If the United Nations exists on behalf of “we the peoples”, then UN Environment’s mission must be to improve those people’s lives by radically changing the way we treat this planet.
Globally, we have enough money to support this fight. In most cases, we are not short of technical solutions, many of which could create jobs and economic growth. The only raw material we lack is political will and, sometimes, public engagement.
That’s why people must always, always, be front and centre in our work to protect the planet.
We must empower people like the politicians who can create policies to cut pollution and protect our oceans and landscapes. People like the company bosses who can help us change the way the world produces and consumes. And people like the students, youth leaders and individual citizens, who can inspire important lifestyle changes in their communities.
As you will see in this report, UN Environment and its partners are taking huge strides to protect our world. We are working with leaders in Malaysia to promote smart waste management and helping the people of Haiti recover from the devastating impacts of Hurricane Matthew. We are bringing political leaders together to phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons, which could save the world from half a degree in warming. We are helping to drive the fight against the illegal trade in wildlife, which now benefits from a ban on ivory trade in China. And thanks to the “Speedo diplomacy” of our Oceans Patron, Lewis Pugh, Antarctica's Ross Sea is now a protected area.
This shows that we are already connecting with people and helping them make the transition to a greener, more sustainable world. But I know that we can – and we must – do even more.