United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA)

1st UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), 24 June 2014, Nairobi, Kenya (Photo source: IISD)

The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) is a result of the call made by world leaders at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), held in Brazil in June 2012, to strengthen and upgrade the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Currently, it serves as the world's highest leading environmental authority for the global environmental agenda.

The first UNEA was held in 23-27 June 2014 in Nairobi Kenya, and was attended by over 1,065 participants, including 163 Member States and 113 Ministers. During the assembly, calls for international action on major environmental issues were made, including combating illegal wildlife trade, plastic debris in the oceans, chemicals, waste and air pollution. 
Focal Office:
DENR Central Office
First assembly held last 23-27 June 2014
Focal Persons:
Permanent Representative to UNEA
       Department of Environment and Natural Resources
       Tel. Nos. - (632) 925 2327 / 926 2672

Alternate Representative
       Undersecretary for International Affairs and Foreign Assisted Programs
       Department of Environment and Natural Resources
       Tel. Nos. - (632) 928 1186
During the first UNEA, Ministers and Heads of Delegation commit to ensure the full integration of the environmental dimension, especially throughout the sustainable development agenda; promote sustainable consumption and production patterns; prevent, combat and eradicate the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products; address climate change; halt biodiversity loss and combat desertification; and ensure the full implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements and other international and regional environmental commitments.

The second UNEA expanded the scope of the envrionmental development agenda to include environmental education, foodwaste reduction and sand and dust storms. From the 10 previous resolutions, UNEA-2 adopted 25 resolutions which included administrative matters and technical concerns. These resolutions serve as guidelines in implementing national environmental policies and programs.

Recent resolutions adopted by the Assembly include:

1. Amendments to the rules of procedure
2. Role and functions of the regional forums of ministers of environment and environment authorities
3. Investing in human capacity for sustainable development through environmental education and training
4. Role, functions and modalities for UNEP implementation of the SAMOA Pathway as a means of facilitating achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals
5. Delivering on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
6. Supporting the Paris Agreement
7. Sound management of chemicals and waste
8. Sustainable consumption and production
9. Prevention, reduction and reuse of food waste
10. Oceans and seas
11. Marine plastic litter and micro-plastics
12. Sustainable coral reefs management
13. Sustainable management of natural capital for sustainable development and poverty eradication
14. Illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products
15. Protection of the environment in areas affected by armed conflict
16. Mainstreaming of biodiversity for well-being
17. Enhancing the work of UNEP in facilitating cooperation, collaboration and synergies among biodiversity- related conventions
18. Relationship between UNEP and the multilateral environmental agreements for which it provides the secretariat
19. Midterm review of the Programme for the Development and Periodic Review of Environment Law (Montevideo Programme IV)
20. Proposed medium-term strategy for 2018-2021 and programme of work and budget for 2018-2019
21. Sand and dust storms
22. Review of the cycle of sessions of UNEA of UNEP
23. Management of trust funds and earmarked contributions
24. Combating desertification, land degradation and drought and promoting sustainable pastoralism and rangelands
25. Application of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development in the Latin America and Caribbean Region
Sources / Relevant Links:


UNEA-2 builds on the commitments, resolutions, and the Ministerial-level statement drafted during the first UNEA. It also draws influence for its from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which was adopted last September 2015. During UNEA-2, Ministers and Heads of Delegation reviewed the UNEP's Medium-Term Strategy for 2018-2021 which provides the framework for crafting the environmental agenda, as well as the programme of work and budget for 2018-2019. During the 2nd UNEA, former DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje was elected to serve as one of the two Vice Presidents for Asia and the Pacific in the UNEA Bureau.

As part of UNEA, the Philippines contributes to the review of the draft UNEP Medium-Term Strategy (MTS) for 2018-2021. The MTS will act as a guide for UNEP to support governments in dealing with environmental issues. This includes outcome maps, which enable UNEP to identify milestones for 2030 goals.
This Page was updated on 19 December 2016 and will be updated on 20 March 2017
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