United Nations
Environment Programme

About Ecosystems

The 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals are underpinned by a healthy and productive environment. That is why UNEP is working on the development and promotion of better and more sustainable ways to manage our ecosystems.

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Preserving our Ecosystems

To continue meeting our existing needs and to provide the basis for the achievement of the SDGs, the health and productivity of ecosystems must be maintained.

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Economics of Ecosystems

A growing number of assessments show that ecosystem services are worth billions of dollars to national economies. Still, the value of ecosystem goods and services are not recognized and accounted for in government and private sector decision-making.

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Integrated Solutions

Reconciling conflicting interests in the face of increasing demands for ecosystem goods and services will require revitalized collaboration across society. 

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Funding the Future

Public sector economic decision-making can account for 15-60 per cent of a country’s GDP and provides an opportunity to address the negative drivers of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.

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Private Sector Buy-In

The corporate sector’s embrace of ecosystem considerations is one of the most promising means of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, while also reducing risks and providing new opportunities for companies, investors, lenders and insurers.

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Education Is Key

Education has a critical role to play in preparing future generations to participate responsibly in a sustainable and inclusive green economy and society, and provides a great opportunity to reach a wide audience. 

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Stories

Education vital for healthy, productive ecosystems

One of UNEP’s goals within an integrated ecosystem management framework is to foster the capacity of professionals and develop human capacity across all social strata and genders.

Towards Sustainable Pastoralism

We need to safeguard the environmental benefits of pastoralism by incentivizing environmental stewardship. Rangelands are places of great beauty and inspiration that cover more than a third of all land on the planet, and most of this land is managed by pastoralists.

Urgent Need for Sustainable Management of Coral Reefs

An extensive aerial and underwater survey of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) revealed that 93 per cent of it has been affected, with about half of the reefs severely bleached. Now come reports of widespread bleaching in the Lakshadweep archipelago, which lies 200-440 km off the southwestern coast of mainland India.

A Landscape Approach to Development

The world needs, and is ready for, a new paradigm for development – one that acknowledges the inherent interconnectedness of human and natural systems and the resources that underpin them.

Understanding the Long-Term Impacts of Natural Resource Extraction

Many mining companies want and need to know how to manage secondary impacts; all too frequently, they lack access to the information they need to do this effectively

Publications

Taking steps toward marine and coastal ecosystem-based management

Healthy marine and coastal ecosystems provide valuable services - from food security, resources for economic growth...

Economics of Land Degradation in Africa

In Africa, the loss of about 280 million tons of cereal crops per year from about 105 million hectares of croplands...

Assessing Global Land Use

This report examines the main causes for cropland expansion, proposes an estimated reference value for this...

Biodegradable Plastics and Marine Litter

This briefing paper provides a concise summary of some of the key issues surrounding the biodegradability of...

Blue economy: Sharing success stories to inspire change

Oceans are vital, not only to a wide array of biodiversity and ecosystems, but also to the food chains, livelihoods...

News

As Kenya Stages Largest-Ever Ivory Destruction, UNEP Reiterates Zero Tolerance for Illegal Trade in Wildlife

105 tonnes of ivory from over 7,000 elephants and 1.35 tonnes of rhino horn is burned in Nairobi today in an urgent call to action to end the poaching crisis.

New Task Force Set to Stop Illegal Killing, Taking and Trade of Migratory Birds

On World Migratory Bird Day a new intergovernmental coalition aims to end the illegal killing, taking and trade of millions of migratory birds, starting in the Mediterranean.

Did You Know?

Main reasons for food-related greenhouse gas emissions: Fertilizer production and use, irrigation, tillage, machinery, livestock, land conversion, cooking, cleaning, transport, cooling, and leftovers.