On the next 4-6 December, 2017, it will take place the third session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), at the UN Environment Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The main theme of the meeting is “Towards a Pollution-Free Planet”, which will focus on how to address pollution in its different sources and dimensions.
The Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development – nrg4SD is an accredited organization to UN Environment and coordinator of the Local Authorities Major Group. Moreover, nrg4SD chairs the Major Group Facilitating Committee, in terms of supporting the engagement of all nine constituencies and regional representatives.
Therefore, once again nrg4SD will play an active role in the UNEA, representing the voice of regional governments. With key competences and responsibilities over territories, regional governments are fundamental actors to develop and implement policies, laws and commitments to tackle pollution and protect people from further degradation.
Regional Governments Towards a Pollution-Free Planet
In order to highlight key sectors and messages on the relevance of regional governments to the broad topic of pollution, nrg4SD presents the position paper “Regional Governments Towards a Pollution-Free Planet”.
The document highlights the key contributions and examples of regional governments taking action to fight pollution. Moreover, the document recalls the urgency in addressing cities and urban pollution and that “regional governments have legislation and execution powers to prevent and control activities with an adverse impact on the environment, in particular through licensing of industrial, mining, cattle and agriculture activities, promotion of renewable energies and regulations to the transport sector.”
In this regard, nrg4SD asks Member-States to recognize the role of our constituency in this important issue, and thus to pursue muti-level collaboration. According to the paper “a multi-level approach entails additional coherence, coordination and vertical integration with governments at the subnational level, especially in terms of improving their capacities, the alignment of data and the access to funding, especially through renewed fiscal and tax systems, as well as subnational funds.”
The UNEA 3
The Assembly brings together national ministries of environment to agree on common resolutions and decisions on a series of issues regarding pollution and UN Environment work programme. A provisional list of draft resolutions is available in the item 4 of the OECPR agenda. The drafts are confidential, but nrg4SD members can request the Secretariat to receive a copy, in its capacity of an accredited organization.
During the UNEA and parallel meetings, nrg4SD is represented by a high-level delegation, which includes the Catalonia, Saint-Louis and the Council of Governors of Kenya. Besides, nrg4SD President for the North, Mrs. Joke Schauvliege, Flemish minister for Environment Nature and Agriculture will also attend the events.
nrg4SD will advocate for the appropriate inclusion of regional governments perspective in different resolutions. Moreover, it will continuously pursue a greater integration of the UN Environment, the 2030 Agenda, the New Urban Agenda and other UN agendas. No efforts on pollution can be efficient without multi-level and multi-stakeholder engagement.
As a conclusion of UNEA3, it will be adopted a ministerial outcome agreed by Member-States. The document presents the key messages and a summary of the topics addressed during the Assembly. Among others, the declaration recognizes the need to collaborate with subnational governments to address the issue of pollution, particularly the urban level. The final draft can be viewed online.
#BeatPollution, Air Pollution & BreatheLife Campaign
As part of the preparations to UNEA, it was launched the #BeatPollution, a call from the UN Environment for governments, business and civil society to pledge voluntary commitments to reduce the pollution footprint. The initiative already gathers over 2 million commitments and the compilation of pledges will be reviewed and presented during UNEA.
Among the many dimensions of pollution, nrg4SD is focusing on the topic of air pollution. As an invisible threat, air pollution is considered one of the main cause of diseases and health problems throughout the world. Besides, air quality is particularly compromised in cities, where both local and regional governments have many responsibilities and capacities to take action.
In this regard, nrg4SD rg4SD partnered-up with the UN Environment, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Climate and Clear Air Coaltion (CCAC), to promote the adhesion of member regional governments to the BreatheLife Campaign. The initiative serves as a platform to promote commitments on air quality, as well as to facilitate the access to knowledge and experiences on this rather difficult task. Already during the UNFCCC COP 23, 10 nrg4SD member governments joined the campaign, representing almost 3000 municipalities and a total population of over 35 million people.
It is important to note that commitments of the BreatheLife are automatically included in the #BeatPollution.
Furthermore, many other events will take place in the framework of the Assembly. The main events for nrg4SD are highlighted below:
- 27-28 November: the Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum will discuss the enhancement of stakeholder participation in UNEA. It is a self-organized event by Major Groups and Stakeholders accredited to UN Environment. Participants will share experiences on the fight against pollution and agree on common messages to present to UNEA. President Mbaye from Saint-Louis and Governor Wilber Ottichilo from the Vihiga County will join the event.
- 29 November – 1 December: Third Open-ended meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives will be the final opportunity before the UNEA for Member-States and engaged stakeholders to share progress of resolutions adopted in previous Assembly meetings, as well as to refine and negotiate the new resolutions to be approved at UNEA.
- 2-3 December: UN Global Science – Policy – Business Forum on the Environment will bring top scientists, citizen groups, policymakers and business leaders to promote science-driven policies to address environmental challenges, while focusing on the achievement of the SDGs.
- 3 December: Environment Management Group Nexus Dialogue on Pollution, Cities and Health will be an important moment to discuss the connection of health and environment agenda, while still in the context of the SDGs implementation.
- 4-6 December 2017: the Sustainable Innovation Expo will provide a platform for the private sector to engage with government officials and to present and showcase innovative technology to tackle the world’s environmental challenges. It is considered the Assembly’s platform for sharing innovative technology.
- 6 December: the side-event Fast action on air pollution provides quick results and multiple benefits is being convened by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, one of nrg4SD partners around the BreatheLife campaign. The event will take shape as a high-level roundtable, bringing perspectives and experiences from all levels, including regional governments.
The complete schedule of events can be accessed here.
For more information about the previous UNEA meetings, and nrg4SD’s engagement, please access the articles below: