UN Environment Assembly: Uganda calls for collective action in addressing global environment challenges

Dr. Barirega Akankwasa, E.D. NEMA; Hon. Sam Cheptoris, Minister of Water and Environment; Mr. Evans Aryabaha, Charge D'Affaires A.I. Uganda High Commission, Nairobi

Dr. Barirega Akankwasah, E.D. NEMA; Hon. Sam Cheptoris, Minister of Water and Environment; Mr. Evans Aryabaha, Charge D’Affaires A.I. Uganda High Commission, Nairobi

The Sixth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA6) is underway from 26th February to 1st March 2024 at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) headquarters in Gigiri, Nairobi. It was preceded by meetings of the Open-Ended Committee of Permanent Representatives (OECPR) held from 19th to 25th February 2024.

The UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) is the world’s top decision-making body on the environment. UNEA aims to help restore harmony between humanity and nature, improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.

The High-Level Segment was opened by the President of the Republic of Kenya, H.E William Ruto. In attendance were Presidents of Botswana, Djibouti, Somalia, and Gabon, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Vice Presidents of Zimbabwe, and Libya as well as Prime Ministers of Burundi, Rwanda, Eswatini, and Environmental Ministers across the UN Member states.

Uganda’s delegation is led by Sam Mangusho Cheptoris, Minister of Water and Environment. He was accompanied by Dr. Babirega AkankwasaH, Executive Director of NEMA, Mr. Evans Aryabaha, Charge d’Affaires, as well as staff from NEMA and the Uganda High Commission in Nairobi.

In his remarks, Cheptoris noted that Uganda as a nation is committed to sustainable development and environmental stewardship. “Uganda recognizes the critical importance of collective action in addressing global environmental challenges,” he said, “… The country continues to strive in the advancement of solutions to the three planetary crises of Climate Change, Biodiversity Loss and Pollution. The government remains steadfast in protecting the forests, wetlands, water resources, and control of pollution. The country has 16% of its land surface dedicated to Protected Areas for conservation of biodiversity”.

Hon. Cheptoris added that Uganda continues to focus on manufacturing electric and emission-free buses, saloon cars, motorcycles and boats for the domestic and regional market to address the challenge of pollution. He further informed the Assembly that to address the problems of plastic pollution, Uganda is championing Extended Producer Responsibility to address product life cycle management as enshrined in her laws and UNEA 6 presented an opportunity to reaffirm Uganda’s collective resolve to safeguard the planet and secure a sustainable future for humanity.

Hon Cheptoris called upon all Nations to embrace green and circular economy approaches while taking full responsibility for protecting the planet stating, “The World must stop being blinded by greed to amass more wealth at the cost of nature. When nature fights back as it is already doing” he said, “no amount of wealth can save humanity”.

He urged all delegates to remain steadfast in promoting nature-based solutions to environmental challenges.

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