Bogotá, 13 October 2017. The Latin American and Caribbean States reaffirmed today in Bogotá, Colombia, their commitment with a free-pollution planet during a regional consultation for the third session of the United Nations Environment Assembly, that will take place in December in Nairobi.
In the region, 100 million people live in areas that are susceptible to air pollution –with the risk of developing respiratory diseases and other health problems-, and at least 25 million people are in direct contact with polluted water originated in urban areas.
The ministers and high-level officials of Environment expressed their support to the ongoing work towards a Ministerial Declaration at the UN Environment Assembly, one which will reflect the worldwide concern for pollution and its devastating effects on nature, wildlife and human health.
The UN Environment Assembly is the world's highest-level decision-making body on the environment, and will hold its third session in Nairobi, Kenya from 4 to 6 December 2017.
The delegates conducted this regional consultation during an intersessional meeting of the Forum of Ministers of Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean, in Bogotá, Colombia, from 10-13 October.
The Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica, Edgar Gutiérrez Espeleta, is the President of the third session of the UN Environment Assembly and the Minister of Environment and Drainage of Barbados, Dennis Lowe, is one the vice-presidents.
“Pollution destroys ecosystems and hampers economic growth. It is an obstacle to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”, said Gutiérrez Espeleta. “The voice of Latin America and the Caribbean and of all regions is critical to effectively deliver on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda”, he added.
“We are committed to building new partnerships in order to find innovative solutions to pollution in the region. These public-private alliances will help us achieve a more inclusive and sustainable development”, stated Luis G.Murillo, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development of Colombia, who hosted the intersessional meeting.
“Latin America and the Caribbean is leading ambitious initiatives that can be replicated by other regions in order to combat poverty and ensure prosperous development in peace and harmony “, said Leo Heileman, Regional Director of UN Environment.
Heileman recognized the region is facing complex challenges which are hard to solve in a short term, as climate change effects and marine pollution. Yet, he called countries to transform this stakes in sustainable development opportunities and a source of long term changes.
During the intersessional meeting officials supervised the progress of the decisions adopted in the XX Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of Environment, celebrated in Cartagena, Colombia, in 2016.
Representatives reviewed the evolution of regional initiatives on environmental education; sustainable consumption and production; access to information, public participation and justice in environmental matters; reduction of air pollution; integration of biodiversity for sustainable development, among others.
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The UN Environment Assembly, the world's highest-level decision-making body on the environment, will gather in Nairobi, Kenya, from 4-6 December 2017 under the overarching theme of pollution.
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María Amparo Lasso, Head, Regional Communication, Latin America and the Caribbean, UN Environment: +507 305.31.03. noticias[at]pnuma.org