Environment ministers and high-level officials from Latin America and the Caribbean, of which many countries form part of the Commonwealth network, convened in Bogotá, Colombia on October 10-13, 2017 to reaffirm their commitment to a “pollution-free planet” at the XX Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of Environment
Environment ministers and high-level officials from Latin America and the Caribbean, of which many countries form part of the Commonwealth network, convened in Bogotá, Colombia on October 10-13, 2017 to reaffirm their commitment to a “pollution-free planet” at the XX Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of Environment.
They went over environmental initiatives during a regional consultation for the third United Nations Environment Assembly, which will take place in Nairobi, Kenya from 4-6 December, 2017.
Delegates met to discuss eradicating all forms of pollution and advocated a Ministerial Declaration on pollution and health concerns.
Representatives reviewed the progress of regional initiatives adopted in the Forum’s previous meeting in Cartagena, Colombia in 2016.
Progress had been made, including advancements in environmental education, reduction of air pollution, sustainable consumption, production and development, public participation and justice in environmental matters.
Suggestions for further improvements included developing institutional capacity and technical assistance to address regionally-specific challenges for sustainable development and strengthening environmental information systems for use in regional policy and decision making.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, 100 million people are estimated to live in areas susceptible to air pollution, increasing their risk of respiratory disease and other health issues, and over 25 million people are dealing with polluted water.
Regional Director of UN Environment Leo Heileman recognised the two regions faced long term challenges in climate change and marine pollution, but called on other countries to replicate their ambitious initiatives to combat poverty and establish sustainable development opportunities.
Commonwealth member Barbados will play a central role in the upcoming UN Environment Assembly, as their Minister of Environment and Drainage, Dennis Lowe, is one of the session’s Vice Presidents.
Assembly President and Minister of Environment and Energy for Costa Rica, Edgar Gutiérrez Espeleta, said: “Pollution destroys ecosystems and hampers economic growth. It is an obstacle to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
“The voice of Latin America and the Caribbean and of all regions is critical to effectively deliver on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda.”