President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged the international community to step up action to avert the environmental threats facing the world.
The President noted that over the past 50 years, there has been a growing understanding of serious environmental threats, less progress has been made in designing and implementing bold actions to meet the challenge.
“This meeting is therefore aimed at accelerating action to avert the environmental crisis and chart a path to an environmentally sustainable future,” the president said.
President Kenyatta spoke on Thursday at the opening of the international meeting on the environment dubbed “Stockholm+50” which he co-chaired with Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in the Swedish capital.
His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and President of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, also addressed the session. opening of the two-day UN-convened Stockholm+50 meeting.
Held under the theme “A healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity”, the international meeting on the environment co-hosted by Kenya and Sweden also commemorated the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on human environment in Stockholm which marked a new era of global cooperation.
Affirming that the environmental agenda is currently at the center of global discussions, the President called on all participants to seize the opportunity offered by the Stockholm+50 meeting to accelerate the pace and quality of environmental action.
“By the time we get to COP27 (the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference) in November this year, we should aim to have developed a comprehensive, holistic and transformative set of environmental actions.
“It should be an integrated package that brings together the outcomes of COP26 held last November, the 5th session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) in March, Stockholm+50 and of the next United Nations Ocean Conference to be held in Lisbon at the end of June,” said the President.
Meanwhile, President Kenyatta called on development partners to honor their pledges to double global climate finance, especially for adaptation, to enable developing countries to invest in climate-resilient infrastructure and systems. climate change.
He said increased ambition in financing and implementation should be at the heart of environmental commitments and actions.
Highlighting Kenya’s efforts to address the threat to the environment, President Kenyatta said his administration continues to give high priority to environmental issues.
“This includes banning single-use plastics in 2017 and accelerating renewable energy generation, which now accounts for around 80% of our clean energy,” President Kenyatta said.
Noting that UNEA-5.2 held in Nairobi earlier this year underscored the urgency of collective action to address the triple global crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss , the President called on all UNEP member states to develop and implement a legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution.
Acknowledging the critical role of UNEP as the premier agency on environmental issues, the Chair informed the meeting that the Government of Kenya has continued to provide strong financial and logistical support to UNEP’s global office in Nairobi.
In her opening address, Swedish Prime Minister Andersson noted that while developed countries cause the most environmental pollution, poorer countries bear the brunt of the devastating effects of environmental degradation.
In this regard, the Swedish Prime Minister said that no country or person should be left behind in the green transition.
“The transition can only happen if it is done in a social and inclusive way. And that’s not just an option, it’s our moral obligation. We must all live up to our commitments. We need to start delivering on the declarations we signed and the promises we made. We have already talked about the conversation. Now is the time to take action,” said Prime Minister Andersson.
UN Secretary-General Guterres has called on leaders from all sectors to pull the world out of the environmental mess that compromises the well-being of more than 3 billion people and claims the lives of 9 million people each year.
“We must change course now and end our senseless and suicidal war on nature. We know what to do and we increasingly have the tools to do it. But we still lack leadership and cooperation. So today, I call on leaders from all sectors to get us out of this mess,” the UN Secretary General said.
Other speakers included Presidents Mokgweetsi Masisi (Botswana), Azali Assoumani (Comoros), Mohamed al-Menfi (Libya) and Collen Kelapile (UN Economic and Social Council) as well as UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen, who was also Secretary General for the Stockholm+50 meeting.
The high-level meeting is convened by the United Nations and is hosted by Sweden with the support of the Government of Kenya and falls between the 5th session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) and the UNEA@ 50 which was held in Nairobi earlier this year and the 2022 UN Ocean Conference which Kenya and Portugal will co-host in Lisbon at the end of June.