President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya formally opened the 25th Session of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) this week with a call to world leaders to support a “Green New Deal” aimed at tackling climate change and revitalizing the crippled global economy.
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Delegates from all over the world gathered at the UN headquarters in Nairobi for the week-long meeting at which UNEP Executive Director and UN Under-Secretary-General, Mr. Achim Steiner, emphasized the need for a transition to a green economy in a bid to overcome the global recession in a sustainable manner.
Addressing an audience that included over 100 environment ministers, Mr. Steiner called for the “investment of funds in a way that sets the stage for a new, Green Global Economy that can deal with the challenges of the here and now, and the ones looming on the radar from climate change and food insecurity to natural resource scarcity, especially fresh water”.
UNEP said that political efforts to reduce pollution, preserve forests and avert global warming had failed, and that the world’s most developed economies had to set an example by implementing national plans to significantly cut their use of the fossil fuels that drive global warming.
United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon said in a speech read on his behalf that the world was reeling from multiple crises: “Wildly fluctuating crude oil costs illustrate once again our dependence on the fossil fuels that are causing climate change and the short-sighted economic vision that has precipitated the current financial turmoil.”
Cities have become the driving force of global trade. They are the engines of economic productivity and cultural creativity but cities are also generating the bulk of our waste and are witnessing some very worrisome trends in social deprivation and exclusion. Yet the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka said in a statement also read on her behalf: “The current crisis could also be seen as a clear opportunity to make our cities and urban centres into the driving force for a green economy.”