United Nations Environment Programme

In June 1972, at the end of the United Nations Conference in Stockholm, the United Nations Environment Programme was brought to life. The UNEP is headquartered in Nairobi and the six regional offices as well as other collaborating centres ensure close cooperation across the world. The current Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme is Inger Andersen.

The UNEP is the leading global environmental authority and thus decisively sets the global environmental policies’ priorities. Its focus is on dealing with the three planetary crises of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, as well as pollution and waste. In this context, UNEP has a leading position additionally to an advisory and educational one. It administers several environmental treaties, prepares reports on the global state of the environment, develops policies and legal instruments for international environmental protection and aiding national governments with their own environmental goals.

Today its main objectives are heavily defined by the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) which were contrived in 2016.

The governing body of the UNEP is the Assembly (UNEA) and the successor of its Governing Council, which was composed of 58 member States. The UN Environment Assembly, with a universal membership, is now composed of 193 Member States. The UNEA is supplemented by the Committee of Permanent Representatives (CPR). The funding of the UNEP consists of three elements: the Environment Fund, earmarked funds and funding received by the UNEP from the regular UN budget. All in all, the UNEP relies on voluntary contributions for 95 per cent of the funding.

More information can be found on: http://www.unep.org

Topic 2023: Protecting Fragile Ecosystems from Exploitation

This year’s conference will concern itself with the issue of protecting fragile ecosystems from exploitation while focussing on terrestrial ecosystems. The whole surface of the earth is a series of interconnected ecosystems and at this point in time almost all of them are endangered by humanity. While in the past, humans have adapted themselves to these systems and their natural conditions and have benefitted of their advantages, with their constantly increasing population that has changed drastically. Now the relationship between humans and ecosystems is characterised by exploitation and destruction. For example deforestation, desertification and thereby enhanced loss of biodiversity are grave issues actively accelerated by humans and also deeply affecting humanity. Some ecosystems can recover from that destruction, however irreparable damage has been done to many. 

The UNEP’s task is now to find collective solutions guiding the UN member states to a more sustainable future in accordance with the 15th Sustainable Development Goal “Life on Land”. 

This is especially relevant in light of this year’s OLMUN topic “Our World at a Turning Point - Breaking old Patterns”.

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