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April 24, 2024
You are currently viewing Multilateral efforts critical to curbing climate change, environmental pollution -U.S envoy

Multilateral efforts critical to curbing climate change, environmental pollution -U.S envoy

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By Mark Longyen

Jennifer Littlejohn, U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES), State Department, says multilateral efforts are critical to tackling global environmental pollution and climate change menace.

She made this known during a digital news conference on U.S. efforts to curb environmental challenges in Africa, on Tuesday in Accra, Ghana, ahead of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) slated for Nairobi, Kenya.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that participants at the digital news conference were drawn from various media organisations across Africa and the globe.

Littlejohn disclosed that air pollution was one of the primary objectives of the Nairobi UNEA, which the U.S. would advocate, stressing that the quality of air was critical to humans.

According to her, air pollution is the leading environmental risk to human health and, as such, the U.S. will introduce a resolution on air quality and build on UNEA resolutions 1/7 and 3/8. 

She said the event aimed to leverage expertise, re-energise the intention of prior resolutions, provide a platform to operationalise and drive multi-stakeholder actions that target the causes of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.  

She said: “Another area that we will focus on will be nature crimes.  And we’ll be launching something called the Nature Crime Alliance at UNEA, which I think will be something that we hope that you all will follow quite closely going forward.  

“The triple threats of the crises of biodiversity loss, pollution, and climate change are real, and it is so important that these stories are told – that the narratives get out there with accuracy, based on the science. 

“I’d say the main message I want to share with you today is that the United States is partnering with Ghana and countries across Africa to address these major challenges of our time — climate crisis, the biodiversity crisis, and the pollution crisis.”

The envoy said that the U.S. would work with African countries to build partnerships on science and space exploration, protect the ocean and environment, for the benefit of people all over the world.

She said the U.S. would also work with partners across the continent to address other key environmental issues like deforestation, plastic pollution and to promote a sustainable blue economy. 

Littlejohn said that Nigeria, Rwanda, Angola are all among the 35 countries around the world that have already signed on to the Artemis Accords, committing to make the space environment safer and more predictable. 

According to her, as African countries develop their space policy and capabilities, the U.S. also strongly encourages them to consider joining the Outer Space Treaty – the basis for international space law and for the Artemis Accords.

“We have made a lot of progress by working collaboratively. We are already making a difference, but we have so much work to do. The United States will continue to be a steadfast partner to countries across Africa on environmental and scientific issues.

“The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is supporting access to clean energy in Ghana through initiatives like supporting smallholder farmers to install solar-powered irrigation. 

“In addition, USAID provided technical assistance to the Bui Power hydro-solar plant.  The plant, the first of its kind in West Africa, will put Ghana on track to cut its power sector greenhouse gas emissions by 235,000 tons per year,” she said.

The envoy disclosed that the U.S. was also leading climate change financing and air pollution in collaboration with others to mitigate their negative effects, especially in the Horn of Africa.

“From the U.S. perspective, we have committed $2 billion in humanitarian assistance to respond to the drought in the Horn of Africa.  This would include about $356 million, specifically for Kenya in the past year. 

“We also allocated $45 million, including $20 million in supplemental funding, and this was funding development assistance to help Kenya address the current food security crisis.

“Air pollution more broadly is the fourth leading cause of premature death worldwide, and it’s responsible for nearly 7 million premature deaths, about $5 trillion in economic welfare losses, and $200 billion in productivity losses each year,” she added.(NAN) www.nannews.ng

Edited by Emmanuel Yashim

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