19 Jun 2017 Story Cities and lifestyles

World Environment Day 2017: The environmental commitment of UN organizations in Nairobi doesn’t falter

World Environment Day 2017: The Environmental Commitment of UN organizations in Nairobi doesn’t falter – UNAIDS, UNDP and WFP signed the Environmental Commitment Charter this year.

In a kaleidoscope of live music, dances, acrobatics, tasty vegetarian food, and a fantastic eco-fashion show, the UN did not forget to renew and expand its commitment to making its operations greener. How? By committing to reducing its natural resources use and constantly raising staff awareness. This is how we “Connected to Nature” at the UN Nairobi Compound for this 2017 World Environment Day. Large celebrations took place across the globe with Canada hosting this year’s main celebrations and offering free entry to its national parks for the entire year!

The High Commissioner of Canada in Kenya attended WED celebrations at the UN Nairobi Compound and contributed to the opening remarks together with the Director General of the UN Office at Nairobi (UNON), and the Director of UN Environment Ecosystems Division, Mette Wilkie.  In her opening remarks, UNON Director General, Mrs. Sahle-Work Zewde, reiterated the organization’s commitment to greening the UN Gigiri compound and listed the extensive initiatives that are being launched at the Compound to ensure that the UN “connects with nature”. Over the last 3 years, World Environment Day has offered an excellent opportunity to gather political will and remind UN staff about the key role they play in reducing their footprint and aligning our work environment practices with best sustainability practices.

In 2015 and 2016, five UN organizations signed the Environmental Commitment Charter by which they committed to greening our work environment and using natural resources more sustainably in the UN Gigiri Compound. This comes through waste prevention and its safe management, as well as water and energy use reduction. Environmentally sound facilities management and staff awareness are key to achieving this result, but political will and support are the necessary starting points.

This year, the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kenya, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) and the UN Resident Coordinator on behalf of the UN family in Kenya have joined this initiative by signing the Environmental Commitment Charter.

This was done in a friendly and festive environment, where staff awareness was raised on how we could better connect with nature by making more sustainable food choices. A Sustainable food Fair and Picnic were organized with over 500 staff attendance. Tasty vegetarian recipes from all-over the world were offered to participants while ensuring zero food waste! The message was conveyed by putting up posters informing participants that a meat diet uses 3 times as many resources as a vegetarian one.

The World Food Programme held an exhibit showcasing environmentally friendly solar cookers which are currently used in refugee camps in Kenya. The UN Information Centre provided free, guided nature walks at the compound for staff and families.

An Eco-fashion show, exhibiting pieces made of recycled crotchet designed by Henry Wanjala, delighted attendees while raising awareness that the Fashion Industry is the second largest pollutant in the world and urging attendees to #rethink, #reuse and #recycle.