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UN system in Europe and Central Asia joins forces on Agenda 2030

While countries in Europe and Central Asia are taking the first steps towards achieving the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the entities of the UN system in the region are continuing to connect the dots and align their activities to support these efforts.

Under the joint leadership of UNECE and the Regional UN Development Group for Europe and Central Asia, a Regional UN System Meeting took place in Vienna on 5-6 December 2016, hosted by UNIDO and IAEA. The meeting was the first-ever fully integrated meeting of the two existing regional coordination structures - the Regional Coordination Mechanism and the Regional UNDG -, in which over 20 UN entities participate, such as UNDP, UNICEF, WHO, ILO, FAO, UNEP, OHCHR, UNFPA and others. Regional Directors agreed on a number of actions regarding joint advocacy for SDGs, country support and inter-agency coordination.

There was consensus on the need to promote domestic implementation and awareness of SDGs in all countries of the region – those with UN presence as well as the high-income countries. Advocacy towards advancing in key SDG areas and support for policy integration will be jointly provided by the UN in the region. A number of thematic areas, including health, gender, jobs, ecosystems, governance and others, will be covered in a forthcoming advocacy publication.  

It is crucial that support at the country level is provided in a coordinated and targeted manner. Therefore, the regional UN system will continue to strengthen its cooperation and link its activities in support of SDG implementation. One means to do so are broad, multi-partner Issue-Based Coalitions that involve all relevant UN agencies but also reach out to non-UN partners. Such coalitions have been established in the areas of health, social protection, gender, youth and migration.

Moreover, UN agencies and platforms will be crucial for data, monitoring, follow-up and review of the SDGs. The complexity of measuring SDG progress is affecting all countries and statistical offices in the region. Inter-agency cooperation on data and SDG statistics will therefore be intensified. Statistical work at the regional level, spearheaded by the Conference of European Statisticians (CES), will be more connected with issue-specific data work carried out by individual UN agencies. Moreover, the regional UN system will be the primary partner of UNECE in organizing the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (Geneva, 25 April 2017).