President of the UN Environment Assembly and Minister of Environment of Estonia, Siim Kiisler has urged world nations to initiate policy change to tackle the problem of plastic pollution affecting the marine environment.
The calls coming amid revelation that, an average of 8 million tones of plastic waste ends up in the world’s oceans every year.
At Gigiri, Nairobi County the 4th session United Nations Environment conference kicked off with a moment of silence for the victims of Sunday’s Ethiopia Airlines crash that left 157 passengers dead.
At least 19 officials affiliated with the United Nation’s and who were on their way to the conference were among those killed in the crash. The crush also took away the lives of 32 Kenyans who were en-route to Nairobi.
But the somber mood however did not distract the theme of the international environmental forum, with Siim Kiisler who also doubles as the Minister of Environment of Estonia, appealing for new policies, technologies and innovative solutions that would help reduce plastic pollution in the oceans.
Kiisler said the over 170 nations participating in Nairobi must consider Public-Private-Partnerships to protect marine environment to benefit from the blue economy.
“At this Assembly, we are focusing on how to consume and produce sustainably and on innovative solutions to address environmental challenges. Even more than anywhere, results in global environmental policy can only be achieved in collaboration. Evidence shows that we need to strengthen our efforts collectively and urgently”, he said.
He further said that over 2 billion people globally lack access to solid waste management services with 8 million tones of plastics making their way to the oceans annually.
UN Environment’s Acting Director Joyce Msuya called on nations to step up and deliver as a matter of urgency to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development.
Msuya reiterated the need for nations to embrace policy change to strengthen the global momentum on aquatic plastic litter.
She added that it will require political goodwill from those countries which have recently been blamed for being a gateway through which plastic bags are making their way to the country.
“We also need smart urban planning since a third of us live in the cities globally, in addition stop over reliance on fossil fuels as a primary source of energy to tackle challenges to the environmental conservation. We need to move quickly to a low carbon, green economy that by 2050 reduces fossil fuel use by 80%. It is time to be kinder to the environment in how we produce food, reducing the environmental impact of food production by two thirds”, she said.
She continued to say that the world needs to achieve a near- zero waste economy by 2050 that circularity must be the driving force of the future that we want.
Over 4,700 delegates including 8 heads of state and 88 ministers from over 170 countries are in attendance.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron are expected to grace the event later in the week when they will co-chair the One planet Summit.
On Thursday, March 7th, Global Major Groups and Stakeholders’ forum opened with a reflection on the situation for Major Groups and Stakeholders since the 3rd UN Environment Assembly to present with a look toward the future. This reflection continued into the afternoon before the breakout sessions with a focused discussion on the engagement at UNEA-4 by the MGS. Inviting a dialogue with the UN Environment Executive Director was another point of discussion by the Major Groups and Stakeholders.
Find attached Day one Newsletter.
Speakers on Friday, March 8, the second and last day of the 18th Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum, highlighted issues of importance including the Aichi Biodiversity Targets maturing in 2020; a potential mismatch between the platforms for local communities and indigenous peoples intended by the
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties held in December 2018 in Katowice, Poland; climate justice and the dependence of indigenous peoples on their natural environment; and a perceived shift in priority from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals for human rights to stronger investment in stakeholder interests.
Find Attached Day two Newsletter.
The Global Major Groups and stakeholders Forum (GMGSF) has just kicked off at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi on at high note.
“The role of the civil societies in seeking solutions to climate change and global environmental issues that we are experiencing cannot be underestimated, we have a crucial role to play in not just supporting the progressive forces across the world but also holding governments responsible to the laws they pass affecting local people across the world.” Mithika Mwenda of Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) has said in his opening remarks.
PACJA is co-hosting the The Global Major Groups and stakeholders Forum in Nairobi.
Mithika has underscored the place of civil society in the global discussions and reiterated the civil society mantra of “Nothing without us”
Mr.Siim Kiisler, Minister of Environment of Estonia and UNEA President has also addressed the opening session. Kiisler has assured the Major Groups and Stakeholders that their voices will be heard and taken into account at the Assembly. He has also challenged stakeholders to pull together more, push and ensure that their positions are more robust and that their input in the various discussions has a cutting edge.
The opening session was also addressed by Mohamed Abdelraouf, Mrinalini Rai (Tina) and Khawla Al-Muhannadi. All of them have insiisted on the need for the major groups to pull together and push together for success in the agenda and interests of the groups and stakeholders.
Augustine Njamnshi, Technical & Political Affairs Committee at PACJA has been offering valuable guidance as Chair and moderator of all the sessions from the Opening ceremony.
The Major groups and stakeholders will be holding their consultations for the next two days ahead of the United Nations Environmental Assembly that will be running from 11th – 15th at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi
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