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“There is a not a single major global challenge that does not involve water. This includes migration, conflict, disease, hunger, gender equity, population growth, urbanization, and climate change”. These were the words of UN-Water Chair, Mr. Gilbert Houngbo, as governments and key stakeholders from…
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…
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 to 1.5 degrees.” The compromise deal reflects the…
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…
Transboundary waters are a global common good crucial for human life, which require concerted management and protection. The ninth session of the Meeting of the Parties (MOP 9) to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention) has…
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 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…
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…
Decarbonizing transport and mobility remains a critical policy challenge, for which we must seize the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic as a unique opportunity to accelerate progress. Decarbonization is one example of an issue where transport, health, and environment all meet – an intersection…
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…
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…
To reduce transmission of the novel coronavirus, Governments in the UNECE region introduced social distancing and other measures, which have often included restrictions on the freedoms of assembly and of movement. Consequently, there has been an impact on procedural rights of public participation…
Systemic deficiencies with regard to access to information, decision-making or compliance with environmental law can seriously threaten successful implementation of circular and green economy and sustainable development. Taking a case to court to advance a widely shared public interest remains an…
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…
Sound emission inventories are the first step for designing effective clean air policies as they provide information about the main sources and the most acute air pollution problems in a country. Under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution(Air Convention), UNECE has therefore…
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…
Knowing where exactly air pollutant emissions are coming from in a given country is important to make viable policy decisions. As a result of integrated air pollution management strategies developed under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (Air Convention), air quality…
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…
Morocco has requested UNECE to review its environmental performance for a second time. To provide the groundwork for the review, a team of UNECE and international experts will participate in a country hybrid mission from December 2020 to February 2021, first meeting national experts by virtual…
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…