Report of the Executive Director
Responses to environmental emergencies
1. The UNEP Post-Conflict Assessment Unit has, since its inception in 2001, conducted post-conflict activities in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Liberia, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Serbia and Montenegro. UNEP has also joined the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) process as the focal point for environmental issues in Haiti, Iraq, Liberia and Sudan. UNEP has provided technical advice and information management services to the United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) concerning various environmental compensation claims from the 1991 Gulf War. A summary of the progress that has been made in each of these operations is provided below.
2. All UNEP post-conflict activities have been externally funded. Major donors include the European Commission and the Governments of Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Additional in-kind support has been received from Finland, Greece, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States of America.
3. Following a request made by the UNEP Governing Council at its twenty-first session, the Executive Director prepared the report, Desk Study on the Environment in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. At its twenty-second session, the UNEP Governing Council considered the report, and adopted decision 22/1 V. Progress made subsequent to the adoption of that decision is described in this report.
4. The report also describes the response by UNEP and the Joint UNEP/Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Environment Unit to decision 22/8 on the further improvement of environmental emergency prevention, preparedness, assessment, response and mitigation. UNEP has continued to implement activities in the areas of awareness raising, capacity-building and assessment of the environmental impacts of disasters, particularly those that have profound consequences on the environment, as this issue continues to gain wider recognition at the national, regional and global levels. The joint UNEP/OCHA environment unit has continued to implement activities in response to environmental emergencies and to contribute to United Nations system-wide coordinated efforts.
II. Decision 22/1 V: Environment in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
14. Subsequent to the adoption of decision 22/1 V by the Governing Council, The Post-Conflict Assessment Unit convened a trilateral technical meeting on environmental issues to discuss implementation of the decision, including the recommendations contained in the above-mentioned UNEP desk study. The meeting discussed the next steps to be undertaken by UNEP under eight jointly agreed priority desk study recommendations. Following this, the Post-Conflict Assessment Unit launched a series of capacity-building training seminars for Palestinian officials, including on communications and the environment, on environmental quality standards on wastewater and air pollution, on environmental impact assessment, and on environmental policy making and environmental laboratory analysis.