The UN Regional Commissions
Category archives for: Sustainable Development

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

CSD 20 Outcome Documents

Member states decided in resolution 67/203 of 21 December 2012 that the CSD would have its last session immediately prior to the convening of the first meeting of the high level political forum on sustainable development in order to ensure a smooth institutional transition. CSD-20, which has been designated as the last session of the Commission, will take place on Friday 20 September 2013 in the morning in conference room 2 (CB). More information forthcoming

Please find below a list of linked outcome documents  and Reports of the Regional Implementations Meetings:


E/CN.17/2013/3/Add.1 – Report of the regional implementation meeting for Asia and the Pacific (Advance unedited copy)

The Regional Commissions and Rio +20




  • Regional Presepctives on the Institutional Framework on Sustainable Development (IFSD)




Related Links


  1. Low Carbon Development Path for Asia and the Pacific: Challenges and Opportunities to the Energy Sector
  1. Guidelines on Developing Eco-efficient and Sustainable Urban Infrastructure in Asia and Latin America
  1. Forthcoming report:  Green Growth, Resources and Resilience. Download preview
  1. Payments for ecosystem services
  1. Eco-efficiency Indicators
  1. Greening growth in Asia and the Pacific
  1. Ministerial declaration on environment and development in Asia and the Pacific, 2010
  1. Regional implementation plan for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific, 2011-2015, and supportive initiatives
  1. Astana “Green Bridge” initiative


Aarhus Convention: Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters:

The Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention)

Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo, 1991):  ESPOO Convention

Industrial Accidents Convention

Housing and Land Management

Sustainable Energy


Forestry and Timber

Publication on Sustainable Transport in the UNECE region expected in March 2011


Beijing +15 Regional Review of Progress Synthesis Report


The MDGs in Europe and Central Asia: Achievements, Challenges and the Way Forward


I. Highlight Publication(s)

II. Annual Overviews/Reports

III. Sustainable Development

  • Evolution of Sustainable Development Policies in the State of Amazonas, 2006-2009 (March 2010) (Currently available in print form only.)

 IV. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

V. Economics of Climate Change

VI. Others


Green Growth and Sustainable Development: Regional Perspectives

Development in today’s context is at a critical juncture, with multiple crises (financial, food and energy) forcing us to re-assess the economic paradigm of our time and evaluate how to better address the unfulfilled promises that we are currently leaving to future generations in areas of employment, social progress, quality of life and respect for nature.
While the integration of the pillars of sustainable development is of utmost importance, the implementation of the concept has proved challenging in practice. In its simplest form, integration of the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development implies the implementation of coordinated and complimentary actions in the different sectors which results in economic growth that also achieves social objectives, without compromising the limited resources of the planet. The effective integration of the pillars requires the implementation of a set of focused and specific actions within the three pillars, which are complimentary and fit within an overarching sustainable development framework.
As part of this side event, Member States and the Regional Commissions are focusing on key areas for sustainable development in their respective regions. Specific examples and approaches, ranging from norms and standards to economic instruments and overarching sustainable development frameworks, are being highlighted as contributing to the integration of the pillars of sustainable development. These areas serve to highlight the pivotal role that has been played by the Regional Commissions in promoting and implementing an integrated approach to sustainable development at the regional level.

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Regional Commissions and Climate Change

climatechange1Each of the regions is being affected differently by climate change according to their particular circumstances and conditions and will have to implement measures to minimize and address these impacts through a combination of mitigation and adaptation measures. In order to make informed decisions about climate change policies and plans, countries need to: know how their economies will be affected by the impacts of climate change; be aware about the costs of inaction; and estimate the costs of different options for mitigation and adaptation to confront climate change in cost-effective manner.

Working with their UN and other regional partners, the Regional Commissions are mobilizing their normative, analytical and technical capacities to undertake collaborative initiatives and actions to assist Member States to develop coherent deveclimatechange2lopment policies that tackle climate change, including through the assessment of the economic impacts of climate change, evaluating the costs of mitigation and adaptation measures and exploring options for climate change financing. An overview of these actions and initiatives in each region will be presented during the dialogue with the Second Committee.

(Please click and download the following documents below for your information)

Financing Global Climate Change Mitigation (Joint Publication)

The United Nations Regional Commissions and Climate Change Challenges (Joint Publication)

Brochure – Climate Change: Supporting Actions at the Regional Level



Powerpoint Presentations












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