Nairobi, Kenya. The 5th session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) has kicked off in Nairobi-Kenya on February 28, 2022, and ended on Friday, March 4, 2022. This Assembly is guided by the overall theme of “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals Global as the Global family demonstrates nature’s pivotal role in our lives and social, economic and environmental sustainable development.”
As an accredited faith-based organization at the UNEP, and as a follow-up to the XXVI General Chapter’s exhortation “to increase the congregational outreach and presence in Nairobi….to better address, the issues related to the environment” [QC 86], the Claretian Missionaries, recognize its prophetic duty to add its voice to the continuing solidarity efforts by multi-stakeholders in defence of the Mother Earth and the vulnerable people of God during this Environment Assembly.
It is for this reason that Bro. Robert Omondi, CMF (attending in-person), and Fr. Rohan Dominic, CMF (online attendance) are representing the Congregation during the five-day event with the Special Session devoted to the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the UN Environment Programme in 1972 (UNEP@50).
One of the highlights of the second day is the meeting between the Claretians and the leaders of the Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability in Africa (CYNESA), a platform for all young Catholics in Africa, promoting responsible stewardship of the environment. They were co-conveners of the INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON THE 4TH ANNIVERSARY OF LAUDATO SI’ in 2019.
The Claretians and CYNESA agreed to explore the following partnership pathways:
- To work on incorporating their robust Laudate Si training programs in our formation houses in the countries that they have a presence;
- Possible collaborative environmental ventures with the youth constituencies, including but not limited to organizing youth environmental assemblies [CLYEAF-Claretian environmental youth Forum];
- Possibilities studying best practices with an aim o forming a Claretian Youth Environmental Network [CLYEN]
On the third day, during the closing of UNEA 5.2, more than 3,400 in-person and 1,500 online participants from 175 UN Member States, including 79 ministers and 17 high-level officials, attended. To make it more symbolic, the Gavel, used on the opening and closing plenary sessions, was made from a local women-led plastic recycling enterprise from the open dumpsite of Dandora, one of the slums in Nairobi, Kenya.
Moreover, what makes this event unique is the passing of 14 resolutions and one ministerial declaration in a span of 3 days. The biggest win was on the resolutions UNEP/EA5/L6 and UNEP/EA5/L7, titled “End Plastic Pollution: Towards an internationally legally binding instrument” and “International Legal Instrument on Marine Plastic Pollution.”
Bro. Robert shared some of his learning as well as his suggestions and proposals for the Claretian Missionaries in genral:
- We can leverage on Faith for the earth as a viable entry point to start building a Claretian Green legacy;
- We need to start mapping out Claretian linked persons and collaborators with some of the best practices in environmental issues so that we can begin building a strong Claretian Coalition on Environment;
- To live our Claretian dream, we need to map out Claretian “owned or occupied territories” where we can construct a Claretian Environmental performance, monitoring and evaluation framework;
- There is a need to refocus on our formation houses, people, and territories too as a concrete way of pushing the environmental agenda from our homes before we go to our common home;
- There is a need for a popularizing branding initiative using t-shirts, banners etc. to start making our visibility felt at the local and international fora;
- We will need to pick up the resolutions at the UNEA 5.2 AND push it on as a flagship programme in our Organisms;
- We need to prepare for Cop 26 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
On the last day, aside from celebrating the 50th anniversary of UNEP, Bro. Robert met the organizer and founder of the World Citizen Assembly.
“While the process is demanding, we need to look for ways to make our grassroots communities be at the seat of decision making in the coming cop27 in Egypt. We have started an informal conversation in this regard as we await to hear from the CMF @UN on the same matter,” he said.
He also added that regarding “the wildfires in MICLA, ECLA and ACLA zones, we need to familiarise ourselves with this phenomenon to help the grassroots people on how best this can be tackled.”
And lastly, he pointed out that he “realized that most of the senior officials of World Environment Situation Room organization are from Latin America, especially Peru. We can propose creating a link with them to have an online senior on meta data with the Claretians of MICLA.”
(Article based on the daily report of Bro. Robert Omondi, CMF)