The third United Nations Environment Assembly opened in Nairobi yesterday, with around 100 of environmental ministers across the world gathering to discuss initiatives to combat global pollution.
Attending on behalf of the UK is a delegation from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) along with the resident representatives to the UN Environment Programme led by the UK’s Permanent Representative, Susie Kitchens.
The theme of this year’s global environment event, “Towards a Pollution-Free Planet,” is seeking to rally governments, industry and civil society to support innovative waste management measures.
Delegates attending the three-day global environment assembly will discuss a raft of policy and technology based interventions to reduce the menace of pollution.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the assembly, Judi Wakhungu, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, said “as we strive to develop and provide better services to our citizens, pollution has equally increased. It is time the world addressed this challenge without delay.”
“We all appreciate that a pollution free planet cannot be achieved in isolation, a strong reason for us to work together on the matter,” she added.
The Cabinet Secretary also reaffirmed Kenya’s support for multilateral initiatives aimed at revitalizing war on pollution that is to blame for ecosystems depletion and a higher disease burden among poor communities.
Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment (UNEP), said that a vision for a pollution free planet can be achieved if key stakeholders step up their contribution, adding: “There are huge benefits if we fight pollution and they include creation of jobs and human health. We need to put pressure on politicians and business leaders to act on pollution.”
Ministers for environment, captains of industry, members of academia and civil society are expected to endorse sweeping measures to rejuvenate the fight against pollution at the end of the three day global environment assembly.
The Assembly will conclude on 6 December with announcements on a range of new resolutions to tackle the problem of pollution.