UNEP

illustration of various types of plastic pollution: bottles, tires, clothes

Even the planet's most remote and inaccessible environments, such as the Mariana trench and Mount Everest, contain tiny pieces of plastic from human activities miles away. Plastics are the largest, most harmful, and persistent fraction of marine litter, accounting for at least 85 per cent of total marine waste. UNEP’s global assessment: From Pollution to Solution, shows that there is a growing threat in all ecosystems from source to sea. Without urgent action, the estimated 11 million metric tons of plastic currently entering the ocean annually will triple in the next twenty years.

Wildfires reaching two homes

Climate impacts are widespread, rapid, and intensifying. UNEP will be working towards three goals at COP26: raising national level ambitions, stimulate private funding, and reducing GHG emissions.

children playing in a city square

The UN Environment Programme, the Global Environment Facility and partners have launched UrbanShift – a new global initiative to improve lives and transform cities into green and liveable spaces that address climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

The Montreal Protocol is one of the most successful universally ratified environmental treaties. Without which, it is estimated that the global ozone layer would have collapsed by the mid-21st century, with devastating environmental implications. Scientists estimate that the ozone hole is now expected to gradually close. But there is more to be done. The Kigali Amendment aims to phase-out so called HFC gasses. Compliance will avoid up to 0.4°C of global warming over this century. UNEP brings us a film by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, with aerial footage courtesy of Human / GoodPlanet Foundation.

An industrial plant in the desert emitting black smoke

The first UNEP Global Assessment of Air Pollution Legislation presents the findings of a study of air quality legislation in more than 194 countries. Using the Air Quality Guidelines developed by WHO, the report examines the legal measures for determining whether air quality standards are being met and what legal standards exist for failure to meet them. The Assessment provides recommendations to assist countries in strengthening air quality governance and serves as a resource for countries wishing to effectively address air pollution and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.

hands sifting sand on a platter under water

UNEP celebrates the anniversary of 132 parties working together to disrupt the trade, raise public awareness, build institutional capacity, and create mercury-free products.

On the Kenyan coast, a UNEP partner, the Watamu Marine Association, has developed a business model that keeps beaches clean, bringing together local communities and the tourism industry to collect, repurpose and recycle plastic waste. This small-scale circular economy has big potential and can be replicated anywhere in the world there is a coastal tourism industry, restoring coastlines and addressing the global issue of marine litter.

Two hands emptying a bowl full of food leftovers

1.3 billion tonnes of food is either lost or wasted, says the UNEP Food Waste Index. Composting is one of the best options for managing organic waste while also reducing environmental impacts.

African elephant

UNEP's report, A Future for All: The Need for Human/Wildlife Coexistence, finds that conflicts between communities and wild animals leads to the killing of more than 75 per cent of the world’s wild cat species, polar bears, Mediterranean monk seals, and elephants, among a host of other animals. At the same time, human-wildlife conflict also leads to human lives being lost. Decision-making is frequently divorced from the economic needs of communities, which are often impoverished. As a result, local tolerance for conservation  – even among those who historically coexisted with wild species – is eroding. The new report says that local communities should be treated as allies in the fight to save endangered animals.

With the support of over 80 prominent international street artists, Street Art for Mankind (SAM) curates and produces large murals, interactive exhibitions, and live performances around the world to bond communities and generations around human rights. Partnering with UNEP, SAM believes in the power of art to trigger social change.

Close-up of a Gelada monkey from the Ethiopian highlands.

Janez Potočnik, former European Commissioner for Environment and Science, and Izabella Teixeira, who served six years as Brazil’s environment minister, met more than a decade ago at a gathering of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan. They were there as negotiators hoping to set clear targets that might safeguard the natural world. Each understood the stakes as they advocated for science-based principles to guide political action. They recently met with UNEP to discuss the study and the massive international effort needed to halt biodiversity loss.

woman with piglet

Unsustainable agriculture can pollute water, air and soil; is a source of greenhouse gases, and destroys wildlife. And to top it all off, some farming practices have been linked to the emergence of zoonotic diseases, such as COVID-19. Here's how we can change that.