Wakhungu meets French Minister to fine-tune Nairobi’s UNEA meeting agenda

February 16, 2019 12:04 pm
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Kenya’s Ambassador to France, Judy Wakhungu, held talks with the French State Minister for Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Brune Poirson

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 16 – Preparations for the upcoming United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi are in high gear with Kenya and France fine-tuning the agenda for the meeting dubbed the One Planet Summit.

Kenya’s Ambassador to France, Judy Wakhungu, held talks with the French State Minister for Ecological and Inclusive Transition, Brune Poirson, on Friday to finalize plans for the meeting scheduled for March 11-15, 2019.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had told Capital FM News in December last year that President Uhuru Kenyatta will co-host the summit with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

“We expect that he (Marcon) and President Kenyatta will co-host the summit on One Planet with the primary outcome of Kenya driving the global environmental agenda,” Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma said on December 5.

The fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly tagged UNEA-4 will be held at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters in Gigiri under the theme “Innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production.”

Kenya will be seeking to upscale discussion on sustainable use of natural resources in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“We’ve begun to frame Nairobi as the world global environmental capital because we host UNEP. It has become an assembly of all UN member States and there are a lot of discussions going on around environmental management in Nairobi,” CS had said.

UNEA-4 will also build on global consensus and commitments made at the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference, the Kenya’s inaugural ocean economy conference held in Nairobi in November last year.

A concept note for UNEA-4 identifies the integration on SDGs as set out in a UN General Assembly Resolution 70/1 as a key outcome of the Nairobi meeting.

The resolution titled “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” sets out an ambitious agenda aimed at protecting the planet from degradation and addressing climate change.

“We are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations,” the resolution adopted in September 2015 states in part.

The 2015 commitment laid a 10-year framework to mitigate depletion of natural resources.

The resolution aims at halving per capita global food waste at retail and consumer level by 2030 and further cut down on losses along production and supply chains.

The resolution also aims at achieving sustainable management of chemicals within an agreed international framework as well as reduces waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling, and reuse.

UNEA-4 will also seek to cement commitments made during last year’s blue economy conference which Kenya co-hosted with Canada.

During the conference held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) between November 26 and 28, Canada pledged over $20 million in revitalized efforts aimed at addressing the global challenge of Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The pledge included $10 million funding for the development of satellite-based technologies to track down suspected illegal fishing vehicles, Canada’s Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard, Jonathan Wilkinson, announced on November 28.

Canada also committed $1.6 million to support intelligence sharing with ocean-facing countries in addition to $9.5 million set aside to expand scientific capacity in ocean research.

The funding, he said, will facilitate formulation of policies and enhancing efficiency and sustainability in the ocean economy sector.

During the conference, Ireland pledged €32 million in fresh funding for the fight against IUU fishing beginning this year.

The funding, Ireland said, will be used to acquire three Pilatus 12 aircraft to boost ocean patrolling ability.

The commitments by Canada and Ireland were part of over 62 undertakings made during the blue economy conference that saw over 16,380 participants from 183 countries gather at the KICC.

Kenya is also following up on UNEP’s ambition to achieve a pollution-free planet.

Current UN statistics show that 6.5 million people die annually from pollution-related illnesses around the globe.

Data also shows that lead poisoning of children costs the world some $977 every year.

An estimated 25 million agricultural workers are also said to experience unintentional pesticide poisoning, with pesticides listed among major pollutants.

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