Over 4,000 heads of state, ministers, intergovernmental organizations, business leaders and civil society representatives gathered today at the third UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi to tackle the global menace of pollution.
The assembly runs from 4-6 December at UN Environment headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. It brings together governments, entrepreneurs, activists and others to share ideas and commit to action.
“Our collective goal must be to embrace ways to reduce pollution drastically,” said Dr. Edgar Gutiérrez, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica and the President of the 2017 assembly. “Only through stronger collective action, beginning in Nairobi this week, can we start cleaning up the planet globally and save countless lives.”
Everyone on earth is affected by pollution, according to a new UN Environment report “Towards a Pollution-Free Planet”, which the meeting is using as the basis for defining the problems and laying out new action areas.
The report’s recommendations – political leadership and partnerships at all levels, action on the worst pollutions, lifestyle changes, low-carbon tech investments, and advocacy – are based on analysis of pollution in all its forms, including air, land, freshwater, marine, chemical and waste pollution.
Environmental degradation causes nearly one in four of all deaths worldwide, or 12.6 million people a year, and the widespread destruction of key ecosystems.
Over a dozen resolutions will be negotiated at the assembly, including a resolution addressing water pollution to protect and restore water-related ecosystems.
Over 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is released into the environment without treatment, poisoning the fields, the lakes and rivers that provide drinking water to 300 million people.
The Ramsar Convention delegation led by Secretary General Martha Rojas Urrego will be making interventions at the UNEA 3 High-Level Segment emphasizing wetlands significant role in pollution control and water purification & detoxification and call to step up the protection, sustainable management and restoration of wetlands as an essential element in policies and actions for a pollution free planet. The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is a ready-made mechanism for this – promotes the protection and restoration of fresh water, marine and coastal wetlands from adverse effects such as degradation and pollution and promotes of sustainable use and management of all wetlands.