World leaders in Nairobi call for urgent action on environmental crises

Global leaders call for collaborative action from all governments

Heads of state and government attending the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) in Nairobi, Kenya on Thursday emphasized the need for greater collaboration in tackling the interconnected environmental crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

Kenyan President William Ruto, joined by other leaders from Africa and beyond, stressed the urgency of united action.

Ruto acknowledged the complex global challenges but emphasized the crucial role of UNEA-6 in forging effective multilateral solutions.

“Given the magnitude and urgency of the existential crisis that humanity and life on our
planet is grappling with, only collective action at the multilateral level that is effective, inclusive and sustainable will enable the international community to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution,” he said.

“This is a challenging task, which is complicated by the fact that nations of the world are all grappling with a dynamic complex of interconnected and multifaceted threats, risks, uncertainties and shocks, ranging from sluggish economic growth, conflict and wars, and geopolitical fragmentation,” Ruto added.

Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), called for unity in transitioning to renewable energy, protecting nature and managing waste.

She emphasized the significance of UNEA-6 as a platform for brainstorming, collaboration and envisioning a sustainable future.

“We can push back against the triple planetary crisis if we show unity of purpose, at this assembly and beyond. Purpose to shun fossil fuels and look to renewable energy sources. Purpose to conserve and restore the natural world and our lands, which give us life. Purpose to keep harmful chemicals, pollution and waste out of our ecosystems and yes, out of our bodies,” Andersen said.

Leila Benali, president of UNEA-6 and Minister of Energy Transition and Sustainable Development of Morocco, told world leaders that “efforts today will be crucial to secure our world – for the benefit of people and planet.”

President Ruto was joined by heads of state and government including Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi, Djibouti’s President Omar Guelleh, Gabon’s Interim President Brice Oligui Nguema, Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

Over 7,000 delegates representing 182 UN member states alongside 170 ministers are at UNEA-6 currently deliberating on 19 resolutions and two decisions spanning critical topics such as the circular economy, climate justice through effective multilateral actions, solar radiation modification, sustainable management of chemicals and waste, and mitigation of sand and dust storms.


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