Interview: UNEP official says China’s function essential to reshaping international surroundings agenda

NAIROBI, March 10 (Xinhua) — China will be an influential player in future efforts to reshape the global environmental agenda thanks to its focused leadership coupled with enactment of policies that have reinvigorated green growth, a senior official at the UN Environment has said.

Joyce Msuya, acting executive director of the UN Environment, said that China’s home-grown interventions that have transformed management of natural resources amid rapid economic growth is an inspiration to the rest of the world.

“China has a lot to offer in terms of lessons, for example on how the government set up policies to address the issue of pollution, the PM 2.5… These are the kinds of lessons and experiences we are looking to share with other countries that are undergoing similar challenges,” Msuya said in a recent interview with Xinhua ahead of the fourth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA4).

The assembly is slated for March 11-15 in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

More than 2,000 delegates, including environment ministers, scientists, industry leaders and green campaigners, will attend the five-day forum whose theme will be “Innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production.”

Msuya said UNEA4 will provide a platform for the international community to chart a new path characterized by low-carbon development and efficient use of natural resources.

“It is exciting times. Climate change, biodiversity, issues around sustainable production and consumption will be discussed at the highest political level in Nairobi,” she said.

The Tanzanian diplomat said climate change has taken a heavier toll on the African continent, where it is decimating vital ecosystems and strategic sectors of the economy.

“Impact of climate change in Africa varies from one place to another, but it is being felt in tourism, agriculture, biodiversity and wildlife corridors,” Msuya said.

The international community has partnered with African countries to enhance their resilience to negative impacts of climate change, she said.

Msuya said China’s robust engagement in the multilateral environmental regime, coupled with its economic muscle, will be key to addressing pressing challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss and waste that have disproportionately affected developing countries.

“China is a key global economic powerhouse right now, the second largest in the world,” she said. “The population of China, 1.3 billion people, is absolutely central to address any environmental challenges in the globe.”

“We look to working with all member states including China on environmental challenges,” Msuya said.

“We continue to engage and look forward to learning from what China will do in both pollution, biodiversity but also waste management and chemical use,” she said.

China’s rapid transition from hydrocarbons to renewable energy sources has provided inspiration to developing countries grappling with negative impacts of climate change, Msuya said.

“The direction China is taking in reassessing sources of energy is positive,” she said, adding that engagement of local communities to clean up rivers in different Chinese provinces is an initiative worth replicating in other parts of the world.

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