Rabat – The 4th UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) opened today in an atmosphere of grief after yesterday’s Ethiopian Airlines plane crash. The crash killed all 157 people on board the plane, including 22 UN delegates who were heading to the conference, two of whom were Moroccans.
At the start of the meeting, the assembly observed several minutes of silence for their colleagues who had been on the Addis Ababa-Narobi flight.
The two Moroccan delegates were El Hassan Sayouty, a professor at Hassan II University in Casablanca, and Chihab Ben Ahmed, a regional director for the environment of Morocco’s eastern Draa-Tafilalet region.
Following the crash, Morocco’s national carrier Royal Air Maroc indefinitely suspended use of all Boeing 737 Max-8 planes, the plane involved in the crash. Ethiopia, the Cayman Islands, and China have also temporarily suspended use of their Max 8s while awaiting an investigation into the cause of the crash.
More than 4,700 heads of states, ministers, civil society representatives, and business leaders gathered today in Nairobi to discuss ways to solve many environmental challenges and to accelerate sustainable development.
Prominent world leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, are attending the conference.
Morocco’s delegation is being led by the secretary of state for sustainable development, Nezha El Ouafi.
The conference, which will continue until March 15, is themed: “Innovative Solutions for Environmental Challenges and Sustainable Consumption and Production.” It is the biggest gathering in the assembly’s history.
The assembly is also hosting side events and exhibits to provide an opportunity for attendees to “form partnerships and make deals that benefit people and the environment.”