Regional initiatives

Fostering Dialogue and Partnerships for Sound Environmental Management

In Asia Pacific, UN Environment works at the regional, sub-regional and national levels.
There are five sub-regions: Northeast Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Pacific.

Work is focused on UN Environment’s six cross-cutting thematic priorities:

At the regional level, UN Environment supports the Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development, held every five years. This is a collaborative effort between the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Asian Development Bank and UN Environment.

UN Environment co-chairs the Thematic Working Group on Environment and Disaster Management with UNESCAP and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The Thematic Working Group is part of the Regional Coordination Mechanism. The Regional Director is also a member of the UNDP Regional Directors’ Team.

UN Environment established the Sub-regional Environmental Policy Dialogue (SEPD), comprising chairs of each of the five sub-regional intergovernmental bodies and five civil society leaders. The SEPD meets annually to discuss emerging issues and provide guidance to UN Environment’s programmes in the region. It advises UN Environment on enhanced global and regional delivery, as well as identifying emerging environmental issues at the regional level.


At the sub-regional level, UN Environment works to forge strong partnerships for collaborative and effective environmental management. It works with intergovernmental bodies, environment ministries, research organizations, international bodies, UN agencies and Major Groups and Stakeholders to identify and address common and trans-boundary issues. The following is a brief description of countries and institutions UN Environment works with in each sub-region.

Northeast Asia

The Northeast Asia sub-region covers five countries: the Peoples Republic of China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Japan, Mongolia and Republic of Korea.  Northeast Asia has the following major intergovernmental fora: the Tripartite Environment Ministers Meeting, the North-East Asian Subregional Programme for Environmental Cooperation, the Northwest Pacific Action Plan and the Greater Tumen Initiative.

Southeast Asia

The Southeast Asia subregion consists of eleven countries: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. There are two intergovernmental organizations, the Association of Southeast Asian Association and Mekong River Commission. It also has an important cooperative programme called the Greater Mekong Sub-region Economic Cooperative Programme.

South Asia

The South Asia subregion consists of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. There are three intergovernmental organisations: the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation, South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development. UN Environment has signed agreements with all three institutions and works actively in the sub-region.


The Pacific sub-region consists of 21 Pacific Island Countries and Territories and has a number of regional agencies, including intergovernmental organizations. The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme covers environment and sustainable development issues, whereas the South Pacific Applied Geosciences Commission focuses on non-living resources, ocean management, hazard assessment and geosciences. The Council of Regional Organizations of the Pacific facilitates coordination amongst the ten regional organizations. UN Environment works closely with SPREP.


At the national level, UN Environment works closely with partners under the “Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity Building” to provide systematic and targeted capacity building for integrated environmental assessments and action plans on current and emerging issues.