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The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is an international institution (a programme, rather than an agency of the UN) that coordinates United Nations environmental activities, assisting developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and practices. It was founded as a result of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in June 1972 and has its headquarters in the Gigiri neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya. UNEP also has six regional offices and various country offices.
Its activities cover a wide range of issues regarding the atmosphere, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, environmental governance and green economy. It has played a significant role in developing international environmental conventions, promoting environmental science and information and illustrating the way those can be implemented in conjunction with policy, working on the development and implementation of policy with national governments, regional institutions in conjunction with environmental Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). UNEP has also been active in funding and implementing environment related development projects.
UNEP has aided in the formulation of guidelines and treaties on issues such as the international trade in potentially harmful chemicals, transboundary air pollution, and contamination of international waterways.
The World Meteorological Organization and UNEP established the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988. UNEP is also one of several Implementing Agencies for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol, and it is also a member of the United Nations Development Group. The International Cyanide Management Code, a program of best practice for the chemical’s use at gold mining operations, was developed under UNEP’s aegis.