01 Dec 2017 Story Environmental rights and governance

UN Environment Assembly lights the way towards a pollution-free planet

It was a busy weekend ahead of the official opening of the third UN Environment Assembly, which begins on 4 December. Here are a few highlights: 

Ellie Goulding named UN Environment Global Goodwill Ambassador 

On Saturday morning, British singer-songwriter Ellie Goulding, 30, was designated a Global Goodwill Ambassador for UN Environment, joining the fight to save the lives and habitats of people and animals by cleaning up our air and seas, fighting climate change and protecting species.

“It’s a huge honour to become a UN Environment Global Goodwill Ambassador,” Ellie said. “My focus will be on amplifying the activism of young people committed to creating a bright future. I want as many people as possible to become advocates for the planet.”

Ellie Goulding

Science-Policy-Business Forum

Hundreds of scientists, policymakers, and leaders from business and civil society gathered on the UN compound to explore opportunities for green investment driven by science and technology, empowering policies and innovative financing.

The Forum included sessions on the future of citizen science, tackling Beijing’s air quality challenges, finding nature-based solutions for greener cities, and reducing the environmental impact of UN field operations, among many other topics. 

“It’s been a busy – sometimes frantic – but fascinating and fruitful two days of discussions,” said Axel Threlfall, Editor-at-Large at Reuters, who moderated the Forum’s closing plenary. “As the Forum comes to a close, we have plenty to take away with us… We have to speak up, we have to seize the moment, and we do have to follow up with action.” 

The Forum also saw the launch of Assessing Global Resource Use, a report by the International Resource Panel that predicts that material resource use will reach nearly 90 billion tonnes in 2017, and may more than double by 2050. The report concludes that resource efficiency policies and initiatives can cut resource use 26 per cent, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 15-20 per cent, by 2050.

Sustainable Innovation Expo

The Sustainable Innovation Expo – a forum to showcase innovations to tackle pollution – opened on Sunday afternoon. The Expo, which will run until Wednesday, includes exhibitions, pop-up discussion forums, and a virtual reality booth. Items on display included Kenya's first-ever fully electric tuk tuk and a travelling telescope. 





Early on Sunday morning, more than 100 people – including head of UN Environment Erik Solheim – came together in downtown Nairobi for the Race to #BeatPollution. Critical Mass Nairobi and Mobike joined in force as the group rode in support of strong action against pollution at this week's UN Environment Assembly. 




Check back for more updates from Nairobi throughout the week!