EVOLVING INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR
ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT IN THE UN
The reform process began in 1992. It involved extensive reassembling and bringing all units dealing with economic and social matters under a single department. In 1993, this department was further divided into three categories, with environment assigned to one. A high-level advisory board on sustainable development was set up with ex-bureaucrats as members, but found ineffective. It was disbanded in 1997.
In 1994, the United Nations Development Programme ( undp ) made an attempt to take charge of the un 's development programme via its Agenda for Development report, suggesting the transfer of 2000-odd trust funds on development from the World Bank to undp and other specialised agencies.
In 1996, undp called for massive regrouping of un agencies, in which undp would be the integrating unit for development and humanitarian programmes.
In 1997, under the current Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the un began another round of reforms. Annan's reform programme included division of the organisation's work into four major executive groups. The development programme was split between economic and social groups such as the Commission on Sustainable Development (csd), and a development group which consisted of bodies such as undp . Most of the recommended changes were passed in December 1997.
csd , set up in 1992, was the first attempt to consolidate the environment and development agenda. But lacking in legislative powers and leadership, csd has become a talk shop without political importance. It now competes with unep to perform the same tasks, with no coordination between the two agencies. Meanwhile, several convention secretariats have been established in different parts of the world. These also show lack of coordination, and function as autocratic units.
The World Bank and undp implement their own environment programmes, with green budgets bigger than unep's.
Post-Rio years have seen the emergence of numerous environmental conventions, but there is no unified institutional framework for environment as yet. Though the United Nations (UN) has repeatedly attempted to provide some leadership, its own environment agenda is spread over several of its own institutions, which zealously guard their turf.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.