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United Nations Environment Programme

United Nations Environment Programme

Formed in 1973 after the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment , the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) coordinates environmental policies of various nations, nongovernmental organizations, and other UN agencies in an effort to protect the environment from further degradation. Sometimes dubbed the "environmental conscience of the UN," UNEP describes its goal as follows: "to protect the environment by distributing education materials and by serving as a coordinator and catalyst of environmental initiatives."

Some of UNEP's major areas of concern are the ozone layer, waste disposal, toxic substances, water and air pollution , deforestation , desertification , and energy resources. The ways in which UNEP addresses these concerns can be best seen in the various programs it oversees or administers. The Earthwatch programwhich includes Global Environmental Monitoring System (GEMS); INFOTERRA ; and International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals (IRPTC)monitors environmental problems worldwide and shares its information database with interested individuals and groups. UNEP's Regional Seas Program seeks to protect the life and integrity of the Caribbean, Mediterranean, South Pacific, and the Persian Gulf. The International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) promotes awareness and preservation of biogeochemical cycles. The Industry and Environment Office (IEO) advises industries on environmental issues such as pollution standards, industrial hazards, and clean technology.

In addition to administering these programs, UNEP has also sponsored several key environmental policies in the last few decades. For example they initiated the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals , and the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. Most recently, UNEP was responsible for planning the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

UNEP is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. The organization is headed by Mostafa Kamal Tolba, who assumed the position of Executive Director in 1976 after the departure of Maurice Strong.

RESOURCES

ORGANIZATIONS

United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Avenue, Gigiri, PO Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya (254-2) 621234, Fax: (254-2) 624489/90, Email: [email protected], <http://www.unep.org>

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