Climate Action

President of Kenya addresses ministers at inaugural UNEA

President Uhuru Kenyatta addressed the United Nations Environment Assembly today at the headquarters of UNEP in Nairobi and called for urgent action

  • 26 June 2014
  • William Brittlebank

The President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, addressed environment ministers from around the world today at the first United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi and he called on the 193 UN member states to prioritise protection of the natural environment, sustainable development and wildlife conservation.

The summit kicked off on Monday in the Kenyan capital and more than 1,200 participants including ministers, chief justices, economists and civil society leaders from around the world have gathered for the five-day meeting.

Key issues on the agenda have included illegal trade in wildlife; environmental rule of law; financing the Green Economy; and the Sustainable Development Goals and the Post-2015 Development Agenda, including sustainable consumption and production.

President Kenyatta arrived this morning with Prince Albert II of Monaco at the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) which is also home of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and they addressed the delegation in the main conference hall alonside Achim Steiner, the UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNEP.

The private sector has been strongly represented at the summit with ABB, Actis, Alstom, Aqualogy, Avaya, BlackBridge, DirectTech Global, Green Our World Industries, HP, Siemens, SunErgy, Sumitomo and Valmont Industries participating in the Sustainable Innovation Expo which has been running alongside the summit. The companies have been showcasing their innovative technologies and sevices over the five days and have presented workshops to the summits delegates as part of the official UNEA agenda.

A series of outcomes is expected from the summit that could lead to concrete polices and initiatives to address the key environmental challenges under discussion .

Mr Steiner said the first UNEA session in Nairobi represents a coming-of-age for the global environment community. For the first time, all 193 members of the UN, plus Observer States and major stakeholders, have been represented at the meeting which has given the summit a new level of representation, legitimacy and authority.

SahleWork Zewde, UN Under-Secretary and head of UNEA's Nairobi office said the level of attendance at the current meeting reflected the global desire to improve environmental protection.