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UNEP and the Millennium Development Goals

Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability

Target 9: Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources.

Target 10: Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.

Target 11: Achieve significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dewellers by 2020.

The existence of an environmental MDG in itself is an explicit recognition by world leaders that environment is a crucial element of development. It is a recognition of the fact that without environmental sustainability there will be no long-lasting development. MDG7 and the underlying targets also show commitment at the highest political level to ensuring environmental sustainability.

However, environment is of importance not only for MDG7 but also for the other MDGs. The President's Summary of the discussion of Ministers and Heads of Delegation at the 23rd Session of the Governing Council of UNEP concluded "they (the MDGs) are to be achieved in a sustainable manner, recognition that environmental sustainability underpins the achievement of all the goals must be at the heart of further efforts of the international community".

MDG7 is of direct relevance to most of the work that is being undertaken by UNEP under the organisation's slogan "Environment for Development"

UNEP works in co-operation with like-minded partners. One example of this is the Poverty and Environment Partnership (PEP), an informal network of development agencies that seeks to improve the coordination of work on poverty reduction and the environment. Together, we have developed an initiative that seeks to reinvigorate political attention to the environmental challenges that are central to achieving the MDGs. This initiative includes the development of a number of analytical papers, the planning of a high-visibility event at the World Summit as well as the building of a strong coalition for MDG7 beyond the Summit.