Paris agreement no magic bullet, UNEP boss says

May 23, 2016 9:21 pm
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The responsibility for implementation, he said, rests at the state-level and called on citizens to hold their governments accountable/XINHUA-File
The responsibility for implementation, he said, rests at the state-level and called on citizens to hold their governments accountable/XINHUA-File

, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 23 – United Nations Environment Programme Executive Director Achim Steiner says that unless UN member states follow through on the commitments made in the Paris agreement on climate change, it will be worth little more than the paper it was written on.

Steiner says the UN is not intended to be a “policing,” authority and has called on the individual member states to make good on their commitments to keep the climate change situation from getting “desperate.”

Overview
  • The responsibility for implementation, he said, rests at the state-level and called on citizens to hold their governments accountable.
  • “I think here is a lesson we have all learnt. Do not look to the General Assembly, do not look to UNEA as a sort of punitive body and rarely can you invoke the UN or multi-lateralism as an enforcement tool.”
  • Instead, he said, the legislatures of the individual member states as representatives of the people, need to play their oversight role over the Executive.

“If a sovereign government signs up to an international agreement, protocol, convention, then it is not for the United Nations to threaten to, in some illusionary form, force a nation to adhere to its own commitments,” he said at a United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) press briefing on Monday.

Speaking to Capital FM News earlier, Steiner said that while the agreement was indeed a “milestone” the rubber would meet the road at the implementation stage.

“That is part of the agenda for UNEA-2. What is the role of environment ministers? Where will the financing come from.”

READ: Steiner reflects on time at UNEP, speaks on his future

The responsibility for implementation, he said, rests at the state-level and called on citizens to hold their governments accountable.

“I think here is a lesson we have all learnt. Do not look to the General Assembly, do not look to UNEA as a sort of punitive body and rarely can you invoke the UN or multi-lateralism as an enforcement tool.”

Instead, he said, the legislatures of the individual member states as representatives of the people, need to play their oversight role over the Executive.

“And if you can prove that the government is not following its own legal obligation,” he said to the global citizenry “you have your judicial system.”

The Paris agreement on climate change was reached in December and saw 195 commit to keeping the increase in global average temperature to “well below” 2°C effective 2020.

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