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With the review of the amended Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-Level Ozone (Gothenburg Protocol) under the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution well underway, experts further discussed the sufficiency and effectiveness of current measures at the 60th…
“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…
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…
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 review of the amended Protocol to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-Level Ozone (Gothenburg Protocol) well underway, expert groups under the UNECE Air Convention are now collecting information to assess the effectiveness of measures. The amended Protocol establishes legally…
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…
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 impacts in a more cost-effective way than unilateral action by…
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 Convention on Long-range…
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 that while levels of nitrogen oxides (NO2) measured at urban stations decreased during the lockdown in…
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, …