The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)


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The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which was established in 1972, has been the international organization in charge of establishing the environmental agenda, promoting the consistent application of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the UN system, and acting as an authoritative spokesperson for the environment on a global scale.

The goal of UNEP is to inspire, inform, and enable nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations in order to provide leadership and promote collaboration in environmental protection.

By focusing on the underlying causes of the three planetary crises of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste, UNEP works to deliver transformational change for people and nature. In order to take action, UNEP uses seven interconnected subprogrammes: Climate Action, Chemicals and Pollutions Action, Nature Action, Science Policy, Environmental Governance, Finance, and Economic Transformations, and Digital Transformations.

UNEP promotes and raises awareness for effective environmental action through its campaigns, particularly on World Environment Day.UNEP, which has its main office in Nairobi, Kenya, operates through a network of collaborative centers of excellence and regional, liaison, and out-posted offices.

In order to address environmental challenges through the UN Environment Assembly, the highest-level environmental decision-making body in the world, UNEP closely collaborates with its 193 Member States as well as representatives from civil society, business, and other significant groups and stakeholders. The organization is home to the secretariats of numerous important multilateral environmental agreements as well as environmental research bodies.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


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The earth used to be in a state of balance. Humanity only used as many natural resources as could be comfortably replaced while maintaining clean air and pure water. But today, because of how little we are giving back to the earth and how much we are taking from it, the planet is in grave danger.

This appears to be a global emergency that could affect how we live. Exists a global response to this?

As a global road map to guide us in restoring the natural world by the end of this decade, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015 and established the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Measuring Progress is the second of a series of biannual updates that examines the world’s progress toward achieving Sustainable Development Goals. It was produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Communities are still living unsustainable lifestyles and are far behind the curve despite advancements in critical environmental areas like clean water, sanitation, clean energy, forest management, and waste. Measuring Progress also highlights the fact that some environmental issues, like biodiversity loss and climate change, have worsened.

The SDGs were created to draw attention to the connections between the environmental, economic, and social facets of development as well as to the gaps and chances that have arisen. The SDGs are used by the private sector, including businesses like manufacturers, corporations, and developers, as well as by governments, when planning initiatives in the areas of governance, social impact, and the environment.

GOAL 1: aims to eliminate all forms of poverty worldwide

In order to achieve socioeconomic advancement and the reduction of poverty, the environment must be managed sustainably. Ecosystem goods and services provided by the natural environment help to alleviate poverty, support job creation, strengthen safety nets, and lessen inequality.

The fight against poverty is in danger of failing due to climate change and exposure to natural disasters. The majority of the poorest and most vulnerable people on earth reside in disaster-prone nations, and their numbers are steadily rising. Shocks and stresses have an unproportional impact on those groups. Climate-related disasters are more likely and more severe as temperatures rise, posing a threat to lives and livelihoods, impeding development efforts, and undoing the progress made in eradicating poverty.

Environment-related targets


Build the resilience of the poor and those who are vulnerable by the year 2030, and lessen their exposure and susceptibility to extreme weather events related to climate change as well as other economic, social, and environmental shocks and disasters.

GOAL 2: Zero hunger

To end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and advance sustainable agriculture, nature offers direct food sources and a number of ecosystem services (such as pollination, soil formation, nutrient cycling, and water regulation) that assist in agricultural activities and contribute to food security and nutrition.

By 2030, there will need to be enough food produced to feed an additional two billion people while preserving and improving the natural resource base that underpins the well-being of both current and future generations. The pressure on the environment is due to the growing global population and changing consumption patterns. This is significant because unsustainable agricultural expansion has led to significant environmental issues like soil erosion, agrochemical-related water pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.

Food security is significantly impacted by climate change and “natural” disasters like droughts, landslides, and floods. To improve harvest quality and quantity, disaster risk management, climate change adaptation, and mitigation are essential

GOAL 3: Optimal well-being and health

Ensure healthy lives and encourage well-being for everyone, regardless of age:

Human health and well-being depend on a clean environment. On the other hand, poor management of waste and hazardous chemicals, pollution of the air and water, and these factors all work against good health.

Natural disasters and other environmental shocks can have a significant negative impact on one’s health, resulting in long-lasting disruptions in the provision of healthcare services as well as deaths, illnesses, injuries, and disabilities.

GOAL 4: Quality education

Assure all students receive inclusive, equitable, high-quality education, and encourage opportunities for lifelong learning:

Natural disasters have a significant impact on the education sector by destroying important infrastructure, destabilizing educational cycles, and forcing children to miss a lot of schools. Education is also a potent tool for strengthening societal resilience. Promoting sustainable development and enhancing people’s and nation’s ability to address environmental and development issues and to create green and decent jobs and industries depend heavily on formal and informal education, including public awareness and training.

GOAL 5: Gender equality

Realize gender equality and give all women and girls more power:

Understanding the connections between gender inequality and environmental degradation and taking appropriate action can hasten the development of positive trends.

Women’s access to land, resources, and improved property rights can help to improve their livelihood options, reduce poverty, and reduce gender inequalities.

GOAL 6: Sanitation and access to water

Assure everyone has access to water and sustainable sanitation management:

Access to clean water and sanitation as well as sustainable management of water resources is crucial for maximizing economic productivity and yielding significant returns on current investments in health and education. In addition to supporting investments in physical infrastructure and institutional and regulatory arrangements for water access, use, and disaster preparedness, the natural environment, such as forests, soils, and wetlands, contributes to the management and regulation of water availability and quality. This strengthens the resilience of watersheds.

While improving water management makes national economies, and the agriculture and food sectors more resilient to rainfall variability and able to meet the needs of a growing population, water shortages threaten food security and the incomes of rural farmers. Water purification and water quality standards can be ensured by preserving and restoring ecosystems that are related to water and their biodiversity.

UNEP is working to create a comprehensive strategy for measuring the issues related to water that are included. UN-Water coordinates all of the SDG indicators for Goal 6, and UNEP actively collaborates with UN-Water and the UN-Water partners on these indicators. In order to support SDG 6, UN-Water has created a data portal. The Global Environmental Monitoring Initiative for SDG 6 also functions as a coordination tool for all SDG 6 methodologies.

GOAL 7: Accessible and sustainable energy

Ensure that everyone has access to modern, sustainable, affordable energy:

The development of the human race and the economy is hampered by a lack of access to energy sources and transformation systems. The environment offers a variety of renewable and non-renewable energy sources, including uranium, solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, and biofuels.

Global climate change consequences will result from increased fossil fuel use in the absence of mitigation measures for greenhouse gas emissions. Disaster risk reduction and climate change mitigation are both facilitated by the increased use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency. Ecosystem preservation and protection allow for the continued use and advancement of hydropower and bioenergy sources.

GOAL 8: Decent employment and economic expansion

Encourage full and productive employment, inclusive economic growth, and decent work for all:

Because the natural environment is crucial for sustaining economic activity, protecting it is essential for promoting sustainable economic growth. It contributes both directly and indirectly. Directly, it provides the resources and raw materials needed as inputs for the production of goods and services, such as water, timber, and minerals. Indirectly, it relies on ecosystem services like carbon sequestration, water purification, managing flood risks, and nutrient cycling.

Natural disasters have a direct impact on economic activity, causing significant financial losses that plunge many households into poverty. Therefore, protecting ecosystems and reducing climate change can significantly improve a country’s economy and employment.

Sustainable development, which can help people around the world live better lives, requires sustained and inclusive economic growth. Economic expansion can create more lucrative job opportunities and boost everyone’s financial security. Rapid economic development can also help to develop and least-developed nations narrow the wage gap with developed nations, thereby reducing the stark disparities between the rich and the poor.

GOAL 9: Industry, innovation, and infrastructure

Increase innovation, encourage inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and build resilient infrastructure:

The development of resilience and more effective use of natural resources can all be greatly aided by the construction of new, greener infrastructures, the retrofitting or reconfiguration of existing infrastructure systems, and the use of smart technologies to their full potential.

Facts and Figures, Statistics, and Data

Currently, there are about 2.3 million people working in the renewable energy sector in the countries where data are available. This is without a doubt a very conservative estimate given the current information gaps. The potential total employment for renewables by 2030 is 20 million jobs due to the strong rising interest in energy alternatives.

GOAL 10: Reduced inequalities

Lessen inequality within and between nations: Climate change and “natural” disasters exacerbate already-existing inequalities within and between nations by disproportionately affecting the poorest and most vulnerable groups.

On the other hand, the environment can help to lessen inequality by supporting institutional arrangements for the use and access of natural resources, as well as by ensuring that critical ecosystems and natural resources are managed well. The inability to access natural resources, on the other hand, is a significant cause of inequality.

GOAL 11: Sustainable urban and rural areas

Make human settlements and cities inclusive, secure, robust, and sustainable:

The standard of living in cities is closely related to how cities use and manage the natural resources at their disposal. Up until now, the trend toward urbanization has been accompanied by increased environmental stress and accelerated demand for fundamental services, infrastructure, employment, land, and affordable housing, particularly for the nearly 1 billion urban poor who reside in informal settlements.

Cities are particularly susceptible to the effects of climate change and natural disasters because of the high concentration of people, infrastructure, housing, and economic activity they have. . Building urban resilience is essential to preventing losses in terms of people, society, and money while enhancing the sustainability of urbanization processes is required to safeguard the environment, reduce disaster risk, and combat climate change.

Resource-efficient cities offer more opportunities for consumer choice and sustainable lifestyles while combining higher productivity and innovation with lower costs and fewer negative environmental effects.

Facts and Figures, Statistics, and Data

Only 3% of the planet’s land is occupied by cities, but they consume 60% to 80% of the world’s energy and produce 75% of its carbon emissions.

 GOAL 12: Sustainable production and consumption

Maintaining sustainable consumption and production patterns requires decoupling environmental degradation from economic growth and getting more done with fewer resources, which is one of the world’s biggest challenges. To promote sustainable consumption and production patterns and to make the transition to a greener and more inclusive global economy, resource decoupling and impact decoupling are required.

Respecting the biophysical limits of the planet and reducing current global consumption rates to fit with the biophysical capacity to produce ecosystem services and benefits are essential components of sustainable consumption and production practises.

 GOAL 13: Climate Action

Take immediate action to mitigate the effects of climate change:

Extreme weather events like heat waves, droughts, floods, and tropical cyclones are becoming more frequent and more intense as a result of climate change. These events are also worsening water management issues, decreasing agricultural output and food security, raising health risks, causing critical infrastructure to be damaged, and disrupting the delivery of essential services like water and sanitation, education, energy, and transportation.

GOAL 14: Subaquatic existence

Use marine resources wisely and sustainably to promote sustainable development:

More than 70% of our planet’s surface is covered by oceans, which are essential to maintaining life as we know it. They are the most diverse and significant ecosystem, influencing the climate and the regional and global cycling of elements. Natural resources like food, materials, substances, and energy are available from the ocean.

By increasing fish catches and income, creating new jobs, enhancing health, and empowering women, marine protected areas help to reduce poverty. The economic impact of rising ocean and sea debris levels is significant and growing. Seas, oceans, and other marine resources are vital to global social and economic progress as well as to human health. In particular for small island developing States, achieving the 2030 Agenda depends on their conservation and sustainable use. People living in coastal communities, who made up 37% of the world’s population in 2010, place a high value on marine resources. The benefits of fisheries, tourism, and other industries as well as means of subsistence are provided by the oceans. By absorbing heat and carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, they also assist in controlling the global ecosystem. Oceans and coastal areas are particularly susceptible to pollution, overfishing, climate change, and environmental deterioration.

GOAL 15: Life on land

Protecting, restoring, and advancing the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, managing forests sustainably, preventing desertification, reversing land degradation, and halting biodiversity loss

Terrestrial ecosystems provide a variety of goods, including raw materials for building and energy, food, and a variety of ecosystem services, such as the capture of carbon, maintenance of soil quality, provision of habitat for biodiversity, maintenance of water quality, regulation of water flow, and erosion control, thereby helping to lower the risks of natural disasters like floods and landslides, regulate climate, and maintain the productivity of agriculture The preservation of those ecosystems is crucial for the adaptation and mitigation of climate change.

It takes focused efforts to protect, restore, and promote the conservation and sustainable use of terrestrial and other ecosystems in order to preserve the variety of life forms found on land. Goal 15 specifically focuses on managing forests sustainably, stopping biodiversity loss, successfully combating desertification, and halting land and natural habitat degradation. Together, these initiatives seek to guarantee that future generations will be able to benefit from sustainable livelihoods and other advantages of land-based ecosystems.

GOAL 16: Peace, justice, and strong institutions

Encourage inclusive and peaceful societies for sustainable development, ensure that everyone has access to justice, and create inclusive institutions at all levels:

The implementation of multilateral environmental agreements and advancement toward internationally agreed global environmental goals are supported by strengthened institutions, the rule of law, and enforcement.

Natural resources have been linked to 40% of conflicts in the last 60 years, and conflicts are twice as likely to recur in the first five years when they do.

GOAL 17: Collaboration to achieve the goals

Bolster implementation strategies and rekindle the international partnership for sustainable development:

The UN system, governments, civil society, the private sector, and other actors need to work together in order to mobilize all available resources in order to achieve the ambitious goals of the 2030 Agenda. Realizing the Agenda and completing the Addis Ababa Action Agenda’s implementation are both crucial. This includes meeting implementation targets and raising the required funds. Equitable progress for all depends on increasing aid to developing nations, especially the least developed nations, landlocked developing nations, and small island developing States.

No single SDG can be achieved without dramatically impacting the other goals, which is why global cooperation, coordination, and commitment are so important.