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Connect with nature and you won’t let go, says Sir David Attenborough

The theme to the 2017 edition of UN Environment’s biggest awareness-raising event of the year on 5 June is ‘connecting people with nature’, and the legendary broadcaster reminds us that we are very much a part of it.

“Every mouthful of food, every breath of air is owed to nature. We depend on it,” Attenborough notes in the interview.

People can build a connection to nature from the countryside and cities alike and from a very early age, says Sir David. “There isn’t a child that doesn't get filled with wonder by nature, even from a very early age,” he believes.

Protected areas – safeguarding nature now and into the future

Protected areas like national parks, nature reserves and marine sanctuaries will be at the centre of attention during this year’s World Environment Day. Canada, the official host for the 2017 celebrations, is offering citizens free access to their 46 national parks for a year to encourage them to ‘connect with nature.’

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Which is your favorite protected area?

Hike to the rim of the Grand Canyon in the United States in time for sunset. Watch thousands of wildebeest migrate through the Serengeti and Maasai Mara of Tanzania and Kenya. Swim amid a rainbow of fish on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Take a picture and post it on Twitter using the #WithNature hashtag and tell us why you love or want to visit that special place. We'll share some of them here and on the UN Environment, North America's Twitter account. 

#CleanSeas: more than 800 people pledge to stop using cosmetics containing microbeads

Under UN Environment’s new #CleanSeas campaign, more than 800 people have already pledged to replace their personal care and cosmetic products that contain microbeads with ocean-friendly alternatives.

Blue Forests: Finding Coastal and Marine Solutions to meet the Paris Agreement

What are blue forests?

"Blue forests" are coastal and marine ecosystems, including mangrove forests, seagrass meadows and tidal salt marshes. They play an important role in protecting 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.



Countries agree to curb powerful greenhouse gases in largest climate breakthrough since Paris

Kigali, October 15, 2016 - Nearly 200 countries struck a landmark deal today to reduce the emissions of powerful greenhouse gases, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), in a move that could prevent up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by the end of this century.

The amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer endorsed in Kigali today is the single largest contribution the world has made towards keeping the global temperature rise "well below" 2 degrees Celsius, a target agreed at the Paris climate conference last year.

Imax Challenges Student Filmmakers to Create Documentaries That Drive Global Awareness of Environmental Issues

New York, October 11, 2016 – IMAX Corporation (NYSE:IMAX) today launched the first component of its In Focus program to showcase the work of young filmmakers and encourage them to create content that inspires audiences to improve the planet.   Specifically, IMAX has tasked student filmmakers with developing short documentaries to raise awareness of some of today’s most pressing environmental, societal and economic issues.  IMAX will award $5,000 grants to four high schools and a non-profit film workshop selected by the All-American High School Film F

Apes Seizure Database reveals true extent of illegal trade

September 29, 2016 - Over 1,800 great apes were seized from an illicit live traffic that went undetected for over a decade but is now confirmed through the Apes Seizure Database that was launched at the 17th Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Conference of Parties in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Seizure records in the database date back to 2005, and include any removal of great apes from unlawful situations. Seizures were recorded in 23 nations, almost half of which were non-range States from Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

UN Secretary General's climate resilience initiative set to mobilize and accelerate climate action for sustainable development

New York, September 23, 2016 - Partners of a new UN-led platform to mobilize and accelerate action on climate resilience agreed today to move ahead with plans that will help meet the needs of a growing global population that is being impacted by climate change.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Initiative on Climate Resilience, known as A2R (Anticipate, Absorb, Reshape), was launched by world leaders during the Paris Climate Conference last year.

MEDIA ADVISORY: Nations aim to reach an important agreement to protect the climate while continuing to preserve the ozone layer

September 23, 2016 - The 197 parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer will meet in Kigali, Rwanda, in a bid to reach an important agreement that could prevent a global temperature rise of up to 0.5°C by the end of the century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer. They will work towards a possible amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) - powerful greenhouse gases used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances.

10 - 14 October 2016 Kigali Convention Centre, Kigali, Rwanda

Canada to host World Environment Day in 2017

New York, September 21, 2016 - Canada today demonstrated its commitment to environmental action as Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, and UN Environment chief Erik Solheim announced that Canada will host World Environment Day in 2017.

UN Environment and U.S. EPA Renew Commitment for a Sustainable Future

Washington, D.C., September 16, 2016 - UN Environment Executive Director, Erik Solheim, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Gina McCarthy, strengthened their commitment to combat climate change, protect human health, and implement the sustainable development goals by signing a Memorandum of Understanding in Washington, DC. 

The GUPES Green Gown Awards Winners Announced

Rewarding universities across the world that are leading the way in sustainability
Universities across the world were watching in anticipation as the winners of the GUPES Green Gown Awards were announced at the Awards Ceremony at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, USA.
Universities from 5 global regions went head to head to become the inaugural GUPES Green Gown Awards winners. Entries were wide ranging from solar dancing flowers to fog catchers to protecting Nemo to aboriginal engagement and so much more! 

Football Icon Neymar Jr. Targets Deadly Threats to Wildlife

September 12, 2016 - Deadly striker Neymar Jr., renowned for hitting the back of the net for Barcelona and Brazil, is taking aim at a new target: the deadly illegal trade in wildlife.

He has joined forces with supermodel and friend Gisele Bündchen, fellow footballer and four-time African player of the year Yaya Touré, movie star Li Bingbing and other global celebrities to back a United Nations campaign, which has just expanded to China.

Ozone and Climate – Restored by a World United

Almost 30 years ago, the world's countries joined hands in an unprecedented effort to tackle an invisible, yet very real threat to humanity – the depletion of the ozone layer – Earth's only shield from harmful ultraviolet rays. 



Nairobi, 4 December 2015 - The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released the full version of the 2015 Emissions Gap Report, which found that the world was around halfway toward the emissions cuts needed to limit global temperature rise to 2°C by 2100.

Paris, 30 November 2015 -The nations of the world gathered on Monday in Paris to reach a new and universal climate change agreement, in the knowledge that they have already delivered an almost universal set of national responses to meet the long-term climate challenge before the conference even begins.

Nairobi, 28 November 2015 - Founding Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Maurice Strong passed away at age 86. Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UNEP, issued the following statement:

"Today the world mourns one of its greats. Maurice Strong was a visionary and a pioneer of global sustainable development.

Paris, France, 30 November 2015 - Decoupling economic growth from escalating resource use should be an integral part of climate policy, according to a group of the world's most renowned natural resources scientists.

As nations gathered at COP21 in Paris for their first day of deliberations to determine a new, global climate regime, the IRP said a "whole system perspective" was crucial when considering climate policy.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) joined the battle to protect endangered orangutans from the fires and haze ravaging Southeast Asia today with a $100,000 USD contribution to support Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) projects in Borneo.

GRASP will direct the funds towards orangutan rescue and rehabilitation, fire-fighting, and habitat protection efforts already underway.

Nairobi, 26 November 2015 - His Holiness Pope Francis today called on world leaders to seal a strong agreement at the Paris climate change meeting next month, adding that transforming current development models was a "political and economic obligation", as he visited the global headquarters of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi.

Washington D.C., 17 November 2015 – Widespread adoption of products labelled 'biodegradable' will not significantly decrease the volume of plastic entering the ocean or the physical and chemical risks that plastics pose to marine environment, concluded a UN report released today. 

More than a third of all of the food produced globally gets lost or wasted before reaching the dinner table. In the United States alone, approximately 60 million metric tons of food, worth an estimated $162 billion, is wasted ever year, according to a recent study.

Geneva, 6 November 2015 – Existing policies and strong engagement by nations submitting their contributions ahead of the Paris climate meeting will limit anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030, but a new climate agreement can encourage further action to limit global temperature rise to 2°C by 2100, according to a new United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report.

Dubai, 6 November 2015 – As the world counts down to the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris at the end of this month, the 197 parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer have agreed on a “Dubai Pathway” for controlling climate-change-inducing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).


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.