Towards A Pollution Free Planet: The 2017 Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly

By HSE East Africa | Thursday Sep 28, 2017

The UN Environment Assembly, the world's highest-level decision-making body on the environment, will gather in Nairobi, Kenya, from 4-6 December 2017 under the overarching theme of pollution.

The UN Environment Assembly has the universal membership of all 193 UN Member States and the full involvement of UN organizations, specialized agencies, inter-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector. In bringing together these varied communities, the Assembly provides a groundbreaking platform for leadership on global environmental policy. 

This year’s Assembly will be sustainable and climate-neutral, and it will feature side events that confront pollution in its various forms. The Assembly aims to deliver a number of tangible commitments to end the pollution of our air, land, waterways, and oceans, and to safely manage our chemicals and waste. These will include the following:

  • A political declaration on pollution, linked to the Sustainable Development Goals, to signal that humanity can work together to eliminate the threat of pollution and the destruction of our planet
  • Resolutions and decisions adopted by Member States to address specific dimensions of pollution
  • Voluntary commitments by Governments, private sector entities and civil society organizations to clean up the planet
  • The #BeatPollution Pledge, a collection of individual commitments to clean up the planet

The Assembly is led by its President and a Bureau. They are elected by all Member States and represent Ministers of Environment from around the world. The Assembly is prepared throughout the year by a Committee of Permanent Representatives which is based in Nairobi.

Four events will take place in Nairobi in the week ahead of the Assembly:

  • 27-28 November: Civil society will host the Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum, which facilitates the participation of civil society in the Environment Assembly and associated meetings.
  • 29 November - 1 December: The Committee of Permanent Representatives will hold its third open-ended meeting.
  • 2-3 December: The Science, Policy and Business Forum will bring together top scientists, citizen groups, policymakers and business leaders to promote and operationalize science-driven policies and innovations that address planetary challenges and support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • 4-6 December 2017: The Sustainable Innovation Expo will take place on the margins of the Assembly and will complement the high-profile Leadership Dialogues. The Expo will showcase that science teaches problem solving; it will also encourage critical thinking in how important, though small, our world is. The Expo will also engage participants in the oldest science of all—astronomy.   

This year's Assembly will also launch the interactive Leadership Dialogues, which will provide participants with an opportunity for high-level engagement and discussion on how to achieve a pollution-free planet.

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