Skip to main content

Economic Cooperation and Integration


The Economic Cooperation and Integration sub-programme 4, implemented by Economic Cooperation and Trade Division, supports UNECE member States in designing and rolling out institutions, policies, processes and initiatives with a strong role for good governance to build innovative, competitive, and inclusive societies to progress towards the goals set out in Agenda 2030 in the areas of innovation policy and public-private partnerships (PPP).

The sub-programme serves regular meetings of intergovernmental bodies, offering platforms for international policy dialogue and exchange of best practices and lessons learned in the UNECE region: the Committee on Innovation, Competitiveness and Public-Private Partnerships; the Working Party on Public-Private Partnerships; and the Team of Specialists on Innovation and Competitiveness Policies.

ECI also contributes to substantive work under the UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA). The SPECA Working Group on Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Development (WG on ITSD) brings together senior policymakers and experts to develop guidance and practical solutions to problems identified by the SPECA countries and promotes sub-regional cooperation on innovation for sustainable development. In 2019, the SPECA Governing Council formally adopted the SPECA Innovation Strategy for Sustainable Development, serving to guide and co-ordinate regional co-operation in several areas.

In the area of innovation policy, UNECE supports member States through normative work, such as policy dialogue and policy principles; analytical work, such as national Innovation for Sustainable Development Reviews, the sub-regional Innovation Policy Outlook, and thematic publications; and capacity building, such as regional and national trainings to help countries put recommendations into practice as well as a series of policy handbooks.

In the area of PPPs, UNECE’s objective is to increase the expertise of governments to identify, negotiate, manage, and implement successful PPPs projects. This is done through exchange of knowledge and experiences of PPPs by member States, including experts from public and private sectors, particularly in the identification and testing of best practice. The activities will result in standards, guides on best practice, studies and innovative tools that can be used in capacity-building programmes and training. 

In focus

UNECE releases a handbook to help countries in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus (EESC) foster Innovative, High-Growth Enterprises

A small sub-set of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), innovative, high-growth enterprises (IHGEs) have a key role in jobs and value creation as they experiment with new ideas and respond to new incentives while also contributing to structural economic change through the creation of new markets and better domestic integration into the global economy.

To guide countries in the EESC sub-region in their efforts to support IHGEs effectively, UNECE has published a policy handbook “Supporting Innovative High-Growth Enterprises in Eastern Europe and South Caucasus”. The handbook goes through principles, examples, and good practices for:

  • fostering an enabling environment for IHGEs to promote growth;
  • using a key account approach to design flexible, tailored, and catalytic support to IHGEs;
  • enabling external risk finance for each growth stage of a firm;
  • building private sector absorptive capacity for innovation; and
  • promoting internationalization and linkages.

With this publication, as well as a series of training modules, UNECE seeks to support policymakers in the EESC sub-region to design effective policies and institutions to further enable and foster the potential of innovative, high-growth entrepreneurship as invaluable drivers for innovation-led sustainable development.

The publication can be accessed here.

“Leveraging Innovation for Circular Economy”, the thirteenth session of the Team of Specialists on Innovation and Competitiveness Policies on 1-2 November 2021

On the occasion of the 13th session of the UNECE Team of Specialists on Innovation and Competitiveness Policies (ToS-ICP), member States, and international experts met to explore how innovation can drive the circular economy transition, share best practices, and identify policy recommendations.

The delegates took stock of progress made in the implementation of ToS-ICP recommendations on the circular economy in 2017 and highlighted progress and way to accelerate the transition. Particular attention was dedicated to national innovation strategies and Circular Economy roadmaps, support mechanisms for the private sector (particularly to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises), as well as the potential of innovation-enhancing procurement.

More information on this year’s ToS-ICP session can be found in this news item and the documents section.