The seventh “Environment for Europe” Ministerial Conference to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan, in autumn 2011 will address two main themes: the Sustainable Management of Water and Water-related Ecosystems and Greening the Economy: Mainstreaming the Environment into Economic Development.
The decision, taken on 23 October by the Committee on Environmental Policy of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), reflects the current priority issues on the region’s environmental agenda.
Transboundary cooperation and national efforts in water managementwere seen as essential if the region is to successfully address challenges like increasing water scarcity and its impact on food and energy security and economic development. Issues of water management are at the centre of other growing regional concerns, including the melting of glaciers caused by global warming, which requires improved flood control measures to deal with seasonal flooding, water quality, and members States’ increasing financial needs to provide water supply and sanitation.
The Committee also felt that the momentum of the ongoing reshaping of economic policies should be used to ensure better environmental performance. The second item for the high-level agenda on greening the economy could include issues such as the reduction of carbon emissions, energy efficiency, sustainable consumption and production, and the reconfiguration of financing and infrastructure to better accommodate environmental considerations.
“It will be through the cooperation of all partners that we shall reach the original goal of the process, namely to raise environmental standards everywhere, and thus contribute to the sustainable development of our region”, said Ján Kubiš, UNECE Executive Secretary.
The “Environment for Europe” process and its Ministerial Conferences provide a unique high-level platform for Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, the private sector and other stakeholders to discuss, decide and join efforts in addressing environmental priorities across the 56 member countries of the UNECE region. The process was initiated in 1991 with six high-level meetings taking place in different parts of the region. It serves as an important driver for the development of environmental policy and has initiated a number of regional environmental treaties.
Information on the Committee on Environmental Policy is available at; http://www.unece.org/env/cep/currentSession.html
Information on the first six “Environment for Europe” Ministerial Conferences is available at; http://www.unece.org/env/efe/history%20of%20EfE/fromDobtoBelg.htm
For more information, please contact:
Ms. Monika Linn
Secretary of the Committee on Environmental Policy
UNECE Environment, Housing and Land Management Division
Tel. +41 (0) 22 917 1315