Future Earth in Nairobi: Opening day of UNEA

View of the Future Earth booth at the UN Environment Programme's headquarters in Nairobi. Photo: Rebecca Oliver
May 2016
23

Nations will consider more than 20 resolutions this week at the second United Nations Environment Assembly.

The second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), sometimes referred to as the World Environment Parliament, kicked off today, and Future Earth was there with its own booth. This year, representatives from all 193 UN member states along with participants from research and non-governmental organisations and other groups traveled to Nairobi, Kenya, for the assembly. It is organised by the UN Environment Programme and “represents the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment.”

During the opening of this global gathering, countries from Pakistan to Argentina expressed their strong commitment to the processes that have been underway since the first UNEA two years ago. This period has seen dramatic changes to the conversation on the role of the environment in the global economy and policy discussions. In 2015, nations committed to take action on a variety of environmental and social issues through the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. They also came to a landmark international agreement around climate change at COP21 in Paris.

This new urgency and excitement was in the air in Kenya today as the national delegations took their seats. The press gallery filled to the brim; lines of cameras cluttered the centre of the room; and representatives from non-governmental groups struggled to find seats.

Environment Ministers and their delegations will negotiate more than 20 resolutions during the week. They fall into diverse topics, including the illegal trade in wildlife, marine plastic debris and sustainable development and poverty eradication. There is much to do, but the foundation for action is becoming more recognised and powerful.  Future Earth has a central role in connecting knowledge to the actors who will implement the resolutions passed at this groundbreaking event.

You can learn more about the second UNEA here. You can also read our earlier coverages of events surrounding the assembly here and here.

Check back in for more news as UNEA continues throughout the week.

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