Environment – UN News Centre

A world of news from the world organization

Shrinking forests need bold action to safeguard their biodiversity

Amidst alarming rates of deforestation and land degradation, urgent action is needed to safeguard the biodiversity of the world's forests, according to a new United Nations report, released on Friday.

Build back better and preserve biodiversity after COVID-19 pandemic: UN chief

Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic must also lead to countries uniting to preserve the natural world, in line with global commitments to achieve a better future for all people and the planet, top officials with the United Nations said on Friday, the International Day for Biological Diversity.

FROM THE FIELD: Nature ‘strongest ally’ to building sustainable planet

Nature is humankind’s ‘strongest ally’ to help build a sustainable planet, according to a Malaysian biodiversity expert, whose organization is supported by the UN Development Programme, (UNDP).

Cultivating a taste for traditional crops in Hawaii

Hundreds of millions of people go hungry around the world, and there are fears the COVID-19 pandemic could make matters worse. In Hawaii, researchers think that bringing back overlooked, traditional crops, could help feed many vulnerable people. As part of an ongoing series focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals and ahead of International Day of Biodiversity marked annually on 22 May, UN News travelled to Hawaii with the International Labour Organization (ILO) to see how researchers are trying to cultivate a taste for indigenous crops.  

Deadly gas leak in India, grim wake-up call for global chemical industry: UN rights expert

Last week’s deadly toxic gas leak at a Korean-owned polymer plant in south-eastern India, is a grim wake up call for the chemical industry to acknowledge and fulfil its responsibility to respect human rights, the UN independent expert who monitors the issue, said on Thursday.

UN sustainable energy project in Ukraine finds a new role: fighting COVID-19

A United Nations project to promote energy efficiency among Ukrainian homeowners has found a second life – informing 1.8 million of the nation’s citizens on how to combat the COVID-19 virus.

Moving towards 100% renewable power in Hawaii (with a little help from sheep)

The US island state of Hawaii has committed to generating 100 per cent of its power using renewable energy by 2045, demonstrating to other US states and island communities across the world, that sustainable energy can be a reality. UN News travelled to Hawaii with the International Labour Organization (ILO) to talk to a power company executive and a sheep farmer to find out how they are contributing to that goal.

FROM THE FIELD: Women act as ‘agents of change’ in climate emergency

Women around the world can act as “agents of change” and find solutions to the challenges provoked by the global climate crisis, according to the UN’s specialized gender agency, UN Women.  

Parallel threats of COVID-19, climate change, require ‘brave, visionary and collaborative leadership’: UN chief

To combat the COVID-19 pandemic and the “looming existential threat of climate disruption”, the only credible response is “brave, visionary and collaborative leadership” anchored in mutilateralism, the UN Secretary General António Guterres, said on Tuesday, during an international discussion focused on climate change.

Fall in COVID-linked carbon emissions won’t halt climate change - UN weather agency chief

An expected drop in greenhouse gas emissions linked to the global economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is only “short-term good news”, the head of the UN weather agency said on Wednesday. 

COVID-19 pandemic, an ‘unprecedented wake-up call’ for all inhabitants of Mother Earth

In his message for International Mother Earth Day this Wednesday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres acknowledged that all eyes are on the COVID-19 pandemic, which he flagged as “an unprecedented wake-up call”

Guterres vows support for island States in twin fight against COVID-19, climate crisis

In an era of new challenges wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, Secretary-General António Guterres is pledging the UN’s continued support to small island States – longtime leaders in the global fight against the devastating impacts of climate change.

FROM THE FIELD: ‘Green practices’ boost blue economy

The introduction of “green” or sustainable practices supported by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is helping the “blue economy” of an Indian Ocean archipelago to thrive.

First Person: COVID-19 is not a silver lining for the climate, says UN Environment chief

Greenhouse gas emissions are down and air quality has gone up, as governments react to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Inger Andersen, has cautioned against viewing this as a boon for the environment. In this First Person editorial, Ms. Andersen calls instead for a profound, systemic shift to a more sustainable economy that works for both people and the planet.

Key COP26 climate summit postponed to ‘safeguard lives’

With no end in sight to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the UN climate change talks which were due to take place in Scotland later in the year, have been postponed until next year.

COVID-19 effect casts cloud over weather alert accuracy: UN sky watchers

UN weather experts warned on Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic risks disrupting key forecasting services, including early warning alerts around the world.

First Person: Humankind’s ‘modern mentality to tame’ the environment: A volcanologist’s view

The 17 goals agreed by the global community to reduce poverty and create a sustainable planet are the responsibility of all people, wherever they are in the world, according to the United Nations. The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs represent a boundary-pushing blueprint for the future of the Earth and it’s anticipated they will be realized by 2030. UN News joined the International Labour Organization on a visit to Hawaii where many people are already living or studying aspects of the goals in their everyday work.

‘Count every drop, every drop counts’: UN weather agency calls for better water data on World Meteorological Day

Floods, extreme rainfall, droughts and melting glaciers…many of the major signs of climate change involve water. On this year’s World Meteorological Day, the UN weather agency (WMO) is reinforcing the message of World Water Day, by focusing on the links between climate and water, and calling for better water-related data.

World Water Day: Often overlooked, water resources are essential part of solution to climate change

On World Water Day, the United Nations launched a flagship report which says that reducing both the impacts and drivers of climate change will require major shifts in the way we use and reuse the Earth’s limited water resources. 

Turn around deforestation in 2020, the ‘Nature Super Year’, says Guterres

On the International Day of Forests, which falls on Saturday, UN chief António Guterres is calling for 2020, which has been referred to as a “nature super year”, to be the year that the world turns the tide on deforestation and forestry loss.

FIRST PERSON: The ‘inseparable bond’ between Hawaiian culture and native plants

The 17 goals agreed by the global community to reduce poverty and create a sustainable planet are the responsibility of all people, wherever they are in the world, according to the United Nations. The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs represent a boundary-pushing blueprint for the future of the Earth and it’s anticipated they will be realized by 2030. UN News joined the International Labour Organization on a visit to Hawaii where many people are already living aspects of the goals in their everyday work.

Blueprint launched to manage Earth’s fragile peatland carbon sinks

A blueprint for how countries can keep carbon in fragile land-based carbon sinks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has been unveiled by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). 

New report from UN Economic Commission for Europe measures progress on Global Goals

As all eyes, hearts and minds focus on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) garnered attention on Tuesday when a new UN report revealed that only ten countries in the European region have levels of air pollution below the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended limit. 

Many Mozambicans still struggling to get back on their feet, one year after cyclone

Many of the people who lost everything when Cyclone Idai swept through central Mozambique a year ago, continue to face devastating hardship, the UN food relief agency said on Friday.

Climate change: educating students to fight the crisis

With the latest UN climate report containing worrying evidence that climate change is having a major effect on all aspects of the environment, how can teachers help children and adults to sort through the growing mass of information, avoid being overwhelmed, and come to an understanding of the challenges, and potential solutions, to what the UN Secretary-General has called “an existential crisis”?

Flagship UN study shows accelerating climate change on land, sea and in the atmosphere

A wide-ranging UN climate report, released on Tuesday, shows that climate change is having a major effect on all aspects of the environment, as well as on the health and wellbeing of the global population.

Warmer months ahead for many parts of the planet: UN weather agency

Many parts of the world can expect above average temperatures in the coming months even without the presence of an El Niño event to drive warming, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Monday. 

More funding needed to combat locust swarms ‘unprecedented in modern times’

Along with climate shocks, conflict and acute food insecurity, the East Africa region now faces a hunger threat from desert locusts, top UN relief officials warned on Tuesday, saying action now, will avert a major food crisis later.  

UN deputy chief see first-hand toll of climate change on Zimbabwe’s natural habitat

Alongside the human population, Africa’s animals are suffering greatly from the effects of climate change, which United Nations Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed saw first-hand on Sunday in Zimbabwe.

Ten new migratory species protected under global wildlife agreement

Asian elephants, jaguars and great Indian bustards were among 10 new species added to a global wildlife agreement on Saturday.