UN pins hope on multilateral consensus to tackle ecological crisis

NAIROBI, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- A multilateral environment governance system that is inclusive and consensus-based presents an effective weapon against planetary hazards including climate change, biodiversity loss, chemical and waste pollution, senior UN officials said Wednesday.

The officials made the remarks at the opening plenary of Multilateral Environment Agreements Day, held at the sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) underway in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

Leila Benali, the president of UNEA-6 and Morocco's minister for Energy Transition and Sustainable Development, said that multilateralism provides a platform for building synergies, trust, and consensus required to protect ecosystems, curb air pollution, and halt depletion of the ozone layer.

"The multilateral environment agreements serve as a cornerstone for cooperation to address global ecological threats, establish partnerships, and negotiate for lasting solutions," Benali said.

She noted that the first Multilateral Agreements Day to be held during the UNEA reaffirmed the critical role of these legally binding instruments in advancing a green agenda that benefits people and ecosystems.

In addition, Benali stressed that robust multilateral environment agreements are a bulwark against geopolitical tensions, global economic slowdown, and conflicts that may derail the fight against climate change, habitat loss and pollution.

The UNEA-6 is taking place under the theme of "Effective, inclusive and sustainable multilateral actions to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution."

More than 4,000 delegates including ministers, representatives of multilateral bodies, industry, academia, and civil society are attending the five-day assembly that is expected to adopt resolutions aimed at revitalizing ecological health.

Inger Andersen, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) executive director, noted that UNEA-6 was taking place amid threats to the world order while multilateralism promises unity and policy coherence required to address emissions, protect species, and eliminate chemical waste.

Andersen observed that multilateral initiatives to address plastic waste, desertification, ozone layer depletion, and ocean governance have gained visibility despite geopolitical uncertainties.

By leveraging multilateralism to address land degradation, the climate crisis, air pollution, and loss of species, humanity will benefit from improved food security, health, peace, and cohesion, said Ibrahim Thiaw, the executive secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

Thiaw said that improved environmental governance will be key to ending hunger, conflicts, and displacement that are being fueled by global warming and the depletion of vital ecosystems.

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