United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, during his visit to Nairobi, Kenya, in the wake of the first United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), took the opportunity to reiterate “sincere hope that a new climate change agreement will be adopted by the end of next year”, UNEP reported on Saturday (June, 28).
The Secretary-General will host a Climate Summit in New York in September, aimed at catalyzing actions towards low-carbon development by governments, business, finance, industry, and civil society, and at easing negotiations for a new global climate deal to be agreed in Paris in 2015.
170 national delegations attended the five-day UN Environment Assembly that closed on Friday (June, 27) with 16 decisions and resolutions on major environmental issues, including air pollution, illegal trade in wildlife, plastic debris in the oceans, chemicals and waste.
Air pollution was identified as “a top issue that requires immediate action by the international community”. According to estimates by the World Health Organization, it causes 7 million deaths annually. UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner explained that “poor air quality is a growing challenge, especially in cities and urban centers”, and that “action to reduce air pollution will save lives and provide co-benefits for the climate, ecosystem services, biodiversity and food security”.