Focus Areas

Coordination of capacity-building, technology transfer and increasingly through South-South and triangular cooperation is determined by the Member states to be at the core of the UN Environment mandate. In addition to the seven sub-programmes, regional offices will also strengthen liaison and coordination roles with Governments implementing multilateral environmental agreements and will support capacity-building and technology transfer activities.


  • Climate change: UN Environment’s Climate Change sub-programme focuses on helping countries to pursue low-emission development pathways and strengthen their adaptation and resilience capacities to the changing climate. In doing so we help countries achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly Goal 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy, and Goal 13 – Climate Action.

  • Disasters and conflicts: UN Environment works in dozens of crisis-affected countries across the globe. We support governments and other stakeholders to minimise the threats to human well-being from the environmental causes and consequences of disasters and conflicts while building resilience to future crises.

  • Ecosystem management:  UN Environment helps governments, the private sector and communities to reconcile competing and growing demands for ecosystem goods and services, such as water and food, with biodiversity conservation and the long-term functioning of ecosystems. Through our support, ecosystems can be managed sustainably, while also saving money.

  • Environmental governance: Everyone can live in safe and healthy societies when we come together to responsibly manage our environment. That is why UN Environment works with countries and organisations to promote stronger institutions and partnerships and to strengthen the law as a foundation to promote citizen's environmental rights and to combat environmental crime.

  • Chemicals and waste: Chemicals and waste are integral to our life, but also have major impacts on the environment and human health. UN Environment’s Chemicals and Waste sub-programme catalyzes action by helping governments, civil society and the private sector develop the science, policies, and legal and institutional frameworks for sound chemicals and waste management.

  • Resource efficiency: UN Environment's Resource Efficiency sub-programme supports countries, the private sector and other stakeholders to adopt sustainable consumption and production practices as well as policies that support this transition. This will eventually lead to a decoupling of economic growth from unsustainable resource use and environmental impact while at the same time improving human well-being.

  • Environment under Review: Integrated assessments, Big Data, sensor technologies and citizen science help to continuously keep the environment under review. Policymakers need such information to develop policies contributing to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The Environment Under Review sub-programme bridges the gap between producers and users of environmental intelligence and empowers governments/ stakeholders in evidence-based decision-making.