UNEP

baby turtle resting on the sand and a blurry human silhouette in the background

From forests to peatlands to coasts, we all depend on healthy ecosystems for our survival. But their degradation is already affecting the well-being of 40% of the world’s population. This World Environment Day 2021 (June 5) calls for urgent action to revive and heal our damaged ecosystems. Join the “Reimagine. Recreate. Restore” campaign led by the UN Environment Programme and welcome the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a 10-year global rallying cry to make peace with nature, end poverty, combat climate change and prevent a mass extinction.

Illustration of a stretched-out hand with the globe on it

UNEP’s Protected Planet Report 2020 finds that the international community has made major progress towards protected and conserved area coverage but has fallen short on the quality of these areas.

photo of deformed carrot

The Food Waste Index covers the later stages of food’s journey – food waste – occurring at household, food service and retail level.

people walking among giant trees

This year, 5 June, World Environment Day, marks the official launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a 10-year push to halt and reverse the  decline of the natural world. Ecosystems can be large, like a forest, or small, like a pond. Many are crucial to human societies, providing people with water, food, building materials and a host of other essentials. But in recent decades, humanity’s hunger for resources has pushed many ecosystems to the breaking point. Here are the eight main types of ecosystem and some of the things that can be done to revive them.

screen shot of climate data visualization

The UNEP Climate Action Note displays the state of the climate, what’s happening now, the progress made and what needs to be done to tackle the climate emergencies.

bats in trees

The COVID-19 pandemic has made us all acutely aware that human health, animal health and planetary health are inextricably linked. UN agencies have now issued guidance for national governments to help reduce public health risks associated with the sale of live wild mammals. Among other measures, the guidance calls for the suspension of sales of live wild mammals in traditional food markets that do not have effective regulations and sanitary measures. 

Illustration of people holding signs that read: Stop polluting, no more plastics, protect our seas

UNEP highlights at least 155 states recognize a healthy environment as a human right, either through national legislation or international accords, like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

boat made of recycled plastic

For much of the last three weeks, the Flipflopi, a dhow made from recycled plastic, including a helping of old sandals, has been calling into ports across Lake Victoria. The crew of the 10-metre-long vessel is on a mission to raise awareness about a tide of plastic choking Africa’s biggest lake – and to demonstrate that trash can be turned into treasure. A recent report by UNEP and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found that 27 per cent of plastic waste in Kenya is collected and, of that, only 7 per cent is recycled in the country. The problem is global. Humanity’s penchant for producing cheap plastic products, using them, and then throwing them away, has created a global pollution crisis that is threatening the natural world and human livelihood.

cover of report with word CITY

REN21’s Renewables in Cities Global Status Report (REC) series provides an overview of the status, trends and developments of renewable energy in cities.

forest

The rangers of the Mt. Kenya Trust work tirelessly to protect the area's forests and wildlife from illegal activities such as logging and poaching. Their mission is to protect this incredible ecosystem and educate local communities about the benefits of conserving the forests of Mt. Kenya. Watch this film, shot by Joan Poggio for the United Nations Environment Programme Wild for Life campaign and explore the immersive journey on forests to discover how these precious ecosystems support humans and wildlife every day.

Illustration of an oil well surrounded by plastic.

Every year, the toxic trail of economic growth – pollution and waste – results in the premature deaths of millions of people while doing untold damage to the planet. Plastic poses a big problem from source extraction to waste. Not only to the environment, but also to human beings and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Would you like to know how? Find out with this animation! UNEP supports strong laws and institutions for a healthy planet and healthy people.

Man carrying plastic water containers.

The Global Commitment to the New Plastics Economy campaign is making progress but the world needs to ramp up actions to curb plastic pollution. Humanity dumps its own combined weight in plastics annually into ecosystems. That’s 300 million tonnes every year choking waterways and seas, clogging streets, harming wildlife, and causing damage to public health. To stem that tide, UNEP and partner lobbied private and public sector decisionmakers to commit to cultivating a circular economy around plastics, one in which plastics are made to last and to be reused.

Women play a major role in shaping climate-resilient societies. Their needs and capacities can lay the foundation for solutions that not only address the climate crisis but also pave the way for a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Women are playing a lead role in tackling some of the planet’s biggest environmental threats, from climate change to species loss, to pollution. Meet seven extraordinary women who are using their powers to save the planet.