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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…
A map of air pollutant emission sources of a given country can help experts and decision-makers understand which policies are most viable. Spatial allocations of emissions are also important to understand where emissions are coming from on a regional level. Spatially allocating – or gridding –…
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…
The progress of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development hinges on the availability of natural resources and a transition to sustainable means of their production and use. Minerals and petroleum provide the raw materials needed for the economy. While a low-carbon economy requires a wide variety …
Realization of the Sustainable Development Goals will require massive inputs of low-carbon energy, critical raw materials, and other natural resources, including land and water. These demands are aggravated by rapid urbanization of the world’s population, which stresses grid-based power,…
Sustainable development depends on optimal and responsible production and use of natural resources. Today's resource patterns are unsustainable in terms of their environmental and societal impact and ensuring resource availability now and in the future. Developments in sustainable resource…
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 review of the amended Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-Level Ozone (Gothenburg Protocol) well underway, expert groups under the UNECE Air…
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…
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…
Four decades of experience under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (Air Convention) have demonstrated that ratification and implementation of the Convention and its protocols reduces health and environmental…
Transport continues to be a significant source of air pollution, especially in cities in the UNECE region. Air pollutants, such as particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), harm human health and the environment. Although air pollution from transport has decreased in the last decade…
Policy solutions for pressing problems like air pollution require sound data. Emission inventories can help in determining the major sources of air pollution in a given country. As a result of integrated air pollution management strategies developed under the UNECE …
Over the past 100 years, humans have massively altered flows of nitrogen on our planet. While this has increased food production, it has led to and multiple threats to our health and risks irreversible and abrupt environmental change if decisive action is not taken. Driven by intensive animal…
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…
Contrary to what most people think, transport is not the major source of particle pollution in the air. In fact, in Serbia and many other countries, domestic heating is the most important source of harmful particle pollution (PM2.5 and PM 10). In Serbia, pollution is a result of heating, which is…
Black carbon (BC) is an air pollutant with significant impacts on our health and climate. Resulting from incomplete combustion processes, it is part of fine particulate pollution (PM2.5) and estimated to have a warming impact on climate that is 460–1,500 times greater than that of carbon dioxide (…
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…
When scientists in the 1960s investigated the causes of the die-back of forests, the so-called ‘Waldsterben’, and acidification of lakes with associated fish loss, they found that air pollution, often emitted thousands of kilometres away, was the culprit. This research formed the basis for the…
Progress in reducing emissions of key air pollutants has been uneven across the UNECE region over the past few decades. To create a level playing field across the region, the Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone (Gothenburg Protocol), a unique instrument to reduce…
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…
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, …