United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
Mission:To provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was established by the UN General Assembly on 15 December 1972. UNEP is the main UN environmental body enabling cooperation of countries and international organizations towards addressing global, regional and national concerns in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development. The Programme makes a particular effort to nurture partnerships with other UN bodies possessing complementary skills and delivery capabilities, and enhancing the participation of civil society in the achievement of sustainable development.
UNEP Headquarters is located in Nairobi (Kenya). Mr. Achim Steiner is the Executive Director of UNEP since June 2006.
In December 2012, following the Rio+20 Summit, a decision by the General Assembly of the United Nations to “strengthen and upgrade” the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and establish universal membership of its governing body was confirmed. Prior to the new resolution, UNEP's Governing Council consisted of 58 members only. Previous efforts to ensure wider representation in the running of UNEP resulted in the creation of the Global Ministerial Environment Forum (GMEF), which brought together the world's environment ministers for high-level meetings in parallel with the Governing Council.
The First Universal Session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum was held in Nairobi from 18 to 22 February 2013.
In March 2013 the UN General Assembly has approved the establishment of the UN Environment Assembly as part of efforts to support the strengthening and upgrade of the Nairobi- based UN Environment Program (UNEP). The UNEP said in a statement that the move reflects the full and future participation of all 193 UN member states in the UNEP's governing body.
"In its resolution, the General Assembly stated that the new designation does not change the functions of UNEP's governing body, or the overall mandate, aims and purposes of UNEP," the statement said.
The UNEP Governing Council, which is home to the world's largest annual gathering of environment ministers, will now in future be known as the United Nations Environment Assembly of the UNEP.
UNEP main goals include analysis and assessment of global environment, early warning of environmental threats, elaboration of international environmental legislation for sustainable development, raising public awareness on international environmental policy and activities, rendering assistance on policy development and consultative services to governmental and non-governmental organizations.
The Russian Federation has traditionally taken active part in UNEP activities based on expedience and feasibility of harnessing the Organization’s potential to address Russia’s environmental priorities.
Recognizing the importance of Russia as a partner in international environmental cooperation, UNEP opened its Country Office in Moscow in 2000 (official inauguration in January 2001). The key goals of UNEP Moscow Office include developing policy dialogue with the Russian Federation authorities responsible for elaboration and conduct of national and international environmental policy; facilitating promotion of UNEP programmes and assisting Russian Federation in developing and implementing projects, including under the framework of the Global Environment Facility, developing cooperation with state, scientific and non-governmental organizations and business.
In 2003-2010 the cooperation in the mentioned areas was implemented through projects among which are: Russian Federation: Support to the National Programme of Action for the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment, Russian Federation - An Integrated Ecosystem Management Approach to Conserve Biodiversity and Minimize Habitat Fragmentation in Three Selected Model Areas in the Russian Arctic (ECORA), Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea, Building the Capacity of the Russian Federation to Implement the Stockholm Convention on POPs and develop a National Implementation Plan, development of a wetland network, combating desertification through sustainable management of land resources, etc.
Cooperation of UNEP and its Moscow Office with Russian partners is based on Agreement on Cooperation between the Government of the Russian Federation and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) signed in Nairobi on 16 April 2013 by Sergey Donskoy, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, on behalf of the Russian Government, and Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director.
In accordance with the Agreement between UNEP and the Russian Government signed on 16 April 2013, following main priority areas for cooperation have been identified:
a) support to the development of economic and other activities corresponding to the established rules and requirements in the area of environmental protection and to ensuring environmental security, including by applying of ecologically safe best available technologies;
b) biological diversity conservation and integrated ecosystem management;
c) water resources management, protection of water bodies, marine and coastal environment from the adverse technogenic impact;
d) reduction of anthropogenic impacts on climate system and mitigation of negative impacts of climate change;
e) regulation of the use of chemicals, utilization and processing of wastes;
f) cooperation for the purposes of further implementation of the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity-building, making use of the Russian expert potential;
g) rational use of natural resources, sustainable production and consumption;
h) informing and raising public awareness on environmental protection issues;
i) assistance to the implementation of environmental agreements and programs, which exist under the auspices of United Nations and where the Parties are participating;
j) assistance to the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding of 2009 between the Organizational Committee “Sochi -2014” and UNEP in the context of the preparation of the Olympic Winter Games 2014, Sochi, Russian Federation as well as accounting of acquired experience, implications and planning of possible follow-up activities beyond the year 2014.
The Agreement will be supplemented by a rolling Work Plan for 2-4 years period that is now under development.
Current UNEP activities in Russia include:
1. Assisting the Russian Government in Greening Sochi Olympics (2009-14);
2. Translation into Russian the Report: “Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication” (Nov 2011 - March 2012)
3. Development of the National Green Economy Vision in the Russian Federation to Provide the Transition towards Sustainable Consumption and Production (Nov 2011 - March 2012);
4. Russia Forest Biodiversity and Climate Change Mapping from Space - First Phase (Nov 2011 - September 2012);
5. Translation of the GEO-5 into Russian.
In 2011 under leadership of the Russian Government and UNEP a partnership on Sustainable Environmental Management in the Russian Arctic was established.
The purpose of this initiative is to develop and implement a long-term, multi-purpose Programme on Sustainable Environmental Management in the Russian Arctic under a Rapidly Changing Climate (“Arctic Agenda 2020”). It is aimed to facilitate implementation of the National Plan of Action “The Arctic” adopted by the Russian Government in 2009.
The Programme is designed for five years with a total budget of more than US$ 335 million (25 million from the GEF Trust Fund and US$ 310 million of co-financing from different sources). UNEP is expected to secure US$ 11 million for implementing three projects within the project and for serving as the coordinator.
The following institutions and groups are engaged in this partnership: the Government of the Russian Federation, the Global Environment Facility, UNEP, The World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, United Nations Development Programme, Nordic Environment Finance Corporation, United States Environmental Protection Agency, regional administrations of the Arctic regions in Russia, extractive companies, NGOs and indigenous peoples of the Arctic.
Through years of cooperation, strong partnerships have been developed with Russia on a range of levels spanning government, private sector, civil society and academia. UNEP introduced environmental concepts and promoted initiatives in Russia to mainstream environmental management into national policies which achieved significant acknowledgment and respects by the government for UNEP’s reputation and profession. UNEP’s comparative advantage as a global environmental leader and powerful intellectual resource has been widely recognized by both the Russian Government and the Russian public.UNEP has been approached repeatedly by Russia to advise on policy issues, international negotiations and large-scale public events.
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