Save water, grow green! Committee on Environmental Policy agrees on the agenda for the Astana 2011 “Environment for Europe” Ministerial Conference
The Committee on Environmental Policy met in Geneva from 2 to 5 November 2010 to advance the preparations for the seventh “Environment for Europe” (EfE) Ministerial Conference, which will bring together ministers and representatives of civil society and business in Astana (Kazakhstan), from 21 to 23 September 2011. Two major themes will drive the Conference agenda: “Sustainable management of water and water-related ecosystems” and “Greening the economy: mainstreaming the environment into economic development”.
Three multi-stakeholder round-table discussions will take place during the Conference:
Outcomes of the round-table debates will be considered at the end of the Conference and will feed into the Chair’s Summary of the Conference.
Europe’s Environment Assessment of Assessments report, prepared by the European Environment Agency in cooperation with UNECE and other EfE partners, will support the work of the Conference. The report will assess existing environmental assessments, processes and practices identifying gaps, needs and priorities; evaluate capacity to measure progress on targets and implementation of Conventions and agreed actions; and contribute to the development of a shared environmental information system within the European Union and across the pan-European region. In addition, background papers on each of the two Conference themes are being prepared by UNECE jointly with EfE partners to support multi-stakeholder discussions during the Conference and to facilitate decision-making.
The Conference outcomes will include a two-page Ministerial Declaration focused on follow-up and further actions required for a sustainable management of water and greening the economy in the region, as well as a number of initiatives that are expected to be proposed. In connection with the latter, Kazakhstan, as the host country of the Conference, has put forward the Astana “Green Bridge” Initiative,focusing on a Europe-Asia-Pacific partnership for strengthening cooperation on green development. The “Green Bridge” initiative has already been endorsed at the ESCAP Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific, which took place in October 2010 in Astana. In addition, upon the initiative of the Bureau of the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, a Toolbox for Action on Sustainable Management of Water and Water-related Ecosystemswill be developed by all interested stakeholders to guide and support Governments’ efforts in addressing this issue. The Conference remains open for other similar initiatives and policy tools at both regional and subregional levels.
The Committee on Environmental Policy also approved recommendations for the second Environmental Performance Review of Azerbaijan and of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and considered the launching of a third cycle of Reviews at the Astana Ministerial Conference.
The Committee also decided on the environmental sector representation for the European Environment and Health Ministerial Board and appointed Ministers of Environment from Azerbaijan, Belarus, Romania and Turkey for the first term of the Board (2011–2012).
Documents and materials of the seventeenth session of the Committee on Environmental Policy are posted at: http://www.unece.org/env/cep/17thsession.html.
Information on the Astana EfE Ministerial Conference is available at: http://www.unece.org/env/efe/Astana/welcome.html.
For more information, please contact:
Ms. Monika Linn
Secretary of the Committee on Environmental Policy
Tel: +41 (0)22 917 1315
E-mail: efe [@] unece.org