Dr Patrick O’Hare helps the University to achieve UN Environmental accredited status

10 November 2022

The University of St Andrews has become the first UK university to be an accredited organisation with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). 

The process to secure the University’s accredited status was initiated by Dr Patrick O’Hare to facilitate participation in the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC). This meeting (INC 1), to be held in Uruguay from November 28th to December 2nd, intends to develop a legally binding treaty on plastic pollution. Patrick will join an international wastepicker delegation from India, Africa, and Latin America, where he will offer expert advice stemming from his research with wastepickers and his UKRI Future Leader Fellowship on social and circular economy initiatives in the plastics industry.

This authorisation, which builds on our accreditation to the UN Climate Change Conferences (COP), will allow the University and its researchers to participate in sessions of the United Nations Environment Assembly and subsidiary organs. In practice, the UNEP accreditation means that the University can now:

  • Receive unedited UN Environment Assembly documents first-hand and at the same time as the Committee of the Permanent Representatives
  • Submit written contributions to these unedited working documents
  • Participate in all public meetings of the UN Environmental Assembly, including making oral and written contributions.
  • Participate in the Plenary, the Committee of the Whole and the Ministerial Consultations discussions as observers
  • Circulate written statements to Governments through the UNEP Secretariat
  • Make oral statements during UN Environment Assembly discussions

The UNEP accreditation has been supported by the University of St Andrews Environmental Sustainability Board (ESB) and the St Andrews Network for Climate, Energy, Environment and Sustainability (STACEES).