United Nations Intern'l Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR)


HQ: Geneva, Switzerland

Focal Point: Frédéric Delpech


Key figures*


Total emissions: 565 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Emissions per staff member: 12.6 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Emissions from air travel: 543 tonnes CO2 equivalent
Air travel as a proportion of total emissions: 96%
Air travel per staff member: 12.1 tonnes CO2
Building-related emissions: 16 kg CO2 equivalent per square metre

*This data is for 2009 emissions


Assistant Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction's Message

“Climate change is a major challenge and poses special threats to developing countries. Among other things it is expected to increase the frequency and severity of hazardous events and at the same time reduce the capacities of communities to cope with hazards. UNISDR is the focal point in the UN’s efforts to reduce disaster risks, including for climate-change adaptation. This requires dealing with the root causes of vulnerability and risks in society, including climate change. Accordingly, UNISDR is actively working toward reducing its emissions, in association with UN-wide efforts. The UNISDR Asia office in Bangkok has already achieved carbon neutrality and UNISDR is offsetting travel emissions to the Global Platform.”

Margareta Wahlström, Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR)


The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction aims to build disaster resilient communities by promoting increased awareness of the importance of disaster reduction as an integral component of sustainable development, with the goal of reducing human, social, economic and environmental losses due to natural hazards and related technological and environmental disasters.

Experience so far

The current headquarters building is new and already very energy efficient. The Bangkok UNISDR office has shown that greening efforts (e.g. offsetting by forest planting) can be initiated by motivated staff and can be a means to develop office teamwork and morale. Moving to intercontinental travel in economy class has a big impact on emissions but can reduce performance at distant locations for staff who travel frequently. Public transport options are very limited for the many Geneva HQ staff who live in neighbouring France.

Reduction efforts

An internal process with a lead focal point has reviewed the options for greening the secretariat, including reducing emissions. A position paper with recommendations was prepared for senior management’s consideration. A key step was to agree to offset the travel of participants to the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction. The reduction of business class travel has been another important contribution.


In order to make the second session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction a carbon-neutral event, UNISDR identified a wind power project in Tamil Nadu, India, from which it will purchase CERs. The project involves the installation of 704 wind turbines. The total emissions reductions are estimated to be 10,000 tonnes CO2 equivalent, verified under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

Status of issuance/guarantee of delivery: the project has “issued CERs” status.

The supplier will ensure that the CERs purchased by UNISDR are not sold to anyone else by withdrawing them from the market once these “retired CERs” are purchased.

UNISDR and sustainability
UNISDR case studies