By Joyce Mukucha
The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), the highest decision-making body on environmental issues is set to commence its 5th Session, virtually from the 22nd to the 26th of February 2021.
This session is preceded by the Open-Ended Committee of Permanent Representatives (OEPCR) to which Zimbabwe is a party to which is kick-starting today the 15th up to the 19th of February 2021.
According to the UN Environment Programme, the fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) provides leadership, catalyzes, intergovernmental actions on the environment, and contributes to the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The overall theme of UNEA-5 is “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.
“The theme calls for strengthened action to protect and restore nature and the nature-based solutions to achieve the SDGs in its three complementary dimensions (social, economic and environmental),” said UN Environment Programme.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and based on broad consultations with the Member States and stakeholders, it has been highlighted that the UNEA Bureau decided on 8 October 2020 that UNEA-5 should take place in a two-step approach.
“The first session of UNEA-5 will be conducted virtually on 22-23 February 2021 with a revised and streamlined agenda that will focus on urgent and procedural decisions.
“Substantive matters that require in-depth negotiations will be deferred to a resumed in-person session of UNEA-5 in February 2022 in a format to be defined and agreed on at a later stage.
“The UNEA-5 will provide the Member States and stakeholders with a platform for sharing and implementing successful approaches that contribute to the achievement of the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, including the goals related to the eradication of poverty and sustainable patterns of consumption and production.”
UNEA-5 will provide an opportunity for the Member States and Stakeholders to take ambitious steps towards building back better and greener by ensuring that investments in economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic contribute to sustainable development.
UN Environment Programme added that the President of the UN Environment Assembly, in close cooperation with the UNEA Bureau and the Committee of Permanent Representatives and its Bureau will continue to work in an open and participatory manner to ensure a successful and impactful two-step UNEA-5