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 a UN System Wide Framework of Strategies on the Environment (SWFS) was proposed and supported by Member States and the United Nations Environment Assembly of UNEP in June 2014.

The (SWFS) was prepared by the UN Environment Management Group (EMG) as a collaborative framework to achieve greater synergy, collaboration and coherence in the UN system’s work on the environment to support Member States in the delivery of the environmental dimension of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The Framework was endorsed by the Senior Officials of the EMG on 30 March 2016, and launched at the second session of UNEA on May 25th, 2016 in Nairobi.

The SWFS has two main, mutually reinforcing objectives:

  • Objective 1:

Enhance cooperation and collaboration across the UN system on environment in support of implementing the 2030 Agenda, by identifying the steps taken by individual UN organizations to deepen the consistency of their strategies and activities with the 2030 Agenda, in support of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, as well as by facilitating a structured and timely exchange of relevant knowledge and information.

  • Objective 2:

Strengthen the UN systems’ capacity and synergies to enhance integration of the environment dimension of the 2030 Agenda by, inter alia, drawing on the experiences of others, exchanging good policy and practice, leveraging the research and data systems of UN system entities, and identifying new opportunities for cooperation.

Following the launch of the SWFS, a plan of action to follow up and implement the Framework as well as an outline of the SWFS Synthesis Report was shared with the Consultative Process for its consideration.

In November 2016, the first SWFS survey was launched to gather information on EMG Member Agencies’ support and contributions to the implementation of the environmental dimensions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Information gathered with the help of the survey will be analysed and compiled into the first in a series of annual Synthesis Reports, that will serve as one of the main vehicles for implementation of the SWFS.

A Zero Draft of the first Synthesis Report is expected to be shared with EMG Members in spring 2017.