UNEP is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system.
United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP’s) mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
The core objective of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is to serve as an authoritative advocate for the global environment, to help governments set the global environmental agenda, and to promote the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system.
UNEP is an advocate, educator, catalyst and facilitator, promoting the wise use of the planet’s natural assets for sustainable development.
UNEP works with many partners: United Nations entities, international organizations, national governments, non-governmental organizations, business, industry, the media and civil society.
What UNEP Does:
• Assessing global, regional and national environmental conditions and trends
• Developing international agreements and national environmental instruments
• Strengthening institutions for the wise management of the environment
• Integrating economic development and environmental protection
• Facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology for sustainable development
• Encouraging new partnerships and mind-sets within civil society and the private sector
Environmental assessment, monitoring and reporting:
UNEP provides access to environmental data and information and helps governments to use environmental information for planning for sustainable development. UNEP’s flagship assessment is the Global Environment Outlook (GEO), produced in cooperation with a network of national, subregional, regional and global partners. These partners feed into the GEO process and into other assessments including the Global International Waters Assessment and the Millennium Ecosystems Assessment. UNEP helps governments to anticipate, respond to and manage disasters caused by environmental factors, or which have profound effects on the environment. UNEP also assesses the environmental consequences of armed conflict, and provides post-conflict clean-up and mitigation guidance.
Legal and institutional strengthening and environmental policy development:
UNEP is helping to develop the institutional and legal infrastructure to safeguard the global environment. Many international environmental agreements have been established with UNEP’s assistance—such as the Montreal Protocol to restore the ozone layer; and the family of treaties that protect global biodiversity. UNEP provides support to national governments, especially in the developing world, to participate in international negotiations, to fulfil their obligations under international agreements, and to develop institutions and formulate and enact legislation to protect the environment. UNEP works to develop policy guidelines for addressing major environmental issues, such as the increasing scarcity of fresh water, the degradation of the marine environment and the pollution of the atmosphere.
Sustainable use and management of natural resources:
UNEP works with governments, the private sector and civil society to protect natural resources worldwide. As well as supporting assessments and developing institutional and legal capacity, UNEP promotes dialogue and cooperation among stakeholders, the exchange of best practices and success stories, the transfer of knowledge and technology, and the establishment of demonstration projects.
Integrating economic development and environmental protection:
UNEP encourages decision makers in government, industry and business to develop and adopt environmentally sound policies, strategies, practices and technologies. This involves raising awareness, building international consensus, developing codes of practice and economic instruments, strengthening capabilities, exchanging information and initiating demonstration projects. UNEP has a vigorous energy programme to address the environmental consequences of energy production and use, including global climate change and local air pollution. UNEP is concerned with renewable energy, energy efficiency, transport, energy finance and policy issues.
Promoting public participation in environmental management:
UNEP places special emphasis on facilitating access to environmental information and on incorporating civil society into the deliberations of the UNEP Governing Council and the annual Global Ministerial Environment Forum. UNEP has a wide-ranging programme for children and youth. Conferences, campaigns and other events combined with targeted publications and a web site to educate children and youth about sustainable living. UNEP also operates environmental education and training programmes for all levels of society. UNEP publications, media outreach, special events like World Environment Day and Clean Up the World help to keep the environment as front-page news.
UNEP Priority Areas:
2010 marked the beginning of a period of new, strategic and transformational direction for UNEP as it began implementing its Medium Term Strategy (MTS) for 2010-2013 across six areas:
1. Climate change;
2. Disasters and conflicts;
3. Ecosystem management;
4. Environmental governance;
5. Harmful substances and hazardous waste;
6. Resource efficiency, Sustainable consumption and production.
UNEP around the world:
UNEP’s global headquarters are in Nairobi, Kenya. Being based in Africa gives UNEP a first-hand understanding of the environmental issues facing developing countries.
UNEP is represented across the globe by six regional offices:
1. Africa: Nairobi, Kenya
2. Asia and the Pacifi c: Bangkok, Thailand
3. Europe: Geneva, Switzerland
4. Latin America and the Caribbean: Mexico City, Mexico
5. North America: Washington DC, USA
6. West Asia: Manama, Bahrain
UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics is located in Paris, France, with branches in Geneva, Switzerland, and Osaka, Japan.
UNEP also has liaison offi ces in Beijing, China; Brasilia, Brazil; Brussels, Belgium; Moscow, Russia; and New York, USA.
UNEP supports a growing network of centres of excellence, such as:
• – the UNEP Collaborating Centre on Energy and Environment (UCCEE)
• – the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC)
• – the Global Resource Information Database (GRID) centres in Norway, Switzerland and USA.
How UNEP works:
UNEP has eight Divisions to promote and facilitate sound environmental management for sustainable development:
1. Early Warning and Assessment
2. Policy Development and Law
3. Environmental Policy Implementation
4. Technology, Industry and Economics
5. Regional Cooperation
6. Environmental Conventions
7. Communications and Public Information