United Nations Environment Programme - Mission & Funding

UN environment

The UN Environment Programme works towards defining a broad environmental plan with worldwide relevance. It aims to champion sustainability around the globe as part of the work the United Nations does. Its work receives both public and private funding through a mix of earmarked and flexible funding that is provided by member states and private concerns.


What is the UN Environment Programme?

The United Nations Environment Programme carries out research and makes recommendations regarding the environment and viable practices for continued sustainability.


While focused on the environment, its goals overlap with much of the work the UN does around the world. Reducing poverty, promoting gender equality and education have equal footing alongside the availability of clean water, affordable energy and the development of sustainable cities.

Its Mission

The UN Environment Programme aims to encourage and lead the way in proactively caring for the environment as well as fostering partnerships in terms of informing and motivating people and nations around the globe.

The UN Environment Programme researches and funds environmental initiatives around the world.

The organisation sees itself working within seven main categories:

  1. Environmental governance
  2. Climate change
  3. Disasters and conflict
  4. Resource efficiency
  5. Ecosystem management
  6. Chemicals and waste
  7. Environment under review

These seven areas incorporate environmental agreements, research consortiums, advocates, activists and nations.

Committee of Permanent Representatives

country stats

The Committee, founded in 1985, sets the agenda for the UN Environment Assembly as well as evaluating how its decisions are put in motion. There are over 120 countries represented in this committee.

The current Chair and High Commissioner for the Committee is H.E. Mrs. Francisca Ashietey-Odunton, who is also a permanent representative for Ghana.

Funding Sources

The programme is primarily funded through voluntary contributions by UN member states. With 95% of voluntary contributions coming from both earmarked and flexible funds, the remaining 5% is covered by the United Nations itself in order to take care of headcount and overhead.




Environment Fund (in $)



Earmarked Fund (in $)



UN Regular Budget (in $)



Top Country Contribution (in $)



Top Earmarked Fund (in $)



Private Sector Financing (in $)

Earmarked funds are designated funding pledges that will specifically be used on predetermined projects around the world. Flexible funds, on the other hand, can be distributed in a discretionary manner across multiple projects. In terms of supporting the flexible fund, Denmark is by far the top contributor, handily outstripping both the UK and the US.


The UN Environment Programme is based in Kenya with headquarters in Nairobi. The organisation also has field offices and observation posts dotted around the world. However, if you want to get in touch with them, the easiest way is to write or call the headquarters.


+254 20 7623431


United Nations Avenue, Gigiri PO Box 30552, 00100 Nairobi, Kenya

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