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As guests of the planet, we human beings can thrive only if our host environment is thriving. We are strongly connected to it, more than we probably understand and more than we probably dare to admit. Conversely, the ways humans treat the environment has clear negative effects on our health and…
Today marks the holding of the first meeting of the Working Group on Tailings Safety and the Prevention of Accidental Water Pollution (IIWG) in Kazakhstan – the first comprehensive dialogue on these issues between all relevant stakeholders and national authorities in the country.  After being…
“Countries need to take concrete actions to prevent, prepare for and respond to industrial accidents and reduce the risks of related technological disasters. The UNECE Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents and the tools developed for its implementation provide a means to…
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…
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…
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 every day as consumers and producers of food are having a…
By Ms. Olga Algayerova, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of UNECE, and Ms. Elisabete Quintas da Silva, Head of Department, Sustainable and Efficient Use of Resources Operational Programme, Government of Portugal, and Chair of the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy.  This…
One year after the first COVID-19 lockdown in many parts of the UNECE region, scientists and experts are studying the effects of lockdown measures on air quality. A study from Germany showed that while levels of nitrogen oxides (NO2) measured at urban stations decreased during the lockdown in…
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, …
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…
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused wide-ranging effects on human health, security and economic activity, which have significantly impacted industrial safety. The eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to UNECE’s Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents (Industrial…
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…
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 Convention on Long-range…
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, specifically by those in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (…
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 UNECE Air Convention now in force for almost a year, preparatory work is underway for the review of the effectiveness of its measures.The amended Protocol establishes…
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…
The new regional interagency Issue-based Coalition on Environment and Climate Change has just issued summary recommendations for pandemic socioeconomic assessments and post-pandemic recovery strategies. The recommendations are intended to provide guidance to UN Country Teams in assessing the…
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 under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (Air Convention). The 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…
We all need clean air to live. It is one of the things that we don’t think much about, we breathe in and breathe out automatically and take the air around us for granted. But dirty air takes a heavy toll on human health and the environment, leading to 7 million premature deaths annually,…