Nairobi, Kenya - Environment Ministers have gathered in Kenya's capital, Nairobi, to discuss the state of the world's environment, amid worries over the intensified poaching of elephants, rhinos and illegal trade in wildlife.
The Nairobi-based UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said the 18-22 Feb ministerial meeting was taking place at a time the world was battling with an apparent increment in the speed of melting ice, likely to cause widespread damage to the environment.
The ministers are expected to discuss environmental issues raised in the UNEP's Annual Yearbook, which has highlighted the need to better tackle the risks created by local production of chemicals which are continuing to threaten the environment.
'Changing environmental conditions has been an issue of concern for sometime, but as of yet, this awareness has not translated into urgent action,' said Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director.
UNEP warns the thinning levels of ice in areas like the Arctic means that human activity like oil and gas prospecting in those areas is likely to increase to the disadvantage of the environment.
The meeting will also explore the potential solutions to the illegal killing of large numbers of elephants in Africa.
Poached ivory is said to be exchanging for money, weapons and ammunition to support conflicts, such as those being fought by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA).
The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) figures show 2011 was possibly the worst year ever since record keeping started on the elephant and rhino populations around the world.
Early results show elephant killings went into the hundreds of thousands across Africa. In Cameroon, 450 elephants were killed in early 2012 while another 668 rhinos were poached in South Africa in 2012.
UNEP said CITES and its partners must work to strengthen the enforcement of the laws to protect wildlife.
The two organisations said a campaign would be launched to reduce illegal wildlife trade.