UNEA daily monitor is powered by The Youth Cafe’s delegates attending the fourth UN Environment Assembly. The newsletter tracks the most important negotiations and events and delivers the daily news through the lense of young people.
The theme of the 4th UN Environment Assembly, Innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production, highlights the importance of science and technology in the work of UN Environment. Science propels innovation, while the negative impacts of unsustainable production and consumption can only be effectively mitigated or reversed by decisive science-based leadership and policy making.
In current discussion at UNEA, there is a strong focus on technological innovation and business opportunities. This might come at the risk of neglecting the role of independent science in testing and proving environmentally clean innovative technology. The primary goal of the Major Group Science and Technology is to apply science and technology to the benefit of human health and the environment. For instance, the group supports a binding international treaty, informed by the best available scientific research, on marine plastic litter and microplastics.
New approaches to transforming consumption and production patterns are needed that embrace cultural, economic, and political shifts towards human and ecological wellbeing. These approaches would involve new infrastructure design and deep reforms in governance arrangements, financial institutions, lifestyles, social and economic relations, and business models.
Further, knowledge produced by both natural and social sciences is necessary to identify, assess and monitor new technologies for their environmental and social impacts, along the whole life cycle/value chain in a holistic and integrated way while applying the precautionary principle.
The Major Group emphasizes the value of scientific exchange and rapid technology transfer from the global North to South, the use of traditional and indigenous knowledge, and South-South mobility of scientists and engineers, all based on request-driven demands from the South.
In today’s interconnected world, citizen science has emerged to increase scale and resolution and to facilitate community-based scientific solutions, by emphasizing collaborative intelligence and co-creation across cultures and worldviews while integrating local, traditional and indigenous knowledge.
While the engagement of the Major Group with the Science-Policy-Business forum has remained limited, the group continues its proactive engagement with the UNEP Science Division in the Global Environmental Outlook.
The Group also looks forward to working with the Chief Scientist of UN Environment, and supporting the joint consultative process under the draft resolution on strengthening the international science-policy interface on chemicals and waste.
UNEA 4 must ensure the full engagement of the global scientific community, including scientists from the developing world and citizen scientists- so that no scientist is left behind.