UNEA 4: reCounting the Assemblies

Four years it has been since the inception of the United Nations Environment Assembly-a global conference convened in Kenya’s capital of Nairobi, at the Gigiri UNON Headquarters. From matters action on Climate to beating plastic pollution, investing in blue economy, etc, the world has shared a common space to exchange good practices through state, non-state, academia, youth & civil society, religious based organizations & private delegations.

Of importance is an ask of the impact UNEAs have had globally, regionally & locally. Well, at the very least, many countries, Kenya included, have shown leadership in enhancing mechanisms for clean energy development pathways, adaptation & mitigation measures to deal with climate change, including but not limited to technology transfer and exchange programs world over. There has also been a progressive active engagement of young people in driving the objectives of the assembly. From children organization to youth related workshops, to grassroots empowerment to be part of the action; the journey has been commendable.

2019 brought us yet another key UNEA(4th-15th March) on Kenya’s soil. Notably, we have a growing number of youths championing for nature, young ones that we must look out for them this year. Children with Nature, Green Treasures Farms, Green Generation Initiative, SDGs challenge club, Green Culture Movement, among many others, are organizations that have shaped young ones to be the voices of the voiceless. And on this assembly, they took on interesting discussions among other delegates, to put action beyond the dialogues and round-table deliberations.

Some wins:

1. For once, youth, Indigenous groups, academia, civil society & Faith groups came together to share & exchange good practices, and bring solutions to address our common problem-Climate Change.

2. Many(about 30) Environmental resolutions & representation milestones were adopted.

3. Innovations that can be replicated across the world were well showcased. From Drinkable Air- a technology of trapping & compressing airborne moisture into clean drinkable water, to GIS mapping-to monitor & compensate farm loses & support vulnerable farming in communities, Coding of Genetic material for research and the protection of forest species through strategic partnerships- Case study for South America, promoting of organic food production & a favorable value chain for agriculture economies, to Use of creative Environmental communication(documentaries, adverts, podcasts, series etc) to promote environmental sanity, this was just an oasis of solutions for nature.

4. Coinciding of the End of UN decade on Biodiversity to the Beginning of UN Decade on Ecological Restoration. It is clear that we have to tackle the problem from it’s root cause, and engagements in active ecosystems protection & preservation is a great starting point for the world!

5. MAPS treaty progress- the quest to have the establishment of the world largest Sanctuary, the arctic ocean was a step closer to the full realization, through delivery of petitions & engagements of various state representations & Ministerial delegations to have them sign or initiate talks to sign the treaty before 2019 ends. Despise the Tragic loss of Darcy Belanger in the Ethiopian Airline Boeng, the world came together to support the mission.

4. Faith leadership in conservation-A clear realization was the role of various faiths in advancing environmental protection. The Assembly thus dedicated a daily Faith deliberations tent to brainstorm & bring forth solutions & recommendations for a safer climate.

5. Citizen Science inclusion in environmentalism- This was by far a great win for the World. You see, if we can make the community part of the solution, then we are winning the war on fight against climate change. Despite their nonscientific base in ecological involvement, indigenous knowledge has continually proven to play a key role in advancing conservation. Again, a bottom-up approach in conducting community related environmental initiatives goes a long way in engaging the community in nature’s bounty & need for its protection.

It is now time to go back & act, heal the wounds we have caused on Mother Nature, and go slow on unsustainable consumption Patterns.

We need Nature, But Nature doesn’t need Us!

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