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Global environment assembly calls for action on planetary hazards

Addis Ababa, February 27, 2024 (FBC) – The sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) on Monday started in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, with delegates renewing their call for robust multilateralism to aid action on threats to planetary health.

More than 4,000 delegates from 182 member states, including ministers, representatives of multilateral institutions, industry, civil society and academia, are attending UNEA-6, which lasts from Monday to Friday.

Held biennially since 2014, the United Nations Environment Assembly is the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment, and the 2024 edition will take place under the theme of “effective, inclusive and sustainable multilateral action to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.”

Soipan Tuya, Kenya’s cabinet secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, said UNEA-6 offers a platform to inject vitality into multilateralism, strengthening action on pressing ecological threats like the climate crisis, habitat loss and plastic waste.

“This assembly reaffirms the need for accelerated action to end plastic pollution, biodiversity and nature loss as we pursue green growth that is inclusive and sustainable,” Tuya said.

Major events slated for the five-day global environment assembly include a science-business policy forum, Multilateral Environmental Agreements Day, and a high-level segment involving heads of state and government.

The assembly is also expected to discuss 20 resolutions focusing on critical minerals, air pollution, solar radiation, water security, ocean governance, and reforming the international financial system.

Leila Benali, the president of UNEA-6 and minister for Energy Transition and Sustainable Development of Morocco, called for fidelity to multilateralism to help tackle planetary hazards in the face of geopolitical tensions and global economic slowdown.

According to Benali, a consensus-driven process is imperative to halt atmospheric warming and the extinction of species, which fuel poverty and inequality.

Benali stressed the need to implement resolutions passed at the previous five UN environment assemblies to help secure a peaceful, green and resilient future for the planet and its inhabitants.

Inger Andersen, the executive director of UNEP, noted that multiple planetary crises are casting a dark shadow on the safety, prosperity and stability of nations, necessitating action from a broad range of stakeholders including governments, businesses, civil society, women, youth and indigenous people.

While expressing faith in multilateral environment treaties, Andersen said their enforcement will be key to delivering climate justice, sustainable development and equity, Xinhua reported.

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