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Dictionary

UNO Organisations and Programmes

The United Nations funds and operates many programmes which support the goals of the UN for environmental and energy protection and sustainability.

United Nations Environment Programme UNEP

The Environment Programme of the United Nations, UNEP, was founded in 1972 as the official environmental office for the UN. Its headquarters is in Nairobi, Kenya.

The current executive director is Achim Steiner from Germany, since 2006. Its mandate includes the coordination of the rationalisation of over 500 multilateral environmental agreements.

There is a series of organisations and institutions run by or working closely with the UNEP, among which is the United Nations Environment Programme-Global Resource Information Database) (UNEP-GRID), a network of databases for biodiversity, land and resource use, and pollution. In Geneva, three is a long-standing cooperation with the Swiss Federal Office for Environment (FOEN) and the Geneva University.

World Commission on Environment and Development WCED

The WCED, World Commission on Environment and Development, was an international committee set up in 1983 by the UN to investigate North-South development issues, and to make recommendations as to how the UN could help to prevent catastrophic environmental problems in the future.

The final report was published as a book (1987): Our Common Future. It is commonly known as "the Brundtland Report", after the chairperson Gro Harlem Brundtland.

The Vice-Chairman was Mansour Khalid, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sudan. Some other members of the committee were:

  • Susanna Agnelli, a senior Italian member of parliament (Italian and European) and senator
  • Volker Hauff, former transport minister of Germany
  • Maurice Strong, Canadian, Secretary General of the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development, best known as the Earth Summit, Rio 1992

Title of the Opening Chapter: From One Earth to One World: an Overview by the WCED. Brundtland makes reference to Willy Brandt's 'Programme for Survival' and 'Common Crisis North-South' (1983).

Following the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) report, the UN convened the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. This gave birth to the UNFCCC, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to a great extent based on the findings of the WCED, and subsequently the Kyoto Protocol, signed in 1996 in Kyoto, Japan.

Safe Planet

United Nations Campaign for Responsibility on Hazardous Chemicals and Wastes.

The campaign seeks to raise global public awareness about the issues related to human health and environmental protection, due to the increase in production, traffic and use of hazardous chemicals and wastes.

Safe Planet promotes life-cycle analysis and LCA as a standard approach to the management of chemicals and waste, and seeks to develop solutions for toxic substances, and to involve all stakeholders. These are: government legislature and agencies, industry, educational institutions, community groups, grassroots organizations, and consumers.

World Charter for Nature

World Charter for Nature was adopted by United Nations member nation-states on October 28, 1982, with 111 votes in favour, and only the USA opposing. It sets forth five principles of conservation.

The five principles of conservation of the World Charter for Nature are:

  1. Nature shall be respected and its essential processes shall not be impaired.
  2. The genetic viability on the earth shall not be compromised; the population levels of all life forms, wild and domesticated, must be at least sufficient for their survival, and to this end necessary habitats shall be safeguarded.
  3. All areas of the earth, both land and sea, shall be subject to these principles of conservation; special protection shall be given to unique areas, to representative samples of all the different types of ecosystems and to the habitats of rare or endangered species.
  4. Ecosystems and organisms, as well as the land, marine and atmospheric resources that are utilized by man, shall be managed to achieve and maintain optimum sustainable productivity, but not in such a way as to endanger the integrity of those other ecosystems or species with which they coexist.
  5. Nature shall be secured against degradation caused by warfare or other hostile activities.

The vote was 111 for, one against (United States), 18 abstentions.

UN Economic and Social Council ECOSOC

United Nations Economic and Social Council. A United Nations organisation with 54 members, ECOSOC coordinates the economic, social and related work of 14 UN agencies, regional commissions, functional commissions, and specialised agencies.

Some NGOs have consultative status with the council, including Global Water Partnership, Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development, Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment, World Deserts Foundation.

The functional commissions involved with ECOSOC include: United Nations Forum on Forests, Commission on Population and Development, High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (replacing CSD, Commission on Sustainable Development), Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD). The specialised agency United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), like many other autonomous agencies, operates through the ECOSOC mechanism.

Food and Agriculture Organization FAO

The FAO is a primary UN agency, charged with the mandate of leading international efforts to alleviate hunger anywhere in the world. The FAO is a resource which aids countries to modernize their agricultural practices.

Logo: fiat panis (let there be bread). Headquarters: Rome, Italy.

The FAO has 194 member states, as well the EU.