UNEA-5 briefing for Geneva missions

The Norwegian Minister of Environment and Climate, Sveinung Rotevatn, briefed missions in Geneva today as President of the upcoming UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), which will take place at the end of February.

-The recovery from the pandemic must be green, and sustainable. UNEA is the best forum towards a pollution free world, said Minister Rotevatn, referring to marine litter as one of the key challenges. -This is an opportunity to build a resilient post-pandemic world. UNEA should use our shared voice and continue the work towards the Sustainable Development Goals, leaving no one behind.

UNEA, which is the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment, takes place every two years in Nairobi. The UNEA President traditionally briefs Geneva missions ahead of the assembly. This Assembly focuses on “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals” and has been split into two because of the pandemic. The first part (UNEA5-1) will take place virtually 22-23 February, which will be followed up with a second part in 2022 (UNEA5-2).

-As we build back better we need to send a strong signal that we even in the pandemic, we are committed to this agenda, said the Swiss Ambassador for the Environment, Franz Perrez.

Patrizia Heidegger, Director of Global Policies and Sustainability, European Environment Bureau spoke on behalf of civil society. She underlined that UNEA should contribute to that those who pollute are taken to account, through legally binding measures, and intensify protection for environmental human rights defenders who call out harmful practices. It will be important to maintain momentum towards UNEA5-2 in 2022, she said, and work towards a global agreement on plastic pollution.

The briefing was organised by Geneva Environment Network and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). More information and the recording of the event here:

High-Level Briefing on the 5th Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly | GENeva UNEA Briefing – Geneva Environment Network