UNEA-2 High Level Segment continues ahead of closing plenary
May 27, 2016  //  By:   //  Blog Post  //  No Comment

The High-Level Segment (HLS) of the second session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) continued today for its second and last day of deliberations.

Day 1 started with the opening ceremony, where delegates were welcomed by multiple messages reflecting on world environmental challenges and the role of UNEP and UNEA in addressing them.

In his statement, UNEA-2 President Edgar Gutiérrez Espeleta (Costa Rica) emphasized the the need to move into new world paradigms that respond to the key international agreements achieved in 2015. He invited the Assembly to continue working on the main challenges that are also part of UNEP‘s priorities. UNEP‘s Executive Director Achim Steiner, reflected the organization’s history, the transformation of the system of global environmental governance, and the role of UNEA in addressing environmental challenges. Reinforcing this idea, Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, called for integrated and holistic partnerships that contribute to achieve the ambitious objectives defined in 2015 in terms of environment, sustainable development, climate change, and disaster risk reduction.


The opening ceremony was also presided by H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya. In his welcome message, he reflected on Africa’s environmental challenges, the importance of ensuring that the continent fulfills its commitments, and of developing multi-stakeholder partnerships that accelerate progress at all levels. He also reinforced Kenya’s commitment to combat illegal wildlife trade, and called for support to a ban on ivory trade that the country will present at the 17th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP17) of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) that will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa later this year.

Climate change and the Paris Agreement were also topics of the opening plenary. Salaheddine Mezouar, Minister Minister of Foreign Affairs of Morocco and President of the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and Ségolène Royal Minister of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs of France, and the one of the country’s leaders for COP21, reflected on the importance of accelerating the ratification of the Paris Agreement and invited members states to proritize its implementation.

After the opening ceremony concluded, Executive Director Achim Steiner whose tenure ends later this year, presented his policy statement, to highlight the importance of UNEP‘s history, its role in providing technical support, and the need to make UNEA the science policy interface that brings together environment and development. He called delegations to stop being problem solvers and become solution providers. He also bid farewell to UNEP‘s team, the member states and the stakeholders, being met by an standing ovation from the plenary.

The High-Level Segment continued with the Ministerial Dialogues on the partnerships for a more effective delivery of the 2030 Agenda, and the implementation of the environmental dimension at the national, regional and global levels.

UNEA-2 closing plenary is schedule for the evening on May 27.

About the Author :

Natalia Escobar-Pemberthy joined the GEG team in September 2011as a research assistant for the UMass Center of Governance and Sustainability. Natalia graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2005 and its currently a PhD Student in the Global Governance and Human Security program at UMass Boston

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