15 Mar 2020 Story Nature Action

COVID-19 updates from UNEP

Featured here are selected updates showing examples of how the United Nations Environment Programme works to facilitate the rapid sharing of best practices, new ideas, technology and environmental innovations that will drive sustainable development and promote COVID-19 economic recovery plans that take nature and the climate emergency into account.

The latest COVID-19 related stories, reports, factsheets and publications from UNEP can be found here.


22 Feb 2022 12:03

The resumed fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly and a Green Recovery

UNEA5 Tree
Photo courtesy of Unsplash

The resumed fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) takes place online and in Nairobi on 28 February – 2 March 2022

The overall theme for UNEA-5 is “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”. This highlights the pivotal role nature plays in our lives and in social, economic and environmental sustainable development.

Immediately after UNEA-5.2, the Assembly will hold a Special Session of the Assembly on 3 - 4 March 2022, which is devoted to the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of UN Environment Programme in 1972 (UNEP@50)The special session will be held under the theme "Strengthening UNEP for the implementation of the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

UNEA-5.2 will be supporting a Green Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic throughout all of its themes.

For more information, make sure to check the UNEA live feed. 

08 Feb 2022 18:55

MENA Climate Week 2022 Postponed

Photo David Rodrigo
Photo Credit: David Rodrigo via Unsplash

What was slated to be the first-ever Middle East and North Africa Climate Week in Dubai, has been postponed due to the recent surge in COVID-19 Omicron variant cases.

MENACW 2022 is an opportunity for a range of participants, from governments, to the private sector, to indigenous communities and many more to engage in solution-oriented dialogue, find common ground and collaborate on climate action

The in-person meeting, which was originally scheduled to begin on 28 February 2022, is being rescheduled with new dates to be announced soon.

For more information on MENAC2022 - Registration - New Dates

05 Jan 2022 22:17

Initial dip in Greenhouse Gas Emissions due to COVID-19 expected to rebound

Greenhouse gas Emissions Image Unsplash
Image by Valerye Kryukov via Unsplash


While most Greenhouse Gas (GHG) are naturally occurring, human activities have also been leading to a problematic increase in the amount of GHG emitted and their concentration in the atmosphere. This increased concentration, in turn, can lead to adverse effects on climate.

Despite an initial dip in global GHG emissions due to COVID-19, the United Nations Environment Programme’s latest Emissions Gap Report (EGR) expects a strong rebound in years to come. 


For the full story, click here. 



10 Dec 2021 23:58

2021 Earth Champion Laureate tackles wildlife conservation and preventing the spread of COVID-19

Image: UNEP

Dr. Kalema-Zikusoka was the first-ever wildlife veterinarian for the Uganda Wildlife Authority. There, she began to apply what was a new approach to working for wildlife – one that centred on improving lives and livelihoods in the remote villages that surrounded Bwindi.

Appreciating the interplay between humans and wildlife, and the spread of zoonotic diseases between the two populations, was a critical aspect for Kalema-Zikusoka as she took on a greater role in providing guidance to the Ugandan government’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

Kalema-Zikusoka worked with national park staff to encourage visitors and rangers to wear masks, not just to prevent transmission amongst themselves of COVID-19, but also to protect the gorillas, who can be infected by human-borne pathogens. That work would evolve into protocols designed to limit the spread of zoonotic diseases – contagions that jump between humans and animals – and training for local health workers designed to combat COVID-19. Now 21 countries in Africa – including the 13 states that are home to dwindling populations of great apes – have signed on to the guidelines.

Kalema-Zikusoka is the Science and Innovation Champion of the Earth Laureate 2021.

For more information on her work and her nomination head here.


06 Dec 2021 14:25

Joint tripartite and UNEP statement on definition of “One Health”

one health poster
Image: UNEP

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), UNEP and the World Health Organization (WHO) welcome the newly formed operational definition of One Health from their advisory panel, the One Health High-Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP), whose members represent a broad range of disciplines in science and policy-related sectors relevant to One Health from around the world.

The four organizations are working together to mainstream One Health so that they are better prepared to prevent, predict, detect, and respond to global health threats and promote sustainable development.

The One Health definition developed by the OHHLEP states:

One Health is an integrated, unifying approach that aims to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals and ecosystems. It recognizes the health of humans, domestic and wild animals, plants, and the wider environment (including ecosystems) are closely linked and inter-dependent. The approach mobilizes multiple sectors, disciplines and communities at varying levels of society to work together to foster well-being and tackle threats to health and ecosystems, while addressing the collective need for clean water, energy and air, safe and nutritious food, taking action on climate change, and contributing to sustainable development.

12 Nov 2021 23:06

New report reveals COVID-19’s impact on the United Nations’ environmental footprint

Image: UN News/Vibhu Mishra

In 2020, the UN system generated about 1.5 million tonnes CO2eq greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with per capita emissions of 5 tonnes CO2eq. The sources of the emissions were 32 per cent air travel, 12 per cent other travel (rail, road, sea, etc.) and 55 per cent facilities. Ninety-nine per cent of these emissions were offset. These figures are a 25 per cent reduction from 2019 – reflecting the sudden and dramatic adaptations in operations that the UN made in 2020 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Each year, the UN publishes the ‘Greening the Blue’ report, which provides data on the organization’s environmental footprint and efforts to reduce it, as per the Strategy for Sustainability Management in the United Nations System 2020-2030 (Phase I).

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that there are many ways to work and collaborate that can reduce our negative environmental impacts,” said Isabella Marras, Coordinator of UNEP’s ‘Sustainable UN’ programme. “As the world continues to cope with the ongoing pandemic, we should look at how to implement these learnings for the long-term. The UN system has a tremendous opportunity to learn from the experiences it gained by working differently and delivering its mandate with less travel and alternative working modalities.”

More on this here.

05 Nov 2021 16:32

Report: COVID-19 recovery stimulus packages are becoming a lost opportunity to finance climate adaptation

A flooded road
                                                                                                                                                      Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

The sixth edition of the UNEP Adaptation Gap Report: The Gathering Storm looks at how the world is doing in adapting to the impacts of climate change. The report notes that less than one third of 66 countries studied explicitly funded COVID-19 measures to address climate risks up to June 2021. And it cautions that the heightened cost of servicing debt, combined with decreased government revenues, may hamper future government spending on adaptation.

Launching the report at COP 26 in Glasgow, Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP said, “As the world looks to step up efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions – efforts that are still not anywhere strong enough – it must also dramatically up its game to adapt to climate change.

Read the full report here.

26 Oct 2021 16:25

The Emissions Gap Report 2021 is launched!

EGR 2021

The Emissions Gap Report 2021 released on 26 October 2021 at 4:15 pm EAT finds the following.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a drop in global CO2 emissions of 5.4 per cent in 2020. However, CO2 and non-CO2emissions in 2021 are expected to rise again to a level only slightly lower than the record high in 2019.

Only around 20 per cent of total recovery investments up to May 2021 are likely to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Of this spending, almost 90 per cent is accounted for by six G20 members and one permanent guest.

COVID-19 spending has been far lower in low-income economies (USD 60 per person) than advanced economies (USD 11,800 per person). Gaps in finance are likely to exacerbate gaps in vulnerable nations on climate resilience and mitigation measures.

Access the report here.

21 Sep 2021 17:59

Better COVID recovery needs peace with each other and with nature


13 Sep 2021 18:01

Launch of UN Women’s Feminist Plan for Sustainability & Social Justice


UN Women is launching a new flagship report, “Beyond COVID-19: A Feminist Plan for Sustainability and Social Justice”which calls for governments to ensure the COVID-19 recovery shapes a more gender equal and sustainable world. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention to three urgent crises – on jobs, care and the environment – that undermine gender equality and threaten the survival of people and planet.

The need for a plan to recover and transform economies has never been clearer. Drawing on the latest available data and the contributions of more than 100 global experts, The Plan provides a vision and calls for action in three key areas: 

  • An economy that supports women’s livelihoods. The vulnerability of women’s jobs has been brutally revealed during the pandemic. Urgent action is needed to strengthen social protection systems and move women out of the informal economy.
  • Putting care at the centre of a sustainable and just economy. The world has recognized care work as ‘essential’ in this crisis. Now is the moment to back that recognition with policies to properly support and reward that work.
  • Gender-just transitions for a green future. New green jobs for women, and investments in sustainable energy and agriculture will be critical to set economies on more equitable and sustainable paths.

When: Thursday September 16, 9.00 – 10.30am EDT

Where:  The virtual event will be held on Zoom and will be accompanied by translation (English, Spanish, French) and closed captioning. Please register at https://bit.ly/3tokyW4.

11 Aug 2021 11:03

Time to get serious about climate change. On a warming planet, no one is safe.

Photo by Unsplash/Thomas Ehling
Photo by Unsplash/Thomas Ehling

Inger Andersen, in her speech delivered at the press conference to launch the Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC's new report titled “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis,” made the following statements:

"Thank you to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the authors and everyone involved in this latest climate alarm. Your work is particularly appreciated given the disruption COVID-19 has caused. 

You have been telling us for over three decades of the dangers of allowing the planet to warm. The world listened, but it didn’t hear. The world listened, but it didn’t act strongly enough. As a result, climate change is a problem that is here, now. Nobody is safe. And it is getting worse faster. 

We can’t undo the mistakes of the past. But this generation of political and business leaders, this generation of conscious citizens, can make things right. This generation can make the systemic changes that will stop the planet warming, help everyone adapt to the new conditions and create a world of peace, prosperity and equity. 

Climate change is here, now. But we are also here, now. And if we don’t act, who will?"

Read the full speech here.

23 Jul 2021 18:26

A green recovery in Africa is in the best interests of all

Photo: Unsplash/Anastasia Palagutina
Photo: Unsplash/Anastasia Palagutina

Inger Andersen made the following statements in a speech delivered at the Launch of  the African Union Green Recovery Action Plan by the African Union Commission:

"With a young, vibrant and innovative population, Africa has the potential to be a global economic powerhouse. The continent holds 30 per cent of the world’s mineral reserves. 65 per cent of its arable land. It has massive renewable energy sources. Undercapitalized fisheries resources. From oceans and lakes to rainforests and peatlands, this continent of many nations and peoples holds all the cards.

But the African dream is at risk. The COVID-19 linked recession has cost over 30 million jobs, driven poverty up and increased debt pressure. Meanwhile, environmental impacts – from climate extremes to biodiversity loss to pollution – are holding the continent back.

The best way to tackle these issues simultaneously is to prioritize green investments in COVID-19 recovery. Investments that back the sustainable use of resources. That back clean and efficient energy, and nature-based solutions. That support sustainable agricultural practices. That create green and resilient cities. This is why AU’s Green Recovery Action Plan is so welcome."

Read the full speech here.

19 Jul 2021 09:09

Food systems hold key to ending world hunger

UNEP/Igor Riabchuk
Photo: UNEP/Igor Riabchuk

Among the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN has noted a dramatic increase in world hunger. According to The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World published in July 2021, one tenth of the global population – as many as 811 million people – were undernourished in 2020, an increase of 118 million from 2019.

Recognizing the urgency of the hunger crisis, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres will convene the UN Food Systems Summit in September 2021. In advance of the event, we spoke to UNEP Programme Manager, James Lomax about the challenges and opportunities to transform food systems and end hunger by 2030.

Have a look here.

09 Jul 2021 18:45

Prevention versus cure: the climate and health agendas

Photo of sun
Photo: Unsplash/Xavier Coiffic

The COVID-19 pandemic cost a lot of lives and caused hardships globally. But the sad reality is however terrible COVID-19 has been, the triple planetary crisis of climate change, of nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste, will amplify public health challenges, almost beyond comprehension.

"As climate becomes warmer and weather patterns shift, diseases will travel further and faster. As the IPCC noted, factoring in climate change would increase the number of people at risk of malaria in 2050 to 1.95 billion. This is 200 million more than if disease control efforts were not opposed by higher temperatures and shifts in rainfall patterns. A rapidly melting permafrost will unleash diseases buried for hundreds of years.  And as the recent heatwaves in Canada, have revealed, climate impacts are leaving no country untouched," said Inger Andersen in her speech delivered at ‘Public Health from Climate-Related Threats’, on the margins of the 2021 United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

She added, "The choices we make in pandemic recovery and in our everyday lives, can save millions of lives and billions of dollars each year, preserve the natural world and take us all, together, into a greener and healthier future. So let us all choose wisely."

Read the full speech here.

06 Jul 2021 19:08

Report on preventing the next pandemic


05 Jul 2021 17:35

Tourism in a pandemic world: tackling plastic pollution

Mask on a beach next to trash can
Photo: Unsplash/Dhaya Eddine Bentaleb

With vaccination programmes underway, many countries are now poised to welcome travellers – and are more than ready to compensate for the recent decline in tourism revenue.

Alongside climate change and biodiversity loss, pollution is part of the triple planetary crisis the world now faces. Every year, humans produce 300 million tonnes of plastic waste, including 11 million tonnes that eventually wind up in the ocean.

Add to this the unanticipated impact of COVID-19 – from the volumes of protective equipment the world now uses and discards every day to the interruption of policies asserting the use of single-use plastic products in the first place. It is a perfect – plastic – storm.

As travel becomes easier, we must use the opportunity to do better and preserve and restore pristine destinations for the health of people and planet for years to come. Rethinking our habits – particularly our use of single-use plastic products is not a matter of change at one hotel or even in one industry. Instead, it requires the support of every stakeholder, from governments, policymakers, business owners and consumers.

Explore the link between plastic and tourism, and how tourism can be a catalyst for positive change.

05 Jul 2021 10:59

COVID-19 recovery centre at Asia-Pacific Climate Week 2021


02 Jul 2021 16:36

Op-ed: Time for action beyond Twitter hashtags as poor rains threaten food production

Photo: Unsplash/Matt Palmer

The entire Horn of Africa, including 13 million people, is affected by droughts. These effects are recurring also across the Sahel and the entire continent. Africa faces the second-highest cost of degradation at USD 65 billion each year. Cumulatively, the global economy is losing up to USD 10.6 trillion annually because of land degradation.

Changing course should go beyond righteous outrage. A new UN Special Report on Droughts calls for shifting from reactive approaches to addressing the root drivers of drought. As UN Secretary-General  António Guterres says, “land can be our greatest ally”, though currently, it’s “suffering.” Restorative action yields a fortune. Every one dollar invested in restoration creates up to USD 30 in economic benefits.

With collective action, we can become #GenerationRestoration. After all, both the impact and the pleasure of working together with minds and hands is always greater than going alone. Our own actions may also propel politicians to live up to their global commitments to restore one billion hectares. As President Obama once said, political leaders will only take risks if the people push them.

Read Joyce Msuya's full op-ed here.

30 Jun 2021 17:44

Join us and Pause today

Today we invite you to join us in the fight against misinformation and post a Pause symbol on your social accounts.

We are asking our network and the whole world to Pause to spread awareness and encourage a new action of pausing before sharing online. Below you will find a pause symbol you can download and share on your social media alongside the hashtag: #PledgetoPause

Right now, misinformation is spreading faster than the virus itself, prolonging the pandemic, disrupting public health efforts and ultimately costing lives. 

Verified's Pause campaign asks people to stop and think for a moment before sharing online. Research shows that this simple action can reduce the spread of harmful misinformation.

Today we ask you to share the Pause symbol across your social platforms and #PledgetoPause before you share online.

21 Jun 2021 20:27

New episode: The Green Renaissance podcast

Podcast cover

The latest episode of one-UN PAGE’s The Green Renaissance podcast was released on Friday 18 June, 2021.

“Episode 6: Are We Building Back Better?” has been led by UNEP colleagues, and (as the title suggests) builds on the key findings from UNEP and Oxford University’s recently published Building Back Better report. It features an open debate between UNEP’s own Steven Stone, the report’s lead author Brian O’Callaghan (Oxford University), Jean-Paul Adam (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa) and Katja Funke (IMF).

Have a listen on Spotify, Google Podcast or YouTube.

16 Jun 2021 19:44

UN Environment Management Group Dialogue on post-pandemic recovery


11 Jun 2021 20:01

Latin America and the Caribbean: missing the chance to invest in a sustainable recovery?

Photo of São Paulo
Photo: Pixabay

A new platform showcasing real-time data from 33 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean has revealed that the region lags behind the rest of the world when it comes to environmentally sustainable post-COVID-19 spending.

To date, according to the Tracker, a higher proportion of the region’s recovery budget has been spent on unsustainable sectors (USD 7.4 billion) than on environmentally-sustainable initiatives (USD 1.5 billion). 74 per cent of environmentally-negative spending has been directed to fossil energy infrastructure, and 13 per cent to unsustainable port and airport infrastructure, which is expected to lead to an increase in carbon emissions.

Piedad Martin, Acting Director of UNEP’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean said, “In order to transition to more sustainable and inclusive economies, nations in the region must build from this good start of tracking to further align their development priorities with green recovery.”

More here.



20 May 2021 16:35

New international expert panel to address the emergence and spread of zoonotic diseases

Image of landscape
Photo: Pixabay / M. Maggs

International organizations have come together to launch a new One Health High-Level Expert Panel to improve understanding of how diseases with the potential to trigger pandemics, emerge and spread.

The panel will advise four international organizations, including UNEP, on the development of a long-term global plan of action to avert outbreaks of diseases like H5N1 avian influenza; MERS; Ebola; Zika, and, possibly, COVID-19. Three quarters of all emerging infectious diseases originate in animals.

The panel will consider the impact of human activity on the environment and wildlife habitats. Critical areas will include food production and distribution; urbanization and infrastructure development; international travel and trade; activities that lead to biodiversity loss and climate change; and those that put increased pressure on the natural resource base - all of which can lead to the emergence of zoonotic diseases.

More on this here.

05 May 2021 16:53

Recovery packages should consider antimicrobial resistance


03 May 2021 13:01

Fasting, feasting and food waste in West Asia


The UNEP Regional Office for West Asia launches a campaign to raise awareness to reduce food waste during Ramadan, foster behaviour change, and boost sustainable action. Research shows that significant food waste is generated during social and religious occasions globally, and West Asia is no exception - with household food waste estimated to range from 75 to 163 kg/cap year in the region (UNEP 2021).

With celebrations most likely to take place at home this year, mindful consumption and waste prevention is now of the utmost importance. Over 10 per cent of people worldwide are hungry – a number that is expected to rise sharply due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Sustainable Ramadan campaign calls on those marking this holy month to adopt these sustainable living tips:

  • Shop carefully and sustainably
  • Swap animal protein for plant-based options when possible
  • Cook creatively and discover leftover recipes
  • Plan meals ahead of time and control portions
  • Reduce single-use packaging (order takeaways without cutlery) and use reusable shopping bags. 


30 Apr 2021 14:02

Report: The world's forests are at risk


29 Apr 2021 13:21

UNDP study analyzes COVID impact on the SDGs

UNDP image
Image: UNDP

UNDP is delighted to share a new study, which analyzes COVID impact on the Sustainable Development Goals by modelling three potential recovery scenarios for 2030 and 2050.

The study assesses the multi-dimensional effects of the pandemic and pathways for SDG progress, focusing on the 68 countries with low or medium human development (as per the 2020 Human Development Index).

This study can support governments and partners to practically plot evidence based, high impact policy choices for the long-term. All findings and raw data, which are searchable per country and region, and which can be used to craft advocacy messages, are open and available to anyone via UNDP’s COVID-19 Data Futures Platform. 

28 Apr 2021 16:02


#Nitrogen4NetZero is a developing international initiative that highlights the need for sustainable nitrogen management as part of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Net Zero will be impossible to achieve without action on nitrogen. At the same time, reducing nitrogen pollution offers multiple win-wins across sustainable development for air, water, biodiversity, stratospheric ozone depletion, soils, food and the economy.

More on this here.


27 Apr 2021 17:34

Collaborative Partnership on Forests calls for halt to deforestation

Deforestion in Baringo County
Photo: James Ekwam / UN-REDD

The Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF), a group of 15 international organizations working on forestry, on 27 April 2021 issued a joint statement highlighting the need to halt the destruction of the world’s forests.

The CPF statement outlines how the COVID-19 pandemic has placed additional pressure on forest resources and may result in a significant increase in deforestation. Healthy forests are essential to building back better and are also key in decreasing the risk of future zoonotic diseases, according to the statement.

The statement aims to build momentum for forests ahead of the upcoming launch of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration on World Environment Day (5 June) and the UN Climate Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow later this year.

More here.


26 Apr 2021 21:02

Addressing COVID-19 for the Environment: Defining Green Recovery

Banner image
Photo: UNEP

On 27 April, 2021 starting 8 AM EDT/2 PM CEST, the UN Environment Management Group (EMG), in close collaboration with UNEP and other partners will hold the first of a 3-part series of virtual Nexus Dialogues on Addressing COVID-19 for the Environment.

The introductory dialogue Defining Green Recovery aims at pushing the needle forward to frame the rest of the series through stronger operationalization, to effectively monitor, evaluate and verify the impact of recovery and stimulus measures on environmental outcomes.

Two other dialogues will follow on Financing Green Recovery (4 May 2021) and Regional Nexus Approaches to Building Back Better (15 June 2021).

More about the event here.

24 Apr 2021 19:11

Energy transition a key driver of the COVID-19 economic recovery in Panama


22 Apr 2021 10:23

Webinar: Effective Management Practices for COVID-19 related Healthcare Waste

Man cleaning up trash
Cui Meng / The Global Times

When: 28 April 2021 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM UTC

Where: Online; register here

What: The adverse impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on human and planetary health will come from many sources, including a spike in hazardous waste – such as personal protective equipment, electronics and pharmaceuticals, millions of litres of wastewater and massive use of detergents, disinfectants and antimicrobial solutions, etc. The most immediate challenge facing national and local authorities is how to manage and dispose of the waste produced in hospitals and healthcare facilities handling COVID-19 patients. This training session, aimed at environmental experts, covers the issues to be considered in COVID-19 related health care waste management, and practical approaches to effective health care waste management.


  • Welcome
  • Moderator: Muralee Thummarukudyil
  • Michael Cowing: Factors influencing COVID-19 related healthcare waste management
  • Ida Eriksson: COVID-19 environmental risks regarding medical waste: Sudan experience
  • BR Ravishankar: Medical waste management - strengthening regulatory framework
  • Q&A
  • Closing remarks
13 Apr 2021 16:12

Reducing public health risks associated with the sale of live wild animals of mammalian species in traditional food markets

A flying fox
Photo: Unsplash/James Wainscoat 

To reduce the public health risks associated with the sale of live wild animals for food in traditional food markets, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have issued guidance on actions that national governments should consider adopting urgently with the aim of making traditional markets safer and recognizing their central role in providing food and livelihoods for large populations.

In particular, WHO, OIE and UNEP call on national competent authorities to suspend the trade in live caught wild animals of mammalian species for food or breeding purposes and close sections of food markets selling live caught wild animals of mammalian species as an emergency measure when effective regulations are not in place or risk assessments are not adequate.

This document focuses on the risk of disease emergence in traditional food markets where live animals are sold for food. UNEP supports the sustainable use of wild animals that contributes to the conservation of biodiversity and is in line with national and international regulations regarding threatened and endangered species.

Click here for the guidance

12 Apr 2021 17:43

#YouthLead: Young People in the Driver's Seat to Build Back Better


09 Apr 2021 17:57

Climate science for a sustainable post-pandemic recovery

07 Apr 2021 08:13

‘One health’ approach critical to tackle health inequality and emerging diseases

Moritz Thibaud/ABACA via Reuters

‘One Health’ is based on the understanding that human health and animal health are interdependent and linked to the health of the ecosystems in which they co-exist. 

It is a cross-cutting approach that carries out programmes, policies, legislation and research in which different sectors work together to achieve better public health outcomes.

Because about two-thirds of known human infectious diseases are shared with animals, and most emerging diseases are associated with wildlife, One Health has focused on the human-animal health nexus – including zoonoses and anti-microbial resistance, when exposure to antibiotics changes bacteria, making it more difficult to treat. 

Learn more about One Health.

06 Apr 2021 12:02

Leaders’ Dialogue on the Africa Covid-Climate Emergency

At 9:00 a.m., (NYC time) the United Nations Secretary-General delivered remarks at the Leaders’ Dialogue on the Africa COVID-Climate Emergency, organized by the African Development Bank and the Global Center on Adaptation. The event was streamed live above.

05 Apr 2021 20:08

Climate change crucial to COVID19 recovery


25 Mar 2021 22:10

Equity must be at the heart of the future we want


15 Mar 2021 21:16

UN Secretary-General launches the "Only Together” campaign

As the world races to end the pandemic, no country can end it alone. Let’s work together so that all countries are sharing the vaccines fairly around the world. Let’s work together #ForNature towards a green recovery to avoid future pandemics.

13 Mar 2021 19:37

Are we on track for a green recovery? Not Yet

Photo: Pixabay

One year from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, recovery spending has fallen short of nations’ commitments to build back more sustainably: an analysis led by Oxford’s Economic Recovery Project and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) finds.

Professor of Environmental Economics at Oxford, Cameron Hepburn: “This report is a wake-up call. The data from the Global Recovery Observatory show that we are not building back better, at least not yet. We know a green recovery would be a win for the economy as well as the climate - now we need to get on with it.”

UNEP’s Executive Director, Inger Andersen: “Humanity is facing a pandemic, an economic crisis and an ecological breakdown - we cannot afford to lose on any front. Governments have a unique chance to put their countries on sustainable trajectories that prioritize economic opportunity, poverty reduction and planetary health at once - the Observatory gives them the tools to navigate to more sustainable and inclusive recoveries.”

Read more here.

11 Mar 2021 16:18

GEO-6 for Youth: building back greener


10 Mar 2021 18:33

Are we building back better? New report and tracker seek answers

Tracker report cover
Report cover

During a UN-Oxford panel discussion that happened on 10 March 2021, a major report and tracker were released. The report, Are We Building Back Better? Evidence from 2020 and Pathways for Inclusive Green Recovery Spending, provides an analysis of over 3500 fiscal policies announced by leading economies in 2020 and calls for governments to invest more sustainably and tackle inequalities as they stimulate growth in the wake of the devastation wrought by the pandemic.

The report draws evidence collected up to February 2021 on the Global Recovery Observatory, also launched at the event, which tracks and assesses every individual COVID-19 related fiscal spending policy announced by the 50 leading economies for potential impacts on the environment and the socio-economy.

The Observatory is an initiative led by the Oxford University Economic Recovery Project and supported by UNEP, the International Monetary Fund and GIZ through the Green Fiscal Policy Network.

09 Mar 2021 09:00

2020 PAGE report and inclusive green recovery

Photo: Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE)

Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) launched the 2020 Annual Report in February. The report highlights ongoing work in supporting inclusive, green economy transitions within 20 partner countries, across all eight funding partners and five UN agency partners, including UNEP.

In 2020, this work was highly adaptive, aligning with national priorities to support action plans for green economic recoveries and address the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19.

More about PAGE and inclusive green recovery.

08 Mar 2021 12:21

Post-COVID19 recovery plans cannot leave women behind


05 Mar 2021 13:30

Sustainable infrastructure can drive development and COVID-19 recovery: UNEP report

Solar panels are installed on the roof of the United Nations in New York in 2019
Solar panels are installed on the roof of the United Nations in New York in 2019. Photo: UN Photo / Mark Garten

Zimbabwe has long struggled with crippling power outages, some of which can last up to 18 hours a day. The cuts have been especially hard on the country’s hospitals and clinics, forcing nurses to deliver babies by candlelight and doctors to postpone emergency surgeries.

But that is starting to change. Since 2017, Zimbabwe has installed solar panels atop more than 400 healthcare facilities, steadying power supplies and replacing expensive and polluting diesel-fired generators.

The “Solar for Health” initiative is a prime example of the type of sustainable infrastructure development that will be vital to combating climate change, improving public services and driving the economic recovery from COVID-19.

More on this here.

02 Mar 2021 11:00

UN Secretary-General António Guterres receives his second COVID-19 vaccine dose in New York

UN Secretary-General António Guterres received his second COVID-19 vaccine shot at the Morris Academy for Collaborative Studies in the Bronx, New York, on Friday, 26 February 2021.

He has repeatedly called for the vaccines to be a global public good, accessible to all people, everywhere.

In December, Mr. Guterres declared that he would happily receive the vaccine in public, and said that, for him, vaccination is a moral obligation: “Each one of us provides a service to the whole community”, he said, “because there is no longer a risk of spreading the disease.”

See full story here.

01 Mar 2021 12:18

'Are we building back better?' an online UN-Oxford panel discussion with leaders from key countries and international institutions

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“Are we building back better?” happening online on Wednesday, 10 March 2021, is a UN-Oxford panel discussion bringing together global leaders and international institutions, to debate progress, explore openings, and attempt to answer some of the major questions following the COVID-19 pandemic.

The conference will also serve as a launch pad for for a major new report and data set from the Global Recovery Observatory, detailing recovery efforts in the top 50 economies of the world – and whether these align with environmental goals. The Observatory will go live on March 10th and will feature a data visualization tool developed by UNDP team.

Learn more about the event.

24 Feb 2021 17:27

You had your say

Response to: What percentage of government post-COVID stimulus investments should be nature-positive and/or reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

During UNEA-5, a short online poll was conducted to have the additional voices heard alongside government representatives and other high-level stakeholders who discussed, among other things, the contribution of the environmental dimension of sustainable development to building a resilient and inclusive post-pandemic world.

About 46 per cent of respondents thought government post-COVID stimulus investments should be fully nature-positive and/or reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Highlights of the survey available here.

24 Feb 2021 16:47

Pandemic recovery presents historic opportunity to ensure human rights for all: UN Chief

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Photo: IMF/Joaquin Sarmiento

Human rights have been battered in the COVID-19 pandemic but recovery represents a chance to improve on the status quo and finally ensure dignity for all, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the General Assembly on Wednesday, 24 February 2021. 

“The United Nations family is working together to ensure that human rights are at the heart of COVID-19 socio-economic response plans.” he said.

“We are developing a plan of action to protect environmental human rights defenders, who have sadly often been victims of violence and abuse.” Mr. Guterres added.

Read more on this.

23 Feb 2021 18:14

Towards a resilient and inclusive post-pandemic world

The “contribution of the environmental dimension of sustainable development to building a resilient and inclusive post-pandemic world” was discussed by delegates taking part in “leadership dialogues” sessions during the Fifth Session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) in February 2021.

More on the dialogues here.

19 Feb 2021 10:54

Why UNEA matters

“Unlike the coronavirus, nature, climate and pollution crises cannot be stopped by a vaccine. Leaders across the world must gather to push for action,” says Sveinung Rotevatn, President of the fifth UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5).

UNEA-5 is a critical meeting: the planet is in crisis and nature must be at the heart of global efforts to build back better after the COVID-19 pandemic.

See UNEA-5 programme of events.

18 Feb 2021 09:59

Launch: UNEP Making Peace with Nature Report

Ahead of the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5), UN Secretary-General António Guterres and UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen officially launched a new report, Making Peace with Nature, during an online press briefing.

This new report is a scientific blueprint to tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies.

During the launch, Andersen said, "There is indeed no precedent for what we must do, but if 2020 was a disaster, 2021 can and must be the year humanity began making peace with nature and secured a fair, just and sustainable future for everyone."

Click here or more.

15 Feb 2021 18:09

UN Environment Assembly sets stage for green recovery

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REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

In addition to the tragic loss of life, COVID-19 has rolled back decades of progress on development, exposing social and economic inequalities and the inextricable link between human and planetary health.

Pandemic recovery plans offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to chart a new path. On 22 – 23 February 2021, the fifth session of the UN Environmental Assembly (UNEA-5) will virtually unite Member States and stakeholders to take action to build a greener, more sustainable and inclusive post-pandemic world.

For more, click here.

12 Feb 2021 11:18

Latin American, Caribbean ministers commit to build back better and greener

Selva en Panama
Photo credit: Eduardo Estrada

The Ministers of the Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean in early February signed the Bridgetown Declaration. In it they called for the integration of environmental issues to be placed at the heart of the region’s COVID-19 recovery strategies.

“The impending global response to the COVID-19 pandemic teaches us to work together to combat the common challenges to the planet and humanity,” said the Ministers in the Declaration.

The ministers also recognized that, in order to reduce the risk of future pandemics of zoonotic origin, Latin America and the Caribbean need to improve the state of knowledge on the links between environmental and human health.

For more, click here.

10 Feb 2021 10:23

2021 crucial for climate action despite pandemic


“The world remains way off target in staying within the 1.5-degree limit of the Paris Agreement,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres told ambassadors in preparation towards COP26. “This is why we need more ambition, more ambition on mitigation, ambition on adaptation and ambition on finance.”

COP26 had to be postponed from 2020 to November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With nine months to go until Glasgow, and the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic continuing, Mr. Guterres underlined the UN’s commitment to ensuring preparatory negotiations will take place virtually.

“We simply cannot allow the pandemic to keep us from working together on the crucial pathway to Glasgow. Although there will be challenges, we must adapt. The stakes are too high to do otherwise,” he said.

Read more here.

08 Feb 2021 09:13

It’s time to #MoveTheDate

Person and two toddlers palying at the seashore.
Unsplash / Aliko Sunawang

COVID-19 taught us that we are not immune to the impacts of overusing natural ecosystems, damaging wildlife, and compromising the biosphere.

We don’t need a pandemic to #movethedate of Earth Overshoot Day, the day when humanity has used as much ecological resources as the planet’s natural ecosystems can regenerate in the whole year.

Intentional actions to address the climate, biodiversity loss and pollution crises are our collective responsibility, from governments to the private sector to individual citizens, supporting the long-term success of humanity.

Learn more about the call to #MoveTheDate.

06 Feb 2021 18:31

Awake At Night with UNEP chief

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For Season 3 Episode 17 of the Awake AT Night podcast, UN Global Communications chief Melissa Fleming speaks with Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, which she describes as ‘”the environmental conscience” of the world.

She explains why she is calling for bold action and warns that climate change poses an existential threat far greater than COVID-19. Unstopped, the climate crisis “will change the very foundation of our existence as we know it.”

Click here to read more.

03 Feb 2021 16:48

The Minamata Convention Progress Report 2020 is here!

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Photo by Minamata Convention on Mercury

The pandemic didn’t stop progress on implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury as outlined in its first-ever progress report.

The Secretariat has put out additional online training and awareness raising materials with project partners taking active steps to ensure COVID-19 safety in their project implementation.

Read the progress report here.

01 Feb 2021 15:03

Environment assembly to discuss COVID-19 recovery packages

UNEA landing page
UNEP Photo

At the Fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly, COVID-19 recovery stimulus packages will be a top agenda. These packages represent an opportunity to affect positive change if seized adequately.

World leaders will discuss how to direct stimulus funds towards creating low-carbon, nature-positive and pollution-free societies and economies, in which finance fuels the energy transition and green jobs.

Read more here.

28 Jan 2021 11:13

UN chief receives COVID-19 vaccine in New York

Secretary-General Gets Vaccinated against COVID-19 at High School in Bronx
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in The Bronx. He secured his appointment online and received the vaccine in the New York City public school, in the same manner as many other city residents.

In December 2020, Mr Guterres declared that he would happily receive the vaccine in public, and said that, for him, vaccination is a moral obligation: “Each one of us provides a service to the whole community”, he said, “because there is no longer a risk of spreading the disease.”

This takes place at a time when many countries are seeing a significant proportion of their citizens expressing “vaccine hesitancy”. “This will go a long way in building trust in our communities that the vaccine is safe for all”, said Penny Abeywardena, New York City's Commissioner for International Affairs.

Read more here.

26 Jan 2021 09:50

Prominent global leaders in science, industry and government meet to step up fight against antimicrobial resistance

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Prominent global leaders in science, industry and government joined today a United Nations effort - the One Health Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) - to fight antimicrobial resistance across all sectors and ensure the availability of important medicines for the future.

Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Qu Dongyu stressed that COVID-19 had highlighted the inter-connectedness of the agri-food and health systems at every level, and this was very relevant to managing AMR, which he described both as a "slow-moving pandemic" and a "serious threat".

UN Environment Programme Executive Director Inger Andersen said her agency was pleased to join this partnership, noting that the natural environment was something that could not be ignored when dealing with AMR as the environment was key to solving it.

Read more here.

22 Jan 2021 10:42

Guterres urges world to ‘work together in solidarity’ as US moves to rejoin WHO

Flag of WHO
WHO/P. Virot

The United Nations Secretary-General on Wednesday welcomed the announcement by President Joe Biden that the United States will re-engage with the World Health Organization (WHO) and play a full role in advancing global health and health security

The UN chief also urged global solidarity to defeat the coronavirus.  

“Now is the time for unity and for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences,” the statement added. 

More on this here.

18 Jan 2021 14:59

Transforming Tourism for a resilient and sustainable post COVID world

UN Environment Programme has produced a number of resources for the tourism sector. This report Transforming tourism through sustainable procurement introduces the strategic role sustainable procurement can play to transform tourism by scaling up the market of sustainable products and services in the sector, enabling the reduction of GHG emissions and the shift towards a more resilient, resource efficient development. The 16 case studies on sustainable procurement and tourism make this case effectively.

For tourism stakeholders Recommendations for the tourism sector to continue taking action on plastic pollution during COVID-19 recovery illustrates how reducing the plastic footprint, increasing the engagement of suppliers, working closer with waste service providers, and ensuring transparency on the actions taken, can significantly contribute to a responsible recovery of the tourism sector.

Join the campaign Phasing out problematic single-use plastic items to reduce the use of single-use plastics in the tourism industry and to improve plastics management by replacing and recycling plastic products.

14 Jan 2021 15:22

UNEP launches the 5th edition of the Adaptation Gap Report

2020 was not only the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also the year of intensifying climate change: high temperatures, floods, droughts, storms, wildfires and even locust plagues. Even more worryingly, the world is heading for at least a 3°C temperature rise this century.

The Paris Agreement requires all its signatories to plan and implement adaptation measures through national adaptation plans, studies, monitoring of climate change effects and investment in a green future.

The UNEP Adaptation Gap Report 2020 looks at where the world stands in planning, financing and implementing adaptation actions.

The report emphasizes the role of nature-based solutions – locally-appropriate actions that address societal challenges, such as climate change, and provide human well-being and biodiversity benefits by protecting, sustainably managing and restoring natural or modified ecosystems.

13 Jan 2021 15:15

Build Back Greener exhibition at Beijing International Airport

Build Back Greener exhibition at Beijing Airport

As we recover from the pandemic, we can rebuild strong economies that work in harmony with nature, not against it.  That means more cooperation, more social inclusion, and more innovation to enable the sustainable use of Earth’s resources.

UNEP and Beijing Airport have worked together to demonstrate how we could build back greener from perspectives of buildings, plastics, cooling, oceans, sustainable tourism, textiles, cities, energy, food waste and transport as well as ecosystems.

11 Jan 2021 13:52

UN chief highlights need for climate action, pandemic response, in commemorating 75th anniversary of the General Assembly

UNSG at a virtual meeting
UN Photo / Mark Garten

In his first major speech of the year, the UN Secretary-General underlined the need for global cooperation to address today’s challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

Although the UN chief described the pandemic as “a human tragedy”, he emphasized that it can be an opportunity to achieve a more sustainable and equitable world, as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

“The central objective of the United Nations this year is to build a global coalition for carbon neutrality by the middle of the century. We need meaningful cuts now, to reduce global emissions by 45 per cent by 2030, compared with 2010 levels,” said António Guterres during a virtual event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the first meeting of the UN General Assembly, which was held in London.

Find out more here.

10 Jan 2021 12:43

Citizens globally affirm belief in international cooperation

The UN75 initiative was launched by Secretary-General António Guterres, in January last year, to understand the global public’s hopes and fears for the future, as well as their expectations and ideas for international cooperation, and for the UN in particular.

More than 1.5 million people from 195 countries took part in the campaign through surveys and dialogues. 

In the immediate priorities post-COVID-19, the world is united in wanting much better access to affordable basic services, healthcare, quality education, water and sanitation, and related is the world seeks much greater solidarity with the hardest hit communities and places

Read more on the findings here.

07 Jan 2021 19:33

Green Approaches to COVID-19 Recovery: Policy Note for Parliamentarians

Bees on flowers

Green approaches to COVID-19 recovery: Policy note for parliamentarians is a joint publication of UNEP and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

The note guides states in developing environmentally-conscious legal responses to the effects of COVID-19. It specifically targets parliamentarians, who play a key role in the COVID-19 emergency and recovery processes through their legislative and policy oversight functions.

Read the full report here.

05 Jan 2021 13:01

Inger Andersen in DW: We are close to the point of no return

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"As COVID-19 vaccination programs roll out, 2021 starts with hope that an end to the pandemic is in sight. We needed bold leadership, tough decisions and dedicated financing to bring us to this point. We must now apply the same vigor to fighting climate change or risk many more years as bad as the last."

In a recent DW opinion piece by Inger Andersen UNEP Executive Director she argues that green and sustainable recovery measures can deliver emissions cuts while supporting other environmental, social and economic goals.

Read the full article here.

02 Jan 2021 15:48

Policy brief: public transport is COVID-safe

People sitting on train seats
Unsplash / Davyn Ben

A new policy brief has been released by the International Association of Public Transport. The brief, acknowledging that zero risk doesn’t exist, presents evidence that shows the risk of spreading COVID-19 in public transport is lower than earlier perceived.

During the lockdowns globally, public transport maintained the mobility of essential front-line workers. The report shows that with the right measures, public transport is COVID-safe.

In the brief, UN Environment Programme Executive Director, Inger Anderson says, "UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report is clear that we are hurtling towards a climate catastrophe. A green recovery from the pandemic could cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25 percent. As we rebuild our cities and seek to re-connect with each other, green and low-carbon public transport remains one of the smartest investments we can make."

Read the policy brief here.

01 Jan 2021 12:52

Crafting a new relationship between people and planet in 2021

“Both climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic are crises that can only be addressed by everyone together – as part of a transition to an inclusive and sustainable future,” says United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in his new year message for 2021.

He goes on to say that that the central ambition of the United Nations for 2021 is to build a global coalition for carbon neutrality - net zero emissions - by 2050.

Post COVID-19 recovery packages, if deployed wisely, can help change course in 2021 and put the world on a more sustainable path.

More here.

31 Dec 2020 13:03

Despite COVID-19, the push to save the planet soldiered on in 2020

A herd of elephants walking in Amboseli, Kenya
UNEP / Duncan Moore

COVID-19 hasn’t slowed the work of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said the organization’s head as it looks ahead to 2021.

“COVID-19 underscores the urgency of our work and forced us to be even more diligent in combating threats to the Earth,” said Inger Andersen, UNEP’s Executive Director. “The pandemic is a symptom of humanity’s fractured relationship with the natural world – and we don’t have long to repair that bond.”

The Earth is facing an unprecedented set of threats, including climate change, rampant pollution and mass extinction of wildlife. In 2020, UNEP staff worked hard, often behind the scenes, to address those challenges, said Andersen.

Read more here.

27 Dec 2020 16:14

The first International Day of Epidemic Preparedness held on 27 December

A doctor leads a group of volunteer medical professionals attending to COVID-19 patients in the Philippines
UN Women / Louie Pacardo

As exemplified by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic major infectious diseases and epidemics have devastating impacts on human lives, wreaking havoc on long-term social and economic development. Global health crises threaten to overwhelm already overstretched health systems, disrupt global supply chains and cause disproportionate devastation for people in the poorest and most vulnerable countries. 

There is an urgent need for resilient and robust health systems that reach everyone.

The UN General Assembly invites all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other global, regional and subregional organizations as well as the private sector and civil society to observe the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness annually in an appropriate manner and in accordance with national contexts and priorities, through education and awareness-raising activities, in order to highlight the importance of the prevention of, preparedness for and partnership against epidemics.

More on this here.

19 Dec 2020 12:47

A new podcast series on the Green Recovery

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The Green Renaissance: How to Rebuild the Global Economy is a new podcast series on the green recovery from the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE).

Tune in once a month as key policy questions that will determine the fate of our economies, our societies, and our planet for decades to come are discussed.

In Episode 1, we speak to Elliott Harris (Chief Economist of the United Nations), Jayati Ghosh (Executive Secretary of International Development Economics Associates) and Mercedes Pombo (Youth Leader of the Youth for Climate Movement) to answer these and other key questions as we look to unpack the green recovery debate.

More here.

15 Dec 2020 01:40

Webinar: Waste Management During COVID-19: From Crisis to Opportunity

A figure in full PPE amongst bags of medical waste
Photo: Global Times

COVID-19 created an unprecedented challenge to waste management across the globe. As the number of patients needing hospital-based healthcare exploded, it caused challenges in waste management infrastructure too. Managing massive healthcare waste became an issue for both developed and developing countries.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) developed a series of guidance notes to assist Member States to deal with waste management issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. UNEP also worked in partnership with the Swedish Civil Contingency Agency (Swedish MSB) to assist in assessing the situation regarding waste management in some countries.

UNEP and MSB experts will be delivering a webinar on the experiences learned from around the world.

When: Tuesday 22 December 2020 14:00-15:30 GMT+1

Register here

11 Dec 2020 22:25

COVID-19 vaccine could revolutionize cold storage around the world

A lab technican looks at COVID-19 vaccines
REUTERS / Dado Ruvic

Rolling out COVID-19 vaccines on a global scale will require an enormous expansion in capacity of the global cold chain, the linked system of infrastructure that allows a product to move from its site of production to final destination while remaining appropriately chilled.

Universal vaccine access is a challenge in developing economies, due to inadequate refrigerated cold chain networks, especially in rural communities, which have the highest poverty levels.

To tackle those problems, UNEP is partnering with the governments of Rwanda and the United Kingdom, and a consortium of universities on a new Africa Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Cooling and Cold Chain (ACES). 

Read more here.

09 Dec 2020 16:22

UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2020: hope in a green pandemic recovery

The 2020 UNEP Emissions Gap Report report finds that a brief dip in carbon dioxide emissions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will make no significant difference to long-term climate change.

However hope lies in a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, which could help put the world close to the pathway to 2°C, and growing commitments to net-zero emissions by 2050 – although more work would be required to reach the 1.5°C goal. The report identifies measures to prioritize this green recovery.

View the interactive EGR here.

08 Dec 2020 01:06

Inger Andersen: We need to talk about “normal”

Screenshot of the telegraph link saying "Don't let's get back to normal"

In a recent opinion piece in the Telegraph Executive Director of UNEP, Inger Andersen, questions the concept of "normal" and proposes we work for a better future, and focus our energies on building low-carbon, nature-positive economies and societies.

"Part of the change must come through pandemic recovery stimulus packages that align our economies with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and international processes that target healthy biodiversity."

Read the full piece here.

26 Nov 2020 00:35

Webinar: Live better and lighter in the post-COVID context

Flyer for the webinar showing the presenters

Join this webinar on how to harness COVID as an opportunity to drive change for healthier, more sustainable living. Panelists will delve into how governments can build back better and greener.

This part of the series Sustainable Living: 1.5: Empowering People to Live Better and Lighter

It takes place on 1 December 2020 (14.00-15.30 Central European Time) 

Hosted by Green Growth Knowledge Partnership (GGKP) and UNEP.

Register here!

24 Nov 2020 16:22

Take action: 10 ways you can help end violence against women, even during a pandemic

Design for UN Women Orange the World campaign

This year is like no other. Even before COVID-19 hit, violence against women and girls had reached pandemic proportions. Globally, 243 million women and girls were abused by an intimate partner in the past year. Meanwhile, less than 40 per cent of women who experience violence report it or seek help. As countries implemented lockdown measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, violence against women, especially domestic violence, intensified.

Here are ten ways you can make a difference, safely and with impact.

As we mark the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence campaign (25 November — 10 December), UN Women is joining hands with survivors, activists, decision-makers, the UN system, and people from every walk of life, to shine a light on the need for funding, essential services, prevention and data that shapes better-informed responses.


23 Nov 2020 21:17

Carbon dioxide levels continue at record levels, despite COVID-19 lockdown

Social media quote card from WMO

The industrial slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic has not curbed record levels of greenhouse gases according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Professor Oksana Tarasova from WMO said that in order to meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement, in which governments pledged to try to stop temperatures rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the world needed to switch from coal, oil and gas-fired energy towards solar, wind, hydropower and nuclear power, as well as adopting less-polluting modes of transport, including electric vehicles, biofuels, hydrogen and bicycles. 

Read more here.

The WMO Global Atmosphere Watch Programme coordinates systematic observations and analysis of greenhouse gases and other atmospheric constituents. A separate and complementary Emissions Gap Report by UN Environment Programme will be released on 9 December.

23 Nov 2020 13:50

Vaccines work and should be treated as a global public good

Social media card about the good vaccines do

Vaccines are safe and help prevent millions of deaths every year.

"The recent breakthroughs on COVID-19 vaccines offer a ray of hope. But that ray of hope needs to reach everyone," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Friday. "That means ensuring that vaccines are treated as a global public good — accessible and affordable to everyone, everywhere.  A people’s vaccine. This is not a “do-good” exercise. It is the only way to stop the pandemic dead in its tracks."

A growing number of networks seek to undermine trust in vaccinations. Help share verified information that saves lives.

20 Nov 2020 11:43

Data Protection and Privacy in the COVID-19 Response

A person working with code on a laptop
Pexels/Sora Shimazaki

A group of 16 UN entities including UNEP support the adoption of this joint statement on Personal Data Protection and Privacy Principles in the use of data and technology in the COVID-19 response.
Data collected, used and processed by UN System Organizations in COVID-19 operations should follow principles including:

  • laws
  • scope & time limitation
  • confidentiality
  • security
  • transparency
  • privacy
  • data protection
  • proper deletion of data

The joint statement is supported by The United Nations, IOM, ITU, OCHA, OHCHR, UNDP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNOPS, UPU, UN Volunteers, UN Women, WFP and WHO.

Read the full statement here.

20 Nov 2020 08:17

UN chief to press G20 for greater solidarity and support during pandemic

UN Secretary-General António Guterres
UN Photo/Mark Garten

When he addresses leaders of the world’s richest countries at the G20 summit this weekend, UN Secretary-General António Guterres will deliver a simple message on the COVID-19 pandemic: “We need solidarity and cooperation. And we need concrete action now — especially for the most vulnerable.”  

Speaking in New York on the eve of the virtual meeting, the UN chief told reporters that the world must ensure recovery from the crisis will be inclusive, sustainable and in line with global climate goals.

Read more here.

18 Nov 2020 22:39

Latest Ebola outbreak in DR Congo is declared over, with lessons for COVID-19 

Student-members of the Health Brigade outside the latrines of Dikolelayi Primary School in Kananga, Kasai-Occidental province, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

An outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus disease in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is over, the government announced on Wednesday, after a five-month response supported by the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO), and other partners.   

A key part of the response – with potential lessons for the global fight against COVID-19 – was the vaccination of more than 40,000 people at high risk of falling sick from the frequently fatal haemorrhagic disease, the WHO said in a statement.

The response to both diseases involves finding, isolating, testing, and caring for every case and relentless contact tracing.

More on this story here.

17 Nov 2020 09:46

PAGE announces first recipients of Green Recovery Funds

PAGE social media card about green recovery

PAGE announced the first wave of green recovery funds for five partner countries — Senegal, Argentina, South Africa, Brazil (Mato Grosso) and Thailand.  With the financial contributions of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Germany, PAGE’s mission is to assist countries in achieving inclusive, green and sustainable growth.

An inclusive green economy expands options and choices for national economies, using targeted and appropriate fiscal and social protection policies. It is an economy that is: low-carbon, efficient and clean in production and also inclusive in consumption and outcomes.

PAGE leverages on its years of experience and UN agency partnerships: UN Environment Programme, International Labour Organization, UN Development Programme, UN Industrial Development Organization, and UN Institute for Training and Research.

More on this story here.

09 Nov 2020 15:19

Four principles for wildlife management to reduce the risks of future pandemics

The Collaborative Partnership on Sustainable Wildlife Management (CPW) has released a joint statement calling for a pragmatic, factual and science-based approach to the wildlife management challenges that have arisen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They put forward four guiding principles to reduce the risks of the rise and spread of new zoonotic diseases.

  • Recognize the importance of the use of wildlife for many communities, including Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs), in policy responses.
  • Maintain and restore healthy and resilient ecosystems to reduce risks of zoonotic spillovers and future pandemics.
  • Persecution including killing of wild animals suspected of transmitting diseases will not address the causes of the emergence or spread of zoonotic diseases.
  • Regulate, manage and monitor harvesting, trade and use of wildlife to ensure it is safe, sustainable and legal.

Read the full statement here.

06 Nov 2020 18:17

Ahead of global health assembly, WHO stresses need for science, solutions and solidarity

A child and health care workers sanitizing hands
UNICEF/Fauzan Ijazah

The COVID-19 pandemic can be defeated through science, solutions and solidarity, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

The reminder comes ahead of next week’s World Health Assembly, the annual meeting of the UN agency’s decision-making body, which normally takes place in May but had to be cut short this year due to the pandemic. 

There are more than 47 million COVID-19 cases, and over 1.2 million deaths, according to latest figures.  The Assembly will chart the course for response and global health priorities.

More on this story here.

04 Nov 2020 17:17

Report on how Covid-19 is impacting progress on the Sustainable Development Goals

From report cover, an Indigenous woman puts on PPE

The report Sustainable Development Goals: Building Back Better looks at the ways Covid-19 has impacted progress across the 17 SDGs, offering comprehensive recommendations not only for how to recover from this crisis, but how we build back better and ensure the targets of the 2030 Agenda are met.

The report, produced by UNA-UK includes an introduction from UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed, plus 36 expert articles including one by Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Anderson wrote "The pandemic is yet another warning sign of humanity living at odds with the resources of our planet. Either we follow a new path to a sustainable future, or nature will change it for us."

02 Nov 2020 11:24

Report on Biodiversity and Pandemics

IPBES report social media quote card

Future pandemics will emerge more often, spread more rapidly, do more damage to the world economy and kill more people than COVID-19 unless there is a transformative change in the global approach to dealing with infectious diseases, warns a major new report on biodiversity and pandemics by 22 leading experts from around the world. 

Convened by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) for an urgent virtual workshop about the links between degradation of nature and increasing pandemic risks, the experts agree that escaping the era of pandemics is possible, but that this will require a seismic shift in approach from reaction to prevention.

Get the full report here.

21 Oct 2020 11:14

#PledgetoPause to prevent the spread of misinformation around COVID-19

Social media card advising to take care before you share

Today the United Nations launches #PledgetoPause and calls on everyone to Pause and #takecarebeforeyoushare online.

COVID-19 misinformation undermines our collective ability to control the pandemic and keep people safe. This campaign wants to empower everyone to help combat false information.

Pause and take care before you share.

21 Oct 2020 11:04

Resources to support a green and inclusive economic recovery

Banner for PAGe hub

A Hub of resources, developed by the Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE), connects policymakers and UN Country Teams in the 20 PAGE partner countries with latest information on impacts of COVID, economic policy response,  recovery measures, and tools and services to support a green and inclusive economic recovery. The hub features:

Visit the Hub here.

20 Oct 2020 21:31

Verified: access to accurate, reliable information on COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, people all over the world are searching for information on how to keep safe, stay hopeful and help one another. ‘Verified’ is an initiative to combat the growing scourge of COVID-19 misinformation by increasing the volume and reach of trusted, accurate information. Verified is a United Nations initiative to encourage us all to check the advice we share.

'Verified' will provide information around three themes:

  • science – to save lives;
  • solidarity – to promote local and global cooperation;
  • and solutions – to advocate for support to impacted populations.

It will also promote recovery packages that tackle the climate crisis and address the root causes of poverty, inequality and hunger.

Sign up to receive content you can trust: life-saving information, fact-based advice, and stories from the best of humanity.


19 Oct 2020 13:58

Lessons from the pandemic: leveraging technology to advance sustainability

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What: The Economist’s Sustainability Week Insight Hour series will convene business leaders, policymakers and industry experts on the topic Lessons from the pandemic: Leveraging technology to advance sustainability. This will examine the impact of COVID-19 on the sustainability agenda. Can companies keep sustainability a top corporate priority? What does a climate-friendly recovery look like? Can we build back better?

This event includes a discussion with Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.

When?  22 October 2020 2pm BST | 3pm CET | 9am EDT

Register here.

16 Oct 2020 19:19

The long-term impact of COVID-19 on poverty

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UN-DESA's latest policy brief on COVID-19 and poverty notes that the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing global economic crisis are on course to reverse years of gains in the reduction and alleviation of poverty, thus drastically undermining global efforts to meet the SDG deadline of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030.

COVID-19 has reinforced the need for global cooperation and collaboration, both for immediate response and for longer-term recovery. Addressing high (and oftentimes rising) levels of inequality— including those inequalities in opportunities, consumption and wealth—should be the highest priority, as it has the advantage of directly lifting people out of poverty and boosting countries’ growth potential, while creating resilience against shocks, as the current crisis has made painfully clear.

Read it in full here.


14 Oct 2020 16:38

Don’t ignore economic lessons of the Great Recession: new UNEP report

A windfarm at sunset
Image: Unsplah

This report, Building a Greener Recovery: Lessons from the Great Recession, draws on lessons from the Great Recession in 2008 and calls on governments to develop concrete strategies to combat environmental decline as they rebuild their economies from COVID-19. For low- and middle-income states, many of which are under extreme fiscal pressure because of the pandemic, the report recommended:

  • replacing fossil fuel subsidies with investments in clean energy and expanding access to renewable energy in rural areas; 
  • reallocating irrigation subsidies to improve water supply, sanitation and wastewater infrastructure; and 
  • implementing a “tropical carbon tax” to fund reforestation and ecological restoration.

The paper is the first in a series of UNEP reports designed to help countries build back more sustainably from the pandemic.

Read the full story here.

13 Oct 2020 11:29

UN chief urges decarbonizing of the global economy in COVID-19 recovery plans

UN Secretary-General António Guterres
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

With nations striving to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating impacts, efforts must focus on decarbonizing the global economy and building a more inclusive and resilient future, the UN Secretary-General said.

Addressing the fourth Ministerial Meeting of the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action, via a video message, Secretary-General António Guterres urged greater leadership and vision.

“Your recovery plans will determine the course of the next 30 years”, he said.

08 Oct 2020 13:58

TEDxUNEP: Racing to Zero with Higher Education: Acting and Enabling Global Decarbonization

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When: 13 October 2020 at 2pm EST

Where: Online - Register here

What:: Explore actionable and cost-effective pathways to CO2 emissions reduction. Understand the role of higher education as a leader in decarbonization. Discuss the engagement in Race To Zero in the lead-up to COP-26

With the UN Secretary General's Covid-19 response emphasizing the need to develop national recovery plans which include climate-positive actions such as decarbonizing all expects of our economies, and with young people around the world calling for a repurposing of the education system, this conversation couldn't be more timely. 

Both Countdown and Race To Zero are global campaigns to rally leadership and support from governments, businesses, and other institutions for a healthy, resilient, zero carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth. 

08 Oct 2020 11:24

10 countries kickstarting their pandemic recovery plans by repairing nature

A sphere of glass relfecting the land
 Image: Marc Schulte / Unsplash

Read how 10 countries around the world are including restoration commitments in their pandemic recovery plans. The countries are: Colombia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

They are using restoration as an engine of employment, especially in rural areas where jobs are badly needed. That strategy not only has the potential to kickstart economic growth, it’s also key in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss. Reviving nature is at the core of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a global push to repair lands lost to development that is set to begin in 2021.

Find out more here.

01 Oct 2020 12:47

Environment & Emergencies in the face of COVID-19: Global Webinar Series

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This series, presented by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), aims to create a Community of Practice (CoP) to bring together environmental, humanitarian and other related actors.

Join to engage with like-minded souls from all the over the world.

Register here.

30 Sep 2020 12:27

Historic UN Summit on Biodiversity sets stage for a global movement toward a green recovery from COVID-19

As countries put plans in place to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations Summit on Biodiversity, convened by the President of the General Assembly on 30 September 2020, calls attention for the need to work towards a new normal, where all people can live in harmony with nature. Heads of State and Government will attend under the theme of “Urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of the relationship between people and nature. We are reminded that when we destroy and degrade biodiversity, we undermine the web of life and increase the risk of disease spillover from wildlife to people. Responses to the pandemic provide a unique opportunity for transformative change as a global community. An investment in the health of our planet is an investment in our own future.

Read more about the outcomes of the summit here.


24 Sep 2020 17:06

Inger Andersen: Pandemic is part of the “triple planetary crisis" but inclusive multilateralism and immediate action can solve this

Macaws in the wild

"The pandemic is part of what we at UNEP call the “triple planetary crisis” of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution," said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP, today in her speech delivered to the Ministerial Roundtable on the margins of the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly.

She noted the importance of inclusive multilateralism, and how if we start now, we can secure healthy biodiversity for generations to come.

Read the full speech here.


22 Sep 2020 12:50

Multilateral action for a green post-COVID-19 recovery

Watch the Executive Director of UNEP Inger Anderson in the 2020 Kapuchinski Development Lecture.  In this she points out that while COVID-19 is deadly and destructive, we were already deep in the throes of three planetary crises --the climate crisis; the nature crisis, and the pollution and waste crisis. These have been underway for decades.

She notes how reinvigorated multilateralism is a vital tool for ensuring that national efforts join up to fix these global problems. Also in recovering better from the pandemic can invest in actions to mitigate, and eventually halt, the triple crisis.

The event was organized by the Earth Institute of Columbia University in cooperation with the Global Masters for Development Practice and the UN Sustainable Development Network.

Read the full speech here.

17 Sep 2020 14:30

Learning for a Green Recovery

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What: A global e-learning series that addresses the key policy issues central to the green recovery debate.

Where: Available here. The six online courses are free, self-paced, and can act as an invaluable building block as countries plan their economic responses to COVID-19—serving to inform and shape the public policy debate around green economic reform.

Why: Over the next 18 months, it is estimated that economic investment into national recovery packages will reach up to US$ 20 trillion. The make-up of these financial decisions will define the shape of our societies, our economies, and our environment for decades to come.  This is where the “Learning for a Green Recovery” campaign has been developed.

Produced by Partnership for Action on Green Economy, and collaboration with five UN agencies UN Environment Programme, International Labour Organization , UN Development Programme, UN Industrial Development Organization  and UN Institute of Training and Research.

17 Sep 2020 13:04

Covid features in global megatrends report: Shaping the Trends of Our Time

Food farmer in Afghansistan
Photo: UNDP Afghanistan / S. Omer Sadaat

Chief economists from the UN System came together to examine five human-made megatrends which continue to dominate and frustrate global efforts to put the world on a more sustainable and prosperous path. They published their findings in a report entitled Shaping the Trends of Our Time.

The report details how climate change; demographic shifts, especially population ageing; urbanization; digital technologies; and inequalities are affecting economic, social and environmental outcomes.

In this interview with Pushpam Kumar, Chief Environmental Economist for UNEP,  he notes, "The causes of this pandemic relate to biodiversity and climate, so the solution must factor these in to build back better."

17 Sep 2020 09:29

Rebuilding better: South Africa's green and inclusive industrial policies

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When: 22 September 2020, 15:00-16:30 CEST
How does South Africa’s COVID-19 recovery strategy support green industry?
Join this for a discussion on how green industry policy can stimulate low-carbon growth, boost competitiveness and create jobs, while helping to avert future crises with insights from South Africa.
Register here to join the discussion. 
14 Sep 2020 16:51

Inger Anderson: Nature and environmental stewardship must be at the heart of COVID-19 recovery

Title of the speech

In her address to the 151st meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives, the Executive Director of UNEP Inger Anderson gave an update on crucial work UNEP has been doing since the beginning of the year.

She also noted how, "this is a “make or break moment for the planet”. As we seek to reboot the global economy, how we prioritize and direct our resources can either secure human, economic and environmental health for generations to come, or take us down the grey path that has brought with it the suffering we are seeing today."

Read the full speech here.

09 Sep 2020 15:51

United in Science 2020 report says Climate Change has not stopped for COVID-19

United in Science logos

In the United in Science 2020 report, leading science organizations warn that greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are at record levels and continue to increase. This is despite a temporary decline caused by the COVID19 lockdown in the first half of the year.

The report is coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), with contributions from the Global Carbon Project, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, the UN Environment Programme and the UK’s Met Office.

Download and read it here.

07 Sep 2020 14:16

Cooperation for clean air must be at the heart of a green recovery from the COVID-19 crisis

Ppostcard showing contrast between polluted and clean air

7 September 2020, for the first time ever, the world will join together to mark the UN's International Day of Clean Air for blue skies. The theme for 2020 is "Clean Air for All".

Air pollution has been dubbed the ‘invisible killer’, responsible for a staggering 7 million deaths per year, according to the World Health Organization – more than from Malaria, Tuberculosis and AIDS combined. As we find out more about COVID-19, some scientists also suggest that people who live in polluted areas might be more susceptible to develop severe symptoms.

As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have a unique opportunity to build back sustainably, to reduce air pollution and protect the environment and our health through comprehensive cross-sectoral strategies.  Read the full article by Olga Algayerova, UNECE Executive Secretary here.

03 Sep 2020 11:50

What are the post-COVID trends on mobility?

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Join us for 'Going to work or on vacation: mobility in a post-COVID world.’

When: 15 September 2020 (13.00-14.30 Central European Time). Register here.

What: This explores post-COVID lessons that we can use to design and build cities across the globe with low carbon mobility solutions. Our panel will reflect on how COVID-19 has affected mobility; what sustainability challenges and opportunities are there when building back better; contrasting African/European mobility policies; the leisure trends that have emerged from COVID times and the impacts of staying closer, staying longer and buying better.

The webinar is part of the series ‘Sustainable Living 1.5: Empowering People to live better and lighter’ which explores how the power of people can be better harnessed for sustainability, so stay tuned for more engaging webinars in the future.

20 Aug 2020 15:15

UNEP report: Human rights, the environment and Covid-19 key messages

Report cover photo of man with a mask on public transport

The COVID-19 crisis reveals a clear truth about catastrophic risk in an increasingly globalized world: an effective response requires immediate, ambitious and evidence-based preventive action at the international level.

To avert future global threats, including pandemics, we must protect rights to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment upon which we all depend for our health and well being. A human rights-based approach to the COVID-19 crisis is also needed to address its unequal impacts on the poor, vulnerable and marginalized and its underlying drivers, including environmental degradation.

This UNEP report contains key messages on human rights, the environment and COVID-19. It highlights the essential human rights obligations and responsibilities of States and others, including businesses, in addressing and responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

13 Aug 2020 11:21

New UNEP report: Waste Management during the COVID-19 Pandemic: from response to recovery

Disposible medical items

This report reviews current practices for managing waste from healthcare facilities, households and quarantine locations accommodating people with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19. Jointly produced by UNEP, the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies and the International Environmental Technology Centre, the report considers various approaches, identifies best practices and technologies, and provides recommendations for policy-makers and practitioners to improve waste management, over the long term.

Find it here.

16 Jul 2020 09:35

New World Economic Forum report: The Future of Nature and Business

Title page of the report

The global pandemic has caused unprecedented job losses and continued economic uncertainty. As governments and businesses look to stimulate growth and create jobs, a new report from the World Economic Forum and AlphaBeta suggests that a nature-first approach can do both. The Future of Nature and Business report finds that over $10 trillion in annual business opportunity and 395 million jobs can be generated by 2030 in a new nature economy. The report identifies how 15 transitions in three socio-economic systems can form the blueprint of action for nature-positive pathways to halting nature loss by 2030.

Download the full report here.

14 Jul 2020 10:38

Tips on sustainable consumption during the coronavirus lockdown

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UNEP´s regional office in Latin America and the Caribbean created a brief guideline in Spanish with tips on sustainable consumption during the coronavirus lockdown. This region is currently a COVID-19 hotspot so for those who are able to comply with the stay-at-home orders, there are some simple actions related to sustainable lifestyles. The guideline includes recommendations from UNEP and other UN agencies, and includes topics such as nutrition, waste management, sustainable use of energy and water and wellness. The guide was developed by UNEP´s Communication Unit in the region, with the support of the regional Resource Efficiency Unit.

Download the guideline here.

La oficina regional del PNUMA en América Latina y el Caribe elaboró ​​una breve guía en español con consejos sobre el consumo sostenible durante el confinamiento a causa de la COVID-19. Millones de ciudadanos en América Latina y el Caribe que viven en la pobreza no pueden cumplir con las órdenes de quedarse en casa, pero aquellos que pueden hacerlo, pueden optar por algunas acciones simples relacionadas con estilos de vida sostenibles. La directriz recopila recomendaciones sobre el consumo sostenible del PNUMA y diversas agencias de la ONU, e incluye temas como nutrición, gestión de residuos, uso sostenible de la energía y el agua, y el bienestar. La guía fue desarrollada por la Unidad de Comunicación del PNUMA en la región, con el apoyo de la Unidad de Eficiencia de Recursos.

09 Jul 2020 12:57

Global Commission on Adaptation statement on the COVID-19 recovery

Letterhead of the statement

The Global Commission on Adaptation have released a statement on the COVID-19 recovery. 28 Commissioners and senior representatives supported it, demonstrating the spirit and power of this group. The hope that the statement will inspire decision-makers around the world to incorporate climate resilience into economic recovery plans and move us toward a more resilient future.

About the Global Commission on Adaptation: The Commission launched with the mandate to encourage the development of measures to manage the effects of climate change through technology, planning and investment. The Commission was launched with the support of 17 convening countries including China, Canada and the UK and low-lying countries vulnerable to climate change including Bangladesh and the Marshall Islands. It also included 28 Commissioners representing all sectors of the globe and all sectors of development and industry.

08 Jul 2020 11:52

Nursing home receives a solar water heater in Panamá

UNEP and the Ministry of Energy of Panamá donated a thermo-solar heater to a nursing home, located in the Pacora sector of Panamá City. Based on solar energy, the system will generate up to 300 liters of hot water a day for the hygiene of the center, which takes care of 60 older residents.

"In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, using resources wisely is more necessary than ever," said Gustavo Máñez, UNEP regional coordinator of Climate Change in Latin America and Caribbean. “Solar thermal energy creates instant savings and environmental improvements. It can help Panama reduce its spending on fossil fuel imports while reducing emissions that cause climate change," added Máñez.

The heater is part of the Panama Solar Thermal Project which is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), and aims to develop the Panamanian market for solar water heaters and to help the country meet its climatic targets under the Paris Agreement.

Photo: Ministry of Energy of Panama
Photo: Ministry of Energy of Panama.

Residencia de personas mayores recibe un calentador solar de agua en Panamá

El PNUMA y el Ministerio de Energía de Panamá donaron un calentador solar de agua a la residencia para personas mayores Los Años Dorados, ubicada en el sector de Pacora en la capital del país. Basado en energía solar, el sistema generará hasta 300 litros de agua caliente por día para la higiene del centro, que atiende a 60 residentes.

"En el contexto de la crisis de la COVID-19, usar los recursos de manera inteligente es más necesario que nunca", dijo Gustavo Máñez, coordinador regional del PNUMA de Cambio Climático en América Latina y el Caribe. “La energía solar térmica genera ahorros instantáneos y mejoras ambientales. Puede ayudar a Panamá a disminuir su gasto en importaciones de combustibles fósiles mientras reduce las emisiones que causan el cambio climático ", agregó Máñez.

El calentador es parte del proyecto Temosolar Panamá, financiado por el Fondo para el Medio Ambiente Mundial (GEF, por sus siglas en inglés), y tiene como objetivo desarrollar el mercado panameño de calentadores de agua solares y ayudar al país a cumplir sus objetivos climáticos bajo el Acuerdo de París.


08 Jul 2020 11:42

#Natureinsight podcast is launched today

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Join Rob and Brit as they ‘speed date’ with the future! Each week, they will introduce you to people with unique insights into the values of nature and our relationship with it. Subscribe now to learn how to make better choices about protecting all life on earth.

Speed dating is about having a short time to communicate things that could change your life. That’s exactly what they’re doing on this podcast, by introducing you to people with unique insight into our relationship with nature.

Produced by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) #natureinsight, features incredible individuals whose experience can help us see solutions for the future.

Subscribe here.


07 Jul 2020 13:56

MAP’s strategic response to COVID-19

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The Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP)—Barcelona Convention Secretariat has articulated a strategic response to the COVID-19. This identifies the main issues and priorities of relevance to the mandate of UNEP/MAP. It lays out the MAP perspective on how to respond to the crisis in the Mediterranean region. It constitutes a blueprint upon which an action plan is being  devised by the entire UNEP/MAP system.

06 Jul 2020 13:51

UNEP and ILRI report on preventing zoonotic diseases launched

UNEP report cover

6 July 2020 - A scientific assessment from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) finds that unless countries take dramatic steps to curb zoonotic contagions, global outbreaks like COVID-19 will become more common.

The assessment, Preventing the next pandemic: Zoonotic diseases and how to break the chain of transmission, describes how 60 per cent of the 1,400 microbes known to infect humans originated in animals.

30 Jun 2020 15:52

Online dialogue: The impact of COVID-19 on Climate Science

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This session of the GENeva Environment Dialogues’ special COVID-19 series will address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on climate science.

When: 02 Jul 2020

Time: 09:00–10:20 CEST

Venue: Live | Webex Event & live on Facebook.

More info: The pandemic has affected the activities of scientific institutions and government agencies worldwide, leading to a reduced productivity in some programs and gaps in long-term climate data. It is now essential to focus on leveraging scientific support and knowledge-sharing for a sustainable recovery.

Lockdown and related measures implemented by countries to limit the spread of COVID-19 have led to a decrease in economic activities and a drop in road transport, temporarily cleaning skies and decreasing levels of certain air pollutants. However, carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere and oceans for centuries. The scientific community reminds us continuously that the world needs to be committed to continued efforts in climate change regardless of any temporary decrease in emissions due to the pandemic. Researchers have also found that air pollution might have intensified the pandemic.

29 Jun 2020 15:33

World Environment Situation Room COVID-19 section

Screenshot of the Covid-19 section

The World Environment Situation Room (WESR) has added a COVID-19 section to its monitoring platform.

WESR is global and uses Big Data including geo-referenced, remote-sensing and earth observation information integrated with statistics and data on the environmental dimension of sustainable development.

WESR targets country policy makers, top environmental policy makers, the environmental scientific community, business and interested citizens. The platform is essential as a knowledge instrument to support progress on delivering the environmental dimension of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

22 Jun 2020 11:22

UNEP's post-COVID19 policy briefs on Latin America and the Caribbean


UNEP's Regional Office in Latin America and the Caribbean has produced a series of policy briefs titled Articulating social and environmental policy for post-COVID-19 recovery, which include recommendations to build back better in the region, leaving no one behind.
The policy briefs address the following subjects:
·       Waste management as an essential service in Latin America and the Caribbean.
·       Environment in COVID-19 humanitarian response in Latin America and the Caribbean.
·       Opportunities to respond and build back better while leaving no one behind in Latin America and the Caribbean.
·       How to articulate integrated responses to the health, economic and climate crises in Latin America and the Caribbean.
More policy briefs on green economy, biodiversity and environmental law will soon be incorporated. You can find them at the regional website in English and Spanish.


Articulando la política social y ambiental para la recuperación pos-COVID-19 en América Latina y el Caribe

El Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente (PNUMA) está intensificando su trabajo en la identificación de las amenazas zoonóticas y la protección de la naturaleza con el fin de reducir el riesgo de pandemias como la de COVID-19.

La Oficina Regional del PNUMA en América Latina y el Caribe ha elaborado una serie de resúmenes de política titulada Articulando la política social y ambiental para la recuperación pos-COVID-19,  la cual ofrece recomendaciones para reconstruir de manera sostenible en la región tras la pandemia, sin dejar a nadie atrás.

Los resúmenes de política se enfocan las siguientes áreas:

·       La gestión de residuos como servicio esencial en América Latina y el Caribe.
·       Medio ambiente en la respuesta humanitaria a la COVID-19 en América Latina y el Caribe.
·       Oportunidades para responder y reconstruir sin dejar a nadie atrás en América Latina y el Caribe.
·       Cómo articular respuestas integradas a las crisis sanitaria, económica y climática en América Latina y el Caribe.


08 Jun 2020 10:49

The African Elephant Fund call for COVID 19 Project Proposals:


The African Elephant Fund (AEF) Secretariat just launched the tenth round of call for project proposals with a deadline of 06 July 2020, midnight East Africa Time. The purpose of this call is to allow African elephant range States to seek emergency funding to address elephant conservation challenges related to COVID 19 for the implementation of the African Elephant Action Plan.

The project proposal templates for use are available here.

For more info, you can reach us at mamadou.kane@un.org and dorris.chepkoech@un.org with a copy to unep-africanelephantfund@un.org or call us +254 719744186 / +254 710602646.


COVID 19 Appel à soumission de projets:

Le Secrétariat du Fonds pour l'éléphant d'Afrique (FEA) vient de lancer le neuvième cycle d'appel à propositions de projets avec une date limite du 6 juillet 2020 à minuit, heure de l'Afrique de l'Est. Le but de cet appel est de permettre aux États de l'aire de répartition de l'éléphant d'Afrique d’accéder à un financement d'urgence pour relever les défis de la conservation des éléphants liés au COVID 19 et pour la mise en œuvre du plan d'action pour l'éléphant d'Afrique.

Les canevas de projets à utiliser sont disponibles ici.

Pour plus d'informations, vous pouvez nous joindre à l’adresse suivante mamadou.kane@un.org et dorris.chepkoech@un.org avec une copie à unep-africanelephantfund@un.org ou nous appeler au +254 719744186 / +254 710602646.

05 Jun 2020 11:00

The Data Observatory tracks socio-economic and health impacts from COVID-19


As part of an ongoing effort to support Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE) Partner Countries, The Data Observatory was developed to track socio-economic and health impacts from COVID-19, track policy responses and assess potential focus areas for green recovery in PAGE Countries. This collection of data aims ultimately to inform our partners and beyond as well as support decision-making that can lead to long-term, sustainable recovery in a post-COVID-19 world.

The policy and investments decisions taken today will mitigate or amplify future risks to humanity and our economies. An inclusive and green economic recovery requires collective, coherent and decisive action through broader networks of partnerships such as the Partners for Inclusive Green Economy.” - Asad Naqvi, Head, UN PAGE Secretariat.

01 Jun 2020 13:27

Montréal Mayor calls on local government leaders to take action on nature



Valérie Plante, the Mayor of the City of Montréal and the ICLEI Global Ambassador for Local Biodiversity, released a letter for cities to reflect on their relationship with nature ahead of the International Day of Biodiversity and World Environment Day (WED). Montréal is the North American WED host city.

The letter is a call to action for mayors and leaders of local and sub-national governments to make commitments to protect nature, especially in post-COVID-19 recovery plans. About 2,000 Mayors and local community leaders received it.

“As mayors and leaders of local and subnational governments, we have a unique opportunity and an important responsibility to protect our biodiversity and ecosystems in ways that will restore humanity’s relationship with nature, especially as we develop our post-COVID-19 recovery plans. Together, let’s take strong action to create healthy, vibrant cities, where people and nature can thrive.” ~ Mayor Valérie Plante of the City of Montréal & ICLEI’s Global Ambassador for Local Biodiversity

The letter is available in English, French and Spanish. More info

27 May 2020 10:00

New Green Fins guidelines on how to deal with chemical cleaning agents in an environmentally friendly way

Green Fins

The Reef-World Foundation – the international coordinator of the UN Environment Programme's Green Fins initiative – has launched new guidelines to help dive and snorkel operators who are continuing to keep an environmental strategy high on their agenda despite the many changes taking place for travel businesses as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Reef-World has launched the Green Fins Guidelines for Environmental Best Practice for Chemical Cleaning Agents to help dive and snorkel operators deal with chemical cleaning agents in an environmentally friendly way. The Green Fins guidance – which should be used in addition to, not instead of, health and safety recommendations from DAN and the WHO on preventing viral spread – explains how on how to deal with any hazardous waste that may pose a significant threat to the marine environment.

The guidelines are available free of charge for Green Fins members and non-members alike. They can be downloaded here.

For more info and to access other Green Fins resources please go to: https://www.greenfins.net/

25 May 2020 12:00

Three more bicycle highways being built in in Beijing


Daily commuting in bicyle lanes in Beijing used to be a fairly risky undertaking with shared-bikes, scooters and pedestrians whizzing by during rush hours. To encourage green travel and to make it safer, Beijing municipal government built the first “bicycle highway” in the city in 2019. This 6.5km “bike only” highway runs to the north of city, with three lanes, including a reversible lane, on the 6-meter-wide road.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the municipal government in Beijing announced another three bicycle highways will be completed in 2020. These will be to the east, west and south of the city, adding over 25km of segregated bicycle-only routes. Related traffic regulations will be made to make sure the new bicycle highways adapt safely into the city’s traffic.

To further encourage de-carbonized transport, Beijing announced that until the end of May, 2020, people can ride shared-bikes for free for the first half hour during the rush hours.

You can read more about bicycle highways in Beijing here:

20 May 2020 11:00

To celebrate International Biological Diversity Day you are invited to the Solving Crisis webinar


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To celebrate International Biological Diversity Day you are invited to a webinar titled: Solving Crisis: Ecosystem-based Solutions to Biodiversity Loss and Links to COVID 19 Pandemic. This seeks to highlight how to build back better through natural solutions.

Apart from effects on human health, COVID-19 has hit at a time where nature-based solutions were on the rise. 2020 was meant to be a year to ramp up our decade of action on ecosystem and biodiversity efforts. While we wait to flatten the curve, we still have to steer through biodiversity and the environmental consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.


  • Ms. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity
  • David Nabarro, WHO Special Envoy on COVID19
  • Sagar Aryal, CTO Plant-for-the-Planet App

When: 22 May 2020 at 11:30 AM in Eastern Time (USA and Canada) and 15:30 (in UTC) via Zoom - Register here

More info here

19 May 2020 09:28

UNEP FI: Property sector perspectives on ESG, COVID 19, and managing crises

UNEP's green building

The socioeconomic impacts from COVID-19 restrictions have affected all segments of the real estate sector in some form.
For property investors and lenders, the economic picture is also troubling.

The recent UNEP FI Property Working Group (PWG) forums affirm that the response to COVID-19 and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) integration are inseparable, and offered views on trends that will shape sustainable practices as institutions move forward into an altered risk and value-creation landscape. For more details, please download the bulletin,

11 May 2020 18:00

1,000 UNEP handwashing stations in Haiti

The handwashing items are produced at low cost, using repurposed cooking oil buckets. Photo: UNEP.

UNEP has produced and is installing 1,000 handwashing stations in Haiti. This will help communities access and maintain good hand hygiene, key to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The portable handwashing items are made from repurposed cooking oil buckets fitted with plastic taps and plumbing tubes. They will be distributed to communities in Port Salut, Saint Jean du Sud and La Cahouane. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, ranking 163 out of 189 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index.

This UNEP initiative is supported by the Directorate of Civil Protection at the Ministry of Public Health and Population and the NGO Pêche Artisanale et Développement Intégré.


30 Apr 2020 18:20

The Basel Convention: COVID19 Factsheet on environmentally sound management of medical waste

Screenshot of the top of the factsheet

Download the Basel Convention’s guidance document on how to manage medical waste in the most sustainable manner here.

22 Apr 2020 13:00

Earth School is in session!


In April 2020 over 1.5 billion children were unable to go to school. Over fifty environmental and education experts, with the guidance and support of TED-Ed and UNEP, collaborated to launch #EarthSchool on 22 April.

EarthSchool shows off the wonder and mystery of our planet to children through a 30 day immersive environmental adventure.

What can we learn from termites about air conditioning? How can we partner with wolves to prevent soil erosion? This interactive adventure will leave you marveling at our planet and ready to take on the future.

Find out more


18 Apr 2020 11:20

Solar water heater for Panama City's Covid hospital


UNEP representatives and Panamanian authorities on April 18, 2020, attended the donation ceremony of a thermo-solar heater to a new COVID-19 hospital in Panama City. Photo: Presidency of Panama.

UNEP and the Energy Secretariat of Panama donated a thermo-solar heater to a hospital being built in Panama to treat COVID-19 patients.

Based on solar energy, the system will be able to generate up to 1,200 liters of hot water a day for the hygiene of the health center. The hospital is  being built in the Albrook area of Panama City and will have a capacity for 100 patients, and 24 health sector professionals. The facilities include five showers and sinks for the hygiene of health personnel and for the disinfection of ambulances and the morgue.

Being a 100% renewable technology, the heater will help avoid new carbon emissions and maintain air quality in this sector of the city. The heater is part of the Panama Solar Thermal Project by UNEP and the Secretariat of Energy of Panama. The project, funded by the GEF, aims to develop the Panamanian market for solar water heaters and to benefit, among others, the public health sector.


The 100% renewable solar heater system generates up to 1,200 liters of hot water per day. Photo: UNEP.

15 Apr 2020 10:00

The Last Defense a short video about a medical waste worker in Beijing

last defence

The Last Defense a short video about a medical waste worker in Beijing. This short video by Youthtalks Studio in China, shows Wang Ning, a medical waste worker, as he and his team work on the front lines disposing of COVID-19 medical waste. This video shows the challenges he and his colleagues face in carrying out their crucial and risky job. The original video can be seen online here.

In response to COVID-19, hospitals, healthcare facilities and individuals are producing more waste than usual, including masks, gloves, gowns and other protective equipment that could be infected with the virus. There is also a large increase in the amount of single use plastics being produced.
Wherever possible, countries should control COVID-19 waste through maximizing the use of available waste management solutions and, at the same time, look to avoid any potential long-term impacts on the environment.
UNEP is working in collaboration with Governments, WHO, UNDP, the GEF and NGOs to mitigate the adverse impacts on global environment from the increase of waste produced in response to the crisis, through controlling releases of harmful chemicals in the atmosphere, land and water.

You can read more about UNEPs work here.

20 Mar 2020 12:00

BRS Secretariat urges sound management of medical and household waste as part of COVID-19 response

Screenshot of press release image and title

Geneva, 20 March 2020 - Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions press release on the need to prioritise waste management during the COVID-19 outbreak. With the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic continuing to spread and its impacts upon human health and the economy intensifying day-by-day, governments are urged to treat waste management, including of medical, household and other hazardous waste, as an urgent and essential public service in order to minimise possible secondary impacts upon health and the environment.

Read the full release here.