Report of the Executive Director

For too long, the relationship between prosperity and environment has been seen as a trade-off. Tackling pollution was equated to imposing costs on industry and curbing economic growth. Global trends are demonstrating that this is no longer the case. Increasingly, for anyone concerned about prosperity and the welfare of current and future generations, it has become clear that sustainable development is the only form of development that makes sense, including in financial and economic terms. Investing in green technologies is a strategy for long-term profitability and prosperity for all.

Erik Solheim, the Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, presents his report to the third session of the UN Environment Assembly.

The report, Towards a pollution-free planet (issued as official document UNEP/EA.3/25) lays out an ambitious framework for international action to tackle pollution. Five key messages underpin this framework:


  • Political leadership and partnerships: a global compact on pollution would ensure sustained engagement at the highest level and make prevention a priority for all. It would also encourage policymakers and other key partners, including the private sector, to integrate prevention into national and local planning, development processes, and business and finance strategies;
  • The right policies: environmental governance needs to be strengthened – with targeted action on “hard-hitting” pollutants through risk assessments and enhanced implementation of environmental legislation, including multilateral environmental agreements, and other measures;
  • A new approach to managing our lives and economies: sustainable consumption and production, through improved resource efficiency and lifestyle changes, should be promoted; waste reduction and management must be prioritized;
  • Investing big: mobilizing finance and investment in low-carbon opportunities and cleaner production and consumption will drive innovation and help to counter pollution; increased funding is also needed for research, pollution monitoring, infrastructure, management and control;
  • Advocacy for action: citizens need to be informed and inspired to reduce their own pollution footprint and advocate for bold pollution-beating commitments from the public and private sectors.

The report will be available in all UN languages in late October. 


EA.3/25: Towards a Pollution Free Planet - Report of the Executive Director

عربي 中文版 English Français Русский Español
Pdf Pdf




The recommendations contained in the report are supported by evidence set out in a substantive background report, prepared by UN Environment experts and scientists. The development of this report benefited from a consultative process involving UN Member States, civil society groups, academics and other stakeholders, who submitted inputs. In addition, the High-Level Intergovernmental and Stakeholder Advisory Group of the sixth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6) reviewed the report and provided substantive comments.