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Kenya Hosts 1st United Nations Environment Assembly at Gigiri, Nairobi,23rd-27th June
Author: Imelda Ndomo
Date: 30 Jun 14

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and over 112 ministers representing various countries graced the just concluded 1st United Nations Environment Assembly held at the UNEP headquarters in Gigiri, Nairobi. The forum held from 23rd - 27th  June 2014 attracted over 1200 participants from over 162 UN member states. The forum could not have come at a more significant time as Kenya, as many other African countries, grapple with the growing challenge of poaching. Fittingly, Illegal Wildlife Trade was a key agenda item, and statistics released by UNEP and Interpol estimated that global environmental crime -logging, poaching and trafficking of a wide range of animals, illegal fisheries, illegal mining and dumping of toxic waste is worth up to US$213 billion annually, and helps finance criminal, militia and terrorist groups thereby threatening the security of many nations. These statistics put in perspective the enormity of the problem of environmental crimes and of even more concern, the close link to insecurity.

Addressing the forum, President Kenyatta said high external demand is undermining Kenya and other African countries ‘effectiveness in combating poaching. ‘Global demand is strong enough, and the poachers ruthless enough, to require a joint effort if our security and heritage are to be preserved,"

The high level meeting committed to reinforce efforts to halt biodiversity loss and combat desertification, drought, and land degradation, among other resolutions

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon affirmed the United Nations' support to Kenya in the fight against terrorism by boosting the capacity of the country's security agencies.

The high level forum affirms Kenya's standing as a choice destination and the home of the UNEA, headquartered in Gigiri, Nairobi, upgraded to full UN agency status having previously been the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP. Addressing the forum, UN secretary General Ban Ki-moon congratulated UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner for his efforts that saw this upgrade become reality. In his address, Dr. Steiner endorsed destination Kenya saying Kenya is still a preferred hub for international meetings and that Nairobi is the environmental capital of the world.

Illegal Trade in Wildlife Report by UNEA & Interpol


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