The Government of Grenada, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) recently organised a high-profile two-week course on multilateral environmental law.
The Ninth Annual Course on Negotiating Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) took place in Grenada on 19-31 August 2012. International environmental law is becoming increasingly important as the world strives to adjust to climate change, pollution, and competition for natural resources. Negotiating environmental agreements is essential for finding ways to live with environmental change.
The Course is a forum for transferring past experience in international environmental law to current and future negotiators of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). The Course also fosters North-South cooperation. Topics for lectures and discussions included recent developments in negotiations, and taking stock of actual implementation of MEAs and the diplomatic practices in use in the arena of international environmental law.
Each year the UEF-UNEP Course has a special theme and takes place in a different country. This year the theme was ocean governance, and the venue was the Grenada Grand Beach Resort in Grenada. A highlight of the Course was an intensive two-day workshop in which a model ocean governance agreement was created. Facilitators for the course were experienced diplomats, national and international civil servants and university academics.
The Minister for the Environment, Foreign Trade and Export Development of Grenada, Ms Glynis Roberts, gave the opening address for the Course on 20 August. Ambassador Pasi Patokallio, Special Representative of the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, and Ms Sylvia Bankobeza, Legal Officer of UNEP/DELC, also addressed participants at the opening.
The Coordinators for the course were Ms Sally Anne Bagwhan Logie, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of the Environment, Foreign Trade and Export Development of Grenada, Professor Tuomas Kuokkanen of the University of Eastern Finland, and Ms Sylvia Bankobeza of UNEP. Prof. Kuokkanen also serves as a Counsellor for the Ministry of the Environment of Finland.
This is the Ninth UEF-UNEP Course on MEAs. This year 28 participants, most of them experienced government officials responsible for MEAs, attended the course. Also present were representatives from related NGOs, the private sector, and researchers and academics in the field of international environmental law. Over the last nine years, 303 participants from 107 countries have completed the UNEP-UEF course.