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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…
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…
Millions of people are experiencing the severe impacts of climate change, through unprecedented extreme weather episodes and more frequent disasters. According to the Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Hoesung Lee, its latest report, released last week, “is a dire warning about…
Minerals such as lithium, cobalt, and copper are essential for digitalization, for renewable energy technologies, and for the further deployment of electric vehicles. Demand for these and other minerals – known as “critical raw materials” (CRMs) – is growing fast as governments and businesses act…
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…
The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns it triggered have affected mobility patterns in most countries and brought to the fore many issues that had not received enough policy attention until now.  For instance, the fear of the virus and the search for social distancing led to a historic decline in…
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…
Over the last two weeks at COP 26, governments, the private sector and a wide range of actors have unveiled plans for climate action in crucial areas ranging from methane, to forests, finance, fashion, transport and far beyond. As US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry put it in our…
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…
In a joint statement, the Executive Secretaries of the United Nations Regional Commissions have called for enhanced regional cooperation to develop nature-based and technological solutions for capturing CO2 emissions from the atmosphere and ensuring its long-term storage. Version française This…
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…
August is wildfire season in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Many areas in the UNECE region, including North America, Siberia, and Mediterranean countries have experienced unusually hot and dry weather this year, and with that some of the biggest wildfires on record. Areas burned in Turkey…
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…
The importance of statistical information to help us cope with disasters has never been clearer than over the past year. As the Covid-19 pandemic has gripped the world, numbers have become our bread and butter. Yet the pandemic has also highlighted the challenges and imperfections in many systems; …
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…
Mobility is a primary enabler of our economic and social life. However, despite its many benefits, the costs of mobility to societies around the world remain unacceptably high. These include greenhouse gas emissions (transport accounts for some 24% of global CO2 emissions, three quarters of which…
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…
The extraction of raw materials worldwide has more than doubled since 1990 and could double again by 2060 in the absence of corrective policies. According to the UN International Resources Panel, resource extraction and processing account for 90% of global biodiversity loss and water stress impacts…
Olga Algayerova Women’s Day Blog On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, I would like to pay tribute to all women leaders, and all women and men, girls and boys, who are empowering women and girls to build a better future for all! The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is…
Achieving equality between women and men is a core goal of governments and the international community. The frameworks that guide us towards this goal—the Sustainable Development Agenda and The Beijing Platform for Action, among others—emphasize that for equality to be achieved, women and men must …
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, …
As globalization increases the diversity of innovative ways of doing business around the world, economies become ever more interdependent. Multinational enterprise groups, or MNEs, have operations in several countries, so counting up their economic impacts entails looking across borders to gather…