The 4th United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) member countries will converge in Nairobi on March 11 to 15 this year under the theme “Innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production.”
The assembly that will be attended by the French President Emmanuel Macron will seek to find ways on partnerships, policy integration, and environmental benefits to the people.
The President of UNEA Mr. Siim Kiisler said conservation was a concerted effort of all nations and individuals and applauded Kenya for taking the first step on banning of single use plastic bags.
He however, stressed that banning of the single light plastic bags was not enough and more needed to be done.
The UNEA President made the remarks yesterday at a Nairobi hotel, in a speech read on his behalf by Mr. Ado Lohmus, a representative of UNEA Secretariat during a press briefing on the upcoming event.
“We will seek to address various environmental challenges and together with various stakeholders propose solutions for a sustainable resilience on environmental conservation,” said Kiisler.
He added that the assembly would also address the issue of solid and liquid waste management and the sensitisation of residents of the member states.
He further urged member states to stop environmental degradation saying had resulted in pollution of seas, inefficient use of available resources and improper management of waste chemicals emanating from industries.
Mr. Kiisler observed that Kenya’s initiative of banning single use plastics had brought on board 60 member states who have agreed that by the year 2025 people should expect major outcomes on matters environment.
He said UNEA was pushing for total ban of plastics including bottles and other heavy gauge plastics blamed for killing marine life including turtles and whales in support of waste management and the blue economy.
“In our country Estonia a plastic bottle has a price tag, this encourages the users to take back bottles and get paid the value indicated on it. We intend to engage on various environmental and economic ideas that will be beneficial to all member states,” observed Ado Holmus.
The Head of UNEA African Office Dr. Biao Koudnoukpo said the media was an important tool in educating the masses on environmental conservation.
“Editors do not find Environmental stories as exciting as political or controversial topics but on this we intend to engage them as partners not just as communication vessels,” she said.
Koudnoukpo urged journalists to portray the bigger picture of economic advancement and opportunities available in alternative ventures like the green economy and environmental friendly products.
“Write stories giving data and evidence on environmental issues to convince the government to allocate more resources to the relevant ministry in order to be effective in conserving our environment,” said Koudnoukpo.
She revealed that on September 14, this year UNEA will engage 800 students drawn from primary to secondary schools from across the country together with some teachers and parents to sensitise them on the effects of environmental degradation and their role on conservation.
By Simon Githogori and Bernadette Khaduli