The fourth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) opened in Nairobi on Monday with a rallying call for adoption of technologies and innovations to boost green and inclusive growth. More than 4,700 delegates, including presidents, ministers, business leaders, scientists and innovators, will be attending the gathering that is expected to adopt resolutions that will help leapfrog societies to a more sustainable future.
The theme of this year's UNEA that runs through March 15 is "Innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production."It is the only UN body, except the General Assembly, in which all member states of the organization participate. The decisions taken in Nairobi will have a significant impact on the work of the United Nations as a whole and the environmental agenda, including the implementation of the Paris agreement on climate and Sustainable development goals.
Joyce Msuya, acting executive director of United Nations Environment Program, said that policy and regulatory incentives are required to boost uptake of innovations to reduce carbon emissions and restore degraded ecosystems. "The potential of innovations to address poverty and environmental challenges cannot be under-estimated," she said. "We therefore require good policies to foster innovations and sustainable practices."
"We know we can build more sustainable, prosperous and inclusive societies with sustainable consumption and production patterns that address our environmental challenges and leave no one behind," said Siim Kiisler, Estonia's minister for environment and president of the fourth session of UNEA. But we will need to create the enabling conditions for this to happen," Kiisler said in his opening remarks."We will need to do things differently."
The forum participants will also consider a comprehensive scientific report on the state of the environment, which was prepared by 252 scientists from 70 countries. "It is obvious that we have to change our approaches, to reconsider the attitude to the things we use," Msuya says. According to her, it is possible to achieve development and growth without increasing the volume of consumption of resources. "To do this, we must abandon the habit of waste," - she added.
This is the fourth meeting of the Assembly, which meets every two years. This year, the forum, which will last five days until the end of the week, gathered twice as many delegates than last time. These include heads of state and government, Ministers, business leaders, senior UN officials and representatives of civil society.
Before the opening of the Assembly the Forum of the United Nations in the field of politics, science and business too place in Nairobi, members of which have launched several initiatives to improve data collection and analysis, as well as the implementation of private technological projects in the field of "green economy".