Meeting Sets UNEA-2 Agenda

According to UNEP, a wealth of statistics and research point to strong links between the use of natural resources and conflict.

A key meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, ended Feb. 19 with environment ministers, high-level government delegates, and representatives of major groups setting the agenda for the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2), which will be held at the United Nations Environment Programme's Nairobi headquarters from May 23-27. They prepared for key decisions on the implementation of the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including addressing the environmental aspects of global humanitarian crises and human health risks.

This was the final day of a week-long Open Ended Meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to UNEP.

"At the United Nations Environment Assembly, every nation has a seat at the table. Since its first meeting in 2014, UNEA has become the world's de facto Parliament for the Environment," UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said. "When ministers gather here in Nairobi in May for UNEA-2, the decisions they take will again set the global environmental agenda. Keeping the global environment under review through science and policy dialogue enables governments to build the international agreements that will result in improvements for both the environment and human development."

According to UNEP, a wealth of statistics and research point to strong links between the use of natural resources and conflict, including:

  • Since 1990, 18 conflicts have been at least partially financed by the exploitation of natural resources.
  • In the past 60 years, at least 40 percent of all intrastate conflicts have had a link to natural resources -- minerals, timber, oil, land, or water.

In addition, according to WHO, 23 percent of all premature deaths around the world can be attributed to environmental factors (36 percent among children) and almost 7 million people die annually from exposure to indoor and outdoor air pollution from power generation, cookstoves, transportation, industrial furnaces, wildfires, and other causes.

A specific area of health and environment focus at the meeting was how to address lead in batteries.

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