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Kenya to Host UNEP @50 and UNEA 5.2

Kenya is set to host twin international events, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) @50 and the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) 5.2 in three months’ time.

The historic 50th Anniversary shall be held at the headquarters in Gigiri, even as the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MEF) Principal Secretary, Dr Chris Kiptoo, says ‘One Government Approach’ will be adopted in planning and organising for the historic event.

Dr Kiptoo noted that the UNEP @50 conference in particular, gives Kenya an opportunity to showcase its environmental milestones in matters afforestation, sequestration and reduction on carbon emissions by using clean energy strategies, waste management home-bred technologies among others.

The PS was speaking virtually during an inter-ministerial meeting held at MEF headquarters, NHIF building.

The PS explained that the fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) is taking place in a two-step approach, where the UNEA-5.1 was held online on 22-23 February 2021, while substantive matters that require in-depth negotiations were deferred to UNEA 5.2 scheduled for February 28 to March 2, 2022, a date likely to be pushed forward.

“In view of the covid-19 protocols and the prevailing Omicron variant situation, the government is considering rescheduling the sitting to end of April 2022 and having a hybrid of both in-person and virtual engagement to mark the celebrations,” Amb. Makena Muchiri, Permanent Mission of Kenya to United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON)/UNEP has said.

“In the meantime, we are assuring the international and regional community that the country has and shall put all systems in place to ensure their safety, security and well-being,” she added.

Director, Multi-lateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), Mr Peter Mageria, noted that UNEP @50 shall further President Uhuru Kenyatta’s agenda and commitment on addressing pollution.

“Kenya has become a benchmark where many countries come to learn how we implemented the policy of banning plastic carrier bags and replacing them with single-use-carrier bags that are environmentally friendly,” noted Mageria.

He encouraged the counties, civil society, youth and private sector to identify their success stories to inspire the 2022 global agenda on issues of nature, pollution and climate change. Innovative solutions to such challenges are expected to be exhibited during the celebrations, after a thorough vetting process.

Founded in 1972 following the landmark UN Conference on the Human Environment, UNEP was conceived to monitor the state of the environment to coordinate and inform policy making with science towards addressing world’s environmental challenges.

Since its creation, UNEP has worked closely with its 193 Member States and other stakeholders to stimulate worldwide commitments and coordinated action plans.

By Nancy Mathu

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