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November 19, 2021

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits UNEP, announces support for launch of negotiations to combat ocean plastic pollution

Ahead of the resumed session of the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2), United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken visised the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), where he met with Executive Director of UNEP, Inger Andersen, and announced U.S. support for the launch of intergovernmental negotiations on a new global instrument to combat ocean plastic pollution.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits UNEP, announces support for launch of negotiations to combat ocean plastic pollution

NAIROBI, 18 November 2021 - Ahead of the resumed session of the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2), United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken visised the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), where he met with Executive Director of UNEP, Inger Andersen, and announced U.S. support for the launch of intergovernmental negotiations on a new global instrument to combat ocean plastic pollution.

You can find pictures, footage of the speeches and BROLL here: https://bit.ly/3Hvlhvn
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See below remarks at the event by Ms. Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director – As prepared for delivery

 I am honoured to welcome Secretary Blinken to the United Nations in Nairobi. For almost 50 years, we at the United Nations Environment Programme have been proud to call Kenya – home to the only UN Headquarters located in the global south – the nerve centre of multilateral governance for the environment.

Secretary Blinken, your presence today is hugely important. Your being here demonstrates that the United States wants to be part of the multilateral solutions that will keep environmental action up and running.

We at UNEP have long benefited from a strong partnership with the United States. On environmental law. On reducing pollution. On promoting a green economy. On scientific leadership for the environment. And more recently, on methane reductions.

Mr. Secretary, we have just concluded the climate change COP in Glasgow. If there is one clear takeaway for us, it is that we can keep the 1.5-degree goal alive. We can get there but it is up to us to make it happen.

As we now sprint towards the United Nations Environment Assembly in February 2022, we must recognize that the work that Member States are leading on plastic pollution has the potential to be a turning point. Meaningful action on plastic pollution will require us to journey beyond our comfort zones – engaging with numerous environmental agreements. With business and finance. With cities. With civil society. With entrepreneurs, and with people everywhere.

I am so pleased therefore to acknowledge here the presence of remarkable Kenyan entrepreneurs that are proof that action is already underway. Our host country, Kenya, continues to lean in – on the transition to clean energy by 2030. On geothermal. On a successful ban on single-use plastic bags. On green bonds. On climate resilient agriculture. On much more.

Mr. Secretary, UNEP will mark its 50th anniversary next year. As we seek to work together to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, of nature loss, and of pollution – we have a real opportunity to push full speed ahead, towards environmental multilateralism that makes an impact on people’s lives. Because, as the UN Secretary-General has noted, “Success or failure is not an act of nature. It is in our hands.”

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