Fourth United Nations Environment Assembly

“Innovative Solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable production and consumption”, was the theme of the 4th United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) this year held in Nairobi from 11 to 15 March 2019, where India piloted resolutions on two important global environment issues relating to Single-use Plastics and Sustainable Nitrogen management:

  • The global nitrogen use efficiency is low, resulting in pollution by reactive nitrogen which threatens human health, eco system services, contributes to climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion.
  • Only a small proportion of the plastics produced globally are recycled with most of it damaging the environment and aquatic bio-diversity.

Both these are global challenges and the resolutions piloted by India at the UNEA are vital first steps towards addressing these issues and attracting focus of the global community.

United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), now in its fourth year, has grown from strength to strength in highlighting and proposing solutions to some of the most important environmental challenges of our time.

  • Globally our environment is under extreme pressure.
  • We are at an unprecedented turning point for our planet.
  • UNEA is an opportunity to change the trajectory from one of impacts and loss to one of solutions and action.
  • There is need to change consumption, production patterns while tackling biodiversity loss, climate change.
  • UNEA’s focus is on innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production.
  • We need solutions and innovations across three key themes:
    • Sustainable consumption and production and supply chains;
    • Biodiversity loss and conservation; and
    • Climate change.
  • Environmental impacts and effects on people and economy are increasing at unprecedented rates and demand for resources has never been higher due to exponential growth of the world’s population:
    • World’s population is expected to increase to ten billion by 2050
    • Agriculture production will need to increase by 60% by 2050
    • Water demand will increase by 55% by 2050
    • World’s consumption of raw materials is set to nearly double by 2060
  • World is increasingly recognizing that environmental challenges such as climate change, environmental degradation, unsustainable consumption and production practices, resource scarcity have a significant impact on economies and the people.
  • Economies are under increasing pressure to reduce human and ecological risk factors such as resource scarcity and price volatility.
  • Environment stands as highly potent in providing solutions for accelerated socio-economic transformation to solve leading challenges of food insecurity, poverty, unemployment, food waste, migration and implementation of global commitments.
  • There is need to re-focus our development pathways for effective implementation of global commitments and solutions to environmental challenges.
  • If the ‘business as usual’ approach continues, countries will not be able to respond to the environmental challenges, thereby undermining the effective implementation of SDGs and other related global commitments.
  • There is, therefore, a growing need to find innovative approaches that can help to address sustainability while offering opportunities for growth, cost reduction, competitiveness and prosperity.
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