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EPRs to support the achievement and monitoring of SDGs

UNECE environmental performance reviews (EPRs) can play an important role in supporting the achievement and monitoring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). EPRs can assess the progress made by a country in achieving the relevant SDGs, identify challenges and provide recommendations to address them. These were the conclusions of the extended meeting of the Expert Group on Environmental Performance Reviews, which took place in Geneva on 9 December 2016.

Participants discussed in detail several options for how relevant SDGs can be incorporated into the contents of the EPR reports, together with the data and resource requirements for each option. They highlighted that a one-size-fits-all approach should be avoided, and that some flexibility is needed to ensure that the incorporation of relevant SDGs best responds to the needs of the countries under review.

The role of the EPRs in contributing to the country-driven follow-up and review of SDGs at the national level was also emphasized. EPRs can serve as a building block for national reviews of SDG implementation in the reviewed countries. They can also serve as inputs to the Voluntary National Reviews at the high-level political forum on sustainable development, when the EPR-reviewed countries undertake such reviews.

Last, but not least, EPRs can identify systemic problems related to the achievement of relevant SDGs and contribute to sharing experience among countries.

The extended meeting of the Expert Group was organized in follow-up to the Eighth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference (Batumi, 8–10 June 2016), where UNECE ministers highlighted the role that the EPR Programme can play in supporting the achievement and monitoring of SDGs in the pan-European region. In addition to members of the Expert Group from Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Montenegro, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland, the extended meeting was also attended by experts from Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kazakhstan, Slovakia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Belgium and Italy provided written comments. Representative of international organizations that regularly contribute to the EPR Programme, such as UNEP, WHO and the Joint UNEP/OCHA Environment Unit, also participated in the meeting. A representative of the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia also took part.

A political-level discussion on the role of EPRs in supporting the achievement and monitoring of SDGs will take place at the next meeting of the Committee on Environmental Policy, to be held in Geneva from 25 to 27 January 2017.

For more information, please contact:

Antoine Nunes
EPR Programme Manager
E-mail: antoine.nunes@unece.org