UN in Nairobi
The Finnish embassy in Nairobi also functions as the permanent mission of Finland to the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), whose headquarters are located in Nairobi.
The Finnish embassy in Nairobi pursues Finnish policy goals and promotes a positive image of Finland within the United Nations. In addition to taking part in different meetings and negotiations, Finnish representatives seek to influence new initiatives already during the preparative phase. To carry out these duties successfully they maintain a wide network of partners and cultivate good relations with other actors.
Finland pursues its goals both nationally and through the European Union. In several fields there is also cooperation between the Nordic countries.
The permanent mission submits information and analyses on discussions within UNEP and UN-Habitat to the political and administrative leadership in Finland. Due to the global reach of the UN, the mission is also able to gather information on countries and regions in which there is no direct diplomatic representation from Finland.
International environmental cooperation within the framework of the United Nations dates back to 1972 and the Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm. The Conference approved a long-term environmental action programme, leading to the establishment of UNEP, which was assigned the task of catalyzing and coordinating UN environmental action both towards different fields of action and internally within the UN system itself. The Stockholm Conference also resulted in the convening of a UN Conference on Human Settlements in Vancouver in 1976, which in turn lead to the establishment of UNCHS-Habitat in 1978. From 2013 onwards, the new decision-making body of UNEP is United Nations Environment Assembly (UN Environment), which convenes in Nairobi at the high level every years. All United Nations member states are by default members of UNEA. The first UNEA convened in June 2014.
UN Environment plays a crucial role in the work aimed at solving global environmental problems and has helped in negotiating several international conventions on a variety of issues, such as ozone, biodiversity and protection of seas. Finland has been an active supporter of the preparation and implementation of these conventions. Finland has also provided UNEP with expert assistance for assessing and monitoring the state of the environment.
The seven cross-cutting thematic priorities of UNEP are climate change, disasters and conflicts, ecosystem management, environmental governance, harmful substances and hazardous waste, resource efficiency - sustainable consumption and production and environment under review.
Finland stresses the importance of UNEP as the Coordinator of UN environmental activities, whose task is to identify and monitor environmental developments and come up with plans to tackle and prevent environmental problems. In Finland’s view, UNEP's role within the UN system should be further strengthened. Finland would like to see a system that can deal with environmental matters and sustainable development with optimum efficiency.
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) was founded in Vancouver in 1976 as a result of the first Habitat conference. The 2002 UN General Assembly strengthened UN-Habitats mandate and gave it status as a UN agency. The third UN-Habitat conference in 2016 accepted the new urban agenda. This was the largest UN conference to date. UN-Habitat has an important role in executing the new agenda.
UN-Habitat promotes socially, economically and environmentally sustainable urban development and enhancing the living conditions of low-income urban population. The goal is to significantly improve the living conditions of at least 100 million slum dwellers by the year 2020.
UN-Habitat promotes awareness on the relationship between urbanization and poverty and influences the policy guidelines related to the sustainable development of communities, decent living conditions and good governance. A great part of its work consists of practical cooperation projects carried out together with developing countries and countries in transition.
The financing of the programme largely consists of voluntary contributions. Finland funded the programme with approximately 0,5 million euros annually up to 2016.