Environmental ministers from across the globe are due to meet in the Kenyan capital from next week for the UN Environment Program (UNEP) Governing Council, officials said on Monday.
The UNEP Director General Achim Steiner said the delegates to the Feb. 20-22 meeting, which will be the last global gathering of environmental ministers before the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (RIO+20) to be held in June include Heads of States, environment ministers, renowned scientists, business leaders and civil society groups.
"Participation to the event is still growing by the day. The key themes this year will be the world environment ministers speaking to the world community through the Global Environment Outlook Report Number Five which has been prepared by many partners and is a kind of state of the planet report," Steiner told journalists in Nairobi.
He said a foresight process will also be presented to the Governing Council that has been compiled by hundreds of scientists across the world on the major emerging issues that will dominate the agenda from the environmental sustainability perspective for the coming years which will be presented to the ministers and carried to Rio.
Steiner said the green economy will feature prominently in the ministerial discussions as will be the International Environmental Governance topic which will encompass among other issues the future role of the UNEP.
"This essentially implies the strengthening of the UNEP. Delegations in New York are negotiating around the options of a more incremental approach of more membership and financing and the other one implying the upgrading of UNEP into an international specialized agency of UN Systems," he said.
Steiner said all former Executive Directors of the UNEP since its founding in 1972 will attend the Governing Council during which they will address the environment ministers.
"I am pleased to say they are all alive and well and extremely energetic and we are all looking forward for an extraordinary discussion. Some of them are the architects of the body of environmental law and environmental governance and all of them have been fundamental to the evolution of UNEP in Nairobi since 1972."
He said the UNEP 40th Anniversary Marathon race scheduled for next Sunday has attracted over 2,000 registrations, with the number still rising.