(L-R): Eric Schauls; Sébstien Kieffer; Minister Serge Wilmes; Thomas Schoos; Jimmy Skenderovic; Credit: MECB

Luxembourg's Minister of Environment, Climate and Biodiversity, Serge Wilmes, was in Nairobi, Kenya, from Tuesday 27 February to Friday 1 March 2024 as part of the 6th session of the United Nations Assembly for the environment (UNEA-6).

The UNEA is the most important body for global environmental issues and comprises 193 member states. It defines the agenda and policy responses to environmental challenges, promotes international partnerships and aims to mobilise resources to achieve environmental objectives.

This 6th session aimed to strengthen the necessary synergies between the various Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and the activities of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), with the aim of responding effectively to the triple planetary crisis of change: climate, loss of biodiversity and pollution. Despite protracted negotiations, the results of UNEA-6 remain mixed, highlighting the need for increased engagement in the future to address global challenges.

For Luxembourg, this assembly was also an opportunity to interact with many ambitious actors to strengthen bilateral partnerships and coordinate common efforts in the fight against the triple planetary crisis.

During two ministerial events organised by the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution and the Government of Canada, on 28 February, Minister Wilmes reaffirmed Luxembourg's ambition and commitment to achieve a robust and effective treaty, aiming to eliminate plastic pollution by 2040. These statements were made in view of the next negotiating session of the future global treaty on plastic pollution taking place in Canada in April 2024.

A highlight of the Luxembourg delegation's mission was the signing of an innovative initiative entitled “Resilient Landscapes Luxembourg”, in partnership with CIFOR-ICRAF, dated 28 February 2024. This initiative aims to mobilise private funds for projects focused on implementing nature-based solutions. The Ministry of Environment, Climate and Biodiversity recognises the importance of increased private sector participation, supported by relevant scientific data, to guide investment decisions.

Furthermore, the meeting between Minister Wilmes and the Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Dr. Grethel Aguilar, made it possible to discuss the role of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg as a financier in a major part of this intergovernmental organisation. Dr. Aguilar outlined her vision for reforming her organisation to adapt to present and future challenges; partners discussed the role that IUCN plays in the policy ecosystem and opportunities for enhanced cooperation in the area of green and innovative financing, particularly in nature-based solutions.

Another important moment was the exchange betwee Minister Wilmes and his Cape Verdean counterpart, Gilberto Silva, Minister of Agriculture and the Environment. This meeting highlighted the close cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the field of climate action, where Luxembourg supports climate adaptation projects on five different islands, and contributes to establishing solid national climate governance.

Furthermore, during a meeting with the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Tatiana Molcean, on 29 February 2024, the Luxembourg delegation underlined its continued support for the valuable work of UNECE. Discussions focused on topics such as the management of transboundary water resources, access to environmental information and air pollution.

The bilateral meeting between Minister Wilmes and the Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Elizabeth Mrema, held on 1 March, provided an opportunity to take stock of the innovative cooperation between Luxembourg and UNEP, as well as on the preparation of the Conference of the Parties on Biological Diversity (CBD COP16) which will be held in Colombia in October.

Finally, the Luxembourg delegation took the opportunity to meet the UNEP team working on the flagship project financed by Luxembourg “Vanishing Treasures”. The minister spoke with the team about their daily work and was able to witness the progress of the project since its launch in 2018.