United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Project 13 of 49


UNEP, established in 1972, is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. UNEP acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the wise use and sustainable development of the global environment. To accomplish this, UNEP works with a wide range of partners, including United Nations entities, international organizations, national governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and civil society.

UNEP work encompasses:

  • Assessing global, regional and national environmental conditions and trends
  • Developing international and national environmental instruments
  • Strengthening institutions for the wise management of the environment
  • Facilitating the transfer of knowledge and technology for sustainable development
  • Encouraging new partnerships and mind-sets within civil society and the private sector.

UNEP’s global and cross-sectoral outlook is reflected in its organizational structure, its activities and is personnel. Being based in Africa gives UNEP a clear advantage in understanding the environmental issues facing the world’s developing countries.

To ensure its global effectiveness UNEP supports six regional offices, plus a growing network of centres of excellence such as the Global Resource Information Database (GRID) centres and the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). UNEP also has major offices in Geneva and Paris, where its Division of Technology, Industry and Economics is situated.

UNEP also hosts several environmental convention secretariats including the Ozone Secretariat and the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund, CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Convention on Migratory Species, and a growing family of chemicals-related agreements, including the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and the recently negotiated Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) (Source: UNEP 2012).


Blue Carbon Initiative:

UNEP’s Blue Carbon Initiative aims to develop a global partnership to advance the sound management of coastal and marine ecosystems in order to ensure that their carbon sequestration and storage functions are maintained, that emissions of greenhouse gases are avoided, and that the full range of ecosystem services and functions are also maintained. Furthermore, ecosystem-based management of coastal ecosystems should be appropriately incorporated into global, regional and national climate change mitigation discussions and financing schemes. It supports the development of tools and policies for global, regional and national ecosystem management and of possible financial instruments to maintain and enhance carbon storage and sequestration in coastal ecosystems.

Its proposed key elements are:

  • Developing methodologies, standardized around the world, for carbon accounting and economic valuation of ecosystem services in coastal ecosystems;
  • Using these methodologies in a range of projects around the world;
  • Filling gaps in our knowledge of ecosystem services and of carbon sequestration and fluxes in coastal ecosystems;
  • Exploring how the international community can adopt the methodologies to influence international climate frameworks and create incentives for protecting ecosystem services and carbon sequestration.

These objectives are aligned with the UNEP Marine and Coastal Strategy under its stream on Ecosystems for Human Well-being (Source: UNEP 2012a).

UNEP is currently engaged in several demonstration and baseline projects related to blue carbon around the world. Please see the links below for further information.




  • Gabriel Grimsditch: gabriel.grimsditch@unep.org

Internal links:

External links:


UNEP (2012): About UNEP. http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=43&ArticleID=3301&l=en. Accessed September 13th, 2012

UNEP (2012a): Blue Carbon Initiative. http://www.unep.org/ecosystemmanagement/Portals/7/Documents/factsheets/BlueCarbonInitiativeFactSheet.pdf. Accessed September 13th, 2012

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