Download

In its work on environmental governance, the overarching element that needs to be strengthened to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other international frameworks, including the recently adopted Paris Agreement, UNEP focuses on three areas:

Improving the manner in which the UN system and multilateral environmental agreements achieve policy coherence.

Close

Enhancing the capacities of countries to establish and enforce legal and institutional frameworks to address environmental priorities.

Close

Assisting countries to integrate environment into sectoral and development processes and plans, including those on poverty reduction.

Close

IN PICTURES

open/close

Coherence and synergy

In a complex world, in which many bodies and personalities work and interact on issues that affect the environment, UNEP promotes coherence and synergy in the multilateral system...

Coherence and synergy

In a complex world, in which many bodies and personalities work and interact on issues that affect the environment, UNEP promotes coherence and synergy in the multilateral system to ensure the international community embraces a sustainable future in a united and streamlined way. Coherence increased in the way the UN system and multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) handled environmental issues over the last two years, resulting in several initiatives, some of which are highlighted here.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The environment is a key component of the Agenda and in specific Sustainable Development Goals, targets and indicators. Governments agreed to an integrated approach, which will require environmental issues to be addressed as part of a wider agenda for change that includes social and economic aspects.

Environmental sustainability and climate neutrality in the UN system
Heads of UN agencies adopted a common approach on environmental management systems to reduce emissions and environmental impacts. Twenty-one UN organizations are pursuing climate neutrality, up from six in 2013, of which 18 organizations have emission reduction strategies and five Environmental Management Systems. Furthermore, the UN system, through the Environment Management Group (EMG), is developing system-wide strategies on the environment to enhance coherence. The aim is to have a framework for aligning agencies’ respective strategies on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

21 UN organizations are pursuing climate neutrality up from 6 in 2013
open/close

Human rights and the environment
A resolution was adopted at the 28th session of the Human Rights Council, strengthening the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment and encouraging further coordination with UNEP...

Human rights and the environment
A resolution was adopted at the 28th session of the Human Rights Council, strengthening the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment and encouraging further coordination with UNEP. The UNDG Working Group on Human Rights issued a guide on supporting human rights at the country level, which includes links between human rights and the environment. At the Paris Climate Meeting, UNEP released a report detailing the many negative effects of climate change on human rights, and calling on nations to recognize this in their climate responses.

Additionally, collaborative arrangements with the secretariats of MEAs resulted in advances in terms of joining forces on common issues, including:

  • The consideration of a set of options to enhance synergies on programmatic, institutional and administrative areas of work across six biodiversity-related MEAs.
  • The agreement between MEA secretariats and UNEP partner organizations of a common multi-stakeholder thesaurus for the field of environmental law and conventions. This resulted in enhanced integration of knowledge available to users through INFORMEA, an information portal for MEAs, across over 50 global and regional multilateral environmental agreements.
  • A Regional Seas Strategic Directions 2017-2020 plan adopted at the 17th regional seas conventions and action plans meeting.

For more information on the work of UNEP-hosted global MEAs, see here

Climate change is the result of choices made by human beings and has devastating impacts on a wide range of internationally guaranteed human rights – the rights to food, water, sanitation, adequate housing, and health – for millions of people.” Zeid Ra‘ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

open/close

Law and institutions

Through UNEP’s support, 11 countries undertook new legal and institutional measures to improve implementation of internationally agreed environmental goals over the last two years...

Law and institutions

Through UNEP’s support, 11 countries undertook new legal and institutional measures to improve implementation of internationally agreed environmental goals over the last two years. Two countries also undertook initiatives to monitor and achieve compliance and enforcement of international environmental obligations.

Partnerships with regional and global organizations, such as the Organization of American States (OAS) and Globe International (a global legislators’ organization), have helped to scale up UNEP’s work on law, leading to the uptake of the concept of environmental rule of law in regional contexts and to more systemic approaches to the engagement of parliamentarians.

UNEP also aims to increase the number of initiatives and partnerships of major groups and stakeholders in support of the development and implementation of national and international environmental law. UNEP’s target was achieved with the conclusion of partnership agreements with the Stakeholder Forum and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. UNEP’s partnership with the Stakeholder Forum aims to embed the perspectives of major groups and stakeholders in the work of UNEP, including access to information, justice and public participation in environmental matters. UNEP’s partnership with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation aims to enhance the capacities of judges and legal stakeholders in the field of environmental rule of law, particularly in Africa.

At the international level, UNEP convened processes to promote effective transboundary freshwater governance, the concept of environmental rule of law and Access to Information, Public Participation and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Principle 10) to enhance capacities of government stakeholders. A regional forum was held in Panama for Latin America and the Caribbean to share practices. Noteworthy is progress in the negotiation of a regional agreement on Principle 10, which benefited from UNEP’s support. On environmental rule of law, partnerships were developed, regional colloquia held and a global report initiated.

Mainstreaming environmental sustainability

Fifteen countries finalized, in the past year, UN Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAFs) that incorporated the principles of environmental sustainability. Furthermore, the Poverty-Environment Initiative, which UNEP runs in collaboration with the UN Development Programme, resulted in the integration of environment objectives into a total of 21 policies, plans and processes focusing on poverty reduction over the past two years.

Eight sub-regional and regional fora incorporated the principles of environmental sustainability in 2014-2015. These intergovernmental sessions, which covered several regions and sub-regions (Africa, Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Central Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and Small Island Developing States), provided a strategic link between global and regional priorities. The fora promoted the uptake of global environmental priorities at the regional and national levels. They also came up with messages that feed into global processes, such as the upcoming second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2).

15 countries

finalized, in the past year, UN development assistance frameworks (UNDAFS) that incorporated the principles of environmental sustainability.

Implementing United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) resolutions

Air Quality (UN Environment Assembly resolution 1/7)

The World Health Assembly adopted a resolution on Health and the Environment: Addressing the health impact of air pollution. Air quality data was made accessible via UNEP Live, and regional plans were adopted. An air policy quality catalogue was made available as a step toward a global air quality report for UNEA 2. See In Focus feature in the Environment Under Review chapter (page 49) for more information on air quality. See the Environment Under Review In Focus feature for more information on air quality.

Illegal Trade in Wildlife (UN Environment Assembly resolution 1/3)

30 projects totaling $2 million were funded from African Elephant Fund. Analyses of environmental impacts of the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products were initiated. See In Focus feature on page 31 for more on UNEP’s work on the illegal wildlife trade. See the Environmental Governance In Focus section here.

For more information on UNEP's work on Environmental Governance, please visit our Environmental Governance page or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

For more details on performance indicators and finances, please download UNEP's Programme Performance Report for 2014-2015