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Faith Nyasuguta 

Kenyan President Kenyatta has announced the creation of a new peace and environment award that seeks to recognize individuals and institutions that champion environmental sustainability and peace.

Dubbed “Amani and Mazingira Global Award”, the accolade was launched as part of the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Kenyatta said the bi-annual award, which will be sponsored by the Government and the people of Kenya, will come with a $20,000 (Sh2.2 million) cash prize and the first awardee will be announced during this year’s Madaraka Day celebrations on June 1st.

The president spoke on Thursday at the UNEP headquarters in Gigiri, Nairobi, when he presided over celebrations to mark the 50 anniversary of the global environment body.

Kenyatta lauded UNEP for boldly championing the global environment conservation agenda since its establishment in 1972.

In a bid to assure UNEP of Kenya’s commitment to environmental sustainability, Kenyatta said Kenya is proud to be the only UN headquarters in the global South, terming it an honor that the country appreciates and protects.

“Today, I am pleased to report that we will provide land for the development of humanitarian and logistics hubs in three locations in Kenya, namely Naivasha, Nairobi and Mombasa. We have further provided land for the creation of a diplomatic enclave adjacent to the United Nations Office at Nairobi complex,” President Kenyatta said.

Kenyatta also unveiled the commemorative plaque marking the fiftieth anniversary of UNEP.

He was accompanied by President Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi (Botswana) Muhammadu Buhari (Nigeria) Prime Minister of Central Africa Republic, Felix Moloua, and UNEP Executive Director Inger Anderson.

President Kenyatta unveiled the commemorative plaque marking the fiftieth anniversary of UNEP /Courtesy/

Kenyatta’s announcement came a few hours after the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly made a historic decision after it agreed to develop a legally binding treaty to end plastic pollution.

The treaty became one of the world’s most ambitious environmental actions since the 1989 Montreal Protocol which effectively phased out ozone-depleting substances.

Following the adoption of the draft resolution on plastics, an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee will now be formed to kick-start work towards a global and legally binding agreement to address plastic menace.

The legally binding instrument on plastic was among a series of draft resolutions on biodiversity and health, green economy, and circularity.

The Assembly also considered other critical issues, including ecosystem-based approaches and biodiversity, green recovery and circular economy, and chemical waste and nitrogen management.

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Faith Nyasuguta