Fresh on the heels of COP21 in Paris – possibly the most important United Nations environmental meeting in history – governments are meeting in Nairobi this week to develop an international policy agenda on a wide range of environmental topics at a UN Environment Programme (UNEP) preparatory meeting. The meeting saw over 20 draft resolutions for government action and further UN activity on climate change, chemicals and waste, marine plastic debris and micro plastics, and food waste. The new resolutions that come out of this meeting will be adopted at the 2nd UN Environment Assembly in May.
Beyond environmental topics, governments are also considering cross-cutting issues and initiatives, including health and environment, and the UN’s far-reaching collaboration with the World Health Organization; financing and investment for sustainable development; and the role of public-private partnerships involving the business community across several of these areas.
USCIB is on hand as an official business representative to UNEP. Norine Kennedy, vice president for strategic international engagement, energy and environment, delivered remarks on behalf of the Business and Industry Major Group on a range of business issues in a statement to the Opening Session.
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“The groundbreaking sustainability agreements of last year could not have happened without the strong engagement of business working with other stakeholders and governments, and UNEA must also engage the private sector,” Kennedy said. Innovation, enabling frameworks for cost effective and scientifically sound policy design, and the need to work with business in partnerships are priorities for USCIB’s ongoing involvement in UN environmental work
The UN Environment Assembly next May will be the first major inter-governmental sustainability meeting since the Paris climate summit. The assembly will place special emphasis on “Delivering the Environmental Aspects of the SDGs.” Ministers will meet to consider how to jumpstart and deepen implementation on environmental issues embedded in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
UNEP is the authoritative environmental agency in the United Nations system. USCIB will be discussing business issues and strategy for the second UN Environment Assembly at the next meeting of the USCIB Environment Committee in Washington DC on March 8.