Music is one of the most powerful mediums to communicate environmental messages to billions of people worldwide – irrespective of race, religion, income, gender or age.
Led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other partners, the UN Music & Environment Initiative aims to leverage the power of music to address some of the most pressing environmental problems facing the planet.
From concert halls to recording labels, and from festivals to musicians, the Music & Environment Initiative brings together individuals and entities in the world of music who want to be part of the solution to climate change, species extinction, freshwater crisis and any other environmental issue.
The objectives of the Initiative are twofold:
- use the popularity of music to promote environmental awareness and respect for the environment among the public, especially young people,
- assist in the process of “greening” of the music and entertainment industry
By combining UNEP’s environmental expertise with the powerful voice of music professionals, the Initiative aims to create positive change in the way the music industry and how millions of music lovers around the world consider the environment.
In developing the UN Music & Environment Initiative, UNEP builds upon its decade-long active and successful involvement in the area of sport and the environment, such as making the Olympic Games more sustainable.
The UN Music & Environment Initiative already benefits from the powerful voices of the participants representing the music industry, as well as the support of UNESCO, which brings a worldwide cultural dimension to the initiative.
Born in Benin (West Africa), Angelique Kidjo is a Grammy award-winning music recording artist deemed "Africa's premier diva" by Time Magazine. Known for her dynamic and uplifting music, she has translated her distinctive work in the arts to that of philanthropy; by promoting education for girls in Africa through her foundation, Batonga, and as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Kidjo travels the world to inspire and empower. While preparing her new album Oyo, to be released in 2010, she accepted to become a Patron for the UN Music & Environment Initiative.
Founded in 1945, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation works to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values.
Convinced that music can play a pivotal role in raising awareness and encouraging action in facing environmental challenges, UNESCO organised an International Forum on ‘Music as a Vector for Environmental Awareness’ in Geneva, in 2009.
In January 2010 it launched the International Year of Biodiversity through a world premiere performance of the composition The Story of Earth and Water by Niels Lan Doky, integrating sounds from nature accompanied by visual images of various ecosystems.
Today, UNESCO is bringing a worldwide cultural dimension to the Music & Environment Initiative.
As UNEP's key Polar Centre, GRID-Arendal is involved with initiatives in the Polar Regions, and is increasingly broadening its focus on sustainable development of the oceans and coasts elsewhere in the world.
GRID-Arendal has a strong focus on the development of scientifically and politically credible assessments, capacity building activities, and innovative outreach and communication tools, methodologies and products to enhance sustainable development, human security and well-being by contributing to UNEP’s programme of work. As a UNEP affiliate and partner, and as a non-profit foundation with a public mission, GRID-Arendal upholds the highest standards of integrity, professionalism and commitment.
Festivals and gigs, musicians and singers, labels and venues from around the world have positively answered to UNEP’s call! We are happy to acknowledge such a strong and widespread energy among music professionals. Visit their space on this website.