Utilize the United Nations Office at
          Nairobi to unify the administration of the two
          organizations to the fullest extent feasible;

               (b)     Make full use of the synergistic co-location 
          of the two organizations by establishing common institutions for:

               (i)     Information and databases and the
               clearing house function;

               (ii)    Press and information services;

               (iii)   Library and other forms of support;

               (c)     Ensure that the planning and
          implementation of the programmes of the two
          organizations are tightly linked through
          monitoring, assessment, and information and joint
          working parties on such overlapping issues as
          environmental health and the sustainability of
          cities. This should in no way compromise the
          distinctive nature of UNEP and Habitat but should
          be complementary;

               (d)     Assess the possibility of co-locating the
          regional offices of the two organizations [unbold] 
               
35.  The Task Force is concerned that UNEP and Habitat
must have adequate human and financial resources if they
are to fulfil the mandates of the Nairobi Declaration and
decisions of the Governing Council and the General
Assembly. Accordingly, the Task Force agrees with and
underlines the decision made at the May 1998 special
session of the UNEP Governing Council that there is an
urgent need for stable and predictable funding.


      [BOLD]  Recommendation 8

               The Task Force recommends that the
          Executive Director of UNEP and Executive
          Director of Habitat develop a financial strategy,
          in close cooperation with the Committee of
          Permanent Representatives at Nairobi, and report
          on it at the next meetings of the UNEP Governing
          Council and the Commission on Human
          Settlements. The financial strategy should address
          such matters as policies concerning secondment,
          including geographical balance; conditions for
          accepting in-kind contributions; the role of
          counterpart contributions in implementing the
          programmes of UNEP and Habitat; and the
          possibility of obtaining funds from foundations
          and other private sources [unbold] 


        D.     Information, monitoring, assessment and
               early warning


36.  Pursuant to the action plan that was adopted at the
Stockholm Conference, UNEP developed during the 1970s
the Earthwatch system for assessing the condition of the
global environment. Chapters 38 and 40 of Agenda 21
called on UNEP to strengthen Earthwatch, especially in the
areas of urban air, freshwater, land resources (including
forests and rangelands), desertification, other habitats, soil
degradation, biodiversity, the high seas and the upper
atmosphere, and to make the resulting information more
available for decision-making.

37.  UNEP was named as task manager for Earthwatch by
IACSD. The mission of Earthwatch, as agreed in 1994 by
the inter-agency Earthwatch Working Party, is to
coordinate, harmonize and integrate observing, assessment
and reporting activities across the United Nations system
in order to provide environmental and appropriate socio-economic 
information for national and international
decision-making on sustainable development, and for early
warning of emerging problems requiring international
actions. This should include timely information on the
pressures on, status of and trends in key global resources,
variables and processes in both natural and human systems,
and on the response to problems in these areas.

38.  The Earthwatch system seeks to fulfil this mandate by
integrating data and analyses from a variety of scientifically
proven sources. These include, among others, the Global
Environmental Monitoring System (GEMS), the Global
Resource Information Database (GRID), and three Global
Observing Systems (the Global Climate Observing System,
the Global Oceans Observing System and the Global
Terrestrial Observing System). Earthwatch uses up-to-date
communications technologies to maintain an excellent site
on the World Wide Web. However, the Earthwatch system
and its capabilities are largely unknown to the large
universe of decision makers and environmentally concerned
members of the public who could benefit from it. Moreover,
there are gaps and deficiencies in the underlying systems
of data collection and analysis, and in the methods by which
data and analysis are translated into information that is
understandable to non-experts. UNEP's depleted staff in the
area of monitoring and assessment lacks the ability to
identify and correct these flaws.

39.  Human settlement conditions are monitored and
assessed by Habitat, which also collects, collates and
publishes statistics on human settlements conditions and
trends. A new monitoring and assessment framework for the
implementation of the Habitat Agenda will involve inputs
from partners in Government and other elements of society.


     [BOLD]  Recommendation 9

               The Task Force recommends that UNEP and
          Habitat:

               (a)     As a matter of high priority, develop
          their capacity in the field of information-monitoring 
          and assessment in order to serve as an
          "environmental guardian,"mobilizing the
          necessary resources from Governments,
          foundations, and international bodies;

               (b)     Carry out a short-term review to
          determine the steps needed to transform
          Earthwatch into an effective, accessible, well-advertised,
          science-based system that meets the
          needs of environmental and human settlements
          decision makers and the informed public, and
          employs expert analysis and user feedback to
          correct deficiencies and update itself to meet
          changing needs;

               (c)     Take the actions, in intensive
          networking cooperation with national and
          international partner institutions, including 
          non-governmental organizations and other major
          groups, that are needed to transform Earthwatch
          and sustain it as a fully effective system of
          information, monitoring and assessment;

               (d)     Continue to elaborate problem-, action-,
          and result-oriented indicators for sustainable
          development in the field of environment and
          human settlements;

               (e)     Strengthen and further develop their
          capacity to serve as a clearing house for collecting
          and disseminating information and data relevant
          to the condition of the environment and human
          settlements, including information from and to
          non-governmental organizations and other grass-roots 
          sources. [unbold] 

40.  The Earthwatch system should be designed, inter alia,
to alert the world to emerging environmental problems and
threats. Information about such problems should be
communicated in understandable terms to relevant decision
makers, the media and the informed public. Earthwatch also
can contribute importantly to such syntheses as UNEP's
GEO series and Habitat's periodic Global Report on Human
Settlements.

41.  Monitoring and assessment are closely linked to early
warning of possible environmental emergencies through the
prediction of extreme events or unusual environmental
conditions. This kind of warning is extremely valuable for
environmental and economic decision makers; for example,
advance warning of drought conditions can enable farmers
to plant drought-resistant crops. It may be possible to
identify, on a long-term basis, potential "hot spots" or areas
that are likely to be subject to rates of change that exceed
the limits of sustainability and thus pose threats to regional
or global security.


     [BOLD]  Recommendation 10

               The Task Force recommends that UNEP and
          Habitat design and maintain the system of
          information, monitoring and assessment so as to
          maximize its ability to provide early warning of
          possible environmental and human settlements
          emergencies. It further recommends that UNEP
          consider establishing a capability to identify
          potential environmental and environment-related
          conflicts and provide information and analysis to
          guide the development of preventive measures, for
          example by the negotiation of joint actions [unbold] 


        E.     Intergovernmental forums


42.  The United Nations is an intergovernmental
organization. Organs and agencies of the United Nations can
perform their functions efficiently only if they receive clear
guidance from Member States. This is true in the field of
environment and human settlements, as in all others. There
is a need for intergovernmental forums to give that
guidance.

43.  There is a lack of coherent guidance at this level.
Specialized agencies, for example, are responsible only to
their governing bodies. In the environmental field, some
specialized agencies have sectoral missions that correspond
to specific elements within national Governments; hence,
the agendas of those agencies may reflect very different
priorities.

44.  The only entities that can give consistent guidance to
these different bodies are national Governments. In view of
the important role that is played in the field of environment
and human settlements by international institutions not
under the authority of the Secretary-General, coordination
cannot be fully effective unless Governments themselves
give coordinated guidance. In short, coordination at the
international level should begin at home.


     [BOLD]  Recommendation 11

               The Task Force recommends that
          Governments make additional efforts to achieve
          consistency of national positions in different
          intergovernmental forums. The environmental
          management group should assist Governments in
          achieving such coherence by providing
          coordinated overviews of activities, plans and
          policy approaches in the United Nations system as
          a whole


          Recommendation 12

               The Task Force recommends that UNEP
          regional offices assist Governments in each region
          in their discussion of the global agenda, in defining
          priorities reflecting the particular needs of each
          region, and in promoting those regional priorities
          in the global agenda. In the implementation of
          regional priorities, UNEP should involve
          specialized agencies and other institutions
          concerned with environment and human
          settlements, as well as those that can provide
          financing [unbold] 

45.  Current intergovernmental forums are inadequate to
give the kind of guidance that is needed in the
environmental field. Those forums, consisting primarily of
the UNEP Governing Council, the Commission on
Sustainable Development, and meetings of the conferences
of parties of leading conventions, are scattered as to time
and place. They are attended by different constellations of
ministers. They differ in their outcomes: some are decision-making 
bodies, whereas others serve primarily as forums
for policy debates, consensus-building, review of United
Nations activities and plans, and exchanges with major
groups. Ministers have expressed dissatisfaction because
attendance at so many meetings is time-consuming for them.
Moreover, the scattering of different meetings on different
subjects makes it hard for participants to get the "big
picture" perspective that is important for setting global
priorities.

46.  In addition, the traditional United Nations format for
intergovernmental meetings does not fully meet the need for
high-level consideration of environmental issues. The
traditional United Nations format has featured formal
discussion leading to agreement on the exact wording of a
text. That format is ill-suited to many of the purposes that
intergovernmental meetings on environment and human
settlements should fulfil. Those purposes require a format
that allows for actual debate and fewer statements, more in-depth 
discussions, more interaction with major groups and
structured efforts to produce innovative strategies that can
meet tomorrow's challenges.

47.  The Task Force affirms that the Commission on
Sustainable Development and the Governing Council of
UNEP have necessary and distinctive roles. The
Commission on Sustainable Development provides a forum
for high-level debate, including ministerial debate, that
bridges and relates environmental, developmental, and
socio-economic elements. The UNEP Governing Council
is and should remain the primary forum within which
Ministers and senior officials of Governments can review
the environmental performance of the United Nations
system as a whole and define priorities for new action.


     [BOLD]  Recommendation 13

               The Task Force recommends:

               (a)     That there be an established annual,
          ministerial-level, global environmental forum in
          which environment ministers can gather to review
          and revise the environmental agenda of the United
          Nations in the context of sustainable development;
          oversee and evaluate the implementation of that
          agenda; discuss key issues in depth; identify
          challenges requiring international environmental
          cooperation and develop plans of action for
          meeting them; review the role of UNEP in relation
          to GEF; and engage in a variety of discussions with
          their peers, with representatives of international
          institutions and with major groups. In the years
          when it meets, the UNEP Governing Council
          should be that intergovernmental forum. In
          alternate years, the forum should be a special
          session of the UNEP Governing Council, which
          would focus on issues of high priority. The venue
          of these special sessions should move from region
          to region, and regional issues should feature
          prominently on their agenda;

               (b)     That the agenda of each session of the
          Governing Council be a lively one, designed to
          foster debates on topical issues and to attract
          media attention. Each session should cover topics
          of global importance, and in the case of meetings
          held in the regions, should cover issues of special
          significance to the region where the meeting is
          held. Each session should be structured so as to
          provide input to that year's Commission on
          Sustainable Development meetings. A major item
          on the agenda of each session should be to review,
          from a cross-cutting perspective, progress made
          under the various environmental conventions;

               (c)     That the membership of the UNEP
          Governing Council be made universal. This
          recommendation would not apply for the
          Commission on Human Settlements because it is
          a subsidiary body of ECOSOC  [unbold] 

48.  The regular and special sessions of the Governing
Council should receive reports from the Executive Director
of UNEP on the work of the environmental management
group in promoting linkages among components of the
United Nations system. The joint meetings of
representatives of the conferences of parties of selected
conventions that was recommended previously might be
held "back to back" with sessions of the Governing Council.

49.  There is a need for stronger links between
environmental and human settlements at the
intergovernmental as well as the inter-agency levels. It
would not be appropriate to merge the UNEP Governing
Council with the Commission on Human Settlements,
because those bodies have distinctive characters and
partially different substantive agendas, and because they
typically involve two distinct sets of ministers, those
responsible for the environment and those responsible for
housing, and it is unlikely that many Governments would
send two ministers to the same meeting. However, the
agendas of the two bodies should be cross-linked and
designed to complement one another. Environmental
matters should be standing items on the agenda of the
Commission on Human Settlements, and human settlements-related 
issues should occupy a similar place on the agenda
of the Governing Council. To the extent feasible, the
Nairobi meetings of the two bodies should overlap.


     [BOLD]  Recommendation 14

               The Task Force recommends that continuing
          international liaison on matters relating to the
          programme, budget and operations of UNEP and
          Habitat be undertaken at Nairobi by the
          Committees of Permanent Representatives and
          High-Level Officials convened by the Executive
          Director on behalf of their Chairmen. In the light
          of the changes recommended in the present report,
          the Governing Council of UNEP should consider
          the future role of the High-Level Committee of
          Ministers and Officials  [unbold] 

50.  The special identity and distinctive character of
Habitat should be retained, bearing in mind its mandate in
General Assembly resolution 32/162 of 19 December 1977,
as clarified and developed in the Habitat Agenda. A
particularly important consideration for the Task Force is
that Habitat has been designated as a focal point for the
implementation of the Habitat Agenda, and that the
Commission on Human Settlements has a central role in
monitoring its implementation.

51.  Habitat has a large, demand-driven technical
cooperation programme with a clear development agenda.
The financial support for that programme comes solely from
earmarked sources. The financial basis of Habitat has been
seriously eroded in recent years, particularly in regard to
core funds, which are crucial for its normative activities. If
Habitat is to fulfil its role in promoting the implementation
of Habitat Agenda, it is imperative that its normative
functions be strengthened substantially. This will require
a stronger financial base, especially with regard to core
funding. In addition, existing overlaps between the technical
cooperation programmes and the activities of other parts of
Habitat should be eliminated.


     [BOLD]  Recommendation 15

               The Task Force recommends:

               (a)     That the Executive Director of Habitat
          consider ways of building capacity to facilitate the
          implementation of the Habitat Agenda,
          particularly by strengthening the normative core
          activities of Habitat and developing it into a centre
          of excellence for urban development, and ways to
          obtain the necessary financial resources;

               (b)     That the Commission on Human
          Settlements devote particular attention to its role
          in monitoring the implementation of the Habitat
          Agenda, and take steps to prepare for the five-year
          review of the implementation of the Habitat
          Agenda, which will occur in 2001  [unbold] 

52.  The Task Force attaches the greatest significance to
the effective use of GEF resources.


     [BOLD]  Recommendation 16

               The Task Force recommends that, consistent
          with the GEF instrument, UNEP's role in
          providing environmental advocacy, analysis and
          advice in shaping GEF priorities and programmes
          should be strengthened, building on UNEP's
          current responsibility for ensuring the scientific
          underpinning of GEF activities. UNEP should act
          as catalyst and advocate for new directions, and
          should take the lead among the three GEF
          implementing agencies in providing environmental
          advice. This role is consistent with UNEP's status
          as the lead agency in the United Nations system for
          identifying large-scale environmental threats and
          proposing remedial measures


          Recommendation 17

               The Task Force recommends that there be
          increased collaboration among the three GEF
          implementing agencies, in accordance with
          relevant GEF decisions  [unbold] 


        F.     Involvement of major groups


53.  Global trends imply a growing role for elements
outside government in actions and decisions affecting the
environment and human settlements, including activities and
decisions of the United Nations system. Agenda 21
recognized this reality in its description in chapters 24 to
32 of the roles of "major groups,"including women, youth,
indigenous people, non-governmental organizations, local
authorities, trade unions, business and industry, the
scientific and technological community, and farmers.
Governments and international bodies need the wisdom,
experience, knowledge and resources of these groups if they
are going to make environmental and human settlements
decisions, in the context of sustainable development, that
are scientifically based, economically sound, suited to local
conditions and in accord with the desires of ordinary people.

54.  The Stockholm Conference on the Human
Environment and the accompanying Non-Governmental
Organization Forum marked a breakthrough in the way that
major groups related to and sought to influence an
intergovernmental decision-making process. UNCED was
another watershed event, attended by representatives of
some 8,000 non-governmental organizations from more than
160 countries. The Habitat II Conference in 1996 was
attended by some 20,000 people and representatives of more
than 500 local authorities. It featured the following
innovative mechanisms for involving major groups from the
beginning of the preparatory process:

               (a)     All Governments were invited to create national
Habitat II committees involving a wide spectrum of society;

               (b)     The drafting group that prepared the Habitat
Agenda included representatives of local authorities and
non-governmental organizations;

               (c)     The Conference itself featured a "partners'
committee" (Committee II), in which representatives of civil
society were officially invited to assemble in their own
forum and present their views to the representatives of
Governments;

               (d)     United Nations officials joined with
representatives of civil society in making possible a set of
"Dialogues for the twenty-first century,"which explored in
details key issues concerning the future of cities, including
water and energy;

               (e)     Statements produced in the dialogue sessions,
together with the Chairperson's summaries of the
discussions in Committee II, were included in the official
record of Habitat II.

55.  The Commission on Sustainable Development also has
been a leader in its relations with major groups. Commission
on Sustainable Development meetings are attended by
representatives of a wide variety of interests. Non-governmental 
organization participation is facilitated by a
broad-based Non-Governmental Organization Steering
Committee. New participants are welcomed, and the
Commission on Sustainable Development secretariat
prepares guidelines on a regular basis to help them
participate and contribute. The practice at Commission on
Sustainable Development meetings has been that
representatives of major groups are allowed to speak
virtually on an equal basis with representatives of
Governments. The sixth session of the Commission on
Sustainable Development, in 1998 featured an innovative
industry segment that included participants from various
major groups. Additional "economic sector" segments are
planned for future Commission on Sustainable Development
meetings.

56.  The extensive involvement of major groups at Habitat
II and in the work of the Commission on Sustainable
Development has enlivened and enriched deliberations that
are important to the world's future. Further steps are needed
to ensure that this kind of involvement is the rule in the
United Nations. They should begin with the Commission on
Human Settlements and the UNEP Governing Council.


     [BOLD]  Recommendation 18

               The Task Force recommends:

               (a)     That the Commission on Human
          Settlements consider establishing a special status
          for representatives of local authorities;

               (b)     That future sessions of the UNEP
          Governing Council and of the Commission on
          Human Settlements be preceded by or overlap with
          substantial, structured meetings of major groups,
          covering the same substantive agenda topics that
          are to be covered at the intergovernmental
          meetings. Representatives of the major groups
          should be given an opportunity to discuss the
          findings of these meetings in a round-table meeting
          with ministers, and should report this to the
          Governing Council and the Commission, which
          should record their responses;

               (c)     The practices of the Governing Council
          and the Commission on Human Settlements should
          be reformed, as an initial step, to come up to the
          standard of the Commission on Sustainable
          Development with respect to the involvement of
          major groups, and the Governing Council and
          Commission secretariats should take steps (for
          example, the preparation of guidelines) to facilitate
          their participation. All other United Nations
          agencies involved with environment and human
          settlements should re-examine their rules and
          practices with the aim of encouraging and
          facilitating participation by major groups to the
          fullest extent practicable, consistent with the
          principle that the final decisions must rest with
          representatives of Governments. The Task Force
          further recommends that the Secretary-General
          issue general guidelines on these matters, and
          urges all United Nations agencies to conform with
          them  [unbold] 

57.  It is apparent, in view of global trends and the need
for cleaner methods of production, that environment and
human settlements policy must be more integrated with
economic decision making. This means that there must be
a well balanced and effective continuing dialogue with
business, industry, and other economic interests.


     [BOLD]  Recommendation 19

               The Task Force recommends that UNEP and
          Habitat examine, together with representatives of
          business, industry and other economic interests,
          ways of involving that community constructively
          in their deliberations  [unbold] 

58.  Non-governmental organizations commonly must
obtain consultative status with the Economic and Social
Council in order to gain access to intergovernmental
meetings and other United Nations processes. Consultative
status is not often denied; however, it currently takes about
a year to obtain accreditation.


     [BOLD]  Recommendation 20

               The Task Force recommends that the
          Economic and Social Council accreditation
          process, and those of other United Nations entities
          concerned with environment and human
          settlements, be speeded up to the fullest extent
          possible  [unbold] 

59.  Non-governmental organizations from developing
countries commonly have fewer resources and less capacity
than those from industrialized nations. UNEP and Habitat
should take actions to help them build their capacity for
constructive participation.


     [BOLD]  Recommendation 21

               The Task Force recommends:

               (a)     That UNEP, Habitat and UNDP
          systematically identify, in consultation with non-governmental
          organizations and non-governmental
          organization leaders, the needs of southern non-governmental
          organizations for capacity- building,
          and act to meet those needs, both directly and by
          mobilizing funds from other donors. In so doing,
          they should keep in mind the importance of
          networking among non-governmental
          organizations, especially via electronic
          communications, and should help southern non-governmental
          organizations to build their capacity in that area;

               (b)     That UNEP and Habitat establish a
          specialized unit to provide concerned non-governmental 
          organizations with necessary and
          updated information, and together with UNDP,
          assist them technically and financially to carry out
          their work effectively at national, regional and
          global levels. They should also establish
          mechanisms to ensure that the expertise and
          contributions of non-governmental organizations
          can be utilized by UNEP and Habitat;

               (c)     That non-governmental organizations
          be encouraged to strengthen their capacities to
          contribute effectively to the activities of UNEP and
          Habitat, including improving collaboration and
          networking among themselves and establishing
          focal points to liaise with UNEP and Habitat at
          global and regional levels  [unbold] 

60.  Major groups from developing countries often find it
difficult to attend international negotiations and meetings
even when they have a right to do so, because of lack of
funds for travel and subsistence.


     [BOLD]  Recommendation 22

               The Task Force recommends that to the
          fullest extent possible, the United Nations agencies
          involved in environment and human settlements
          take steps to enable major groups from these
          countries to participate meaningfully in their
          activities, both through capacity- building to make
          possible meaningful participation in negotiations
          and meetings, and through establishment of funds
          to which Governments and others are encouraged
          to contribute


          Recommendation 23

               The Task Force recommends that UNEP and
          Habitat strengthen their system for receiving and
          responding to information from non-governmental
          organizations on environmental and human
          settlements problems, especially emerging
          problems. In this regard, UNEP and Habitat
          should encourage non-governmental organizations
          to provide information on new problems that
          might arise, for example, from the introduction of
          new technologies or new production activities or
          changes in economic or social policies  [unbold] 


        G.     Possible role of a reconstituted United
               Nations Trusteeship Council


61.  In paragraphs 84 and 85 of his report on United
Nations reform (A/51/950), the Secretary-General
recommended to the international community a new concept
of trusteeship, and proposed that the United Nations
Trusteeship Council be reconstituted as the forum through
which Member States exercise their collective trusteeship
for the integrity of the global environment and common
areas, such as the oceans, atmosphere and outer space, as
well as linking the United Nations and civil society in
addressing these areas of global concern. In a subsequent
note to the General Assembly (A/52/849), the Secretary-General 
recalled this proposal and noted that it has become
increasingly evident that issues relating to the integrity of
the global environment and common areas have a direct
bearing on the future of mankind, and that those issues need
to be understood and addressed in a strategic and long-term
perspective. The Secretary-General also suggested that the
Task Force should elaborate further on his proposals.

62.  In reviewing the proposals of the Secretary-General,
the Task Force was cognizant of the note of the Secretary-General 
to the General Assembly (A/52/850) concerning a
Millennium Assembly and Millennium Forum. That note
proposed that the fifty-fifth session of the General Assembly
be designated as the "Millennium Assembly" and include
a high-level segment to be called the "Millennium Summit".
The Summit would be asked to provide guidance to the
United Nations for meeting the challenges of the new
century, including such matters as the nature and
fundamental goals of the United Nations and the way it
should relate to and interact with the growing number of
international institutions, an increasingly robust global civil
society, and ever more integrated global markets and
systems of production. The Secretary-General's note also
proposed that non-governmental organizations and other
civil society actors organize a Millennium Forum to be held
in conjunction with the Assembly.

63.  In the same note to the General Assembly, the
Secretary-General announced that in order to facilitate
focused discussions and concrete decisions, he would
prepare a report on the theme of the Millennium Assembly,
entitled "The United Nations in the twenty-first century."
The report would draw on a series of informal events
involving Member States and other actors to be held in
regional centres around the world; on events of a more
specialized nature in the United Nations; and on the results
of consultations currently taking place within ACC.

64.  The Task Force also recalled the decision of the
UNEP Governing Council at its recent fifth special session
on the revitalization, reform and strengthening of UNEP.
In that decision, the Governing Council, inter alia, decided
to review at its next regular session the status of the ongoing
reform of UNEP and to provide the Millennium Assembly
with its conclusions concerning institutional arrangements
within the United Nations system for dealing with the
environmental challenges of the next century and the role
of UNEP in that context. The Task Force believes that these
conclusions will provide an important environmental
perspective for the Millennium Assembly and will enhance
the preparatory process.


     [BOLD]  Recommendation 24

               The Task Force recommends:

               (a)     That the Executive Director of UNEP,
          in preparing for the next regular session of the
          UNEP Governing Council, undertake wide-ranging 
          consultations concerning institutional
          arrangements for dealing with the environmental
          challenges of the next century;

               (b)     That these consultations include
          Government representatives, non-governmental
          organizations, and other representatives of civil
          society and the private sector, and culminate in a
          two-day environment forum to be held
          immediately before and in conjunction with the
          next session of the Governing Council. The forum
          should suggest to both the Governing Council and
          the Millennium Assembly and Forum forward-looking 
          proposals for the protection of the global
          environment, including the possible future role of
          the Trusteeship Council;

               (c)     That the Commission on Human
          Settlements provide forward-looking perspectives
          on human settlements issues as part of this process.
          These perspectives would also contribute to the
          preparations for the five-year review of the
          Habitat Agenda to be undertaken in 2001  [unbold] 


                                 Appendix I

                        Membership of the Task Force


         Task Force members

            Klaus Toepfer (Chair)
            Executive Director
            United Nations Environment Programme
       
         Maria Julia Alsogaray, Minister of Natural Resources and Sustainable
         Development of Argentina 

         Christina Amoako-Nuama, Minister of Education of Ghana

         John Ashe, Ambassador/Deputy Permanent Representative of Antigua and
         Barbuda to the United Nations

         Julia Carabias Lillo, Minister of Natural Resources and Fisheries of
         Mexico

         Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General, Department for Economic and
         Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat

         Lars-Goran Engfeldt, Permanent Representative of Sweden to UNEP and
         Habitat

         Guro Fjellanger, Minister of Environment of Norway

         Jean-Pierre Halbwachs, Assistant Secretary-General/Controller, United
         Nations Office of Programme Planning, Budget and Accounts

         Sir Martin Holdgate, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern
         Ireland

         Martin Khor, Director, Third World Network, Malaysia

         Ashok Khosla, Development alternatives, India

         Tommy Koh, Ambassador-At-Large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
         Singapore

         Julia Marton LeFevre, LEAD International, Inc., New York

         James Gustave Speth, Administrator, United Nations Development
         Programme

         Maurice Strong (ex officio), Special Adviser to the Secretary-General

         Mostafa K. Tolba, President, International Centre for Environment and
         Development, Cairo

         Joseph Tomusange, High Commissioner of the Republic of Uganda to
         India

         Makarim Wibisono, Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the United
         Nations

         Timothy E. Wirth, President, United Nations Foundation

         Michael Zammit Cutajar, Executive Secretary, Secretariat of the
         United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change


         Advisers to the Task Force

         Eileen Claussen

         Peter Thacher


         Secretariat to the Task Force

         Per Bakken

         Donald Kaniaru

         Donatus Okpala

         Lesly Puyol

         Thomas Stoel


                               Appendix II

                  Terms of reference of the Task Force


            The terms of reference of the United Nations Task Force on
         Environment and Human Settlements are:

            (a)    To review existing structures and arrangements through
         which environment and environment-related activities are carried out
         within the United Nations, with particular reference to departments,
         funds and programmes that report to the Secretary-General but
         also taking into account the relevant programmes and activities of
         the specialized agencies;

            (b)    In this respect, to focus particularly on the distinctive
         functions of policy, development of norms and standards, programme
         development and implementation, and financing, as well as
         relationships among those functions;

            (c)    To evaluate the efficacy and effectiveness of existing
         structures and arrangements, and make recommendations for such
         changes and improvements as will optimize the work and effectiveness
         of United Nations environmental work at the global level and of UNEP
         as the leading environmental organization or "authority", as well as
         the role of UNEP as the principal source of environmental input into
         the work of the Commission on Sustainable Development;

            (d)    To prepare proposals for consideration by the
         Secretary-General and subsequent submission to the General Assembly
         on reforming and strengthening United Nations activities in the area
         of environment and human settlements.

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Date last posted: 10 January 2000 10:05:30
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