UNECE Review of Kazakhstan’s Environmental Performance Recommends Mainstreaming SDGs
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The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has reviewed Kazakhstan’s environmental performance, and recommends actions for achieving the SDGs.

The review welcomes the steps Kazakhstan has taken to enshrine the SDGs in its national institutions and policy, and its achievement of some health, energy and waste collection targets.

However, the review cautions that large regional variations remain, and that no systematic effort has yet been made to explicitly integrate the SDGs into sectoral programmes and plans.

June 2019: The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has reviewed Kazakhstan’s environmental performance and recommended actions for achieving the SDGs. The review welcomes the steps Kazakhstan has taken to enshrine the SDGs in its national institutions and policy, and its achievement of some health, energy and waste collection targets. However, the review cautions that large regional variations remain, and no systematic effort has been made to explicitly integrate the SDGs into sectoral programmes and plans.

The review highlights the establishment of Kazakhstan’s Coordination Council on SDGs, which is headed by the Deputy Prime Minister, and has its own secretariat. SDGs are also mentioned in Kazakhstan’s 2018 Strategic Plan for Development until 2025 and in the 2017 Main Directions of the State Policy on Official Development Aid (ODA) for the period 2017-2020. Kazakhstan has developed a draft national indicator framework of 257 indicators under its Ministry of National Economy’s Committee on Statistics.

The review notes concrete achievements, including: successfully reducing the maternal and infant mortality rates (SDG target 3.1 and 3.2, respectively); ensuring universal access to energy services (SDG target 7.1); and reducing cities’ environmental impacts, including through attention to air quality improvement and waste management services (SDG target 11.6). However, the review also finds large disparities between urban and rural areas. For example, maternal and infant mortality rates are poorer in rural than in urban areas, some rural dwellers are still experiencing unreliable electricity supply, more than 1.4 million people are using polluting fuels for cooking, and there is greater coverage of waste collection services in the major cities, at around 90% compared with less than 50% in regional areas.

Emphasizing the need to “leave no one behind,” the review recommends: raising awareness on the relevance of the SDGs for Kazakhstan and their synergies with existing national targets; mainstreaming the SDGs in existing strategic documents; conducting regular activities to promote implementation; and reporting regularly on this.

Other aspects of the review cover: the legal, policy and institutional framework; regulatory and compliance assurance mechanisms; green economy and trade; environmental monitoring, information, public participation and education; climate change; air quality; water management; chemicals and waste management; biodiversity and protected areas; energy; industry; agriculture; and health.

This is UNECE’s third review of Kazakhstan’s environmental performance. The previous review took place in 2008.

The EU and the Governments of Germany, Norway and Switzerland provided funds for conducting the review, and professional support was provided by Germany, Hungary, Italy and Portugal, along with representatives of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), UNECE, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). [Report webpage] [Publication: Kazakhstan Environmental Performance Reviews: Third Review]

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