UCL Global


UCL and UN Environment Programme join forces to drive sustainability

4 June 2020

Ahead of World Environment Day, UCL has announced a new collaboration with UNEP to help achieve a sustainable world in a generation

World environment day concept showing two hands holding tree and earth globe

Professor Paul Ekins, Director of UCL's Institute for Sustainable Resources, will collaborate with UNEP colleagues on a range of activities focused on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This includes a global analysis to understand gaps and opportunities in using nature-based action to achieve the SDGs.

Their findings will be published ahead of the 5th UN Environment Assembly and the Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

To get the business community behind transformative environmental policy, they are launching a series of briefings and seminars focusing on key issues such as decarbonisation, electrification, the food system and finance.

Paul was co-chair of UNEP’s sixth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6) report, which calls on decision makers to take immediate action to address pressing environmental issues.

As part of the new collaboration between UCL The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources (BSEER) and UNEP’s Science Division, he is now co-chair of its “GEO for Business” workstream.

The first GEO for Business brief sets the agenda for a positive response of business to the stark messages of GEO-6 and will be launched at the Oslo Act #ForNature Global Online Forum on 8 June 2020. Confirmed speakers include government ministers and a follow-up seminar organised by UCL will take place later in the month.

A further five briefs on key business-relevant topics will follow, culminating in the launch of the final brief at the 2021 World Economic Forum.

The collaboration between UNEP and UCL will help measure progress towards achieving environmentally sustainable development. The teams will use big data to design innovative measurement tools and better track the environmental ‘sustainability gap’ for specific countries.

Paul said: “This collaboration underlines UCL’s commitment through its work to address global grand challenges. Environmental sustainability is one of the most pressing of these, and it is my hope that mainstreaming this in both business practice and measures of human progress will bring societies closer to a more positive relationship with nature.”

Jian Liu, Director of UNEP’s Science Division, added: “The GEO-6 is a flagship publication of UNEP. The scientific realities detailed in the report are not yet adequately reflected either in business plans, or in government policies for sustainable development. I am very pleased to see that the science community has started working with businesses and policy makers to respond to the pressing environmental challenges identified in the report.”

UNEP is the leading global environmental authority, with a mission to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring nations to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

With its first edition published in 1997, UNEP’s six Global Environment Outlook reports bring together scientists, peer reviewers and collaborating institutions and partners worldwide.

Built on sound scientific knowledge, they provide governments, local authorities, businesses and individual citizens with the information needed to guide societies to a sustainable world by 2050.

GEO-6 outlines the current state of the environment, illustrates possible future environmental trends and analyses the effectiveness of policies.

The Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources (BSEER) is home to UCL's specialist Institutes in Energy, Environment, Resources and Heritage.

Further information

Oslo Act For Nature: https://www.unenvironment.org/events/un-day/act-fornature-global-online-forum-support-actions-nature-achieve-sustainable

Find out more about the GEO-6 report: https://www.unenvironment.org/resources/global-environment-outlook-6

More news from BSEER: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/bartlett/bartlett-school-environment-energy-and-resources

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