Advancing Global Climate Actions: Insights from UNEA-6

The convening of the sixth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) marked a significant gathering, drawing over 7,000 delegates from 182 countries to the UNEP headquarters in Gigiri. The primary objective of this assembly was to bolster concerted efforts in addressing the escalating global climate crises.

Established in 2012 following the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), UNEA stands as the preeminent decision-making body concerning environmental affairs, often referred to as the ‘world’s parliament on the environment,’ owing to its inclusive membership of all 193 UN Member States.

This year’s UNEA-6 deliberations centered on negotiating resolutions pertinent to many critical issues affecting humanity, wildlife, biodiversity, and water ecosystems. In the face of the intensifying triple planetary crisis encompassing climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution, urgent action remains imperative.

Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Ms Soipan Tuya echoed the achievements attained by UNEA since its establishment from the adoption of the Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, the Global Framework on Chemicals, pollution and waste, and the UNEA 5.2. Resolution to end plastic pollution and forge an international legally binding agreement by the end of this year.

“Reports such as the global assessment from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) highlight unprecedented rates of global nature decline with significant consequences for people worldwide. Similarly, the IPCC Special Report on the impacts of 1.5°C global warming warns of substantial impacts if current trends persist, projecting a likely increase to this threshold between 2030 and 2052,” said CS Soipan.

Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Ms Soipan Tuya

About the science aspect in UNEA-6, CS Soipan points out that Scientific assessments consistently emphasize the urgent need for heightened action to address the environmental crisis. Adding these assessments collectively underscores the imperative for immediate and decisive global action to alter our current trajectory.

It is noteworthy that this crisis pervades every corner of the globe, transcending nationality, ethnicity, religion, or gender, underscoring the necessity for collective action. In the words of Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Program, “We’ve all felt and seen the impacts – scorching temperatures, severe storms, disappearing ecosystems and species, deteriorating soil quality, hazardous air pollution, and oceans inundated with plastic waste, among others.”

Addressing the assembly in Kenya, Ms. Andersen commended the record-high representation of member states, indicative of global acknowledgment and commitment to addressing these pressing issues. She remarked, “The assembly is more powerful and more united than ever… the world is not merely watching; it is actively engaged.”

Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Program

The ramifications of the triple planetary crises pose formidable challenges, hindering development, undermining livelihoods, and exacting casualties. These effects underscore the urgent need for action to protect livelihoods, habitats, and species from the looming and evident threat of extinction, particularly impacting the most vulnerable communities, who bear the least responsibility for these outcomes.

According to Leila Benali, President of UNEA-6 and Morocco’s Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, the responses from delegates and member states must reaffirm the efficacy of multilateral diplomacy in addressing global challenges. “We are living in a time of turmoil… It is incumbent upon us to craft robust resolutions that will safeguard those already burdened by the triple planetary crisis,” emphasized Leila.

Leila Benali, President of UNEA-6 and Morocco’s Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development

The resolutions set for discussion during UNEA-6 include solar radiation modification, climate justice through effective multilateral actions, sound management of chemicals and waste, and mitigation of sand and dust storms. These discussions aim to galvanize more ambitious multilateral environmental action, fostering the transition to net-zero emissions, enhancing air and water quality, and bolstering resilience among vulnerable communities

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