Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke represents the German government at UNEA-6 in Nairobi

Steffi Lemke
Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke is visiting Nairobi to represent Germany at UNEA-6. At the assembly, the Minister will push for sound global water resources management and sustainable chemicals management.

The sixth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) will take place from 26 February to 1 March in Kenya

Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke is visiting Nairobi, Kenya from 26 February to 1 March to represent Germany at UNEA-6. At the assembly, the Minister will push for sound global water resources management, sustainable chemicals management and increasing responsible resource management. A planned resolution will call on all countries to protect, restore and monitor their water resources. The Global Framework on Chemicals, which was recently adopted at the fifth session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5) in Bonn under German Presidency, will also be highlighted as a prominent part of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The framework aims to ensure safer chemicals and waste management worldwide. UNEA is the world’s top decision-making body for environmental matters and acts as the world’s main platform for tackling the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke commented: "All over the world, we are now feeling the catastrophic impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, and the poorest people are usually the first to be affected. UNEA is the most important global forum for cooperation on smart and effective environmental policy to improve quality of life for many people and preserve our natural foundations of life for future generations. I am committed to ensuring better protection for our global resources, safer management of hazardous chemicals and waste and the promotion of effective circular economy so that we conserve resources. Our current throwaway mentality is not a viable model for the future."

The participating countries will negotiate more than 20 resolutions at UNEA-6. The Federal Environment Ministry is, for example, working to ambitiously implement the outcomes of the 2023 UN Water Conference at global level, with UNEP playing a key role. The Federal Environment Ministry’s National Water Strategy is a national contribution on the issue.

During UNEA, sustainable chemicals management will also be highlighted as a more prominent part of the programme of work for UNEP. This will reflect the outcomes of ICCM5, which took place last year in Bonn under German Presidency. The Federal Environment Ministry is also holding an official side event on this issue at UNEA-6. The aim is to make chemicals and waste management safer around the world, including phasing out the most hazardous chemicals as far as possible and finding alternatives. With regard to circular economy, the Federal Environment Ministry is also advocating for an ambitious resolution aimed at conserving our natural resources worldwide. The German government is already working on its National Circular Economy Strategy.

In the run-up to the session, Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke is visiting three sustainable development projects in Kenya:

The FairChain Kenya coffee roasting plant is an example of how to support deforestation-free supply chains. It sources its coffee beans from smallholder cooperatives practising sustainable cultivation and pays them directly. It also supports farmers in transitioning to organic cultivation by providing them with organic fertiliser.  Instead of selling the raw product, the company sells roasted coffee for distribution in Kenya and the Netherlands. The project is a recipient of interest-free loans from the Rebuild Facility, funded by the IKI Fast Track Green Recovery & COVID-19 Response Package 2020.

The Jacaranda Water Treatment Plant aims to enable the sustainable and equitable use of clean water and basic sanitation by the residents in the urban and outskirt areas it supports. Water resources will be protected in the process. The expansion of the water treatment plant was carried out in cooperation with the Ruiru-Juja Water & Sewerage Company through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development’s financial cooperation project "Support to water and sanitation services in peri-urban areas", which has been implemented by KfW since 2015 and is now coming to an end.

In the recycling plant of the Kenyan social enterprise, the WEEE Centre, old electronics are assessed for reuse, harmful substances are removed and components, such as copper wires, are processed to recover useful material.

The WEEE Centre was supported from March 2022 until August 2023 as part of the GIZ e-waste project. The aim was to create local employment opportunities and strengthen Kenya’s efforts to recycle electrical and electronic waste by imparting specialist knowledge on its proper management. This cooperation recently won the European Training Foundation’s Green Skills Award (ETF) for its training in the area of recycling.


The 193 member states of the United Nations form UNEA-6. UNEA sets priorities for global environmental policy and international environmental law. It promotes partnerships with a view to achieving environmental goals. The motto of this year’s assembly is: Effective, inclusive and sustainable multilateral actions to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. Morocco holds the Presidency this year at UNEA-6. UNEP is headquartered in Nairobi.

26.02.2024 | Press release No. 023/24 | International

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