News Center image

UNEP News Center

FOLLOW @uneprona


New York Pension Fund Joins Multi-billion-dollar International Investors to Reduce Carbon Footprint

January 24, 2017 - In the latest demonstration of institutional asset owners’ commitment to climate action, New York State Common Retirement Fund (CRF), the third largest public pension fund in the US with $184.5 billion in assets, has joined the Portfolio Decarbonization Coalition (PDC).

The countdown to World Environment Day is on: 150 days to go!

The countdown is on! In 150 days—on June 5, 2017—Canada will host 

New research predicts the future of coral reefs under climate change

January 5, 2017 - New climate model projections of the world's coral reefs reveal which reefs will be hit first by annual coral bleaching, an event that poses the gravest threat to one of the Earth's most important ecosystems.

These high-resolution projections, based on global climate models, predict when and where annual coral bleaching will occur. The projections show that reefs in Taiwan and around the Turks and Caicos archipelago will be among the world's first to experience annual bleaching.

Wild successes: Big wins for the environment in 2016

The year 2016 may have been turbulent, but it certainly scored some wins for the environment and sustainability. Momentum from a triumphant 2015, which saw the adoption of the Paris climate agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, continued into 2016 with some major breakthroughs for our planet. Here are some of 2016’s big wins for the environment.

Read more



Coral reefs face bleak future - but "lifeboats" may help them survive

Nairobi, 24 May 2016 - It has been a bad year for coral. There has been unprecedented coral bleaching on the northern and central Great Barrier Reef, one of the world's most iconic reefs and a world heritage site. Bleaching in the central Indian Ocean is also severe, in the Maldives, Sri Lanka and in the Lakshadweep islands of India, where up to 100 per cent of corals are bleached in some locations. Many will not survive.

Premature Deaths from Environmental Degradation Threat to Global Public Health, UNEP Report Says

Nairobi, 23 May 2016 - Environmental degradation and pollution is estimated to cause up to 234 times as many premature deaths as occur in conflicts annually, highlighting the importance of a healthy environment to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, according to a new report released at the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA2).

UN Environment Assembly Kicks Off In Nairobi to Drive Environmental Progress on Sustainable Development

Nairobi, 23 May 2016 - Hundreds of key decision-makers from all over the world meet in Kenya today for start of the second United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2), where they will tackle some of the most critical issues of our time, from the air pollution that kills millions of people every year to an illegal trade in wildlife that is pushing species to the brink of extinction.

Ban on lead paint urged as major groups meet ahead of UNEA

Nairobi, 21 and 22 May 2016 – Policymakers and key stakeholders meeting on Sunday ahead of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) called for a global ban on the use of lead paint as they discussed a raft of resolutions that seek to transform the state of the world’s environment.

Authoritative New Science to Be Presented at UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Influencing Critical Country-driven Resolutions

Nairobi, 20 May 2016 - This Monday hundreds of key decision-makers from all over the world will meet in Nairobi to tackle some of the most critical issues of the day, from air pollution that kills millions of people every year to illegal trade in wildlife that is pushing species to the brink of extinction. 

This will be the second-ever meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) – the world’s de facto Parliament for the Environment. 

Toxic Crops and Zoonotic Disease: UNEP Identifies the Emerging Environmental Issues of Our Time

Nairobi, 20 May 2016 - From the worrying rise in zoonotic diseases around the world to an examination of how climate change is increasing the toxicity of crops, a UNEP report out today seeks to highlight a number of the world's key emerging environmental issues.

Rate of Environmental Damage Increasing Across the Planet but There Is Still Time to Reverse Worst Impacts if Governments Act Now, UNEP Assessment Says

Nairobi, 19 May 2016 - The environmental change sweeping the world is occurring at a faster pace than previously thought, making it imperative that governments act now to reverse the damage being done to the planet, says the most authoritative study that UNEP has ever published on the state of the global environment.

China and India's GDP Will Be Hit Hardest by Global Food Price Shock

London 18 May 2016 - If global food prices double then China could lose $161 billion in GDP and India could lose $49 billion, according to a new report released today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Global Footprint Network.

Increased resource efficiency could help cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 74%, says new study

Toyama, Japan, 15 May 2016 - More efficient use of natural resources, together with ambitious global action on climate change, could achieve big cuts in greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time adding to economic growth.



Washington D.C., 10 September 2015 – The National Geographic Society, one of the largest nonprofit scientific and educational institutions in the world, has been announced as a winner of the UN’s top environmental accolade, the Champions of the Earth award.

Nairobi, 31 August 2015 – A ground-breaking air quality measuring device unveiled today in Nairobi by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), expected to cost up to 100 times less than existing solutions, has the potential to revolutionize air quality measurement in developing countries and help prevent deaths from air pollution.

Panama City, 14 August 2015 – On the occasion of the celebration of the Inter-American Air Quality Day, the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean reaffirm their commitment to address atmospheric pollution and improve air quality and the health of the population in the region.

Op-ed by Achim Steiner, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UN Environment Programme Executive Director on the Guardian. 

New York, 2 August -The 193 Member States of the United Nations reached agreement today on the outcome document that will constitute the new sustainable development agenda that will be adopted this September by world leaders at the Sustainable Development Summit in New York.

Nairobi, 4 August 2015 - United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner today released the following statement:

“President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is a welcome commitment not only to reduce carbon emissions but to increase use of renewables like wind and energy.

Nairobi, 31 July 2015 - United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner released the following statement after the UN General Assembly adopted its first-ever resolution on wildlife trafficking:

"This General Assembly resolution is an historic step forward, and one I believe will spark the firm and concerted international action needed to combat poaching and those who profit from it.

Washington, D.C. 15 July 2015 - The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) teamed up with Ben & Jerry’s on their “Save Our Swirled” tour to offer free scoops of ice cream to local partners and climate advocates on 15 July in Washington, D.C.

Addis Ababa / Nairobi, 16 July 2015 – Governments agreed Thursday to a series of measures that support the redirection of international financing towards supporting sustainable development. 

Addis Ababa, 13 July 2015 - Over 30 heads of state and government, more than 110 government ministers and over 1000 business and civil society representatives gathered in Addis Ababa for the opening of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development with calls to ensure the necessary resources to improve people's lives while protecting the planet. The meeting takes place  at a critical moment in what the United Nations has dubbed “a year for global action”.


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.