United Nations Environmental Program

The United Nations Environment Programme is the leading global environmental authority that plays a vital role in tackling environmental issues within the United Nations. Its mandate is to provide leadership and consists of 8 divisions to develop solutions for issues ranging from climate change to ecosystem management to resource efficiency. As a member of the United Nations Development Group, UNEP also works to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


In 1972, United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (the Stockholm Conference) was convened, where they discussed topics such as pollution, marine life and disasters related to nature and led to the Declaration on the Human Environment (Stockholm Declaration). The environmental management body established, was later named the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and was established by General Assembly Resolution 2997. 

In 1988, the World Meteorological Organization and UNEP established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). UNEP is also one of several Implementing Agencies for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol. 

In 2012, The United Nations Environment Assembly was created to replace the Governing Council and is the UNEP’s governing body, where its 193 Member States come together every two years. Led by the Executive Director, UNEP hosts several multilateral environmental agreements and research bodies, some of them being the Convention on Biological Diversity, Minamata Convention on Mercury and the Convention on Migratory Species.

Today, with its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, thereby making it the first UN office headquartered in the Global South, UNEP, while depending on voluntary contributions for 95 per cent of their income, maintains a growing network of collaborating centres regionally.