A world united in environmental action

FOR: UNEA-6 opening press statement
LOCATION: Nairobi, Kenya

My thanks to the members of the media for covering the sixth UN Environment Assembly, known as UNEA-6.

The world has gathered here in Nairobi, the environmental capital of the world, to slow the triple planetary crisis: the crisis of climate change, the crisis of nature and biodiversity loss, and the crisis of pollution and waste. We’ve all felt and seen the impacts – baking heat, intense storms, vanishing nature and species, failing soils, deadly dirty air, oceans stuffed with plastic waste and much more. These impacts fall hardest upon the poor and vulnerable, who are least responsible for them, but nobody is immune.

The whole world needs to get behind action on the environment if we are to have any chance of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. So, it is encouraging that this UNEA boasts an unprecedented global presence, unity and inclusivity. We have over 7,300 registered delegates, 190 countries represented, over 150 ministers and vice ministers – all record highs for a UN Environment Assembly.

UNEP and this assembly are committed to listening to every voice so that the outcomes work for everyone, everywhere. At the Youth Environment Assembly, over 450 delegates agreed the Global Youth Declaration on Environment asking for greater, more meaningful engagement within environmental multilateralism. The voices of civil society, Indigenous Peoples, women, businesses and more have been fed in through the Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum. We have listened.

After intense negotiations during last week’s Open-Ended Committee of Permanent Representatives, we have 19 resolutions and two decisions on the table. There are resolutions that can speed the transition to net-zero, improve the quality of air and water, and equip ocean and sea governance to tackle threats. There are resolutions that build the resilience of people to drought and support efforts to restore degraded land – such as the new World Restoration Flagships we will acknowledge at tomorrow’s Gala of Hope.

There is a resolution that seeks to spark a global conversation on emerging technologies that will equip nations with the science and wisdom to make the right choices for people and planet. There is a resolution aimed at ushering out the culture of take, make and waste at the heart of the triple planetary crisis – as highlighted by the 2024 Global Resources Outlook from the International Resource Panel, which is being launched this week. We’ll also launch UNEP’s Global Waste Management Outlook, which looks will look at how the world must move beyond our current waste era and turn rubbish into a resource.

Most importantly, this assembly is placing a central focus on Multilateral Environmental Agreements, such as those covering climate, desertification, biodiversity, the ozone layer, chemicals and more. We have a day dedicated to reimagining how these agreements can better work together for accelerated action. In the MEA tent, this conversation will continue for most of the week.

Fundamentally, what we want to see here is unity and ambition, in line with the Nairobi spirit that two years ago saw this Assembly gavel a historic decision to launch negotiations towards a global instrument on plastic pollution. So, I am calling on everyone to join forces for strong resolutions, stronger implementation and follow-up action and real inclusive multilateralism that delivers a brighter outlook for people and planet.

Source : https://www.unep.org/news-and-stories/speech/world-united-environmental-action