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During a briefing at the UNGA, UNECE showcased its work on sustainable use and management of natural resources; sustainable and smart cities; sustainable mobility and smart connectivity; and measuring and monitoring the SDGs.

UNECE presented its approaches to support a transition to SCP include shifting to a low-carbon economy and climate action, such as through the UNECE Framework Guidelines For Energy Efficiency Standards in Buildings and technical assistance to implement the Guidelines.

8 October 2018: The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) organized a briefing on the role of a nexus approach in shifting towards more sustainable consumption and production (SCP). The briefing shared how UNECE is supporting countries’ progress towards SCP patterns through integrated actions and approaches.

UNECE shared its work on four high-impact nexus areas:

  • sustainable use and management of natural resources;
  • sustainable and smart cities;
  • sustainable mobility and smart connectivity; and
  • measuring and monitoring the SDGs.

As an illustration, in support of SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), UNECE hosts the UN conventions and agreements on road safety, supports cooperation for safer transport and works with countries to build their capacities to develop road safety plans to save lives. UNECE also serves as the Secretariat for the UN Road Safety Trust Fund and has developed the UN vehicle regulations, which help ensure more sustainable fuel technologies, such as electric, hybrid and hydrogen, become available. In 2017, the UN adopted 100 new additions or amendments to the regulations, which are expected to promote decarbonization of transport, impact environmental performance and improve road safety.

On SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production), UNECE shared its work to reduce the health risks of hazardous materials, in line with SDG target 12.4 which aims to achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and wastes and reduce their release to air, water and soil to minimize their adverse impacts on the environment and human health. For example, UNECE is supporting the safe handling, storage and transport of hazardous materials through technical assistance, cooperation with countries and promotion of standards. UNECE highlighted the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), describing it as “a true success story of international cooperation.” The system provides standardized warning labels to promote recognition of dangerous goods and ensure their safe handling and transport.

UNECE further highlighted its work on the sustainable use of natural resources and a transition to a circular economy. UNECE presented its approaches to support a transition to SCP include shifting to a low-carbon economy and climate action, such as through the UNECE Framework Guidelines For Energy Efficiency Standards in Buildings and technical assistance for building contractors, developers, owners, architects, planners and others to implement the Guidelines. Additional complementary actions include the UNECE’s global work on methane management, which addresses health and environmental risks while also limiting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from methane leakages; the UNECE’s Environmental Performance Reviews (EPRs), which offer a comprehensive tool for countries to identify environmental challenges and develop recommendations to improve environmental sustainability across all sectors; and increasing the efficiency and sustainability of food production, including through development of international agricultural standards. For instance, UNECE developed a new dried apricot standard with producers in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, which helped rural communities develop more efficient, organized production and increase their international competitiveness.

On SDG monitoring, UNECE showcased its statistical work on economic and environmental measurement, and efforts to build capacity throughout the UNECE region on the topic. In addition, UNECE produced the first-ever ‘Recommendations on Climate Change-Related Statistics’ and hosts an expert forum on climate change statistics to advance climate statistics globally.

UNECE further highlighted its work on sustainable fisheries management and sustainable forest management, among other areas. On fisheries, UNECE promote a UN global standard to automatically collect and disseminate fishery catch data, which helps to detect and combat illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing activities, among other actions.

The briefing took place on the margins of the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) Second Committee meeting at UN Headquarters in New York, US. [UNECE website] [UN Regional Commissions website] [SDG Knowledge Hub sources]

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