Sources of Funding

Overview of UNEP’s Current Funding

UNEP is almost entirely funded by direct, voluntary contributions – largely from Member States.

The funds are categorized into three main types:

  1. Environment Fund;
  2. Earmarked contributions;
  3. United Nations Regular Budget.

“Table 1: UNEP contributions 2000-2013 by source of funding”



Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development convened in Brazil in June 2012 agreed to strengthen and upgrade UNEP, including with universal membership, so that it is able to ensure that environment plays an equal part in the sustainable development agenda and to help governments achieve their environmental goals. It was accepted that the vision for UNEP outlined in Rio was largely dependent on the security, stability and adequacy of its funding.

Consequently, Member States agreed UNEP should receive “secure, stable, adequate and increased financial resources from the regular budget of the United Nations and voluntary contributions to fulfill its mandate”. This call was confirmed by the GA resolution 66/288 of December 2012 and Governing Council decision 27/2 of February 2013.

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The Environment Fund and the Regular Budget should provide for a Secretariat to implement UNEP’s Medium Term Strategies, as outlined in Programmes of Work, and help the organization lead the integration of the environmental component of sustainable development throughout the UN system.

Earmarked funding should be aimed at supporting UNEP’s core functions, outlined above. Currently, however, the trend is in the opposite direction. Hence, a shift in funding is needed.