UNDP, Kuwait celebrate World Environment Day, focus on wildlife protection

By Hani Al-Bahrani

KUWAIT, June 5 (KUNA) — The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Kuwait’s General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development (GSSCPD) held a discussion panel to mark the World Environment Day, coinciding on June 5.
The UNDP and the Council, together with Kuwait Environmental Protection Agency (KEPA) held the panel with a focus on sustainable development and protection of wildlife.
The discussion served as a communications’ outreach activity to inform the Kuwaiti public about the serious issues and as an advocacy event to promote KEPA and Kuwait’s leadership role in the region.
It also saw the participation of Sheikh Mubarak Fahad Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah as a civil society advocate, which underscored the importance of a full society approach to achieving the Sustainable Development Agenda, the UNDP said in a statement.
In his input, Sheikh Mubarak clarified why wildlife protection was a cause that should be supported by the Kuwaiti public and explained the role played by civil society to support national efforts to implement wildlife protections.
On her part, panelist UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative Zineb Touimi-Benjelloun, during her input, focused on the theme “Zero tolerance for the illegal trade in wildlife” and how having a collaborative approach would facilitate and strengthen determinations to combat illegal trade of wildlife and preserve the environment.
Meanwhile, Dr. Khaled Mahdi, Secretary General of the GSSCPD, discussed the importance of environmental sustainability in the National Development Plan, noting some achievements of Kuwait in the protection of biodiversity through shedding the light on legislations and policies recently passed.
He also noted that Kuwait was in the process of analyzing the alignment between its Plan and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to identify priorities for the country’s national development; indicating the next steps towards the collaboration with UNDP to support the implementation of the plan.
On his part, Sheikh Abdullah Ahmad Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, Director General and CEO of KEPA and Head of Kuwait’s delegation to the second session of UN Environment Assembly (UNEA 2), discussed the outcomes of UNEA 2 and Kuwait’s leadership role in protecting wildlife in Kuwait and abroad through strategic collaborations with key government entities.
International advocacy was reiterated through the Ambassador of Kenya Ali Abbas Ali referred to his country’s environmental and cultural heritage; the importance of protecting the rich natural resource for future generations; and outlining why it was important for Kenya to host UNEA 2. Nairobi hosted the Assembly on May 23-27.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s Ambassador MP Bona focused on the importance of wildlife tourism to the country’s economy as a major contributor to job creations and income generation.
The Panel discussion concluded with Dima Al-Khatib, Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in Kuwait, who linked the local agenda of wildlife protection in Kuwait by framing wildlife protection in the context of Agenda 2030 and highlighting UNDP’s commitments to support the State of Kuwait in this regard. (end) hb