UNEP | 6th Annual Subcommittee meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives


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Excellency Ambassador Coimbra, Chair of the Committee of Permanent Representatives, Excellencies and distinguished guests,

A warm welcome to all to the beautiful UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi. It is a pleasure to be back here with you in Nairobi. We last convened in June, just after I took up my new role. The intervening months have, as you might expect, been hectic. But everything I have seen and done in this period has reaffirmed my conviction that there is no better time to lead this organization. This is because the world has reached a positive tipping point on environmental action.

I recently returned from New York, where I attended both the Climate Action Summit, the other 4 Summits and the General Assembly. These events made it clear that the mandate on the environment is the single most-important mandate at this point in history. At the General Assembly an unprecedented 179 heads of delegation referenced climate change in their statement in the General Debate.

So, as we meet now, we all come with a sense that the world has shifted. Governments, the private sector, civil society, and powerful young voices have come together to find new and more-sustainable ways of running our societies.

In New York, we saw new areas and initiatives emerge, among them strong backing for nature-based solutions, the UNEP-led Principles for Responsible Banking, the UN Asset Owners Alliance, the Cool Coalition, the Restoration Decade preparation, the Biodiversity imperative and many others. We saw a circular economy focus, with an emphasis on sustainable production and consumption. An emphasis on oceans. An emphasis on gender as a key priority in environmental sustainability.

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