Addressing environmental issues to achieve the SDGs

Hundreds of decision-makers from governments, private sector and civil society are gathering in Nairobi at the United Nations Environment Programme headquarters for the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2), which kicked off on 23 May. Mr. Wu Hongbo, UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General, is also participating in this meeting, which is the first global decision-making platform since the UN Summit on Sustainable Development and COP21 in Paris.

This milestone event, organized around the theme “Delivering on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, aims at driving environmental progress on sustainable development and tackling critical issues such as pollution, food waste, climate change, illegal trade in wildlife as well as sustainable production and consumption.

Taking place only eight months since world leaders adopted the historic 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) last September, the UNEA-2 is an opportunity to discuss how to address some of the most pressing challenges of the world. One of the topics in focus is the Small Islands Developing States (SIDS), which face serious environmental issues such as land degradation, coastal erosion, drought, biodiversity loss as well as natural disasters.

“The special and unique case of SIDS in sustainable development was reaffirmed in the 2030 Agenda,” said Mr. Wu in his opening remarks during a High-level Roundtable on “Innovative Partnerships for addressing environmental challenges in implementation of the SAMOA Pathway and the 2030 Agenda”, organized as part of the UNEA-2 on 25 May.

“The 2030 Agenda calls for special attention to SIDS, as they face unique challenges in the protection, management and sustainable use of environmental resources, on which island lives and livelihoods are built,” he added, while explaining that UN DESA has upgraded the SIDS Action Platform and developed a standardized reporting template and process for SIDS partnerships.

He then urged stakeholders to register via this platform, which will contribute to the review of SIDS at the upcoming High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New York this July.

This High-level Roundtable, focusing on partnerships in the area of oceans and innovative financing, was an opportunity to share experiences and encourage innovative partnerships to support SIDS, while building a healthier environment. At UNEA-2, Mr. Wu will also join the Ministerial Dialogue ‘Delivering on the Environmental Dimension of Agenda 2030’taking place on 26 May.

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