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Terms of reference of the Committee on Environmental Policy

As approved by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) at its 68th session on 9-10 April 2019.


1. The Committee on Environmental Policy concentrates its efforts on preventing environmental damage, including from climate change, promoting sustainable management of environmental resources and contributing towards the development of cooperation in the field of the environment among countries of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) region, thereby leading to improvements in the region’s environment. 


2. In particular, the Committee, as a multilateral forum for cooperation in the area of the environment in the ECE region, will:


(a) Serve as an instrument for ECE member States to provide policy direction in the region and to launch international initiatives, including the preparation of ministerial meetings in the region to review environmental priorities and adopt a strategic environmental policy;


(b) Act as the convening body for the preparatory processes for the Environment for Europe ministerial conferences and implement relevant outcomes of the ministerial conferences;


(c) Promote and define the modalities of environmental performance reviews in interested countries, using a country needs-based approach, adopt the conclusions and recommendations of the reviews and assist member States in their implementation;


(d) Oversee the development and implementation of the Shared Environmental Information System in support of a regular process of environmental assessment in the region;


(e) Promote and strengthen environmental information and observation capacity and the use of indicators to assess progress, particularly in countries of the Caucasus, Central Asia and Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and other ECE countries, as appropriate, in order to provide reliable and relevant information on the state of the environment as a basis for improved policymaking and public awareness;


(f) Consider the need for and develop, as appropriate, legally binding instruments, recommendations, methodologies and guidelines with a view to improving environmental management in member countries;


(g) Conduct and support international activities that:


(i) Promote environmental protection and sustainable development in the region at the subregional and transboundary levels;


(ii) Facilitate the contribution of the Committee’s work to the United Nations Environment Assembly at the global level;


(iii) Promote effective and cost-efficient cooperation among all parties concerned in the areas of its mandate;


(iv) Encourage public participation in environmental decision-making with the involvement of civil society, including the private sector, in accordance with the United Nations procedures and the national practice of ECE member States;


(h) Promote cooperation and share experience among the ECE environmental conventions, supporting effective implementation of these instruments;


(i) Promote implementation of policy instruments and tools and the legally binding instruments of ECE with a view to strengthening the capabilities of countries in the Caucasus, Central Asia and Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, through technical assistance, advisory missions and capacity-building upon the request of a member State;


(j) Assist member States, as necessary, to integrate environmental considerations into other policies, to promote cross-sectoral approaches and to use indicators to assess progress, as appropriate;


(k) Contribute to the ECE region’s implementation of the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and support the regional meetings, such as the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the ECE region, organized in preparation for meetings of the high-level political forum on sustainable development;


(l) Regularly review its programme of work to ensure the coherence of its activities with the overall objectives of ECE, develop synergies and propose to ECE modalities for cooperation with other sectoral committees on issues of common concern;


(m) Facilitate the achievement of synergies in the implementation of regional environmental programmes, including those developed through regional economic integration organizations, and cooperate with other United Nations regional commissions, international organizations and other relevant bodies, including financing institutions, to avoid duplication of work and enhance synergies;


(n) Promote and support member States’ efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.