New Delhi. The meeting of the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEA-5.2 has resumed in Nairobi which brought together the representatives of the 193 member states, civil society and other stake holders to agree to address the world most pressing environment challenges.
The session take place online from 28 February to 2 March, with and overall theme of “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Goals”and will focus on critical issues, such as plastic pollution, green recovery and chemical waste management.
“UNEA-5 is an opportunity for Member States to share best practices for sustainability. It will create momentum for governments build on and catalyze impact on multilateral environmental efforts to protect and restore the natural world on which our economies and societies depend” said the statement.
One of the most newsworthy aspects of this Assembly will be the deliberations by Member States on the possible establishment of an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to kick-start work towards a global and legally binding agreement to address plastic pollution.
The Assembly will also consider other critical issues, including ecosystem-based approaches and biodiversity, green recovery and circular.
According to UNEP’s From Pollution to solution reports, and estimated, 11 million tons of plastic pollution that enter the ocean every year, up 2.7 million tons come form rivers.
To highlight the scale of the issue, UNEP has prepared a plastics exhibit in Nairobi for UNEA 5.2. The exhibit presents visitors with a visual representation of key data related to the plastic pollution problem by using plastic waste collected on the Kenyan coast.
According to UNEP By 2040, if changes aren’t urgently made, plastic pollution flowing into the ocean may increase from approximately 11 million metric tons a year to up to 37 million metric tons a year.
In October 2021, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released the “From pollution to solution and Drowning in Plastic reports” both of which underscore the urgent need to address the severe threat of marine litter and plastic pollution.
What are the priorities for UNEA?
UNEA usually meets biennially to set priorities for global environmental policies and develop international environmental law. The biannual sessions of UNEA are where Member States table resolutions and decisions on environmental issues. Decisions and resolutions taken by Member States at the Assembly define UNEP’s Programme of Work.
While the resolutions adopted at UNEA might not be legally binding, they represent current collective thinking on prevailing environmental issues, build consensus and are a vital first step in the need for action. These sessions serve as both a forum and a decision-making body, where the world’s governments, civil society groups, the scientific community and the private sector gather to highlight the most pressing global environmental issues and ultimately create the architecture for future environmental governance.
Why is UNEA important?
UNEA is the highest-level meeting on the state of the environment. One major strength of UNEA is that it does not just focus on one aspect of the environment – it cuts across issues, sectors and regions, and aims towards broader, more holistic solutions. Many of the topics discussed at UNEA are emerging issues that may not previously have received significant coverage. UNEA-5.2 comes at a crucial time for the environment as the first global meeting on the environment after the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26). The world is facing a triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss and pollution and waste, which makes the decisions taken at UNEA-5.2 particularly important.