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 Environment and Sustainable Development
 Programme (ESD)





About ESD

Mission and Roles of ESD Programme

The Environment and Sustainable Development (ESD) Programme of United Nations University focuses on the interactions between human activities and the natural environment and their implications for sustainable human development. The basic issues of human survival, development and welfare are at the core of the themes covered within the realm of the ESD Programme. In implementing its activities, the ESD Programme makes special efforts to include global perspectives as well as from the countries with economies in transition. Networking and capacity development, particularly in the developing countries, are given high priority.

ESD Thematic areas;
Management of Fragile Ecosystems,
Water Crises,
Sustainable Urbanization,
Environmental Governance and Information,
Holistic View of Environmental Transitions.

In 2004, to contribute to diverse and dynamic environmental challenges, ESD added a new thematic cluster entitled Holistic View of Environmental Transitions.

To achieve its objectives, the Programme has worked on diverse environmental challenges by using global networking, since partnerships would allow us to contribute widely to global issues. A holistic view, it adopts a multidisciplinary approach combining natural and social sciences, one of ESD's strengths and characteristics. ESD projects cover diverse and complex thematic areas, aiming to further evolve and create new ideas.

What is the ESD Programme?

The Programme is an organizational unit of the UNU system. The ESD Programme, one of UNU's two programme areas, aims to contribute to global environmental challenges. Our activities are carried out on a project basis and many projects are implemented by Programme Officers and other staff. The Global Environment Information Centre (GEIC) and Zero Emissions Forum (ZEF) is part of the ESD Programme, and their projects are run by their own staff.

Brochure: The ESD Programme at UNU Centre (PDF, 101KB) coming


Global Environment Information Centre (GEIC)

The Global Environment Information Centre (GEIC) was established in 1996 as a joint initiative of the United Nations University (UNU) and the Japanese Ministry of the Environment (MoE). The objective of GEIC is to support the involvement of major groups identified in the United Nations' Agenda 21 in the implementation of sustainable development. Aside from its main goal of increasing networking and partnerships towards sustainable development, it also undertakes specific activities and research at the national level (Japan) and internationally. The UNU and the MoE work to utilize each other's comparative advantages and strengths in designing and implementing the GEIC programme. The MoE's national environmental networks, and UNU's ability to network globally and link with the UN system are representative of these strengths.

GEIC website


Zero Emissions Forum (ZEF)

The Zero Emissions Forum is a United Nations University-based initiative launched in 1994 and aims the realization of a more sustainable industrial-societal system.

ZEF website




9 May 2007

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