UNEA-4 will focus on three key areas: environmental challenges related to poverty and natural resource management, including sustainable food systems, food security and halting biodiversity loss; life-cycle approaches to resource efficiency, energy, chemicals and waste management; and innovative sustainable business development at a time of rapid technological change.
The meeting is expected to adopt a negotiated ministerial declaration and a number of resolutions submitted by Member States, and discuss UNEA’s contribution to the 2019 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
5 March 2019: The upcoming fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) will address the theme, ‘Innovative Solutions for Environmental Challenges and Sustainable Consumption and Production.’ The meeting is expected to adopt a negotiated ministerial declaration and a number of resolutions submitted by Member States.
The Assembly will focus on three key areas: environmental challenges related to poverty and natural resource management, including sustainable food systems, food security and halting biodiversity loss; life-cycle approaches to resource efficiency, energy, chemicals and waste management; and innovative sustainable business development at a time of rapid technological change. The meeting is also expected to discuss UNEA’s contribution to the 2019 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and implementation of the relevant provisions of the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) titled, ‘The Future We Want,’ related to the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) role in promoting the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the UN system.
Resolutions submitted to UNEA-4 by Member States address, inter alia: electric mobility; deforestation; sustainable management of mangroves; mineral resource governance; marine plastic litter and microplastics; the poverty-environment nexus; protection of the marine environment from land-based activities; sustainable rangelands and pastoralism; sustainable coral reefs management; geoengineering; and gender equality in environmental governance.
The Assembly will consider an implementation plan on the issue of a pollution-free planet (UNEP/EA.4/3), which, among other recommendations, puts forward specific action areas to take forward UNEA’s pollution-related outcomes on air, water, land and soil, marine and coastal, and chemicals and waste pollution. To address these and other challenges, participants will discuss innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production (UNEP/EA.4/17).
Deliberations will also focus on progress in the implementation of UNEA-3 resolutions relating to:
- environment and health (UNEP/EA.4/7);
- managing soil pollution to achieve sustainable development (UNEP/EA.4/9);
- progress of work of the ad hoc open-ended expert group on, and voluntary commitments targeting, marine litter and microplastics (UNEP/EA.4/12 and UNEP/EA.4/11);
- preventing and reducing air pollution to improve air quality globally (UNEP/EA.4/13);
- eliminating exposure to lead paint and promoting environmentally sound management of waste lead-acid batteries (UNEP/EA.4/14);
- addressing water pollution to protect and restore water-related ecosystems (UNEP/EA.4/15);
- sustainable coral reefs management (UNEP/EA.4/23); and
- pollution mitigation and control in areas affected by armed conflict or terrorism (UNEP/EA.4/5).
Other issues to be taken up by the Assembly include: the final assessment of the Fourth Programme for the Development and Periodic Review of Environmental Law (Montevideo Programme IV) and proposals for a future programme (UNEP/EA.4/19); and the proposed programme of work and budget for the biennium 2020-2021 (UNEP/EA.4/4).
UNEA-4 is expected to launch two key publications: the Sixth Global Environmental Outlook report (GEO-6) – almost seven years after the release of GEO-5 by UNEP; and the Global Resources Outlook 2019. The summary for policymakers of the second edition of the Global Chemicals Outlook will also be previewed by the Assembly.
UNEA-4 will convene in Nairobi, Kenya, from 11-15 March 2019. Meetings taking place in conjunction with the Assembly include: the fourth meeting of the Open-Ended Committee of Permanent Representatives (OECPR-4) and the 18th Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum (GMGSF-18), both convening from 7-8 March; the UN Science-Policy-Business Forum on the Environment from 8-10 March; and the Sustainable Innovation Expo from 10-15 March. [UNEA-4 Official Working Documents] [UNEA-4 Annotated Agenda] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on UNEA-3] [SDG Knowledge Hub Coverage of UNEA-4] [SDG Knowledge Hub Guest Article on Input to UNEA-4 of the Third Forum of Ministers and Environment Authorities of Asia Pacific] [IISD RS coverage of OECPR and UNEA]