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Estonian minister elected president of UN Environment Assembly

TALLINN - Estonian Minister of the Environment Siim Kiisler has been elected president of the United Nations Environment Assembly, this is the first time an Estonian has been elected to lead the UN environmental unit.

"Estonia was elected as the new presidency country as our officials have done outstanding work during the presidency [of the Council of the European Union] and have lead the EU in a dignified and effective manner also during this year's UN Environment Assembly," Kiisler was quoted by the Ministry of the Environment as saying.

"I am glad that the new president is coming specifically from Estonia as Estonia has a strong environment minister who is backed by a strong team," former president of the UN Environmental Assembly and Costa Rican Environment Minister Edgar Gutierrez said.

The UN Environment Assembly is the highest authority in the world to decide over environmental issues and gathers every odd year in Nairobi, Kenya. As the president, Kiisler is responsible for the preparation of strategically and politically important environmental decisions. The new president is to also lead the high-level meeting to be held in March 2019.

The result of the third assembly to end on Wednesday is 11 concrete decisions for improving the environment, which are to set the basis for the work of the UN Environment Program (UNEP) for the next few years.

The UN Environment Assembly is an unit of the UN operating alongside the UN General Assembly. The main aim of the assembly is to better integrate environmental considerations into the decisions of the UN.

The UN Environment Program was called into existence to promote cooperation between countries to globally realize sustainable development. The UNEP also deals with global environmental problems.

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