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Key Programmes

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Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV)

UNEP is taking the lead in PCVF to promote better urban air quality in developing countries through cleaner fuels and vehicles. Emissions from vehicles have major impacts on human health, the local, regional and global environment and the economy. Reductions of emissions from vehicles are essential to reduce the increasing urban air pollution especially in developing countries.

Over 80 organisations from the private sector (both oil industry and vehicles industry), governments, NGOs and international organisations are working together to promote and implement activities through PCFV. The focus is on the phase out of leaded gasoline worldwide, the reduction of sulfur in fuels and the introduction of clean vehicles technologies and clean vehicles. The PCFV Clearing House and UNEP are supporting activities at the global, regional, sub-regional and national level. More >>

NMT Roads

Initiative on Road Design and Finance for Safety, Sustainability, and Accessibility

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the FIA Foundation for the Automobile and Society, and partner institutions are developing a targeted campaign to strengthen the links between environmentally sustainable modes of road transport and safer roads in developing and transitional countries. The aim of this initiative is to increase the safety, environmental performance, and accessibility of roads and mobility in general for all road users - including pedestrians and cyclists. More >>


Local-global linkages

Over half of the world's population now lives in cities. High urbanisation has severe consequences for the local and global environment and the well-being of urban residents. For example, urban activities generate close to 80 percent of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions as well as significant amounts of other greenhouse gases. However, if cities are key contributors to many environmental problems, they should also be involved in the development and implementation of strategies and actions to address these issues. UNEP is therefore promoting the role of cities in addressing global environmental issues such as climate change and biodiversity and ecosystems. UNEP is developing a Cities and Climate Change Campaign and has launched a Global Alliance on Cities and Biodiversity. More >>


Cities Alliance

UNEP's main objective as a member of the Cities Alliance is to integrate global environmental considerations - such as climate change, biodiversity and coastal pollution - into Cities Alliance activities. As a sponsor of Cities Alliance projects, UNEP conducts integrated environmental assessments and provides expertise in areas such as urban waste management (life-cycle approach, urban wastewater), energy efficiency, water and sanitation, and urban poverty reduction using the ecosystem services approach. More >>

The Cities Alliance is a global coalition of cities and their development partners committed to poverty reduction in cities in developing countries. The Cities Alliance helps local authorities to plan and prepare for future growth. The Cities Alliance assists cities to develop slum upgrading projects, city development strategies and sustainable financing strategies.


Sustainable Cities Programme

The joint UN-HABITAT – UNEP Sustainable Cities Programme promotes environmental, social and economic sustainability of cities through an Environmental Planning and Management (EPM) approach which is characterized by a broad-based, participatory decision-making process.

The SCP is an important vehicle for UNEP to address global environmental concerns at local level and to strengthen capacities in cities to deal with these problems. The SCP approach and network are used in several other UNEP initiatives, for example GEO Cities and Cities Alliance. Together with UN-HABITAT, UNEP prepares tools, publications and workshops on EPM and various urban environmental issues such as air quality, climate change and gender. Currently the SCP is active in approximately 40 cities around the world. SCP is funded by the Dutch government. More >>


Cooperation with UN-HABITAT

UNEP and UN-HABITAT are the only UN agencies headquartered in Africa. The two organisations are working closely together in the areas of sustainable urban planning and management, analyzing the state of the environment in cities, water and sanitation, air pollution, and climate change. Since 2006, the two organizations have been developing a Partnership Framework with the overall goal of mainstreaming the environmental dimension into local, national, and global urban policy-making. At the same time, we ensure that the urban perspective is included in environmental programmes and decision-making at the organizational, national and international levels.

Under the provisions of this Partnership Framework, UNEP and UN-HABITAT have jointly formulated a biennial work plan for 2008-2009 which focuses on five specific areas: cities and climate change, sustainable urban mobility, integrated waste management, urban biodiversity and ecosystems, and outreach activities More >>


GEO Cities

The GEO Cities Assessments methodology has been prepared to guide cities in conducting Integrated Environmental Assessments in cities. The process is designed to analyse the state of the local environment and the impacts of cities on the local, national and global environment. This will help cities to obtain meaningful environmental data which can be used for decision-making and action . UNEP and UN-HABITAT have been supporting GEO Cities in more than 10 Latin American cities. A similar initiative is being developed for the African region. More >>



Eco-housing is a concept that applies sustainability principles to the entire lifecycle of a housing project. The concept applies environmentally friendly approaches to the design, site assessment, material selection, energy management, water management and waste management to the household and community level. Such approaches were used in traditional architecture for centuries, however, traditional knowledge is becoming extinct due to over-emphasis of techno-commercial aspects in current building design. UNEP and UN-HABITAT initiated the Eco-housing Project in 2004 to build capacity and spread awareness on “green” and traditional design principles that will minimize environmental impacts. A Regional Expert Group on Eco-housing for Asia and the Pacific was established to provide technical input and train national architects on this concept. Several projects are being carried out in the Asia and Pacific region. More >>