By Mathew Dadiya
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has said more than 70 ministers and 3,000 delegates are expected to participate in this year United Environment Assembly known asUNEA-6 which will be held in Nairobi, Kenya as the world’s top decision-making body on the environment assembled to shape global environmental policy, especially with the Climate Change issue.
UNEP Executive Director, Inger Andersen in a statement yesterday on UNEA-6 2024, said it will bring together ministers, intergovernmental organizations, the broader UN system, civil society groups, the scientific community and private sector to outline decisions for the safety of the global community.
Andersen pointed out that UNEA-6 won’t solve the world’s problems overnight; what it will do is unite nations under the banner of environmental action, focus minds and energies on key solutions to the triple planetary crisis and guide the work of UNEP in this critical period for people and planet.
According to her, in addition to the core resolutions, we will have a Youth Environment Assembly, convened by youth, for youth; we will have leadership dialogues on finance, on science, data and digitalization, and on multilateralism.
She added that the Assembly will have a day dedicated to bringing together the many multilateral environmental agreements that global governments have signed up to, with a view to creating united and amplified action.
The Executive Director disclosed that they currently have 20 draft resolutions and two draft decisions submitted for countries to discuss.
She noted that “the impacts are here and growing”, recalling, “last year was the hottest on record, bringing more intense storms, droughts and wildfires.
She lamented that, “Species are under massive pressure, forests are falling and soils are turning infertile. Millions of people are dying each year from exposure to pollution and chemicals.
“As we prepare for this assembly, it is clear that the world has an environmental must-do list. This is a must-do list for tackling what we at UNEP call the triple planetary crisis: the crisis of climate change, the crisis of nature and biodiversity loss, and the crisis of pollution and waste. This crisis disproportionately impacts the African continent.
”The UNEP Executive Director said, there is a global response to the crisis, noting that last year’s climate talks signalled the end of fossil fuels and the loss and damage fund became operational, with US$700+ million pledges.
“We saw a new Global Framework on Chemicals and the first full year of operation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. We’re in the final stages of negotiations on a global instrument on plastic pollution – a key outcome of UNEA-5. There are dozens of other global and regional multilateral environmental agreements, many of them hosted by UNEP.
“So, we have the commitments. We know the solutions. There is more than enough finance in the world to get the job done, if redirected to the right places. The job now is to go further and faster in efforts to end the triple planetary crisis.
”The UNEP ED assured that this year’s UNEA-6 will place particular focus on how stronger multilateralism can help them to do this, adding, UNEA-6 will drive united, inclusive and multilateral action that addresses every strand of the triple planetary crisis as one indivisible challenge.
The UNEP boss thanked Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change & Forestry of the Republic of Kenya Soipan Tuya for the government’s support and partnership in hosting the sixth UN Environment Assembly, known as UNEA-6.
Soipan Tuya, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry of Kenya said UNEA is the world’s highest-level decision-making body for matters related to Environment, saying it sets the global environmental agenda, provides overarching policy guidance and defines policy responses to address emerging environmental challenges.
Tuya noted that UNEA undertakes environmental policy review and provides strategic direction for the UNEP.UNEA-6 has been organised around six thematic areas that were considered by members in developing the draft resolutions to compel more effective, inclusive and sustainable multi-lateral action. As a result, twenty-two resolutions have been developed and are being negotiated by the member states along five clusters.
“It is a privilege for Kenya to host UNEA every two years in Nairobi by virtue four Country being the global headquarters of UNEP, which is one of the two United Nations agencies headquartered in the Global South, adding, the other one being UN Habitat which is also headquartered here in Nairobi,” the cabinet secretary said.