UNEP-WCMC is at heart a partnership organization. As a branch of UNEP’s Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI), we work in an integrated way with partners throughout UNEP’s seven divisions, as well as the other parts of the UNEP family, including the regional and national offices, UNEP-administered conventions and other collaborating centres.
Outside UNEP, our partners include UN agencies and other inter-governmental organizations, national governments, secretariats of multilateral environmental agreements, international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the private sector, and academic and research institutions. Many of our partnerships have thrived for more than thirty years.
Convening and facilitating international partnerships and meetings is an important part of our work. We also act as the secretariat for several initiatives, including the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership and the Sub-Global Assessment Network. Through our convening work, our partners have the opportunity to share skills and knowledge with each other.
To ensure that our work is both sustainable and equitable, we seek to exchange experiences and build the capacity of partners wherever we can, strengthening the skills and competencies needed to develop and implement effective biodiversity conservation interventions at global, regional and national scales.
We work with many international organizations, including other UN agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. We collaborate with the secretariats of all the biodiversity-related multilateral environmental agreements. We also work closely with regional intergovernmental bodies such as the European Environment Agency. One of our most important international partners is the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and we undertake a wide range of joint initiatives and projects with the IUCN Secretariat, its members and commissions.
We help national governments in both the developing and developed worlds to improve their environmental management, assessment and reporting, and to meet their obligations under the multilateral environmental agreements to which they are signatories. We collaborate with many national agencies that are involved in biodiversity assessment, and the management of protected areas and other natural resources. This work is often based on sharing data and experiences.
We partner with a range of research institutions across the world, and have close links and joint projects with many universities. This complements our skills at the science–policy interface with in-depth research. We are a founder partner of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, a unique collaboration between the University of Cambridge and eight other leading, internationally focused biodiversity conservation organizations located in and around Cambridge, UK. We also provide internships and placements for undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD students, and we offer honorary fellowships to support the work of senior academics.
We support the development of global business initiatives, standards and codes of practice that guide private companies in their management of biodiversity. We work with business partnerships to help them understand, assess and manage biodiversity, and with individual companies to assist them in implementing good practices that minimize the impacts of their operations.
Whether at the local, national or international scale, the biodiversity sector hosts a multitude of expert and active NGOs. Our work brings us into collaborative arrangements with dozens of these, usually around specific projects. NGOs provide us with advice and guidance, data and information, and practical assistance, while we in turn often contribute expertise, training, funding and access to international processes.
In recent years we have worked more closely with major foundations from various parts of the world. Sometimes foundations help fund a mutually interesting aspect of our work, and we also collaborate on important policy issues, bringing our relative strengths to bear in a coordinated way.