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United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

UN & International Organization

The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. UN Environment acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the sustainable development of the global environment. To accomplish this, UN Environment works...



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The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) is the voice for the environment within the United Nations system. UN Environment acts as a catalyst, advocate, educator and facilitator to promote the sustainable development of the global environment. To accomplish this, UN Environment works with a wide range of partners, including United Nations entities, international organizations, national governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and civil society.

Disaster Reduction Goal

Disaster Risk Reduction is a key pillar in the Disasters and Conflicts Sub-Programme, one of seven priority areas in UN Environment.

UN Environment aims to address the environmental causes and consequences of natural hazards and environmental emergencies and reduce their impacts on vulnerable communities and countries, through sound environmental management, improved preparedness, and environmentally-sustainable response and recovery. UN Environment’s work on prevention promotes sustainable ecosystem management solutions for disaster risk reduction and building resilience to climate extremes.

Policies and Programmes in DRR

Disaster risk reduction in UNEP has historical precedence, dating as far back as 1989, when UN Environment’s then Governing Council endorsed UN Environment’s pro-active role in preparing for, preventing and responding to environmental emergencies due to industrial and natural hazards.

At the 26th session of the Governing Council (February 2011), Agenda Item No.9, the Governing Council (GC) recognized UN Environment’s role in DRR with special emphasis on addressing and managing environmental emergencies and promoting greater cooperation on the environmental dimensions of natural and man-made (i.e. industrial) disasters. The GC also requested UN Environment to “strengthen integrated approaches to reducing the risk of natural and man-made disasters and adapting to the impacts of climate change.”

At the first UN Environment Assembly in June 2014, UNEA Resolution 1/8 on Ecosystem-based Adaptation was adopted. The Assembly reaffirmed that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time, and that all countries, particularly developing countries, are vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change and are already experiencing increased impacts, including persistent drought and extreme weather events. The Assembly invites all countries to take into consideration ecosystems in their development planning for all relevant sectors, and support the development and implementation of programmes, projects and development policies for adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change.

Focus Areas

Through its broad-based portfolio on disaster risk reduction which encompasses disaster prevention, preparedness and response and sustainable recovery and reconstruction, UN Environment advances implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Main areas of work include the following:

Ecosystem-based Approaches to Disaster Risk Reduction and Adaptation (Eco-DRR);

Mainstreaming Environmental Sustainability and Resilience in Post-Disaster Reconstruction;

• Environmental Emergency Preparedness and Response;

Mainstreaming Environment in Humanitarian Action;

Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at the Local Level (APELL) working with industries;

Promoting Principles for Sustainable Insurance. ;

The main entities within UN Environment who carry out DRR-related activities include:

Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch in the Ecosystems Division, based in Geneva, Switzerland, has responded to crisis situations in more than 40 countries since 1999, delivering high-quality environmental expertise to national governments and partners in the UN family. The Branch has expanded its operational range, adding to its core services Ecosystem-based Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR), post-disaster environmental assessments, and sustainable post-disaster reconstruction.

The UN Environment/OCHA Joint Unit mobilizes and coordinates the international emergency response to acute environmental risks caused by conflicts, natural disasters and industrial accidents. The Unit is housed with the UN Office of the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Emergency Services Branch, in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Environment and Security (ENVSEC) Initiative, is a partnership whose members include UN Environment, UNDP, OSCE, UNECE and REC, and performs three key functions: assessment of environment and security risks, capacity-building and institutional development to strengthen regional cooperation. ENVSEC projects are implemented in Central Asia, the South Caucasus, and Eastern and South-Eastern Europe. The ENVSEC Secretariat sits with UN Environment’s Regional Office for Europe, based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Responsible Industry and Value Chain Unit in UN Environment's Economy Division , based in Paris, France, leads the Flexible Framework Initiative for Addressing Chemical Accident Prevention and Preparedness (or the Flexible Framework Initiative) which promotes improved chemical accident prevention and preparedness, particularly in rapidly industrializing economies. The unit also manages the APELL (Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies on a Local Level) Programme.

The UNEP Finance Initiative has established the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) - the largest collaborative initiative between the UN and the insurance industry- which has rallied top insurance companies from around the world to express its commitment to reduce disaster risk through the “United for Disaster Resilience” Pledge and accelerate implementation of the Sendai Framework.

Membership in Key Networks


UN Environment is a founding member of the Partnership for Environment and Disaster Risk Reduction (PEDRR), a global partnership of 24 other international and regional organizations, which promotes ecosystem-based DRR and adaptation.


UN Environment is a Steering Committee member of the International Recovery Platform, which identifies gaps and constraints experienced in post disaster recovery and serves as a catalyst for the development of tools, resources, and capacity for resilient recovery.

Environment and Emergencies Forum (EEF)

The EEF is a biennial global forum that brings together key government, industry, academic, and non-governmental representatives – policy makers, environmental experts and disaster managers – from around the world to improve prevention, preparedness, response and overall resilience to environmental emergencies.

National Counterpart

UN Environment works with national and local government authorities responsible for environment and natural resource management; development and land-use planning; disaster management and preparedness; climate change; Sendai Framework focal points; and National Platforms for DRR. UN Environment also cooperates with the private sector and industries, civil society organizations, and universities and academic networks.

Disaster Risk Reduction Focal Point(s)

Post-Conflict and Disaster Management Branch (PCDMB)
UN Environment DRR Focal Points – Mr. Muralee Thummarukudy / Ms. Marisol Estrella

OCHA Environmental Emergencies Section (Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit)

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  • 11, Chemin des Anemones 1219 Geneva Switzerland

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  • GP 2013 delegation
  • GP 2011 delegation
  • GP 2009 delegation
  • Conferences:  - 2017 Global Platform
     - AMCDRR 2016

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