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.
In 2006, UN Environment received a formal request from the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to carry out a comprehensive environmental assessment of oil-impacted sites in the region of Ogoniland, and to recommend suitable remediation actions based on the findings.
Recognizing the human and environmental tragedy associated with oil contamination in the Ogoni region – where oil exploration and production began in the 1950s – the United Nations Environment Programme responded to the Government of Nigeria’s request and conducted an independent assessment of the environmental and public health impacts of oil contamination in Ogoniland, in the Niger Delta, with the agreement and support of Ogoni communities, the Rivers State Government and other partners.
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 Government of Nigeria 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.
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.