butterflies on flowers

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is stepping up its work on mapping zoonotic threat and protecting the environment to reduce the risk of future pandemics, such as the COVID-19 crisis.

Tall grass surrounded by trees

UNEP presents the new video showing the delicate relationship between humans, wildlife and the pathogens that circulate among them, in the context of COVID-19.

Girl walks through an exhibit.

An unprecedented coalition launches “Earth School,” providing free, high-quality educational content to help students, parents and teachers who are currently at home.

Wind turbines against the colours of a sunset.

If the world has seen a scary future with the emergence of COVID-19, the future of our planet in a 3-4° C scenario takes us to an entirely different level of uncertainty, including in terms of health. UNEP understands that fundamental to a transformational and green recovery will be early action on a longer-term agenda to address climate change, avoid habitat loss and fragmentation, reverse the loss of biodiversity, reduce pollution and improve waste management and infrastructure.

An earth globe on top of grass.

While the coronavirus has been spreading around the world and dominating news headlines, UNEP asks climate action to remain urgent. Earth day is now more important than ever.

Nature is sending us another wake-up call with the COVID-19 pandemic, alongside Australian bushfires, broken heat records and the worst locust invasion in Kenya for 70 years. Our destruction of nature is hurting humanity. While our immediate priority must be to protect people from COVID-19 and prevent its spread, our long-term response must tackle climate change and biodiversity loss. To prevent further zoonotic disease outbreaks the destruction of nature for farming, mining and housing must end.


Coral reefs

UNEP partner, Ocean Agency, invites parents and children to experience the ocean and its astounding life forms from their homes. Remote diving is the new remote working.


Both humans and great apes are susceptible to infectious diseases; and introducing human pathogens to the great ape population could result in catastrophic losses. 

painting a plastic bottle

It may be difficult to occupy your children as you also work from home. Here are some ideas to engage your children to teach them about the plastic pollution problem. 

turtles and diver underwater

Coral reef ecosystems cover just 0.1 per cent of the ocean, yet they support 25 per cent of its life and the lives of half a billion people on land. In the face of climate change and destructive human activities like overfishing and pollution, it is important to understand the interconnectedness of organisms. Protecting coral reefs means protecting the ocean’s variety of life, which in turn means protecting our own lives as well. Experience a coral reef through the eyes of a sea turtle to understand its unique role in maintaining nature’s balance. 

An architectural rendering of a city.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat, and the Commonwealth Secretariat, in collaboration with several United Nations entities, have developed a law and climate change toolkit to promote climate-smart urbanization.

A closeup shot of seagrass submerged under running water.

Saving Mozambique’s Seagrass

urban landscape

Cities are hubs for cultural, scientific and economic development, but they can also be stark reminders of the environmental and socio-economic challenges we face. Today, cities are responsible for some 70 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions and consume 75 per cent of the world’s energy and resources. As the human population continues to grow and the planet faces unprecedented threats from climate change, there is a critical need for sustainable urban planning. The tenth World Urban Forum (WUF)—the foremost international gathering on sustainable urbanization established by the United Nations—focused on the intersection of culture and innovation to address emerging urban challenges.

Facing the extinction of 1 million plant and animal species, countries are working on a plan to stop biodiversity loss. A draft plan being developed under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity calls for urgent action to stop biodiversity decline.

person on a mountain top

Nominations for 2020 opened on 20 January 2020 for four categories:

  • - Policy leadership
  • - Inspiration and action
  • - Entrepreneurial vision
  • - Science and innovation

Submission deadline: 20 March 2020.