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Evidence, in the form of data and statistics, is essential for formulating and monitoring policies. The term ‘evidence-based decision-making’, so commonly used that sometimes we don’t even think about it, makes this abundantly clear.  But we don’t just need any old evidence. If we are to be sure…
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…
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…
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…
Transitioning towards a knowledge-based economy away from a resource-intensive model of economic growth is central for sustainable development among the seven countries of the UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) - Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,…
A decade after independence, Armenia embarked on a radical reform path to create a vibrant, market economy – triggering substantial economic growth, often reaching double digits.   As recent trends and volatility indicate, sustaining such growth requires addressing a range of structural challenges…
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…
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…
Countries of Central Asia, the Caucasus and Eastern Europe have been hit hard by the socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which threatens to derail sustainable development progress in the region. However, there is also a stronger momentum towards regional cooperation, and countries can…
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…
  Migration is an old and growing phenomenon – the United Nations Populations Division estimates that around 266 million people live outside their country of origin. In the UNECE region, by 2019 there were around 45 million people from Eastern Europe and Central Asia living abroad, with more than…
Both innovation and Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) are essential drivers of economic development, environmental sustainability and social inclusiveness. The UNECE region was hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, not only because of the health crisis itself but also, even as the threat recedes…
Innovation has huge potential to drive sustainable development if supported by a vibrant innovation ecosystem. This requires effective linkages and collaboration at national level, and an innovation culture nurtured by a system of support to start ups and institutions such as business incubators.…