The ACP MEAs Programme an initiative of the European Commission (EC) which is being implemented by the United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) since March 2009. It was initiated to address challenging environmental issues through the implementation of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in the African, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) regions.
Throughout generations, humans have continued to utilize an estimated 25% more natural resources than the planet can sustain. Additionally, climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution including from chemicals mismanagement have become some of the critical challenges to mankind. Over dependence on scarce natural resources is likely to intensify conflicts due to population increase, widespread poverty and lack of alternatives. In order to combat these existential challenges, many nations joined hands through the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), which committed them to take action for better environmental management.
However, many developing countries are unable to fulfil their MEAs obligations due to lack of capacity in addressing complex scientific and technical issues. Obstacles such as inadequate human, financial and technical resources severely affect the ability of developing countries to implement MEAs. Consequently, UNEP, FAO, the EC, ACP Secretariat and regional partners pooled together their resources to enhance the capacity of the ACP countries to implement the agreements.
Since its first inception, the Programme is now in its third phase (ACP MEAs III)
- Phase I During this phase, the programme aimed to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change, loss of biodiversity, drought, land degradation, chemicals, hazardous waste and other threats to the environment
- Phase II This phase was built on the experiences, lessons learned, and achievements gained from the initial phase to further enhance the capacity of the ACP countries by focussing on two specific clusters of MEAs (Biodiversity and chemicals and waste management).
- Phase III This phase is focusing on to assisting ACP countries to enforce and comply with MEAs related to biodiversity and chemicals and waste and Ocean/Seas governance clusters
The overall objective is for the ACP countries to achieve Sustainable Development Goals through environmental sustainability. The programme promotes the enforcement of environmental treaties and goals in ACP countries by building national and institutional capacity and influencing policies and legislative frameworks for effective implementation of MEAs and related commitments in the chemicals and waste, marine and biodiversity clusters of MEAs.
The specific objective is to strengthen the implementation of biodiversity, chemicals and waste and marine MEAs clusters at the national and regional levels in ACP countries through the development of stronger compliance and enforcement measures for the ACP countries to address the challenges associated with the sound management of chemicals and waste, marine issues including pollution, coastal erosion and loss of biodiversity.
The expected results
The implementation of the Programme is expected to produce tangible results including:
Reinforcement of Regional Seas Conventions Governance Frameworks and associated protocols;
Development of regional representative networks of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs);
Reduction of the influx of waste (plastics and other forms of human and industrial liquid and solid waste) entering the marine environment;
Effective communications, outreach and awareness-raising for increased stakeholder engagement, including political will among decision-makers;
Enforcement and compliance with biodiversity and chemicals and waste conventions.
To promote the development of enforcement measures to effectively support the ground implementation of the conventions' objectives;
Development of national frameworks, legislations and mechanisms for the effective implementation of biodiversity and chemicals and waste conventions;
Development of knowledge sharing tools, guidelines and mechanisms for the effective implementation of biodiversity and chemicals and waste conventions/COP Readiness and Support.
The ACP MEAs Programme is organized around a governance structure and rules of procedure established by the European Commission (Donor) and UNEP/FAO, with due consideration of the provisions of the EU-UN Financial and Administrative Framework Agreement (FAFA) 2014.
The Programme has constituted a Programme Steering Committee (PSC) as the high-level overseer, comprising of representatives from the European Commission, the ACP Secretariat, UNEP (Law Division), and FAO. Its mandate is to oversee and validate the overall direction, policy and coherence of the Programme, and provide guidance on specific outputs, discuss, amend and approve the Programme activities and reports.
Representatives from from all Programme partners which include the regional Hubs (AUC, CARICOM and SPREP), the four Regional Seas Conventions Secretariats (Abidjan, Nairobi, Cartagena and Noumea), MEA Secretariats (BRS, CMS, Minamata, CITES), and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) participate in the PSC annual meetings with an observer status.
UNEP’s Law Division is the overall coordinator and facilitator of the Programme as well as mobilizing political support from the regions and countries as stipulated in UNEP’s existing mandate of supporting the implementation of MEAs to strengthen environmental governance. Our channels of communication is designed in such a way that all implementing partners direct their communication to UNEP, which then update the members of the PSC as illustrated below.
The ACP MEAs programme contributes towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by contributing to:
- SDG 2: Mainstreaming of biodiversity into agriculture for sustainable food and nutrition security (Targets 2.4, 2.5);
- SDG 3: National sustainable environmental development strategies ( Target 3D);
- SDG 6: Prevention of chemical and waste materials from entering and polluting water sources ( Targets 6.1, 6.3, 6.5, 6.6, 6A, 6B);
- SDG 12: Promoting the sound management of chemicals and waste by developing national legislative frameworks and integrated strategies ( Targets 12.2; 12.4; 12.5; 12.A);
- SDG 13: Developing institutional capacities and mechanisms for effective response to environmental issues (Targets 13.3, 13.B);
- SDG 14: Protecting life below water through the development of National Environment Management Strategies, which serve as the single strategic document for an integrated approach to the environment in the ACP countries ( Targets 14.1, 14.2, 14.5, 14.7);
- SDG 15: Preventing biodiversity loss by integrating biodiversity into national planning and strategic instruments and supporting the implementation of revised NBSAPs (All targets);
- SDG 16: Promoting strong regional institutions for environmental governance ( Targets 16.7; 16.8; 16.A);
- SDG 17: Building capacity and promoting partnerships, especially South-South cooperation to achieve the SDGs ( Target 17.9).