Barbados, through its Ministry of Environment and National Beautification, has joined forces with the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, to organise the first ever virtual Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean, in January 2021.
The XXII Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean takes place from January 18 to 19, and will see Latin America and the region addressing pressing environmental issues, opportunities for green recovery, and urgent actions for nature in the next decade to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing restrictions to prevent the further transmission of the virus, the virtual format was agreed upon with Barbados, as the current president of the forum, leading the charge.
Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Adrian Forde, who chairs the XXII Meeting of the Forum said: “This pandemic has proved that the equilibrium of our ecosystems is impacted by the way we use our natural resources. We can still build a sustainable future for Latin America and the Caribbean, and I call on the Ministers of the region to support the bold commitments we need to ensure just that.”
The Environment Ministers are expected to discuss, among other things, the transition to a circular economy; the agenda on the closure of open dumpsites; air pollution; climate action; environmental justice and governance; gender and environment; the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS); and the importance of building back better and greener in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, UNEP’s Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Leo Heileman added: “The world is facing a defining moment. While countries all over the world are preparing recovery plans, we are entering a new, critical decade in which we must deliver a final push to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement, and a new and ambitious biodiversity framework. I trust that this regional meeting will be a step forward in the path towards a brighter and sustainable future.”
The Forum of Ministers will also prepare the region’s contributions to the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly, which will take place in 2021.
The Assembly, the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment, will be held under the overarching theme: Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Forum of Ministers of Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean was established in 1982 and is the oldest and most relevant cooperation body for environmental authorities in the region.
UNEP is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment through inspiring, informing and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
For more information on the upcoming XXII Meeting of the Forum of Ministers of Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean, persons may contact UNEP’s Head of Communication for Latin America and the Caribbean, María Amparo Lasso, at firstname.lastname@example.org.