NAIROBI: In a major global action against climate change, two UN environmental organisations on Monday signed a pact on increased cooperation and also for mobilisation of private finance and investment for climate action that is crucial for achieving the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement goals.
Over 2,000 heads of state, ministers, business leaders, UN officials and civil society representatives are gathered at the UN Environment Programme headquarters here till December 6 to exchange ideas to tackle the global menace of pollution and commit to action.
Environmental degradation accounts for nearly one in four of all deaths, or 12.6 million people a year, as well as other human health problems and widespread destruction of key ecosystems.
"Given the grim statistics on how we are poisoning ourselves and our planet, bold decisions from the UN Environment Assembly are critical," UN Environment head Solheim told reporters after signing the pact.
"That is as true for threats like pollution as it is for climate change and the many other environment threats we face."
Solheim also made it clear that the complex global processes linked to the environment, such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Change Agreement underscore the urgent need to take care of people and the planet.
Addressing delegates in the Nairobi plenary session of the meeting, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Espinosa said: "We did make important progress at COP23. Nations made it clear that the Paris Agreement remains the only way forward, and that fulfillment of the commitments up to 2020 will provide a solid basis for more ambition and the full operation of the Agreement."
"The upcoming year is crucial to reducing the climate threat and helping those already affected by it. The cooperation of all sectors is key, but also throughout the UN family. The Paris Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework represent our path. Climate change is connected to almost all major challenges humanity faces, making work on Sustainable Development Goal 13 vital," she added.
The new UN Environment report, titled "The Executive Director's Report: Towards a Pollution-Free Planet", which, the meeting is using as the basis for defining the problems and laying out new action areas, recommended political leadership and partnerships at all levels and action on the worst pollutants.
It also favoured lifestyle changes, low-carbon tech investments and advocacy.
The recommendations are based on analysis of pollution in all its forms, including air, land, freshwater, marine, chemical and waste pollution.