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PAMACC News (NAIROBI, Kenya) The world today committed to a pollution-free planet at the close of the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, with resolutions and pledges promising to improve the lives of billions across the globe by cleaning up our air, land and water. If every promise made in and around the summit is met, 1.49 billion more people will breathe clean air, 480,000 km (or around 30 per cent) of the world’s coastlines will be clean, and USD 18.6 billion for research and development and innovative programmes to combat pollution will come online. “The science we have seen at this assembly shows we have been so bad at looking after our planet that we have very little room to make more mistakes,” said Dr. Edgar Gutiérrez, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica and the President of the 2017 UN Environment Assembly. “With the promises made here, we are sending a powerful message that we will listen to the science, change the way we consume and produce, and tackle pollution in all its forms across the globe.” Over 4,000 heads of state, ministers, business leaders, UN officials, civil society representatives, activists and celebrities gathered at the summit in Nairobi, which ran for three days. For the first time at a UN Environment Assembly, environment ministers issued a declaration. This declaration said nations would honour efforts to prevent, mitigate and manage the pollution of air, land and soil, freshwater, and oceans – which harms our health, societies, ecosystems, economies, and security. The declaration committed to increasing research and development, targeting pollution through tailored actions, moving societies towards sustainable lifestyles based on a circular economy, promoting fiscal incentives to move markets and promote positive change, strengthening and enforcing laws on pollution, and much more. The assembly also passed 13 non-binding resolutions and three decisions. Among them were moves to address marine litter and microplastics, prevent and reduce air pollution, cut out lead poisoning from paint and batteries, protect water-based ecosystems from pollution, deal with soil pollution, and manage pollution in areas hit by conflict and terrorism. “Today we have put the fight against pollution high on the global political agenda,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment. “We have a long struggle ahead of us, but the summit showed there is a real appetite for significant positive change. “It isn’t just about the UN and governments, though. The massive support we have seen from civil society, businesses and individuals – with millions of pledges to end pollution – show that this is a global challenge with a global desire to win this battle together.”A large part of the impact from the assembly comes from global support. UN Environment’s #BeatPollution campaign hit almost 2.5 million pledges during the event, with 88,000 personal commitments to act. Chile, Oman, South Africa and Sri Lanka all joined the #CleanSeas campaign during the Nairobi summit, with Sri Lanka promising to implement a ban on single-use plastic products from 1 January 2018, step up the separation…
.PAMACC News (NAIROBI, Kenya) The African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) has reiterated its commitment to exploring solution pathways to a cleaner and safer African environment, but the organisation requires the necessary resources to walk the talk. The President of AMCEN and Gabonese Minister of Forest, Sea and Environment, Pacome Moubelet Boubeya, told environment journalists at the ongoing UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya December 5, 2017 that the organisation cannot play its role fully without the much needed finance and urged its member-states to clear their outstanding commitments to the conference. Many of the AMCEN member-states have not been paying their annual contributions to the organisation, it was disclosed «We know much is expected from AMCEN and we have a clear plan of action to drive our assigned role but we also need funds to do this, « says Pacome.The President said the organisation was aware of the numerous environment and climate change challenges faced by African countries, promising to make sure they get the necessary support from AMCEN. « Our mandate to accompany African governments, institutions provide advocacy for environmental protection in Africa, ensure that basic human needs are met adequately and in a sustainable manner is very clear, » Pacome explained. He however added that many obstacles lie ahead of the implementation phase of AMCEN action plan, calling on the different governments to work in tandem with the organisation for the interest of Africa. «Africa is rich, endowed with resources. We just need to believe in ourselves and work together to get what we want, » he said. Accordingly, the measures adopted by AMCEN in seeking solutions to environmental concerns in Africa have consistently been participatory and consultative since its inception.The President lauded the achievements of the organisation so far. « The existence of AMCEN today impacts on the manner in which environmental issues are being handled in the region. It has among others contributed to strengthening Africa’s participation and active involvement both in global negotiations and in international agreements on the environment, » he noted. Accordingly regular sessions of AMCEN have been convened every second year since its inception to discuss environmental and development issues. It should be recalled that the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) was established in December 1985, following a conference of African ministers of environment held in Cairo, Egypt. Its mandate accordingly is to provide advocacy for environmental protection in Africa, ensure that basic human needs are met adequately and in a sustainable manner and that social and economic development is realized at all levels. The method adopted by AMCEN in seeking solutions to environmental concerns in Africa has been participatory involving the different stakeholders. The President said they have also been very active at the UN general assembly of high-level policy makers and global experts on environmental management. At the opening of one of the high level sessions, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta lauded the global leadership of sustainable management of the environment. “Working together in the fight against…
PAMACC News (NAIROBI, Kenya) Environmental degradation has emerged as a major challenge of the 21st century, threatening communities and increasing poverty. Societies across the globe have continued to suffer from a persistently unfavourable environmental degradation leading to historical climate change disasters especially among vulnearble communties, experts say. In a fragile global context, innovative ideas are needed more than ever to protect and conserve the environment and fight against the effects of climate change says Erik Solheim, Executive Director, UN Environment. It is against this backdrop that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), organised a competition to select the best promising innovative environment projects by young people across the globe. Six projects were finally selected and the winners presented at the ongoing UN Environment general assembly December 5, 2017. The six winners dubbed « Young Champions of the Earth » according to UNEP officials are talented individuals between the ages of 18 and 30 with promising ideas to protect or restore the environment. A press release from UNEP notes that the Young Champions were selected by way of an online public vote and the deliberation of a global jury. The six winners selected from over 600 applicants are, Kaya Dorey from Canada, Eritai Kabetwei- Kiribati, Adam Dixon – UK, Liliana Pazmillo - Ecuador, Omer Badokhon - Yemen and Mariama Mamane from Burkina – Faso. Each of the six winners will receive USD 15,000 in seed funding, mentoring, training to help them realize their environmental ambitions. In a discussion at the award event, the 2017 Young Champions of the Earth shared their innovative ideas geared at creating positive environmental impact. Panelist at the event highlighted the role of global youth in sustainable development and, more specifically, the ways and means to empower youth in decision making processes and harness their creativity to effect change and fight against growing poverty and youth unemployment.. Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment and Ellie Goulding, UN Environment's newest Goodwill Ambassador, joined the conversation with emphasis on what it means to be an environmentalist in 2017. According to UNEP, the selection was very competitive with shortlisted applicants subjected to an online public vote before being considered by a global Jury comprising VICE Media Founder, Suroosh Alvi; She Leads Africa Co-founder, Yasmin Belo-Osagie; UN Environment Head, Erik Solheim; Covestro CEO, Patrick Thomas; and UN Youth Envoy, Jayathma Wickramanayake. Apart from receiving seed-funding, the winners will also get intensive training, tailored mentorship and global publicity to help them bring their big ideas to life. Among the winning projects is that of Mariama Mamane from Burkina Faso who wants to address the energy deficit in Africa and the devastating degradation of cropland caused by chemical fertilizers. Her project, “JACIGREEN", offers an innovative eco-solution to the problem of water hyacinth, which, she says without controlled management, can be devastating for the environment. Water hyacinth she says is an invasive alien species that grows very rapidly in the waterways of the Niger River. Although not inherently harmful, initially purifying the waterway in…
PAMACC NewsCoalition of women organisations attending the ongoing 3rd United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA-3) today urged the global assembly to prioritise the protection of women human rights and environmental defenders.The women groups under the umbrella of the Women’s Major Group (WMG) made the call at a side event on the challenges facing women’s environmental rights defenders.“Since the effects of pollution outlive all of us, we want a fast-response civil society advisory committee and the strengthening of UNEP’s safeguards and human rights policies if really we are to leave no one behind,” the women groups said.Identifying 2017 as the deadliest year for women’s environmental rights defenders, the women called for increased protection of their rights to indigenous land and resource ownership as they face increased crackdowns, violence, threats, intimidation and murder by state and non-state actors. The Women’s rights group also paid tributes to women who lost their lives this year while highlighting the important role of women rights defenders in creating a pollution-free future. Helen Hakena, Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency, Papua New Guinea said, “We have suffered a 20-year war, which has had a terrible impact on Women. “62% of the men confessed to having raped women. Even though the war has ended, women still face immense aggression from the conflict of resources on our land, where an international mining company operated the largest open pit mine in the world,” she said. “The Panguna mine has destroyed and polluted our land, forest, rivers and food sources, and seeps all profits away, Nehan added” Priscilla Achakpa of the Women’s Major Group revealed that about 200 women’s environmental rights defenders have been assassinated within the past 12 months, mostly killed over land and forest conflicts. “Only last week, we lost Elisa Badayos from the Philippines. But these conflicts are greatly aggravated by pollution,” Achakpa said “Pollution is not incidental but a deliberate and inevitable consequence of a profit-oriented economy of mass production of harmful plastics, pesticides, and fossil fuels,” Priscilla Achakpa added.Apart from this, the WMG chief said Nigerian women are exposed to hazardous chemicals every day. “Samples of human breast milk obtained from Nigeria were found to have high levels of Persistent Organic Pollutants. A study found over 15,000 metric tonnes of pesticides per year were imported into the country between 1983 -1990,” Achakpa said. In Kenya, some 5000 people are exposed to Mercury pollution in Artisanal Small-scale Gold Mining sites. “Mercury is banned under the Minamata Convention, negotiated here at UNEP but in the impoverished community that I’m working with they don’t have much option,” says Griffins Ochieng from the Centre for Environmental Justice and Development (CEJAD), a Kenya based NGO.“Mining gold and mixing it with mercury is the only knowledge they have and the main source of income. Communities do not have access to information about the hazards of using mercury. We need our government to stop mercury trade,” Ochieng added.
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