Since the start of the new millennium, the world has witnessed over 35 major conflicts and some 2,500 disasters. Over two billion people have been affected, and millions have lost their lives. Not only do these tragic events destroy infrastructure, cause population displacement and fundamentally undermine human security, they also compound poverty and tear apart the fabric of sustainable development.
In addition, at least 18 violent conflicts have been fuelled by the exploitation of natural resources since 1990. As the global population continues to rise, and demand for resources continues to grow, there is significant potential for conflicts over natural resources to intensify in the coming decades. The consequences of climate change for water availability, food security, prevalence of disease, coastal boundaries, and population distribution may further aggravate existing tensions and generate new conflicts.
From Kosovo to Afghanistan, Lebanon, Sudan or China , UNEP has responded to crisis situations in more than 25 countries since 1999, delivering high-quality environmental expertise to national governments and partners in the UN family.
Through the Disasters and Conflicts programme, UNEP provides four core services to Member States:
Additionally, as the focal point for environment within the humanitarian coordination system, UNEP formally established a programme in Humanitarian Action and Early Recovery in 2009.
Coordinated by the Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch, the programme is delivered through several key actors and partners, including the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit, the Environment and Security (ENVSEC) Initiative, and the APELL (Awareness and Preparedness from Emergencies on a Local Level) Programme.
For more information on the current areas of work of UNEP’s Disasters and Conflicts programme, please click on UNEP’s Work/UNEP in the regions.