The UN Regional Commissions
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ESCWA Award for Gender Equality


The first ESCWA Award on Advancing Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women was presented by Ms. Rima Khalaf, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), to three staff members. The award is delivered for the first time and constitutes a milestone for ESCWA, which is integrating gender perspectives in its plans, policies and programmes.

At a ceremony held on Friday 12 December 2014 at the United Nations House in Beirut, Ms. Khalaf handed out gold, silver and bronze awards to Ms. Nouhad Hayek of the Conference Services Section,  Ms. Neda Jaafar of the Statistics Division and Mr. Raydan Al-Saqqaf of the Social Development Division respectively, in recognition of their exceptional contributions to advancing gender equality and for playing an instrumental role in shaping the recent gender equality approach adopted by ESCWA.

Ms. Khalaf said that ESCWA must lead by example when working to shape regional policy in this priority area. She highlighted the pioneering role ESCWA is playing in piloting and implementing the strategic road map on gender equality and the empowerment of women, known as UN-SWAP (United Nations System-Wide Action Plan).

As ESCWA Senior UN-SWAP Coordinator, Ms. Mehrinaz El-Awady explained that the aim was to enable staff to better balance their work-life needs. She noted that this award was among several progressive steps recently taken, including the implementation of flexible working arrangements, mandatory gender training and systems to close the gender parity gap at ESCWA.

The Executive Secretaries of the five UN Regional Commissions issue joint call for action to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy

ece101114Published:04 November 2014

The Executive Secretaries of the five United Nations Regional Commissions are issuing a joint call for action to accelerate the transition to sustainable and fair energy, on the occasion of the 5th International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development in Hammamet, Tunisia.

The Forum will discuss what practical actions are needed to attain the objectives of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Initiative of the UN Secretary-General through a regional agenda: ensuring universal access to modern energy services, doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030.

In their joint statement, the Executive Secretaries of the United Nations regional commissions affirm that the objectives of energy sustainability are attainable, and need not contradict more short-term considerations, if the world embarks on a determined, collective effort.

The joint statement is a call for action to their respective member States, highlighting in particular three key components:

  • Energy efficiency in most countries needs to improve more quickly
  • Renewable energy policies need to be redesigned
  • Equitable access to modern energy services requires mobilising adequate resources

Presenting the joint statement at the Forum, UNECE Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach said: “the Hammamet Declaration is a roadmap for achieving the objectives of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Initiative of the UN Secretary-General and for greening the energy sector and the economy as a whole. UNECE stands ready to assist its member States in developing their sustainable energy action plans and to work on developing standards for energy efficiency and renewables.”

The joint statement is available here.

Note to editors

The Fifth International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development will be held in Hammamet, Tunisia, on 4-7 November 2014. The Forum is organized by the Government of Tunisia, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). The five Regional Commissions come together at this Forum to address their common goals and commitments related to sustainable energy.

For more information, please visit:

Meeting of the Parties to UNECE Treaties on Environmental Assessment in June


Published:28 May 2014 (ECE)

Over 150 Government officials, representatives of international organizations, international financial institutions (IFIs), civil society, academia and other stakeholders from some 50 countries will meet in Geneva from 2 to 5 June to take stock of progress made in implementing environmental assessment procedures within the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) region and beyond. Such assessments are key for Governments and the public alike to ensure that projects, plans and programmes that affect the environment are developed in a most sustainable manner.

During four days of meetings, Parties to the UNECE Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) and its Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) will look, among other things, at how the Convention and the Protocol contribute to sustainable energy generation and use, how they can facilitate accession by countries outside the region and what role the IFIs can play in raising awareness about and increasing the implementation of the two instruments.

Aside from providing the platform for decisions on priorities and the budget for the next three years, the meeting will have three special thematic sessions in the form of seminars or a panel discussion.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, 3 June, a seminar on wind and hydro energy will look at good practice in the application of the Convention and the Protocol and will examine issues of landscape analysis, spatial planning and environmental challenges in the framework of environmental assessment for such activities and plans.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, 4 June, a seminar on the globalization of the Convention and the Protocol and the role of international financial institutions will be held, moderated by the European Investment Bank (EIB), to discuss the application of the Convention and the Protocol outside the UNECE region. The seminar aims to provide some insights regarding interested countries’ practice and development needs for their possible future accession to the two instruments. Participants will then explore ways to raise awareness of the two UNECE treaties in other regions and how the IFIs could support the development of the necessary legislation and institutional capacity for the implementation of the Convention and the Protocol in countries outside the region. The law and practice of a number of countries in the African and Asian regions will be examined. Representatives from the World Bank, EIB, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the African Development Bank and the Department for International Development (United Kingdom) will showcase their experience in applying environmental assessment in their operations within and beyond the UNECE region, and leading civil society organizations, such as Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) Bankwatch Network and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), will give presentations to further stimulate discussion.

On the morning of Thursday, 5 June, at the high-level segment, a panel discussion on the application of the Convention and the Protocol to energy-related matters will be held. Under the direction of Mr. Valentinas Mazuronis, Minister for Environment of Lithuania, and Mr. Andriy Mokhnyk, Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of Ukraine, participants will examine achievements, lessons learned and remaining challenges in this area, in particular through recent case-studies, such as the Nord Stream gas pipeline project in the Baltic Sea and the Cernavodă nuclear power plant in Romania. Participants will then reflect on how to improve implementation of the Convention and the Protocol for energy-related projects, plans and policies, looking, in particular, at the practice in the countries of Eastern-Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia in the energy sector and the role of Euratom.

The adoption of a Declaration on Thursday afternoon, focusing on the areas examined during the seminars and panel discussions over the course of the 4-day meeting, will mark the end of the joint session.

Meeting documents are available at the Convention’s website

59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women / Beijing+20 (2015)


The fifty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York, tentatively scheduled for 9-20 March 2015. Representatives of Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world attend the session.

The Commission will undertake a review of progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 20 years after its adoption at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. The review (Beijing+20) will also include the outcomes of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly, the first five-year assessment conducted after the adoption of the Platform for Action, which highlighted further actions and initiatives.

The session will also address current challenges that affect the implementation of the Platform for Action, as well as opportunities for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women in the post-2015 development agenda.

The regional commissions of the United Nations, in collaboration with UN Women, have conducted regional reviews to identify remaining gaps and priority areas for action to accelerate the implementation of the Platform for Action in their respective regions.

Links to the relevant web pages of the Regional Commissions:


Equality for women tops agenda for ECLAC

barcena5decembericon(Op-Ed by Ms. Alicia Barcena, Executive Secretary of Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean and current Coordinator of the Regional Commissions)

As we come to the end of the year, we, the women of Latin America and the Caribbean can be satisfied and hopeful, thanks to the commitments made by our countries in the area of gender equality.

In two important meetings organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, governments signed the Montevideo Consensus and the Santo Domingo Consensus; both contain specific agreements aimed at endowing women with more physical, economic and political autonomy.

For decades the women of our region have used social movements and institutional mechanisms to campaign for effective state action to end discrimination in society. The fact that equality is now guiding government agendas is a triumph in which they can legitimately claim to have played an important part.

The Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, which took place in October in the Dominican Republic, mainly addressed the space that women occupy in the digital economy — a current focus of the work being carried out by ECLAC.

We believe that Latin America and the Caribbean should undertake a process of structural change, seeking to diversify its production patterns, by applying a combination of industrial, economic, social, environmental and labor policies. From our perspective, this will enable the region to grow steadily with environmental responsibility and greater equality. The structural change we are proposing relies heavily on generating knowledge and incorporating innovations into the production system and society as a whole. Information and communications technologies (ICTs) play a crucial role in this process.

We add a gender perspective to this debate, because the opportunities generated by the new digital economy are not always distributed equitably among countries or people. We are seeing first- and second-generation gaps, not only in terms of access to computers and the Internet, but also in relation to the skills and use of such technology.

Data show that while women do benefit from the advances of the digital society, they lag behind men.

The average Internet usage rate in 10 countries is far lower among women than among men.

A public policy sensitive to this reality should recognize that gender equality in the digital economy is mainly seen in the workplace (paid and unpaid).

It is therefore urgent to implement policies that prevent labor segregation, avoid income gaps and promote a fair division of labor by gender.

The slow rate at which labor-market gaps are being closed, highlights the persistent obstacles to access faced, not least of which is the fact that women remain those mainly responsible for unpaid and care work in the home.

Also consider, in our region a woman with 13 or more years of education still earns 37 percent less than a man with the same level of qualifications.

For ECLAC, equality is synonymous with entitlement to rights, and the state has a unique role to play in achieving minimum thresholds of well-being without using up resources or reducing the momentum of economic buoyancy.

The positive advances registered by the consensuses reached at these regional conferences point to a systematic defense of the integral and indivisible nature of rights, enhancement of the state (possibly going against prevailing viewpoints from the recent past) and the quest for a new equation in the relationship between the state, society, market and the family.

The idea is to the change the balance of power so that Latin American and Caribbean women can enjoy their rights effectively.

Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Week 2013

ESCAP25OctoberThe Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Week brings together government officials and other stakeholders every two years for discussions on issues of importance to trade and investment policy making in the region.

Against the backdrop of global economic turbulence, the first Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Week in 2009 focused on the impact of the financial crisis on trade and investment in the region. Following this, the Second Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Week was held in July 2011and looked at trade and investment opportunities in the post-crisis world, including in services and climate smart trade and investment.

This year, the theme of the week is “Promoting Inclusive Trade and Investment”. This is also the focus of the Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2013, which highlights current regional trends, and discusses policies to ensure inclusive development outcomes from trade and investment.

Drawing on the presence of senior policy makers from across the Asia-Pacific region, the week hosts a number of engaging events related to trade and investment policy making, covering areas from trade facilitation and trade agreements, to sustainable agriculture, science and technology capacity building, and responsible business practices.

Highlights of the week include:

  • The ESCAP-OECD Conference on Regional Cooperation in Advancing Responsible Business Practices, 18 November 2013
  • High-level Dialogue on “Reviving Multilateralism: Road to Bali and Beyond”, 19 November 2013
  • Global Trade Facilitation Conference, 18-19 November 2013

The week will culminate in the Third session of the ESCAP Committee on Trade and Investment.

Please Click here for more information

Dominican Republic Will Host the 12th Session of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean

UNA CADENA HUMANA POR EL DÍA DE LA MUJER RECUERDA QUE QUEDA MUCHO POR HACERThe situation of Latin American and Caribbean women is once more at the heart of regional debate thanks to the meeting organized by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) to review fulfilment of national gender equality commitments.

The 12th session of the Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean will be held from 15 to 18 October 2013 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to bring together authorities, experts, international officials and representatives from civil society and the business sector.

Organized by ECLAC and the Government of the Dominican Republic, the Conference will provide countries with an opportunity to identify the needs of the region’s women and come up with public policy options in various spheres.

The intergovernmental meeting will focus on gender equality, women’s empowerment and information and communications technologies
(ICTs). In this context, the Executive Secretary of ECLAC, Alicia Bárcena, will present the position paper Women in the digital economy. Overcoming the threshold of inequality, which was prepared by the Gender Affairs Division in collaboration with the Commission’s Division of Production, Productivity and Management.

The event will involve roundtable discussions, panels and side events on issues such as productive development and equality, ICT access policies, women in business and science, gender and ICT statistics, policies for rural women and the empowerment of indigenous women.

One example is the roundtable discussion on Beijing+20: prospects and challenges, which will be moderated by Sonia Montaño, Director of the Gender Affairs Division, and will involve government officials, academics and representatives from non-governmental organizations.

Every three years, ECLAC invites Member States to identify women’s needs, present recommendations, evaluate activities carried out to comply with relevant regional and international agreements or plans and provide a forum for debate.

Previous Regional Conferences were held in Brazil (2010), Ecuador (2007), Mexico (2004), Peru (2000), Chile (1997), Argentina (1994), Netherlands Antilles (1991), Guatemala (1988), Mexico (1983), Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (1979) and Cuba (1977).

Delegates are expected to sign the Santo Domingo Consensus in the Dominican Republic, which will contain the regional and subregional needs of women as identified during the Conference, as well as commitments undertaken by countries to continue making progress towards gender

Further information on the Conference and media accreditation is available here:

Any queries should be sent to the ECLAC Public Information and Web Services Section.

E-mail:; Telephone: (56 2) 2210 2040.


Please click on the following links

Rapporteur’s report  (ENGLISH)

Informe de relatoría* (SPANISH)


Advancing Regional Recommendations on Post-2015 event brings together one thousand representatives of civil society, governments, and the UN

27sepGAOver 1,000 representatives from civil society, governments and the United Nations gathered on 22 September at UN Headquarters in New York for an open dialogue on critical regional issues and policy recommendations looking forward to the next global development agenda. “Advancing Regional Recommendations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda,” organized by the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service (UN-NGLS) in partnership with the Post-2015 Development Planning Team of the Executive Office of the Secretary-General (EOSG), convened the largest single gathering of civil society in the post-2015 process to date.

This dialogue included opening remarks from President of the 68th Session of the General Assembly John Ashe, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, and ministers from Ireland and South Africa, the co-chairs of the General Assembly Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Through two panels, speakers who participated in the UN-NGLS regional consultations shared recommendations and analysis emerging from the consultation report, which covered all regions: Africa; Arab States; Asia and the Pacific; Europe and North America; and Latin America and the Caribbean. The event concluded with remarks from ASG Amina J. Mohammed, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning; Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations and co-chair of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, Csaba Kőrösi; and Debapriya Bhattacharya of the Centre for Policy Dialogue. The outcome report of this event was presented to the General Assembly Special Event on Millennium Development Goals, on 25 September 2013.


Panel Discussion I: Regional Recommendations and Convergences

For the direct link to the webcast of this panel, please click here.

The first panel session was chaired by Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC) and Coordinator of the Regional Commissions.

Ms. Bárcena emphasized the importance of regional perspectives in defining global processes as well as the importance of engaging civil society. “It’s not enough to be consulted,” she continued, “It’s crucial to ensure full access to information, the right to equal participation, and also to ensure sufficient resources because there are many people who would like to be here who cannot be here.” In addition, the MDGs are not enough for overcoming growing inequalities in the regions, particularly in a post-crisis context, she underscored, referring to the important role of the State in guaranteeing human rights.

Sixth Asian and Pacific Population Conference

16 Sep 2013 to 20 Sep 2013
Bangkok, Thailand

The Sixth Asian and Pacific Population Conference (APPC) will be convened by ESCAP in cooperation with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), from 16 to 20 September 2013 in Bangkok, with a view to serve as an intergovernmental platform for the Asia-Pacific preparations for the special session of the General Assembly on the International Conference on Population and Development beyond 2014.


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