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UN announces Environment Assembly theme

The theme of the 2021 United Nations Environment Assembly has been announced as ‘strengthening actions for nature to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals’.

The session, which will take place from 22-26 February in Nairobi, Kenya, is the fifth year of the UN’s highest-level environmental forum, held every two years and attended by heads of state, environment ministers, CEOs, NGOs and environmental activists.

More than 4,700 delegates met in Nairobi for the fourth Assembly in 2019 – at which member states adopted 23 resolutions related to plastic pollution, sustainable development and emissions reduction. 

A 2019 report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) revealed that across the globe most nature has now been significantly altered by human drivers, with the majority of ecosystems and their biodiversity showing rapid decline.

“Humanity is an inextricable part of the rich tapestry of life that makes up our world’s biological diversity. All human civilisations have been and continue to be built on the use of wild and cultivated species of flora and fauna, from the food we eat to the air we breathe,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in a message for World Wildlife Day 2020.

“However, it seems humanity has forgotten just how much we need nature for our survival and wellbeing. As our population and our needs continue to grow, we keep exploiting natural resources – including wild plants and animals and their habitats – in an unsustainable manner,” he added.

Recently-elected president of the UN Environment Assembly, Sveinung Rotevatn, who is Norway’s minister of climate and the environment, said: “Nature is the foundation for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Nature is the solution we in many ways take for granted, but that we cannot afford to lose. 

“I hope we can agree on significant opportunities and changes that need to happen to turn the trend for nature and the Sustainable Development Goals.

“With more nature, we will live better lives. I look forward to a dialogue with governments and stakeholders in the year to come about the transformative changes that need to happen to protect and restore biodiversity and the wide range of benefits we all depend on from nature.”

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