Beating plastic pollution

Reducing plastic pollution of the oceans is a priority issue for UN Environment. In 2018, we helped nations and individuals make huge commitments to giving up single-use plastics.

  • World Environment Day 2018 targeted plastic pollution, with global host India leading the way by pledging to give up single-use plastics by 2022. The world’s biggest day for global environmental action reached hundreds of millions of people in more than 190 countries and 60 languages. It engaged 6.5 million people online, including 90 celebrities from all parts of the world, and inspired thousands of events across the globe, from beach clean-ups to zero-waste marathons.
  • Many others countries, blocs and businesses made commitments, such as Nigeria and Honduras. The European Union proposed a ban on ten single-use plastic items representing 70 per cent of all marine litter by 2025. Businesses like Ikea and Foodpanda pledged to act.
  • Commitments from 57 nations, covering over 60 per cent of the world’s coastlines, made our Clean Seas campaign the largest global compact for combatting marine litter.


Financing sustainable development

Our work on financing for sustainable development broke new ground in 2018:

  • Forty-five banks and financial institutions endorsed the principles for responsible banking, drafted under the leadership of the Finance Initiative.
  • We launched the first Tropical Landscapes Bond, worth US$95 million, in collaboration with BNP Paribas, the World Agroforestry Centre and partners. The bond will restore 80,000 hectares of tropical forests in Indonesia.
  • The Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System completed its four-year mandate with a report showing that green bond issuance grew from US$11 billion in 2013 to US$155 billion in 2017, while policy measures to advance sustainable finance doubled over four years to 300.
  • Almost two dozen financial centres, from Casablanca to London to Shanghai, joined the UN Environment-hosted Financial Centres for Sustainability Network to help align investments with sustainable development and climate action.


The UN-REDD Programme celebrates 10 years

The United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (the UN-REDD Programme) was the first joint UN global initiative on climate change. By backing an approach that combines conservation, restoration and sustainable management of forests, the UN-REDD Programme has assisted countries in reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and enhancing carbon stocks (REDD+).  

  • 65 countries were supported towards achieving their forest, climate and development goals.
  • More than 30 countries advanced national REDD+ strategies or action plans, and 17 adopted them.
  • 6.3 gigatonnes of emissions (roughly equal to the emissions of the United States in 2016) were avoided  over the past six years from forest conservation measures in Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia and Malaysia alone.
  • 40 countries developed national forest monitoring systems.
  • 70 per cent of the 34 countries that submitted benchmark forest emission levels to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change received support from the programme.
  • More than 100 projects for community-based REDD+ were implemented in six pilot countries.
  • Over 2,000 REDD+ practitioners received training.