United Nations Environment Programme
What Is UNEP?UNEP is the leading environmental authority in the United Nations system. UNEP uses its expertise to strengthen environmental standards and practices while helping implement environmental obligations at the country, regional and global levels.
Mission: To provide global 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.
- Executive Director and UN Under-Secretary General: Achim Steiner
- Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya
- Created in 1972 by a UN General Assembly Resolution
Six Areas Of ConcentrationUNEP is re-organizing its work programme into six strategic areas as part of its move to results based management. The selection of six areas of concentration was guided by scientific evidence, the UNEP mandate and priorities emerging from global and regional forums.
- 1. Climate Change
Strengthens the ability of countries to integrate climate change responses by providing leadership in adaptation, mitigation, technology and finance. UNEP is focusing on facilitating the transition to low-carbon societies, improving the understanding of climate science, facilitating the development of renewable energy and raising public awareness.
- 2. Post-Conflict And Disaster Management
Conducts environmental assessments in crisis-affected countries and provides guidance for implementing legislative and institutional frameworks for improved environmental management. Activities undertaken by UNEP’s Post-Conflict & Disaster Management Branch (PCDMB) include post-conflict environmental assessment in Afghanistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Lebanon, Nigeria and Sudan.
- 3. Ecosystem Management
Facilitates management and restoration of ecosystems in a manner consistent with sustainable development, and promotes use of ecosystem services. Examples include the Global Programme of Action (GPA) for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities.
- 4. Environmental Governance
Supports governments in establishing, implementing and strengthening the necessary processes, institutions, laws, policies and programs to achieve sustainable development at the country, regional and global levels, and mainstreaming environment in development planning.
- 5. Harmful Substances
Strives to minimize the impact of harmful substances and hazardous waste on the environment and human beings. UNEP has launched negotiations for a global agreement on mercury, and implements projects on mercury and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) to reduce risks to human health and the environment.
- 6. Resource Efficiency/Sustainable Consumption And Production
Focuses on regional and global efforts to ensure natural resources are produced, processed and consumed in a more environmentally friendly way. For example, the Marrakech Process is a global strategy to support the elaboration of a 10- Year Framework of Programs on sustainable consumption and production.
The Role Of ScienceUNEP has a mandate to monitor the global environment and relay scientific information to governments and other stakeholders.
- Co-founded the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
- Created One Planet, Many People: Atlas of Our Changing Environment (2005), which illustrates recent human impacts to the environment.
- Published the Fourth Global Environment Outlook: environment for development (GEO-4) (2007)assessment
- Produced Africa: Atlas of Our Changing Environment (2008), which highlights stories of environmental change in over 100 locations in every country in Africa
- Produced Climate Change Science Compendium (2009), an analysis of the latest peer-reviewed science which provides important insights into the rapidly developing and fast moving realm of climate science.
Multilateral Environmental Agreements & Voluntary PartnershipsUNEP supports the development of solutions to environmental challenges, including voluntary initiatives and legally-binding instruments, and is an implementing agency of the Global Environment Facility. UNEP serves as the Secretariat for:
- The Convention on Biological Diversity
- The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
- The Convention on Migratory Species
- The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
- The Basel Convention on Hazardous Wastes
- The Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent
- The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
- Numerous Regional Seas Conventions and Protocols
Six Regional OfficesUNEP's Division of Regional Cooperation (DRC) works to ensure that UNEP’s activities address regional needs and priorities. DRC also works to enhance cooperation among governments in each region in addressing environmental issues strategically and effectively. UNEP has six regional offices:
- Africa: Nairobi, Kenya
- Asia and the Pacific: Bangkok, Thailand
- Europe: Geneva, Switzerland
- Latin America and the Caribbean: Panama City, Panama
- North America: Washington, DC
- West Asia: Manama, Bahrain
Regional Office For North America (Rona)UNEP's North American region comprises Canada and the United States of America — two of the largest countries in the world.
RONA’s mission is to build support in the region for UNEP's work, to promote effective responses to international environmental challenges and to foster cooperation on environmental issues between North America and the broader international community. To achieve this mission, RONA’s strategy is to promote collaboration between UNEP and all sectors of North American society, including U.S. and Canadian governmental institutions, the private sector and civil society groups, and to provide UNEP with North American perspectives.
ContactUNEP Regional Office for North America (RONA)
900 17th Street, NW Suite 506
Washington, DC 20006 USA
Telephone: +1 202 785 0465
Fax: +1 202 785 2096