Nairobi, 22 May 2001 - Starting today, about fifty organizations from the non-governmental sector, civil society and the private sector are meeting here in Nairobi under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for discussions focusing on international environmental governance and the role of civil society as they relate to UNEP's work. The meeting will continue until 25 May 2001.
The need for these participants to meet, arises from earlier decisions of UNEP's Governing Council Sessions and its Malmoe Ministerial Forum at which environmental leaders recognized the importance of various sectors working together in fostering environmental change for the decades ahead.
The Malmoe ministerial declaration emphasized the central role of civil society and the private sector in shaping the agenda of sustainable development. Participants from 35 countries will take part in the discussions.
Civil society plays an important role in bringing emerging environmental issues to the attention of policy makers, raising public awareness, promoting innovative ideas and approaches and promoting transparency as well as clear-cut activities in environmental decision-making. During their discussions, participants will also be looking ahead to the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development scheduled to be held in Johannesburg, next year.
The meeting which is being sponsored by the Government of Norway, was opened by UNEP's Deputy Executive Director, Mr. Shafqat Kakakhel.
For further information, please contact Mr. Subramonia Ananthakrishnan, Chief, NGOs/Civil Society Unit, tel.: 623870; email: email@example.com
UNEP News Release 01/56