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Review of mainstreaming environmental sustainability across organizations of the United Nations system

Press Release


The Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations system (JIU) is pleased to share the Review Highlights and Full Report for the Review of mainstreaming environmental sustainability across organizations of the United Nations system , prepared by Inspector Gopinathan Achamkulangare.

The current context provides an opportunity for the United Nations organizations to reimagine the system by making their policies, practices and operations, including internal management, environmentally sustainable. United Nations organizations should assume responsibility for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development within their own operations and activities in addition to advocacy practices aimed at raising awareness globally. They should also seize the opportunities arising from the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic to embark on digitalization and resource footprint reduction, including in the realm of travel. By assuming responsibility and demonstrating their commitment, United Nations organizations can set an example with their own contributions to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and in doing so, play a pioneering role in a sustainable future.

The review examines ten specific internal management functional areas in detail and identifies good practices to mainstream environmental sustainability and outlines measures that include:

· developing a dedicated policy and related standard operating procedures for mainstreaming environmental sustainability;

· incorporating environmental sustainability considerations in specific internal management functional areas such as procurement action, human resources and learning, facilities and infrastructure, travel, events and conferences, information and communication technologies, finance and budget, public information and communication, and, partnerships;

· establishing focal points within entities as necessary; improving consideration of environmental sustainability-related costs;

· ensuring staff training on environmental sustainability-related matters;

· incorporating environmental sustainability-related questions into staff surveys;

· improving data collection; ensure monitoring and regular reporting on environmental sustainability to the legislative organs and governing bodies;

· getting oversight bodies to pay attention in their work to monitoring and evaluating environmental sustainability in the internal management areas of entities; and, improving inter- and intra- agency coordination mechanisms to share good practices.

The review makes 10 actionable formal recommendations, 1 addressed to the legislative organs and governing bodies and 9 to the executive heads. In addition, 55 informal recommendations addressed to the executive heads outline suggestions for effecting further improvements.

The review’s findings will be presented to the General Assembly at its 76th session, following the receipt of CEB’s comments on the report.

To read the Review Highlights, click here

To read the full report, click here

Note to Editors

The Joint Inspection Unit is the only independent external oversight body of the United Nations system mandated to conduct system-wide evaluations, inspections and investigations. It seeks to ensure the optimum use of available resources by the United Nations system, and to enhance the efficiency of its administrative and financial functioning. The Unit also seeks to identify best practices, propose benchmarks, and facilitate information-sharing across the system.

The curricula vitae of all JIU Inspectors are available on the JIU website ( The website also contains information on the statute of the Unit, its mandate, reports, notes and management letters issued by the Unit and other relevant material.

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For questions relating to this press release, please contact

The Joint Inspection Unit of the United Nations system

Tel: (+41) 22 917 30 70