By Joyce Ojanji 

Kenya is set to host the sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA)- the world’s highest-level decision-making body for environment-related matters- in Nairobi from 26th February to 1st March, this year.

Themed ‘Effective, inclusive and sustainable multilateral actions to tackle climate change, biodiversity, loss and pollution,” the conference will be attended by different Heads of State and governments as well as environment dignitaries belonging to the 193 Member States.

Speaking during a press briefing in Nairobi, Inger Andersen, the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reiterated the importance of sticking to the world’s environmental must-do list to keep up with climate change and its effects.

“The impacts are here and growing. Last year, was the hottest on record, bringing more intense storms, droughts, and wildfires. Species are under massive pressure, forests are falling and soils are turning infertile. Millions of people are dying each year from exposure to pollution and chemicals,” said Andersen.

She noted that with more than 70 ministers expected at UNEA-6, 20 resolutions will be discussed, negotiated, and adopted at the assembly, injecting fresh momentum into the global quest to secure a resilient, green, and inclusive future for humanity.

”UNEA-6 will pay particular focus on how we can strengthen environmental multilateralism to address every strand of the triple planetary crisis,” she said.

In addition, Inger said there will be a youth forum on the sidelines of the assembly, alongside a high-level leadership dialogue on finance, science, data, digitization and multilateralism, and a day dedicated to bringing together the many multilateral environmental agreements that global governments have signed up to, to create united and amplified action.

Other topics set for discussion at the assembly include reforming the international financial system and aligning it with the green agenda, water security, mining, ocean governance, and solar radiation modification.

Left to Right: Radhika Ochalik, director of the Governance Affairs Office at the UNEP, Soipan Tuya, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Environment, Climate Change and Forestry and Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Directo    Photo credits: UNEP

Radhika Ochalik, Director of the Governance Affairs Office at the UNEP, said a science-policy-business forum and launch of new champions of the earth will be key highlights of the Assembly.

Ochalik added that some of the resolutions that will be discussed at the assembly focus on pollution control, nature, and climate action, chemicals and waste management, air pollution, pesticides, and land degradation.

On her part, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary (CS) for Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, Soipan Tuya said that the country is reviewing its regulations, laws, programmes and strategies, to reflect Africa’s climate action priorities, as documented in the Nairobi Declaration.

At the core of the Nairobi Declaration, is Africa’s resolve to pursue green growth by leveraging her immense climate action potential in sectors such as renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, critical minerals and blue economy among others.

“Through the Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agendas (BETA), the government is putting in place measures to address the environmental challenges the country has been facing, citing the recent effects of drought, floods and other development activities. We have put in place carbon market registries, have set up demonstrations and are accelerating waste management,” said Tuya, adding that Kenya is keen on embracing the circular economy and will pilot with five counties, to actualize the programme.

In this regard, Kenya will hold a side event on the circular economy during UNEA-6 to appreciate the strides the country has made in implementing waste policies to address pollution control and best practices in the circular economy and extended producer responsibilities.