Macron arrives in Nairobi for climate conference

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Nairobi, March 13 (IANS) French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Kenya on Wednesday in the last leg of his tour of three East African countries.

He will also be attending the ongoing UN Environment Assembly, the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment, here along with his Kenyan counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, a day ahead of its culmination.

Kenyatta received Macron at State House here and a guard of honour was also presented to the French leader, who had earlier visited Ethiopia and Djibouti.

“I am delighted to host my friend…in his historic visit to Kenya. Kenya and France enjoy a cordial relationship that has helped spur growth in different areas for the benefit of our people,” Kenyatta said in a rweet.

On Thursday, Macron will be attending the One Planet Summit on reversing climate change, a spokesperson for the UN Environment told IANS.

This will be the first regional edition of One Plant Summit, co-chaired by Macron and Kenyatta and also the World Bank. It is also being held around the edges of the Assembly, focusing on Africa’s environmental challenges.

The fourth UN Environment Assembly began on Monday under the theme “Innovative Solutions for Environmental Challenges and Sustainable Consumption and Production”.

It is the biggest gathering in the Assembly’s short history, with attendance almost double the last event in December 2017.

Bold decisions and outcomes are expected as the delegates will negotiate late into the night for five days, UN Environment said.

Resolutions are on the table to push harder for sustainable consumption and production patterns, commit to the protection of the marine environment from plastic pollution, reduce food waste, and advance technological innovation that combats climate change, and reduces resource use and bio-diversity loss.

This Assembly’s status as the only UN body outside the General Assembly where all member states convene, and its power to bring together all sectors, means that the global environmental agenda is defined here.

Decisions have a profound impact on the goals of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as paving the way towards the UN Climate Change Summit 2019 and impacting the overall UN agenda.

Ahead of the meeting, UN Environment’s Acting Executive Director Joyce Msuya appealed to nations to step up and start delivering real change.

“Time is running short. We are past pledging and politicking. We are past commitments with little accountability. What’s at stake is life, and society, as the majority of us know it and enjoy it today,” she wrote in a policy letter.

(Vishal Gulati is in Nairobi at the invitation of the UN Environment. He can be contacted at [email protected])

–IANS

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