The UN Environment Assembly, the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment, gathers in Nairobi, Kenya, from 4-6 December 2017 under the overarching theme of pollution, and more specifically Water Pollution, Land Pollution, Marine Pollution, Air Pollution, and Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste. SI President Mariet Verhoef-Cohen, is in attendance, together with SI UN Representatives Alice Odingo, Rose Mwangi, Beatrice Oluoch, Sophia Kipkoech and Mary Muia, where the critical environmental challenges facing the world will be discussed.
Pollution presents a major threat to health and wellbeing:
- Roughly one in four deaths of children under five years of age, attributed to pollution
- Seven million people die prematurely because of poor air quality
- 8 billion people exposed to contaminated drinking water annually
- 600,000 children develop intellectual disabilities every year because of exposure to lead
- 25 million agricultural workers worldwide experience unintentional pesticide poisoning each year
UN Environment is calling on governments, businesses and civil society groups to join the fight to beat pollution. If you would like to make a difference, sign the #BeatPollution pledge and find out how you can reduce your carbon footprint.
SI President Mariet Verhoef-Cohen participated in an event on 5 December to mark World Soil Day. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO):
- Soil holds three times as much carbon as the atmosphere and can help us meet the challenges of a changing climate
- 815 million people are food insecure and 2 billion people are nutritionally insecure, but we can mitigate this through soil.
- 95% of our food comes from soil
- 33% of our global soils are already degraded
In SI President Mariet’s presentation, she spoke of ensuring women’s empowerment and engagement at all levels of the water sector, whilst encouraging their efforts to reach their potential as agents of change. Involving both women and men in decision-making and integrated water resources initiatives leads to better sustainability, governance and efficiency. Women should be seen as key allies and the access to sustainable behavioural change in the water dimensions of climate adaptation.