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Engaging with policy and the UN.jpgIPIECA was established in 1974 at the request of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to convene the global oil and gas industry in support of UNEP programmes and now provides a platform to share knowledge and good practice among the oil and gas industry and key UN stakeholders. IPIECA remains the oil and gas industry’s principal channel of engagement with UNEP and its consultative status at the UN coupled with its non-lobbying mandate has allowed it to build strong partnerships and trusted relationships throughout the UN system.


    IPIECA is the oil and gas industry’s principle channel of engagement with UNEP, ‘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.’ IPIECA engages with several UNEP-led initiatives and bodies.

    UNEP – climate and energy

    Building on the long-term engagement, IPIECA and UNEP are exploring opportunities to deliver a series of webinars in 2021 on the role of the oil and gas industry as an enabler of the energy transition – which is needed to meet the aims of the Paris Agreement.

    IPIECA and UNEP have previously collaborated on workshops exploring the barriers and drivers for a low-emission energy transition. The cooperation has progressed areas of shared interest, such as methane, low-emissions transport, and helping developing countries adapt to low-emission pathways. IPIECA also supports various UNEP-led initiatives, including the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership (OGMP).

    UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre

    IPIECA works closely with the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) to develop guidance and address key biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES) issues across the oil and gas industry. This relationship has been formalised through the development of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two organizations.

    UNEP-WCMC has supported IPIECA in BES horizon scanning exercises since 2013, as well as the development and delivery of a number of BES peer-to-peer training workshops across different locations globally. Through these projects, IPIECA provides leadership and guidance on managing BES issues in the industry. 

    IPIECA collaborates on several UNEP-WCMC initiatives, such as the Proteus Partnership, which provides companies with the biodiversity information needed for better informed decisions and to support the development and improvement of key global biodiversity resources. IPIECA also supports the Biodiversity Indicators for Site-based Impacts joint initiative by UNEP-WCMC, Fauna and Flora International and Conservation International, which developed a methodology to help the energy and mining sector monitor risks and benefits associated with biodiversity at a site-level.

    IPIECA additionally collaborates with UNEP and UNEP-WCMC on the Oil for Development programme, which builds regional and national capacity for environmental management of oil and gas operations. IPIECA provides technical expertise to the programme’s training courses and workshops.

    UNEP-Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles

    IPIECA is a founding member of UNEP’s Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV), which focuses on air quality improvements through improved vehicle emissions standards and lower-sulphur fuels. Working in partnership with UNEP PCFV, IPIECA assisted the oil and gas industry in implementing downstream strategies for phasing out leaded gasoline, including developing an extensive guide, Getting the lead out: downstream strategies and resources for phasing out leaded gasoline. Working with over 70 different organizations , this partnership reduced leaded petrol use from 86 countries to 1, with plans underway to eliminate it from the remaining country.

    In 2020, IPIECA issued a joint guidance with the PCFV on Lower-sulphur fuels, road transport strategies and air quality improvements, which discusses the characteristics of effective air quality management frameworks and recommends a holistic approach to reducing emissions from transport.

    UN Environment Assembly

    The UN Environment Assembly is the governing body for the UNEP. It formulates UNEP’s programme of work, determining how UNEP will address key environmental challenges aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. IPIECA attends UNEA every year as an official observer. UNEA is one of the leading forums on the environment and is the highest decision-making body on environmental matters in the UN. It helps to shape the global debate on important issues.

    IPIECA communicates to its members the key outcomes and resolutions from UNEA meetings, as well the latest global, regional and national developments related to the environment, to help inform the environmental management of their operations.

    UNEP Regional Seas Programme

    While the majority of our oil spill preparedness and response work is carried out through the IMO (detailed below), the IMO-IPIECA Global Initiative (GI) on Oil Spill Response is active in supporting the UNEP Regional Seas Programme in various locations including the Caribbean (through REMPEITC and the CEP), East Asian Seas (through PEMSEA and GI South East Asia), Africa (through GI West and Central Africa) and the Caspian Sea Framework Convention/Tehran Convention (through the Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Initiative for the Caspian Sea, Black Sea and Central Eurasia).

    UNEP Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Mercury

    In 2009, UNEP convened an Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) to develop a global limit on anthropogenic mercury emissions. As part of this UNEP initiative, IPIECA was requested to provide data on the releases of mercury from the oil and gas sector. In response, IPIECA presented the largest publicly available dataset on mercury levels covering 446 crude oils and condensates at the Technical Briefing of the third session of the INC, indicating that the refining sector contributes only 0.08% of the total global mercury releases to air and water combined.

    IPIECA published guidance in 2014 on Mercury management in petroleum refining, encompassing environmental controls, worker health and safety, process safety, product safety, waste management, and product stewardship. IPIECA continues to work with UNEP and its Global Mercury Partnership as they develop an overview document on mercury in oil and gas supply chains.


    IPIECA’s work on biodiversity and ecosystem services (BES) is underpinned by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, which acts as an international framework of reference for biodiversity issues. 

    IPIECA has official observer status and attended the first ever UN Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1994, representing IPIECA’s global membership in support of global biodiversity conservation. IPIECA continues to participate at CBD COP through the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG), Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) and Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI). 

    In 2018, the 14th CBP COP agreed on the need to mainstream biodiversity into a number of industry sectors, including energy and mining. IPIECA accordingly engages with the UN CBD Secretariat and global stakeholders and develops good practice guidance to support the integration of a long-term approach to biodiversity management within our sector.

    At the CBD COP-15 in 2021, a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework will be launched, along with an internationally agreed long-term approach to mainstreaming biodiversity. Establishing an ambitious plan to galvanise urgent and transformative BES action, the framework will call for governments to set national plans and regulations, with increased expectations for input and commitments from the private sector. IPIECA will continue to provide a platform for the industry to share good practices and develop guidance to encourage active industry contribution to the conservation, restoration and improvement of biodiversity.


    IPIECA works with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to develop global oil spill preparedness and response capacity under the Global Initiative (GI) partnership. Launched in 1996, the programme organizes educational workshops, exercises and training courses to assist countries in high-risk areas in developing national oil spill preparedness and response structures and capability. IPIECA also works closely with the IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee on issues related to oil spill preparedness and response and fuel quality. 

    In 2019, IPIECA worked with IMO to ensure the successful roll out of its global regulation banning ships from using marine fuel with a sulphur content above 0.5%, which came into force on 1 January 2020. As part of this work, IPIECA and IMO partnered with a number of shipping, refining, fuel supply and standards organizations to develop a Joint industry guidance on the supply and use of 0.50%-sulphur marine fuels, as well as an accompanying e-learning course to facilitate the safe handling and management of new low-sulphur fuels.

    IPIECA additionally participates in IMO activities examining the carbon footprint of alternative fuels, where life cycle analysis is an important technical parameter, as well as issues such as product quality and supply logistics.


    IPIECA supports the aims of the Paris Agreement and supports the oil and gas industry in its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and manage the risks and impacts of climate change. IPIECA leads engagement on behalf of the membership with the UN in support of the Paris Agreement and as part of the international dialogue on the energy transition.

    IPIECA attended the first ever UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) in 1995 and has participated in every COP since. IPIECA attends the annual meetings as an official observer and provides members with summaries of the meetings. The association also supports discussion on relevant topics by hosting events alongside the conferences. IPIECA does not lobby on behalf of the industry but aims to increase understanding and provide timely information to members and key stakeholders.


    IPIECA is an observer organization and provides technical input when requested on the reports produced by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), such as the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) and the Special Report on Carbon Capture and Storage. The secretariat and member company representatives also attend IPCC meetings as observers.


    Several IPIECA members have signed up to the World Bank-managed Global Gas Flaring Reduction Partnership (GGFR) that started in 2002. In January 2019, IPIECA expressed its support for the aims of the ’Zero Routine Flaring by 2030’ initiative, introduced by the World Bank. Jointly with IOGP and the GGFR, IPIECA issued a guidance document Preparing effective flare management plans in 2011. This guidance, which offers a stepwise approach to support flare reduction efforts by petroleum producers and governments worldwide, is currently being updated.


    The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) provide a set of principles that clarify the State duty to protect human rights and the business responsibility to respect human rights. IPIECA was involved in the consultation and development of the UNGPs in 2011, and since then, has worked to help members and the wider oil and gas industry operationalize the UNGPs framework by developing practical guidance that can be adapted to accommodate respective sizes, business activities and geographies.

    IPIECA’s work on business and human rights builds on the collective experience and practical knowledge of our global membership and demonstrates strong and ongoing industry support for the UNGPs.


    The UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights was established by the Human Rights Council in 2011 with the mandate to promote the effective and comprehensive dissemination and implementation of the UNGPs. IPIECA supports the Working Group’s mandate by sharing and promoting good practices and lessons learned on UNGPs implementation, engaging regularly to share key updates, and participating in the annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights.


    The UN Global Compact (UNGC) is a voluntary initiative based on CEO commitments to implement universal sustainability principles and to take steps to support UN goals. IPIECA has supported the 10 principles of the UNGC since 2000, providing members with guidance and tools to respond effectively to environmental and social issues. IPIECA submits a Communication of Engagement every two years to describe the practical actions it takes to support the UNGC. IPIECA continues to engage in the UNGC through calls and webinars.


    IPIECA partnered with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to develop a shared understanding of the implications of the UN SDGs for the oil and gas industry and how the industry can most effectively contribute. A joint report, Mapping the oil and gas industry to the Sustainable Development Goals: An Atlas, was launched in July 2017.