"Today, at the beginning of the 21st century, this is principally about conceiving of a future in which 10 billion people can feed themselves, in which we can provide energy and electricity to 10 billion people without destroying the atmosphere," explained Achim Steiner, chief of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) -- the UN group hosting the assembly.
The newly established UNEA will feature discussions about a range of environmental and conservation topics, including: chemical waste and garbage management, ocean pollution, the illegal trade of animals, plants and timber, and other sustainability issues.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be in attendance, as will a number of executives from other major international organizations. In total, some 1,200 environmental affairs' ministers and government officials from around the world are expected to participate.
At the conclusion of the assembly, UN leaders will submit a report on the state of the environment.