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Source: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
9 February 2006




GLOBAL MINISTERIAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
POLICY ISSUES: STATE OF THE ENVIRONMENT
CONTRIBUTION TO FUTURE SESSIONS OF THE COMMISSION
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
STATE OF THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT AND CONTRIBUTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME TO ADDRESSING ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES
Report of the Executive Director

Background

1. The present report has been prepared in response to a number of decisions of the twentieth session and the fifth special session of the Governing Council, as detailed in the section on the mandate below, and relates to activities undertaken by the United Nations Environment Programme in such areas as: environmental assessment and information; the development and implementation of environmental policy instruments relating, inter alia, to land degradation, chemicals, land-based activities, coral reefs and biosafety; support to Africa; technology transfer and industry; the contribution of UNEP to future sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development; and the environmental situation in the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories.

2. The report is submitted for consideration by the Governing Council at its twenty-first session.


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*UNEP/GC.21/1.

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INTRODUCTION

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I. Environmental situation in the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories

The Governing Council,

Having considered the report of the Executive Director on the status of the preparation of a report on the environmental situation in the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories (UNEP/GC.21/2, chap. I, sect. C),

Requests the Executive Director to prepare the report as soon as practicable and to submit it to the Governing Council at its twenty-second session.

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I. ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AND INFORMATION

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C. Environmental situation in the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories


24. UNEP continues to be part of the multilateral working groups on water resources and the environment set up under the Middle East peace process, even though the working groups have not met since the twentieth session of the Governing Council.

25. UNEP, jointly with Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and the UNDP Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People, is implementing a subregional project on the development of a Middle East subregional database on desertification. This activity falls under the initiative for collaboration, under the Multilateral Working Group on the Environment, in controlling natural resource degradation (desertification) of arid lands in the Middle East. The project, funded by the Government of Norway, will be completed in January 2001.

26. UNEP participated in the sixth inter-agency meeting organized by the Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator in the Occupied Territories, held in Gaza on 14 and 15 June 2000. The meeting aimed to coordinate United Nations assistance to the Palestinian people.

27. With regard to the update of the report on the state of the environment, UNEP has started to prepare, through the Centre for Environmental Studies and Resources Management based in Oslo, its report on the environmental situation in the occupied Palestinian and other Arab territories. The preparatory work covers the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as the previously occupied southern part of Lebanon. Work on the Golan Heights was not initiated, as the parties concerned feel that an assessment of the environmental situation in that area is not appropriate in view of high-level negotiations currently under way.

28. Information sources consulted to date for the preparation of the report include documents from Government institutions, United Nations organizations, the World Bank and research centres. They are supplemented by findings from field studies, and dialogue with authorities dealing with water and the environment in the region.

29. The current circumstances in the region have prevented relevant materials from being collected in some areas. Consequently, completion of the report has become impracticable at the current stage. It is hoped that the report will be completed in time for submission to the Governing Council at its twenty-second session.

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