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Participants at the Forum of Ministers of Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) reaffirmed their commitment to work towards a Ministerial Declaration on pollution to be adopted at the third session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA 3).

From 4-6 December 2017, UNEA 3 will convene under the theme, ‘Towards a Pollution-Free Planet’.

In other news, Spain became the 32nd country to join the UN Clean Seas campaign.

18 October 2017: During a regional consultation at the Forum of Ministers of Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), high-level officials reaffirmed their commitment to work towards a Ministerial Declaration on pollution for adoption at the third session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA 3). Participants also emphasized the importance of tackling pollution to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The LAC Forum convened from 10-13 October, in Bogotá, Colombia. UNEA 3 will convene from 4-6 December 2017, in Nairobi, Kenya.

The LAC Forum also reviewed progress on a number of regional environment initiatives, including on sustainable consumption and production (SCP), access to information, participation and justice in environmental matters, integration of biodiversity for sustainable development and environmental education.

According to UN Environment, 100 million people in the LAC region live in areas that are susceptible to air pollution, putting them at risk for health and respiratory problems. In addition, at least 25 million people in the LAC region experience direct contact with polluted water. Other regional challenges include marine pollution and climate change impacts.

Costa Rica’s Minister of Environment and Energy urged action on pollution “to effectively deliver on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda.”

Costa Rica’s Minister of Environment and Energy, Edgar Gutiérrez Espeleta, who is the UNEA 3 President, described pollution as an obstacle to achieving the SDGs. He said, “pollution destroys ecosystems and hampers economic growth.” He urged action on pollution “to effectively deliver on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda.” Espeleta is leading a process of consultations on a draft political declaration on pollution, linked to the SDGs, that is expected to be adopted at UNEA 3. The process aims to promote an inclusive, transparent vision to address pollution in its many forms at a global scale.

UNEA 3, the highest-level decision-making body on the environment, will convene under the theme, ‘Towards a Pollution-Free Planet.’ The meeting is expected to agree on the political declaration on pollution; resolutions on addressing specific dimensions of pollution; voluntary commitments by governments, the private sector and civil society to tackle pollution and clean up the planet; and the #BeatPollution Pledge.

Further, on marine pollution, Spain became the 32nd country to join the UN Environment’s Clean Seas campaign, which focuses on plastic pollution. Spain’s Director General for Coast and Sea Sustainability, Raquel Orts Nebot, announced Spain’s support for the UN effort, informing that tackling marine litter is a primary goal under Spain’s new ‘Marine Strategy.’ [UNEP Press Release] [Preliminary draft of the ministerial outcome document] [UNEA Webpage on Beat Pollution] [UNEP Press Release on Clean Seas Campaign] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on UNEA 3 Preparations] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Recent Clean Sea Commitments] [Clean Seas Campaign Website]


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