Civil society organizations have urged governments gathering for the United Nations Environment Assembly to tackle the root causes of pollution, amplifying the call for action at the world’s top decision-making body on the environment.
The call resonated through UN Environment’s 17th Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum in Nairobi, Kenya. The two-day forum brought together more than 250 representatives of civil society groups from around the world. Private sector groups and UN Member States also took part.
“Civil society groups have underlined with insight and passion the injustices of pollution and the need to address it at source,” said Alexander Juras, the chief of UN Environment’s Civil Society Unit. “They expect governments to step up to the challenge, and are ready to do their part.”
Grassroots groups detailed how the pollution of air, water and soil has hurt their communities and how they themselves have tried to counter it.
The Assembly takes place in Nairobi from 4-6 December under the theme “towards a pollution-free planet.” Leaders from government, science and business as well as civil society will seek solutions to the contamination – and the wasteful business and consumer habits that contribute to it – that is killing millions of people and undermining Earth’s natural systems.
Through Davos-style panels, participants at the Forum discussed the many dimensions of pollution, including that caused by military activities and conflict. Grassroots groups detailed how the pollution of air, water and soil has hurt their communities and how they themselves have tried to counter it.
The Forum, which revealed divergent views on the role of business in cleaning up the planet, finished with an open dialogue with UN Environment Executive Director Erik Solheim.
Based on their discussions, stakeholder representatives will present statements on different aspects of pollution to the Assembly, giving them a direct voice in the deliberations. Many civil society representatives also are expected to take part in the Assembly itself.