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UNEA-2: engaging civil society

Three international events and a global webinar organised by Stakeholder Forum with UNEP and other partners have ramped up civil society interest in the run-up to UNEA-2.


The London event formed part of a series of stakeholder engagement sessions, including meetings in Geneva and New York, where participants gathered to build their knowledge about UNEA-2, identify the best means for stakeholder participation, and explore its most prominent themes.


UNEP’s Regional Director for Europe Jan Dusik kicked off the morning with a video message in which he provided the background to this year’s UNEA and shared his support for Stakeholder Forum’s event and webinar series.


Stakeholder Forum’s Executive Director Farooq Ullah followed and detailed the structure and expected outcomes of UNEA-2, informed stakeholders of the reasons why they should attend and advised on how to influence the UNEA agenda most effectively.


Trevor Hutchings, Head of UK and EU advocacy at WWF, then distilled the challenges and opportunities for implementing the environmental aspect of the sustainable development agenda, the overarching theme for UNEA-2, in an impassioned and informative presentation.


A panel was then held on the subject of this year’s multi-stakeholder dialogue: building partnerships to jointly deliver on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.


Sue Riddlestone, Bioregional Chief Executive, shared her organisation’s positive experiences of partnering with the private sector and reaching an influential role with the UN as the focal point for SDG 12 on Sustainable Consumption and Production. Meanwhile, Steve Kenzie of UN Global Compact argued that the public and private sectors need to work together on an equal footing. Using his perspective as Chief Responsible Investment Officer at Aviva Investors, Steve Waygood advised that a much larger change was needed within investment flows to make the private sector work in favour of sustainable development.


The second panel reflected the topic of this year’s Global Thematic Report and Ministerial Policy Review, ‘Healthy People, Healthy Planet,’ and boasted three highly regarded speakers. Anthony Kessel, Director of International Health at Public Health England, set out the philosophical history behind the report’s topic which has led society to value the individual over nature.


The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s Andy Haines then shared the findings of the Lancet’s report on Planetary Health. The paper identified some of the main challenges - dysfunctional financial and food systems - and opportunities - cities and economic savings - resulting from solving linked health and environment-related problems. Finally, Laurence Carmichael of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Healthy Environments put forward several practical solutions for alleviating health and environmental issues, including intersectoral partnerships and obligatory Health Impact Assessments for new planning developments.


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