UNEA 5.2 & UNEP@50 | February 28 – March 4, 2022

 

 

UNEA Theme: Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

 

  • Business is responding to the call to transform and promote actions for nature - including decarbonization, circularity and sustainable consumption and production, among others.
  • Active, substantive, and recognized engagement of all observer groups, including business, is needed in the implementation of nature-based solutions and in recovery from the global pandemic.
  • Research, innovation, financing and mutual partnerships and collaborations are critical to strengthening actions for nature and should be prioritized.
  • Business is transitioning to a more circular economy and making commitments in the areas of green finance, green jobs, green businesses, and green energy.
  • Business and society must come together to innovate to a more successful future. Research and innovation have a fundamental role to play in addressing the current environmental and health crisis. Without sustained support for these activities, the international community will not be able to deliver solutions on speed and scale.  

 

UNEA Thematic Areas

Nature for Climate

  • The private sector supports the two key goals for COP 26:
    • The need to close the funding gap for the needed climate finance
    • The need to develop and implement the carbon trading mechanisms that will support agriculture’s role in carbon sequestration
  • Businesses are actively engaged in activities to address the challenges of:
    • Climate – Initiatives on carbon sequestration, new dairy net-zero pathways, and carbon farming.
    • Biodiversity – new business coalition on OP2B on nature positive solutions, investments in agroforestry and riparian zones.
    • Soils – new Soils Hub announced at the Food Systems Summit.
    • Water - Water use efficiency technologies, improved oceans management.
    • Food Loss and Waste initiatives – including storage, recycling, and reduced packaging initiatives.

Nature for Ecosystem & Health

  • Addressing the risks and impacts of pollution requires sound regulation with enforcement and institutional capacity building, market-oriented approaches, cross-sector partnerships, voluntary efforts, and the removal of counter-productive subsidies.
  • Business emphasises the importance of building national capacity and infrastructure to address pollution.
  • Tailored specific responses to each source of pollution, reflecting economic and social circumstances are needed.
  • The private sector welcomes coordination and cooperation between the animal, public and environmental health sectors to reduce the emergence of zoonotic diseases, such as COVID-19.
  • The private sector is committed to combatting anthropogenic drivers of zoonotic disease emergence.

Nature for Poverty Eradication, Jobs and Economic Prosperity

  • Business has a critical role to play in accelerating progress towards sustainable development and environmental stewardship as an engine of economic growth and employment.
  • Environmental protection and stewardship need to advance hand in hand with economic growth and shared prosperity to be sustainable.
  • The business community plays a critical role in promoting environmental stewardship in the context of sustainable development, including innovating, and producing a wide range of products and services across sectors and supply/value chains that will help to achieve the SDGs.
  • Investments should be directed to climate-smart agriculture and innovations be made affordable for small-scale farmers.
  • Education, women empowerment, and capacity building for poorer communities will help boost nature-positive production.
  • Initiatives such as government subsidy programs, PPPs, Private Business Investments, multi-sectoral partnerships, and partnerships for smart commodities need to be scaled.

Nature for Sustainable Food Systems

  • Agriculture and food have faced multiple challenges, particularly in the past year. There is a strong need for a more resilient food system that advances livelihoods, nutrition, diversity, and the environment. The private sector is an important actor in this process and business is keen to engage and advance work on the future of our food systems.
  • Biodiversity and healthy ecosystems are essential to food security. The private sector is committed to sustainably managing and reducing the externalities of food production.
  • The private sector is committed to promoting regenerative/sustainable food production, from upcycling to recycling, and climate smart agriculture initiatives.
  • Partnerships with smallholders, SMEs and startups is critical to building their capacity to sustainably produce. Farmers must be trained on sustainable farming practices and offered support such as extension services, market access and quality seeds. Communities must be included in food systems discussions to improve farming practices.
  • Consumer education needs to be strengthened to drive behaviour change to improve diets and encourage sustainable consumption to reduce waste.
  • Business encourages financing and de-risking sustainable farming through collaborations across sectors. Investments and incentives are required to boost production of healthy foods, indigenous foods and urban farming and adoption of sustainable technologies and innovations.

 

UNEP@50

  • Business congratulates UNEP as it commemorates its 50th We appreciate the role UNEP has played in the lasts 50 years in driving the global environmental agenda.
  • Business welcomes UNEP’s policy to shift from bilateral partnerships to more engagements via platforms, networks, and campaigns to scale up business transformation.
  • Business looks forward to strengthening partnerships and continued cooperation with UNEP towards new kinds of joint ventures and transformational partnerships and actions.
  • Business is keen in playing a greater role in strengthening the science-policy interface particularly through the GEO process and in designing solutions to address the triple environmental crisis.

 

 

UNEA Resolutions

Draft Resolution on an International Legally Binding Instrument on Plastic Pollution

  • Business supports a global framework to address plastic waste.
  • Business recognizes the challenge of plastic waste in the environment and the negative impacts of plastic pollution on sustainable development. Recognizing the urgent need for action to achieve the long-term elimination of plastic pollution is critical.
  • Focusing on systems approaches to address plastic pollution will enable rapid scaling of innovations and investments necessary to reduce sources of leakage and increase circularity of plastics. Stimulating innovation through support of research and development activities is an important element of a global agreement.
  • A life-cycle approach is essential when considering actions to address long-term elimination of plastic waste in the environment.
  • Reinforcing the need for governments and all stakeholders to continue actions to address plastic waste in the environment is critical as the INC negotiates a global instrument.
  • The main goal of a global agreement should be to eliminate leakage of plastic waste into the environment.
  • The global agreement must also recognize the benefits of plastics to achieving the SDGs to enable governments and civil society to address the issue of plastic waste, while maintaining the benefits of plastics to society.
  • The global agreement should strengthen the science-policy interface and better understand the impacts of plastic waste in the environment.
  • The global agreement should recognize work of existing other MEAs and the need for coordination to avoid duplication.
  • Providing governments with flexibility to develop nationally / regionally appropriate measures increases the likelihood of success, versus creating a one-size-fits-all global regulatory approach. National action plans are a critical element of a successful global agreement, allowing governments to develop nationally or regionally appropriate measures.
  • It is critical for actions pursuant to a global agreement to avoid harmful policies by recognizing the need to consider resource efficiency among other factors.
  • The resolution should establish an INC, but not pre-negotiate elements of the INC's work to allow for development of an agreement to eliminate leakage of plastic waste into the environment based on the input of member states. Listing specific elements for including in a future agreement takes away the ability of the INC to develop a global instrument based on the input of member states.
  • Measuring progress towards eliminating leakage of plastic pollution in the environment is critical to understanding the effectiveness of actions taken.
  • Stakeholders have an important role to play in development and implementation of a global agreement. The private sector is well positioned to accelerate the transition to a circular economy to eliminate plastic waste in the environment.
  • Capacity building, technical assistance, and financial assistance are essential to addressing plastic waste in the environment.
  • The Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML) serves as an important stakeholder engagement mechanism and should be strengthened, as should support for scientific and technical knowledge towards addressing the challenge of plastic waste in the environment.
  • The Osaka Blue Ocean Vision provides a clear target for member states and stakeholders and should guide the INC deliberations towards negotiation of a global instrument.

Draft Resolution on Nature-Based Solutions for Supporting Sustainable Development

  • Business supports the resolution on nature-based solutions.
  • Active, substantive and recognized engagement of all observer groups, including business, is needed in the implementation of nature-based solutions and in recovery from the global pandemic.
  • Private sector actors are committed to sustainably managing water, land, soil, air, biodiversity, minerals and fuels, among others.
  • The private is working on solutions such as circular economy, waste reduction and resource efficiency.
  • Investments in innovations and technologies are critical to enhancing nature-positive production. There is need to scale the use of innovations such as hydroponics, solar-based sprinklers and green labelling.
  • Partnerships with frameworks such as the UN CBD, UNFCCC, UNEP WCMC and other UN agencies to benchmark as well as develop industry training on biodiversity management are essential.
  • The new business coalition on OP2B on nature positive solutions, investments in agroforestry and riparian zones is advancing business commitment to nature-positive production.

Draft Resolution on Animal Welfare, Environment and Sustainable Development Nexus

  • Business welcomes the resolution on Animal Welfare, Environment and Sustainable Development Nexus.
  • Business is committed to environmental stewardship is working to boost nature-positive production that will contribute to halting biodiversity loss, restoring ecosystems, mitigating climate change, preventing pollution, reducing the risk of emerging infectious zoonotic disease, and achieving sustainable development.

Draft Resolution on Biodiversity and Health

  • Business welcomes coordination and cooperation between the animal, public and environmental health sectors to reduce the emergence of zoonotic diseases, such as COVID.
  • Business is committed to combatting anthropogenic drivers of zoonotic disease emergence.
  • Business supports a One Health Approach to address the challenges of zoonotic diseases, antimicrobial resistance, food safety and food security, vector-borne diseases, environmental contamination, and other health threats shared by people, animals, and the environment.
  • Business is investing in nature-positive production that reduces the risks to people and planet.
  • Business is committed to contribute to raising awareness and understanding of the environmental dimensions of health, develop measures and actions for waste management including in the areas of antimicrobial resistance.

Draft Resolution on Sustainable Nitrogen Management

  • Given the numerous uses of nitrogen in industrial transformation, energy production and plant nutrition around the world, the private sector fully supports the proposal of improved international coordination, coherent capacity building and promotion of a better understanding of the various sources that influence the nitrogen cycle with the objective to manage better nitrogen and shape the best policy approach in each country.
  • While this draft resolution refers to the pollution threats resulting from anthropogenic reactive nitrogen, it also bears emphasizing that underuse of N fertilizers, which also occurs in regions, such as Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and parts of Latin America, not only serves as a substantial drag on agricultural yields, but also leads to nutrient mining of soils, which has significant adverse impacts on the environment. These very real threats need to be recognized and addressed as part of a Resolution on Sustainable Nitrogen Management.

Draft Resolution on the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste

  • Business welcomes the draft resolution on sound management of chemicals and waste. Business strongly supports the extension of the UNEP Special Programme and has been a partner in SP projects in various countries. We view the SP as critical to supporting developing countries in achieving the SAICM goals.
  • Business strongly supports the SAICM Beyond 2020 process and would support language reiterating UNEA’s support for the process, but notes that the language in the resolution may not be necessary as the process has already been recognized by UNEA and UNEP directed to provide secretariat support.
  • Business is concerned about allowing for stakeholder input in a follow-up on issues of concern. We are concerned that now we are creating 3 processes that could provide policy options on issues of concern: this UNEA-resolution process, the SAICM process and SAICM beyond 2020, and work under a new SPP. We are concerned about duplication of efforts and resources, particularly as work on some SAICM issues of concern does continue and the development process for a new Issue of Concern program in the SAICM Beyond 2020 framework is expected to be agreed at ICCM-5 next year.
  • It is critical to catalyze and scale commitments from private sector for sound chemicals management.
  • Lots of commitments will come from knowledge of risks and benefits. These data should be shared at both the national and global level.
  • Tailored specific responses to each source of pollution, reflecting economic and social circumstances are needed.
  • Addressing the risks and impacts of pollution requires sound regulation with enforcement and institutional capacity building, market-oriented approaches, cross-sector partnerships, voluntary efforts, and the removal of counter-productive subsidies.
  • Business emphasises the importance of building national capacity and infrastructure to address pollution.

Draft Resolution on Science Policy Panel on Chemicals, Waste and Pollution

  • Business is supportive of starting negotiation of a new Science Policy Panel, however we want to ensure that the negotiation process of a SPP allows for stakeholder participation (including from industry) and the panel itself permits participation from scientists that may work for or have connections with industry.
  • The scope of the panel is one of the key points of discussion. Business notes that chemicals and waste should not be automatically considered to be pollution, but the panel should focus on pollution, including pollution caused by chemicals and waste. We fully recognize the wish of some Member States that the panel should broadly cover pollution, including air pollution, to really cover the “Pollution” pillar of the triple planetary crisis underpinning the UNEP Medium-Term Strategy. If the panel were to just cover chemicals and waste, then it may fit more reasonably into the new SAICM Beyond 2020, which has been developing options for a Science Policy Panel as part of the new framework with consideration for how the panel could support the SAICM work on issues of concern.
  • We want to ensure that the resolution does not pre-judge the discussions of the OEWG and leaves with a broad mandate to allow for negotiations of the substantive issues. It should be very clear that the panel is not providing prescriptive policy options but work that can support government interpretation and decision making.
  • The resolution must be careful to not impede on the mandates of the MEAs or other bodies, such as the WHO. The Secretariats should be invited to participate and coordinate but avoid any direction as this is outside of UNEA’s authority.

Draft Resolution on Green Recovery

  • Business is supporting the transition to green economies and is already investing in green finance, green jobs, green businesses, and green energy.

Draft Resolution on Circular Economy

  • Business welcomes the draft resolution on circular economy.
  • Business is already transitioning to a circular economy with initiatives such as ensuring resource efficiency, recycling and upcycling, waste reduction and sustainable consumption and production.

 

 

About UNEA, UNEP@50 & GBA4E

 

UNEA

The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) is the the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment. It brings together representatives of the 193 Member States of the UN, businesses, civil society and other stakeholders to agree on policies to address the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

 

The resumed fifth session of the UNEA (UNEA-5.2) takes place online and in Nairobi on 28 February – 2 March 2022. The overall theme for UNEA-5 is “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”. This highlights the pivotal role nature plays in our lives and in social, economic and environmental sustainable development. It addresses the critical environmental challenges facing the world today.

 

UNEP@50

UNEA 5.2 will be followed by a special session, UNEP@50, devoted to the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of UNEP in 1972. The theme for the UNEP@50 event is "Strengthening UNEP for the implementation of the environmental dimension of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development".

 

GBA4E

Members of the Business and Industry Major Group have self-organized to establish the Global Business Alliance for the Environment (GBA4E) for UN Environment/UNEA to strengthen and augment business’ engagement with those entities and to reflect the important and indispensable role that business plays in matters concerning the environment. Important examples of businesses’ ability to assist UN Environment/UNEA include better engagement of business leaders to advance the agenda of UN Environment/UNEA, including through partnerships, revised business practices, and new innovative environmentally-friendly business approaches.