On 10 May 2018, the UN General Assembly adopted, resolution 72/277 entitled “Towards a Global Pact for the Environment”. According to the resolution’s text, the Assembly decided to establish an ad hoc open‑ended working group to consider a technical and evidence-based report that identifies and assesses possible gaps in international environmental law and environment-related instruments with a view to strengthening their implementation. Further information on General Assembly resolution 72/277 can be found here.
On 30 August 2019, the General Assembly adopted resolution 73/333, entitled "Follow-up to the report of the ad hoc open-ended working group established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 72/277." The Assembly welcomed the work of the ad hoc open-ended working group as well as its report, and endorsed all its recommendations, as set out in the annex to resolution 73/333.
Following informal consultations with regional and political groups, Members of the Bureaux of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) and of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) jointly agreed on a way forward (roadmap) regarding the follow-up on UN General Assembly resolution 73/333, in particular paragraph (b) in the section entitled “Further Work” of the annex to resolution 73/333, which provides as follows:
“Forward these recommendations to the United Nations Environment Assembly for its consideration, and to prepare, at its fifth session, in February 2021, a political declaration for a United Nations high-level meeting, subject to voluntary funding, in the context of the commemoration of the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme by the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm from 5 to 16 June 1972, with a view to strengthening the implementation of international environmental law and international environmental governance, in line with paragraph 88 of the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, entitled ´The future we want”
The first informal substantive consultations on implementation of General Assembly resolution 73/333 were held virtually from 21 to 22 July 2020 in Nairobi. Subsequently, the Co-Facilitators circulated a first draft of the building blocks for the political declaration.
At UNEA 5, the Assembly took Decision 5/3 on the adjournment and resumption of UNEA and decided that, UNEA, shall, at the resumed meeting of its fifth session, finalize implementation of the mandate entrusted to it by General Assembly resolution 73/333 to prepare a political declaration and invited the General Assembly to consider the appropriate event for the adoption of such a declaration, including the option of adopting it as one of the outcomes of the special session of the Environment Assembly for UNEP @50.
The Bureau of the CPR agreed on 12 May 2021 to postpone the second substantive consultation in June to a later date, tentatively in early November. To allow for further progress to be made, the Bureau agreed to the Co-Facilitator’s proposal to convene a series of online informal workshops. The first informal workshop was held on 9 June 2021, where participants addressed the inputs received to the first draft of the Building Blocks. The second workshop was held on 22 June, where participants had the opportunity to discuss strengthening international environmental governance in the context of sustainable development. The third workshop was held on 7 July, and participants focused on international environmental law and means of implementation.
In preparation for the second substantive consultation meeting, on 12 October 2021 the Co-Facilitators circulated a revised draft of the political declaration.
The second substantive consultation meeting was held in a hybrid format from 17 to 19 November 2021, in Nairobi.
The third substantive consultation meeting was held in a hybrid format from 16 to 18 February 2022, in Nairobi.
The Political Declaration was adopted at the Special Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEP@50).