As countries continue to grapple with the aftermath of a global pandemic, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) will meet virtually from February 22-23. At its fifth session, UNEA – the world’s highest environmental decision-making body – will bring together ministers and policymakers representing 193 member states as well as scientists, civil society and industry leaders private.

The leadership dialogues, held virtually, will examine the environmental aspects of sustainable development and how they can be used to shape a more resilient and inclusive post-pandemic world. In particular, representatives will discuss ways to ensure that environmental issues remain a top priority; maintain the political will and momentum to restore nature; and define the role of UNEP in leading the process.

In 2020, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that “humanity is waging a war against nature,” stressing that our existing consumption and production systems are not sustainable. As we destroy ecosystems, he explained, we are effectively destroying ourselves.

Largely attributable to the conditions created by excessive extraction and consumption from nature, zoonotic diseases – diseases that enter the human population through an animal source – are on the increase all over the world. Unsustainable consumption has had a devastating impact on the world’s ecosystems, propelling climate change, destroying nature and increasing pollution levels.

To catalyze transformative change, the dialogues will be informed by a report released by UNEP today. A plan for a sustainable world, “Making Peace With Nature” charts a path towards circular economies and fairer societies, while combating climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. Ultimately, he says, the well-being of people and ecosystems will depend on our ability to stop environmental destruction.

Spanning time zones, the Leadership Dialogue will be held on February 22 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and February 23 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Nairobi time (GMT + 3). Sign up for / view the live streaming sessions here.

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