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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…
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. …
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…
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.…
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; …
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 …
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…
The countries of Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus (the EESC sub-region), Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine have come a long way in their transition from centrally planned towards market-based economies. After a difficult first decade following…
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…
Uzbekistan has shown remarkable growth in its transition from a centrally planned to a market based economy, with annual growth rates between 5 and 9 per cent since 2004.…
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 …
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed dysfunctions in many systems, including those that affect the lives of older people and their communities. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected older persons – nearly 9 out of 10 COVID-19 deaths in the UNECE region have been among those aged 65 and older.…
After months of the COVID-19 crisis challenging healthcare systems and undermining economies, governments worldwide are looking for ways to jump-start the economic recovery. Without factoring in environmental concerns, recovery packages risk undermining the foundations for sustainable development, …
An estimated one billion people worldwide live with disabilities. In the European Union, one person in seven among the working age population reports a difficulty with a basic activity – such as…
The economic downturn due to COVID-19 will hit the countries of the UN Special Programme for the Economies of Central Asia (SPECA) – Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan – hard and exacerbate existing vulnerabilities. As a region highly reliant on…
We stand at a critical moment. More than ever, the great challenges we face – like COVID-19, the climate crisis, unsustainable resource use, and inequalities – cannot be faced by one country alone. The 75th anniversary of the United Nations is the time to reflect on how we can best work together to…