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All eyes on Batumi for the 8th Ministerial Conference

The Eighth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference will gather Ministers and high-level representatives of UNECE’s 56 member countries in Batumi, Georgia, from 8-10 June 2016. 

The main themes of the Conference will be:

Greening the economy. This approach, which fosters a healthy economy while ensuring environmental sustainability and social equity, is considered one of the most promising ways to achieve sustainable development. Delegates will adopt the Pan-European Strategic Framework for Greening the Economy in the Pan-European region and pledge additional commitments to the Batumi Initiative on Green Economy (BIG-E).

The GEO-6 Assessment for the pan-European region, prepared by UNEP and UNECE with support from the European Environment Agency (EEA), will be launched at the Conference on 8 June.  

Improving air quality.  Air pollution, which causes 7 million deaths per year worldwide, has become the world’s single largest environmental health risk. It causes 600,000 premature deaths per year in Europe, notably due to high concentrations of fine particles and ground-level ozone. For half the UNECE countries, the total health costs of air pollution represent more than 10 per cent of GDP. Ecosystem biodiversity is also threatened due to nitrogen deposition.  Improving air quality is thus an urgent imperative.  Delegates will discuss the findings of the report Towards cleaner air, and will be called to adopt the Batumi Action for Cleaner Air (2016–2021).

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The Conference will discuss how education can contribute to achieving sustainable development in the region. It will review progress in the implementation of the UNECE Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development since its adoption in 2004 and will adopt a Framework for the future implementation of ESD in the UNECE region.

The Ministerial Conference is expected to include up to approximately 800 official delegates, fostering a unique partnership between member States of the UNECE, organizations of the United Nations system represented in the region, other intergovernmental organizations, Regional Environment Centres, non-governmental organizations, the business sector and other representatives of civil society.

The Ministerial meetings in the Environment for Europe (EfE) framework, taking place every four  to five years, provide a high-level platform for stakeholders to discuss, decide and join in efforts addressing environmental priorities across the 56 countries of the UNECE, and serve as a regional pillar of sustainable development. At the same time, the EfE process focuses on helping countries reap real benefits in terms of strengthening environmental cooperation and increasing capacity building, which will bring concrete activities in the Pan-European region environmental sector.

Conference website: http://www.efebatumi.com/en/.

Preparatory documents are available at: www.unece.org/environmental-policy/environment-for-europe/efe-conferences/batumi-conference/documents-and-materials.html