The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), together with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the support of the Environment Agency Austria (EAA), was implementing the UN Development Account (UNDA) project “Improved environmental monitoring and assessment in support of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in South-Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus” to improve environmental monitoring and assessment in seven target countries: Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, North Macedonia, and Tajikistan. The project focused on developing the Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS), environmental indicators, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in South-Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Caucasus. Launched in January 2018, the project led by the UNECE Environmental Monitoring and Assessment team was implemented in close cooperation with the seven countries. The project’s main objectives were to strengthen the capacities of national environmental and statistical authorities to produce and collect data; improve accessibility and use of environmental indicators and strengthen the target countries’ capacities in the production of environmental and health-related indicators and to support reporting on SDGs. See the project leaflet and more extensive brief.
During the first phase of the project, the following activities have been accomplished:
- Development of the gap analysis on Shared SEIS establishment, environmental data, and information to cover the production of regional/international environmental indicators (ECE set of environmental indicators, European Environment Agency (EEA) core set of indicators, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) green growth indicators, and indicators for the SDGs).
- Development of the draft roadmaps provided the target countries with recommendations on how to enhance national SEIS establishment.
Besides, in order to develop expertise and improve the reporting on the SDGs, UNECE, in partnership with UNEP and support from EAA, held the Regional Conference on environmental data (May 2019) and a series of capacity development webinars with a particular eye on SDGs 6, 7, 11, 12 and 15. The webinars covered the following areas:
- Health-relevant air quality data informing policy and public – SDG 3 and 11 (December 2020)
- Towards clean, renewable and efficient energy use - SDG 7 (February 2021)
- Waste management indicators and policies - SDG 12 (March 2021)
- Freshwater Management Indicators and Policies - SDG 6 (April 2021)
- Informing biodiversity restoration policies – SDG 5 (May 2021)
Several activities were implemented in the framework of the UNDA project. The regional knowledge-sharing platform, which allows users to learn from good SDGs practices shared during the webinar series, was launched. The self-paced e-learning course was also part of the UNDA project activities. It enables both government officials and interested public members to deepen their knowledge on data and information issues related to environment-related SDG indicators and environmental policy-relevant data use.
Finally, to reinforce the target countries' environmental policymaking and environmental data sharing, four thematic overviews on specific environment and health issues, the guidelines & lessons learned publication were developed. Moreover, the Second Regional Conference: measuring and monitoring the circular economy and the use of data (November 2021) was organized.
LESSONS LEARNED on producing, sharing and using environmental data