United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
1. What decisions or new strategies has the governing body of your organization taken to guide the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please provide a brief summary below, including the overarching vision of your governing body for the Decade of Action on the SDGs.
At the second session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-2) held in May 2016 Member States adopted a resolution titled “Delivering on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, which aims to strengthen the work of UNEP/UNEA in integrating the environmental dimension through, among others, enhanced science-policy interface and effective coordination mechanisms.
Furthermore, a decision approving the 2020-2021 Programme of Work (PoW) was adopted. The PoW shows the ambitious pathways that UNEP will follow in helping countries implement the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.
During the Fourth Session of the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA-4), several decisions and resolutions calling on Member States to accelerate their action towards sustainable development were adopted. Most notably, a resolution on ‘Sustainable Consumption and Production’ and another on ‘Food Loss and Waste’ were adopted. The latter calls on Member States to move towards sustainable food systems while the resolution on sustainable food systems which directly speaks to SDG 11 and SDG12, calls on parties to consider approaches and policies for achieving sustainable consumption and production including but not limited to improving resource efficiency and moving towards a circular economy when developing national plans and policies.
The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), in its resolution 4/20 of 15 March 2019, adopted the Fifth Programme for the Development and Periodic Review of Environmental Law for the decade beginning in 2020 (Montevideo Programme V). Montevideo Programme V is an intergovernmental programme designed to guide the identification and implementation of priority actions in the field of environmental law to be undertaken by the United Nations Environment Programme, in collaboration with other relevant actors for the decade beginning in 2020. It’s vision is to promote the development and implementation of environmental rule of law, strengthen the related capacity in countries, and contribute to the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda.
2. At the secretariat level, what steps has your organization taken (or will it take) in the follow-up to the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please specify actions, including but not limited to the following areas:
2.1 SDG-specific strategies, plans or work programmes;
Examples of strategies being employed include the following.
UNEP and partners are leading the Decade on Ecosystems Restoration 2021–2030. The Decade aims to gather the science and best practices on ecosystems restoration and encourage action.
UNEP tracks the progress on the SDGs through resources such as the World Environment Situation Room, a dynamic knowledge platform designed to collect, process and share the world's best environmental science and research, as well as the mass of new data from satellites, drones, and citizen science. The platform includes critical tools to review progress towards the achievement of the goals. D UNEP’s Science-Policy-Business Forum on the Environment established a working group on data, analytics, and artificial intelligence in March 2018. Through this group, UNEP has been working with a wide range of partners to evaluate how to better use data for monitoring the environment, including the SDGs.
UNEP’s ‘Sustainable Development Goals Policy Briefs’ highlight hotspots of environmental change. The evidence provided builds on the scientific data and information hosted on the World Environment Situation Room and is complemented by stories from the regions.
UNEP is the custodian for 25 Sustainable Development Goal indicators across Goals 6, 8, 12, 14, 15 and 17. These indicators cover topics related to resource management and protection of water, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, circular economy, including the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources; and environmentally sound management of chemicals and waste. D UNEP has developed methodologies for all 25 SDG indicators for which it is the Custodian Agency, which were consequently reclassified to Tier 2 by the IAEG-SDG expert group. In 2019-2020 10 indicators were reclassified from Tier 3 to Tier 2 or Tier 2 to Tier
Out of the 25 SDG indicators, 9 are Tier 1 and 16 are Tier 2. UNEP has ensured that all methods developed are aligned with existing statistical standards and frameworks, including the Framework for the Development of Environment Statistics (FDES) and the System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA).
In March 2019 UNEP launched the report ‘Measuring Progress Towards monitoring the environmental dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals’ which analyses the environmental dimension of sustainable development based on 93 environment- related indicators. These indicators track progress on 72 targets across the Goals.
UNEP directly provides data and analysis for the High-Level Political Forum report on the SDGs and for the global SDG database (for the 25 indicators under its custodianship). UNEP’s Sustainable Development Goals data is the official source of data for indicators.
2.2 Aligning the structure of the organization with the SDGs and the transformative features of the 2030 Agenda, including any challenges and lessons learned in doing so;
UNEP’s Medium-Term Strategy 2018-2021 and related Programme of Work 2018- 2019 approved by the second UN Environment Assembly in 2016, were developed to respond to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Through these planning tools, UNEP supports the achievement of the environmental dimension of sustainable development specifically and contributes to the achievement of all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SDGs were integrated into the Theory of Change of the Programme of Work 2018-2019 and each of its seven thematic subprogrammes.
UNEP projects cleared for implementation by the Project Review Committee are linked to relevant SDG indicators. Projects across UNEP’s 7 subprogrammes active in 2019 collectively contributed to advancing all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
2.3 Readjusting or updating results-based budgeting and management, including performance indicators;
In line with UNEP’s Medium-Term Strategy 2018-2021, UNEP is working to strengthen planning and delivery processes, based on the progressive use of results-based management throughout its projects and programmes. This includes implementing results-based budgeting in order to achieve necessary agility in planning considering increasingly complex operating contexts. UNEP’s results-based approach is also captured in project evaluations which identify outcomes, impacts and lessons of operational relevance for future project design and implementation. Evaluation of expected accomplishments is also undertaken at sub-programme level.
2.4 Action to enhance support to the principle of "leaving no one behind" and to integrated policy approaches;
With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, UN Member States pledged to ensure “no one will be left behind” and to “endeavour to reach the furthest behind first”.
In order to ensure UNEP supports its Member States in line with these commitments, the organisation has developed and regularly updates a number of internal policies to guide its work. These comprise UNEP’s overall “Environmental and Social Sustainability Framework” which – guided by the principle of leaving no one behind – provides various safeguards to ensure UNEP’s projects and programmes are systematically considerate of indigenous people, gender equality, displacements and involuntary resettlement, and labour and working conditions, among others.
Similarly, the organisation has specific policies and guidance documents including its “Promoting Greater Protection for Environmental Defenders Policy”, “Policy and Strategy for Gender Equality and the Environment”, “Indigenous People Policy” and “Policy Guidance on Environment, Human Rights and Addressing Inequalities”, all aiming to ensure UNEP systematically and effectively works towards the objective of leaving no one behind.
UNEP published the report: ‘Gender and environment statistics: unlocking information for action and measuring the SDGs’ providing a framework to measure the nexus between gender and the environment. In partnership with ESCAP and UN Women, the report formed the basis for ‘Mainstreaming gender in environment statistics for the SDGs and beyond: Identifying priorities in Asia and the Pacific’ a working paper that puts forward a proposal for a Gender-Environment Indicator Set in Asia and the Pacific, which includes indicators from the global Sustainable Development Goals framework and beyond, capturing issues of particular relevance for the gender-environment nexus in the region.
2.5 Action to address the interlinkages across SDG goals and targets;
The attainment of environmental targets is a pre-condition to achieving the 17 sustainable development goals. Therefore, countries need to be well equipped in understanding the environmental dimension of the goals and their linkages with other commitments; they also need to be able to translate this understanding into concrete measures to realize environmental objectives in an integrated manner.
Through the implementation of the “Towards coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals” project, UNEP seeks to support countries to transform the way national institutions take decisions, devise policies, legislate, and report on sustainable development issues. Specifically, UNEP’s support to countries in this regard includes: a) enhancing technical capacities of national focal points in various ministries (e.g. finance, development, agriculture, fisheries and environment) to deliver the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda in a coordinated and integrated manner; b) enhancing technical capacities of national statistical offices; c) sharing lessons learned and knowledge acquired by countries through inter and intra-regional cooperation including South-South cooperation.
3. What normative, analytical, technical assistance or capacity building activities is your organization providing to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? Please provide a brief account of the activities you have organized or intend to undertake, including but not limited to the following areas:
3.1 Enhancing national implementation including by supporting the mainstreaming of the SDGs in development plans and policies or through national sustainable development plans/strategies;
This is a large component of the work that UNEP is involved in. The following are examples of initiatives in this area. Operationalization of Technical Assistance Facilities:
- Through the Poverty-Environment Action (PEA), UNEP has continued mainstreaming SDGs in development plans and policies. Currently, UNEP, through the project has 3 fully operational Technical Assistance Facilities in Tanzania, Nepal, and Indonesia all of which are aimed at promoting innovative integration of the Poverty and Environment Linkages into Development Plans and Policies. The Technical Assistance Facilities are administered to promote Poverty-Environment Mainstreaming into development plans and policies in the absence of a Poverty-Environment Full-fledged country output.
- Review of development plans to facilitate mainstreaming of the environmental dimension of sustainable development into national development plans/strategies:
- Through the reviews of the Common Country Analysis (CCA) and the Sustainable Development Goals Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) UNEP is working to more accurately reflect the relationship between governments and the UN Development System in collaborating to achieve the SDGs through the integration of the environment and to provide expertise for the inclusion of the environmental dimension of the sustainable development goals in national development goals as part of achieving the SDGs.
- UNEP aims to strengthen the capacity of national institutions of countries to coherently integrate, implement, and monitor the environmental dimension of the Agenda 2030. In collaboration with several other inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations such as the United Nations Development Account and the Economic Commission for Africa, UNEP helps countries to develop national strategies and policies that include multisector priorities aimed at delivering on the 2030 Agenda, in a coordinated and integrated manner. One UN Development Account (UNDA) -funded Project aims at ensuring that countries achieve the ambitious 2030 Agenda by fostering transformational changes in the way national institutions make decisions, devise policies, legislate and report on sustainable development goals (VNRs) by promoting improved knowledge, understanding and institutional measures for the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda.
- The PEA programme mentioned above supports mainstreaming of the poverty-environment linkages into national development plans including national budgets. To achieve this, the project is heavily involved in budget review processes.
- Development of Capacity Building tools:
- In line with SDG 16, UNEP is committed to promoting the ‘Rule of Law’ at the national and international levels and ensuring equal access to justice for all. As such, and in recognition of the critical roles lawyers at the national, regional and international levels play in the drive towards ensuring the realization of the environmental dimension of sustainable development, different tools are developed to not only guide but also facilitate capacity development. As an example, in 2019, a Framework Model Curriculum on Continuing Legal Education was developed to:
- Focus on developing the requisite skills and enhancing the knowledge of legal practitioners to enable them to promote and implement effectively the environmental dimension of sustainable development; and
- Strengthen the ability of lawyers to interpret and support the enforcement of domestic environmental law in their countries.
- Facilitating Knowledge Sharing initiatives:
- UNEP in partnership with the German Ministry for Environment launched the Global Goals for SDGs initiative. The initiative is geared towards stepping up the implementation of the SDGs by fostering knowledge exchange on innovative and successful practices from different countries hence facilitating institutional learning and enhancing capacity building.
3.2 Mainstreaming the SDGs in sectoral strategies, including specific SDG/target strategies;
The "Partnership for Action on Green Economy" (PAGE) seeks to put sustainability at the heart of economic policies and practices to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It supports countries and regions in reframing economic policies and practices around sustainability to foster economic growth, create income and jobs, reduce poverty and inequality, and strengthen the ecological foundations of their economies.
The SWITCH Africa Green project supports 6 countries in Africa to achieve sustainable development by transitioning towards an inclusive green economy, based on sustainable consumption and production patterns, while generating growth, creating decent jobs and reducing poverty.
The "Poverty-Environment Action for Sustainable Development Goals" (PEAS) project is a delivery mechanism of capacity development support and technical assistance to help countries meet the SDGs with a focus on inclusive, equitable, pro-poor, climate- proofed sustainable development
In partnership with OECD and the Global Subsidies Initiative, UNEP published a Manual on ‘Measuring Fossil Fuel Subsidies in the Context of the Sustainable Development Goals’.
UNEP is in the process of finalizing a global manual on waste statistics including SDG indicators 12.3.1.(b); 12.4.2; 12.5.1 and 14.1.1.(b)) and work closely with UN Habitat on the Africa Clean Cities platform.
UNEP is preparing an indicator-based assessment of the state of pollution vis-à-vis the SDGs. The report aims at reviewing how the world is doing in terms of achieving both a pollution-free planet and on the pollution-related SDGs (including the SDG targets and indicators which link to the drivers, pressures, state, impacts and responses).
In partnership with the Florida State University, UNEP is working on the development of global model of marine litter with a focus on the sources of marine litter in West African EEZ (SDG indicator14.1.1). UNEP is in the process of finalizing a Global Manual on Ocean Statistics for Measuring SDG 14.1.1, 14.2.1 and 14.5.1.
UNEP is also in the process of finalizing a Global Manual on ‘Material Flow Accounting’.
UNEP proposed the establishment of an Environmental Data and Information framework for Latin America and the Caribbean. The objective of the proposed framework is to strengthen the Region’s Forum of Ministers of Environment, particularly in terms of their capacity to influence the sustainable development agenda, by publishing a biennial State of the Environment and Outlook Report, whose source of data, statistics and information (including ILAC and SDGs indicators) will be made accessible through an open Environmental Data Platform.
Some of the key highlights of the Asia Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) MEAs programme that contributes to the specific SDGs/targets include:
- SDG 12: Promoted the sound management of chemicals and waste by developing national legislative frameworks and integrated strategies which contribute to target 12.2; 12.4; 12.5;
- SDG 14: Protected life below water through the development of National Environment Management Strategies, which serve as the single strategic document for an integrated approach to the environment in the ACP countries which contribute to target 14.1, 14.2, 14.5, 14.7;
- SDG 15: Prevented biodiversity loss by integrating biodiversity into national planning and strategic instruments and supporting the implementation of revised NBSAPs which contributes to all targets;
- SDG 16: Promoted strong regional institutions for environmental governance which contributes to targets 16.6; 16.7; 16.8; and
- SDG 17: Built capacity and promoted partnerships, especially South-South cooperation to achieve the SDGs which contribute to target 17.9.
As an Implementing Agency of the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund, UNEP assists 102 developing countries with the elaboration and implementation of national compliance strategies for this MEA (i.e. HCFC Phaseout Management Plans). Through Kigali Amendment Enabling Activities projects with 89 developing countries, UNEP helps promote integrated policy measures related to energy efficiency/climate considerations and the Montreal Protocol. Both of these project types contribute to SDGs 13 Climate Action, 11 Sustainable Cities, and 2 Zero Hunger
3.3 Supporting the strengthening of national institutions for more integrated solutions;
In 2019 UNEP published its First Global Report on Environmental Rule of Law. The report provides the first global assessment of the current state of the environmental rule of law, highlighting global trends as well as opportunities for countries and partners to strengthen the environmental rule of law in support of the SDGs. UNEP intends to produce the report every two years.
UNEP has taken a lead role in line with its mandate to ensure that institutional capacities and policy and/or legal frameworks are enhanced to achieve internationally agreed environmental goals including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. Different activities have been taken up to support the strengthening of national institutions by integrating the environmental dimension to foster inclusive economic transformation that leaves no one behind. Such activities include promoting the institutionalization of intersectoral dialogues focusing on the environment among sectorial national institutions, promoting the adoption of general and sectoral environmental legislation to address country objectives and implementation of the multilateral environmental goals, for instance, review of penal codes relating to environmental crimes, and promoting the integration of participatory mechanisms on the environment into national legislation.
Sound management of chemicals and waste and in the context of the SDGs contributes to the effective realization of governance and human rights, including the right to life, the right to health, the right to clean water, food, adequate housing and safe and healthy working conditions, the right to information, and the right to participation and freedom of association. International Multilateral Environmental Agreements in the field of chemicals and waste management have integrated norms, standards and principles of the international human rights framework. This includes promoting public access to information, accountability and transparency of governmental decision‐making.
Nagoya Protocol implementation:
UNEP provided technical support to countries to review, update and develop their national legal, policy, regulatory framework and administrative procedures to enable access to genetic resources and benefit sharing derived from their utilization in accordance to the Nagoya Protocol. It built capacity of key stakeholders, including parliamentarians, government officials and local communities to ratify or accede to the Nagoya Protocol and its provisions, contributing to the achievement of SDG 15.6.1 (Number of countries that have adopted legislative, administrative and policy frameworks to ensure fair and equitable sharing of benefits) and SDG 17.14.1 (Number of countries with mechanisms in place to enhance policy coherence of sustainable Development).
The ACP MEAs Programme has supported 79 countries from Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) by building national and institutional capacity in environmental policy and legal frameworks to implement Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) related to biodiversity, chemicals and wastes and ocean governance.
The UNDA 11 Project 1819Q "Towards coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of the SDGs" has promoted the integrated approach in mainstreaming environmental perspectives in the four pilot countries Guyana, Burkina Faso, Colombia and Bangladesh.
Judges from Pakistan and select Asian countries explored how Constitutions could be used to advance environmental rights and achieve climate justice during the Asia Pacific Judicial Colloquium on Climate Change (26 to 27 February 2018, Lahore, Pakistan) organized by UNEP, in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank and other partners. As a result of the colloquium, The Pakistan Environmental Law Bar Association was formed by young advocates to the Lahore High court. It has since been agreed that the Lahore Plan of Action is to be developed as a regional roadmap of action to be used by training institutions for strengthening judiciaries with sustainable capacity to adjudicate environmental cases.
Following the 2015 ban on the importation, manufacture, trade and commercial distribution of plastics, plastic bags, and plastic sheets made of plastic film of less than sixty micrometers (thin plastics), the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining of Malawi collaborated with UNEP to strengthen the technical capacity of law enforcement agencies as they implement a ban on thin plastics.
A training workshop on environmental principles, concepts and issues (Lusaka, 5 to 6 December 2019) for members of the judiciary in Zambia was organized in partnership with UNEP. A training manual and curriculum prepared by UNEP was endorsed by the Chief Justice and is currently used for training members of the judiciary on fundamental concepts and principles of environmental law, contemporary environmental issues and environmental adjudication.
As part of its efforts to promote the instruction of environmental law at universities and to build capacities of legal professionals in this area, UNEP supported the preparation and organization of the second conference of the Association of Environmental Law
Lecturers in the Middle East and North Africa Universities in Settat (Morocco) on 4 and 5 November 2019. The third conference of the Association is scheduled to take place in Kuwait City on 4 and 5 November 2020.
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) and UNEP have been assisting national parliaments to build their capacity to formulate and review relevant legislation and to provide effective oversight on the negotiation and implementation of internationally agreed environmental agreements and climate change goals. To this end, workshops for Members of Parliament and parliamentary staff took place in Harare, Zimbabwe, on 8 March 2019 and Bujumbura, Burundi, on 22 March 2019.
Two new modules of the Law and Climate Change Toolkit, an online tool that allows countries to assess and identify climate- related gaps in their national legislation, were developed in 2019. These modules relate to urban planning and agriculture. The modules will support countries identify the link between these areas of law and effective climate change action and enable them to address any legislative gaps in these areas.
3.4 Data and statistical capacity building;
UNEP has been working with global and regional partners to build capacity on environment statistics and the SDGs. All partners (UNEP, UNSD and Regional Commissions) collaborated in ensuring the delivery of environment statistics trainings, technical assistance and support with more than 40 workshops or technical assistance activities provided to countries during the year.
In North America, UNEP continued to strengthen the Science-Policy-Technology Interface by partnering with Future Earth to develop a concept note aimed at bringing together the worlds of environmental science and big tech in the service of better, real-time data for decision-making.
UNEP’s GEMS Water programme continued negotiations on data sharing with the European Environment Agency (EEA) in preparation for the next SDG indicator 6.3.2 Data Drive to be launched in March/April 2020. The team also launched GEMStat database (which hosts water quality data of ground and surface waters providing a global overview of the condition of water bodies and the trends at global, regional and local levels) during to the 4th session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA4) in March 2019, besides significantly contributing to UNEAs report titled “Progress in the implementation of resolution 3/10 on addressing water pollution to protect and restore water-related ecosystems”.
UNEP oversees the implementation and management of its global portfolio of 1 Pacific regional and 7 national (in Afghanistan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Haiti, St.Lucia, Benin, Botswana, Mauritania) projects funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), under its cross-cutting capacity development (CCCD) programme. All of these projects have been designed to build/strengthen institutional and systematic capacity needs with reference to a country’s ability to manage, monitor, assess and report on the state and trends of its environment and natural capital, as identified through a National Capacity Self-Assessment (NCSA) excise.
UNEP is supporting 3 countries, Burkina Faso, Guyana, and Bangladesh in organizing data-user-producer workshops to strengthen environmental data and statistics and monitoring systems.
UNEP (through the Environmental Treaties Programme -Synergies for Biodiversity) developed and rolled out the Data and Reporting Tool for MEAs (DaRT). The tool creates collective working spaces at the national level for sharing information and interlinking global and regional targets among different MEAs, which store useful data that can be extracted for reporting on the progress of the SDGs.
3.5 Harnessing science, technology and innovation for the SDGs;
UNEP is exploring the impact and use of innovative green technologies and financing as well as scientific research (in areas such as wastewater recovery, food and energy systems, nature-base solutions) to advance the SDGs. The work includes use of environmental and social norms and criteria for sustainable investing in green solutions; horizon scanning for the most promising environment-friendly technologies; scientific assessment, feasibility studies, environmental and financial modeling for decision-making and monitoring for impact investing on specific SDG targets.
3.6 Multi-stakeholder partnerships;
Information not available as of now - tbc
3.7 Bolstering local action and supporting sub-national plans/strategies and implementation for the SDGs;
In the Asia Pacific region UNEP has supported development of the following sub-national strategies that compliment the implementation of the SDGs.
1. Strengthening Low-Carbon Energy Island Strategies (2015-2020; Maldives)
2. Strengthening Institutional Capacity to Comply with the Enhanced Transparency Framework under the Paris Agreement (2019- 2022; Lao PDR)
3. Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (2015-2019; Bangladesh, Cambodia, Philippines)
4. Global District Energy in Cities Initiative (2017-2020; China, India)
5. Building Climate Resilience of Urban Systems through Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) in the Asia-Pacific Region (2018-2020; Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar)
6. Leapfrogging Markets to High Efficiency Products (Appliances, including Lighting and Electrical Equipment) (2018-2023; India, Pakistan Viet Nam)
7. Developing the Transition to Energy Efficient Lighting in Residential, Commercial, Industrial, and Outdoor Sectors (2018-2021; Pakistan)
8. Leapfrogging Myanmar’s Market to High Efficiency Lighting and Appliances (2018-2022; Myanmar)
9. Green Climate Fund National Adaptation Plan: Building Capacity to Advance National Adaptation Plan Process in Nepal (2018-; Nepal)
10. Green Climate Fund National Adaptation Plan: Building Capacity to Advance National Adaptation Plan Process in Pakistan (2018-; Pakistan)
11. Green Climate Fund National Adaptation Plan: Building Capacity to Advance National Adaptation Plan Process in Mongolia (2019- 2022; Mongolia)
12. Strengthening Human Rights and Gender Equality through Climate Change Action and Disaster Risk Reduction (2018-2022; Bangladesh, Cambodia, Vietnam)
13. Creating and Sustaining Markets for Energy Efficiency (2018-2023; India, Pakistan, Timor Leste)
14. Accessing REDD+ result-based payments in Malaysia (2018-2020; Malaysia)
15. UN-REDD Programme (2016-2020; Papua New Guinea)
16. NOC Action – Facilitating implementation of climate-resilient and low-carbon development aligned with national and global goals (2019-2023; Mongolia, Bangladesh, Viet Nam)
17. Scaling-up of Implementation of Low-Carbon District Heating Systems (2018-2019; Mongolia, Pakistan)
18. Development of Action Plan for Designing and Implementing Standards and Labelling Programme in Lao PDR (2018-2021; Lao PDR)
19. Myanmar Climate Change Alliance (2014-2019; Myanmar)
20. Strengthening Low-Carbon Energy Islands Strategies (2015-2019; Maldives)
Chemicals, Waste and Air Quality
1. SEA circular (Reducing marine litter by addressing the management of the plastic value chain in South-East Asia) (2019-2023; Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam). SEA circular is implemented jointly by UNEP and the Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA) with support from the Government of Sweden. SEA circular works in partnership with governments, businesses, civil society, academia, and international partners to reduce and prevent plastic pollution. The initiative promotes market-based solutions and enabling policies to transform plastic value-chain management, strengthens the science base for informed decision making, engages consumers and disadvantaged groups through targeted outreach, and leverages COBSEA’s regional mechanisms to tackle the transboundary challenge of marine litter. The project focusses on SDG 14.1 and leverages interlinkages across Sustainable Development Goals 11, 12, 14 and 17.
2. Air quality assessments for health and environment policies (2016-2019; Mongolia, Thailand)
3. Sustainable Low Emissions Transport (2014-2019; Mongolia, Bangladesh, Iran, Nepal, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand Viet Nam)
4. Compliance Assistance Programme (CAP) and implementation of Multilateral Fund Projects to assist countries to meet phase-out obligations under the Montreal Protocol and preparation for HFC Phase-down under the Kigali Amendment (2001-2030, 38 developing countries in Asia and Pacific)
1. Green public procurement and eco labelling (GPPEL) (2017-2019; Thailand, Timor Leste)
2. Climate Smart Rice (2019-2022; Myanmar)
1. Poverty-Environment Action for Sustainable Development Goals (2018-2022; Bangladesh, Nepal, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar)
2. Towards coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of the Sustainable Development Goals (2019-2021; Bangladesh)
Healthy and Productive Ecosystems
1. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) Phase III (2014-2019; Thailand)
2. Ecosystems Communications and Outreach (2019-2021; India)
3. Expansion and Improvement of Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use of Natural Resources in the Greater Shennongjia Area, Hubei Province (2016-2021; Cambodia)
4. Strengthening National Biodiversity and Forest Carbon Stock Conservation through Landscape-based Collaborative Management of Cambodia’s Protected Area System as Demonstrated in the Eastern Plains Landscape (2016-2021; Cambodia)
5. Mainstreaming Agrobiodiversity Conservation and Utilization in Agricultural Sector to Ensure Ecosystem Services and Reduce Vulnerability (2016-2021; India)
6. R2R: Advancing Sustainable Resources Management to Improve
7. Livelihoods and protect Biodiversity in Palau (2016-2020; Palau)
8. Strengthening Forest and Ecosystem Connectivity in RIMBA Landscape of Central Sumatra through Investing in Natural Capital, Biodiversity Conservation, and Land-based Emission Reductions (2017-2023; Indonesia)
9. Establishing National Land Use and Land Degradation Profile toward Mainstreaming Sustainable Land Management Practices in Sector Policies – ENALULDEP/SLM (2016-2020; Bangladesh)
10. Healthy Landscapes: Managing Agricultural Landscapes in Socio-ecologically Sensitive Areas to Promote Food Security, Well- being and Ecosystem Health (2019-2023; Sri Lanka)
11. Establishing the National Framework and Operational Capacity for Implementing the Nagoya Protocol in Timor Leste (2019-2022; Timor Leste)
Resilience to Disasters and Conflicts
1. Strengthening national capacity to address the environmental impacts of humanitarian responses to population displacement in selected countries (2018-2019; Vanuatu)
In North America
In line with SDG Target 12.3, UNEP has worked in collaboration with the US Environment Protection Agency to produce a report aimed at promoting life-cycle-based approaches to reducing food loss and waste in the North American region that was published in March 2019. The report highlights relevant success stories, including from the sub-national level. It was presented at a United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA-4) side event in March 2019 convened in collaboration with the US EPA. It was also featured at a Congressional food waste briefing held in in Washington, D.C. on September 12th 2019, that was convened in collaboration with the FAO. Highlights from the report were also presented at the ReFED 2019 Food Waste Summit held in San Francisco in October.
Furthermore, in line with SDG Target 14.1, in collaborations with the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative (MRCTI), supported respective State Legislators and Mayors of cities and towns along the Mississippi River commitment to reduce plastic waste. UNEP convened a plastic waste reduction session at MRCTI’s annual meeting in September 2019. The session, “Building Our Trash Free Freshwater Economy, Addressing Plastic Waste”, brought together private sector (including Coca-Cola, Elkay and Republic Services) and sub-national policymakers around the issues of reducing plastic production, improving waste management capabilities, and political options for reducing marine debris via single-use plastic pollution. One outcome of the initiative is a framework for mayors and cities to move forward. The framework has served to develop an action plan that will help the Mississippi River mayors and cities realize plastic waste reduction in the near-term.
West Asia region
UNEP has facilitated and coordinated a number of capacity building activities, mainly, at the national and regional level which include the following:
1. National workshop on strengthening the implementation of the three Rio Conventions under the umbrella of a project in collaboration with UNDP, The Kuwait Environmental Governance Initiative that took place on 12-14 March 2019.
2. Consultation Workshop on Environment Marker (Amman, Jordan, 8 April 2019).
3. Training Workshop on Application of Environment Marker (Amman, Jordan, 21 July 2019).
4. Interactive training course on Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change adaptation and workshop (Muscat, Oman, 4 -7 November 2019).
5. National Workshop on Gender and Environment Statistics for the Sustainable Development Goals, Amman, Jordan, 16 – 18 December 2019 (organized by UNEP & IUCN). During the workshop it was noted that gender and environment mainstreaming in policy, climate change reporting and reporting on the MEAs is challenging due to a lack of data and information on how gender and the environment interact.
6. National stakeholder meeting on Environmental Legislative Framework in Jordan to discuss gaps and strength of the law and agree on a roadmap for an action plan to improve the LAW. (Jordan 17-18 December 2019)
7. National Workshop on Chemicals and Waste in the Agenda 2030: Building Capacity for SDG Follow-up and Review in Developing Countries” in Oman (date TBC).
8. National consultation to develop an action plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) in Jordan (date TBC).
The Poverty-Environment Action (PEA) aims at deepening links to jobs, growth and promoting inclusive green economy agendas, including linking local poverty, environment and climate solutions with the national, sector and subnational policy, planning and financing processes to catalyze bottom-up change. Further, the initiative looks at strengthening efforts and empowering poor and vulnerable groups to promote inclusivity and deeper integration of gender and rights-based approaches in development planning and policy formulation.
For over a decade, the African Elephant Fund has supported countries at local level to by improving local communities’ cooperation and collaboration on African elephant conservation through capacity building, trainings and provision of alternative sources of livelihood to reduce poaching of elephants, mitigating human-elephant conflicts and restoring elephant habitats, thus promoting protection of biodiversity (SDG 15) at local level.
UNEP has provided technical assistance to Burkina Faso's Ministry of Environment, Green Economy and Climate Change (MEEVCC), through the Ministry's implementing agency Permanent Secretariat of the National Council for Sustainable Development (SP-CNDD) to enhance the implementation of national policies for sustainable development, mainstreaming environmental sustainability in local integrated development plans to support the PNDES and the 2030 Agenda. The project has also convened a national roundtable of sectoral actors both governmental and non-governmental to brainstorm and come up with a national outlook on the country’s progress towards achieving the SDGs and a roadmap that encompasses how the country will finance the SDGs achievement.
UNEP supported the integration of environmental policy, institutions and data in Guyana’s Green State Development Plan. Three technical reports/ assessments were produced from feedback received from key environmental agencies, line-Ministries and other government agencies leading on implementation of the Vision 2040 Strategy. An institutional mapping exercise was undertaken to ascertain barriers to systematic inter-agency data and information sharing.
3.8 Leveraging interlinkages across SDG goals and targets;
UNEP in collaboration with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) provided technical assistance through an institutional mapping tool to an national inter-ministerial and multi-stakeholder workshop to conduct a participatory analysis of the interactions between priority SDGs targets at the national level, which was held in Bogota in March 2019. A complete mapping of interactions among twenty targets was performed.
UNEP is the custodian agency for developing a global methodology for Tier III Indicator 17.14.1 and reporting to the UN Statistics Division – in its role as custodian agency. This target is an important aspect of SDG 17 in that it binds the other goals together.
Improving policy coherence which is important for achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions (economic, social and environmental) in a balanced and integrated manner at various levels of government; and for ensuring that policies in different sectors (law, agriculture, industry, economic, etc.) are mutually supportive and do not work against each other. It is also important in addressing the impacts of domestic policy internationally. Currently, a model framework for the indicator target has been developed and is in the piloting stages.
3.9 Supporting policies and strategies to leave no one behind;
The Poverty-Environment Action (PEA) aims at deepening links to jobs, growth and promoting inclusive green economy agendas, including linking local poverty, environment and climate solutions with the national, sector and subnational policy, planning and financing processes to catalyze bottom-up change. Further, the initiative looks at strengthening efforts and empowering poor and vulnerable groups to promote inclusivity and deeper integration of gender and rights-based approaches in development planning and policy formulation.
3.10 Supporting the mobilization of adequate and well-directed financing;
UNEP has used resources from donors such as the UNDA to help leverage additional funding for support to countries. In Bangladesh UNDA resources were used to develop a project that leveraged an additional $2.5 million.
3.11 Reducing disaster risk and building resilience;
The overall objective of UNEP’s subprogramme 2 – “Resilience to Disasters and Conflicts” – is to prevent and reduce the environmental impacts of disasters and conflicts, while building resilience to future crises.
This work is carried out in three broad areas:
- Risk reduction: encouraging best practice environmental management in ways that reduces the risks and eventual impacts of natural hazards, industrial accidents and armed conflict.
- Response: assessing and responding to the environmental impacts of crises.
- Recovery: assisting countries in recovery from such events by ensuring appropriate environmental policies and institutions are back in place.
UNEP’s work on resilience to disasters and conflicts is set against a backdrop of ongoing conflicts in many parts of the world, as well as natural disasters and industrial accidents that have affected millions.
3.12 Supporting international cooperation and enhancing the global partnership;
UNEP’s mission is “to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations”. UNEP’s work encompasses a wide range of partnerships with governments, the scientific community, the private sector, civil society, and other United Nations entities and international organisations working collectively to overcome common environmental challenges. Multi-stakeholder partnerships are embedded in UNEP’s programmes and central to the organisations’ work.
In the upcoming decade, UNEP will be co-leading, alongside the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the implementation of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030. The implementation of the UN Decade will include convening cross-sectoral dialogues and developing multi-stakeholder partnerships at global, regional and local levels. These partnerships may involve the international community, national and local governments, NGOs, academic institutions, civil society, women’s groups, faith groups, indigenous peoples’ groups and youth organisations.
4. The high-level political forum (HLPF) is the central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. Has your organization participated in or supported the work of the HLPF? If yes, please specify your involvement in the following areas:
4.1 Supporting the intergovernmental body of your organization in contributing to the thematic review of the HLPF;
UNEA adopted a Resolution at its 3rd Session, entitled “Contributions of the UNEA to the HLPF” to enhance the contributions of UNEA to the HLPF, including through a more consultative process with Member States in the preparation of the written inputs from UNEA to ECOSOC (in response to the annual standing request addressed to the UNEA President from the ECOSOC President).
UNEP provided its inputs to the HLPF through the UNEA. In summary, UNEPs contributions stressed on the urgency of the need to ensure a healthy environment so as to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In particular, the need for urgent action to curb global temperatures so as to sustain climate and ecosystem services was highlighted as a key necessity to ensure that wellbeing of present and future generations. Further, the necessity of adopting innovative solutions and technologies so as to combat further environmental deterioration was highlighted. Governments and stakeholders were called upon to harness innovation across different aspects of sustainable development so as to work towards a transformative governance mechanism that bridges the gap between proliferating environmental norms and policies and continuing environmental degradation and pollution.
4.2 Contributing to policy/background briefs for the HLPF;
UNEP is preparing the 2nd edition of the Measuring progress report on ‘Nature-Based Solutions and the SDGs’. The report aims to demonstrate the relationship between protection, management and restoration, and well-being and biodiversity, using the SDG indicators as the basis.
In addition to its contributions to the thematic review, UNEP provided Issue Briefs on the environmental dimension of the SDGs under in-depth review at the HLPF. In summary, the issue briefs highlighted examples of working best practices, Gaps and challenges faced in the implementation of the targeted SDGs, as well as the lessons learnt. The Issue Briefs covered: SDG 6: Water and Sanitation, SDG 7: Energy, SDG 11: Cities and Human Settlements, SDG 12: Sustainable Consumption and Production, SDG 15: Terrestrial Ecosystems.
Historically, UNEP has been producing issue briefs to highlight the environmental dimension of the specific SDGs under review in the previous sessions of HLPF. These briefs are available at: https://www.unenvironment.org/explore-topics/environmental-rights-and- governance/what-we-do/supporting-2030-agenda/un-environment
4.3 Helping organize SDG-specific events in the preparatory process;
UNEP has continually supported the work of the High-Level Political Forum through its Regional Offices by hosting or co-hosting a number of SDG Specific roundtables on SDGs in different regional forums.
4.4 Organizing side events or speaking at the HLPF;
In addition to UNEP Secretariat interventions on relevant issues such as on Sustainable Consumption and Production, the UNEA President provides a message on behalf of UNEA at the high-level segment of HLPF every year.
UNEP also collaborates with various UN agencies and other partners to organize workshops and side events in the margins of HLPF, including an Expert Group Meeting on Promoting Integrated Approaches to Sustainable Development in collaboration with the UN Office for Sustainable Development (DESA) and OECD.
4.5 Supporting the VNR process.
In Bangladesh UNEP received a request to strengthen the environmental dimension of the Voluntary National Review (VNR). A joint UNEP, UNDP agreement in 2020 is supporting the substantive environmental work around the VNR and SDG 17.14.1 and the National SDGs Progress Report 2020.
Guyana presented its first VNR at the HLPF in July 2019. A major impact of UNEP’s UNDA project implementation in Guyana over the reporting period was the initiation of an ad-hoc working relationship between the Department of Environment (DoE) and the Bureau of Statistics (BoS) on the development of a national environmental statistical system.
5. How has your organization cooperated with other UN system organizations to achieve coherence and synergies in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs? In this regard, has your organization launched or intend to launch any joint programmes or projects in collaboration with other UN entities? Are there any results or lessons you would like to highlight that might help improve the design and impact of such efforts? Has your organization participated in any of the following coordination systemwide mechanisms or any other relevant platform - CEB, UNSDG, EC-ESA Plus, regional coordination meetings, UN-Energy, UN-Water, UN-Ocean, IAEG, IATT? Please specify which and indicate any suggestions you may have about improving collaborations within and across these mechanisms/platforms.
The Environmental Management Group (EMG) has been very instrumental in promoting the achievement of coherence and synergy within the UN System in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. Chaired by the Executive Director UNEP and supported by a secretariat provided by UN Environment the EMG, it consists of the 51 specialized agencies, programmes and organs of the United Nations including the secretariats of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements. It leads system wide coherence and collaboration: on supporting the UN SDGs, enhancing UN environmental and social sustainability and collaborating on global environmental issues.
As part of the ongoing support to the implementation of agenda 2030, EMG has:
- Released a Report on System-wide Contributions to the Implementation of the Environmental Dimension in the Sustainable Development Goals 2016-2017.
- Collaborated in the development of a Strategy for Sustainability Management in the UN System 2020-2030; and
- Through the Nexus Dialogue Initiative which kicked off in 2017, participated in the organization of a series of events centered on discussing the interlinkages between certain environmental issues in the context of the wider SDG arena. Dialogue themes have included Enhancing synergies between the post 2020 biodiversity and chemicals frameworks, sustainable infrastructure for the SDGs, and poverty and environment in the SDGs.
UNEP has a partnership with the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner aimed at enhancing the environment and human rights nexus. The partnership aims at furthering the need to work more closely to monitor the threat against environmental rights defenders, advocate for better protection, urge more effective accountability for perpetrators of violence and intimidation, develop networks of environmental human rights defenders and promote meaningful and informed participation by rights defenders and civil society in environmental decision-making.
UNEP participates in CEB, UNSDG, EC-ESA Plus, regional coordination meetings, UN-Energy, UN-Water, UN-Ocean and the IAEG.
6. How has your organization engaged with stakeholder groups, both in supporting implementation at the country, regional and global levels, and within your own organization? If yes, please provide main highlights, including any lessons learned. If your organization has established any multi-stakeholder partnerships to support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, please describe them and how their performances are being monitored and reviewed.
UNEP has continually worked with different major groups and stakeholders to support implementation of the SDGs at the country, regional and global levels. For instance, through the Faith for Earth Initiative, UNEP has continued its strategic engagements with faith- based organizations and partnering with them to collectively achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and fulfil the objectives of the 2030 Agenda.
The ACP MEAs Programme has engaged various stakeholders including parliamentarians and decision makers, youths, media and civil society organizations at regional level, in collaboration with partners such as the African Union Commission, the Caribbean Community Secretariat and Pacific Regional Environment Programme to secure a sustainable future by building national and institutional capacity to implement MEAs.
The UNEP UNDA 11 project has established cooperation programmes with UNCTs, Resident Coordinators, Regional Economic Commissions and supported UNSDGF, VNRs and CCAs. It also partnered with key expert organizations (SEI, PEA, MEAs etc) and to roll-out integrated approach and environmental mapping and analysis tools.. This accelerated the integration of environmental data, policy and MEAs strategies through working groups to strengthen environmental governance and mainstreaming into national development plans and VNRs.
7. Has your organization organized any conferences, forums or events designed to facilitate exchange of experience, peer and mutual learning in connection with the SDGs? If yes, please provide a brief summary, below and include lessons learned and gaps identified based on the outcomes of these events. Please also include any events you want to organize in the coming years.
UNEP has organized numerous conferences, forums and events and intends to continue doing so. Below is a summary of only some of the events in different regions:
- In the ASIA PACIFIC region, UNEP has organized 22 events during the course of 2019 and 2020 so far.
- Over 120 senior representatives from all levels of government, private sector, research and technology and NGOs participated in the first ever Great Lakes Circular Economy Forum in Toronto, Canada in late June 2019, convened by the UNEP in partnership with the City of Toronto.. A Preliminary Material Flow Analysis and circular strategies for cities of the Great Lakes region of North America was produced for the Forum and provides baseline information on the life cycle of specific products commonly found in municipal systems. (SDG Target 12.5)
- UNEP partnered with Lonely Whale Foundation in North America, to convene a three-day Ocean Heroes Bootcamp in June 2018 and 2019. to empower existing and emerging youth leaders to create their own campaigns to implement in their own communities to address plastic pollution. (SDG Target 12.8).
- UNEP has launched a Partnership with REVERB, an organization that inspires millions of music lovers and music makers to take part in tackling today’s most pressing environmental and social issues.
- UNEP has also partnered with Nippon TV to produce Sustainable lifestyles Public Service Announcements (PSAs) for tweens (aged 8 – 12) on food waste, recycling, plastic and air pollution.
- Working in close collaboration with the U.S., Canadian and Mexican federal governments, UNEP is facilitating a series of virtual consultations for managers of marine and coastal protected areas across all three countries.. The aim is to identify key challenges and opportunities, share information and best practice, and consider how best a North American Marine Protected Area Network (NAMPAN) can serve the needs of area managers.
- The 6th Arab Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production, 9-10 October 2019, Cairo.
- Regional Training Workshop on E-Waste Statistics in the Arab Region, 16-18 December, Tunis
- Regional Scoping Workshop on Ambient Water Quality : Monitoring for management and SDG Indicator 6.3.2 reporting, 16-18 December 2019, Amman
- Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) workshop on the State of the Environment Report (SoER), 23-24 September 2019, Salalah, Omani
- 16th session of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), Joint Task Force on Environmental Statistics and Indicators, 28-29 October 2019, Geneva, Switzerland
- 25th session of the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy (CEP), 13-15 November 2019, Geneva
- Integrated National Implementation of SDGs and International Chemicals and Waste Agreements.
To advance analysis and action for strengthening synergies between national implementation of SDGs and international chemicals and waste agreements, UNEP’s Chemicals and Waste Branch (including the SAICM Secretariat and the Interim Secretariat of the Minamata Convention), the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, and UNITAR have initiated a collaboration with an overall goal to advance analysis, common understanding, commitment and action to integrate sound management of chemical and waste effectively into national implementation of SDGs and development planning.
- An Inter-regional South-South Cooperation Workshop is being organized in 2021 to share lessons, best practices and challenges in strengthening environmental data and policy under the UNEP/UNDA 11 project.
8. Is there any other information you would like to share, including annual reports of your organization and any impact assessment or evaluation reports? If yes, please use the space below and attach the document(s). Please also use this space to provide any other information, comments or remarks you deem necessary.
Global Environment Outlook for Youth, Asia Pacific (7 June 2019). Available from: https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/report/global-environment-outlo… D SEA of Solutions 2019 Report https://www.sea-circular.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Sea-Of-Solution…
Report of the 24th Intergovernmental Meeting of COBSEA and the Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter (2019) https://www.unenvironment.org/cobsea/events/intergovernmental-meeting/t…- seas
Plastic Uses in Agriculture (2019)
During 2019, UNEP, Think Beyond Plastics, and an expert panel (including academics and industry experts) worked to develop a paper that examines the use of plastics in agriculture and provides initial recommendations to prevent and reduce plastic pollution in this sector. The white paper aimed to understand the factors driving agricultural plastics use, including economics, price and performance characteristics, as well as global and local market trends. The final white paper entitled “Plastic uses in Agriculture” addresses an important aspect of plastics use which has not had much attention to date, namely plastic use in the agricultural sector. (see Annex 2.)
January 2019: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the UNEP released a report that shares insights from a regional stock take on SDG implementation in the region. The report also aims to present a compendium of tools to help developing countries implement the environmental dimensions of the SDGs. The report can be accessed at https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/481246/environmenta…
UNEP quarterly reports,
9. In your view, what should strategic directions look like for the UN system in support of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs in the Decade of Action? What key elements should they include and what major challenges should they address?
Strengthening capacities to develop coherent national and sectoral strategies that fully incorporate the environmental dimension of sustainable development.
10. Please suggest one or two endeavours or initiatives that the UN system organizations could undertake together to support the implementation of the SDGs between now and 2030.
The UN System should develop joint country analysis documents with the World Bank Group and Regional Development Banks, as currently these entities develop stand-alone analysis as is the case with their respective UN Common Country analysis and World Bank Country Diagnostic, among others. Joint country-level analysis would result in more detailed and comprehensive documents and also catalyse more effective cooperation between development partners in terms of programme development and implementation.