Aerial view of a sand extraction site near the water

50 billion tons: enough to build a wall 27 metres wide and high around planet Earth - sand must be recognised as a strategic resource and its use needs to be rethought, finds a new report by UNEP.

Sir David Attenborough is the recipient of the Champions of the Earth Lifetime Achievement Award for his dedication to research, documentation, and advocacy for the protection of nature and its restoration.

A snorkeler measures corals with a ruler underwater.

UNEP calls for nominations for the Champions of the Earth Award - the UN’s highest environmental honour - to recognize outstanding leaders their transformative impact on the environment.

175 nations endorsed a historic resolution at the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi to End Plastic Pollution and forge an international legally binding agreement by 2024. Plastic production has risen exponentially in the last decades and now amounts to some 400 million tons per year– a figure set to double by 2040. The resolution addresses the full lifecycle of plastic, including its production, design, and disposal.

abstract image of land mass and sea

In this episode of UNEP's Resilience: The Global Adaptation Podcast, Lis and Marcus find out about some really creative and practical solutions to the climate threats faced by coastal communities and people living on low-lying small islands. Eritai Kateibwi, from the Te Maeu Project, talks about introducing hydroponics to Kiribati so his community can grow food without monthly ‘king’ tides washing away their crops. And world-renowned Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, who specialises in climate-resilient architecture, talks about floating cities and building flood barriers that double as parks, skateboard ramps, and bike storage - drawing on a concept known as ‘hedonistic sustainability.’

A World Environment Day 2021 billboard at Times Square, New York, that reads "This is our moment"

2022 could prove to be a seminal year for the environment, with high-level events and conferences scheduled, which are hoped to re-energize international cooperation and collective action. UNEP is going into 2022 with a new “Medium-Term Strategy” featuring seven interlinked subprogrammes for action. Unsustainable patterns of consumption and production are fuelling the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste. Several global events in 2022 aim to encourage dialogue and influence policy decisions to address the triple crisis.

On the left: Artificial turf football field with ground tyre rubber used for cushioning. On the right: Microplastics from the same field, washed away by rain.

Discarded plastic in the ocean has garnered a lot of media attention, but terrestrial microplastic pollution is much higher than marine microplastic pollution.

The Champions of the Earth award is the United Nation’s highest environmental honour. It recognizes outstanding leaders from government, civil society and the private sector whose actions have a transformative impact on the environment. Champions of the Earth inspire, defend, mobilize and act to tackle the greatest environmental challenges of our time. Learn more about UNEP’s Champions of the Earth.  

conservationist Gladys Kelma

It might have been the neighbor’s monkey which came downstairs to join her for piano lessons, or the wildlife club that she started in primary school in Kampala, Uganda. But from a very early age, Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, this year’s Champion of the Earth for Science and Innovation, knew she wanted to work with animals. Kalema-Zikusoka would become the first-ever wildlife veterinarian for the Uganda Wildlife Authority. There, she began to apply what was a new approach to working for wildlife.

Three ladies pose at the beach shore.

Since 2009, almost 14 per cent of the world’s corals have disappeared, according to a recent report from the UNEP. The Sea Women initiative works to promote restoration of coral reefs.

A boat at sea with empty plastic bottles inside seen from above.

UNEP brings us the murky truth about plastic in the ocean: Every minute, one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into our ocean. Join 113,637 other people and take the Clean Sean Pledge.

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.