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UNEP says policy shift key to tackle global environmental challenges

NAIROBI, (The Southern African Times) – The UN Environment Program (UNEP) on Monday called for a policy shift to boost action on global environmental challenges.

Inger Andersen, executive director of UNEP said that despite making achievements through multilateral environmental agreements, the situation is still worsening.

“We have to acknowledge that we need an all-of-society effort to radically change our ways if we are to make peace with the planet and therefore create the environmental conditions so that all of humanity can thrive, now and for generations to come,” Andersen said during the opening of the fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA5) in Nairobi.

She told delegates attending the two-day virtual meeting that it is time for the global environmental agenda to undergo transformation, adding that climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution should be tackled urgently.

Andersen said that the COVID-19 pandemic is inextricably linked to the climate crisis, the nature and biodiversity crisis, and the pollution and waste crisis, three planetary crises that are mainly caused by human behavior.

She called on UN Environment Assembly member states to back a green recovery from the pandemic by committing to turn 2021 into a year of beginning to make peace with nature through the involvement of businesses, investors and government ministries.

“We need these meaningful commitments and the accompanying action on the ground together with global solidarity so that we can build on them at the resumed session of UNEA-5 in 2022,” Andersen said.

She urged delegates to rise to the challenge of past divisions and rather to look to the horizon with a steely determination to mend an ailing planet by leading the world into a just, peaceful and sustainable future. 

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