The fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly gathered in Nairobi, Kenya from 11th to 15th March 2019.
The assembly is one of the world’s highest-level decision-making body on environment and brings together governments, entrepreneurs, among others to share ideas and commit to action. The fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly gathered in Nairobi, Kenya from 11th to 15th March 2019.
The assembly is one of the world’s highest-level decision-making body on environment and brings together governments, entrepreneurs, among others to share ideas and commit to action. The 2019 Assembly brought people together to build policies, partnerships and a culture of innovation that will support solutions and systemic change needed for sustainability to thrive. This is expected to foster the need to invest in education for green-collared jobs of the future and the need to channel sustainable financing towards the green investments that accelerates innovation.
The three areas of focus for the conference includes; tackling the environmental challenges related to poverty and natural resources management, introducing life-cycle approaches to resource efficiency, energy, chemicals and waste management as well as ensuring sustainable business development at a time of rapid technological change.
The conference was officially opened on 14th March 2019 by H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta. The president expressed the government’s resolve to reduce pollution by initiating various environmental measures such as the ban on plastic carrier bags. “It is amazing what we can achieve in the journey towards a pollution-free environment when we leverage on innovation,” Uhuru stated as he inspected the FlipFlop boat made from waste plastic located at the UN Environment in Gigiri.
The Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary, Mr. Keriako Tobiko called for utilization of knowledge to make policies that facilitate sustainability. The CS added that securing the financing of eco-innovative business activities is important.
CS Environment and Forestry, Mr. Keriako Tobiko touring the exhibition booths during UNEA 4
Speaking on the side-lines of the event on “Strengthening the Global Momentum to Tackle Plastic Pollution”, NEMA Director General, Prof. Geoffrey Wahungu remarked that since 2017, Kenya legally banned the manufacture, import and use of plastic carrier bags as they were some of highest contributors of environmental pollution. He noted that the ban has been successful as Kenyans have embraced this decision that has led to significant change in adoption of sustainable innovative alternatives.
NEMA Director General, Prof. Geoffrey Wahungu speaking during the UNEA 4
The conference was attended by French President, Emmanuel Macron, President Andry Rajoelina (Madagascar), President Maithripala Sirisena (Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka), President Felix Antoine Tshisekedi (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Prime Minister of Rwanda, Edouard Ngirente who graced the high level summit where critical decisions and commitments were made during the “One Planet Summit”. President Uhuru Kenyatta committed to achieve 10 percent forest cover in Kenya by 2022.
Other high profile individuals included President of UNEA4, Mr. Siim Kiisler, UN Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed; Acting Executive director of UNEP, Joyce Msuya and Acting Director General of UN office in Nairobi and Executive Director of UN Habitat Maimunah Sharif. The Assembly brought together over 4,000 heads of state, ministers, business leaders, senior UN officials and civil society representatives.
The gathering made critical decisions and resolutions that are expected to move the global societies to a more sustainable path.
The closure of the conference saw adoption of 26 resolutions and 3 decisions that were arrived on. Some of the resolutions passed at the conference includes; addressing single-use plastic products pollution, strengthening coordination and cooperation to eliminate discharges of marine litter and micro plastics into the ocean, sound management of chemicals and waste, sustainable environmental practices, innovations on biodiversity and land degradation among others.