UNEP Deputy Executive Director addresses a Delegation from the Pakistani National Defence University Sat, Apr 14, 2012

It is a pleasure to warmly welcome you to UNEP headquarters.

April 12th, 2012

H.E. Mr. Syed Hassan Mumtaz, Pakistani Acting High Commissioner to Kenya

Air Vice Marshal Rashid Kamal (Delegation Leader)

Mr. Wajid Hassan Hashmi, Second Secretary, Pakistani High Commission to Kenya.

Members of the National Defence University in Islamabad, Pakistan

It is a pleasure to warmly welcome you to UNEP headquarters.

We look forward to the sharing of ideas and experiences as well as strengthening UNEP's support role for coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development - integrating economic, environmental and social considerations as interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars.

In Asia, UNEP operates through its Regional Office and works in 47 countries including Pakistan. We work with their governments, local authorities, major groups and stakeholders - civil society, other UN entities, regional and international institutions, as well as the private sector to develop and implement cleaner and safer policies and strategies for efficient use of natural assets and reduced degradation of the environment.

UNEP mandate - strategy and programme of work

The UNEP mandate has continually evolved since its creation in 1972. The overarching vision is: "The leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the UN system and that serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment."

The UNEP current medium - term strategy for 2010-2013 is an expression of the evolved mandate and sets six cross - cutting thematic priorities. These are areas in which UNEP has a comparative advantage to make a transformative difference.

The six thematic priorities are (a) climate change; (b) disasters and conflicts;(c) ecosystem management; (d) environmental governance; (e) harmful substances and hazardous waste; (f) resource efficiency – sustainable consumption and production.

On climate change: UNEP seeks to strengthen the ability of countries to integrate climate change responses into national development processes. We provide environmental leadership in the international response to climate change adaptation, mitigation, technology, finance and their inter-linkages consistent with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

In disasters and conflicts, we strive to enhance partnerships to minimize environmental threats arising from consequences of conflicts and disasters. UNEP leads in building national capacity to use sustainable natural resource for disaster risk reduction and preparedness, post - disaster and post - conflict recovery.

In ecosystem management, we promote biodiversity management to address the challenge of food security and water. Specific targets are to improve the resilience and productivity of interdependent landscapes and their associated ecosystems and species; integrated land and water management; promote the integrated management of coasts and marine systems; and strengthen enabling environment for implementation of biodiversity - related MEAs.

On environmental governance, UNEP leads efforts to help countries build their capacities to implement their environmental obligations - of the multilateral environmental agreements - and achieve their environmental goals and targets through strengthened environmental institutions and laws; increase integration of environmental sustainability in national and regional policies and plans; strengthen the science - policy interface and facilitate increased participation of stakeholders in environmental decision-making processes.

On harmful substances and hazardous waste, UNEP is helping countries improve the regulatory and institutional framework for management of chemicals as per the The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) process adopted in 2006. We keenly support the development of the multilateral environmental agreements on chemicals and waste (particularly now on mercury, Persistent Organic Pollutants) and keeping trends in chemicals production, use and release under review.

In resource efficiency, UNEP's objective is ensuring that natural resources are produced, processed and consumed in a more environmentally sustainable way. The aim is to increase consumer awareness of sustainable consumption and production and influence their choices of goods and services.

Finally, the drive to reduce consequences of resource depletion and environmental degradation has catalysed discussions on the green economy.

UNEP's Green Economy Initiative

In October 2008, UNEP together with many leading economists launched the Green Economy Initiative (GEI) which seeks to inspire and enable governments to begin the shift towards a global economy driven by sustainable production and consumption.

We envisage massive job creation from the growth of resource and energy efficient construction, widespread use of modern public transport in mega cities, the scaling up of renewable energies and sustainable agriculture that reflects the latest thinking in ecosystem management, biodiversity and water conservation.

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) offers a real opportunity to scale-up the green economy initiatives. We feel that the green economy is an idea whose time has come. It is spearheaded by UNEP in putting together a framework for many pre-existing pieces, but with the backing of many governments, multilateral institutional, major groups and stakeholders and UN - such as ESCAP.

UNEP looks forward to working with the Pakistani government and other Asian countries to move the green economy and environment agenda further in Rio de Janeiro in June this year.

We commend early initiative taken by Pakistan through the Pakistan Environment and Climate Change Outlook (PECCO); the integration and harmonization of sustainable development intervention in Central Karakorum National Park of Northern Pakistan. Initiatives taken by regional institutions, including the ESCAP-led Green Growth Strategy for Sustainable Development for the Asia and the Pacific region are all indications of a serious commitment to leverage political and economic capital.

We are delighted and encouraged by the strong collaboration that has been initiated between the Government of Pakistan, other Asian countries, regional institutions and UNEP in this process of transformative thinking and action, and we stand ready to support sustainable development in Pakistan and the broader Asian region.

I wish you a fruitful stay in Kenya.

Thank You.

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