The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading environmental authority in the United Nations system. UNEP uses its expertise to strengthen environmental standards and practices while helping implement environmental obligations at the country, regional and global levels. UNEP’s mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.


UNEP re-organised its work programme into six strategic areas as part of its move to results based management. The selection of six areas of concentration was guided by scientific evidence, the UNEP mandate and priorities emerging from global and regional forums.

1. CLIMATE CHANGE UNEP strengthens the ability of countries to integrate climate change responses by providing leadership in adaptation, mitigation, technology and finance. UNEP is focusing on facilitating the transition to low-carbon societies, improving the understanding of climate science, facilitating the development of renewable energy and raising public awareness.

2. POST-CONFLICT AND DISASTER MANAGEMENT UNEP conducts environmental assessments in crisis-affected countries and provides guidance for implementing legislative and institutional frameworks for improved environmental management. Activities undertaken by UNEP’s Post-Conflict & Disaster Management Branch (PCDMB) include post-conflict environmental assessment in Afghanistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Lebanon, Nigeria and Sudan.

3. ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT Facilitates management and restoration of ecosystems in a manner consistent with sustainable development, and promotes use of ecosystem services. Examples include the Global Programme of Action (GPA) for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities.

4. ENVIRONMENTAL GOVERNANCE UNEP supports governments in establishing, implementing and strengthening the necessary processes, institutions, laws, policies and programs to achieve sustainable development at the country, regional and global levels, and mainstreaming environment in development planning.

5. HARMFUL SUBSTANCES UNEP strives to minimise the impact of harmful substances and hazardous waste on the environment and human beings. UNEP has launched negotiations for a global agreement on mercury, and implements projects on mercury and the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) to reduce risks to human health and the environment.

6. RESOURCE EFFICIENCY/SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION UNEP focuses on regional and global efforts to ensure natural resources are produced, processed and consumed in a more environmentally friendly way. For example, the Marrakesh Process is a global strategy to support the elaboration of a 10-Year Framework of Programs on sustainable consumption and production.