The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Brussels-based ACP Secretariat have agreed on a more coherent and integrated approach towards the implementation of the sustainable development goals in 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific states.
UNEP Deputy Executive Director Ibrahim Thiaw and the ACP Secretary-General Patrick I. Gomes signed on December 20 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the margins of the 32nd session of the joint ACP-EU Parliamentary Assembly from December 19 to 21 in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. The MoU aims to reinforce collaboration between the two international organizations in the field of environment and climate change.
The MOU with the ACP Secretariat aligns with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as other key international agreements such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the SAMOA Pathway. In addition, it recognizes UNEP’s strengthened regional mandate, as agreed in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012.
“This is a very important moment for . . . our relationship with the ACP countries and its Secretariat,” Thiaw said at the signing. “Our collaboration under the terms of this new Memorandum of Understanding will help consolidate and further develop our cooperation on environment and climate change in the context of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development,” Thiaw added.
ACP Secretary-General Gomes said: “The ACP Secretariat is happy to strengthen its collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme and we look forward to implementing concrete activities over the next few years to the benefit of the ACP Member States.”
While supporting a coherent, comprehensive and integrated approach towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, the MoU will focus on a number of areas, including, inter alia policy, capacity-building, knowledge sharing, the green economy, climate change and the sustainable management of natural resources.
The ACP Secretariat and UNEP have been working together many years on a wide range of programmes, projects and activities, and this MOU will enhance this long-term relationship while at the same time focussing on the priorities of ACP Member States and in particular Small Island Developing States, Least Developed Countries and landlocked countries in Africa, a joint UNEP-ACP press release said.
The Joint Parliamentary Assembly has been held six months after the 14th UNCTAD Ministerial Conference. UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi explained how UN member states could integrate the aspirations and targets comprised in the Agenda 2030 into trade policies and what implications the SDGs have for the Doha Development Round.
The Assembly discussed how to create appropriate conditions for the resettlement of migrants back home, focusing especially on creating education, job opportunities and basic social services, including healthcare, for the potential returnees.
Challenges and opportunities of demographic growth were also debated: UN predictions put the world population at 8 billion in 2025. Some experts are of the view that too many people may put unsustainable strain on world’s resources, while others tend to agree with Gandhi, who said that “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed.”