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Cooperation of the UN system in the region

The 2030 Agenda and the SDGs require joint action and strengthened cooperation among United Nations organizations. In the UNECE region, more than 20 United Nations organizations pool their expertise and join hands to maximize the impact of their work across Europe and Central Asia. Joint analysis, advocacy, policy coordination and country support on a number of cross-cutting issues has become standard practice in the region.

What are the channels of cooperation?

  • Regional UN System Meetings. Regular meetings aim at coordinating interagency activities and ensuring policy coherence of the regional United Nations system. These joint UN System Meetings bring together Regional Directors and Heads of Regional UN Offices. The meetings are jointly organized by the Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM) and the Regional UN Sustainable Development Group (R-UNSDG) and are co-chaired by the RCM Chair, the UNECE Executive Secretary, and the Chair of the Regional UNSDG Team for Europe and Central Asia.
  •           Issue-based coalitions. Regional taskforces, clustered around cross-cutting policy issues, facilitate concerted action between different UN agencies and partners on the operational level. The Issue-based Coalitions are guided by the Regional UN System Meetings. 

What are the issues on the table?


Regional, cross-cutting policy issues are in the centre of the inter-agency cooperation. The regional UN system specifically focuses on supporting member States to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Issue-based Coalitions work towards:

  •       Promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment
  • Facilitating the engagement and participation of youth and adolescents in UN processes.  
  • Implementing the targets of SDG 3 “good health and well-being” in the region
  • Promoting social protection for all.  
  • Influencing public policy dialogues and legislative changes affecting refugees and migrants.
  • Strengthening environmental and climate change governance.

Furthermore, the  Regional UN System Meetings cover issues relevant for ensuring policy coherence of the regional UN system. This includes joint research and publications, inputs of the UN entities into regional intergovernmental meetings, e.g. the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, and oversight of and support to the Resident Coordinators and the United Nations Country Teams.


What is the background?




The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), in its resolution 1998/46, mandated the Regional Commissions to hold “regular inter-agency meetings in each region with a view to improving coordination among the work programmes of the organizations of the United Nations system in that region”. These meetings should “should focus on specific issues requiring coordination at the regional level” (annex III paragraph 13). Consequently, the Regional Coordination Mechanism has held regular inter-agency meetings since 1999. Within this mandate, the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Europe and Central Asia (RCM) promotes cooperation among United Nations regional entities and their various partners in the entire region in addressing cross-cutting policy issues and provides regional perspectives to the global level.


Partnership with the Regional UN Sustainable Development Group


The Regional Coordination Mechanism works in close partnership with the United Nations Sustainable Development Group for Europe and Central Asia (R-UNSDG), which focusses on programming, coordination and policy work in the 17 programme countries of the region. Since December 2016, the Regional Coordination Mechanism and the United Nations Sustainable Development Group for Europe and Central Asia (R-UNSDG) hold their meetings together, as joint Regional UN System Meetings.


2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development requires different actors to work together in an integrated manner to achieve the 17 intertwined Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The visionary agenda also recognizes the importance of regional frameworks and their role in facilitating “the effective translation of sustainable development policies into concrete action at the national level”. The Joint UN System Meetings and the Issue-based Coalitions serve as tools to help achieve the 2030 Agenda: as a platform to facilitate cross-sectoral cooperation and as a bridge between the global and the country level.