Perrier Nature Reserve, Mauritius


Environmental governance

Bolstering inclusive and effective governance systems that champion environmental justice and sustainability

Strengthening environmental governance

The global community faces intertwined crises, from poverty and inequalities to environmental challenges such as biodiversity loss and climate change. Governance systems are strained, with marginalized groups often excluded from decision-making.  

In many countries, political and social institutions are not meeting the immediate or longer-term needs of their populations in ways that support inclusion, equality, social cohesion, and trust in governance systems. Marginalized and vulnerable groups suffer persistently low levels of representation and participation in public institutions and decision-making processes. The voice and agency of marginalized groups to participate politically and exercise full citizenship are often repressed. Environmental human rights defenders are facing restrictions on freedom of speech, association, and the freedom of information. There is severe social and political polarization in many countries, fueled by information pollution and the lack of independent media.   

Shortcomings in global, regional, national, and local systems of environmental governance are exacerbating the ´triple planetary crisis’ of biodiversity loss and environmental degradation, pollution, and climate change.  

However, current initiatives and novel strategies for environmental governance offer hope.

Enhancing environmental justice and sustainability

UNDP is facilitating stakeholder engagement in international policy processes, ensuring environmental targets align with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Biodiversity Framework. Additionally, UNDP supports legal reforms to enhance environmental policies globally. 

By 2030, UNDP aims to operationalize the right to a sustainable environment in over 50 developing countries. We’re also championing the implementation of environmental agreements, with initiatives such as the UNDP Nature Pledge and Climate Promise targeting transformative change. 

VISION: By 2030, environmental governance systems at all levels will: 

  • Be more effective, inclusive, and accountable. 
  • Better reflect, protect, and uphold justice, human rights and good governance principles and contribute to a renewed social contract for sustainable development.   
  • Contribute to the achievement of the Multilateral Environmental Agreements and 2030 Agenda through a just green transition that leaves no one behind.   


  • Support governments, businesses, and civil society to strengthen inclusive, accountable, and effective governance systems that enable environmental justice, human rights, and sustainability for current and future generations. 
  • Strengthen institutional, policy and regulatory frameworks at all governance levels to catalyse systemic transformational change for more inclusive, equitable and sustainable development. 
  • Halt and reverse negative environmental trends through a just, green inclusive recovery and transition.   


To achieve the above vision and goals, UNDP has declared its commitment to the following moonshots by 2030:   

  • The right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment established in over 50 developing countries.   
  • The goals and targets of the Paris Agreement, the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Global Biodiversity Framework, and other Multilateral Environmental Agreements achieved through support for the full and integrated implementation of NDCs, NAPs, NBSAPS, and linked policy frameworks in over 50 developing countries, including UNDP initiatives such as the UNDP Nature Pledge and Climate Promise.   
  • 100 million USD catalysed to achieve these goals and moonshots by 2030. 


The right to a clean, healthy, & sustainable environment established in 50+ countries

100 million

100 million USD catalysed to achieve these environmental governance goals


Countries successfully reaching biodiversity targets

How we'll get there  

  • Strengthening Global, Regional, and Transboundary Frameworks of Environmental Governance
  • Leveraging UNDP experience in constitutional and legal reform, implementation, and enforcement of national environmental legal and policy frameworks  
  • Strengthening national implementation of the Right to a Healthy Environment and other human rights-based approaches  
  • Strengthening national and subnational people-centered institutions for environmental governance 
  • Creating incentives and approaches to engage the private sector, civil society, and other stakeholders
  • Strengthening links between peace, conflict, environmental protection, and development, addressing shortcomings and opportunities in peacebuilding, conflict prevention, mitigation, and recovery
  • Promoting whole of government and whole-of-society approaches for a just green transition 


To achieve these goals, sustained meaningful collaboration is needed within and across the UN system, governments, civil society, National Human Rights Institutions and ombudspersons, academia, and private sector entities at all levels.