Multilateralism is the only way to solve the “triple planetary crisis”

Pedro Alonso – Nairobi – Multilateralism is the only way to solve the “triple planetary crisis” (climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution) afflicting the Earth, according to the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Inger Andersen.

“Multilateralism is the only way to solve these problems,” Andersen told EFE at the sixth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6), the world's main environmental decision-making body, which began on Monday in Nairobi.

“We need the whole world to step up to achieve multilateral solutions” because “we are not on the right track in many environmental crises,” warns the Danish economist and environmentalist, who heads the United Nations Environment Programme, based in the capital, Kenya. Since July 2019.

United Nations Environment Assembly-6

These concerns are somewhat summed up in UNEA-6's slogan, which runs until March 1: “Effective, comprehensive and sustainable multilateral action to address climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.”

At the meeting, which brings together more than 5,000 representatives of governments, civil society and the private sector, countries will evaluate decisions on problems such as “dangerous pesticides,” “sandstorms that increasingly affect more people,” or “air pollution.” “Andersen says.

Although the decisions of the United Nations Environment Assembly – which includes the 193 UN member states – are not legally binding, they are considered an important first step on the path towards global environmental agreements and the formulation of national policies.

“The truth is that we must all move forward together. This is what multilateral environmental agreements are about,” the director asserts, stressing that the environment does not understand political differences.

“If you're breathing dirty air, I'm probably breathing dirty air,” he explains. “We're on this little planet together. My plastic is your plastic pollution.”

Andersen shares the thoughts of Morocco's Minister of Energy Transition and President of UNEA-6, Leila Ben Ali, who in her opening address to the Assembly on Monday noted that three “tipping points” define the environmental agenda.

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Possible populist drift

One of these “tipping points” is the armed conflicts shaking the world, another is the need to reaffirm “trust” in multilateralism, and a third is the fact that “half the world’s population will go to the polls this year.” “Some politicians will lean towards populism.

This potential populist drift indirectly points to candidates like Donald Trump, a climate change skeptic, who may return to the White House if he wins the US elections next November.

“On the question of who will be chosen and where, I don’t have a crystal ball, so I can’t speak to who will be chosen where,” says the UNEP head.

He adds: “But regarding this issue, it is clear that we must be very aware. I encourage all voters, wherever they are, to take their grandchildren or great-grandchildren (…) to the polls and think about the future.” “

In his opinion, environmental protection “is not a matter of left or right.” “It's a question of intergenerational justice and long-term sustainability,” he says.

At the sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly, Andersen has “high hopes” for “progress on the environmental agenda,” as happened at previous meetings of the Assembly, which is now celebrating its tenth anniversary.

Negotiating the first global treaty to combat plastic pollution

The Fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) made history in 2022 in Nairobi, approving a resolution to begin negotiating the first global treaty to combat plastic pollution.

Two years later, the Danish economist congratulated herself because “negotiations (the treaty) are underway” and “this is great.”

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Talks to agree on an international treaty against plastic pollution are scheduled to continue next April in Canada, and are scheduled to end in the second half of this year in South Korea.

Andersen, who declares that he is “optimistic” about achieving this charter, says, “The text (of the treaty) already exists. There are many questions surrounding the text, and different positions, but that is part of the negotiations.” EFEverde

Palestinian Authority / ES Setif

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