[email protected]: Countries pledge more effort to deal with climate crisis


Kenya's Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko address the Fifth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5), at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Headquarters in Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya February 28, 2022. [Reuters, Monicah Mwangi]

Delegates from more than 170 nations have outlined reiterated commitments to prevent a harrowing rise in global temperatures to manage climate change. The second day of in-person and online fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) in Gigiri, Nairobi continued yesterday with Environment ministers and other representatives expressing achievements made so far.

Many underscored the complexity of trying to persuade scores of countries, each with its own economic interests and domestic politics to act in unison for the greater good.

Kenya’s Environment and Forestry PS Chris Kiptoo outlined the numerous progressive steps the country has taken to ensure environmental sustainability and achieve several Sustainable Development Goals.

He cited the ban of use, manufacture and importation of plastic bags for commercial and household packaging as major achievement in war against pollution. “We will continue to advance and improve our policies, statutory and institutional frameworks to embrace the latest most efficient and sustainable practices.”

The PS told the delegates Kenya has and continues to support efforts towards a safe environment through its policies and guidelines.

Under UNEA-5 theme ‘Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” states shared best practices for sustainability while highlighting impact on multilateral environmental efforts to protect and restore the natural world.

Fekadu Beyene Aleka, Ethiopia’s Commissioner of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission said they had finalised updating the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), and were preparing the 2050 Long-Term Low Carbon Development Strategy. “We have embarked on implementing various environmental flagship initiatives in a Covid-19 response way. The Green Legacy Initiative is worth mentioning,” said Prof Aleka.

Designed with the goal to pursue sustainable development by reducing poverty, conserving biodiversity, and promoting climate change adaptation and mitigation, the initiative has a target of planting 20 billion tree seedlings by end of 2022. Of these, over 9 billion seedlings were planted in the last two years.

Currently, preparations are on to expand the initiative to neighbouring countries, with a target to support planting 1 billion seedlings.

He reiterated the commitment of his government to implementation of all SDGs, and called on the UNep, the UN and the global community to stand in solidarity with Ethiopia “in all our endeavours of building a green and resilient economy.”

Angola’s Minister of State for Social Area, representing President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, said the country’s development plan incorporated actions aimed at overcoming the climate change crises.

“However, we emphasize the role of multilateralism, which is why the Republic of Angola has ratified most multilateral agreements. With regard to climate change, the Republic of Angola recently approved the National Strategy for Climate Action.

The strategy identifies actions aimed at adapting the national territory to the effects of climate change, adopting a low carbon development model, mobilising resources and promoting strengthening of national institutions’ capacity, including development and adoption of environmental technologies.”

Angola also implements the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan resulting to conservation areas increasing from 6 per cent in 2011 to 12 per cent of the national territory.

South Sudan Environment Minister Josephine Napwon said to address the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation and pollution, the country, besides its ambitious updated NDC and its first National Adaptation Plan and the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, will develop cost-effective nature-based solutions to address the recurring droughts, floods, land degradation and deforestation, crop failure, and biodiversity loss.

South Sudan hopes UNEA 5.2 will adopt resolutions that will galvanise states to redouble their efforts in addressing the unsustainable exploitation of nature and restore degraded nature ecosystems for nature to continue to provide goods and services for the wellbeing of humanity.

On forests and Biodiversity, South Sudan commended the declaration on deforestation and land use at COP26 in Glasgow and hopes that it will access funding for the planting of 100 million trees in 10 years.

To alleviate the pressures on forests, South Sudan plans to generate 3000 megawatts of power from hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, and natural gas, and this will require financial support, capacity building, and technology transfer.?