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The United Nations Environment Program

“Helping the Poor, Helping Earth”
A Review by Aung Myat

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) coordinates the environmental activities and assisting developing countries implement environmentally sound policies. Its headquarters are in Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya and also have various offices in six regions around the world.

It recently played an integral role in making environmental conventions to promote environmental science and how to make it implement well with governmental policies. They work closely with national governments and Non-Government Organizations (NGO). It is currently headed by Executive Director Achim Steiner who was nominated by Kofi Annan.

In 2007, the UNEP declared an International Year of the Dolphin working with the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. The UN works with all sides of the environment. Their biodiversity chapter works with both flora and fauna. They work on the genetic level all the way up to the ecosystems. This is very important as the third world family who live in low agricultural production relies heavily on the genetic diversity of the environment. They work against any human activities that work faster than the natural background of extinction.

The UNEP has a particularly interesting chapter of note: their Poverty and Environment chapter. The objectives of this chapter are to work for Millennium Development Goals (MDG). This means that they work with poor families who cannot proportionately depend on the natural resources because they do not have the financial clout. This undermines the management of items such as wood from forests that can provide shelter. The chapter has a partnership with the Poverty and Environment Initiative (PEI). They increase the capacity of third world countries to attain environmental sustainability. These third world countries include Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The central objective is national development strategies, using poverty reduction strategy papers and MDG implementation. They secure the national budget to the allocation of funds that go toward the environment and the long term capacity of governments put into effect the designs and plans. Lastly, they promote the awareness of poverty-environment and its links. They are the ones that put to light the families that are affected by it and publish how this effects our environment.

Future overviews of the chapter and the UNEP are for the millennium. The environment is facing eminent crisis, that is undeniable, and those who take the initiative like the UNEP deserve our support. We as a global family need to support one another and for the families of the third world the environment should not even be a great issue considering how much poverty they are under. But the fact is that poverty links to poverty and we must be aware.

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