UN leaders approve first sustainability strategy

Fri, 10/05/19

The UN’s Chief Executive Board for Coordination endorsed the UN’s first Strategy for Sustainability Management in the UN system.

The strategy, which covers the years 2020-2030, builds on existing achievements achieved via the UN-wide Greening the Blue campaign as well as lessons learned in the last 10 years. It is designed to raise the UN’s ambitions on sustainability and ensure greater system-wide coherence.

The strategy includes a vision for sustainability in the UN system:

“The UN System is a leader in integrating environmental and social sustainability considerations across its work in a systematic and coherent way, practicing the principles that it promotes and leaving a positive legacy.”

The aims of the strategy are to:

  1. Create a common vision for internal sustainability
  2. Align the UN’s internal operations with the environmental elements of the Sustainable Development Agenda
  3. Create system-wide and entity-specific systems for environmental governance and accountability
  4. Provide ambitious, clear objectives and indicators to track and prove progress
  5. Support the systematic integration of environmental considerations into management functions
  6. Ensure transparency and accountability in the UN’s corporate performance

Phase I of the strategy, which focuses on internal environment sustainability, was endorsed at the CEB’s spring meeting in Geneva on 9th May 2019.

It covers five environmental impact areas (greenhouse gas emissions, waste, water, air pollution and biodiversity) and six management functions (procurement, human resources, facilities management, travel, events and ICT).

Phase II of the strategy will be developed in 2020 by the Environment Management Group and will cover the environmental and social sustainability in UN policies and programmes.

Speaking in response to the announcement the Sustainable United Nations Facility Coordinator, Isabella Marras, said:

“Now that the strategy has been approved the hard work begins – of continuing our work to deliver system-wide improvements in the UN’s performance in environmental management. Thanks to the support, commitment and imagination of colleagues across the UN system we are confident that we can rise to the challenge - and ensure our actions match the speed and scale required to mitigate our impacts on the natural environment.” 

Categories: Leadership