Twenty-nine candidates from the following countries were selected: Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hungary, India, Ivory Coast, Macedonia, Mexico, Mongolia, Peru, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, United States of America, Uzbekistan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The largest number of participants was female (62%) and most of them came from Eastern Europe and Africa. The majority were government officials from the ministries of environment and foreign affairs (72%); followed by 14% of university scholars; 7% NGO representatives and 7% international organizations staff.
Fifty seven per cent of the government officials who participated in the first session were employed in the ministries of environment and 43% were employed within the ministries of foreign affairs or in the departments of foreign affairs of the ministries of environment.
This first session of the Programme met a great success. Depending on the availability of funds, UNITAR hopes to develop the Fellowship on International and Comparative Environmental Law into a recurrent programme that would annually benefit participants from developing countries and countries wth economies in transition; thus contributing to their efforts to implement environmental obligations.
Below are some comments from participants in the 2006 Session:
"As a civil servant in charge of enforcement of environmental obligations, I have acquired new skills to assist my country to adapt national environmental law so as to implement international environmental obligations"
"I have now a better understanding of the link between international Laws and national legislation. The new skills acquired will allow me to cross-check our national legislation and assess if it responds to the international commitments we have. It will also help in the formulation and reviewing of our national legislation"
"My country is a party to most of the MEAs we discussed in the course. I have understood the need to adapt national laws to comply with these obligations. The programme has also helped me to understand the importance of international cooperation to deal with environmental issues"
"The Fellowship provided new perspectives and awareness of the environmental challenges faced by developing countries with restrictive budgets and limited alternative financial resources. There is a task we have to face: how to do more with less ressource. This became apparent over the several discussions we had"
"The interaction with all the other participants was one of the best things. Bringing together people from so many different countries and cultures, each of them ready to share her/his experience and knowledge on environmental issues but also inside to his/her country or culture is without a doubt the key to success of the program"
"What I liked most about the programme was the use of role playing during the simulation exercises. This method helped me understand the concepts better and also be able to apply the concepts which were taught during the lectures"
"The UNITAR Fellowship is one of the most enlightening and enriching experiences in the area of environmental law. The 3 weeks provided me “FOOD FOR THOUGHT” on environmental issues ranging from international, regional and national perspectives. The Fellowship Programme has been a “Truly Learning Process” which I will always cherish for all times to come, back home".