Towards the 4th UN Environment Assembly | March 2019 | Nairobi, Kenya

The Life Cycle Initiative is preparing for the fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA4) that will take place in Nairobi in March 2019, and which will address life cycle approaches as one of the focus areas to deliver “innovative solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable consumption and production”.

Since it was created in the Rio+20 conference back in 2012, the UNEA is the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment. With a universal membership, UNEA is now composed of 193 Member States. Already in its second session, the participating governments adopted a resolution on Sustainable Consumption and Production (Resolution 2/8), which “Encourages all Member States, as well as other relevant stakeholders, to move towards sustainable consumption and production patterns, while taking into account national development priorities, policies and strategies, and to collaborate to promote life-cycle approaches” (among others). The consideration of life cycle approaches as a focus area at UNEA4 should generate:

  • Higher awareness among Member States of the central role life cycle approaches can and should play to support science-based decision-making for sustainable consumption and production
  • Clear resolutions calling for UN Environment and other stakeholders to develop the enabling conditions for life cycle approaches to be globally more applicable (e.g. through data, agreed methodologies and impact indicators, capacity…), and for resources to be made available for it.
  • Strong examples shared from multiple constituencies (Science, Business, Policy) on the advantages of using life cycle approaches to inform environmental decisions.
  • Enhanced capacity among Member States representatives on the use of life cycle approaches for resource efficiency and energy, chemicals and waste management.

How the global life cycle community can get involved

UNEA4 having life cycle approaches as a focus area is already a significant first step. Now we need the global life cycle community to take advantage of this opportunity and “make some noise” about how life cycle thinking will help us achieve the Sustainable Development Goals faster and more efficiently by focusing the attention on the biggest drivers of impact (hotspots) and the potential trade-offs generated by each alternative. You can do so by:

  • reaching out to your own governments to find out what they are doing in terms of using life cycle approaches in public policies.
  • sharing your success stories through the Life Cycle Initiative:
    • where have life cycle approaches have enabled resource efficiency and improved management of energy, chemicals and waste; or
    • where has collaboration by different stakeholders  led to providing efficient and innovative solutions to environmental challenges.

We look forward to your ideas and support in this endeavour!