UNEP is the principal UN body in the field of the environment, assisting governments to address global, regional and national environmental challenges. Its mandate was reinforced at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and through the Rio+20 outcome document “The Future Want” . As a follow up to the Rio+20 Conference, UNEP has been actively engaged with stakeholders in numerous events and online discussions to discuss the development of new mechanisms to promote transparency and effective engagement of Civil Society including Indigenous Peoples.
The United Nations Environment Programme coordinates United Nations environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices. It was founded by Maurice Strong, its first director, as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Conference) in June 1972 and Environment has overall responsibility for environmental problems among United Nations agencies but international talks on specialized issues, such as addressing global warming or combating desertification, are overseen by other UN organizations, like the Bonn-based Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.
UNEP main goals include analysis and assessment of global environment, early warning of environmental threats, elaboration of international environmental legislation for sustainable development, raising public awareness on international environmental policy and activities, rendering assistance on policy development and consultative services to governmental and non-governmental organizations.
Since its inception in 1972, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has played a significant role in the development of international environmental law. It has negotiated and obtained adoption of nearly thirty binding multilateral instruments.