United Nations Environment Programme United Nations Environment ProgrammeOrg type ProgrammeAcronyms UNEPHead Achim SteinerStatus ActiveEstablished 1972Headquarters Nairobi, KenyaWebsite www.unep.orgThe United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) coordinatesUnited Nations environmental activities, assisting developingcountries in implementing environmentally sound policies andpractices. It was founded as a result of the United Nations Conferenceon the Human Environment in June 1972 and has its headquarters inthe Gigiri neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya. UNEP also has sixregional offices and various country offices.
Its activities cover a wide range of issues regarding the atmosphere,marine and terrestrial ecosystems, environmental governance andgreen economy. It has played a significant role in developinginternational environmental conventions, promoting environmentalscience and information and illustrating the way those can beimplemented in conjunction with policy, working on the developmentand implementation of policy with national governments, regionalinstitutions in conjunction with environmental Non-GovernmentalOrganizations (NGOs). UNEP has also been active in funding andimplementing environment related development projects.UNEP has aided in the formulation of guidelines and treaties onissues such as the international trade in potentially harmful chemicals,transboundary air pollution, and contamination of internationalwaterways.The World Meteorological Organization and UNEP established theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988. UNEPis also one of several Implementing Agencies for the GlobalEnvironment Facility (GEF) and the Multilateral Fund for theImplementation of the Montreal Protocol, and it is also a member ofthe United Nations Development Group.•Executive DirectorUNEPs current Executive Director is Achim Steiner, who succeededprevious director Klaus Töpfer in 2006. Dr Töpfer served twoconsecutive terms, beginning in February 1998.On 15 March 2006, the former Secretary-General of the UnitedNations, Kofi Annan, nominated Achim Steiner, former DirectorGeneral of the IUCN to the position of Executive Director. The UNGeneral Assembly followed Annans proposal and elected him.The position was held for 17 years (1975–1992) by Dr. MostafaKamal Tolba, who was instrumental in bringing environmentalconsiderations to the forefront of global thinking and action. Under
his leadership, UNEPs most widely acclaimed success—the historic1987 agreement to protect the ozone layer—the Montreal Protocolwas negotiated.During December 1972, the UN General Assembly unanimouslyelected Maurice Strong to head UNEP. Also Secretary General ofboth the 1972 United Nations Conference on the HumanEnvironment, which launched the world environment movement, andthe 1992 Earth Summit, Strong has played a critical role is globalizingthe environmental movement. Name Took Left# Picture Nationality (Birth–Death) office office Maurice Strong1 Canada 1972 1975 (1929–) Mostafa Kamal Tolba2 Egypt 1975 1992 (1922–)3 Elizabeth Dowdeswell Canada 1992 1998 Klaus Töpfer4 Germany 1998 2006 (1938–) Achim Steiner5 Germany 2006 present (1961–)StructureUNEPs structure includes six substantive Divisions:• Division of Early Warning and Assessment (DEWA)• Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI)• Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE)• Division of Regional Cooperation (DRC)
• Division of Environmental Law and Conventions (DELC)• Division of Communications and Public Information (DCPI).International yearsThe year 2007 was declared (International) Year of the Dolphin bythe United Nations and UNEP.(International) Patron of the Year of the Dolphin was H.S.H. PrinceAlbert II of Monaco, with Special Ambassador to the cause beingNick Carter, of The Backstreet Boys.2010 was designated the International Year of Biodiversity andpresented an opportunity to enhance knowledge of ecosystems andtheir services.Currently they are celebrating the International Year of Forests andpreparing for 2012, which has been designated the International Yearfor Sustainable Energy for All.ReportsUNEP publishes many reports, atlases and newsletters. For instance,the fourth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4) assessment is acomprehensive report on environment, development and human well-being, providing analysis and information for policy makers and theconcerned public. One of many points in the GEO-4 warns that we areliving far beyond our means. It notes that the human population isnow so large that the amount of resources needed to sustain it exceedswhat is available. Humanity’s environmental demand, or ecologicalfootprint, is 21.9 hectares per person while the Earth’s biologicalcapacity is, on average, only 15.7 ha/person.In June 2010, a report from UNEP declared that a global shift towardsa vegan diet was needed to save the world from hunger, fuel shortagesand climate change.Reform
Main articles: International Sustainable Energy Agency, UNEO, andIRENAFollowing the publication of Fourth Assessment Report of theIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in February2007, a "Paris Call for Action" read out by French President JacquesChirac and supported by 46 countries, called for the United NationsEnvironment Programme to be replaced by a new and more powerful"United Nations Environment Organization (UNEO)", also calledGlobal Environment Organisation now supported by French PresidentNicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to bemodelled on the World Health Organization. The 46 countriesincluded the European Union nations, but notably did not include theUnited States, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and China, the top four emittersof greenhouse gases.Main activitiesUNEPs main activities are related to• climate change; o including the Territorial Approach to Climate Change (TACC);• disasters and conflicts;• ecosystem management;• environmental governance;• harmful substances; and• resource efficiency.Notable world projectsUNEP has sponsored the development of solar loan programs, withattractive return rates, to buffer the initial deployment costs and enticeconsumers to consider and purchase solar PV systems. The mostfamous example is the solar loan program sponsored by UNEPhelping 100,000 people finance solar power systems in India. Successin Indias solar program has led to similar projects in other parts ofdeveloping world like Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia and Mexico.
UNEP sponsors the Marshlands project in Middle East that helps toprotect the largest marshland in Middle East. In 2001, UNEP alertedthe international community to the destruction of the Marshlandswhen it released satellite images showing that 90 percent of theMarshlands had already been lost.The UNEP "support forEnvironmental Management of the Iraqi Marshland" commenced inAugust 2004, in order to manage the Marshland area in anenvironmentally sound manner.In order to ensure full participation of global communities, UNEPworks in an inclusive fashion that brings on board different societalcohorts. UNEP has a vibrant programme for young people known asTunza. Within this program are other projects like the AEO forYouth.Glaciers shrinkingGlaciers are shrinking at record rates and many could disappearwithin decades, the U.N. Environment Programme said on March 16,2008. The scientists measuring the health of almost 30 glaciers aroundthe world found that ice loss reached record levels in 2006. Onaverage, the glaciers shrank by 4.9 feet in 2006, the most recent yearfor which data are available. The most severe loss was recorded atNorways Breidalblikkbrea glacier, which shrank 10.2 feet in 2006.Glaciers lost an average of about a foot of ice a year between 1980and 1999. But since the turn of the millennium the average loss hasincreased to about 20 inches.Electric vehiclesAt the fifth Magdeburg Environmental Forum held from 3–4 July2008, in Magdeburg, Germany, UNEP and car manufacturer Daimlercalled for the establishment of infrastructure for electric vehicles. Atthis international conference, 250 high-ranking representatives fromindustry, science, politics and non-government organizationsdiscussed solutions for future road transportation under the motto of"Sustainable Mobility–the Post-2012 CO2 Agenda".