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 (launch video).

The framework was used to produce the first synthesis report, which was launched in 2017. It was an important inter-agency milestone as it gauged the strategic alignment of 51 UN Member Agencies to Agenda 2030 and the UN SDGs. In 2018, at EMG SOM24, senior UN officials agreed to complement the triennial Synthesis Report with an annual Thematic Synthesis Report. Preparations for the first Thematic Synthesis Report, on the topic of biodiversity, are currently underway.

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