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UN Environment Assembly Kicks Off In Nairobi to Drive Environmental Progress on Sustainable Development

Nairobi, 23 May 2016 - Hundreds of key decision-makers from all over the world meet in Kenya today for start of the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2), where they will tackle some of the most critical issues of our time, from the air pollution that kills millions of people every year to an illegal trade in wildlife that is pushing species to the brink of extinction.

Held at the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, UNEA is the world's most powerful decision-making body on the environment. This year, leaders will seek to pass a raft of resolutions that address a number of the world's most pressing challenges, including food waste, the fading health of our oceans, the world's natural capital, and sustainable consumption and production.

A series of ground-breaking UNEP reports that shine a light on the state of the world's environment will also be released during the assembly, offering solutions that will help the world overcome these challenges.

UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said: "The world must seize this opportunity - the first global decision-making platform since the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement - to review and accelerate progress towards a greener, better future for all.

"UNEA provides the world with a chance to unite in a common struggle against the forces of hunger, poverty, climate change and environmental damage. We must use UNEA-2 to show we can move fast enough and hard enough to create a healthy planet, with healthy people, which leaves no one behind."

More than one thousand delegates from across the world - from governments, businesses and civil society - will attend UNEA-2. Among those attending the assembly are Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Iran's vice president, Ireland's Former President Mary Robinson, the director-general of the World Wildlife Fund, the political director of Greenpeace, the CEO of Kiira Motors and government ministers from across the globe, including French Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal.

All 193 UN member states, along with major stakeholders, are represented at UNEA-2, which convenes from 23-27 May 2016. With this wide reach into the legislative, financial and development arenas, the body presents a ground-breaking platform for leadership on global environmental policy.

For many, the creation of UNEA represents the coming of age of the environment. Since UNEP's inception in 1972, the environment has moved from the margins to the centre of the world's sustainable development agenda.

This transition was affirmed at the historic United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June 2012, when world leaders called for UNEP to be strengthened and upgraded. The result was a new governing body, UNEA, which - for the first time - gives the environment the same level of global prominence as issues such as peace, poverty, health, security, finance and trade.


About UNEA

The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) is the world's most powerful decision-making body on the environment, and responsible for tackling some of the most critical issues of our time. The assembly holds the power to dramatically change the fate of the planet and improve the lives of everyone, impacting everything from health to national security, from the plastic in our oceans to the trafficking of wildlife. Thanks to UNEA, the environment is now considered one of the world's most pressing concerns alongside other major global issues such as peace, security, finance and health.

This year, hundreds of key decision makers, businesses and representatives of intergovernmental organizations and civil society will in May gather at UNEA-2, taking place at the United Nations Environment Programme headquarters in Nairobi, for one of the first major meetings since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement. The resolutions passed at UNEA-2 will set the stage for early action on implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and drive the world towards a better future, more-just future. UNEA-2 is also inclusive, with allowing citizens to feed their concerns into the meeting and take personal ownership of the collective challenges we face.

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