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Blue Forests: Achieving the Paris Agreement through Nature-based Coastal and Marine Solutions

What are Blue Forests?

"Blue forests" refers to coastal and marine ecosystems, including mangrove forests, seagrass meadows and tidal salt marshes. Blue forests play an important role in protecting the marine biodiversity and supporting the livelihoods of coastal and island communities by providing habitats for fisheries, filtering water, guarding shorelines and creating opportunities for tourism and recreation.


Forests are fundamental

The theme for this year’s International Day of Forests on 21 March is “Forests and Energy”.

Forest-based energy sources such as biomass, wood and charcoal are well-known sources of energy. In many African countries charcoal and firewood represent more than 80 per cent of energy consumption. But new forms of energy are also being derived from forests.


Smarter use of resources can add $2 trillion annually to global economy

March 16, 2017 – Smarter and more efficient use of the world’s natural resources today means the next generation will reap annual economic benefits of $2 trillion by 2050, while offsetting the costs of ambitious climate change action, new research released today by the International Resource Panel shows.


Global airline and celebrities join UN campaign to help end wildlife crime on World Wildlife Day

March 3, 2017 – One of Africa’s largest airlines and five celebrities from around the globe have joined forces with UN Environment on World Wildlife Day to help put an end to the illicit international trade in wildlife driving myriad species to the brink of extinction.

The illegal trade in wildlife is lining the pockets of criminal networks with an estimated $23 billion annually: putting the trade in the same league as the trafficking of drugs, arms and humans.  


This World Wildlife Day, let’s celebrate the power of youth voices!

World Wildlife Day on 3 March 2017 is a chance for young people to make their voices heard on the kind of world they want, and need, to inherit from their parents.

Humans are forever learning about nature and from nature. Perhaps that’s because they are part of nature and depend on nature’s ecosystems for their survival.


Look after nature, so it can look after you

Whether an afternoon at the beach, an exhilarating weekend in the mountains or just a walk in the park after a hard day, millions of people around the world know how getting out into more natural surroundings makes you feel better.


Economist Kenneth Arrow still influences UN Environment’s work

Prof Kenneth Joseph Arrow, who died on 21 February at the age of 95, was a well-known economist and polymath. He was the youngest economist to win the Nobel Prize in 1972, together with John Hicks.

Arrow‘s doctoral thesis published in 1951 changed the character and outlook of economics.

His work on voting behaviour, social choice theory, information economics, risk and uncertainty greatly influenced thinking on climate change and natural capital  measurement.


UN Declares War on Ocean Plastic

February 23, 2017 – UN Environment launched today an unprecedented global campaign to eliminate major sources of marine litter: microplastics in cosmetics and the excessive, wasteful usage of single-use plastic by the year 2022.


Top marks for ecosystems course

The first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to focus on the ecosystem approach and systems thinking, which ran for several months at the end of 2016, was a great success, according to UN Environment’s final evaluation report.


We Must Raise our Voices to Save the Pangolin

Ian Somerhalder, UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador

What is a pangolin? You probably have no idea, and I can understand why. This small mammal is shy and only moves around at night. Hardly a zoo has been able to keep one alive. And yet it sits above the elephant and rhino as the most illegally trafficked animal in the world.


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UN Biodiversity Conference results in significant commitments for action on biodiversity

December 18, 2016 - Governments agreed on actions that will accelerate implementation of global biodiversity targets, and enhance the linkage of the biodiversity agenda with other global agendas including the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement and others.


Indigenous Peoples: The unsung heroes of conservation

There are approximately 370 million indigenous peoples in the world. They own, occupy or use up to 22 percent of the global land area, which is home to 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity. Often overlooked by governments, their role in safeguarding territories from environmental degradation has largely gone unnoticed and undocumented until now. Read more. 


New Regional Representative Elected for North America

December 16, 2016 - Christian Ledwell of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), has been elected as one of the two Regional Major Groups and Stakeholder Representative to UN Environment, North America. In addition, Scott Bohachyk, of UNA Canada, and Deirdre Laframboise of Canadian Climate Forum, were nominated to serve as alternates.


As countries rush to protect their seas, endurance swimmer Lewis Pugh calls to preserve the Antarctic

December 13, 2016 - Since April, the world has added an unprecedented 3.6 million square kilometres - an area larger than India - to the amount of ocean and sea covered by marine protected areas (MPAs), taking the global total coverage beyond 5 per cent for the first time in history.


Environmental crime threatening peace and security, finds new INTERPOL-UN Environment report

December 8, 2016 – More than 80 per cent of countries consider environmental crime a national priority, with the majority saying new and more sophisticated criminal activities increasingly threaten peace and security.

INTERPOL and UN Environment surveyed close to 70 countries for their new joint report, ‘Environment, Peace and Security – A Convergence of Threats’, released today at the Law, Justice and Development Week 2016 hosted by the World Bank in Washington DC.


Scientists shine a spotlight on the overlooked menace of nitrogen

December 5, 2016 - A new, USD $60 million global initiative launched at the International Nitrogen Initiative Conference in Melbourne, Australia, aims to spearhead integrated management of the nitrogen cycle for clean water and air, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and better soil and biodiversity protection.


Six environmental leaders receive Champions of the Earth award - UN's top environmental prize

December 2, 2016 - Six inspirational environmental leaders representing government, research and grassroots action received today the United Nations' highest environmental accolade, the Champions of the Earth award, during a global conference on biological diversity in Cancún, Mexico.


Marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Gender, Violence and the Environment

When we turn on the tap, there is water. When we turn on the cook stove, there is fire. Such conveniences should not be taken for granted. For people living in rural areas providing water and energy for their basic needs is a daily struggle. Typically these chores falls primarily on women and girls, and the cost is high. Read full story. 


Enter #NotWasting video contest for your chance to win a trip to the first North American Workshop on Food Waste Reduction and Recovery in Toronto, Canada

November 23, 2016 - Is there an innovative way you’re #NotWasting food? Whether you are a consumer who buys food wisely and uses all leftovers, a grocery store that avoids rotting overstock, or a municipality that prevents food waste from ending up in landfills, we want to see your ideas for salvaging food before it becomes waste.


New Analysis Shows Scale of International Commitment to Tackle Illegal Wildlife Trade: Over $1.3 Billion Since 2010

November 17, 2016 - The Global Wildlife Program has released the first-ever review of international donor funding for combatting illegal wildlife trade in Africa and Asia, which shows that over $1.3 billion was committed by 24 international donors since 2010, or approximately $190 million per year.


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Ottawa, Canada, 27 January 2016- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner visited Ottawa this week to deliver remarks at the memorial of Maurice Strong, Canadian diplomat and first Executive Director of UNEP, who passed away late last year. During his short visit, the Executive Director took the opportunity to meet briefly with Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion at the Canadian Parliament.


Davos, 21 January 2016 - A coalition of 30 international leaders launched their Champions 12.3 initiative at the World Economic Forum in Davos today to inspire ambitious action on reducing global food loss and waste.


London, 14 January - The UK is well-known as a major financial centre, but it is also a global hub in the fast-growing green finance arena, according to a new report released today by the UN Environment Programme's (UNEP) Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial system.


Geneva, 11 January 2016 - Close to 500 delegates from across the globe gathered in Geneva, Monday, to tackle crucial wildlife conservation and management issues that threaten the survival of a myriad of wild plants and animals.


Following the success of a new global climate agreement at COP21 in Paris, attention is now focusing on practical measures to mobilise the trillions necessary to deliver the transition to a low-carbon, green economy.


Nairobi, 14 December 2015 - The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today launched the Environment and Trade Hub, an initiative which will assist countries to use sustainable trade as a vehicle for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Nairobi, 14 December 2015 - The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today launched the Environment and Trade Hub, an initiative which will assist countries to use sustainable trade as a vehicle for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

UNEP Executive Director Mr. Steiner said, “UNEP is already working directly with many governments and other stakeholders to implement an inclusive green economy in countries across all continents.


Paris, 11 December 2015 - By promoting policies in favour of ecosystem-based adaptation in mountain regions, countries could build resilience and reduce the vulnerability of communities living in these high-altitude areas as well as that of millions of others living downstream, concluded a series of Mountain Adaptation Outlooks launched today by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).


Paris, 10 December 2015 – Angola, which is seeking to conserve its biodiversity-rich wildlife and rebuild its elephant population, is to host the 2016 World Environment Day (WED) celebrations, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Angolan government announced today at the COP21 Climate Conference.


Paris, 10 December 2015 – Recognizing the link between climate change and human rights is an important step towards protecting the fundamental rights of communities across the planet, according to a new United Nations report presented at the Paris climate meeting today.


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2014 News

Fast-Tracking Elimination of Production of Remaining Ozone-Depleting Substances Could Speed Up Ozone Layer Recovery by 11 Years

Nairobi, 19 December 2014 - The recovery of the ozone layer - the shield that protects life on Earth from harmful levels of ultraviolet rays - would come sooner if we were to fast-track the elimination of the production of the ozone-depleting substance (ODS) hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and manage other ODSs that remain in equipment, building walls and chemical stockpiles, according to the full release of a report by nearly 300 scientists from 36 countries.


New Report Makes Strong Business Case for Using Safer Chemicals in Products and Supply Chains

Geneva, 15 December 2014 - Chemicals are all around us, present in the products we use every day.The demand for increased transparency on chemicals up and down the supply chain is growing - we need to understand how and with what chemicals we are interacting. Consumers, retailers and brands all want to know more, driving companies to disclose information about the hazardous chemicals in their products and to make safer choices.


World on Track to New Universal Climate Agreement with Lima Call for Climate Action

Lima, 14 December 2014 - A new 2015 agreement on climate change, that will harness action by all nations, took a further important step forward in Lima following two weeks of negotiations by over 190 countries.

Nations concluded by elaborating the elements of the new agreement, scheduled to be agreed in Paris in late 2015, while also agreeing the ground rules on how all countries can submit contributions to the new agreement during the first quarter of next year.


UNEP Launches Wastewater Video in the Series Two Minutes on Oceans with Jim Toomey

Washington, D.C., 9 December 2014 - The United Nations Environment Programme Regional Office for North America (UNEP RONA), UNEP Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI) and nationally-syndicated cartoonist Jim Toomey announced today the release of the video "Wastewater: A widespread threat and missed resource," which portrays the impacts of wastewater on coastal communities and ecosystems, and the benefits of improving its management. This new video is part of a series of innovative ocean awareness videos titled Two Minutes on Oceans with Jim Toomey.


Full Economic Potential of Carbon-Rich Mangroves Remains Untapped

Lima, December 9, 2014 - The economic and social benefits of mangroves - which are estimated to run into the hundreds of billions worldwide - remain largely untapped due to a lack of carbon finance mechanisms, appropriate policy interventions, and rapid mangrove deforestation, according to a new United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report launched today at the 20th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change.


Montreal Protocol Celebrates Landmark Achievement with Universal Ratification of All Amendments 

Nairobi, 08 December 2014 - Global efforts to protect the ozone layer have reached a major milestone after all of the Amendments to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer received universal ratification by 197 Parties. 


UN Says Global Carbon Neutrality Should be Reached by Second Half of Century, Demonstrates Pathways to Stay Under 2°C Limit

Washington D.C., 19 November 2014 - In order to limit global temperature rise to 2°C and head off the worst impacts of climate change, global carbon neutrality should be attained by mid-to-late century. This would also keep in check the maximum amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that can be emitted into the atmosphere while staying within safe temperature limits beyond 2020, says a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).


UNEP and the Organization of American States Renew Joint-Efforts to Enhance Environmental Rule of law 

Washington D.C., 19 November 2014 - The UN South-South Cooperation Expo on enhancing cooperation for sustainable development served as the stage for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UNEP and the Organization of American States (OAS) designed to foster increased cooperation between the two organizations on the development and implementation of environmental rule of law for the promotion of sustainable development. 


UN Top Environment Award Announces 2014 Laureates

Nairobi/Washington D.C., 19 November 2014 - The Innovators and policymakers whose service to the environment is saving lives, improving livelihoods and bettering environmental governance and conservation were announced as recipients of the United Nation's highest environmental accolade, the Champions of the Earth Award.