As one of five Regional Commissions of the United Nations, the major aim of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is to promote economic integration and sustainable development across its 56 member States in Europe, North America and Central Asia. Among a broad range of activities, promoting the transformation towards the green economy has become a major focus of work at the regional level, in particular in the follow-up to the Rio+20 Conference. UNECE is working in multiple ways to make this concept operational and to develop solutions in a cross-sectoral manner:
- Providing legal frameworks and assistance activities through instruments like the UNECE Multilateral Environmental Agreements.
- Developing expertise and policy solutions in areas such as resource efficiency, environmental performance, environmental democracy, sustainable transport, sustainable energy, sustainable housing, green real estate markets, and sustainable forest products.
- Measuring sustainable development and improving capacities for environmental monitoring and assessment.
- Encouraging eco-innovations and green investment.
- Raising awareness to change behavioral patterns towards sustainable consumption and production, for example through the UNECE Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development.
- Developing green standards, for example the standards for cleaner and smarter vehicles developed by the World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations.
These programmes and activities are described in greater detail on the UNECE website (www.unece.org).
As a multilateral platform, UNECE is committed to policy dialogue, exchange of best practices, capacity-building, and technical cooperation for countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia as key tools for sharing and disseminating green economy knowledge. A prime example in this regard is the UNECE Green Economy Toolbox, a practical one-stop tool providing information and guidance on the green economy that was launched online in 2013. The toolbox offers numerous UNECE tools, such as guidelines and policy recommendations, for different stakeholders, including Governments, businesses, academia, and non-governmental organizations.