Four core principles underpin UNEP’s approach to delivering on the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda:
Universality [all peoples – beyond borders – collective action]: The 2030 Agenda is global, applying to all peoples in all countries. It is a shared agenda that requires a collective response from the international community, governments, businesses, and citizens’ groups.
Integration [acting as a harmonious whole]: Past approaches treated the social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainable development as disconnected pillars, but the new agenda integrates and balances all three.
Human rights and equity [pathway to a fair, just and sustainable world]: The 2030 Agenda encourages a more-even distribution of wealth and resources, equitable access to opportunities, information and rule of law; and the development of new approaches that build capacities at all level of society.
Innovation [invention is the master key to progress]: The acceleration and transfer of technological innovations is key to delivering the 2030 Agenda. The world will need new innovation pathways that draw on formal science, traditional knowledge and citizen common sense.
UNEP will deploy the following approaches for effective delivery:
Strengthening the science-policy interface for evidence-based decision making: UNEP will continue to identify science that integrates social, economic and environmental considerations for policy and decision-making. UNEP is already feeding information from multiple stakeholders into data gathering, analysis and assessment processes at the national, regional and global levels. UNEP will evolve its public advocacy, awareness and outreach to mobilize all those who can influence the changes needed to achieve the SDGs. Through UNEP Live, UNEP will focus on:
Developing multi-purpose indicators to track the SDGs at all levels – including creating a National Reporting System and reporting obligations database to help countries reduce the burden of reporting and build on existing data; and building the capacities of countries to collect and analyze data, and establish communities of science that involve all levels of society.
Providing expert knowledge and technical assistance on the environment: UNEP will provide technical guidance and support for environmental governance, developing coherent laws and policies and their effective implementation. This is to ensure that countries have in place frameworks for environmental laws and institutions, and that environmental considerations underpin development policy.
Convening stakeholders to agree on global environmental norms and standards: Inclusivity is an important part of the 2030 Agenda. UNEP recognizes that access to information is a key condition for citizen participation, transparency and accountability. Significant efforts have been made to ensure that citizens, civil society, all levels of government and the private sector are consulted on the new agenda. UNEP will continue creating and facilitating avenues for cooperation between the UN, governments, bilateral and multilateral agencies, companies and civil society organizations to initiate joint commitments and actions.
Greater integration of normative frameworks into UNEP’s work: To deliver on the 2030 Agenda, the UN system needs to be innovative, agile, inclusive, and results-oriented. The UN system recognized the need for integrated system-wide policies and strategies in support of the SDGs – policies that link normative frameworks with operational activities and encompass all UN activities. UNEP will increase integration of these normative frameworks – such as human rights, gender equality, and peace and security – into its work.
Promoting partnerships: The UN system’s ability to redefine how it engages with partners and works with other stakeholders towards shared sustainable development outcomes is crucial for the SDGs. Effective sustainable development cooperation will require the formation of issue-based coalitions and platforms that integrate multiple stakeholders (governments, civil society and the private sector) to improve decision-making, strategic planning, service delivery, knowledge sharing, and collective monitoring and accountability at all levels.
Supporting the universal nature of the 2030 Agenda: UNEP will contribute to the UN’s efforts for system-wide coherence on sustainable development from its environmental perspective – with a focus on creating coherence in the way the UN system integrates the environmental dimension to implement normative guidance and environmental safeguards, and Delivering as One at the country level. Many global challenges relate to global public goods, most of which emerge from a multi-level process, requiring policy action at the national, regional and global levels. UNEP’s engagement will include methods for reviewing, learning and flexible readjustment, to ensure that actions taken at the national and regional levels are linked to global targets.
Supporting implementation and building capacity in the regions: A strengthened strategic regional presence will enable UNEP to work towards global consensus and policy coherence on key issues relating to the environmental dimension of sustainable development, while creatively pursuing specific regional opportunities and approaches. It will enable UNEP to foster effective partnerships, including through South-South and Triangular Cooperation and with the wider UN system through Delivering as One.
Addressing emerging issues: UNEP will continue, through its Foresight process, to produce a careful and authoritative ranking of the most important emerging issues for the global environment, including those related to the implementation of the SDGs.
Supporting a global shift towards clean and environmentally sound technologies: Technology cuts across all UNEP’s Sub-Programmes. UNEP will expand its technology agenda on pressing challenges such as water and food security, health, energy security and climate change (within the framework of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) by prioritizing external and internal coordination; wide-spread capacity building; and strengthened efforts to make the Technology Facilitation Mechanisms, as decided in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, operational and responsive to a long-term, systemic environmental perspective.