Brussels, 30 June 2014
European Commission welcomes Outcome of first ever UN Environment Assembly
The first session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), hosted by the Nairobi-based United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) last week concluded late Friday evening with 16 decisions and resolutions and a Ministerial Outcome Document to encourage international action on major environmental issues. More than 1,200 high-level participants from 160 countries, including Environment Ministers, UN officials, diplomatic and civil society delegations, participated in this historic first session of the UNEA, held under the theme “A Life of Dignity for All.”
EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "The EU has long argued for a strong global voice on environmental issues. This first UNEA has demonstrated that countries around the world are facing shared global challenges and are resolved to step up joint action to tackle them together. I especially welcome UNEA's call for a strong environmental dimension in the future Sustainable Development Goals and the resolution on global wildlife crime, which broadens the issue to marine and timber species and sets targeted actions to eradicate supply, transit and demand for illegal wildlife products."
Speaking at the closing session, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon highlighted the increasing pressure on the ecosystems that deliver the air we breathe, the water we drink and the soil that grows our food, and called for decisive action to change humanity's relationship with these fragile systems that underpin life on our planet.
Ministers debated key topics such as the post-2015 development agenda and the illegal trade in wildlife. They reached consensus on a Ministerial Outcome Document that stresses the importance of a healthy environment as a necessary requirement and enabler for economic growth and attaining social goals. The outcome document calls on the new UN High-Level Political Forum and the General Assembly to take UNEA views further as they shape the new Sustainable Development Goals that will replace the Millennium Development Goals next year.
Ministers also adopted a range of resolutions on issues such as action against wildlife trafficking, air pollution, marine pollution from plastic debris and microplastics, and better management of chemicals and waste.
The United Nations Environment Assembly is the governing body of the UN Environment Programme. As a result of the Rio+20 global environment conference held in Brazil in 2012, UNEP has universal membership. UNEA meets every two years.
For more information
United Nations Environment Assembly Webpage
European Commission DG Environment