United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Division of Environmental Law and Conventions commissioned SEI’s Tallinn Centre to develop a methodology that could be used to audit coherence and effectiveness in national implementation of two clusters of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), one related to biodiversity and the other related to chemicals and waste. UNEP’s aim was to fill a gap in MEA review mechanisms, which are highly varied and often have no established mechanisms for review of implementation and compliance. Furthermore, there is a broad lack of standard procedures or legally regulated processes for individual MEAs and, especially, for clusters of MEAs.

The audits should improve the evidence base on countries’ performance in implementing the MEAs; at the international level this could enhance knowledge of links between national and global environmental goals, while at the national level it could be useful to set priorities for future implementation, review the legal framework and institutional set-up, and identify gaps in capacities and resources.

A second aim was to explore how effective fulfilling obligations under the different MEAs was in addressing countries’ specific environmental concerns, and whether countries are doing enough. An important requirement was that the methodology should be simple and easy to apply, in order to minimize the time and resources countries would have to invest in carrying out the audits.

The new methodology developed under the project is designed to be used by independent experts, the secretariats of the MEAs, and national audit offices.

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