The spotlight will be on the green economy at Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012. Much has been published and discussed about this new concept and how it might shape the future of humanity and its development paths. As the discussions leading to Rio emphasize, it is now time for action. UNECE is ready and already working to make this concept operational.
Ways in which the UNECE is supporting member States on the pathway towards a greener future include
UNECE provides policy solutions - Through instruments like the UNECE Multilateral Environmental Agreements, UNECE provides legal frameworks and policy solutions in areas such as resource efficiency, emissions, green governance, health and environmental democracy.
UNECE fosters action - Two action plans have identified steps for countries to make the green economy concept operational in the forestry and housing sectors. Both plans will be followed by examples of initiatives already undertaken at the national level to build knowledge and facilitate action.
UNECE assesses and advises - UNECE Environmental Performance Reviews and the programme on environmental monitoring and assessment observe how the green economy is mainstreamed into relevant policies and then recommendations follow.
UNECE develops standards - Though the work of its committees and expert groups, UNECE develops green standards. One example is the standards for cleaner and smarter vehicles developed by the World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations.
UNECE builds networks - For instance, UNECE connects actors and shares knowledge on eco-innovations. This is done in cooperation with the private sector, to better identify business opportunities and address financial gaps.
UNECE encourages green investment - For example, by establishing dedicated energy efficiency investment funds and assisting project developers.
UNECE measures progress - In areas such as air pollution ceilings, energy efficiency performance bench-marking.
UNECE builds capacity - For example, UNECE helps countries to implement energy efficiency policies; to develop methods for environmental monitoring; and to produce data, such as pollutant release and transfer register data and indicators to assess environmental sustainability and the success of a green economy.
UNECE connects dots. UNECE understands that the green economy is a cross-sectoral challenge, and cannot be addressed without synergies. Integrated programmes like the Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme (THE PEP) connect sectors and encourage them to work and plan together in support of sustainable development.
UNECE raises awareness. UNECE’s Education for Sustainable Development programme, and its tool kit on sustainable forest management for youth are examples of how UNECE contributes to changing behavioral patterns towards sustainable consumption and production.
UNECE develops expertise. Experts and specialists meet in UNECE to develop understanding and elaborate policies in areas such as climate change adaptation, transport, paperless trade, sustainable housing, green real estate markets, and sustainable forest products.