By Beatrice Obwocha
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be in Kenya in June to attend a high level environmental meeting whose main agenda will be to address the rise in cases of poaching.
The first UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) will bring together high level representatives from 160 UN member states and will see over 1,200 participants from government, business and civil society converge in Nairobi for five days.
Ministers of Environment and Foreign Affairs, Chief Executive Officers of some international organisations and judges are expected to attend the conference that will take place in Nairobi from June 23 to 27, 2014.
A statement from UNEP stated that “ Ministers and international leaders will gather to address two key sustainable development and environment topics of current international concern, namely: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including sustainable consumption and production and the illegal trade in wildlife to address the escalation in poaching and surge in related environmental crime.”
According to the conveners, the environmental rule of law will also be discussed by leading representatives of the international judicial community, including Chief Justices, Attorney Generals and Judges.
The role of Finance in the Green will also be addressed in the meeting.
UNEA is the newly constituted UN platform for decision making on environment that is tasked to chart a new course in the way the international community addresses environmental sustainability challenges.
As the new governing body of UN Environment Programme (UNEP) as well as the world’s Environment Assembly, UNEA has the mandate to make strategic decisions and provide political guidance in the work of UNEP and promote a strong science-policy interface.
The Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNEP Mr Achim Steiner said the broad range of actors from the world of economy, finance, social sciences, legislation and the judiciary will participate in the conference to help shape the global environment agenda.
“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.
“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,” he said.
Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Martin Kimani said Kenya is ready to host such a high profile meeting.
“Our country has made immense strides in building a Green Economy – observe our cutting edge geothermal developments and the high percentage of our GDP from nature tourism.
“The success of UNEA and UNEP are high in our priorities. Kenya is taking every measure to ensure the success of this landmark event. We are inviting delegates from around the world to actively participate in this historic moment and make their contributions to the assembly in a safe and friendly city that is rolling out every welcome to them,” he said.