About the United Nations Environment Assembly
The United Nations Environment Assembly is the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment. It addresses the critical environmental challenges facing the world today. Understanding these challenges and preserving and rehabilitating our environment is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Environment Assembly sets the global environmental agenda in cooperation with UN institutions and Multilateral Environmental Agreements.
The Assembly is the governing body of the UN Environment Programme (now called UN Environment) and is the successor of its Governing Council, which was composed of 58 member States. The UN Environment Assembly is composed of all 193 UN Member States, other UN organizations, specialized agencies, intergovernmental organizations, civil society and the private sector. In bringing together these varied communities, the Assembly provides a groundbreaking platform for leadership on global environmental policy.
The Environment Assembly meets every two years to set priorities for global environmental policies and develop international environmental law. Through its resolutions and calls to action, the Assembly provides leadership and catalyses intergovernmental action on the environment. Decision-making requires broad participation, which is why the Assembly provides an opportunity for all peoples to help design solutions for our planet’s health.
History of the United Nations Environment Assembly
The United Nations Environment Assembly was created in June 2012, when world leaders called for UN Environment to be strengthened and upgraded during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also referred to as RIO+20. The Environment Assembly embodies a new era in which the environment is at the centre of the international community’s focus and is given the same level of prominence as issues such as peace, poverty, health and security. The establishment of the Environment Assembly was the culmination of decades of international efforts, initiated at the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972 and aimed at creating a coherent system of international environmental governance.
The first and second sessions of the UN Environment Assembly tackled and adopted resolutions on major issues of illegal trade in wildlife, air quality, environmental rule of law, financing the Green Economy, the Sustainable Development Goals, and “delivering on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. It was also a success with the adoption in 2014 of a Ministerial Outcome Document that called for the achievement of “an ambitious, universal implementable and realizable Post-2015 Development Agenda” that integrated all the dimensions of sustainable development for “the protection of the environment and the promotion of inclusive social and economic development in harmony with nature”.
These accomplishments, as well as the Assembly’s exceptional level of participation, which included heads of governments, environment ministers, representatives of civil society, the private sector, and the scientific and academic communities, have set the stage for this year’s Assembly, which aims to bring us towards a pollution-free planet.
2017 UN Environment Assembly
This meets in Nairobi, Kenya, from 4-6 December 2017 under the overarching theme of pollution and address five sub-themes: Water Pollution, Land Pollution, Marine Pollution, Air Pollution, and Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste.