“We are very grateful to the Dutch Government for their steadfast partnership and generous support to the UN Environment Programme to address critical environmental challenges,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Andersen recently met with Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands, to sign a three-year agreement renewing the collaboration between UNEP and the Netherlands. According to the agreement, the Netherlands will provide the equivalent of US$26 million to UNEP’s Environment Fund for the period 2019 to 2021, or US$8.7 million annually. This latest contribution places the Netherlands as the largest contributor to the Environment Fund in 2019, a position they held also in 2018.
The Environment Fund is UNEP’s core fund. It provides the bedrock for the work worldwide and enables science-based policymaking, identification of emerging issues, innovative solutions, advocacy and awareness-raising, capacity-building, results-focused programme management and oversight. The Environment Fund also supports UNEP’s convening power to bring together stakeholders to advance the global environmental agenda. One such global meeting is the UN Environment Assembly.
The Netherlands, a country with a population of 17 million people, has provided funding to the Environment Fund every year since 1973. It is an indication of how important they believe the global environmental challenges to be, and a vote of confidence for UNEP as their partner. While the Netherlands supports all of UNEP’s work, the partnership in the area of climate change is particularly important:
“The Netherlands has a strong commitment to the mandate and programme of work of UNEP, especially in view of the Sustainable Development Goal agenda and our shared climate ambitions,” said Kaag. “We believe that climate change adaptation and mitigation policies and measures will positively impact countries and communities.”
UNEP’s work on climate change adaptation and mitigation includes support to countries to decarbonize their economies, working to reduce or prevent emissions of greenhouse gases. This can entail using new technologies and renewable energies, making older equipment more energy efficient, or changing management practices or consumer behaviour.
UNEP also supports countries in their efforts to apply nature-based solutions to climate change—such as fighting deforestation, promoting large-scale afforestation, and restoration and conservation of habitats such as mangroves and peatlands. These efforts can simultaneously restore biodiversity, boost livelihoods and health, protect vulnerable communities and create climate resilience. Nature-based solutions also contribute to climate change mitigation by reducing the emissions that would occur from habitat loss and ecosystem degradation.
A specific area of collaboration between the Netherlands and UNEP in climate change adaptation is the Global Commission on Adaptation, which was launched in 2018 in the Netherlands. It was formed to raise the visibility of climate adaptation on the global agenda and to inspire action. UNEP’s Executive Director is a Commissioner on the Global Commission on Adaptation.
In addition to supporting climate change adaptation and mitigation, the generous contribution from the Netherlands will also benefit UNEP’s programmes in the areas of disasters and conflicts, ecosystem management, environmental governance, chemicals and waste, resource efficiency, and environment under review.