OPINIONPeople Daily

Global meets provide growth opportunities

Alberto Leny   

After successfully hosting the first global conference on Sustainable Blue Economy last week, Kenya has joined the rest of the world in Katowice, Poland, for the 24th UN Climate Change Conference (COP24).

The conference under the theme “Carbon neutrality and gender equality” kicked off on Sunday and ends on December 14. It is the latest in the annual pilgrimage of environmentalists, the third conference of parties whose climax was the landmark Paris Agreement of December 2015.

Like the blue economy conference, COP24 meet will focus on the central pillars of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while aiming at protection of environment and maintenance of viable ecosystems.

Adaptation and mitigation of climate change, pollution and waste management are crucial elements of this twin goal of meeting the demands for natural resources and an environmentally sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Sustained progress will only be achieved through collective discussion, information sharing and effective partnerships.

Notably, Kenya has turned out to be the Mecca of environmental conservation and headquarters of UN Environment and must, therefore, grab the opportunity to reap maximum dividends from the global attention on Mother Nature.

While the UN process continues to take “baby steps”, this movement alone is not enough and requires momentum from all stakeholders to sustainably build greater prosperity for all.

Genetic diversity

The community of nations has to collectively intensify investments and harness the full potential of the oceans, seas, rivers and lakes and land. 

Fortunately, Kenya has another great chance to scale this ladder being a co-host with Portugal of the UN Ocean Conference in June 2020, a sequel to the blue economy forum.

As Katowice meet discusses how the Paris Agreement will work beyond 2020 and finalises the so-called ‘Paris Rule Book’, Kenya needs to learn from these global forums how to reap maximum dividends that nature bestows upon us.

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem (IPBES) assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services provides expert evidence for global action on nature after 2020.

There report will help assess progress (or lack thereof) on SDGs and the Paris Agreement, among other global targets.

IPBES chair Sir Robert Watson states: “The loss of species, ecosystems and genetic diversity is already a global and generational threat to human well-being. Protecting the invaluable contributions of nature to people will be the defining challenge of decades to come. Policies will only succeed when based on the best knowledge and evidence.”  – [email protected]

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