UNEP partnering with UN Volunteers


Since 1975, the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) has been partnering with the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme for the conservation, protection and support of nature and natural resources, including biological diversity. Some 197 UN Volunteers have served with UN Environment in 14 countries over the past ten years, supporting UN Environment’s mission to "provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations".

UN Volunteer Dana Siedemova (Czech Republic) participating in a clean-up by the river Dubale at the launch of the environmental campaign in Ethiopia, “Clean Up the World – Clean up Addis!” (UNV, 2013)

UN Volunteers are experienced personnel available to support UN Environment’s mandate. They work within communities at the grassroots-level, making them well-placed to build community resilience to the impacts of climate change and support communities in the sustainable recovery from disasters and rehabilitating land following conflicts. As Policy Specialists, UN Volunteers also advance efforts by UN Environment to promote environmental governance and management, supporting programmes that advance the sustainable use of natural resources.

The title of 'UN Volunteers' reflects their incredible commitment, but probably does not do justice to their contribution. At every level of UN Environment, including my own team in the Executive Office, we count on UN Volunteers with a diverse mix of backgrounds, skills and experience to bring fresh ideas, a new perspective and endless enthusiasm. They don’t just help us to get the job done for the people and communities we serve; they make sure it’s done the best way possible. --Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment

UN Volunteers contribute to a number of projects that include engaging youth in volunteerism to promote Global South-South Development, revitalizing lands and agriculture of post-disaster societies in Nigeria, and encouraging communities in Ethiopia to think globally and act locally through environmental outreach progammes and advocacy.

Beginning in 1975, UNV partnered with UN Environment to recruit its first two UN Volunteers for their Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. In 2014, a new Memorandum of Understanding was signed to strengthen the partnership. Today, UN Volunteers support UN Environment in building community resilience to climate change, reducing the environmental risks and impacts of crises, advancing ecosystem management and environmental governance, and improving inclusive participation and engagement of communities in their own development.

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