The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
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CTA. 1989. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) . Spore 23. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/45162
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) In the 1960s and early 1970s anxiety over industrial pollution led to the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment in 1972 which, in turn, resulted in the establishment of the United Nations...
In the 1960s and early 1970s anxiety over industrial pollution led to the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment in 1972 which, in turn, resulted in the establishment of the United Nations Environment Programme. Since then environmental problems - industrial and agricultural - have become ever more apparent' and the inescapable link between Man's treatment of the earth and his survival has been emphasized again and again Environment is now high on the political agenda all over the world. Through the Environment Programme, the UN system has taken a lead in environmental action. The Programme embraces activities of almost all the UN agencies, working with governments, national and intemational institutions, and others concemed with the environment. UNEP plays an important catalytic role - encouraging organizations to take full account of the environment in their activities, helping to shape policy, and coordinating action. It has also stimulated governments to improve their capacity for environmental assessment and management. Three clear elements necessary to any activity engaged in promoting environmental improvement have emerged over the years since UNEP was established. If these are present then the various activities of the different concerned bodies will merge into a single concerted strategy. They are: firstly, preparing the frameworks for action by drawing up strategies to guide any action and laying the conceptual frameworks for it; by designing institutions and legislation, and developing programmes for management. The second element concerns the collection of information in which environmental management can be based. This includes monitoring environmental trends, assessing the data provided by monitoring or research, identifying the technology to deal with environmental problems, and conducting analyses to aid decision-making. It also includes various systems for disseminating environmental information. The third element also concerns information: it is the provision of appropriate environmental information, education and training. Information can be used to alert public opinion and create a positive approach to the environment Education and training complement this process - and develop the skills needed to put a strategy into action. Once acquired and stored, the information must be disseminated. It is also necessary to store the genetic material which governs living species, for these can be seen as the building blocks for natural resources management. All this knowledge and information base cannot be built by isolated effort on the part of institutions. There must be collaboration, networks of mutual support, and data-bases available to all. Monitoring of environmental trends, research, analysis of the information gathered, assessment of its significance, guidelines and manuals provide the basic knowledge: networks and databanks store, develop, and disseminate it among users. Information systems make this knowledge even more widely available. UNEP's information networks, databanks and registers are numerous. They include a network of 111 national correspondents for the exchange of informahon on potentially toxic chemicals (IRPTC); an INPTC databank containing technical profiles on 500 chemicals and national regulations on 5000 chemicals; and a query / response service for information on chemicals. There are also a network of genebanks housing the world base collection of germplasm; six microbiological resource centres and a world data centre on micro- organisms; DESIS (Desertification Information System); and eight databases on plant and animal species. Between 1974 and 1986 more than 200 technical guidelines and manuals were published by UNEP, in cooperation with UN bodies and other organizations. Subjects range across the entire spectrum of UNEPs concerns: soil, forest and water management, conservation, pest control, pollution monitoring, health and chemical safety, development planning, management of industry and hazardous wastes and intemational law. Print detailling all the publications from UNEP and its publishing partners, is available. The titles are arranged by interest sector and accompanied by informative summaries and details of suppliers. For more details, contact UNEP - PO Box 30551- Nairobi - KENYA or United Nations Publications- Palais Nations - 1211 Geneva 10 SWITZERLAND