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Environmental Diplomacy


Through this pillar of work, UNEP seeks to promote the shared use of natural resources or common environmental threats as a platform for dialogue, confidence-building and cooperation between divided communities or countries. Upon request, UNEP acts as a trusted third party in the resolution of existing and potential conflicts over natural resources and the environment by drawing on its neutrality, technical orientation and expertise in environmental cooperation. In this regard, UNEP provides five main services to Member States and other stakeholders:


  • Conduct assessments to identify rising tensions and conflicts over natural resources, opportunities for cooperation and technical entry points for engagement
  • Broker meetings and provide a neutral platform for dialogue, information-sharing, and joint action in the management of natural resources and environmental threats
  • Provide impartial expertise, scientific analysis and policy advice over a contested natural resource or source of environmental degradation
  • Build capacity and catalyze resources for the implementation of joint action plans and projects
  • Monitor implementation of joint action plans and provide dispute resolution support.


As we look to the future, population growth, economic development, and technological change are likely to increase the demand for natural resources, while environmental degradation and previous exploitation of these resources will decrease the supply. Furthermore, climate change will act as a threat multiplier, exacerbating current vulnerabilities and adding to levels of uncertainty. These trends enhance the potential for natural resources to contribute to conflict in the future and highlight the growing importance of environmental diplomacy as an integrated part of conflict prevention, mediation and peacebuilding.


For further information on the Environmental Diplomacy programme please contact David Jensen, ECP Programme Manager on,