**UNEA: UN Environment Assembly

Committee Overview:

In the first decades after the formation of the United Nations (UN) in 1945, concern for the environment was neither a serious issue nor part of the global agenda. It was not until the 1960s that oil spills and maritime pollution spurred debate about protecting the environment; subsequent research proved that the environment was indeed deteriorating at an alarming rate. Around that time, the United Nations recognized the environment as another global issue that needed to be addressed. In 1972, at the UN Conference on the Human Environment (also known as the Stockholm Convention), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) became the United Nation’s environmental conscience. As environmental issues have become more and more important in multilateral discussions, the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) was created in 2012 as a biannual forum for world leaders to discuss these issues in person.

Topic: Mitigating the Effects of Pollution on Marine Life

Oceans occupy over 90 percent of the habitable space on the planet and house over a million different species, with new life being discovered every day. From microscopic organisms like plankton to the blue whale, the largest animal on the planet, the ocean gives life to many life forms. However, with 60 percent of the world’s major marine ecosystems currently being degraded or used unsustainably, the need to reevaluate the effects of human activity on oceans has never been more urgent. Around 20 billion tonnes of waste ends up in the world’s oceans every year, often without any treatment or processing. As the world continues to become aware of the volume of ocean pollutants and their effects, the clearer it becomes how pressing the issue is. Marine pollutants are threatening the very survival of marine life. Pollution of our oceans has caused a decline in the biodiversity and resilience of the world’s ecosystems.