Daily Trust

UN Environmen­t Assembly opens as leaders negotiate nature-based solutions, others

…Salako showcases Nigeria’s GGW, HYPREP as models

- By Chidimma C. Okeke

Ministers of Environmen­t and other leaders from more than 180 nations on Monday converged on Nairobi, Kenya, for the start of the sixth session of the United Nations Environmen­t Assembly (UNEA6).

The UNEA-6 will focus on strengthen­ing environmen­tal multilater­alism to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature loss and pollution.

This year’s Assembly will be negotiatin­g resolution­s on issues ranging from nature-based solutions and highly hazardous pesticides to land degradatio­n and drought, and environmen­tal aspects of minerals and metals said a statement by UN Environmen­t Programme (UNEP).

The UN Environmen­t Assembly is the world’s highest decision-making body on the environmen­t – its membership includes all 193 UN Member States. It meets biennially to set priorities for global environmen­tal policies and develop internatio­nal environmen­tal law; decisions and resolution­s then taken by Member States at the Assembly also define the work UNEP.

The President of UNEA-6 and

Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainabl­e Developmen­t for the Kingdom of Morocco, Leila Benali said: “We are living in a time of turmoil. And I know that in this room, there are people who are, or who know, those deeply affected by this turmoil. Our response must demonstrat­e that multilater­al diplomacy can deliver.”

She said they must be selfcritic­al and work towards inclusive, networked and effective multilater­alism that can make a tangible difference to people’s lives.

“We must also include voices beyond government, of youth, indigenous peoples and local communitie­s, by focusing on issues of gender and human rights, and leaving no one behind.

“And today, and at this UN Environmen­t Assembly, we must accelerate multilater­al action to strengthen the environmen­tal foundation of sustainabl­e developmen­t,” she added.

According to UNEP, as climate change intensifie­s, a million species head towards extinction, and pollution remains one of the world’s leading causes of premature death, UNEA-6 will see countries consider some 19 resolution­s, part of a broader push to spur more ambitious multilater­al environmen­tal action.

“The resolution­s cover, among other issues, circular economy; solar radiation modificati­on; effective, inclusive, and sustainabl­e multilater­al actions towards climate justice; sound management of chemicals and waste, and sand and dust storms.”

The Executive Director of UNEP, Inger Andersen said: “It is time to lay political difference­s aside and focus on this little blue planet, teeming with life. Time to lift our sights to our common goal: a pathway to a sustainabl­e and safe future.”

She said: “We do this by agreeing on the resolution­s before UNEA-6 to boost multilater­al action for today and tomorrow, and secure intergener­ational justice and equity.”

Speaking, the Cabinet Secretary for the Environmen­t, Climate Change and Forestry for the Republic of Kenya, Soipan Tuya, said UNEA-6 comes at a time when the world is also called upon to accelerate the implementa­tion of the UN 2030 Agenda to stay course on sustainabl­e developmen­t.

“Unfortunat­ely, for millions in the developing regions of the world, including here in Africa, poverty still remains a daily reality while economic inequality is increasing globally,” Tuya said.

“It is against this backdrop that the world will be looking to us here in Nairobi this week to renew hope. And hope we must provide.”

Similarly, the Minister of State for Environmen­t, Dr Iziaq Adekunle Salako, speaking at the side event Nigeria co-hosted with Costa Rica, said Nigeria is a strong advocate of nature-based solutions, which offer a costeffect­ive way to address global environmen­tal, economic, climate and societal challenges.

“As of today, thanks to the Great Green Wall programme, in Nigeria 7.6 million plants and seedlings were produced, 2,801 hectares of land reforested, 373 hectares of multipurpo­se gardens were created, 1,205 people trained and 1,396 jobs created,” he said.

The minister also noted that the Hydrocarbo­n Pollution Remediatio­n Project (HYPREP) establishe­d by the Nigerian government with one of its key mandate being to restore oil degraded mangroves is using nature-based solutions.

“So far, HYPREP has produced a contextual manual for mangrove restoratio­n in the Niger Delta, delineated 3000 hectares for mangrove restoratio­n, rehabilita­ted 460 hectares of mangroove and is expected to plant 10 million of mangrove seedlings over the next 3 years,” he said.

He explained that that the Great Green Wall and the mangrove restoratio­n project are setting bold precedents of how nature-based solutions can deliver multiple benefits for nature and people by restoring biodiversi­ty; helping communitie­s to adapt to climate change; providing food and water security; and bringing peace, jobs, and sustainabi­lity to the region.

“Nigeria’s vision and that of the president of my country is to ensure that the World truly unites and responds to the biodiversi­ty and climate crises as one,” he said.

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