UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner Meets with New Italian Environment Minister in Rome Wed, May 7, 2014

Rome, 7 May 2014 - UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner today held a bilateral meeting with the newly-appointed Minister of the Environment, Land and Sea of Italy, Gian Luca Galletti, in Rome.

Italy - which will officially take over the European Union Presidency from Greece on 1 July - will be among the many countries from around the European Union and the world to be represented at the Ministerial level at the upcoming United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) this June.

UNEA is the highest-level global platform for environmental policy making in history, officially placing environmental issues on an equal footing to those of peace, security, finance, health and trade.

The meeting will allow all 193 United Nations Member States, Observer States and other stakeholders to discuss the state of the environment and decide on the direction of the Sustainable Development Goals - the framework that will shape the global agenda for the next 15 years towards a more just, fair and sustainable world.

During their meeting, Mr. Galletti and Mr. Steiner discussed ways to scale-up efforts to support Italy's transition to an inclusive Green Economy. They also agreed to boost cooperation in promoting environmental sustainability and resource efficiency, aimed at the decoupling of socio-economic development from escalating resource use - a major environmental component to be introduced to the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Italy's economy is the sixth largest and one of the most diverse in the OECD. As the country's deposits of energy and raw materials are limited, it is highly dependent on imports.

However, in recent years, a range of environmental initiatives have been taken to preserve Italy's natural resource base and reduce the intensity of material and energy use.

While environmental challenges continue to exist - such as poor air quality in large cities - these efforts have led to significant achievements, including a large reduction in CO2 emissions, an improvement in waste management and cleaner Italian rivers, among others.

For more information, contact: UNEP News Desk unepnewsdesk@unep.org

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