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The Fifth United Nations Environment Assembly

The Fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) is taking place in Nairobi, which, as the highest global environmental body, sets priorities for global environmental policy and international environmental law. Due to the pandemic, the assembly will be held in two parts. The first part will be held in the form of a virtual meeting on 22 and 23 February 2021 and the second part is expected to take place as a physical meeting in February 2022 in Kenya. Andrej Vizjak, Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning, delivered a video address at the assembly.

The title of the assembly is “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”. It calls for enhanced measures to protect and restore nature and natural solutions to achieve the goals of sustainable development in three complementary dimensions: social, economic and environmental. UNEA-5 is committed to taking ambitious steps towards a better and greener future, ensuring that investment in economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic contributes to sustainable development. The meeting provides a platform for Member States and stakeholders to exchange and implement successful approaches that contribute to the environmental dimension of the 2030 United Nations Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, including sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Due to the pandemic, this year's session will only address the medium-term strategy, the work programme and the budget of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for the period 2022-2025. Substantive motions for United Nations resolutions are planned for the second part of the session, scheduled for February 2022. Slovenia will also take an active part in the preparations for the adoption of resolutions in the negotiations for their adoption, especially as the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of 2021.

This year's virtual session includes a ministerial dialogue, for which a video address was also recorded by the Minister of the Environment and Spatial Planning, Andrej Vizjak. In his address, he emphasises the opportunity to invest in a green recovery that will enable sustainable growth and new job creation. The recovery needs to focus on low-carbon, circular investment and digitisation, as circular economy models can significantly reduce the use of resources, energy and waste, thus reducing CO2 emissions. To this end, Slovenia is preparing a plan of concrete measures for the systemic transformation into a low-carbon circular economy, which includes all key government sectors.

The Minister concluded his address with the thought that we live in a time of crisis, but also in a time of opportunity where action and recovery after a pandemic can bring double benefits to both the economy and the environment.