UN System-Wide framework of Strategies on the environment (SWFS)

Environmental issues, in particular those of global concern to the international community, are inherently multidimensional and the various subsets of environmental, economic and social issues and interests are interconnected. At the same time, however, individual institutions, including most of the bodies, funds, programmes and specialized agencies of the United Nations system, are each established with specific mandates and limited jurisdiction. As a result, policies and actions on environmental and environment-related matters within the UN system have often been handled in a manner independent from the decision-making processes and activities of other organizations dealing with the same or similar matters. Efforts are thus required to enable more effective coordination in the handling of environmental and environment-related matters within the UN system.

Against this background, the development of  UN System Wide Strategy on the Environment was proposed and supported by Member States and the United Nations Environment Assembly of UNEP in June 2014.

The UN system-wide strategy on the environment is intended to ensure the coherence of relevant policies and the effective coordination of the diverse services, activities and programmes provided by the UN system in the field of the environment. It is thus intended to strengthen the coordination and collaborative partnerships among UN system organizations in the field of the environment.

The UN system-wide strategy, as a framework of such collaborative partnerships, will:

  1. Set out a UN system-wide medium- and long-term vision in the field of the environment;
  2. Identify common and/or complementary policies and approaches concerning emerging and important environmental issues of global concern;
  3. Establish processes to coordinate the planning and execution of UN system activities supporting the implementation of internationally agreed environmental objectives and goals; and
  4. Suggest a mechanism for assessing the effectiveness of the UN system wide activities undertaken in the context of the Strategy

The UN system-wide strategy will encompass, draw on and serve as an umbrella for a number of sub-strategies pertaining to specific thematic issues, some of which may already exist under the leadership of a specific UN body or specialized agency. It will therefore help the UN system organizations to address duplication and overlaps in environment-related activities and optimize the use of available resources.

The process for the preparation of the UN system-wide strategy will be led by UNEP in collaboration with the relevant UN system organizations. The Environment Management Group (EMG) will provide a platform for consultation among those UN system organizations.