Governments Gear Up for 2nd UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) with Focus on Environment, Sustainability and Health Mon, Feb 15, 2016

Key Issues Include: Mobilizing Resources for Sustainable Investment, Impact of Forced Displacement on Environment and Plastics in the Oceans

Nairobi, 15 February 2016 - Governmental consultations in preparation for the second UN Environment Assembly (UNEA)- due to take place in Nairobi, next May - kicked off this morning with the convening of the Open Ended Committee of Permanent Representatives to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

The committee, which is made up of 300 delegates representing all UN Member States and major groups, will consider key items on the UNEA-2 agenda with focus on furthering action on delivering the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The committee will also review a global thematic report on 'Healthy Environment, Healthy People'.

For many, the creation of UNEA is the coming of age of the environment as a world issue, as it places environmental concerns on the same footing with those of peace, security, finance, health and trade for the first time. The first UNEA meeting took place in Nairobi in June 2014.

UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNEP Achim Steiner said, "2016 has been called the year for implementation and delivery. UNEA-2 is our chance to show the world UNEP's readiness and commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through our programme of work."

"This OECPR is a vital forum in itself - a landmark in UNEP's journey, and one that will help determine the organization's direction and place in the global arena."

"The resolutions, decisions and outcomes that you prepare here will put new and emerging issues on environment firmly on the global radar, sending important signals to the global community about how to fully address this major pillar of an integrated sustainable development agenda. The work you do this week will position UNEA to as the International Environment Rendez-vous for all, and lay the groundwork for UNEP's contribution to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda," he added.

UNEA-2 will be one of the first major global conferences taking place since the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

The meeting will review UNEP's Medium Term Strategy, its Programme of Work and budget which constitute UNEP's capacity, through its strategy, business model and financial resources, to contribute to delivering the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the Paris climate agreement.

A package of draft resolutions will also be reviewed on topics that range from the illegal trade in wildlife to chemicals and waste and marine plastic debris.

Other key topics include mobilizing resources for Sustainable Investments and forced displacement and the environment.

UNEA will also consider the new stakeholder engagement policy, which will help to determine how civil society will be able to contribute in solving urgent environmental challenges and take advantage of environmental opportunities.

Steiner said, "UNEP's stakeholders are critical to its work, and you will see that in action at UNEA-2. The meeting will provide a space for representatives from government, business, academia, scientific institutions and various communities to contribute and find value. We are putting together an engaging menu of side events that we hope will attract leaders from all sectors."

By delivering on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UNEP can play a crucial role in achieving the SDGs by providing assessments to strengthen evidence base, policy analysis, and integrated approaches and by supporting member states, stakeholders and other UN bodies with our technical expertise, knowledge systems and global partnerships.

In mid-January, the President of ECOSOC proposed the theme 'Ensuring that no one is left behind' for the 2016 session of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). UNEA-2 will be preparing critical outputs for ECOSOC on the delivery of the 2030 Agenda.

A new report entitled "Healthy Environment, Healthy People" will also be reviewed prior to submission to ministers at UNEA 2. The report summarizes the links between environmental quality and human health and wellbeing. The theme also addresses many Sustainable Development Goals, emphasizing UNEP's integrated approach to the Agenda. It describes the drivers of those health and environment links, including inequality, migration, unplanned urbanization, unhealthy lifestyles, and unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. Your reactions to that report will help ensure a rich, focused and interactive conversation on health and environment at UNEA-2.

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