Macro shot of green leaves

Climate change, intensifying natural disasters, environmental pollution, and the extermination of entire species and ecosystems are realities that can no longer be ignored. The United Nations is dedicated to finding and implementing efficient, long-term solutions to tackle these urgent issues, working closely with its 193 Member States and stakeholders from all sectors.

Several UN agencies in Geneva have created programmes dedicated to addressing environmental challenges, working in areas such as shaping environmental policy; producing research and databases; investing in resilience and climate adaption; and much more. Together with partners from research and civil society, they formed the Geneva Environment Network, a hub in which the different entities combine their strength to change the international environment governance. 

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the strongest advocate for environmental protection in the UN system, advising governments on how to consider environment protection in their policies and the every-day life of their citizens. To this end, the UNEP Europe office in Geneva is in constant exchange with the governments it serves. 

Did you know...

environmental targets for 2030 are defined in several of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals

  • Goal 13, combatting climate change
  • Goal 14, conserving the oceans, seas and marine resources
  • Goal 15, protecting and restoring terrestrial ecosystems
  • Goal 7, ensuring access to affordable and reliable clean energy and to safe water sources for all
  • Goal 12, developing more sustainable production and consumption habits and norms.

Reducing pollution

Geneva hosts an array of international environmental agreements, namely the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions which deal with hazardous wastes, chemicals and pesticides, and organic pollutants, respectively. In addition, the Minamata Convention draws attention to the threat of mercury emissions. They all share the aim of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous residual products.

The Secretariats of these Conventions arrange meetings with Member States to track progress and address new developments in their areas. Additionally, they assist the States in translating their commitments into action at the national level. For example, Secretariat staff can provide technical support and training to help governments draft new legislation on hazardous materials. 

Example 1: Tackling plastic waste under the Basel Convention

The Basel Convention is currently the only international agreement covering plastic waste and its transportation across boundaries. Under its umbrella, a Plastic Waste Partnership was founded to bring together governments, businesses and civil society to reduce plastic waste and find new ways of recycling the existing waste. 

A pilot project, spearheaded by the Secretariat of the Basel Convention tackled the problem of plastic fishing nets in Ghana which are oftentimes left behind by their owners, polluting the seas, killing fish, and threatening the livelihoods of the local communities. The project invited community members to collect and return the plastic nets in exchange for a small payment. The nets were then recycled into textiles or other daily products. 

An illustration of half the face of each, a coloured woman and a man of color, with the line "Skin lightening products: potentially harmful ingredients".

Example 2: Dangerous beauty standards under review: the Minamata Convention

One example of work of the Minamata Convention is an awareness campaign, using slogans like: “True radiance comes from within, not from mercury”, or “Brightness is not in your skin, brightness is who you are”. 

Many skin lightening products use mercury which can cause anxiety and depression, damage to the skin, to the nervous and immune system. UNEP and the Minamata Convention raise awareness to try and overcome racist beauty standards prompting persons of colors to use these products. This topic has also been discussed during the most recent Conference of Parties of the Convention, in October 2023.  

Protecting species, restoring natural resources

The wide range of multilateral environmental agreements under the patronage of the UN Environment Programme spans several conventions on the conservation of plant and animal species and the protection of entire ecosystems. Two of these conventions have their secretariats located in Geneva: 

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) oversees international trade on endangered plant and animal species to ensure their survival. Considering the immense value of rare animal products such as tiger teeth or ivory, but also plants, woods, or medical herbs, strong laws need to be put in place to contain their trade. In this respect, CITES protects more than 40,000 plant and animal species. States who have signed the Convention must translate its content into national law and restrict legal and, consequently, illegal trade of natural goods.

The Tehran Convention (on protecting the Caspian Sea and its marine environment) is a regional agreement between the five states adjacent to the Caspian Sea: Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Turkmenistan. The Caspian Sea is the world’s largest lake, and it is home to numerous species that can only be found in this region. The Tehran Convention seeks to protect these species and their habitat and to prevent pollution of the marine environment.

A rhino mother and her calf standing at a water source

Coping with the effects of global warming

Protecting the environment in all it dimension is one of the main missions of the UN in this decade and the ones to come. It is, however, also the Organization’s responsibility to protect the people who are most affected by climate change and environmental degradation, and to equip them with the tools to protect themselves. Climate-related disasters have almost doubled compared to the previous 20 years. Droughts, floods, wildfires, and other disasters trap people in poverty, taking away houses, fields and harvest, and everything else they have built up over years. The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) helps countries, cities, and communities to develop mechanisms that can better withstand these environmental threats, for example by developing early warning systems that alert the population before a disaster strikes; by building houses in safe locations; or by helping governments to develop and enforce better building and construction codes, making homes less likely to collapse in the event of a disaster.

Research and training

The Geneva-based World Meteorological Organization (WMO) monitors the development of weather, climate, water and other environmental indicators globally through a multitude of observatories, and through extensive climate research. The office works with governments on national and local levels to point to the sources of problems like high greenhouse gas emissions or poor air quality.

A joint effort between WMO and the UN Environment Programme, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides scientific information on climate change to governments. IPCC experts analyse existing research and draw future scenarios – the basis for governments to adjust their climate policies. 

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) offers a multitude of training programmes focusing on conserving and restoring the environment, for example in Peacekeeping Missions, and more broadly on sustainable development.

Organizations working to protect the environment

联合国开发计划署是致力于结束贫困、不平等和气候变化的不公正现象的领先联合国组织。该机构与 170 个国家/地区的广泛专家和合作伙伴网络合作,帮助各国为人类和地球构建综合、持久的解决方案。

UNDP 日内瓦办事处是 UNDP 日内瓦和总部设在日内瓦的组织的平台,也是与法国和瑞士政府的主要联络点。自 2014 年 10 月以来,联合国开发计划署日内瓦办事处作为综合伙伴关系办公室,跨方案和代表职能开展工作。它确定、建立和发展开发署的机构能力,以加强广泛合作伙伴之间的战略伙伴关系,主要是与方案国和捐助国、联合国系统、非政府组织和民间社会组织、私营部门、政府间组织、国际金融机构、区域银行 [...]

联合国减少灾害风险办公室 (UNDRR) 致力于大幅减少灾害风险和损失,以确保可持续的未来。 UNDRR(以前称为 UNISDR)是联合国系统减少灾害风险的联络点和仙台框架的保管人,支持国家和社会实施、监测和审查进展情况。

联合国欧洲经济委员会 (UNECE) 由 ECOSOC 于 1947 年成立。它是联合国五个区域委员会之一。其主要目标是促进泛欧经济一体化。

联合国环境规划署 (UNEP) 是全球领先的环境权威机构,负责制定全球环境议程,促进联合国系统内可持续发展的环境层面的协调一致实施,并作为全球环境的权威倡导者。



作为联合国系统的专门培训机构,联合国训练研究所 (UNITAR) 为个人、组织和机构提供创新的学习解决方案,以加强全球决策并支持国家层面的行动,以塑造更美好的未来。

UNITAR 成立于 1963 年,旨在为来自新独立的联合国成员国的年轻外交官提供在外交环境中驾驭所需的知识和技能。多年来,训研所在设计和开展各种培训活动方面积累了独特的专业知识和经验。我们已成为为公共和私营部门的机构和个人提供定制和创造性学习解决方案的领先机构。

凭借完全专注于实现可持续发展目标 (SDG) 的战略,UNITAR 支持各国政府实施 2030 年议程。

联合国毒品和犯罪问题办公室 (UNODC) 的使命是让世界更加安全,远离毒品、有组织犯罪、腐败和恐怖主义。本组织致力于通过应对这些威胁并促进和平与可持续福祉来遏制这些威胁,从而实现人人享有健康、安全和正义。


UNOPS 帮助联合国及其合作伙伴提供和平与安全、人道主义和发展解决方案。他们的使命是帮助人们过上更好的生活,帮助各国实现和平与可持续发展。



世界旅游组织在日内瓦的存在有可能大大增加旅游业作为发展引擎的积极影响。作为 UNWTO 日内瓦联络处 (GVLO) 代表 UNWTO 参加联合国系统和驻日内瓦外交使团以及建立战略伙伴关系以提高能力的工作范围的一部分,GVLO 参与了许多联合国系统领导的活动。

联合国世界粮食计划署 (WFP) 是世界上最大的人道主义组织,在紧急情况下拯救生命,并利用粮食援助为从冲突、灾难和气候变化影响中恢复的人们开辟通往和平、稳定和繁荣的道路。

世界粮食计划署日内瓦全球办事处通过与联合国机构和其他组织的伙伴关系、媒体宣传、与捐助者的对外关系和集体规范制定,努力使世界粮食计划署处于全球人道主义行动发展的前沿。具体而言,工作包括参与重要的机构间和多边论坛,例如机构间常设委员会 (IASC)、大谈判和人人享有健康生活和福祉全球行动计划。