"Reuse. Recycle. Reduce": UN and Halyk join forces to protect the environment
31 May 2023
World Environment Day celebrated in Almaty
Today Almaty hosted the sustainable fashion and art event "Reuse. Recycle. Reduce" on the eve of World Environment Day. The event was organized by the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Kazakhstan, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and Halyk Bank of Kazakhstan, attracting a wide audience and inspiring participants to join the global fight against plastic pollution.
During the event, which took place at the Halyk square, guests enjoyed unique exhibition of art installations by Moldakul Narymbetov and Said Atabekov created from recycled materials. These works of art have vividly demonstrated the various problems associated with the use of plastic and its impact on the environment. One of the highlights of the event was the show of a collection of clothes created by young designers on the principle of upcycling. These creative outfits embodied the idea of reusing and recycling materials, illustrating the potential of sustainable fashion to help save the environment.
Addressing the guests of the event, UN Resident Coordinator in Kazakhstan Michaela Friberg-Storey noted: “We are convinced that art and fashion have great potential to create change and raise awareness. The art installation exhibition and fashion shows allowed us to see how creativity and innovation can lead to the sustainable use of resources and the reduction of waste. The scourge of plastic pollution is a visible threat that affects every community around the world. We invite all sectors, from governments and businesses to civil society, to come together to find and support solutions. Together we can achieve positive change and create a sustainable and green future for us and for future generations.”
The importance of personal responsibility and joint efforts to preserve the environment was emphasized by Umut Shayakhmetova, Chair of the Board of the Halyk Bank:
“Halyk conducts its business, not only focusing on high financial performance, but also strives to be a socially and environmentally responsible Bank. We have become the first Kazakh bank to publish an ESG report in accordance with international GRI standards and join the UN Global Compact. We were the first to provide financing under the Green Lending Agreement. Feeling proud of the successes already achieved, we continue to work in this direction and call on our clients, colleagues and partners to join forces to build a more environmentally friendly and conscious society. We are inspired by the confidence in the correctness of the chosen goals and the desire to achieve the best results. Today, we are pleased to welcome all the guests of the event and talented designers who bring a fresh look to the topic of sustainability and reuse.”
Another important element was the performances of young Kazakh artists (Adel Bilyalova, Aruzhan Zhumabek, Daria Nurtaza, Zainap Balagudinova, Medina Bazargali), who performed for the first time as a Jip-Jinamé club.
“World Environment Day 2023 is an opportunity to once again call on governments, the private sector and industry to invest more and implement solutions to stop plastic pollution. Plastic pollution poses a serious threat to the health of both humanity and the planet. It contributes to a triple planetary crisis - climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and waste. The theme of this World Environment Day will show possible ways to stop plastic pollution and move towards a circular economic model,” concluded Aidai Kurmanova, Head of UNEP in Central Asia.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of World Environment Day by the UN General Assembly in 1972. More than 400 million tons of plastic are produced annually in the world, half of which is intended for single use. Of these, less than 10 percent is recycled. An estimated 19-23 million tons end up in lakes, rivers and seas every year. Discarded or incinerated single-use plastic harms human health and biodiversity and pollutes all ecosystems from mountain tops to the ocean floor.
"Reuse. Recycle. Reduce" provided an opportunity for Kazakhstanis to be inspired and make their contribution in confronting the problem of plastic pollution. The event reaffirmed the importance of the #BeatPlasticPollution international call and highlighted the need to make sustainable and responsible decisions in everyone's daily lives.