The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) wants to focus more on international water disputes, despite it being a politically sensitive issue. "Water is not only a sensitive topic, but a potential area of conflict. We are optimistic and can help all the sub-regions resolve their water sharing problems," said the UNEP executive director, Klaus Toepfer. He said the UNEP had successfully evolved 16 conventions on regional seas stretching from the Caribbean and the Mediterranean to the African zones. "We develop only a legal framework. It is the responsibility of the governments to use that framework and resolve their disputes," said Toepfer.
The 20th session of the governing council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) will meet at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, from February 1-15, 1999. It meets every two years. The council will discuss the international community's role in the emerging issues and policies relating to the environment. The council will also consider the issues relating to the governance of UNEP. Preparations for the seventh session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development will also be discussed.