USCIB Promotes Business Innovation at Historic UN Environment Assembly


Norine Kennedy (USCIB) speaks at the UN Environment Assembly’s side event on the roles of UNEP, the sustainable development goals and business.
Norine Kennedy (USCIB) speaks at the UN Environment Assembly’s side event on the roles of UNEP, the sustainable development goals and business.

USCIB and its business network took part in the first-ever UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) last week in Nairobi.

UNEA is the governing body of the UN Environment Program, meeting for the first time since it was created by the UN General Assembly.   This principal UN environmental body has a membership of all 193 UN member states, making it the only “universal” body of the UN aside from the General Assembly. Over 1,200 participants, 170 national delegations, and 80 ministers were on hand for the five-day event from June 23 to 27 at UNEP’s HQ in Nairobi, Kenya.

USCIB representatives in Nairobi included Norine Kennedy, USCIB’s vice president for strategic international engagement, environment and energy, who serves as a co-chair of the UNEP coordinating group for non-governmental interests.  The UN Environment Assembly’s agenda and outcomes included decisions on illegal trade in timber and wildlife, air quality and chemicals. During the five day meeting, UNEA also convened symposia on “Financing the Green Economy” and “The Environmental Rule of Law.”

The Green Economies Dialogue (GED) held a side event on June 26 in Nairobi on “The Role of the UN Environment Program (UNEP), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Business.”  Held during the first ever U.N. Environment Assembly, this business event was co-hosted with the International Organization of Employers (IOE) and the International Council of Chemicals Associations.

The side event discussed new green growth challenges and priorities linked to the SDGs relevant to UNEP’s environmental mandate, which include economic growth, jobs, sustainable consumption and production, resource efficiency.  Business speakers highlighted the necessary enabling frameworks in trade, investment and innovation that must be reflected in the SDGs to support private sector contributions to economic and environmental progress.

The GED project is now focused on the “green economy” and “green growth” aspects of the U.N.’s Post 2015 Development Agenda and related UNEP and OECD efforts.  GED is a project under the auspices of the U.S. Council Foundation that was launched to inform the Rio+20 policy debate.   GED developed information, tools and a platform for business to engage with national governments, thought leaders, academics and others on the way to Rio+20. These included Dialogue events in Washington, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo and Brasilia, and a set of peer-reviewed papers published in Energy Economics that provided academic Green Perspectives on many business-relevant issues.

Speakers at the GED event included:

Simon Darlington, President, East Africa,  Alstom

Charles Arden Clarke, U.N. Environment Program 10 Year Framework of Programs on Sustainable Consumption and Production

Helen Marquard, executive director, the SEED Initiative

Weru Macharia, Kenyan representative, IOE

Brian P. Flannery, Chair, International Business Green Economies Dialogue


Staff Contact: Norine Kennedy

More on USCIB’s Environment Committee

Staff Contact:   Norine Kennedy

Senior VP, Policy and Global Strategy
Tel: 212.703.5052

Norine Kennedy promotes U.S. business participation in international environmental policy and management initiatives, and works closely with industry, government and NGOs to promote sustainable development and green growth. She also spearheads USCIB’s strategic international engagement initiative, which seeks to advance meaningful business participation and regulatory diplomacy in inter-governmental organizations.
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