4TH UN ENVIRONMENT ASSEMBLY MONITOR: Major Groups Overcomes Challenge of Participation at UNEA-4

UNEA daily monitor is powered by The Youth Cafe’s delegates attending the fourth UN Environment Assembly. The newsletter tracks the most important negotiations and events and delivers the daily news through the lense of young people.


On Tuesday, March 5th, negotiations on the Gender and Environment resolution at UNEA-4 were suddenly interrupted by the request from the African Group that all accredited observers leave the room.

The Women’s Major Group representativeshad just asked the Chair for the floor to make a statement of support for this important resolution. The request of the African Group surprised several Member State Delegates, and a legal expert of UNEP was called in to explain the rules and procedures for informal meetings such as this meeting.

Despite the Chair’s eventual decision to remove the Observers from the negotiations, this incident served to clarify the rules that allow the participation of major groups in UNEA. Informal meetings are open to observers and it is always at the discretion of the Chair to invite them to take the floor. The UNEP legal expert also recalled that observers are not negotiators, and their interventions should be general in nature.

He further recalled that if there is a strongmobjection by a member state, then the Chair can ask Observers to leave.

The Women’s Major Group also had a chance to speak with the African Group, and later in the day, the African Group pulled back on their objection. Accredited Observers are again actively contributing to discussions and offering valuable perspectives from major groups.

The Major Groups are thankful to the Member States that this confusion was quickly resolved. Having a shared understanding of the rules is necessary for effective participation in UNEA-4 and its associated meetings.