A giant art sculpture showing a tap outpouring plastic bottles at UNEP headquarters, Nairobi, March 2, 2022. [AP, Brian Inganga]

Kenya has welcomed international delegations to participate in the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) and to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The biannual United Nations Environmental Assembly will mark the fifth session since the first Environmental Assembly that was held in Nairobi in 2014. The first UNEA was attended by delegates and representatives from 163 Member States of the United Nations who adopted the resolution on the “Implementation of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development”. 

This year, Kenya is looking forward to the Assembly adopting a Ministerial Declaration by consensus that will enhance and accelerate the implementation of existing environmental frameworks and conventions. Kenya is also co-sponsoring a resolution that will lead to discussions on adoption of a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.

Environmental discussions are important for Kenya as we continue to witness the adverse effects of deforestation, biodiversity loss, land and ecosystem degradation and climate change which are responsible for the drought, floods, locust invasion and other environmental disasters that Kenya is grappling with.

Kenya is a champion for a sustainable healthy environment which is articulated through its priorities that include adaptation, afforestation and reforestation, climate-smart agriculture, clean energy development, energy efficiency, drought management and disaster risk reduction. 

Kenya welcomes and is prepared for in person participation. We are working closely with the Ministry of Health, who have put in place stringent Covid-19 protocols to ensure the safety of our citizens, visitors and all delegates remains paramount. The Ministry of Health is also working with the United Nations Office in Nairobi to ensure that we have rapid as well as PCR testing equipment and personnel on site to ensure good health and safety of all participants.

In this regard, among the high level delegates that we look forward to welcoming are four Presidents, from the Republic of Botswana, Maldives, Nigeria and South Sudan, the Vice President of Tanzania and of Iran, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka and Namibia, the President of the General Assembly, the United Nations Deputy Secretary General as well as several Ministers of Foreign Affairs and of Environmental Ministries.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, CGH, has been invited to open the session and to kick off the commemoration of the 5th Anniversary of UNEP. His leadership role in environmental agenda and as a champion of a clean and healthy environment for all is internationally recognized. We are ready to receive our guests and we invite you all stakeholders to partner with us to share the discussions and outcomes with all Kenyans.

Amb Kamau is the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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