The Honourable Minister Molwyn Joseph to Serve on the Bureau of the United Nations Environment Assembly – the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment
The Honourable Molwyn Joseph, Minister for Health and the Environment, has been elected to serve on the Bureau of the United Nations Environment Assembly – the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment. The Minister is one of two representatives from Latin America and the Caribbean, with the other member representing Brazil.
The UN Environment Assembly’s 2017 theme was #BeatPollution. The Assembly, convened 4 – 6 December, adopted a Ministerial declaration “Towards a pollution free planet”, to signal that humanity can work together to eliminate the threat of pollution and prevent the destruction of our planet. Every year around 12 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the ocean, and people generate over 40 million tonnes of electronic waste – causing severe damage to ecosystems, livelihoods and our health. UN Environment Assembly offered this year’s participants free testing to determine levels of lead content in their blood. Many discovered their lead content was higher than recommended by the World Health Organization. Pollution is a pervasive problem.
The UN Environment Assembly also searches for stories of hope, with governments, scientists, private sector, and civil society taking the lead. UN Environment’s Champions of the Earth and Young Champions are annual competitions to bestow honor and breathe life into the ambitions of young environmentalists. All Caribbean environmental leaders are encouraged to apply, and be recognized for their contributions.
Determination, collaboration, knowledge, innovation, and clean technology will all be key in beating pollution and achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Antigua and Barbuda has made great strides this year, banning plastic bags and styrofoam as well as undertaking a detailed study of the Cooks Landfill so as to adopt feasible waste management solutions.
As a member of the Assembly’s Bureau, Minister Joseph will play a role in shaping the fourth UN Environment Assembly, to be held on 11 – 15 March 2019 at the UN headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The Minister’s participation will raise the profile of Antigua and Barbuda and the Caribbean as an environmental leader.
The Minister’s election was supported by all Caribbean delegates, with special blessings by the outgoing Bureau member, Minister Denis Lowe of Barbados. The Caribbean elected Minister Joseph as the region’s representative in this global forum to take forward the environmental challenges faced by our archipelago of small island nations, with our special needs and circumstances. The Minister has been at the forefront of banning plastic bags nation-wide, for encouraging other islands to follow suit, and for promoting renewable energy adoption and sustainable transportation for his entire Ministry, soon to be extended to the entire country. These are important leadership actions that will help to promote a “race to the top” of the environmental agenda across the Caribbean.
Together let us #beatpollution.
For more information:
The world’s highest decision-making body on environment: http://web.unep.org/environmentassembly/
Champions of the Earth: http://web.unep.org/championsofearth/
Young Champions: http://web.unep.org/youngchampions/
Sign the #BeatPollution pledge: http://web.unep.org/environmentassembly/act-now