UNEP is committed to protecting the precious planet
By Srimal Fernando Global Editor
Climate change, ozone depletion, pollution, and other environmentally induced stresses are causing serious global environmental problems. It is all our responsibility to make the world a better place to live in. Therefore, we all need to make better choices and must consider the future then, in making our decisions about the present. Integrating environmental sustainability into the decision-making is a simple strategy well worth trying.
Photo: Erik Solheim Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) address at CITES Conference of Parties, Johannesburg on September 24, 2016 (Photograph UNEP)
Speaking at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)-COP17 summit held in Johannesburg on 24 September 2016 the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Erik Solheim said “ Together we will be able to save the planet and together we need to be kinder to each other on this planet, and then our children and grandchildren will experience a much better world.”
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) a UN agency formally founded in the early 70s and is the voice for the environment in the United Nations (UN). The organization has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya and provides support to Regional offices located throughout Europe, the Middle East, Americas, Africa and Asia Pacific.
The organization plays a key role and works closely with communities worldwide to address global, regional and national environmental challenges. In fact the UNEP focuses on several activities this includes Climate change, disaster and conflicts, ecosystem management, environment governance, environment under review harmful substances and resource efficiency.
Global warming and climate change is one of the most widely discussed concerns affecting the environment. Global warming is causing recent sea level rise. The latest research studies have shown one-third of reefs worldwide had experienced thermal stress levels. Over 7 million people died prematurely from illness attributable to the air pollution around the world in 2012 (World Health Organization). 1.6 million People died in China and 1.4 million in India in 2013 (The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) 2016.). In this context the case of Asia –Pacific already is well known. The Asia Pacific region accounts for nearly half of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The work of the UNEP in 41 countries in Asia and the Pacific region has implemented projects that have had measurable success in protecting the environment.
Strengthening Environmental Governance for Environmental Sustainability focused on the China E-Tree Progamme launched in 2009 is a multi-partnership initiative involving government agencies, the private sector, media and civil society in tree planting activities in western China, an area with a fragile environment.
The Siberian Crane Wetland Project, implemented jointly by UNEP and International Crane Foundation under the Managing Water Wisely are projects of special significance.
In addition, UNEP publications are among the most respected and highly cited in the field . The information provided in A Review of Air Pollution Control in Beijing: 1998-2013 and GEO-6: Global Environment Outlook: Regional assessment for Asia and the Pacific published go into detail of the environmental challenges facing the region and the ways of addressing the environmental issues are highlighted.
The United Nation Environmental Assembly themed ‘Delivering on the Environmental Dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Nairobi.
According to a new study, the latest research published in 2014 by Scientist the evidence shows the ozone layer is healing itself and is expected to recover by the middle of this century. This achievement was made possible through the UNEPs facilitation of the Montreal Protocol in 1987. A protocol that was universally ratified by 197 parties which was a legally binding obligations of the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer created in 1985 and entered into force in 1988. In 2012 the Minamata Convention, helped reduce the risks from toxic effects of mercury. Another milestone in the organisation's long history was winning a major accolade at the Chinese social media awards for recognizing its role in the increasing awareness of wildlife crime that culminated in China's landmark decision to ban domestic trading of elephant ivory.
Over the past 30 years, the UNEP has completely restructured the funding needs of the organization. Budgets supporting the UNEP programmes have gradually increased from US$ 5 to 6 million in 2002 to US$35 million and are set to grow as environmental awareness becomes priority.
The United Nation Environmental Assembly and Sustainable Innovation Expo, themed ‘ Delivering on the Environmental Dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development ‘was successfully held from 24th to 26th May 2016 and provided a platform for discussing real environmental issues.
Since its inception the UNEP has made significant contributions in researching and creating a better understanding of our planet. This has led to the development of solutions for a more harmonious interaction the eco systems and environments we engage.