Mandate of the UNEA-4 Resolution on SCP, and methodology to conduct research and engage Member States, businesses and other key stakeholders

At the fourth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly, held in March 2019, the Resolution 1 on Innovative pathways to achieve sustainable consumption and production , and its operative paragraph 15, requested ‘’the Executive Director to submit a report providing an overview of best practices, including their impact on the design of products and services, minimizing harmful environmental impacts, and coherent product policies to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation through sustainable consumption and production, and providing recommendations for consideration by the Environment Assembly at its fifth session’’.

Mandate of the UNEA-4 resolution on SCP

The resolution on Innovative pathways to achieve sustainable consumption and production (UNEP/EA.4/Res.1) recognizes the importance of advancing sustainable consumption and production patterns, through the circular economy and other sustainable economic models, and the importance of implementing the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns, as specifically addressed in Sustainable Development Goal 12 of Agenda 2030. Current trends of natural resource exploitation and their impact on the environment set out in the Global Resources Outlook 2019 were noted, and the need to achieve sustainable consumption and production patterns for the SDGs, the environment and climate objectives. Member States recognized that while achieving sustainable consumption and production requires the active support of all stakeholders, governments must take the lead on policies to empower consumers in making informed choices and can transform markets through sustainable public procurement.

In paragraph 15 of resolution 4/1, the Environment Assembly requested the Executive Director to submit a report providing an overview of best practices, including their impact on the design of products and services, minimizing harmful environmental impacts, and coherent product policies to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation through sustainable consumption and production, and providing recommendations for consideration by the Environment Assembly at its fifth session.

Methodology to develop the global stocktaking of existing product policies and design practices

  1. The implementation of resolution 4/1, paragraph 15, is supported by the project on “mainstreaming coherent and effective sustainable consumption and production policies, including through circular economy models: best practices and recommendations”.
  1. Project implementation began in March 2020, focused on the identification and dissemination of policy instruments and business models in place at the local, national and regional levels that contribute to decoupling economic growth from environment degradation and environmental impacts, as well as case studies that illustrate best practices and their impact on sustainable design of products and services to minimize harmful environmental impacts. Recommendations were also formulated, building on this overview.
  1. Resolution 4/1, paragraph 15, refers to “product policies”, which are considered to be policies that aim to drive both the demand and supply sides of the market towards more sustainability and circularity through a policy mix that minimizes the negative impacts of a product throughout its life cycle while maintaining acceptable performance and safety standards. Product policies therefore cover a range of subjects, from the tracking of natural resource extraction to the uptake of green technology, use of chemicals, promotion of industrial symbiosis, eco-labelling, sustainable public procurement, integrated waste management and promotion of public-private collaboration. Product policies encompass both voluntary and mandatory instruments.
  1. To conduct the global analysis of existing product policies and design practices, UNEP worked with partner organizations that supported the research at the regional level, namely Grupo GEA (Latin America and the Caribbean region), the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) (Europe and Northern America regions), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) (Africa and Western Asia regions) and the Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (Asia and the Pacific region). The SCP national focal points were engaged throughout the research phase.
  1. Introductory webinars provided an opportunity to introduce the resolution, following which nine online consultation sessions with a total of more than 300 participants were organized to further engage the SCP focal points at the regional level around three main issues: (i) the current impact of product policies and the enabling conditions for higher impact and further coherence; (ii) the identification, implementation and scaling up of product/service design practices that minimize harmful environmental impacts; and (iii) the role of UNEP, the United Nations system and the wider international community in addressing the identified gaps and challenges. A detailed outline of the methodology used, the consultation process and the inputs from Member States and other stakeholders is available on the One Planet network website
  2. UNEP also engaged with the private sector, international organizations and other relevant stakeholders, including through national business and industry and trade associations, chambers of commerce, the Global Network for Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECPnet), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, development banks, the United Nations Global Compact, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. These engagement efforts led to the collection of examples of design practices and information on the opportunities and challenges identified by the private sector.
  3. The findings and conclusions are also derived from the research conducted between March and October 2020 and the more than 900 activities reported in 2019 across the One Planet network under Sustainable Development Goal indicator 12.1.1.

These conclusions build on the outcomes of online consultations engaging policy makers and other relevant stakeholders which were conducted in 2020

In the Latin America and the Caribbean region, two online sessions were held:
in Spanish on September 9th, 2020: recordingpresentationminutes & participants
in English on September 15th, 2020: recordingpresentationminutes & participants
In the pan-European region, two online sessions were held:
in English on September 24th, 2020: recording presentationminutes & participants
in Russian on September 25th, 2020: recording presentationminutes & participants

In North America region, two online conversations were held:
With representatives of Canada, in English, on October 13th, 2020: presentation minutes & participants
With representatives of the United States of America, in English, on October 29th, 2020: presentationminutes & participants

 

In the Africa region, two online sessions were held:
in English on September 22nd, 2020: recording presentationminutes & participants
in French on September 29th, 2020: recording presentationminutes & participants

In the West Asia region, one online session was held:
in Arabic on October 6th, 2020: recording presentation minutes & participants
 
In the Asia Pacific region, one online session was held
in English on September 16th, 2020: recording presentationminutes & participants