United Nations Environment Programme
11 Feb 2022 News Nature Action

UNEA-5 and UNEP@50 featured updates

Photo by UNEP

The resumed fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) takes place online and in Nairobi on 28 February – 2 March 2022.

The overall theme for UNEA-5 is “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”. This highlights the pivotal role nature plays in our lives and in social, economic and environmental sustainable development.

Immediately after UNEA-5.2, the Assembly will hold a Special Session of the Assembly on 3 - 4 March 2022, which is devoted to the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of UN Environment Programme in 1972 (UNEP@50). The special session will be held under the theme "Strengthening UNEP for the implementation of the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

This feed will tell you everything you need to know about UNEA-5 and UNEP@50 with links to live sessions, new reports and critical debates as they happen. Stay tuned!

2 hours ago

Green Gigaton Challenge aims to reduce emissions

The Challenge advocates for deploying nature to find solutions for sustainable development, such as investing in tropical forests, to reduce emissions and is a key element in meeting the targets of the Paris Agreement, namely reducing climate change to well below 2°C, preferably to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels. As well as reducing emissions, forests also increase biodiversity and ensure water regulation, offering a rounded environmental solution.

For more information on the GGC check out the website here.

13 hours ago

Urban agriculture could hold the key to increasing sustainability

Report front cover
Photo: UNEP

A new report launched by UNEP looks at the potential of urban agriculture to advance multiple sustainability goals.

The report, written as environmental challenges grow and after the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the fragility of food systems, looks at how urban agriculture can help feed people. At the same time, urban agriculture can help alleviate the triple planetary crises of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss and pollution and waste.

For more information read UNEP’s report: Urban Agriculture’s Potential to Advance Multiple Sustainability Goals.

17 hours ago

Faith for Earth Dialogue

Speakers at the Faith for Earth Dialogue
Photo: UNEP

Over 450 participants, almost 50 per cent of who were women, from 76 countries and 55 religions and congregations gathered to discuss what role religion could play in protecting the environment.

The first day of the event, which is part of UNEA-5.2, was held on February 21 but events will run until March 4.

For those interested in faith and the environment you can register for future events here.

24 Feb 2022 09:05

Let UNEA-5.2 "be a time to dream big, but also to be practical" - Alponce Muia

The Youth Environment Assembly (YEA) 2022 met for its first day on Saturday, February 19 in the run up to UNEA-5.2.

More than 100 young people met in person in Nairobi, Kenya with hundreds more joining online.

Alponce Muia, a youth representative from Kenya, applauded the participation of so many young people as a testament to their ability to realize aspirations. He asked the youth to dream big but also to be practical in what could be achieved.

The theme of the meeting was “The Power in Youth.” For more information on the YEA check out their homepage here.

23 Feb 2022 16:50

Inger Andersen on delivering "for a people and a planet in an emergency"

23 Feb 2022 12:41

Spreading like wildfire

 

A new UNEP report, released today, has drawn attention to the increasing problem of wildfires.

The report, which is produced with GRID-Arendal, highlights that wildfires are becoming more intense and more frequent, due to global temperatures rising.

Uncontrollable and extreme wildfires damage biodiversity and ecosystems and will be a discussion point at UNEA-5.2.

For more information read Spreading like Wildfire: The Rising Threat of Extraordinary Landscape Fires.

22 Feb 2022 15:45

All you need to know about the UN Environment Assembly

 

As UNEA-5.2 prepares to meet in Nairobi and online we've drawn together a resource answering some of the key questions around the event.

These include: What is the difference between UNEA-5.1 and UNEA-5.2? What will happen and when? Why does it matter and what will be achieved?

For answers to all these questions and more check out the explainer here.

22 Feb 2022 08:02

Your choices: the world's future

Participants at the Youth Environment Assembly 2022
Photo: IISD

In the next decade, millions of new “green” jobs will be created in new industries - for young people. These jobs will represent an opportunity to earn a steady living while helping to tackle some of the planet’s biggest challenges, from climate change to pollution to species loss.

But what skills will young people need to land these planet-friendly jobs? Explore this interactive piece to learn more about the type of skills you will need.

This and other subjects important to youth are being discussed at the Youth Environment Assembly 2022, more information on the event and how you can get involved can be found here.  

21 Feb 2022 13:16

Join the Faith for Earth Dialogue at UNEA 5.2

A tree
Photo: Unsplash

The Faith for Earth Dialogue is open to all stakeholders, demonstrating the power and potential of faith-based organisations and faith leaders in shaping the discussions at the resumed Fifth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) as well as engaging in policy dialogue with other stakeholders including governments, major groups, cities, businesses and other civil society organisations. The meeting will be held from 21 February to 4 March 2022. 

Find all the information on how to participate here.

21 Feb 2022 10:48

Happening Now: Watch UNEA 5.2 live online

The resumed Fifth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) will take place in Nairobi and online.

For those who want to follow online, a schedule can be found here and the live stream can be found here.

Streaming starts today with the Opening Plenary of the Fifth Meeting of the Open-ended Committee of Permanent Representatives. UNEA-5.2 will start streaming on 28 February.

21 Feb 2022 09:14

Reducing food shortages and emissions go hand in hand

As the climate crisis unfolds and the world warms faster than at any time in history, food shortages are becoming increasingly common. Across the planet one in 10 people do not have enough food to eat, but there are solutions.

Food system solutions can help end shortages and mitigate the climate crisis, a double win.

UNEP’s six-sector solution outlines what can be done to cut 30 gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emission annually by 2030 and keep the temperature rise below 1.5°C, in line with the Paris Agreement.

One of the six-sectors is agricultural, food and waste solutions. Ending food waste, eating a plant rich diet, eating seasonal and local food and promoting climate-smart and sustainable agriculture practices all help to reduce emissions and cut food shortages at the same time. Sustainable food systems will be one of the key themes at UNEA-5.2 where experts will discuss what more can be done to reduce food shortages and emissions from agriculture.

For more information check out UNEP’s six-sector solution here.

19 Feb 2022 07:00

Happening today: Youth hold the key to solving the climate crisis

A screenshot of people in a virtual meeting
Photo: IISD

Youth, children and future generations are going to be impacted more than anyone by the climate crisis.

UNEP is determined to involve those most affected by the crisis in the solutions.

As part of this UNEP will be supporting the Youth Environment Assembly 2022 in the lead up to UNEA 5.2. The purpose of the Assembly, which is held between 19-20 and 25-27 February is to bring together youth organisations and advocates from across the world and involve and engage them in the process.

If you would like to get involved in the Youth Environment Assembly it’s not too late, you can register here.

18 Feb 2022 16:10

Frontiers Report highlights emerging environmental issues

A newly released UNEP report has drawn attention to emerging environmental issues.

The 2022 Frontiers Report Noise, Blazes and Mismatches: Emerging Issues of Environmental Concern signals environmental issues of local, regional and global concern and offers effective responses and solutions.

Three emerging issues: noise pollution, wildfires and how climate change is changing the rhythm of nature are highlighted. The report looks at the long-term physical and mental impact of noise pollution, how climate change and human activity are impacting wildfires and how the climate crisis is disrupting the life cycle patterns of plants and animals.

To read the full report and see the accompanying interactive features check here.

17 Feb 2022 09:16

Human, animal and planetary health intertwined

Experts agree that its very likely COVID-19 was a zoonotic disease, a disease passed from animals to humans. They also agree that keeping nature and species diversity intact can protects us from future pandemics.

As the planet warms, biodiversity decreases, and globalization increases the conditions for pandemics and zoonotic disease increase. Although COVID-19 is not the first zoonotic disease, it is one of the worst. Yet, each year two million people, largely in low and middle-income countries, die from zoonotic diseases such as anthrax, bovine tuberculosis and rabies.

The key to reducing zoonotic disease and pandemics is a by taking a “One Health” approach. This is where human health, animal health and environmental health are considered equally, a topic that will be central when experts meet at the end of this month in Nairobi for UNEA-5.2.

For more information on pandemics and zoonotic disease and how they can be reduced read UNEP’s Preventing the next pandemic- Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission report.

16 Feb 2022 17:24

Plastic pollution overwhelms oceans

Every minute the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic is dropped into the ocean, with plastic accounting for over 85 per cent of marine waste.

From Pollution to Solution: a global assessment of marine litter and plastic pollution, a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, says that if drastic changes aren’t made, by 2040 there will be 50kg of plastic waste per meter of coastline worldwide. It is also projected that by the same year there could be a USD 100 billion annual financial risk for businesses if governments require them to cover waste management.

The report will play a crucial role in informing discussions at UNEA-5.2, held at the end of February and beginning of March 2022 in Nairobi.

But plastic pollution is not just a problem for governments and global organizations to solve, for more information on what you can do to become part of the solution head over to UNEP’s Clean Seas campaign.

16 Feb 2022 09:43

UNEA-5 to resume in person in Nairobi

COVID-19 has impacted almost every area of our lives and UNEA-5 is no different. For the first time ever UNEA has been split over two years. The first meeting (UNEA-5.1) was held in February 2021 and was entirely online. At the end of this month delegates will meet in person in Nairobi for UNEA-5.2, the draft structure of the event can be seen here.

14 Feb 2022 11:00

The world must unite in a war against plastic

Coloured plastic bottle tops
Photo: Florian Fussstetter 

UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen in an op-ed in The Times highlights how reducing plastic use could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent and create 700,000 additional jobs, mainly in the global south.

"Reducing plastic use seems like one of the easiest environmental actions people can take. We re-use bags, put takeout coffee in our own mugs or recycle our plastic bottles, and feel good about ourselves. But  it is not so simple. Plastic pollution is still causing immense harm to our planet." - Inger Andersen

Read the full feature.

10 Feb 2022 17:30

Closing the finance gap for nature-based solutions

Experts agree, resetting our relationship with nature is critical. Nature-based solutions have a key role to play in this reset, but more funding is needed.

There is a funding shortfall of $4.1 trillion that needs to be closed by 2050. Without this funding climate change, biodiversity and land degradation targets won’t be met.

Today $133 billion annually is going into nature-based solutions but this is four times less than is needed to avoid the climate crisis. Private finance currently only provides 14 per cent of this. Drastic action is needed by the private and public sectors with contributions having to triple by 2030. As leaders meet for UNEA-5.2 at the end of this month, closing this financial gap and involving private finance will be a key part of the discussions.

Read UNEP's State of finance for nature report, for more information on closing the funding shortfall.

09 Feb 2022 16:34

Nature-based solutions for climate mitigation

Timing is key. Nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based approaches can deliver large-scale emission reductions before 2030 while also addressing biodiversity loss.

As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his State of the Planet address, drastically reducing deforestation and systemically restoring forests and other critical ecosystems is the single largest nature-based opportunity for climate mitigation between now and 2030 – with co-benefits for social equity and human well-being.

The Nature at the Heart of Sustainable Development report lays out the call to action under each of the UNEA 5.2's four thematic areas and the opportunity in action – for people and planet. Read more here.

08 Feb 2022 18:00

Measuring the economic value of nature

Jamaica Coral Replanting
Photo: NOOR/Kadir van Lohuizen

Fighting the climate crisis not only makes sense in terms of protecting the planet but it makes financial sense as well.

Ecosystem Restoration, which will be a central theme at UNEA-5.2, can play a key part in helping to meet the Paris Agreement and keeping the global temperature rise below 2°C. But there are financial benefits as well, for every dollar invested in restoration 30 dollars is created in economic benefits.  

UNEP is at the forefront of how we can measure wealth and well-being that better reflect the health of the planet as well as of people and economic systems. You can read the whole story here.

26 Jan 2022 14:06

UNEP@50: A Conversation with Elizabeth Mrema and Ibrahim Thiaw

Event poster

Anniversaries offer opportunities to reflect on the past and imagine the future. In 2022, UNEP turns fifty and has a chance to reimagine itself. Created to catalyze environmental work within the United Nations and beyond, how has UNEP done? What are the new challenges and what should it do differently? Who can cause that change, and how can they do so? To explore the questions over the year that commemorates UNEP’s 50th anniversary, the Center for Governance and Sustainability at UMass Boston convenes a series of conversations with leaders around the world who have shaped UNEP’s history. Guests will engage with the new book by Center Director Prof. Maria Ivanova, The Untold Story of the World’s Leading Environmental Institution: UNEP at Fifty.  

For the sixth dialogue, Dr Maria Ivanova will be joined by Elizabeth Mrema and Ibrahim Thiaw, the Executive Secretaries of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. Both Elizabeth Mrema and Ibrahim Thiaw have served at UNEP – as Director of the Law Division and as Deputy Executive Director respectively. Join this dialogue to discuss the role of environmental conventions and UNEP in global environmental governance.

26 Jan 2022 13:47

UNEA 5 Paper is online: Nature at the Heart of Sustainable Development

Aerial view of green trees on an island
Photo: Unsplash / Ivan Bandura

The resumed Fifth Session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) provides the opportunity to bridge, build on and catalyze impact in relation to multilateral environmental efforts including on biodiversity, climate, food systems, and pollution. It also marks the start of a period of reflection and review when it marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of UNEP.

This document is designed to assist Member States and other high-level representatives from industry and civil society, in their preparations for the resumed meeting of UNEA-5. UNEA 5 will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 28 February–2 March 2022 under the theme “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.” The paper lays out the call to action under each of UNEA’s four thematics and the opportunity in action – for people and planet.

19 Jan 2022 13:38

High-level briefing on second segment of UNEA-5

Masai Mara grassland
Photo: UNEP / Stephanie Foote

This briefing will provide an update on the presidency priorities for UNEA-5.2, scheduled to take place virtually from 28 February - 2 March 2022.

Speakers include:

  • H.E. Espen Barth Eide, UNEA President | Minister of Climate and the Environment, Norway

  • H.E. Amb. Franz Perrez, Ambassador for the Environment & Head, International Affairs Division, Federal Office for the Environment, Switzerland

  • Sascha Gabizon, Executive Director, WECF International

  • Bruno Pozzi, Director, Europe Office, UNEP

Register and find more information.

18 Jan 2022 20:08

UNEA-5.2 high level briefing on Global Instrument on plastic pollution

A young boy and girl hold a placard.
Photo: UNEP / Stephanie Foote

As plastic is a global issue, international cooperation is needed to coordinate actions to have efficient decision making in order to tackle this major environmental problem. Many governments, businesses, civil society organizations and academic institutions have thus been calling for the establishment of a global legally-binding instrument to address the risks posed by plastic throughout its lifecycle.

At the Ministerial Conference on Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution, convened by Germany, Ecuador, Ghana and Vietnam in Geneva on 1-2 September 2021, Peru and Rwanda presented a first draft of a UN resolution to pave the way for a binding agreement on marine litter. This draft is intended to serve as the formal basis for the start of negotiations on a global agreement at the 5th UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) in February 2022.

With only a few weeks left before this major event in the global agenda of environmental governance, this briefing will offer an overview of the preparations for the negotiations on this important matter. Register and find more information.

18 Jan 2022 12:33

UNEP at 50: Solving the world’s environmental challenges

A queue of minibuses, commonly referred to as matatus in Kenya, wait for passengers.
Photo: UNEP / Duncan Moore

From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) celebrates its 50 birthday this year, calling for more action worldwide to overcome climate change, biodiversity loss, and rising levels of pollution and waste – three crises that threaten our planet.

Read this feature on some of UNEP's work since its establishment.

06 Jan 2022 15:13

2022: Emergency mode for the environment

South Sudan floods
Photo by UN Photo/Francesa Mold

Unsustainable patterns of consumption and production are fuelling the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste. UN Secretary-General António Guterres has warned that the triple crisis is humanity’s number one existential threat.

Last year, he reminded the world that “We are at a crossroads, with consequential choices before us. It can go either way: breakdown or breakthrough.”

Yet, 2022 could prove to be a seminal year for the environment, with high-level events and conferences scheduled, which are hoped to re-energize international cooperation and collective action.

Read about them here.

30 Dec 2021 10:57

UN Secretary-General António Guterres calls for a recovery “for people, planet and prosperity” -

In his New Year's message for 2022, UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted, "Moments of great difficulty are also moments of great opportunity: To come together in solidarity. To unite behind solutions that can benefit all. And to move forward with hope in what our human family can accomplish."

He concluded with a call for our resolution for 2022 to be a recovery “for people, planet and prosperity.”

13 Dec 2021 11:33

Delegate registration is open: Resumed Fifth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2)

Weaver bird and nest

Hosted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) brings together representatives of the 193 Member States of the UN, businesses, civil society and other stakeholders to agree on policies to address the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

The resumed fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) takes place online and in Nairobi on 28 February – 2 March 2022.

UNEA-5.2 and its preparatory meetings, namely the resumed fifth session of the Open-Ended Meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives (OECPR-5.2) from 21 - 25 February 2022 and the 3rd consultation of the process established under General Assembly resolution 73/333 on 16 - 18 February 2022, will be hybrid meetings, with a combination of universal in-person presence and online participation. Delegates please register here.

15 Nov 2021 11:20

UNEP to celebrate 50 years of work in 2022

For 50 years the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has coordinated a worldwide effort to confront the planet’s biggest environmental challenges. This global collaboration has helped repair the ozone layer, phase out leaded fuel and stop endangered species from going extinct. UNEP’s convening power and rigorous scientific research has provided a platform for countries to engage, act boldly and advance the global environmental agenda.

To mark UNEP’s 50th anniversary, a year-long series of activities and outreach events are taking place under the UNEP@50 banner. These recognize the significant progress made on global environmental matters and address the planetary challenges to come.

This sets the stage for a special session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) taking place in Nairobi, Kenya and online, on 3 and 4 March, 2022. This high-level event will be devoted to the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of UNEP in 1972. 

24 Feb 2021 19:45

UNEA-5.1 ends with clear message: Act now to tackle planetary crises

UNEA-5 Day 2, Closing Plenary
Photo: UNEP

The virtual Fifth Session of the UN Environment Assembly ended on Tuesday with a clear message: our fragile planet needs more and it needs it now. More action, more cooperation, more finance, more ambition and more sustained commitment to tackle environmental crises and rebuild societies ravaged by the global pandemic. 

At this unprecedented virtual session, 153 countries registered and connected online along with civil society and other stakeholders, showing the commitment of stakeholders to tackle pressing issues of environmental degradation even during the COVID-19 crisis.

Participants were left in no doubt that 2021 marks a critical turning point if the world wants to secure a future where people and planet can thrive together. 

Read the full story here

View the UNEA highlights video here

23 Feb 2021 19:43

UNEA-5.1 closing message highlights urgency to protect planet with collective action

UNEA-5 Day 2, Closing Plenary.
UNEA-5 Day 2, Closing Plenary. Photo: UNEP

At the end of an unprecedented virtual Fifth Session of UNEA, Member States released a statement outlining their deep concerns about the devastating effects of the global pandemic and acknowledging the urgency to continue their efforts to protect our planet in this time of crisis. 

The delegates also reiterated their support for the United Nations and for multilateral cooperation and “remain convinced that collective action is essential to successfully address global challenges”.

Read the full statement here.

23 Feb 2021 17:03

Unprecedented UNEA-5.1 sets tone for critical year for nature

UNEA 5 banner

UNEA-5 has set the world on the right path to tackle the triple planetary crises of climate change, nature loss and pollution in this critical year for the future of our fragile planet, UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen said in a press conference on the margins of the Environment Assembly on Tuesday.

“2021 can be the year when we make peace with nature. It’s up to us to make it happen and UNEA-5 was a big step in this direction,” she said, adding that it was now time to put words into action. 

UNEA-5 President Sveinung Rotevatn, Norway’s minister for environment, said the fact that 151 countries registered and connected online along with civil society and other stakeholders showed how important Member States thought it was to meet to discuss the environment

“Everyone gathered at the Environment Assembly today is deeply concerned about how the pandemic causes new and serious health, socio-economic and environmental challenges and how it exacerbates existing ones all over the world. Development gains have been set back, undermining our common efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said, warning that the world would face recurring risks of pandemics if we maintain our current unstainable patterns in our interactions with nature. 

Rotevatn and Andersen both hailed the approval of UNEP’s Medium-Term Strategy, programme of work and budget by UNEA-5 as these will ensure UNEP is well placed to help Member States respond to the environmental crises. 

Watch the full recorded press conference here.

Follow the final plenary session live here now.

23 Feb 2021 15:12

On second day, UNEA delegates describe how they are building back better

UNEA5 Day 2, Leadership Dialogue
UNEA-5 Day 2, Leadership Dialogue. Photo: UNEP / Stephanie Foote

On the second day of UNEA-5.1, delegates were left in no doubt that 2021 marks a critical turning point if we want to secure a future where people and planet can thrive together. 

“Future generations stand to inherit a hothouse planet with more carbon in the atmosphere than in 800,000 years. Future generations will live in sinking cities. From Basra to Lagos. From Mumbai to Houston. Future generations will be lucky if they can spot a black rhino. And future generations will have to live with our toxic waste – which every year is enough to fill 125,000 Olympic size swimming pools,” said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen. 

Delegates heard a passionate call to arms from Indian environmental activist Afroz Shah. He said we need to do more than talk. “The problem is our rights are weighing too heavy on the rights of the other species. This delicate balance will have to tilt in the favour of other species and that is the key,” he told delegates

Several delegates stressed the importance of multilateral action and global cooperation.

As Bérangere Abba, France’s State Secretary for Biodiversity said: “Coordinated action is needed at global level. All of us here stand determined to take action; after all future generations will be judging us based on the decisions we take today.”

Several delegates stressed the importance of technology and innovation in tackling the triple planetary crises of climate change, nature loss and pollution. Other delegates spoke of their commitments to protect forests, peatlands, mangroves, boost green investment, adopt circular economy approaches and tackle waste and single-use plastics.

“I remain certain that with clarity of vision, determination and through multilateral action and international cooperation, we can stabilize the climate; we can live in harmony with nature, and we can ensure a pollution-free planet. But only by working together, with common purpose and in mutual solidarity. Let today’s dialogue be a reflection of that global commitment,” said UNEP’s Andersen.

The Leadership Dialogue will be followed this afternoon by a final plenary session. Follow it live here.

Watch the UNEA press conference live here at 3 pm Nairobi time.

Read UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen’s remarks here.

23 Feb 2021 11:19

Calls for all of society to take urgent action on first day of UNEA-5.1

UNEA-5 Day 1, Opening Plenary.
UNEA-5 Day 1, Opening Plenary. Photo: UNEP

As an unprecedented virtual UNEA-5 began, delegates were reminded that urgent action is required to make peace with nature and end our unsustainable consumption and production. It is a whole-of-society effort. 

Sveinung Rotevatn, the president of UNEA-5, said at the opening plenary: we are in this together and we must respond together, each doing our part. 

In a recorded message, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said 2021 is a critical year to reset our relationship with nature, noting that Member States will also gather this year to address biodiversity loss, chemical pollution, ocean health, desertification and climate disruption. The urgency for action has never been clearer, he said.

And that’s because this year, all countries are expected to come forward with more ambitious commitments on cutting greenhouse gas emissions; reversing species and ecosystem loss, and managing chemicals and waste

The stakes are high. Representatives from the Major Group for Children and Youth told the Opening Plenary that their voices must be heard by those working to secure the next generation’s future.

The road ahead is clear. Last week, UNEP published its Making Peace with Nature report, which provides a blueprint for redefining our relationship with nature.  The report notes that unsustainable consumption and production is the red thread running through the planetary emergency we face. It cannot continue.

Yesterday, with its partners, UNEP launched the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency, which will galvanize initiatives to use our resources more sustainably so that we keep humanity’s footprint within planetary boundaries.

The shadow of COVID-19 hangs heavy over this UNEA. In today’s Leadership Dialogue, Member States stressed the importance of backing a green recovery to build a resilient and inclusive post-pandemic world. 

Ministers revealed how their countries are already building back better, whether through focusing on circular economy initiatives, reforestation, land rehabilitation or other measures to restore damaged ecosystems and create green jobs.

Several delegates stated that human health is inextricably linked to the health of nature and biodiversity, and stressed that recovery packages offered a unique opportunity to increase ambition on climate and biodiversity goals while simultaneously easing the burden on the most vulnerable. 

In the opening plenary, Member States also adopted UNEP’s Medium-Term strategy for 2022-2025, the programme of work and the budget. This will allow UNEP to go further faster as we tackle these existential crises. 

Today’s meeting also marks the start of commemorations to mark 50 years of UNEP. Even as we remember our achievements, we must commit to drastically scale up our action. UNEA-5 must drive the radical change to an era of action.

As delegates head into the second day, Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP noted that “although this is a time of great upheaval, it is in upheaval that humanity excels. It is when humanity is faced with its gravest challenge that we must lift our heads from the daily grind and find better ways of being,” she said.

Follow today’s live sessions, including a Leadership Dialogue, here.

23 Feb 2021 11:01

UNEP's Inger Andersen reflects on the first day of UNEA-5.1

The fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly got underway on Monday. 

Listen to UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen describe what happened on the first day of this unprecedented online meeting.

Read a summary report on day one from Earth Negotiations Bulletin here. 

Follow today's live events at UNEA-5 here.

22 Feb 2021 20:56

Summary of the first day of the virtual UNEA-5.1 meeting

UNEA 5 Opening plenary
UNEA-5 Day 1, Opening Plenary. Photo: UNEP

It was a UNEA like no other: The online portion of the fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly opened on Monday with UNEA President Sveinung Rotevatn, Norway, noting that the wide participation proves that “we have adapted to a new way of doing things.”

UNEP Executive Director Andersen urged all participants to do even more to rise to an environmental challenge of existential proportion and commit to turning 2021 into the year humanity begins making peace with nature.

During the afternoon, UNEA-5 started its leadership dialogue with the aim of promoting an interactive and high-level discussion on the environmental dimension of sustainable development in building a more resilient and inclusive post-pandemic world.

Andrea Meza Murillo, UNEA Vice-President and Minister of Environment and Energy, Costa Rica, introduced the dialogue, stressing the important role of environmental ministers. She called for political will, synergies between bodies and conventions, and the mobilization of public and private funds to achieve environmental sustainability.

IISD's Earth Negotiations Bulletin was there to cover the sessions.

Read the highlights and view the photos here.

22 Feb 2021 19:30

UNEA-5 adopts Medium-Term Strategy, programme of work and budget

Sky
Photo: Unsplash / Jason Won

On the first day of the virtual UNEA-5, Member States adopted three decisions, including on the Medium-Term Strategy for 2022-2025, the Programme of Work and the budget for 2022-2023.

UNEP’s Executive Director Inger Andersen has said the Medium-Term Strategy “will allow UNEP to rise to the environmental challenges of our time, to deliver with greater and more meaningful impact, to Member States, and to strengthen our role as the environmental conscience of the world. 

Read more about UNEP’s Executive Director’s thoughts on how to be MTS-ready.

Read the Executive Director’s speech to the opening session of UNEA-5.

Click here for all the details of UNEA-5 events.

22 Feb 2021 19:10

Pakistan to host 2021 World Environment Day on theme of ecosystem restoration

Landscape
Photo: Pixabay / Rizwan Saeed

At UNEA-5 on Monday, Pakistan announced that it will host World Environment Day this year in partnership with UNEP. The theme for this flagship day for promoting action for the environment is ecosystem restoration, and the day will also mark the formal launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021 – 2030.

World Environment Day takes place every year on 5 June. Over the years, it has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental public outreach and is celebrated by millions of people across the world.

Making the announcement on the margins of UNEA-5, Pakistan’s Adviser to Prime Minister and Minister of Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam, joined UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen to acknowledge the urgency of preventing, halting and reversing the degradation of ecosystems worldwide.

Read the whole story here.

Keep up to date with everything happening at UNEA-5 here.

Follow today’s Leadership Dialogue live here now.

22 Feb 2021 17:08

Let’s go circular: The only approach to addressing global crises

By H.E. Stientje van Veldhoven-van der Meer, Minister for the Environment in the Netherlands

Could a circular economy aid the COVID-19 recovery

We are in a time of crisis: hospitals are overburdened with a sustained overflow of patients in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, while many lose their jobs due to the associated economic downturn, and cope with isolation as a result of lockdown measures.

Over the coming months, we will hopefully see lockdowns and hospitalizations turn into vaccinations and recovery. Yet, even when we start to get the pandemic under control, we will be faced with the challenge of rebuilding livelihoods - against the backdrop of a climate, pollution, and biodiversity crisis that we may exacerbate, by making the wrong choices. We can take a positive approach: we have a unique opportunity to build back better and greener! To tackle climate change, to stop the current rate of loss of biodiversity, to preserve the enticing blue skies and healthy clean air; in short, to collectively build a more resilient and more sustainable society.

Read the full post by the Minister of Environment from the Netherlands here.

Read more about the importance of circularity here.

22 Feb 2021 16:00

Happening Now: Leadership Dialogues begin at UNEA-5 with focus on pandemic recovery

On the first day of the UNEA-5, ministers and policy-makers are taking part in virtual Leadership Dialogues, to consider environmental aspects of sustainable development and how they can be used to shape a more resilient and inclusive post-pandemic world.

In particular, representatives will discuss ways to ensure that environmental issues remain a top priority; sustain political will and momentum to restore nature; and define the role of UNEP in driving the process.

With a view to catalyse transformative change, the dialogues will be informed by UNEP’s, “Making Peace With Nature” report, which was released last week and offers a blueprint for moving toward circular economies and fairer societies, while also addressing climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. Ultimately, it says, the well-being of people and ecosystems will depend on our ability to halt environmental destruction.

The Leadership Dialogue will be held on 22 February at 16.00 – 19.00 and on 23 February at 11.00 – 14.00, Nairobi time (GMT+3). 

Read more about these dialogues here.

Watch a video on how we can restore a better way of life after the pandemic.

Follow the Leadership Dialogues live here.

22 Feb 2021 14:10

Happening Now: UNEP Executive Director welcomes the creation of new alliance on circular economy

Xiaoyuan “Charlene” Ren
Xiaoyuan “Charlene” Ren, 2020 Young Champion of the Earth. Photo: UNEP

At the launch of the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency (GACERE), UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen said the common driving force between the triple planetary crises -- climate change, nature and biodiversity loss and pollution and waste -- is humanity’s unsustainable modes of consumption and production.

“Circularity and sustainable consumption and production are essential to deliver on every multilateral agreement, from the Sustainable Development Goals to the Paris Agreement to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. They are essential to a sustainable recovery from the pandemic,” she said.

Created by the European Commission, on behalf of the European Union, and UNEP in coordination with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Global Alliance aims to galvanize initiatives to make our use of resources more sustainable so that we keep humanity’s footprint within planetary boundaries. 

Read the Executive Director’s full speech here.

Follow the live event here.

22 Feb 2021 12:05

Happening Now: UN Secretary-General tells UNEA that urgency for action has never been clearer

UN SG
Photo: UN Photo

In a video message to delegates of the Fifth UNEA, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the world’s top environmental body needed to generate global will for action and a transformation of our relationship with nature.  

Guterres said 2021 was a critical year to reset humanity’s relationship with nature, with vital meetings on biodiversity loss, chemical pollution, ocean health, desertification and climate disruption.

“By the climate COP in Glasgow at the latest, we need all countries to come forward with more ambitious nationally determined contributions, with 2030 targets that are consistent with carbon neutrality by 2050. By the biodiversity COP in Kunming, nations must show how they will reverse species and ecosystem loss with concrete targets and means of implementation. We must also ensure a strong post-2020 framework for the sound management of chemicals and waste,” Guterres said. 

Guterres noted that UNEP’s “Making Peace with Nature” report -- published last week -- showed clearly that we need a healthy planet for sustainable development.

“To a large degree, the viability of humanity on this planet depends on your efforts. With leadership, determination and commitment to future generations, I am convinced we can provide a healthy planet for all humanity to not just survive, but to thrive,” he said.

Follow the live opening session here.

Read the UNEP Executive Director’s full speech to the Opening Plenary session here.

Read about the Make Peace with Nature report here.

22 Feb 2021 11:15

Happening Now: Opening of UN Environment Assembly with strong call for action on planetary crises

Landscape
Photo: K Mitch Hodge/Unsplash 

At the start of the virtual Fifth UN Environment Assembly, the world’s top environmental body, UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen called on delegates to make 2021 the year we begin to make peace with nature and tackle the existential crises facing humanity -- climate crisis, nature loss and pollution and waste. 

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the fifth session of UNEA is taking place in two parts with an online session today and tomorrow and a resumed session to be held in person in Nairobi in February 2022.

“We have to acknowledge that we need an all of society effort to radically change our ways if we are to make peace with the planet and therefore create the environmental conditions so that all of humanity can thrive, now and for generations to come,” Andersen told the Opening Plenary.

“That means backing a green pandemic recovery. That means joining the net-zero club and submitting stronger nationally determined contributions to the Paris Agreement. That means agreeing to an ambitious biodiversity framework, backed by the means of implementation. That means mobilizing the whole of government, economy and society,” she said.

Andersen asked delegates to approve UNEP’s Medium-Term Strategy 2022-25, the programme of work and budget so that the organisation can work harder, faster and stronger. 

You can follow the live sessions here.

Read the UNEP Executive Director’s full speech to the Opening Plenary session here.

Read the Make Peace with Nature report here.

22 Feb 2021 10:11

Happening Today: Launch of the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency

UNEA 5 banner

Today sees the launch of the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency (GACERE), which brings together governments and relevant organisations to push for a global transition to a circular economy, resource efficiency and sustainable consumption and production. 

Created by the European Commission, on behalf of the European Union, and UNEP in coordination with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Global Alliance aims to galvanize initiatives to make our use of resources more sustainable so that we keep humanity’s footprint within planetary boundaries. 

As UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen has said: “What is crucial to remember is that a global move to circular economies is a smart economic decision as well as the key to ending the three planetary crises. In fact, such a global move could generate US$4.5 trillion in annual economic output by 2030.”

Read more of the Executive Director’s thoughts on Uniting Climate and Biodiversity Agendas through Circularity here.

Find out more about the launch event here.

22 Feb 2021 07:15

On the final day, SPBF addresses food systems and making peace with nature

Event screenshot
Photo: IISD

The final day of the UN Science-Policy-Business Forum focused on nature-positive food systems before a closing session devoted to making peace with nature: the defining task of the 21st century.

In the first session, participants discussed how the transformation of food systems is critical for nature and economies, how regenerative agriculture can connect us back to nature and the importance of tackling food waste

Closing the forum, UNEP’s Executive Director Inger Andersen said biodiversity loss, climate change, and pollution should be addressed in unison, with cohesive cooperation required across sectors and among stakeholders.

IISD's Earth Negotiations Bulletin was there to cover the sessions.

Read the highlights and view the photos here.

20 Feb 2021 17:20

It’s time: UN Environment Assembly starts on Monday

UNEA 5 banner

As countries grapple with the consequences of a worldwide pandemic, the United Nations Environment Assembly will meet virtually from 22 – 23 February, bringing together Ministers and policy-makers, scientists and civil society, and the private sector. 

Leadership Dialogues, hosted virtually, will consider environmental aspects of sustainable development and look at how they can be used to shape a more resilient and inclusive post-pandemic world

There’s no time to lose: In 2020, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres warned that “Humanity is waging a war on nature”. As we destroy ecosystems, he explained, we are effectively destroying ourselves.

We consume too much and we produce too much. Our excess has contributed to creating the conditions necessary for the spread of zoonotic diseases while the way we live our lives has had a devastating impact on the world’s ecosystems, propelling climate change, destroying nature, and raising pollution levels.

This UNEA will seek consensus about an alternative way to live, informed by the just-released Making Peace with Nature report, which offers a blueprint for a sustainable world. 

Spanning time zones, the Leadership Dialogue will be held on 22 February at 16.00 – 19.00 and on 23 February at 11.00 – 14.00, Nairobi time (GMT+3). 

Register for/view livestream sessions here.

Learn more about why this UNEA is so important.

20 Feb 2021 15:15

Young people call for urgent climate action at UN Environment Assembly

Poster

The COVID-19 pandemic is drawing young people around the world into the fight against climate change, as witnessed this week during the Youth Environment Assembly.

The gathering, which is being held virtually, as part of the UN Environment Assembly, is the planet’s largest youth-led environmental event. It has zeroed in on climate change, which participants described as a dire threat to the planet.

This year’s Youth Environment Assembly saw the release of UNEP’s GEO-6 for Youth – a report targeted at 15-24-year-olds, written with the intention of translating high-level scientific messages into a language that is accessible and actionable. This age group makes up one-sixth of the world’s population and is crucial in the fight against climate change.

Read the rest of the story here.

Next week, it’s the start of the UN Environment Assembly. Get all the details here.

19 Feb 2021 15:38

Happening Today: Science-Policy-Business Forum turns attention to sustainable cities and food systems

Maize
Photo: Unsplash / Andre Ouellet

On Friday, participants in the Third Global Session of the Science-Policy-Business Forum will focus on Rethinking Cities: Bringing Nature to the Urban Environment.

You can watch the event live here now

On Saturday, the Forum will look at Nature-positive Food Systems for a Healthy Planet and Healthy People. This session will look at promoting food systems that regenerate rather than degrade our planet.

Click here for more information on the live events.

Click here for details of all the events surrounding UNEA-5.

19 Feb 2021 14:05

Happening Today: How the Green Gigaton Challenge hopes to cut emissions

Forests
Photo: UNEP

They say talk is cheap and this can also be true for climate commitments. We know the international community is failing to mobilize the agreed US$100 billion a year in climate finance to the developing world. Forests are particularly underfunded but the Green Gigaton Challenge aims to change that by harnessing public-private forest investments to turn the tide on deforestation.

The Green Gigaton Challenge (GGC) is an ambitious and innovative global response led by Emergent and UN-REDD to mobilize public and private funds to finance a gigaton of emission reductions from forests per year by 2025. It brings together public, private and philanthropic partners to channel funds into efforts by national and subnational governments to halt deforestation. 

Protecting forests will help with emissions, climate adaptation and preservation of natural capital. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said 2021 is a crucial year in the fight against climate change, warning that the world remains “way off target in staying within the 1.5-degree limit of the Paris Agreement”. 

One gigaton of annual emissions reductions is equivalent to taking 80 per cent of the cars off American roads.

Find out more about today’s event on the Green Gigaton Challenge here.

Click here to find out more about how we can cut emissions across six sectors.

19 Feb 2021 12:23

Happening Today: How can we mitigate the risk from marine litter and microplastics?

Plastic bottle
Photo: Unsplash / Brian Yurasits

As part of the Science-Policy-Business Forum, this event on Managing Risk: Marine Litter and Microplastics Mitigation and Prevention will look at the latest science around marine litter, the policy action needed and the role of innovation, technology and finance. 

To significantly reduce marine pollution by 2025, as envisaged by the Sustainable Development Goals, we need fast, focused action by many sectors.

The event will also see the Phase 1 release of the Global Partnership on Marine Litter Digital Platform. The aim of the platform is to facilitate coordination of multi-stakeholder action towards the long-term elimination, through a life-cycle approach, of discharges of litter and microplastics into the oceans using AI capabilities, data mapping and layered functionalities including match-making.

Find out more about the event here.

19 Feb 2021 10:02

Happening Today: The Value Chain Approach and what it means for sustainability

The science is clear: we need to decouple economic growth from natural resource use. This would enable us to cut greenhouse gas emissions, protect biodiversity, reduce pollution and drive development. So far so good but the problem is that not all decision-makers know how to achieve this decoupling. 

Today’s online event on The Value-Chain Approach to Sustainable Consumption and Production will help plug that gap. Developed by a task group comprising the One Planet network and the International Resource Panel, this approach has been applied to food, construction and textiles. You can find out what they learned by joining today’s session.

Learn more about the Value Chain Approach with this interactive presentation.

Or read this newly released report on the methodology and its application to food, construction and textiles.

Learn more about the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP) here.

19 Feb 2021 09:00

Happening Today: Single-use plastics: The story from beginning to end

Man collecting plastic bottles
Photo by Cyril Villemain / UNEP 

We all know by now that single-use plastics are a major cause of environmental damage. But what are the alternatives and how do they compare?

At today’s event -- Addressing single-use plastic products pollution with a life cycle approach -- panellists will discuss these alternatives and what Member States are doing to address plastic pollution following a life-cycle approach. The event is co-hosted by India and the European Union,

At its previous meeting in 2019, UNEA encouraged Member States to take action to promote the identification and development of environmentally-friendly alternatives to single-use plastic products.

Find out more about this event and register here.

Read more about the policy instruments being used to curb single-use plastics.

Learn more about UNEP’s Clean Seas campaign to tackle marine plastic pollution.

19 Feb 2021 08:36

The Youth Environment Assembly tackles green business; chemicals and waste

Screenshot of virtual meeting

As it reconvened on Thursday, the Youth Environment Assembly focused on sustainable businesses and chemicals and waste. 

Two platforms were launched: a Science-Policy-Business Forum and Youth Platform and a Chemicals and Wastes Youth Platform. Both aim to encourage dialogue between the relevant stakeholders and communities. During Thursday’s sessions, three young entrepreneurs shared their personal stories, showcasing how their companies’ new technologies are offering revolutionary new options for recycling plastic, growing food in hydroponic systems, and measuring real-time, hyper-localized air quality.

IISD's Earth Negotiations Bulletin was there to cover the sessions.

Read the highlights and view the photos here

19 Feb 2021 07:30

Science-Policy-Business Forum addresses e-waste and data

Data
Photo: Unsplash / Markus Spiske

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” This remark by Charles Ross from The Economist Intelligence Unit, summed up one of the key sentiments expressed during the first day of the Science-Policy-Business Forum on the Environment (UN-SPBF) 2021: data and digital transformation is key to progress in addressing the three planetary crises – climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.

During the opening session on Thursday, UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen underscored the role of science in addressing the key challenges society faces. She called for a digital transformation and said digitizing science will make it more easily accessible and understandable.

Three sessions convened on Thursday:

-- A joint session with the Youth Environment Assembly;

-- Addressing E-waste through Tracking, Traceability and Circularity Approach; and

-- The Opening Session and Big Data and Frontier Tech: Powering the Transition to a Sustainable Future

IISD's Earth Negotiations Bulletin was there to cover the sessions.

Read the highlights and view the photos here.

18 Feb 2021 20:32

Making Peace with Nature: A blueprint to urgently solve planetary emergencies

An African sacred ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus) on the shore of Lake Naivasha, Kenya.
Photo: UNEP / Stephanie Foote

The world can transform its relationship with nature and tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution crises together to secure a sustainable future and prevent future pandemics, according to a new report by UNEP that offers a comprehensive blueprint for addressing our triple planetary emergency.

The report, Making Peace with Nature, lays out the gravity of these three environmental crises by drawing on global assessments, including those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, as well as UNEP’s Global Environment Outlook report, the UNEP International Resource Panel, and new findings on the emergence of zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19.

The report was published ahead of the virtual meeting of the fifth UN Environmental Assembly from 22-23 February. Find out more about UNEA-5 and related events here

Read the press release on the Making Peace with Nature report.

Download the report here.

18 Feb 2021 15:14

UNEP engages Kenyan media on coverage of UNEA in Africa

Photos from the event

UNEP, in partnership with the Kenyan Government, this week held a media briefing with local journalists on the importance of next week’s UNEA-5 virtual meeting

“Journalists in Africa have been a constructive asset in impactfully amplifying the work of UNEA in the region,” said UNEP Deputy Executive Director Joyce Msuya, noting that collective action was now needed as the science and policies already existed. 

Focusing on action is extremely important,” she said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UNEA-5 will take a two-step approach: an online session from 22-23 February and a second session in February 2022 when delegates will meet in person to discuss substantive matters that require in-depth negotiations.

“UNEA-5 will be the first big UN international virtual 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 later in the year,” Msuya told the journalists.

Ambassador Kamau Macharia, Principal Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also noted the significance of this UNEA meeting.

UNEP turns 50 next year and whilst great strides have been made to safeguard and encourage the sustainable use of the environment, more still needs to be done,” he said.

Msuya welcomed Kenya’s support for UNEA and its commitment to environmental sustainability, especially its battle against plastic pollution.

Here’s some more on what Kenya is doing to #beatplasticpollution.

Read more about the Kenya dhow made from recycled plastic and its trail-blazing trips here.

For all the information you need about UNEA-5 and the events surrounding it, please click here

18 Feb 2021 14:50

Happening Today: Taking a stand for biodiversity: the time is now

African wildlife, Kenya national parks.
Photo: UNEP / Duncan Moore

The stakes could not be higher: the world stands to lose one million plant and animal species over the coming years if we don’t act now. An action plan is being developed under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), with a crucial meeting scheduled for later this year in Kunming, China to adopt goals and commitments for a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

Non-state actors also have a role to play and this will be the focus of discussions at today’s event on Strengthening Commitments for Biodiversity. The event is organized by the Governments of China and Egypt, with the support of the CBD, as part of the Sharm El-Sheikh to Kunming Action Agenda for Nature and People.

Last year, the CBD said in its landmark Global Biodiversity Outlook 5, that despite encouraging progress in several areas, the natural world is suffering badly and getting worse. 

Read more here about the eight transformative changes needed to ensure human wellbeing and save the planet.

By the time we get to the Kunming meeting, nations must come with more ambition and commitment to deliver on measurable targets and means of implementation, particularly finance and monitoring mechanisms.

Find out more about the Strengthening Commitments for Biodiversity event here.

18 Feb 2021 12:00

Happening Today: Tackling plastic waste in a pandemic: How the Basel Convention helps

A face mask found during a beach cleanup in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire
Photo: Unsplash / Brian Yurasits

One of the side effects of the dreadful COVID-19 pandemic has been a global increase in plastic waste, including masks, gloves and other protective equipment. Our oceans were already in jeopardy before COVID-19 so it is critical now to find ways of safely handling and disposing of this additional waste.

In January this year, another step towards cleaning up the international trade of plastic waste was taken when amendments to the Basel Convention -- the most comprehensive international environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes -- came into effect.

You can read more about the amendments here.

Approximately 8 million metric tonnes of plastic litter flow to the ocean annually, and only 9 per cent of plastic waste ever produced has been recycled. Microplastics -- tiny pieces of plastic -- also cause a problem because they are eaten by fish, seabirds and other marine life, blocking digestive tracts and causing physical problems. 

Today’s Tackling Plastic Waste through the Basel Convention event will look at what is being done to help countries deal with plastic waste and how the amendments work. 

Learn about UNEP’s Clean Seas campaign against plastic pollution here.

18 Feb 2021 10:15

There's never been a more important role for UNEA on the world stage to protect people and the well-being of our planet

Ahead of next week's UNEA-5 meeting, here's a message from UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen about why this virtual meeting is so vital as the world grapples with a global pandemic and three planetary crisesthe climate crisis, the biodiversity and nature crisis and the pollution and waste crisis

For all the information you need about UNEA-5 and the events surrounding it, please click here

18 Feb 2021 09:49

Happening Today: Launch of the Green Forum: an online hub to inspire and inform on sustainability

Green design
Photo: Unsplash / Max Kleinen

The Green Forum is being launched today ahead of UNEA-5. Managed by the Green Growth Knowledge Partnership, this dynamic interactive online space allows professionals to exchange insights on a sustainable economic transition. 

The forum will host discussions on climate change, natural capital, sustainable infrastructure and building back better from the pandemic. Members will be able to create and manage their own public and private groups to promote inclusive green economy policies.

At a time when the global pandemic has curtailed our ability to meet up, virtual hubs like the Green Forum are vital to ensuring critical advocacy continues

Find out more about the launch event -- Green Forum Global Launch: Pursuing Collaboration at Scale -- here.

And check out the Green Forum for yourself.

17 Feb 2021 21:10

Highlights of the third and final day of the OECPR meeting

UNEA-5 President Sveinung Rotevatn
UNEA-5 President Sveinung Rotevatn. Photo: IISD

The online session of the fifth meeting of the Open-Ended Committee of Permanent Representatives (OECPR 5) ended on Wednesday after lengthy discussions and agreement on draft decisions to be delivered to UNEA-5 next week.

UNEA-5 President Sveinung Rotevatn noted that agreement on a consensual message to be delivered to next week’s virtual meeting showed the world that UNEA has found a common ground and shared purpose despite working in a virtual setting.

UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen congratulated Members on reaching consensus on three important draft decisions to be adopted at the online session of UNEA-5. She emphasized that it shows commitment and that “we are still in business even in the time of global pandemic.” 

IISD's Earth Negotiations Bulletin was there to cover the session.

Read the highlights and view the photos here

17 Feb 2021 20:12

UN Science-Policy-Business Forum kicks off tomorrow; here’s how to follow it

People at a conference
Panel on Context, Mandates and Ambition of the Big Data strategy. 6 November 2019. Photo: UN SPBF

The theme of this year’s UN Science-Policy-Business Forum (UN-SPBF) is “Integrated Solutions #ForNature” and there will be a host of events on everything from marine litter to big data from February 18-20.

Find out more about the event and how to register here

Over the three days, each session will seek to identify where the greatest opportunity for the shift to sustainable consumption and production lies. Discussions will facilitate a multi-sectoral common agenda in line with UNEP’s mandate and priorities.

IISD's Earth Negotiations Bulletin will be there to cover the Forum. 

Read more about what to expect at the UN-SPBF here

17 Feb 2021 16:46

Happening Today: New book reflects on creation of world’s leading environmental agency

UNEA 5 image

With UNEP preparing to mark its 50th anniversary in 2022, a new book reflects on how the world’s leading environmental institution came into being and looks at the vision that underpinned its creation. 

At today’s event, the book’s author Maria Ivanova, Associate Professor of Global Governance and Graduate Program Director, Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance, McCormack Graduate School, will journey into the past to rediscover the original vision and reflect on the global role of UNEP in an increasingly complex world where multilateralism is ever more important

Find out more about The Untold Story of the World’s leading Environmental Institution: UNEP at Fifty.

You can view it live or recorded here

17 Feb 2021 12:05

Happening Today: Protecting our seas so that they can protect us: Event on plastic pollution

Plastic on beach
Photo: UNEP

If we want to redefine our relationship with nature -- as we must in order to survive -- we need to take a long hard look at how we manage economic activities around our seas. We must also address the deadly scourge of plastic pollution that is killing fish and other wildlife.

Today, at an event co-organized with the Government of Kenya -- Ocean Action for Sustainability: Building a global vision to tackle plastic pollution -- panellists will look at how oceans can help provide practical solutions to the triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution

2021 marks the start of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and it is vital that we place our oceans at the heart of our efforts to redesign the way we live on this earth. We have the means: check out this story for more on technological innovations that could help tackle plastic waste, for example.

Find out more about the Ocean Action for Sustainability event here.

Find out more about UNEP’s Clean Seas campaign against plastic pollution here. 

And read about 400 young Africans who were honored for their leadership in dealing with plastic pollution as part of the Tide Turners Plastic Challenge.

17 Feb 2021 09:39

Happening Today: Farming for the Future -- Does agroecology have the answers?

Man watering crops
Photo: Axel Fassio / CIFOR

Today, we’ll be looking at how agroecology can help us build back better so that our food systems protect biodiversity and are resilient and sustainable. 

Check out the event details here: Building Back Better and Greener with agroecology.

UNEP and partners have developed a Transformative Partnership Platform on agroecological approaches to accelerate this essential work and at today’s event Member States will be able to hear how agroecology has been helping communities build back better and greener

If you’re not quite sure what agroecology is, here’s a little explainer from a food systems and biodiversity expert at UNEP: Agroecology is an ecological approach to agriculture, often described as low-external-input farming … it focuses on changing social relations, empowering farmers, adding value locally and privileging short value chains.

Read more about what agroecology can do here.

And check out how it works on the ground in India.

17 Feb 2021 08:16

Highlights of the second day of the OECPR meeting

View of the dais during the plenary session
View of the dais during the plenary session. Photo: IISD

The online session of the fifth meeting of the Open-Ended Committee of Permanent Representatives (OECPR 5) continued on Tuesday with resumed informal discussions on draft decisions, submitted to plenary for final consideration.

Discussions covered professional staff representation within UNEP, terminology and the political declaration that UNEP was mandated to prepare at its fifth session. The OECPR’s vision for the declaration included a commitment to strengthen international environmental law, and a reconciliation of the crowded landscape of multilateral environmental agreements so that diverse mandates and provisions are complementary and effective

Consensus was reached on two draft decisions. Members agreed to forward the decisions on the Medium-Term Strategy for 2022-2025 and Programme of Work and Budget for the biennium 2022-2023; and the management of trust funds and earmarked contributions, to UNEA-5 for adoption.

As a result of some technical difficulties, discussions will resume for an additional day on Wednesday.

IISD's Earth Negotiations Bulletin was there to cover the session.

Read the highlights and view the photos here.

16 Feb 2021 16:00

In Kenya, the Flipflopi sails on, bringing its plastic revolution to Lake Victoria

Boat made of plastic
Photo: Dipesh Pabari

In 2019, the world’s first sailing boat made entirely from waste plastic and flip-flops sailed from Lamu in Kenya to Zanzibar. The flamboyant Flipflopi made global headlines but also spurred a plastic revolution along the Indian Ocean coast. And its mission continues, with a trip this year to Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest freshwater lake, to engage governments, business leaders, conservationists and students on viable solutions for the pollution menace. 

Protecting our seas from plastic pollution and other threats will be hot topics this week ahead of UNEA-5. On February 17, Kenya is co-hosting an event on ocean sustainability, looking at how oceans can help provide practical solutions to the triple planetary crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. 

Ahead of that event, UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen tweeted: Kenya has demonstrated strong leadership on plastic pollution. Comprehensive legislation has been backed by efforts to inspire citizens and the private sector to drive ambitious action on marine litter & #BeatPlasticPollution. 

Watch here to see the FlipFlopi riding the waves.

Read all about the dhow’s pollution-busting mission here.

16 Feb 2021 13:34

Ten years to transform our world

Girraffs
Photo: Kgosi Kai

By any measure, it’s been a challenging start to the Decade of Action on the Sustainable Development Goals. Even before the pandemic turned our world upside down, achieving the 17 targets was an ambitious task. 

But progress has been made, and with nine years left, we need a big push to turn this vision of a more sustainable and just future into reality. That’s where the Decade for Action comes in, galvanizing leaders and citizens everywhere to address the global challenges -from poverty to climate change- covered by the SDGs.

UNEA-5 will focus minds on the role of nature with its theme of Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

We have 10 years to transform our world. Business as usual cannot and will not be business for tomorrow if we want to achieve the Goals.

You can find out more about what UNEP is doing here.

16 Feb 2021 10:06

Financing the future: the role of banks in building a global circular economy

Wind turbines
Photo: REUTERS / Bob Strong 

We know that our future is bright if it is circular. The old take-make-waste models cannot work any more on our depleted planet. 

As UNEA-5 President, Sveinung Rotevatn, said: “A circular economy approach provides opportunities both for the economy and the environment. Global consumption of all consumable materials is expected to double by 2060 – we need to reduce that.”

This shift requires input from everyone, including financial institutions. They can ensure that the businesses they invest in make more efficient use of resources and minimize waste, pollution and carbon emissions.  

Economically, it’s a no-brainer: the move to circular economies could generate US$4.5 trillion in annual economic output by 2030 while helping to achieve the SDGs, protect the health of our ecosystems and enable sustainable recovery in the wake of the pandemic. 

Read more about how banks and other investors can finance circularity here.

15 Feb 2021 20:39

Highlights from OECPR 5 opening plenary session

Screenshot of the live video showing the panel

The online session of the fifth meeting of the Open-Ended Committee of Permanent Representatives (OECPR 5) opened on Monday morning.

Regional groups and Member States took the floor during the opening plenary underscoring the urgency to move towards a “better, greener and more sustainable future.”

The plenary ended earlier than scheduled and Member States met in a contact group to discuss three draft decisions on:

  • the medium-term strategy (MTS) for 2022-2025, and the programme of work and budget for the biennium 2022-23;
  • the date and format for the resumed session of UNEA 5 and OECPR 5; and
  • the management of trust funds and earmarked contributions.

IISD's Earth Negotiations Bulletin were there to cover the opening plenary session.

Read the highlights and view the photos here.

15 Feb 2021 19:19

UN Environment Assembly sets stage for green recovery

A man and women in masks on a train
Pixabay / Djedj

As UNEP’s Executive Director Inger Andersen said at Monday’s opening session of the Open-ended Committee of Permanent Representatives: “This will be a UNEA like no other ....At a time when countries are borrowing unprecedented monies from future generations to kick-start economies and overcome the devastation of this pandemic, I submit to you that there has never been a more important role for UNEA on the world stage”.

The pandemic is an unprecedented global crisis and so next week’s virtual meeting of the UN Environment Assembly will also be unprecedented. Pandemic recovery plans offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to chart a new path, giving Member States and stakeholders a chance to build a greener, more sustainable and inclusive world

Read more here, with details of how to register for sessions on issues as diverse as ocean pollution, agroecology and climate finance.

15 Feb 2021 10:11

Start of the Open-Ended Committee of Permanent Representatives ahead of UNEA-5

The Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR) to UNEP starts a two-day meeting on Monday to get ready for UNEA-5. It is expected to prepare draft decisions on a Medium-Term Strategy (MTS) for 2022-25 and a Programme of Work and Budget for 2022-23. It will also look at the implementation of previously adopted resolutions and administrative and budgetary issues.

In a speech to the 153rd CPR meeting in January, UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen said 2021 would be the year that UNEP regroups and equips itself for the challenges ahead. She described the MTS as ambitious, urging everyone to be “MTS-ready”.

She explained the concept: “Like the marathon runners who commit themselves to the race, preparation begins much earlier, with determination, with hard work and with a clear line of sight. By the end of 2021, we will ensure complete clarity on functions, form and finance so that we can deliver the MTS in a manner that makes a real difference for people and planet.”

Read the rest of the speech here.

Read more about the CPR meeting here.

You can find the pre-session documents for UNEA, including the proposed MTS, here.

15 Feb 2021 09:37

UNEP shines a scientific light on food systems in a post-pandemic world

Woman harvesting crops
Photo: UNEP / Lisa Murray

At the start of the pandemic, there were fears that COVID-19 could undermine the global push for sustainable development. In a December report, COVID-19, the Environment and Food Systems, UNEP urged states to use their response to the coronavirus pandemic to build more sustainable, resilient food systems and monitor their recovery efforts against sustainable development targets.

Check out the report’s recommendations here.

We all have a role to play in revolutionising our food systems. Ahead of the Food Systems Summit later this year, the UN is asking everyone to become a #FoodSystemsHero. 

Find out more here.

15 Feb 2021 07:18

UNEP partners call for decisive action on green transition

A slide from Jan-Gustav Strandenaes' presentation displaying UNEP Executive Directors
A slide from Jan-Gustav Strandenaes' presentation displaying UNEP Executive Directors. Photo: IISD

The Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum wrapped up its virtual meeting with strong calls for UNEA-5 to demonstrate leadership for an ethical, inclusive, rights-based and green transition in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic

UNEP’s partners and civil society developed a statement titled, “Building Forward Better: Action is Urgently Needed”, which will be presented to the Open-Ended Committee of Permanent Representatives and the UNEA-5 meeting.

The basic message: UNEA has an opportunity to chart a transformative path towards a sustainable recovery from the pandemic. Participants listed areas of concern for the future, including the need for UNEP to include diverse sources of knowledge, including citizen science, in its processes.

They also discussed next year’s 50th anniversary of the creation of UNEP and called for the upcoming commemorations to show the same vision and courage as the original event to secure our common future.

Read the full report on the meeting and its conclusions here.  

13 Feb 2021 20:09

Highlights from the first two days of the Global Youth Environment Assembly

Screenshot of the online Youth Enviroenmnet Assembly
Teresa Oberhauser, MGCY, Rayan Kassem, MGCY Steering Committee, and Omnia El-Omrani, International Federation of Medical Students Association

The second Youth Environment Assembly started on Friday, 12 February. The Assembly provides space for youth to mobilize and share their experiences, and also to organize in advance of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) meeting next week.

Many speakers in the opening ceremony observed the vital role of youth as changemakers pushing governments and society more widely to do better to address the climate, biodiversity, and pollution crises.

On day two of the Youth Environment Assembly, attention turned to substantive issues. Throughout the day, hundreds of young people from around the world actively participated in polls, consultations, and question-and-answer sessions. Participants pivoted to the challenges of nature loss, food security, and health

IISD's Earth Negotiations Bulletin was there to cover the sessions.

Read the highlights and view the photos here: Day 1 & Day 2

13 Feb 2021 13:00

UNEA-5 sets the tone for a critical year: Key dates in 2021

Grassland, Swamp
Photo: UNEP / Igor Riabchuk

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that we need to work together in times of peril. Multilateralism is also critical if we want to solve our triple planetary crises, which is why meetings like UNEA-5 are so important, not least in setting the tone for the months ahead. 

UNEP hosts the secretariats of many critical multilateral environmental agreements and research bodies, which this year will continue their efforts to bring together nations and the environmental community to tackle the greatest challenges of our time.

Throughout 2021, as the world seeks a way out of the unprecedented chaos of the pandemic, a series of key meetings will guide policy-makers towards an inclusive and sustainable future.  

Check out some key events scheduled for 2021 here.

13 Feb 2021 08:00

UN Science-Policy-Business Forum will highlight innovation and green technology

Nzambi Matee, Kenyan entrepreneur and UNEP Young Champion of the Earth for 2020, creates building materials from discarded plastics.
Nzambi Matee, Kenyan entrepreneur and UNEP Young Champion of the Earth for 2020, creates building materials from discarded plastics. Photo: Georgina Smith / UNEP

Ahead of UNEA-5, the UN Science-Policy-Business Forum will bring together partners and networks representing business, industry, finance, science, government and civil society to examine how best to bring about an urgent shift to sustainable consumption and production.

Investing in ecosystems restoration, combined with a shift towards circularity and sustainable consumption and production, has the potential to address the key drivers of ecosystem disruption, biodiversity loss, resource depletion and climate change. And that could help bring about a sustainable and just post-pandemic recovery that will accelerate our efforts to achieve the SDGs.

The Science-Policy-Business Forum runs from February 18-20 and the theme is Integrated Solutions #ForNature

Read more here about why going green makes good business sense.

12 Feb 2021 20:21

Nothing about us, without us: Global Youth Environment Assembly begins

Screenshot of virtual meeting
Photo: IISD Earth Negotiations Bullentin

As a rallying cry for youth engagement with our planetary crises, it was perfect: “Nothing about us, without us,” said Yugratna Srivastava, Global Coordinator of the Major Group of Children & Youth to UNEP.

She was speaking at the virtual opening ceremony of the Global Youth Environment Assembly, the official youth forum of UNEA-5, which runs from February 12-13 and February 18-20.

Also speaking at the event, UNEP’s Director of Governance Affairs, Jorge Laguna-Celis, urged delegates to be strategic, be proficient, be connected and have the drive to change things #ForNature and #ForYouth. 

And Lefteris Arapakis, a 2020 UNEP Young Champion of the Earth, said: “Most people don't realize that we're living the climate crisis. It's humanity that won't survive. I'm hopeful the survival instinct of humanity will help us find solutions.”
 

Read more about today’s events here.

You’ll find schedules and speakers here.

12 Feb 2021 16:00

If we want nature to do more for us, we must do more for nature

Girl under a cocoa plant
Photo: UNEP

Nature is humanity’s life support system but it is being destroyed by unsustainable consumption and production. We desperately need to do more to protect and strengthen our biodiversity and this will be one of the major themes at UNEA-5. 

Last year, the UN hosted the first summit on biodiversity and 2021 marks the start of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which aims to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems. The official launch of the Decade will be on World Environment Day on June 5.

But you don’t have to wait until then. You too can join #GenerationRestoration. Click here to see what you can do.

12 Feb 2021 09:46

The Power of Youth: Global Youth Environment Assembly starts today

Event poster
Image: Youth Environment Assembly

Want to hear what the next generation thinks of the challenges facing our planet today? Check out the Global Youth Environment Assembly, the official youth forum of UNEA-5, which runs from February 12-13 and February 18-20.

There will be interactive segments, regional and thematics breakouts, plenary sessions and dialogues between environment ministers and youth.

You’ll find schedules and speakers here.

And if you want to see what a difference young people can make, click here to see a conversation between The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, and seven of UNEP’s Young Champions of the Earth.

11 Feb 2021 18:00

Following the science at UNEA-5

Monkey
Photo credit: Unsplash / Tony Reid

At UNEP, science has always reigned supreme. For almost 50 years, we have used the latest scientific data to help the world understand the damage humanity’s carbon- and resource-hungry development path is causing to the planet, human health and economies. 

As part of  UNEA-5, UNEP will release a number of reports to bolster our message that we must Act #ForNature now. Watch out for the launch of the first UNEP Global Assessments Synthesis Report, produced with the support of the European Union and Norway, titled: Making Peace With Nature: A scientific blueprint to tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies.

It’s happening on February 22 and we’ll be across it here. 

Click here to find out more about why we need to make peace with nature.

11 Feb 2021 16:35

Adapt to survive: UNEP report shows the way

Poster

At UNEA-5, a key talking point will be how to build a resilient and inclusive post-pandemic world. It’s all about helping nature help us, but the world is still dragging its feet on funding critical interventions.

UNEP’s Adaptation Gap Report found that while nations have advanced in planning, more financing is needed to scale up adaptation projects so they can protect against climate impacts such as droughts, floods and sea-level rise. Public and private finance for adaptation must be stepped up urgently, along with faster implementation.

Check out this video for a summary of the report and key recommendations. Or you can download the full report here.

11 Feb 2021 14:00

Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum meets ahead of UNEA-5

Screenshot of virtual meeting
Consultation 4 dais (clockwise from left): Teresa Oberhauser, UNEP Focal Point of the Youth Constituency; Jan-Gustav Strandenaes, NGO Major Group; Johanna Lissinger Peitz, Stockholm + 50 Secretariat; and Zahra Abu Taha, Children and Youth Major Group. Photo credit: IISD

A virtual meeting of the Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum has been taking place ahead of UNEA-5 to harness the valuable perspectives of UNEP’s partners and civil society

The planetary crises we face are so all-encompassing that everyone needs to be involved. UNEP recognises that it is vital to take the views of Major Groups and Stakeholders into account as early as possible in decision-making processes. They provide valuable perspectives, research and advocacy functions and foster support for UNEP’s mission

Read more on the discussions that have been taking place here.

11 Feb 2021 12:09

Working through a pandemic: UNEP in 2020

Women in a laboratory
Women working in the advanced animal health laboratories of ILRI, in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo by ILRI / David White

You might be wondering how UNEP coped with the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The vital work of protecting the planet and those who live on it went on, with summits moving online and crucial scientific reports continuing to inform policy-making, including a landmark report on zoonotic diseases.

If anything, the pandemic underscored the urgency of UNEP’s work and throughout the year UNEP staff worked hard, often behind the scenes, to address climate change, rampant pollution and mass extinction of wildlife -- the triple crises facing our planet. 

Click here to find out more about UNEP’s work in an unprecedented year.

11 Feb 2021 10:00

Why we need to act fast: relentless rise in temperatures

UNEA 4
March 12, 2019. Nairobi, Kenya. Human rights-based approaches to innovation for sustainable development. Photo: G. Ericson UNEP/CYRIL VILLEMAIN

During UNEA-5, Member States will convene a Leadership Dialogue on how to build back better and greener from the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Time is of the essence. 

It’s been five years since nations signed the Paris Agreement to limit global warming this century to well below 2°C and pursue the goal of 1.5°C. We are not doing well.

UNEP’s annual Emissions Gap Report found that the pandemic-linked economic slowdown will make a negligible difference to long-term emissions and temperatures but a green recovery could cut up to 25 per cent off predicted 2030 greenhouse gas emissions.

Read more about solutions outlined in the Emissions Gap Report

And watch this space for more on the Leadership Dialogue on February 22-23.

10 Feb 2021 14:02

UNEA set to galvanize global action for nature

Portrait of Sveinung Rotevatn
Photo credit: Norway Government / Bjørn H. Stuedal

UNEA-5 will focus on the role nature plays in sustainable development and how strategic green COVID-19 recovery plans can accelerate the transition to an inclusive, prosperous, low carbon and healthier future.

Mr. Sveinung Rotevatn of Norway is President of UNEA-5. Ahead of the global forum, he outlined his thoughts and aspirations for the upcoming session.

Read the full interview here.

10 Feb 2021 14:00

Nature at the heart of the global recovery

UNEP Chief Inger Andersen
Photo credit: UNEP

The theme of UNEA-5 is Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. You can catch up on what UNEP and Member States are doing to meet these targets here.

As UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen says nature is our most precious asset and protecting it is not just the preserve of environmentalists: it is an economic issue. 

Read the full story here.

09 Feb 2021 10:53

Serving up sustainable food

People at a food stall
Photo: Sheldon Cooper / SOPA Images / Sipa USA via Reuters 

Food production, consumption and waste - and how they impact the environment - will be a key topic of discussion at this year's United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA-5), taking place online on 22-23 February 2021.

UNEP and partners are developing the world's most comprehensive data analysis and modelling on food waste, which will be launched at the Assembly. Titled the 'Food Waste Index', the document will be released at UNEA-5. It offers new estimates of food waste at household, retail and food service sectors at country level, and provides a methodology that enables countries to measure and track progress on Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, which aims to halve retail and consumer food waste and reduce food loss by 2030.

Read more here.

08 Feb 2021 11:33

What you need to know about UNEA-5

image

The scale of the challenges facing the planet are unprecedented: a warming climate, dramatic species loss, deadly pollution and now a global pandemic. Multilateral action is critical if we are to stop our war on nature and ensure our survival. This is where UNEA-5 comes in

Over the next year, the world is likely to see trillions of dollars directed toward additional stimulus spending. The discussions at UNEA will focus on how to direct these funds towards creating low-carbon, nature-positive and pollution-free societies and economies.