At its 65th session, held from 9 to 11 April at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) adopted the outcome document of the review of the 2005 UNECE reform, which defines the strategic priorities for UNECE’s work for the coming years.
The high-level debates were centred on two issues that are most pertinent to the current development debate and are at the core of UNECE’s activities and member States’ priorities:
1. Follow-up to Rio+20 and post 2015 development agenda.
Some of the main points arising from the discussions, the summary of which will serve to inform the global processes, in particular the high-level meeting of the General Assembly in September 2013, were:
As regards the sustainable development institutional set up:
2. Economic developments and challenges in the UNECE region
During the discussion on the “The role of innovation in creating a dynamic and competitive economy”, some key points made included:
There were several proposals to strengthen the role of UNECE on innovation, in particular regarding issues such as the creation of mechanisms to facilitate cross-border policy learning and the exchange of good practices on eco-innovation, the promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises and the linkages between standard- setting and innovation.
The results of this panel discussion will serve as regional input to the 2013 ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review whose theme is “Science, technology and innovation, and the potential of culture, for promoting sustainable development and achieving the MDGs”.
The Commission elected its new Bureau, with the Netherlands as Chair (Ambassador Roderick van Schreven, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva), and Switzerland and Turkmenistan as Vice-Chairs (Ambassador Remigi Winzap, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA); and Ambassador Esen Aydogdyev, Permanent Representative of Turkmenistan to UNOG and other international organizations in Geneva).
All delegations paid tribute to the outgoing Chair, Ambassador Zvekic of Serbia, and Vice-Chairs, Ambassadors Manor of Israel and Ciobanu of Romania, for the leadership demonstrated over the last two years in the negotiations on the outcome document of the review of the 2005 UNECE reform.
The Executive Secretary stressed that this 65th session was of particular relevance since it constituted the regional contribution to global processes led by ECOSOC and the UN General Assembly. The 65th session strengthens trust and confidence amongst member States and between member States and the Secretariat, he said.
Among other decisions, the Commission also decided that the Timber Committee be renamed “Committee on Forest and Forest Industry” in order to better reflect its current focus and tasks.
The 66th session of the Commission will be held in 2015