efe-epaNairobi

The Fourth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) held in the Kenyan capital has reached a provisional general agreement to end marine pollution, although the issue of global deforestation remained unaddressed and renewable energy initiatives for Africa were also not finalized.

The marine agreement, which still needs to be signed, is set to come into force in 2030, and aims to end marine pollution caused by plastics and micro-plastics, according to the leadership of the assembly who met in Nairobi.

The outgoing president of the UNEA, Siim Kiisler - Estonia's Environmental minister - said he was happy the anti-marine pollution agreement was coming to fruition, despite the assembly pushing back by five years the deal's starting year as the original plan had been slated to come into effect in 2025.

Kiisler, as well as the acting executive director of UN Environment, Joyce Msuya, and Norway's Minister of Environment Ola Evestuen, all expressed regret that an agreement on global deforestation did not come out of UNEA-4.

Hinting at the need to be politically savvy, Kiisler said he could not confirm nor deny the claims that countries like Brazil and the United States had hindered a final assembly agreement on issues such as deforestation.

Brazil's Minister of Environment, Ricardo Salles, said Thursday that Brazil could not support nor sign agreements that could go against the legislation in his country, since Brazil allows a large amount of logging, a percentage higher than many other countries.

The Brazilian Forest Code, first passed in 1965, allows Brazilian property owners to deforest 20 percent of their land and protect the remaining 80 percent of forests as legal reserves.

Regarding the development of renewable energy in Africa, Msuya said that while there were several promising projects on the continent, these projects need to be pushed forward.

Msuya explained that there was progress during the Thursday sessions of the One Planet summit - held with the assistance of French President Emmanuel Macron before the UNEA-4 meetings - in financing many projects for the promotion of renewable energies in Africa.

The new president of the assembly is to organize the next UNEA-5 and determine its theme, Msuya said.

As agreed at the UNEA-3, the fifth assembly, will likely take place again in Nairobi in the last week of Feb. 2021.