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Top officials call for action and solutions at UN Environment Assembly

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“Your efforts are urgent,” he said. said in a video message addressed to the sixth edition of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6).

Our planet is on the brink of collapse, ecosystems are collapsing, our climate is imploding and humanity is to blame..”

Act now

The UNEA is the highest global decision-making body on environmental matters and aims to help restore harmony between man and nature.

This latest session ends on Friday and representatives from more than 180 countries have negotiated resolutions on issues ranging from nature-based solutions to highly hazardous pesticides, land degradation and drought.

Delegates’ attention was also focused on Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs). These regional and international agreements, some of which date back more than 50 years, have helped, among other concerns, to protect endangered species and limit chemical pollution.

The role of the UNEA is essential

In his message on Thursday – during the high-level segment of the Assembly – the Secretary-General discussed the consequences of the environmental crises facing the planet, ranging from poisoned rivers to rising sea levels.

He highlighted the need for action, particularly to accelerate the shift to renewable energy, adapt to extreme weather conditions and ensure climate justice, highlighting the vital role of UNEA.

“You showed before you can unite and delivermore recently with your historic decision to negotiate a plastic treaty,” he said. “I urge you to do it again – and go further.”

A sustainable environment

UN General Assembly President Dennis Francis also addressed UNEA-6, focusing his remarks on the link between a healthy environment and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“For years, we have known that a healthy environment is both an essential and key factor for a more secure, fairer and more prosperous future”, he said.

Although these goals provide a model for a fairer and more equitable future for people and the planet, he warned that they are “woefully behind schedule” compared to the 2030 deadline.

“Given that we are facing an environmental emergency and the resulting need for urgent action, we must ensure that the outcome of this UNEA-6 advances the human right to a clean, healthy and safe environment. sustainable – and that it promotes truly multilateral responses to restore balance with nature,” he said.

Health under threat

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, spoke about the “inextricable, but fragile” link between the health of humans, animals and the environment.

If the planet was sick, “it would be admitted to intensive care,” he said. It is therefore not surprising that human health also suffers.

For example, he said more frequent and severe weather events cause deaths and injuries, more heat waves contribute to more cardiovascular disease, while air pollution leads to lung cancer, l asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.

Other species have also been affected. Climate change causes changes in the behavior, distribution, movements, distribution and intensity of mosquitoes, birds and other animals that spread infectious diseases such as dengue and malaria to new areas.

Furthermore, illegal wildlife trade also increases the risk of zoonotic spillovers that could trigger a pandemic, highlighting the importance of primary prevention to reduce risks.

“Health threats from climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss are not hypothetical risks for the future. They are here and now, making health the most compelling reason for climate action.,” he said.

While the “patient” is in peril, Tedros called for transforming energy, transport, food and health systems, adding that “we must above all transform ourselves, to get out of our compartmentalized mentalities and work for effective, inclusive and sustainable multilateral action.”

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