The concern to protect the environment gave rise to the creation of the Federal Ministry of Environment in 1999 to ensure effective coordination of all environmental matters, which were hitherto fragmented and resident in different line Ministries. With the rationalization of the Federal Ministries at the end of 2006, Environment and Housing & Urban Development Ministries were merged which gave rise to the Federal Ministry of Environment, Housing & Urban Development. This was to ensure the effective integration and coordination of all environmental matters, housing and land use for urban development. However, in order to align the Ministries to vision 20:2020, Millennium Development Goals and the Transformation Agenda geared towards making Nigeria one of the twenty developed economies of the world by year 2020, the Ministry was in September 2008, excised from the Housing and Urban Development and given a full fledged Ministerial status, known as Federal Ministry of Environment.
Since its establishment, the Ministry has impacted on raising the issue of environmental consciousness in the minds of Nigerians as well as the interface with the Global environmental best practices. It has focused on involving innovative strategies that emphasize the use of environmental re - engineering as a veritable tool for job creation, poverty eradication, ensuring food security, encouraging sustainable economic development and general improvement in the livelihood of Nigerian populace.
At the international level, it has pursued the use of the environment in defining the country's foreign policy thrust as a means of ensuring good governance globally and regionally.
Nigeria through the Ministry has continued to provide purposeful leadership at various international fora – as a representative of the West African Sub-region, the African Continent, Non-aligned Nations as well as developing nations
The main function of the Ministry revolves around the following key environmental issues, especially, in the area of policy awareness, enforcement and intervention:
To be a Nation that develops in harmony with her environment.
To ensure environmental protection, natural resources conservation and sustainable development.