In 2009 the Committee on Environmental Policy, together with the Conference of European Statisticians, established the Joint Task Force on Environmental Indicators with a view to gradually improving environmental statistics and the production and sharing of agreed UNECE Environmental Indicators by countries of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia and interested countries of South-Eastern Europe (the target countries). The primary intent behind the Joint Task Force was to support the Working Group on Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, and specifically to assist its target countries with methodological challenges related to the environmental indicators used for assessment. It was requested that the Joint Task Force assist national statistical agencies and institutions responsible for environmental data and information in the target countries to improve the collection, processing and validation of environmental data.
The Joint Task Force assists the target countries to understand indicator methodologies and supports them in applying the methodologies to produce and share specific environmental indicators, while the Working Group assists countries in analysing and assessing their national environmental policies, using the indicators produced, thereby improving their capacity for producing good quality, indicator-based state-of-the-environment reports.
The aims of the Joint Task Force include: (a) correct application of the Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) data methodologies, and in line with statistical standards; (b) analysis and communication of environmental data; (c) implementation of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA); and (d) application of environmental indicators in the context of sustainable development and green economy initiatives.
In 2017, during the twenty-third session of the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy, the Committee approved a renewed mandate and terms of reference for the Joint Task Force. The renewed mandate and terms of reference are valid until 2021 and are unchanged in substance from those approved in 2015.