Our planet needs urgent attention: huge numbers of species are on the brink of extinction and global temperatures continue to rise. As we plunge deeper every year into an unprecedented environmental crisis, the mandate of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is more relevant than ever.
The year 2020 has been dubbed a super year for the environment—a make or break year in which key international meetings will set the tone and agenda for environmental action in the decade ahead. Supported by scientists and a growing number of governments around the world, UNEP stands ready to work with countries and people as they accelerate action to address environmental challenges.
To deliver on its mandate, UNEP relies on its Member States and the financial support they provide—of which 95 per cent are voluntary contributions for our programme and activities.
As we close 2019 and enter into 2020, we at UNEP wish to thank the 80 Member States that contributed core funding to the Environment Fund of UNEP – and especially those 27 Member States that contributed their fair share, in other words their share in accordance to the voluntary indicative scale of contributions (VISC) as agreed by the Member States themselves in 2002.
The support of these 80 countries has been and continues to be critical for UNEP to fulfil its mandate as the global authority on the environment, providing scientific and technical expertise on environmental issues, including the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, pollution and the environmental dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Special thanks goes to the following countries for their support in 2019:
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Benin, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Viet Nam
Why is the Environment Fund important?
The voluntary contributions consist of both flexible core funding to the Environment Fund and funds that are earmarked to themes, projects, regions or countries.
While earmarked funds enable the organization to upscale and replicate the results of its core work, including building capacity in more countries and with more partners, the Environment Fund—UNEP’s core fund—supports the bedrock of its work worldwide. It provides for the essential capacity to implement UNEP’s programme of work and its seven priority areas: climate change, disasters and conflicts, ecosystem management, environmental governance, chemicals and waste, resource efficiency, and environment under review.
The Environment Fund enables UNEP to support countries with science so that policy and decision can be based on evidence. In 2019, UNEP launched several reports that took stock of the status of the environment, including the sixth Global Environment Outlook, the second Global Chemicals Outlook and the Emissions Gap Report. Further, the Environment Fund helps the organization advocate and raise awareness on environmental challenges and solutions.
The Environment Fund also supports UNEP’s convening power to bring together governments, the private sector and civil society in advancing the global environmental agenda. As an example, the fourth UN Environment Assembly in 2019, which was attended by 4,700 people from 170 countries, was made possible thanks in large part to the Environment Fund.
Environment Fund budget is determined by UNEP’s Member States
As an organization owned by the Member States, UNEP’s strategy, priorities and programme of work is guided and decided by its 193 Member States—as is its core budget.
For the year 2019, Member States endorsed a budget of US$135.5 million for the Environment Fund. By end of December 2019, the contributions amounted to US$69.95 million, which is little more than half of the budget.
Funding UNEP and the Environment Fund is a universal responsibility
While UNEP is increasingly called upon as a trusted partner for guidance and solutions on environmental issues by its partners, including governments, the fact is that the lack of flexible funds restricts the organization’s capacity to deliver on its mandate and programme of work.
The success of the UNEP’s work highly depends on the contributions made by Member States and other partners. Multi-year commitments, increased and adequate resources, and timely payments are therefore extremely critical. Funding UNEP is the responsibility of its 193 Member States—it is a shared responsibility.
While we sincerely thank those who contributed in 2019, in 2020 we call on all our 193 Member States to honour the commitment made at the Rio+20 Summit—to ensure secure, stable, adequate and increased financial resources to UNEP.