The First UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) will convene in Nairobi, Kenya, from 23 to 27 June 2014. This marks a historic milestone in UNEP's 43-year history and is expected to be attended by high-level delegations from over 160 UN Member and Observer States.
UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner (L)and Permanent Representative of Kenya to UNEP Amb. Martin Kimani (R) address media at a press conference in Nairobi. [Photo/UNEP]
UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the President of the UN General Assembly, Ministers of Environment and Foreign Affairs and Chief Executives of a number of international organisations are set to attend the newly-established UNEA that will bring together over 1,200 high-level participants from government, business and civil society.
UNEA is the newly constituted UN high-level platform for decision making on environment that is tasked to chart a new course in the way the international community addresses environmental sustainability challenges. More than 80 Ministers, Vice-Ministers, Secretaries of State, as well as heads of international convention secretariats, have confirmed their attendance, so far. UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Mr. Achim Steiner, said, "The convening of the first UNEA session in Nairobi -- home of UNEP and the often referred to environment capital of the world -- represents a coming-of-age for the global environment community. For the first time, all UN member states, Observer States and major stakeholders, will be represented in the new assembly - thereby bestowing upon UNEA a new level of representation, legitimacy and authority."
"A broad range of actors from the world of economy, finance, social sciences, legislation, the judiciary and development are also due to participate to help shape the global environment agenda, under the stewardship of UNEA. The issues facing this first session of UNEA are weighty ones which require the voices of all member states and partners to be heard."
"Now more than ever, it has become increasingly clear that the dichotomy between environmental sustainability and economic and social development should be overcome through the careful management of natural resources as the keystone of a prosperous and stable society. In this new forum, UNEP and its partners will be able to provide governments and other policymakers with the science, policy options and platform, for international cooperation to more effectively address the environmental dimension of sustainable development," he added.
For Kenya, the host country of UNEP's headquarters for over four decades, the convening of UNEA in its capital city of Nairobi marks another milestone in this pioneering partnership.