United Nations Environment Programme

The environmental program of the United Nations (English United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP; French programs Nations Treaty Series pour l' environnement, UNEP ), headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.

The environmental program was the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment called ( UNCHE ) with the UN Resolution 27/2997 of December 15, 1972 to life. After his self-image, the program is the "Voice of the Environment" at the UN. UNEP acts as a trigger, lawyer, teacher and facilitator for the careful management of the environment and sustainable development. It works with various partners, including other UN agencies, other international organizations, governments, NGOs and businesses.

  • 5.1 From the Nairobi Declaration on the Belgrade Process
  • 5.2 Reform Plans

Tasks and mandate

  • Collect and evaluate global, regional and national environmental data. Main focus is on climate change, pollution of the atmosphere, problems with the drinking water, damage to the coastal region and oceans, land degradation and desertification, species extinction, hazardous waste and toxic chemicals.
  • Policy instruments for environmental protection to develop: in the framework of UNEP most currently applicable international environmental agreements have been developed and launched. Many of these agreements are self-employed today.
  • Strengthening of institutions in conserving the environment.
  • The transfer of knowledge and technology allow for sustainable development.
  • Encourage civil society and private companies to cooperate.

UNEP is participating in the Global Compact.

Political control

UNEP is controlled by a Governing Council (GC ), representatives from 58 countries sit in for three years. The distribution of seats follows a regional key. The GC is the main governing body of UNEP, he developed guidelines for the UN environmental work and at the same time provides a forum for international cooperation in environmental protection. Non-members are just like non-governmental organizations admitted as observers to meetings of the Council. The GC meets regularly every two years.

In 1999, the Global Ministerial Environment Forum (Global Ministerial Environment Forum, GMEF ) was established, which meets once a year. At the same time a special session of the Governing Council will be held by the de facto also follows an annual meeting rhythm.


UNEP receives its funding from three sources: the Environment Fund, the regular budget and earmarked grants. The entire budget of UNEP for the biennium 2006-2007 was at 260 million U.S. dollars.

During the establishment of UNEP in 1972, the General Assembly decided to pay the direct costs of the Secretariat of the UN regular budget. This article covers only a small part of the expenses of the UN Environment Programme. For 2006 and 2007, 13.4 million U.S. dollars were provided on that basis, or 5.1 percent of the total budget.

To perform beyond activities that States established simultaneously with the UNEP Environment Fund a. This took a long time the largest share of UNEP's budget, but has been overtaken in recent years by earmarked grants. The Environment Fund is filled by voluntary contributions from UN member states. From 2004 to 2006 the grants were $ each just under 60 million annually in 2007 to just under $ 70 million and to rise in 2008 to nearly $ 90 million.

The specific grants ( earmarked Contributions ) and funds through trust fund ( trust funds ) are now the main sources of funding for UNEP activities. They are provided by States, international organizations or private actors. 2006 and 2007 yielded these sources together $ 156.1 million, and for the biennium 2008-2009 a total of $ 200 million were expected. The largest single item within the specific grants takes on one of the Multilateral Fund, financed by the measures under the Montreal Protocol to protect the ozone layer.


The Secretariat of UNEP is located in Nairobi, Kenya. Thus, the environmental program is the only subsidiary organ of the United Nations based in a developing country. This decision was, and is not without controversy, to be able to recruit high caliber staff especially through the site poorly possible intensive networking with other organizations as well as the difficulties. At the same time the decision to Nairobi was ever agree to a major reason for the African countries, the creation of UNEP.

On 15 March 2006, Achim Steiner, former Chairman of the IUCN in Nairobi nominated by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as the successor of Klaus Töpfer for the Office of the Executive Director of UNEP and a day later elected by the UN General Assembly. His office, he joined on 15 June 2006.

890 people are employed by the Secretariat. About 500 of them are international United Nations staff, the rest are almost 300 local employees.

The Secretariat is responsible for the implementation of UNEP's mandate and its programs. This work is done by seven departments:

  • Early warning and detection ( Early Warning and Assessment )
  • Environmental Policy Implementation (Environmental Policy Implementation )
  • Technology, Industry and Economics (Technology, Industry and Economics )
  • Regional Cooperation (Regional Cooperation)
  • International Environmental Law and Conventions ( Environmental Law and Conventions )
  • Communications and Public Relations ( Communications and Public Information )
  • Coordination of the Global Environment Facility (Global Environment Facility Coordination)

To be present in the various regions of the world, UNEP maintains a network of six regional offices covering Africa, Asia - Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America and West Asia.

Supporting organizations

The UNEP work a number of other institutions and organizations in the individual departments.

  • United Nations Environment Programme Global Resource Information Database in Norway

Reform process

Since its foundation in 1972, the United Nations Environment Programme is accompanied by a discussion of his reform.

From the Nairobi Declaration on the Belgrade Process

The Nairobi Declaration, adopted in 1997 began a lasting until today initiative to strengthen the UN Environment Programme. Other important key figures in the reform process were the Malmö Declaration, which was adopted in 2000 by the previously newly created one years Global Ministerial Environment Forum, which adopted in 2002 Cartagena package to strengthen international environmental governance, which in 2002 committed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg plan of implementation ( plan of Implementation ) for the Cartagena package, the 2004 fixed Bali plan for Technology support and Capacity Building (Bali Strategic Plan for Technology support and Capacity -building ), Paragraph 169 of the outcome document of the world summit of 2005 in 2007, the report of the informal consultation process the General Assembly on the institutional framework of the UN Environment activities ( Informal consultations of the General assembly on the institutional framework for the United Nations ' environment work), which was published in December 2008 report of the UN joint Inspections Unit, of a comprehensive analysis of the UN Environment Governance contains system, begun in 2009 and finally the discussions at the consultative group of ministers and high level representatives on international environmental governance ( Consultative Group of Ministers or high - level representatives on International environmental Governance ) - the so-called Belgrade process.

Reform plans

One possible reform can be seen in the discussions about the establishment of a UNEO, WEO or even otherwise called world environmental organization that could take the place of the UN Environment Programme. As an international organization or principal organ of the United Nations, such an organization would have a more stable financial base as well as a subject of international law has its own legal personality.

The establishment of an international organization for environmental concerns should, in contrast to existing environmental program unite the fragmented UN Environment Architecture under one roof, or at least closer together. Currently, there are over 500 multilateral environmental agreements, many of them with independent secretariats and no association with each other. These include the Global Environment Facility (GEF ) in the hands of the World Bank, the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF ) and the numerous conventions, eg the UNFCCC, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and the Convention on Biological Diversity. The numerous environmental agreements could, under the umbrella of a single organization gathered better coordinated and their synergies to be tapped. This could help to address pressing environmental problems such as global warming or the progressive desertification effectively.

UNEP as the program does not receive regular payments for a specified key and relies on relatively arbitrary provided and voluntary contributions from UN member states and other funding organizations. The creation of a legally binding agreement for a new UN environmental organization could provide financial planning and advance the implementation of studies and projects significantly.

Also, could play a greater role in other intergovernmental regimes by the appreciation of the organization of environmental issues. As an example, the World Trade Organization (WTO ) is called, to which one could move more at eye level.

Finally, there are reflections on the ( partial) matching of the environment and development in the United Nations. A UNEO could better coordinate with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP ), when the fragmented nature of the current UN environmental work would be better organized.