Triple planetary crisis must be addressed say environment ministers

Governments across Latin America and the Caribbean have unveiled a ten year plan to fight the threat of climate change and pollution following a meeting of senior ministers.

The meeting which coincided with the 40th anniversary of the Forum of Ministers of Environment of the region was designed to accelerate multilateral action in the face of the “triple planetary crisis” of climate change, biodiversity loss and the pollution and waste crisis.

More than 17 delegations headed by environment ministers and six delegations participated in the Forum in San José, Costa Rica. The aim was to agree ways in which they can promote the integrated implementation of the multilateral environmental agreement.

“As this region deals with the triple planetary crisis, our vulnerabilities are exposed, and we must commit ourselves to accelerating action towards meeting the Agenda 2030. Solidarity pushes us to greater efforts in finding better solutions to pollution, climate change and biodiversity loss to truly transform societies and economies,” said Andrea Meza, minister of environment and energy of Costa Rica and current president of the Forum.

“In 2022, the United Nations is calling on all sectors to enter in emergency mode with regards to the environmental crises facing the planet,” said Jacqueline Álvarez, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) regional director in Latin America and the Caribbean. “Our countries face enormous challenges to solve these crises and protect their peoples, particularly the most vulnerable. This regional forum is a platform for action-oriented cooperation that UNEP has proudly served since its inception.”

Among the elements under discussion was the negotiation of several resolutions to be presented to UNEA-5, such as one on nature-based solutions, and another one on the possible establishment of an intergovernmental negotiating committee to create a global binding agreement on plastic pollution. Together, Peru and Rwanda are proposing this resolution, joined by Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and others.

Ministers and high-level representatives defined measures towards the implementation of the regional Action Plan for the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration – the first of its kind worldwide -, and mechanisms to increase funds for climate adaptation in the region, which holds some of the most vulnerable countries to climate change.

UNEP’s Adaptation Gap Report 2021 found that there is an urgent need to step up climate adaptation finance. Estimated adaptation costs in developing countries are five to ten times greater than current public adaptation finance flows, and the adaptation finance gap is widening, the report states.

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