United Nations Environment Program

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United Nations Environment Program

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Introduction to United Nations Environment Program

The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) encourages and coordinates sound environmental practices throughout the world. It grapples with ways to approach environmental problems on an international level, provides expertise to member countries, monitors environmental conditions worldwide, develops environmental standards, and recommends alternative energy sources.

UNEP’s work is guided by principles adopted at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development, also known as the Earth Summit. The summit, which took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was the largest such conference ever held, attracting with more than 100 national leaders. It was the third international environmental conference hosted by the UN.

The first UN environment conference took place in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1972. It adopted general environmental principles, such as the idea that one country’s actions should not cause environmental damage to another. It also raised awareness about the international aspects of environmental damage. A second conference was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1982. Nairobi is the headquarters of the UN Environment Program.

The 1992 Earth Summit was larger and more ambitious than its predecessors. Its major theme was sustainable economic development, meaning development that does not use up or destroy so many of the world’s natural resources that it cannot be sustained over time. The meeting produced an overall plan, called Agenda 21, in which large developing countries promised to develop their industries with an eye toward protecting the environment. Industrialized countries pledged to help them do that. The Earth Summit also produced major treaties on biodiversity and global warming, although the latter treaty lacked enforcement provisions.

In 2002, UNEP sponsored the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. This conference sought to help developing countries undergo industrialization without harming the environment. But progress on environmental issues is slow because proposed solutions continue to pit the interests of poorer developing countries against those of richer industrialized nations. Most developing countries cannot afford to build an environmentally sound industrial base, while industrialized countries are unwilling to absorb the entire cost of environmental reform.” (1)

Resources

Notes and References

Guide to United Nations Environment Program

United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)

Introduction to United Nations Environment Program

United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), body established in 1972 by the United Nations General Assembly to promote international cooperation in environmental matters. Its tasks include constant surveillance of the environment through a program known as Earthwatch, analysis of trends, the collection and dissemination of information, the adoption of environmentally sound policies, and the adaptation of environmental protection projects to fit the needs and priorities of developing countries. UNEP has initiated projects in the following areas: the ozone layer, climate, the transport and disposal of waste, the marine environment, water systems, soil degradation, deforestation, biodiversity, urban environment, sustainable development, energy conservation, human settlements and population issues, health, toxic chemicals, environmental law, and education.

UNEP receives funds from the general budget of the United Nations (UN), from members’ contributions, and from trust funds. The money is allocated proportionally: 20 percent to various regions of the world; 80 percent to global projects. UNEP, however, is not a funding agency. Its resources are used to start programs, which then draw funds from other sources, including governments and environmental agencies. It works in close cooperation with other UN bodies, especially the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the World Health Organization (WHO). UNEP also has links with more than 6,000 nongovernmental bodies concerned with the environment. The Administrative Committee on Coordination functions as a liaison between UNEP and other UN agencies and related programs. UNEP’s Governing Council, with representatives from 58 member states, meets every two years. The organization’s headquarters are in Nairobi, Kenya. ” (1)

Resources

Notes and References

Guide to United Nations Environment Program

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