Our Voice at the UN

This month’s edition focuses on the work of SI’s United Nations representatives in Nairobi.

The United Nations Office in Nairobi is the headquarters for the UN in Africa and the home of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). UNEP is responsible for coordinating the UN’s environmental activities and supports the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals by providing leadership and developing partnerships to manage the environment wisely. The themes UNEP focuses on are climate change, disasters and conflict, ecosystem management, effective management of the environment and chemicals, and waste management.

SI UN Representative, Mary Muia

Soroptimist International has four United Nations representatives in Nairobi: Mary Muia, Betty Olouch, Sophia Kipkoech, and Asha Abdulrahman. Through a gender lens, our representatives examine environmental issues, focusing on how women and girls are affected by environmental issues such as climate change, water and sanitation, sustainable farming, disaster risk management, and pollution, and advocate for the empowerment of women and girls across these themes.

The major meeting hosted by UNEP is the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) which now happens every 2 years (see lead image). The purpose of the meeting is to set priorities for global environmental policies and develop international environmental law. UNEA is the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment. Our team of representatives participates in the meetings leading up to UNEA, including the Committees of Permanent Representatives (CPR) meetings, and Sub-Committee meetings that take place regularly to inform the decisions made during UNEA. Working with the Women’s Major Group, SI makes oral statements and provides input to statements and reports. SI recently provided inputs to the Contribution of the United Nations Environment Assembly to the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, which is part of the report submitted for HLPF 2020. Soroptimist also provided suggestions for the theme of UNEA 5.

Preparations are currently underway for UNEA 5, which will take place in Nairobi from the 22-26 of February 2021. The theme of the next meeting is ‘Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals’ and will include discussions on these Agreed Action Areas:

1. Nature for Jobs and Economic Prosperity

2. Nature for Health

3. Nature for Climate

4. Nature for Sustainable Food Systems.

To inform their advocacy efforts, our UN representatives, draw on knowledge from SI’s grassroots projects from across the globe. The Sustainable Development Goals are not achievable without the meaningful inclusion of women and girls at all levels of environmental policy and decision making.

Click HERE to read the latest blogs from SI’s team of UN Representatives in Nairobi.


Be Involved

UNEA is currently hosting the Act #ForNature Forum which is in session THIS WEEK and has several meetings that can be joined remotely and are open to all. Follow the link to register.

Test your knowledge on the subject of biodiversity with UNEP’s World Environment Day Quiz.


Recommended Reading:

Soroptimist International’s ‘Where We Stand Statements’ on Climate ChangeWater and Sanitation, and Rural Women.

Click HERE to read SI’s blog celebrating World Environment Day.

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