Who we are

The United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.

Our mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations.

History
About the clean-up

The region of Ogoniland, in the Niger Delta of Nigeria, has suffered from widespread environmental contamination due to oil production spanning several decades. The average lifespan has fallen below the national average to roughly 40 years and many livelihoods have been critically compromised.

The United Nations Environment Programme assessed the extent and severity of the hydrocarbon contamination in its 2011 Environmental Assessment of Ogoniland: soil, sediment, groundwater, surface water, mangroves, and swamp ecosystems were particularly affected, and alarming public health impacts on the population were highlighted.

The United Nations Environment Programme evaluated that ecosystems remediation could take up to 30 years and recommended setting up a USD 1 billion fund for the first five years of remediation activities. The environmental restoration of Ogoniland could prove to be the world’s most wide-ranging and long-term oil clean-up exercise ever undertaken if contaminated drinking water, land, creeks, and important ecosystems such as mangroves are to be brought back to full, productive health.

The Federal Government of Nigeria has committed to follow the United Nations Environment Programme’s 2011 recommendations by creating the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project (HYPREP), a dedicated institution to manage the clean-up process under the oversight of the Federal Ministry of Environment.

With complex technical components in the clean-up process, HYPREP has requested technical support and capacity-building from the United Nations Environment Programme, due to its previous involvement in Ogoniland and its expertise in environmental remediation.

In December 2018, the United Nations Environment Programme began a project to assist HYPREP to manage the clean-up of oil contamination in Ogoniland. Designed in response to a request from the Government, this project comes as an integral part of the United Nations Environment Programme’s continuing support to the Government of Nigeria to clean up the environmental contamination in Nigeria and achieve lasting peace in the region.

The United Nations Environment Programme is providing the Government of Nigeria with technical support and expertise, so the Government can ensure the clean-up of Ogoniland. The United Nations Environment Programme was also asked to be present on both HYPREP’s Governing Council and Board of Trustees as an observer.

While the United Nations Environment Programme’s long-term goal is to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels to fight climate change, it is also recognized that oil and gas will remain part of the global energy mix in the foreseeable future. Therefore, the United Nations Environment Programme’s work in this sector is to mitigate environmental risks and ensure that the production of oil and gas does not impact local communities negatively and is done in a manner that is environmentally and socially acceptable.

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