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World to zero in on solutions at UN Environment Assembly

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Joyce Msuya, Acting Head of UN Environment

The fourth United Nations Environment Assembly starting next week will zero in on the twin themes of innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption.

UN is using the programme to challenge governments, public and private sector to take a critical look at their consumption and production patterns, urging them to “Think Beyond, Live Within.”

Countries are expected to make measurable commitments toward stimulating innovation and implementing circular economy systems.

Besides, resolutions will cover the mainstreaming of biodiversity and the sound management of chemicals and waste, the use of big data, information management, indigenous knowledge solutions, the promotion of sustainable lifestyles and the efficient use of resources.

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The Assembly is the world’s highest-level environmental forum attended by Heads of State, environment ministers, CEOs of multinational companies, NGOs, environmental activists, and more, to discuss and make global commitments to environmental protection.

“For all the progress inspired by the Global Goals, one barrier impedes them all: the choices we make in our everyday lives continue to fuel consumption and production habits that are increasingly extending beyond the limits of our planet,” Siim Kiisler President of the 2019 UN Environment Assembly.

Sustainable consumption and production addresses the life cycle of economic activities: the extraction of resources, their processing into materials and products, and the subsequent use and discarding of those products.

They can also be broken down into specific economic activities in order to do more and better with less and identify priorities according to their environmental impacts and resource demands.

“We have grown at the expense of our planet. To guarantee a sustainable future, we all need to work together to transform our patterns of consumption and production,” Joyce Msuya, Acting Head of UN Environment said.  “The 2019 UN Environment Assembly will provide a platform for game-changing innovations and ensure that we have a roadmap for these bold ideas to flourish.”

The Assembly will further see the launch of the sixth Global Environmental Outlook, UN Environment’s flagship report that provides a periodic review of the status of the three major economic and social systems, namely energy, food and waste systems. The GEO report outlines not only areas of most concern but also sheds light on the options that policymakers have to achieve environmental progress.

The launch of the report will be the catalyser for science-based discussions on the environmental state and trends at the global, regional and local level. Scientists and government representatives will put forward assessments and expectations of environmental policy efforts, painting a clearer picture of the necessary transformation to our industry, agriculture, buildings, transport and energy sectors.

The assembly will also be a platform for in-depth conversations on the latest thinking, reports, data and action on environmental issues. Such as high-level leadership dialogues bringing together Heads of State, environment ministers and business leaders to discuss the way forward to economies that embrace sustainable consumption and production, and the innovations.

Resolutions on sustainable consumption and production was adopted by all 193 UN member states – creating a framework for a circular economy and a sustainable future.

Sustainable production and consumption open up new opportunities for job creation. The International Renewable Energy Agency projects that the current 8.1 million renewable energy jobs could increase to more than 24 million by 2030.

Key leaders from education institutions and various employment sectors will shed light on the future of Green Collared jobs.
The launch of the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion: Fashion is a 2.5 trillion-dollar industry that employs approximately 60 million people worldwide. It is a key economic sector. We need to improve the fashion industry’s environmental footprint, by establishing a circular system for sustainable textile chains.

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