Agencies join forces to promote environmental law through enhanced knowledge sharing

Montreux, 9 June 2014 - Four UN agencies, in collaboration with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other key partners, concluded a week of meetings to promote new tools and better access to information to assist Parties to more effectively implement obligations under 18 Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEA).

Knowledge sharing and access to information, such as national plans, national reports, and other official documents, are critical to ensuring effective environmental governance.

The Multilateral Environment Agreements and Knowledge Management (MEA IKM) Initiative seeks to develop harmonised and interoperable information systems in support of knowledge management activities among 18 MEAs for the benefit of Parties and the environment community at large.

"Collaboration in the implementation of our respective mandates towards concrete results is crucial in overcoming the challenge of institutional fragmentation in the field of international environmental law" noted Ms. Mrema, who assumed her function as Director of the UNEP Division of Environmental Law and Conventions last week.

"The MEA Information and Knowledge Management Initiative is a creative way of enhancing environmental governance and giving expression to one coherent body of international environmental law. MEA Secretariats are collaborating with the Secretariats of UNEP and other organizations to develop innovative information and knowledge tools to better support decision making and implementation. Such initiatives are welcomed by CITES." said John E. Scanlon Secretary-General of CITES and co-chair of the Steering Committee.

The Steering Committee of the MEA IKM Initiative met for the fifth time to discuss key knowledge management issues, such as easier-to-use joint on-line reporting tools for MEA Parties, the development of a thesaurus on Environmental Law and Conventions and the translation of InforMEA tools into different languages. The MEA IKM initiative, which was inspired by the renewed emphasis the United Nations is placing on information and communication tools, is one of the largest sustainable development knowledge management projects in the UN system.

The enhancement of the InforMEA Web-Portal (, the first project of the MEA Information and Knowledge Management Initiative, is funded by the European Union. A number of innovative information categories are under development including an E-learning tool on Environmental Law and Conventions, the possibility to search through national plans and reports submitted by Parties from all participating MEAs and comprehensive ratification and national focal point information.

Participants agreed to continue the development of a MEA Thesaurus, to upgrade the technical platform hosting InforMEA, and to jointly fundraise towards the development of larger scare engagement with university networks on the promotion of environmental law and environmental conventions. Partnerships were also discussed with the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and IUCN, regarding knowledge management.

In attendance at the meeting was Ms. Elizabeth Mrema, Director of the Division of Environmental Law and Conventions of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Mr. John E. Scanlon, Secretary General of CITES, Honourable Justice Antonio H. Benjamin, Brazil Supreme Court, and Chair of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law International Union for Conservation of Nature, Mr. Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Migratory Species, and Mr. Jan Dusik, Director of the UNEP Regional Office for Europe.

Representatives from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the IUCN Academy of Law, the IUCN Law Centre Environmental Management Group, the European Environment Agency and UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), joined the meeting to contribute to greater access to knowledge on International Environmental Law.

For further information please visit the InforMEA website- - and the InforMEA facebook page -

Please contact Isabelle Valentiny UNEP Regional Information Officer with any queries.

Last updated on 10 June 2014