Environmental Assessments Key to Achieving SDGs, Climate Goals
UN Photo/Mark Garten
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The Meetings of the Parties to the UN Economic Commission for Europe Convention on Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) and its Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) convened in Minsk, Belarus, from 13-16 June 2017.

Delegates stressed the contribution of both treaties in promoting environmental governance, as well as the integration of environmental and health considerations into economic development plans.

The Minsk Declaration adopted at the conclusions of the meetings commits Parties to work towards incorporating climate-related issues into development strategies through SEA and EIA.

21 June 2017: Environmental assessments can help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and address climate change, thereby contributing to SDG 13 (climate action), in particular, according to a declaration adopted during a meeting on transboundary environmental assessments.

The Meetings of the Parties to the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) and its Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) convened in Minsk, Belarus, from 13-16 June 2017. Delegates stressed the contribution of both treaties in promoting environmental governance, as well as the integration of environmental and health considerations into economic development plans.

The Minsk Declaration adopted at the Meeting’s high-level segment commits Parties to work towards incorporating climate-related issues into development strategies through SEA and EIA, and calls for wider accession of UNECE member States to both treaties. In addition, the Declaration emphasizes that: the Convention and Protocol help countries translate sustainable development principles and commitments into national-level action, and achieve the SDGs; SDG promotion leads to improved impact assessment processes and, therefore, effective application of the treaties; and SEA is critical for developing national climate change action and planning, and for incorporating climate change measures into regional development and sectoral plans.

Parties also adopted ‘Good practice recommendations on the application of the Convention to nuclear energy-related activities,’ and decided to develop guidance on how to apply the Espoo Convention to the lifetime extension of nuclear power plants. The Espoo Convention entered into force in 1997, while the SEA Protocol entered into force in 2010. [UNECE Press Release] [Draft Minsk Declaration] [Meeting Website]

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