On behalf of its partners, UNOPS helps communities become more climate-resilient, share limited resources, benefit from sustainable energy, protect threatened species and address the environmental consequences of natural disasters or conflict.
|A fisherman in the Seychelles whose livelihood is being protected by the resource conservation activities of a GEF-funded project, supported by UNOPS. Photo: UNOPS/James Stapley|
UNOPS fourth contribution goal focuses on projects which have a primary goal of preserving environmental sustainability or adapting to climate change. Projects with a different focus, but which include elements of sustainability, are covered in our cross-cutting concerns.
Managing international waters
UNOPS is able to provide support when the cross-border nature of environmental issues necessitates coordinated international action. For example, UNOPS is executing more than 30 projects that focus on transboundary water systems. These are funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) at the request of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other GEF-implementing organizations, such as the World Bank.
The projects in our international waters portfolio help countries work together and share knowledge to fight ecological stress, such as that caused by overfishing and industrial pollution. In 2011, UNOPS helped finalize two strategic action programmes and implement 65 demonstration projects in this area, including one to improve the sustainable management of the Caspian Sea through strengthened regional governance.
Supporting small grants
UNOPS is the implementing partner for the UNDP-GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP), which channels money to non-governmental and community-based organizations to help them address climate change, conserve biodiversity, protect international waters, reduce the impact of persistent organic pollutants and prevent land degradation.
In 2011, UNOPS provided administrative and financial management for about 4,000 such projects in more than 120 countries. These included a women’s initiative to mitigate desertification by planting trees in Mongolia, and the protection of chimpanzees through woodland conservation in southern Mali. In Nigeria, rural communities used small grants to enhance sustainable fuel production, reducing pollution, creating jobs and boosting the local economy. The project won an internationally-recognized SEED award for its role in helping grass-roots organizations tackle sustainable development challenges.
Developing environmental capacity
UNOPS helps build the capacity of local stakeholders to manage ecosystems and natural resources. In 2011, this included training almost 295,000 people in environment-related topics, mostly in support of community-based initiatives to adapt to climate change on behalf of UNDP. Separately, we organized hundreds of workshops on behalf of our partners, including 57 on climate change and 94 on sustainable water resource management.
Research and planning
Partners rely on UNOPS to produce reports, such as designs for future environmental initiatives. For example, in 2011 we produced a coastal modelling report on flood mitigation measures in Fares-Mathoda Island in the Maldives, on behalf of UNDP.
UNOPS has also supported almost 200 scientific research projects, including conflict-mapping for a UNDP initiative for the sustainable management of native livestock species in West Africa.
In addition, we have helped countries create dozens of development plans, including a management plan for Manda National Park in Chad, on behalf of UNDP.
High-level meetings constitute a tool for building consensus on environmental issues, and UNOPS supports a number of such events, for example organizing a conference on behalf of the Environment and Security Initiative. This United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) project will help decision-makers promote peace and protect the environment at the same time.