About the United Nations Environment Programme

Environment for Development 


Since its inception in 1972, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been the global authority that sets the environmental agendapromotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.

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.

UNEP works on delivering transformational change for people and nature by drilling down on the root causes of the three planetary crises of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste. UNEP employs seven interlinked subprogrammes for action: Climate ActionChemicals and Pollutions ActionNature ActionScience PolicyEnvironmental GovernanceFinance and Economic Transformations and Digital Transformations. 

Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, UNEP works through its divisions as well as regional, liaison and out-posted offices and 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 works closely with its 193 Member States and representatives from civil society, businesses, and other major groups and stakeholders to address environmental challenges through the UN Environment Assembly, the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment.

The organization hosts the secretariats of many critical multilateral environmental agreements and research 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).

In all of our work, we maintain our overarching commitment to sustainability

The Medium Term Strategy for 2022-2025 "For people and planet" outlines how UNEP will strengthen the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda during the period 2022‒2025, supporting countries to deliver on their environmental commitments under international agreements. 

UNEP will step into this period by driving transformative, multi-stakeholder actions that target the causes of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

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.

In 2021 the European Commission and UNEP added an Annex to the MoU of 2014 for the cooperation period 2021-2025. The partners look to reinforce existing synergies and introduce fresh areas of action in light of developments in the global environmental agenda, including the European Green Deal.

 The five chapters identify how to:

1. Improve the science-policy interface and international environmental governance

2. Enhance climate resilience and climate neutrality with a focus on sustainable energy

3. Promote healthy and productive ecosystems

4. Scale up the circular economy and resource efficiency

5. Work towards a pollution-free planet and better health  

The Annex builds on, and looks to extend, the existing close collaboration to address the environmental challenges and advance the sustainability agenda through the EC-UNEP strategic Framework Agreements and programmatic cooperation.

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

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Former Capacity4dev Member
last update
28 February 2023

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