By Sharon Atieno

Climate change, nature, chemicals and pollution are the key issues to be discussed in the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5).

This was revealed during a press briefing by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in conjunction with the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Nairobi, Kenya.

With this year’s theme being strengthening actions for nature to achieve the sustainable development goals, Joyce Msuya, UNEP’s Deputy Executive Director noted that action was crucial in implementing environmental agendas as scientific evidence and policies already exist.

“We are having nature and SDGs but focusing on action is extremely important,” she said.

UNEA-5 will be in two parts. The first part will be held virtually on 20-23rd February 2021 and will focus on urgent things that would allow the organization to operate.

“These include the medium term strategy (blue print of what UNEP will be focusing on from 2022-2025), program of work (thematic priority areas that UNEP will focus on when they implement strategy) and trust funds,”Msuya noted.

The second step will happen next year in 2022 where Member States will discuss substantive matters that require in-depth negotiations.

“It is the first big UN international meeting that is happening in 2021 and the whole world will be watching to see what UNEA does to set the precedent for other bigger meetings including Conference of the Parties (COPs) that are coming up,” she said.

UNEA meets bi-annually and sets the priorities of global environmental policies and develops international guidelines on environment.