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The UN Environment Assembly, the world's highest-level decision-making body on the environment is meeting this week in Nairobi, Kenya to tackle the problem of our polluted planet.

“Our collective goal must be to embrace ways to reduce pollution drastically,” said Dr. Edgar Gutiérrez, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica and the President of the 2017 assembly. “Only through stronger collective action, beginning in Nairobi this week, can we start cleaning up the planet globally and save countless lives.”

According to a new UN Environment report, The Executive Director’s Report: Towards a Pollution-Free Planet, everyone on the planet is affected by pollution. 

The report’s recommendations are based on analysis of pollution in all its forms, including air, land, freshwater, marine, chemical and waste pollution.

Overall, environmental degradation causes nearly one in four of all deaths worldwide, or 12.6 million people a year, and the widespread destruction of key ecosystems.

Over a dozen resolutions are on the table at the assembly, including new approaches to tackle air pollution, which is the single biggest environmental killer, claiming 6.5 million lives each year. 

The UN Environment Assembly is made up of all 193 UN Member States. UN organizations, specialized agencies, inter-governmental organizations, civil society, Indigenous Peoples Organizations and the private sector are also fully engaged. In bringing together these varied communities, the Assembly provides an important platform for leadership on global environmental policy.

Once again, GRID-Arendal is taking part in the Assembly and featuring work on the problem of plastic in the Earth’s oceans and the need to properly manage waste from mines. The events are:

  • Sunday 3 December -- the launch of two new Story Maps:  Marine Pollution and Biodiversity in the Ocean and Plastic forests? Assessing the impact of pollution on the world’s mangrove forests.
  • Monday 4 December -- UN Environment, the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI) and GRID-Arendal will present Taking Action to Reduce Pollution in the Extractive Sector.
  • On Monday there will also be a closed meeting called No time to waste for mountains organized by GRID-Arendal, UN Environment, the Environment Ministry of Austria, the Government of Luxembourg and International Climbing and Mountaineering Federeation (UIAA).
  • Tuesday, 5 December -- GRID-Arendal and the Global Partnership of Marine Litter will organize a breakfast event on marine litter and microplastics called Beat #marinelitter - does international governance get it? The event is hosted by the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment.

This year’s Assembly will be sustainable and climate-neutral and will feature other side events that confront pollution in its various forms. The Assembly aims to deliver a number of tangible commitments to end the pollution of our air, land, waterways, and oceans, and to safely manage our chemicals and waste.

These will include the following:

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GRID-Arendal's activities are nearly always a cooperative undertaking made possible through collaboration with partners and donors.