United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

The FOEN raises issues of concern to Switzerland in the context of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), particularly in the following priority areas: the strengthening of UNEP as a central pillar of the global environmental regime, chemicals and waste, the implementation of environmental conventions, the closing of gaps in international regulations, monitoring and assessment, as well as the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, was established by the UN General Assembly in 1972 in the aftermath of the UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. It was mandated to collect and analyse global, regional and national environmental data, develop political instruments for the protection of the environment, and assume a central role in co-ordinating and guiding the policies of the international environmental regime.

In addition to the political support of the Member States, the assumption of its leadership role in the area of the environment by UNEP also requires the more effective implementation of its mandate and the guaranteeing of stable financing. Measures and recommendations for the strengthening of UNEP were developed in the context of a process for the consolidation of international environmental governance. At the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012 (Rio+20 conference), it was decided to strengthen UNEP inter alia through the introduction of universal membership and the development of environmental strategies for the United Nations system.

Since 2014, a general assembly known as the United Nations Environment Assembly of UNEP has met every two years. As UNEP's highest body, it makes political, substantive and administrative decisions, establishes the work programme and the budget and oversees the activities of the Secretariat. It gives countries an opportunity to take stock of the state of the environment, offers advice on strategies for international protection and sustainable use of natural resources and decides on environmental policy measures. In addition, the United Nations Environment Assembly allows ministers to make important strategic decisions at the global level.

Switzerland advocates for the implementation of the Rio+20 resolutions and the facilitation of UNEP in the effective fulfilment of its coordinating function within the UN system through the formulation of environmental policy goals and strategies.  The Swiss-initiated compilation of international environmental goals also plays a key role in this context. UNEP was also tasked with ensuring that a contribution is made to the implementation of all environmentally-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The chemicals and waste sector is a key priority in Switzerland's commitment to UNEP's activities. UNEP should continue to play an active leadership role here and, in particular, continue to carry out preparatory work in areas that are currently inadequately covered by the global environmental regime.

In addition, active support should be provided for UNEP's ongoing activities, i.e. environmental monitoring and assessment, the coordination and development of environmental policy instruments (including enhanced support for environmental conventions), freshwater, ecosystem management and biodiversity, resource efficiency, the green economy, sustainable production and consumption.

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Last modification 19.04.2017

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