Message from the President of the Environment Assembly
Pollution affects everybody. It is a massive global challenge, with consequences far beyond the environment. The increasing pollution of our air, water, land and seas is a major obstacle to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals set by our leaders in 2015. Pollution is destroying our ecosystems, affecting human health, hampering long-term economic growth and exacerbating social inequalities.
Pollution is an individual and collective concern the world over, threatening the health and well-being of all of us, whether we live in developed or developing countries. Urgent action is our responsibility.
Reducing and eliminating pollution means positively transforming our world, leaving no one behind. It will help ensure that we as humanity make a generational leap towards a healthier, safer, brighter, more sustainable future.
Our success will have multiple benefits. More people will leave poverty behind; safer and cleaner technologies will drive our economies; peace, security and stability will help us consolidate inclusive societies that respect human rights and gender empowerment; we will protect the health of everyone on this planet today and in the future.
The UN Environment Programme, as the leading global environmental authority, and the UN Environment Assembly, our highest-level decision-making body on the environmental dimension of sustainable development, are key institutions in keeping the state of the environment under review and in addressing the vital environmental challenges of global and regional significance that we are facing today, such as pollution.
We invite all Governments, businesses, communities, people, and all other stakeholders to make a pollution-free planet a reality by 2030 and to support our call to action by determining their own contributions and commitments to achieve our vision:
- Transform our societies to become sustainable and able to support the needs of present and future generations, including through reduction of waste, increased reuse and recycling of materials, innovation, and improved transfer of and access to clean technologies;
- Increase global, regional and national awareness and education around pollution sources, impacts, and solutions, in order to transform collective and individual mindsets, values and behaviours;
- Work with the private sector to identify and implement market-based solutions and alternatives to end all forms of pollution;
- Improve the health of the environment and ecosystems, and the health of people everywhere, including through stronger, integrated and coherent policies and laws on air, land and water and quality standards based on scientific evidence and data;
- Strengthen the implementation and enforcement of environmental laws and policies through capacity building and institutional strengthening, including monitoring systems;
- Eliminate major sources of marine litter, such as microplastics and the excessive, wasteful usage of single-use plastic by the year 2022;
- Accelerate efforts to achieve the sound management of chemicals and wastes, including a global ban on lead in paint;
- Reduce by half the amount of untreated wastewater entering water bodies;
- Substantially improve air quality in cities to within healthy levels for human consumption;
- Work with the local governments of the world to promote sustainable models of urban development that address, in an integrated manner, cleaner and more livable cities;
- Expand the application and distribution of the best-available science and technologies available to combat the threat of pollution in all its forms;
- Expand existing and create new multi-stakeholder partnerships, bringing together Governments, the private sector, civil society, the United Nations system and the people of the world in the implementation of this call to action.
Our goal, collectively, must be a pollution-free planet.