The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) coordinates United Nations environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices. It was founded as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in June 1972 and has its headquarters in the Gigiri neighborhood of Nairobi,Kenya. UNEP also has six regional offices and various country offices. Its activities cover a wide range of issues regarding the atmosphere, marine and terrestrial ecosystems. It has played a significant role in developing international environmental conventions, promoting environmental science and information and illustrating the way those can work in conjunction with policy, working on the development and implementation of policy with national governments and regional institution and working in conjunction with environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). UNEP has also been active in funding and implementing environment related development projects. UNEP has aided in the development of guidelines and treaties on issues such as the international trade in potentially harmful chemicals, transboundary air pollution, and contamination of international waterways. Goals/ Priorities of UNEP:
* Climate change
* Disasters and Conflicts
* Ecosystem management
* Environmental Governance
* Harmful Substances
* Resource efficiency
Scientific evidence shows that ecosystems are under unprecedented pressure, threatening prospects for sustainable development. While the challenges are daunting, they also provide opportunities for local communities, business and government to innovate for the benefit of communities, economies and the global environment. However, in order to secure the environmental conditions for prosperity, stability and equity, timely responses that are proportionate to the scale of the environmental challenges will be required. In creating such responses, governments, the international community, the private sector, civil society and the general public all have an important role to play. As the environmental programme of the United Nations, UNEP is working to articulate, facilitate and support appropriate responses.
UNEP’s vision for 2010-2013:
UNEP’s Ecosystem Management sub-programme is working to make this vision a reality during the 2010-13 term of UNEP’s Medium-term Strategy. UNEP aims to use the ecosystem approach to provide sustainable and equitable delivery of critical ecosystem services. UNEP will focus on countries with rich biodiversity, high water stress and recurrent food shortages, with special emphasis on least developed countries and Small Island Developing States. UNEP’s vision is based on delivering:
1. Awareness of the ecosystem approach
The ecosystem approach is new to many governments. Building on the landmark Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, UNEP will use decades of experience and influence working with countries to raise awareness of the role of ecosystem services and biodiversity in building a sustainable future. UNEP will also emphasize the critical role ecosystems play as infrastructure to support development. 2. Sustainably managed and/or restored ecosystems
UNEP ensures key ecosystem services, such as nutrient cycling and water retention, can be delivered by designing and implementing tools that maintain and protect ecosystem functioning, at multiple scales and across sectors. From helping to protect forests in Uganda to restoring Mali’s Lake Faguibine, a critical source of food, water and livelihoods, UNEP will use its expertise as a science-based organization to help countries understand and use ecosystem management tools effectively. 3. Valued ecosystems incorporated into national planning processes UNEP will continue to develop innovative tools that help countries place a financial value on their ecosystem services and tackle...