The first session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) of the United Nations Environment Programme convened from July 23 to 27 at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi with more than 1,200 participants, including Environment Ministers, Government delegates and representatives of major groups and stakeholders.
The overarching theme of the first session was "Sustainable Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, including sustainable consumption and production", which is designed to inform ongoing discussions on the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals
Green economy was highlighted through several events, press conferences and symposiums throughout the assembly. Below is a summary of these events.
Mainstreaming poverty reduction for inclusive green economy – June 23
This well attended session was co organized between PAGE and the PEI Poverty Environment Initiative and covered initiatives that foster financial and technical support in integrating poverty eradication and environmental sustainability. Mette Wilkie from UNEP’s Division of Environmental Policy Implementation, moderated the discussion with Participation of Ministers of Environment of Mongolia and Burkina Faso.
Burkina Faso’s Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development, HE Salifou Ouedraogo, said that realizing an inclusive green economy requires cross-sectoral engagement and that poverty-environment objectives must be included in national policies, sector plans and budget frameworks. The country is now looking to establish an environment fund for the implementation of pro-poor sustainability projects on the ground. Together with PAGE and the SWITCH Africa Green, the Ministry of Environment are increasingly engaging with the private sector for the creation of green jobs.
Mongolia’s Minister for Environment and Green Development, HE Oyun Sanjaasuren, highlighted how the countries rapid economic growth, with a tenfold increase in GDP largely driven by the mining sector, has been achieved sometimes at the expense of environmental sustainability. She noted that the citizens of the capital city are heavily affected by air pollution and the country has a responsibility to accelerate its efforts in adopting a Green Economy. In early June, the Government of Mongolia adopted its first green development policy and together with the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) is working to enhance the capacity of the public and private sector to transition to green economy principles.
More information can be found on the event on the PEI website : http://www.unpei.org/latest-news/burkina-faso-and-mongolia-highlight-the-importance-of-mainstreaming-poverty-reduction-for-an-inclusive-green-economy
And IISD: http://www.iisd.ca/unep/unea/unea1/enbots/23jun.html
Symposium on Financing a Green Economy - June 25
This day long symposium, organized by the UNEP Financial Initiative and the Green Economy Inquiry discussed the critical importance of financing in enabling the transition to a green and inclusive economy. In particular the focus of the Symposium was on the rules, policies, regulations, and standards necessary to shape the financial system and drive the allocation of capital.
Throughout the day, approximately 300 participants as well as ministers, public officials, business executives, and experts shared their views and experiences of the policy innovations that have catalyzed financial markets and examined how private financial capital can be mobilized to deliver long-term sustainable prosperity as a necessary complement to public expenditure. It is important to both channel private finance more effectively towards green and job-creating opportunities, as well as diverting it away from its current focus on natural resource and carbon intensive investments.
More information can be found here. http://www.unep.org/unea/financing_green_economy.asp
Green and Decent Jobs - an Important Part of the SDGs - June 25
This side event was organized by the Ministry for the Environment of Germany, with the participation of Izabella Teixeira, the Minister of Environment of Brazil, , Alice Kaudia, Environment Secretary of Kenya, Laura Martin Murillo, Sustainlabour Director, Mr Aeneas Chapinga Chuma, the ILO Regional Director for Africa, and Stephan Contius from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature and Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety,.
As discussions on sustainable development goals and the post-2015 agenda reach a crucial stage, the first UNEA provided an opportunity to reflect on an essential foundation of sustainable development - green and decent employment. The transition towards a truly sustainable economy can be the driver of the generation of such jobs and thus strengthen sustainable livelihoods, whilst also stopping the loss of biodiversity, natural habitats and ecosystem services. Environment Ministers from the global North and South, together with UNEP and ILO, and chaired by Ligia Noronha, head of UNEP’s DTIE, discussed opportunities and prerequisites that a new universal set of global sustainable development goals can bring for the creation of green and decent jobs worldwide.
More information can be found here http://www.ilo.org/Search3/search.do?searchWhat=UNEA&locale=en_US
Launch of the report South-South Trade in Renewable Energy: A Trade Flow Analysis of Selected Environmental Goods (“South-South Report”). – June 25
The report launch was attended by UNEP’s Executive Director Achim Steiner, the Chief of ETB, Steven Stone, , Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Environment, Science and Technology and Innovation, Bernice Heloo and IISD Director Mark Halle. The report identifies key growth markets for the trade in environmental goods and services (EGS). The report focuses on the Renewable Energy (RE) sector and maps the flow of trade of RE goods among developing countries. It also outlines how countries can accelerate more inclusive growth in South-South RE trade.
More information about the report can be found here. http://www.unep.org/NEWSCENTRE/default.aspx?DocumentID=2791&ArticleID=10909
UNEP and GGGI Sign Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate collaboration in regard to the promotion of green growth and the transition to green economy- June 25
The MOU, signed between UNEP’s Executive Director Achim Steiner, and GGGI Director General, Yvo de Boer, aims to consolidate and intensify cooperation between the two organizations, and outlines specific areas where they will align and scale-up their efforts to promote a transition towards a green economy at global, regional and country levels.
In addition, the MOU calls for UNEP and GGGI to support national green growth strategies with concrete action plans and policy options. This includes examining opportunities to enable the financial system to support the transition towards an inclusive green economy—building on policy innovations and national best practices, as well as strengthening capacity for green growth policy making and the generation of green growth knowledge.
More information can be found here. http://www.unep.org/newscentre/default.aspx?DocumentID=2791&ArticleID=10918
UNDP joins Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) – June 26
A press conference was held to announce the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) joining UNEP, ILO, UNIDO and UNITAR in the UN-led partnership on green economy, bringing new resources and opportunities to countries interested in shifting towards more inclusive, low-carbon, resource efficient models of growth.
Specifically, the agreement with UNDP will enhance PAGE efforts to support country-owned inclusive green economy transitions that help eradicate poverty and reduce inequalities; expand engagement with key government, private and civil society stakeholders; and provide additional options for in-country joint programmes, leveraging of innovative financing, and South-South knowledge sharing and learning.
The press conference was attended by UNEPs Executive Director Achim Steiner. The Executive Director of UNDP, Helen Clark as well as the Ministers of Environment for Norway, Peru, and Finland.
The official press release can be downloaded here. http://www.unep.org/newscentre/Default.aspx?DocumentID=2791&ArticleID=10914&l=en