About the United Nations Environment Programme

Environment for Development 


The UN Environment Programme (UNEP), established in 1972, is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. UNEP acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment. To accomplish this, UNEP works with a wide range of partners, including United Nations entities, international organizations, national governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and civil society. 

UNEP work encompasses:

  • Assessing global, regional and national environmental conditions and trends
  • Developing international and national environmental instruments
  • Strengthening institutions for the wise management of the environment
  • Facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology for sustainable development
  • Encouraging new partnerships and mind-sets within civil society and the private sector.

We categorize our work into seven broad coss-cutting thematic areas: climate changedisasters and conflictsecosystem managementenvironmental governancechemicals and wasteresource efficiency, and environment under review. In all of our work, we maintain our overarching commitment to sustainability

UNEP's medium-term strategy for the period 2018-2021 provides the direction UN Environment will take. It lays out UNEP's vision, strategic objectives and the results which UNEP aims to achieve by 2021.

UNEP's global and cross-sectoral outlook is reflected in its organizational structure, its activities and its personnel. Being based in Africa gives UNEP a clear advantage in understanding the environmental issues facing the world's developing countries.

We work through our divisions, six regional offices, liaison and out-posted offices, plus a growing network of collaborating centres of excellence such as the Global Resource Information Database (GRID) centres and the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). UNEP also hosts several environmental conventions, secretariats .

UNEP also hosts several environmental convention secretariats and inter-agency coordinating bodies. These include the Ozone Secretariat and the Montreal Protocol's Multilateral Fund, CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on Migratory Species, and a growing family of chemicals-related agreements, including the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).

Partnership with EU institutions

UNEP has a strong partnership with the EU institutions focused on policy dialogue and programmatic cooperation. In 2004 it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the European Commission, and a joint statement in 2011. In 2014 UNEP and the European Commission have signed a renewed PDF iconMoU 2014, to which an Annex was added in 2015 spelling out a range of concrete work areas to be implemented jointly through to 2020.

UNEP works closely with the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee and has memorandum of understandings with the Committee of the Regions, the Joint Research Centre, and the European Environmental Agency.

UNEP's Liaison Office to the EU is based in Brussels

> Click here for more info on the Brussels office

If you would like to receive updates from UNEP's Brussels Office, 

> Click here to join our mailing list

> or follow us on Twitter @UNEP_Europe


More actions

Regions & Countries