This year's UNEA focuses on more sustainable life styles and production patterns
At its fourth session in Kenya's capital Nairobi, the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) adopted 23 resolutions that will contribute to more environmentally sound production and consumption patterns worldwide. Heads of state and government, environment ministers and 5,000 delegates from all over the world consulted on solutions to global environmental challenges over the past two weeks, making this the largest session in UNEA history. One priority topic was plastic waste.
State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry and head of the German delegation Jochen Flasbarth commented: "UNEA has created enormous momentum for combating plastic waste. We will invite countries supporting an internationally binding agreement on plastic waste to jointly plan the next steps towards a convention on plastics. It was encouraging to see the determination at UNEA 4 to take concrete steps towards a circular economy and life styles changes. Good progress was made particularly with respect to more sustainable chemicals management and waste prevention. The outcomes of UNEA 4 prove once again that the international community has to work together to realise ambitious environmental protection. In light of the enormous ecological and social challenges, we are no longer dealing with small course corrections. The transformation that we need must affect all areas of society."
At UNEA 4, the international community discussed how environmental protection can be strengthened globally. UNEA adopted several resolutions calling for a change of course towards more sustainable chemicals management, consumption and production patterns, waste prevention and greater protection of ecosystems.
A comprehensive international set of rules was also negotiated at UNEA 4 that aims to stop pollution with marine plastic litter (plastics convention). Even though UNEA 4 could not agree on a mandate due to the opposition of several countries, Germany plans to come together with other ambitious countries and, based on the negotiations in Nairobi, work on the next steps towards enhanced cooperation to prevent plastic waste.
The Federal Environment Ministry has been supporting a strong UN Environment Programme (UNEP) for many years. State Secretary Flasbarth also assured the ministry's support for UNEP during his meeting with UNEP's new Executive Director Inger Anderson at UNEA 4. He also met with several other colleagues, focussing on the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda.