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Environmental Sustainability Management

The UN’s journey towards climate neutrality began on 5 June 2007 when UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon publicly called on all UN agencies, funds and programmes to ‘go green’ and become climate neutral. At the October 2007 meeting of the Chief Executives Board (CEB), the Executive Heads of UN agencies, funds and programmes committed to move their respective organisations towards climate neutrality.

At the Rio+20 Conference in 2012, Member States requested that the UN improve management of facilities and operations, by taking into account sustainable development practices (The Future We Want, para. 96). A year later, the CEB, chaired by the Secretary-General, committed to implement Environmental Management Systems (EMS) in each organization, through a gradual, voluntary and flexible process, focusing on low-investment and high-return initiatives. In addition, they committed to mainstream EMS in programming and planning processes.

In 2015, Heads of UN system organisations committed to reach climate neutrality by 2020 through a combination of emission reduction initiatives and purchase of offsets, and adopted the UN Roadmap towards Climate Neutrality by 2020. Such efforts are reported in the annual ‘Greening the Blue Report‘.