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From the Sandoz chemical spill of 1986 in Schweizerhalle, Switzerland, to the rupture of a dam storing mine tailings containing cyanide in Baia Mare, Romania, 2000; and last year in Beirut, the explosion of ammonium nitrate stored in warehouse near residential areas, what these chemical and…
COP26 was a positive step forward in the fight against climate change, but as the UN Secretary General pointed out in his comments: “it is not enough. We must accelerate climate action to keep alive the goal of limiting the global temperature rise…
This year, the UNECE region has seen devastating impacts of climate change and multiple natural disasters, such as the floods in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Disasters caused by natural hazards, on the rise due to climate change, can also trigger technological accidents. On today’s…
Approximately 40% of the world’s population live in transboundary river and lake basins, accounting for an estimated 60% of global freshwater flow. These shared water resources support the livelihoods of more than 3 billion people. In a world increasingly impacted by the effects of climate change,…
With the UN Food Systems Summit taking place next week under the auspices of the UN General Assembly (23 September 2021), we must recognize that the food systems we have built over recent decades are unsustainable. The food choices we make…
Integrated management of water, energy and land resources, while protecting ecosystems, remains a substantial challenge in the Western Balkans. The Water-Food-Energy-Ecosystems (WEFE) Nexus approach offers solutions that can reconcile potentially conflicting interests as they compete for the same…
Water, health, climate change and disaster risk reduction are interlinked and interdependent. For example, with climate change, floods and droughts increase in both intensity and frequency.  Floods can damage water and sanitation infrastructure, disrupt essential public service provision, undermine…
Water scarcity and pollution is increasing worldwide, as a result of the rising economic demands for water, population growth and rapid urbanisation, exacerbated by ecosystem losses and climate change. Water-related risks can negatively affect sustainable development, human health and well-being, …
Directive (EU) 2020/2184 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2020 on the quality of water intended for human consumption (recast) was adopted by the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union on 16 December 2020 and entered into force on 12 January 2021. The…
While transboundary rivers, lakes and aquifers, accounting for 60 per cent of global freshwater flows, are of crucial importance for the sustainable development and political stability of riparian States, the financial means for their management, development and protection are insufficient in most…
A vision for transboundary cooperation around the Senegal-Mauritanian Aquifer Basin (SMAB) has been developed by representatives of the States that share this aquifer system, namely The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania and Senegal.  This work was carried out in the second meeting of the Regional…
While the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the extent to which water, sanitation and hygiene are key to human health through frequent handwashing, in the UNECE region over 16 million people still lack access to drinking water and more than 31 million are currently living without basic sanitation…
To avoid damage to the environment, public health and the economy, adopting targets to reduce emissions and introducing measures to enforce them is essential. Providing a framework to facilitate these measures, UNECE assists countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia in…
Policy solutions to abate air pollutant emissions need to be targeted to the main emission sources in a given country. To know where exactly the emissions are coming from is therefore the first step in designing a viable air quality management system. The UNECE …
Ratification of the Gothenburg Protocol, a unique instrument to reduce emissions of key air pollutants under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (Air Convention), by as many countries as possible,…
40 percent of the world’s population lives in one of the 275 transboundary river basins. Transboundary waters account for 60 percent of the world’s freshwater flows. Cooperation for the management of shared water resources is therefore crucial for economic development, peace and environmental…
Environmental degradation has gendered impacts which need to be properly assessed and monitored to understand and adopt gender-responsive strategies and policies. While designing these, it is essential that measures targeting gender equality and women’s empowerment are adequately formulated and…
With the amendments to the Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-Level Ozone (Gothenburg Protocol) under the…
Mounting scientific evidence of the health impact of air pollution – which kills some 7 million people annually –, together with high media coverage of heavy local air pollution episodes, is contributing to increased recognition of the need to act for clean air worldwide.The first celebration of…
People around the world are breathing dirty air, making it the fifth leading risk factor for mortality globally. Air pollution is a complex issue in all countries, as it requires cooperation, innovation, good governance, behavioural change, public demand, and strong technical capacity across…
Between 2017 and 2018, emissions of key air pollutants that are harmful to human health and the environment have gone down in the European Union, according to the annual emission inventory report
Forest ecosystems are affected by many different stressors, such as climate change and air pollution. Drought periods, like the one in 2018, strongly reduce tree growth and increase tree mortality in the UNECE region. At the same time, air pollution affects forests from the leaf to the ecosystem…
UNECE, UNEP and UNESCO, as co-leads, together with 15 other UN agencies, funds and programmes active in Europe and Central Asia, have joined forces to address environmental and climate change challenges. They have established a regional interagency Issue-based Coalition on Environment and Climate…