First UN Environment Assembly Meets in Nairobi

Bonn/Nairobi, 23 June 2014 - The First UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) opened today at the United Nations Office in Nairobi, Kenya, and will continue until 27 June 2014. The conference marks a historic milestone in UNEP’s 43-year history and is being attended by over 1,200 high-level participants from government, business and civil society making UNEA the highest-level UN body ever convened on the environment.

The overarching theme of the first UNEA is “A Life of Dignity for All - Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, including sustainable consumption and production” and the conference is expected to deliver a number of outcomes that will result in actions to address key environmental challenges faced by the world today.

"The convening of the first UNEA session in Nairobi - home of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the often referred to environment capital of the world - represents a coming-of-age for the global environment community. For the first time, all UN member states, observer states and major stakeholders, will be represented in the new assembly - thereby bestowing upon UNEA a new level of representation, legitimacy and authority." said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UNEP.

UN Secretary-General Mr Ban Ki-moon, the President of the UN General Assembly and over 80 Ministers of Environment and Foreign Affairs, Secretaries of State, heads of international Conventions and Chief Executives of a number of International Organizations and Non-governmental Organizations as well as business and civil society leaders are expected to attend UNEA.

“UNEA is a historic moment for UNEP and a strengthening of governance which took over 40 years in the making. UNEA will be a chance to rebalance the three pillars of sustainable development and allow UNEP to better fulfil its mandate including strengthening the implementation of policies developed in Multilateral Environment Agreements (MEAs), which have a need to be operationalized into national environmental policy. ” said Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of the UNEP Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) who is attending UNEA on behalf of CMS and its Agreements.

UNEA will include a high-level segment which will focus on the SDGs, the role of the environment and the post-2015 development agenda as well as on the issue of illegal trade in wildlife, poaching and the surge in related environmental crime. UNEA will also convene two international symposia addressing key aspects of environmental sustainability: the environmental rule of law and the role of finance in the green economy.

In addition, more than 40 side events, special fora, and high-level dialogues, will take place at UNEP's headquarters during the UNEA meeting, covering a range of issues, such as climate change, wildlife crime, gender and the environment, green jobs, air quality, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the sound management of chemicals.

During the course of the UNEA week, Mr Chambers will also be using the important environmental gathering as an opportunity to mobilize support towards the work of the Convention and its Agreements as well promote high-level participation in and support to the upcoming 11th Conference of the Parties to CMS (COP11), scheduled to take place in Quito, Ecuador from 4 - 9 November 2014.

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Last updated on 23 June 2014