New Years was recently celebrated. I bet you made a few resolutions, in case you did not, there is still room. Though a little late, I can attest that I made a resolution in the year 2017 to cross the formidable gates of the United Nations headquarters here in Nairobi, Kenya. Now I can gladly say that that I did achieve this by attending the United Nations Environment Assembly 3 (UNEA 3). UNEA 3 is an assembly involving the dialogue amongst different member states representatives. Last year’s UNEA 3 brought not only international partners and stakeholders to have a meeting, it also gave room to nationals in Kenya to showcase some of their innovative sustainable technological innovations. Further to this, the youth were not left out from being present during dialogues.
The Assembly aimed to deliver a number of tangible commitments to end the pollution of our air, land, waterways, and oceans, and to safely manage our chemicals and waste. The outcome included the signing of political declarations on pollution, linked to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to signal that humanity can work together to eliminate the threat of pollution and the destruction of our planet. The adoption of resolutions and decisions a Member States to address specific dimensions of pollution. Also voluntary commitments by Governments, private sector entities and civil society organizations to clean up the planet. Not forgetting commitment towards The #BeatPollution Pledge, which involved a collection of individual commitments to clean up the planet.
I found out about UNEA 3 through my interest in sustainability and the law in general. After holding my first campaign as a campus coordinator for the Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth. I decided to take heart and actually achieve my year’s resolution before too late being to attend a session at the UN headquarters in my country of citizenship. This required me taking liberty and initiative to use my skills to conduct research hence coming across the invitation to attend. After furnishing myself with all necessary documentation through assistance from SDSN Youth I was of course, able to make a proper application and register for the event hence, be granted entrance.
In all my years, attending UNEA 3 is the most formidable achievement I have been granted not only due to my personal career goals. However, because I was awarded to interact with the “untouchables”. Through my attendance, I was able to gain educational opportunities thus, learn how both developed and developing countries conduct their negotiations on the ground. The effort, time and energy it takes to hold such events. Not forgetting the need for experts who are called from time to time to give interpretations. Moreso, I was able to network with professionals from different fields both national, regional and international it is not often that such do opportunities arise for a youth. Last but not least, I also encountered several vendors and suppliers who were showcasing their innovative technological advancements hence expand my knowledge and find solutions to problems at hand that my campus is facing in attaining sustainability.
Since my attendance, I have been able to come up with a team of interested youths with whom I have been able to have deliberative and conclusive meetings with since 2018 began. Hence attaining a newly set resolution before the beginning of our operations. Being to train other youths who are interested in not only understanding the UN system but, also the attainment of the SDGs.
Currently, we are the beginning of February 2018. All I can ask you, reader, is what is your resolution this year? Does it at least have one connection to sustainability? In case not, what are you doing about it?
Olive Mumbo is the Kenyan Campus Coordinator representative for Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth and Strathmore Business School - Centre for Sustainability in Leadership. She is a final year law student awaiting to graduate from Strathmore University. She is currently pursuing a part time legal internship at Ogera and Mugo Advocates (a Kenyan Law Firm). Olive's numerous passions include taking up initiatives related to Sustainable Development Goals and promoting the rule of Law. With her current post, skills and keen interest for diversity she intends to involve the Kenyan youth within her campus and beyond in decision making and planning in SDGs in the country.