4th UN Environment Assembly ends with climate action pledges

After five days of talks at the 4th UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, more than 170 United Nations Member States delivered a bold blueprint for change.

They said the world needs to speed up moves towards a new model of development in order to respect the vision laid out in the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

Nations unanimously agreed to significantly cut down on single use plastic products like cups, cutlery and bags by 2030.

According to scientists, more than 8 million tons of marine litter including plastics and micro-plastics are found in all oceans.

Joyce Msuya is Deputy Executive Director at the UN Environment Program.

‘’ The climate is warming, species are going extinct, natural resources are been wasted and many of our eco-systems are under enormous stress. But I am still hopeful for three reasons. One is that these resolutions have demonstrated global political will to tackle these challenges. Some might argue the resolutions don’t go far enough and that they are not strong enough. We are on the road to a sustainable future. These resolutions keep us in the right lane and on the right track. What we do need to do is just put a little bit of pressure on our speed for delivery’‘, Msuya said.

In all, the assembly adopted 23 resolutions along with 3 decisions by Member States.

President of the 4th UN Environment Assembly, Siim Kiisler said the resolutions are the most ambitious ever to be adopted since the Environment Assembly was established in June 2012.

‘‘There is no doubt the environment is at a turning point, therefore we don’t need verbose documents, we need concrete commitments. However, in real negotiations it is hard to find one solution for all member states. The more ambitious goals we set, the more we have to take into account the readiness of different member states and we have taken that into account, their circumstances and we have listened to them’‘, Kiisler said.

More than 4,700 delegates, including environment ministers, scientists, academics, business leaders and civil society representatives to set the global agenda ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit in September.

The Assembly endorsed the sixth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6) report which analysed the current state of the world’s environment.

The end of the plenary session witnessed the lighting of candles to honor UN staff who perished in the Ethiopian airline crash on Sunday March 10.