UN Members Killed in Ethiopian Plane Crash Headed to 4th UN Environment Assembly
The Fourth UN Environment Assembly began in Nairobi Monday with a moment of silence for the victims of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines ET302 that killed 157 people on Sunday, including 22 UN staff members, the UN Environment Program (UNEP) reported.
Some of those killed in the crash has been traveling to the assembly, which is the largest ever gathering of the world's top environmental decision-making organization. Among the dead were youth delegates, scientists and academics, UN Environment Acting Executive Director Joyce Msuya said in a statement.
"The environmental community is in mourning today," Msuya said.
The environmental community is in mourning today. As we begin the fourth UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, we cam… https://t.co/1x9Ojgf6hw— Joyce Msuya (@Joyce Msuya)1552294746.0
The deadly crash occurred minutes after the plane took off from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia Sunday morning en route to Nairobi, The Guardian reported. Everyone on board was killed. The tragedy raised safety concerns about the plane's model, a Boeing 737 Max 8, a new design that was involved in a similar crash in Indonesia in October 2018.
A UNEP staff member told AFP that the agency was "still trying to consolidate" the number of UN workers who had died.
Among those lost was Victor Shangai Tsang, who was the UNEP Policy Officer on Sustainable Development and had been with the program since 2015. His last professional act had been to work to promote the Sustainable Development Goals Innovation Talks at the assembly. He also worked on issues of gender equality.
"He represented the best in all of us, and we will miss him terribly," a UNEP statement said.
.@UNEnvironment is devastated to announce the loss of our dear friend and colleague Victor Tsang in the crash of th… https://t.co/kP4cR9e1cM— Joyce Msuya (@Joyce Msuya)1552321820.0
The tragedy cast a pall over the opening proceedings. The UN flag was lowered to half-mast, and the country flags were removed, UNEP reported.
"In the wake of this tragedy, it has been difficult to navigate how to proceed without showing disrespect to the many lives lost yesterday," Acting Director-General of UN Office in Nairobi and Executive Director of UN-Habitat Maimunah Sharif said. "I want to assure you all however, that as the day and week unfolds, and the world's global environmental leaders meet to discuss the future of our planet, we will not forget this tragedy, nor those that perished with it."
Opening of #UNEA4 by Minister Siim Kiisler & my colleague to be @JoyceMsuya. A sad day following yesterday’s terrib… https://t.co/GbYVTCwskp— Inger Andersen (@Inger Andersen)1552291117.0
As the assembly began, one major theme to emerge was the need to address plastic pollution, AFP reported. The world currently produces more than 300 million tonnes (approximately 331 million U.S. tons) of plastic every year, and scientists say at least five trillion pieces of it are floating in the oceans. The UN wants countries to set ambitious targets to reduce plastic manufacturing and phase out single-use plastics by 2030, in an effort modeled after the Paris agreement to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
"In the field of (plastic) pollution we don't have such agreements," UN Environment Assembly President and Estonia's Environment Minister Siim Kiisler told members of the press, as AFP reported. "This is the first time (we have) to convince member states to make international commitments."
Msuya urged delegates to be "optimistic and bold" and work towards the goals of reducing fossil fuel use by 80 percent and creating an almost zero waste economy, both by 2050, according to UNEP.
"[We need to] transform the way our economies work ... break the link between growth and increased resource use, and end our throwaway culture," Msuya said, as AFP reported.
- The Victims of the Ethiopia Plane Crash - The New York Times ›
- Georgetown Law student among the victims in Ethiopian plane crash ›
- Ethiopia plane crash: what we know about the disaster so far – video ... ›
- Ethiopian Airlines plane crash prompts grounding of many Boeing ... ›
- Ethiopian Airlines plane crash: Live updates - CNN ›
- Singapore Will Plant One Million Trees by 2030 - EcoWatch ›
- Australia to Build the World's Largest Solar Farm to Power Singapore ›
- Giant Water Battery Cuts University's Energy Costs by $100 Million ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Tara Lohan
In 1999 a cheering crowd watched as a backhoe breached a hydroelectric dam on Maine's Kennebec River. The effort to help restore native fish populations and the river's health was hailed as a success and ignited a nationwide movement that spurred 1,200 dam removals in two decades.
Transmission lines from the Churchill Falls generating station in Labrador. Douglas Spott / CC BY-NC 2.0
Atlantic sturgeon were brought to the brink of extension in the 20th century and are now are listed as an endangered species. NOAA
Near Happy Valley-Goose Bay on the Churchill (Grand) River downstream from Muskrat Falls. Douglas Sprott / CC BY-NC 2.0
Construction of the Site C dam in British Columbia in 2017. Jason Woodhead / CC BY 2.0
The Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island is the first U.S. offshore wind farm. Dennis Schroeder / NREL / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
We pet owners know how much you love your pooch. It's your best friend. It gives you pure happiness and comfort when you're together. But there are times that dogs can be very challenging, especially if they are suffering from a certain ailment. As a dog owner, all you want to do is ease whatever pain or discomfort your best friend is feeling.
The excess carbon dioxide emitted by human activity since the start of the industrial revolution has already raised the Earth's temperature by more than one degree Celsius, increased the risk of extreme hurricanes and wildfires and killed off more than half of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef. But geologic history shows that the impacts of greenhouse gases could be much worse.
- Earth Is Hurtling Towards a Catastrophe Worse Than the Dinosaur ... ›
- Are We Doomed If We Don't Curb Carbon Emissions by 2030 ... ›
- Humans Release 40 to 100x More CO2 Than Volcanoes, Major ... ›
By Teri Schultz
Europe is in a panic over the second wave of COVID-19, with infection rates sky-rocketing and GDP plummeting. Belgium has just announced it will no longer test asymptomatic people, even if they've been in contact with someone who has the disease, because the backlog in processing is overwhelming. Other European countries are also struggling to keep up testing and tracing.
Meanwhile in a small cabin in Helsinki airport, for his preferred payment of a morsel of cat food, rescue dog Kossi needs just a few seconds to tell whether someone has coronavirus.