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In September 2015, UN Member States adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, an ambitious agenda designed to put the world on a pathway to sustainability within the next 15 years. Of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) about half have a strong environmental focus or address the sustainability of natural resources: poverty, health, food and agriculture, water and sanitation, human settlements, energy, climate change, sustainable consumption and production, oceans, and terrestrial ecosystems.
UNEP is committed to working towards an integrated implementation of the 17 SDGs and to support regions and countries in mainstreaming the environmental dimension into their development ambitions and help them build capacity.

For more on UNEP's approach on delivering on the 2030 Agenda see here .



COP21 Paris: A Defining Moment for Humanity 

UN Member States are currently meeting in Paris at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in view of adopting by 11 December a new international deal to tackle climate change.  
“The Paris Climate Change Summit will be a defining moment for humanity. In order to come to grips with climate change, we must challenge the way we think, the way we make our income, the way we live our daily lives. And we will have to step out of our comfort zones. This is a tall order,“ writes Ulf Bjornholm, Head of UNEP Liaison Office to the EU in European Sting.
At the eve of COP21, 184 countries covering around 95 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, have put forward national climate action plans to the UNFCCC Secretariat. The UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2015 acknowledges that, while the pledges provide a very strong foundation for combating climate change, it will not be enough for keeping the world below the internationally agreed maximum global average temperature rise of 2 degrees. 

UNEP Contributions to the Paris Climate Summit

UNEP plays a key role in the fight against climate change, for example through flagship initiatives as the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC). In Paris, UNEP is actively contributing to the climate conference through several significant side events such as the Global Landscapes Forum (5-6 December) and the Earth to Paris - Le Hub (7-8 December). It is also co-organiser of the biggest business forum at COP: the 6th Annual Sustainable Innovation Forum (7-8 December). For the full schedule of UNEP at COP21 see here.

Many inspiring success stories as well as a number of policy-relevant publications from UNEP are feeding into the negotiations process. For more see here.

Follow news and highlights from UNEP at #COP21 here or via Twitter @UNEP (LIVE from Paris) and @UNEP_EU.

Sign up to the Climate Action Newsletter with daily updates here.

Exchange of Views with African States Ahead of COP21

On 28 and 29 October, the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of States (ACP Secretariat) in collaboration with the Global Climate Change Alliance Intra-ACP Programme, organised a Special Sub-committee meeting in Brussels in preparation for COP21. UNEP and several other UN organisations were invited to provide views on the negotiation process for COP21. 

The two-day meeting facilitated dialogue and exchange of views among ACP Member States, Regions, regional negotiating groups and partners, including the European Commission, the South Centre, and others, to agree on a common ACP approach for COP21.

Presentations made during the event can be found here

UNEP and EC Partnership Dialogues Intensify

This Fall, UNEP and the European Commission have undertaken a series of bilateral consultations on specific areas for enhanced dialogue and cooperation in the context of their Memorandum of Understanding of 2014. Full day strategic exchanges were held at the UN House in Brussels on key areas of cooperation such as:
  • Improving international environmental governance; 
  • Green and circular Economy, sustainable consumption and production, and sound management of chemicals and waste;  
  • Improving the science policy interface. 

UNEP and the EC also organized from 9 to 10 November a joint expert workshop on Regional Ocean Governance with key representatives from the international and regional ocean governance organizations including Regional Seas and Fisheries Conventions and Instruments. The objective was to share the knowledge and lessons learnt from regional ocean governance experiences in different marine regions globally, and identify key elements that will inform and facilitate further work on ocean governance at all levels, including feeding into the public consultation by the European Commission on international Ocean Governance, which was launched in June 2015. 

UNEP and EC engagement at regional level was further strengthened, for example through UNEP representation at the EU - Central Asia high level meeting in Milan in October 2015. UNEP also facilitated a meeting of high level representatives of the American and Caribbean Initiative on Sustainable Development (ILAC) in Mexico in October 2015, which took place back to back with the annual EC meeting under the EUROCLIMA project.

Furthermore, the EC and UNEP contributed to the 1st  Meeting of the 10 Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP) in Central Asia in Almaty in November 2015. Finally, UNEP facilitated a high level political dialogue between the European Commissioner for Climate Action and representatives from the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) at COP21 in Paris in December 2015. 

Engaging on SDGs and UNEA 2 with Stakeholders in Brussels

Civil society needs to be fully involved in the SDG's implementation. Therefore UNEP, the European Economic and Social Committee and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) co-hosted on 12 and 13 November in Brussels a two-day conference on "Sustainable Development Goals - Implementation in Europe." The event also contributed to preparations for the second session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA2) to be held in Nairobi in May 2016. The objective was to initiate and facilitate open dialogue with civil society in Europe.

More than 220 participants representing a wide range of European stakeholders concluded that business as usual will not work, because the 2030 Agenda is also an agenda for Europe and much has to be done in order to comply with the 17 SDGs. They pointed out that citizens have to be informed, listened to, involved and included in all necessary steps, because in the end it is the citizens who transform the goals into reality. They called for strategies and actions to be set now.
Videomessage by Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, delivered at the EESC in which he reflects on the implementation of the SDGs in Europe and on UNEA 2. Transcript in English. (November 2015)
UNEP will continue creating and facilitating avenues for cooperation between the UN, governments, bilateral and multilateral agencies, business representatives and civil society organisations to promote joint commitments and actions in implementing the 2030 Agenda. Ways for engaging with us include:

Visit our new portal through which you can help shape the global agenda for a 'Healthy Environment for Healthy People' - the global theme of UNEA2 - and learn what the UN is doing on environment. 

Discover UNEP Live's special SDG page, helping you visualize the multiple pathways from indicators to targets and goals, showing their connections through data and definitions. It also provides access to a new set of multilingual web intelligence tools to help users analyze stakeholder perceptions and track emerging trends.

This Handbook aims to inform and guide Major Groups and Stakeholders by presenting in detail the currently applied rules, mechanisms and practices for MGS engagement in UNEP’s work.  

Recent UNEP Publications on the SDGs

Visit our partner page.

World Mourns
Maurice Strong

Founding Executive Director of UNEP, Maurice Strong, has passed away at age 86, end November 2015.  
Mr Strong was a visionary and a pioneer of global sustainable development. 
Find here the statement from Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UNEP.  

Our Latest Reports

This sixth UNEP Emissions Gap Report provides a scientific assessment of the mitigation contributions from the submitted  Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). As in the previous reports, it then compares the resulting emission levels in 2030 with what science tells us is required to be on track towards the agreed target of a global average temperature increase below 2°C by 2100. The Report also provides data for the aspirational target of keeping the temperature increase below 1.5°C. 

Summary for Policy makers Green energy choices: The Benefits, Risks and Trade-Offs of Low- Carbon Technologies for Electricity Production. Report from International Resource Panel released at COP21 on 2 December 2015. The report assesses nine low-carbon energy technologies, which will be essential for meeting 2°C objective and growing energy demand.

The adaptation finance gap update. This update is intended as an input to discussions at the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It brings together key findings on adaptation costs and finance from AGR 2014 and preliminary findings from the 2016 assessment. 
The global report of the UNEP Inquiry into de Design of a Sustainable Financial System argues that there is now a historic opportunity to shape a financial system that can more effectively finance the development of an inclusive, green economy. This opportunity is based on a growing trend in policy innovation from central banks, financial regulators and standard setters, who are incorporating sustainability factors into the rules that govern the financial system. 
This issue of Our Planet highlights the measures various governments and other stakeholders have taken towards a low-carbon economy. Emphasis is given on the need for accelerated progress towards this change. Most encouraging is that the push for low carbon, sustainable growth is gathering momentum in the financial sector. 

REDD+ Implementation: A Manual for National Legal Practitioners. The purpose of this Manual is to provide legal practitioners in REDD+ countries, particularly partner countries of the UNREDD Programme, with information on assessing national legal frameworks and associated gaps as well as suggestions on options to address key REDD+ legal issues.

This report presents the results of an analytical study on the economic valuation for wastewater, comparing the cost of no action versus the cost of effective wastewater management. Although economic valuation of wastewater management is complex, it remains an important tool to guide policymakers and investors to take informed decisions. A financial analysis of wastewater management looks at its private costs and benefits and can underpin decision making from a business or treatment plant operator standpoint. 
This briefing paper provides a concise summary of some of the key issues surrounding the biodegradability of plastics in the oceans. It explores whether the adoption of biodegradable plastics will reduce the impact of marine plastics overall. The paper also addresses the lack of public knowledge about biodegradable plastics. Moreover, it the raises concern over the labeling of products as “biodegradable” as it may result in more littering behaviors due to a perceived technical fix that removes responsibility from individuals. 
This paper speaks to the multiple benefits – economic, health, security, social and environmental – that an integrated green economy approach can bring to nations, mindful of the differing challenges faced by states along the development continuum, be they developed, developing, emerging, or in conflict. It argues for policies that are nuanced, context-dependent, and modulated. . 
The Global Waste Management Outlook, a collective effort of the United Nations Environment Programme and the International Waste Management Association, is a pioneering scientific global assessment on the state of waste management and a call for action to the international community. It was presented at the International Solid Waste Association Congress in Antwerp in September 2015.

New UNEP Brussels Information Leaflet

For EU-focused UNEP reports & events join our online group  UNEP - Environment for Development
For EU-focused UNEP information, 
follow us on Twitter @UNEP_EU
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