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Unep marks 50 years with eye on immediate environmental issues




UNEP is a global environmental authority and is headquartered in Nairobi. [File, Standard]

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) celebrates its 50th anniversary this week on the backdrop of accelerated climate crisis caused by global warming. Dubbed [email protected], the commemoration in Gigiri, Nairobi has seen more than 400 environmental delegates from across the globe jet into the country to deliberate on what UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen calls ‘the environmental emergency of here and now.’

The issues to be tackled, according to a draft during the 8th annual subcommittee meeting of UNEP's Committee of Permanent Representatives, include plastic pollution, green recovery, climate adaptation, nitrogen pollution, mineral resources governance, biodiversity loss and health.

Of the above, climate change, pollution and the looming extinction of one million species, said Andersen, are the "triple planetary crisis" threatening to undermine all life on earth.

The committee oversees the implementation of UNEP's programmes besides preparations for the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5-2), the world's highest-level decision-making body on environment, which takes place today.

The 50th anniversary of UNep, between March 3 and 4, will be an important moment to "elevate and strengthen UNep, said Andersen, “allowing it to play an even bigger role in addressing climate change, pollution and the looming extinction of 1 million species.”  

In a statement, officials noted that [email protected] was a time for reflection on the past and envisioning the future as no country or continent can solve these global crises alone, but each has a crucial role to play in protecting the planet and its people.

UNep was founded in 1972 to monitor the state of the environment, inform policy-making with science and coordinate responses to the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.   

To mark UNep’s 50th anniversary, a year-long series of activities and outreach events are taking place under the [email protected] banner and the overall theme of "Strengthening UNEP for the implementation of the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

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