UN environment forum draws over 7,000 delegates into Nairobi

Over 7,000 delegates from 182 UN Member States and more than 170 Ministers are converging in Nairobi for the sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6).

This year’s Assembly, themed around firming up environmental multilateralism to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature loss, and pollution, aims to negotiate agreements on critical issues including nature-based solutions, highly hazardous pesticides, land degradation, drought, and the environmental aspects of minerals and metals.

Leila Benali, President of UNEA-6 and Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development for the Kingdom of Morocco, highlighted the importance of demonstrating that multilateral diplomacy can deliver tangible results in the face of global turmoil.

““We are living in a time of turmoil. And I know that in this room, there are people who are, or who know, those deeply affected by this turmoil. Our response must demonstrate that multilateral diplomacy can deliver,” said Leila Benali.

She stressed the need for inclusive, networked, and effective multilateralism that can make a real difference in people’s lives, emphasizing the inclusion of voices beyond governments, such as youth, indigenous peoples, and local communities.

“We must also include voices beyond government, of youth, indigenous peoples and local communities, by focusing on issues of gender and human rights, and leaving no one behind,” Laila added.

Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP, underscored the urgency of addressing climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, calling for political differences to be set aside in favour of a shared vision for a sustainable future.

“It is time to lay political differences aside and focus on this little blue planet, teeming with life. Time to lift our sights to our common goal: a pathway to a sustainable and safe future,” said Inger Andersen.

“We do this by agreeing on the resolutions before UNEA-6 to boost multilateral action for today and tomorrow, and secure intergenerational justice and equity,” added Andersen.

She said that there is urgent need to agree on resolutions that will boost multilateral action and secure intergenerational justice and equity.

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19 resolutions spurring multilateral environmental action

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Forestry Soipan Tuya, highlighted the importance of UNEA-6 in renewing hope, particularly for millions in developing regions where poverty remains a daily reality and economic inequality is increasing globally.

The Assembly will see countries consider 19 resolutions aimed at spurring more ambitious multilateral environmental action, covering issues such as circular economy, solar radiation modification, climate justice, and sound management of chemicals and waste.

A series of  leadership and multi-stakeholder dialogues, as well as more than 30 official side events and associated events, are expected to lay the groundwork for strengthened future global and regional coordinated efforts to deliver high-impact planetary action.

UNEA-6 comes at a time when the world is called upon to accelerate the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The outcomes of the Assembly are expected to have far-reaching implications for global environmental governance and the pursuit of a sustainable and safe future for all.

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