Man holding a fish


With its decades of rapid economic growth, China has become the world’s second-largest economy; yet it has also become the world’s largest energy producer and consumer. With its heavy dependence on fossil fuels, China is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases and has been severely affected by high levels of air pollution. China has recognised the increasingly urgent need to safeguard its environment and has carried forward this focus into its 14th Five year plan, most notably through its commitment to peaking CO2 emissions before 2030 and to achieve net zero before 2060. 

UNDP works with key stakeholders in China, including the government, private sector and the public, to address environmental challenges in the country in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and China’s 14th Five-Year Plan, by supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy, while protecting biodiversity. 

We also assist in the fulfilment of China’s commitments towards multilateral environmental agreements. In this regard, the Country Office has established portfolios across diverse areas including Biodiversity Conservation; Climate Change Mitigation; the Montreal Protocol; Chemicals and POPs Management; Alternative Livelihoods & Renewable Energy; along with the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme. 


In Depth 


Climate Change Mitigation 

To improve China’s adherence towards the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and its Kyoto Protocol, UNDP collaborates with government ministries, local counterparts and related associations to promote energy efficient practices in industries including lighting, buildings, logistics and motors, by establishing technical standards and adjusting institutional arrangements. We also help to build capacities and establish demonstration projects to reduce GHG emissions in China, as well as mitigate climate change. 


Biodiversity Conservation 

In line with the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, UNDP cooperates with central government ministries as well as local governments in more than 20 provinces to protect China’s biodiversity and ecosystems. Our work includes the implementation of biodiversity and ecosystem conservation projects, ranging from protecting wetlands, to preserving wildlife habitats. We provide technical assistance and share international experiences to help inform policies and legal reform. We also provide capacity-building, promote public awareness and establish pilot projects to strengthen biodiversity and ecosystems in China. 


Montreal Protocol, Chemicals and POPs Management 

To better protect the ozone layer, UNDP has been working with the Foreign Economic Cooperation Office Ministry of Environmental Protection (FECO/MEP) in phasing out Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) in compliance with the Montreal Protocol. UNDP is the lead agency for HCFCs (Hydro chlorofluorocarbons) phase-out plans in the Industrial and Commercial Refrigeration and Air-conditioning (ICR) as well as Solvent sectors. We also assist in curbing the release of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), by establishing policies and regulations, as well as introducing and demonstrating innovative industrial practices. 


Alternative Livelihoods and Renewable Energy 

Together with government partners, the private sector and civil society, UNDP works to demonstrate sustainable ways to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable groups, while restoring local ecosystems, by showcasing sustainable farming and water resources management practices.  

At the same time, UNDP also promotes the development and wider adoption of renewable energy. This also helps to support targeted poverty alleviation, by enabling clean, affordable energy for all, as well as creating sustainable rural jobs in installing green energy. 

To mitigate climate change, UNDP China has also been engaged for over a decade in promoting the commercialisation of fuel cell vehicle technology. Following these efforts, an innovative umbrella programme, China Hydrogen Economy Pilots, has been developed, facilitating contributing to China’s shift to a sustainable, low-carbon society. 


Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP) 

The Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (SGP) implemented by UNDP aims to support “the creation of global environmental benefits and safeguarding the global environment through community-based initiatives and actions.” This includes providing financial and technical support to communities and civil society organisations (CSOs) for Biodiversity Conservation, Climate Change Mitigation, Land Degradation, along with International Waters and Chemical management at the local level. 

The programme works on reaching the poorest and most vulnerable communities, as well as empowering local NGOs/CSOs to participate in global environmental issues and civil society development in China. It also helps NGOs/CSOs to develop their capacity for natural resources management and sustainable livelihoods.