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Remarks by Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director at the Opening of the 11th Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum

Bali, 24 February 2010 - His Excellency Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia, and his Ministers of Foreign and Affairs and Environment

President of the Governing Council, the Honourable Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning of Serbia Mr Oliver Dulic,

Excellencies, distinguished delegates, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.

Bali has many names your Excellency including island of the Gods.

But for us in the environment programme of the UN, and for the ministers responsible for this agenda, Bali means success, hospitality and friendship.

Words that in the multilateral system mean a lot in a world of complex relationships and sometimes overly complex and protracted negotiations.

In 2007, the UN climate convention meeting gave us all a dramatic impulse towards a truly cooperative response to one of the great challenges facing this generation.

The international community has yet to fully translate that Bali spirit into a final and transformative outcome.

But we have traveled some distance down that Bali Road Map and made progress on a global, cooperative response in Copenhagen.

We now head towards Cancun and Mexico later in the year in search of that full and final berth.

There are other reasons for us to celebrate Indonesia and Bali.

The Bali Strategic Plan on Technology Support and Capacity Building is part of UNEP's daily lingua franca.

It has taken some little time.

But the Plan is now operational, bringing the environmental dimension of sustainable development ever closer to the countries and communities we ultimately serve.

Perhaps a lesson in patience that might also serve us well in the dimension of climate change and other pressing challenges.

You have successfully hosted recent meetings including of the Basel Convention on Transboundary Hazardous Wastes and this week, along with the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, have held their Extraordinary Committee of the Parties.

Today's 'synergies' outcome is an historic building block in a bigger picture of gearing the International Environmental Governance system towards a 21st century one.

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Further Resources

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Message to the 11th Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council

11th Special Session of the Governing Council


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