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Activities of the Executive Secretary

2 July

Meeting of the Parties to the Aarhus Convention and its Protocol on PRTRs

The Acting Executive Secretary delivered the opening statement of the joint  high-level segment.

Read his statement

12 June

Administrative Committee of the TIR Convention

The Acting Executive Secretary delivered the opening statement of this extraordinary high-level session of the Administrative Committee.

Read the press release

5 June

6th Meeting of the Parties to the Espoo Convention

The Acting Executive Secretary delivered the opening statement of the high-level segment.

Read his statement

22 May

International Day of Biodiversity

The Acting Executive Secretary participated in a “Tree Planting Ceremony” on the grounds of the Palais des Nations.

Read the Press Release

17-18 March

Meeting of the heads of the Regional Commissions

The Executive Secretary participated in the meeting of the heads of the five United Nations regional commissions in Santiago, Chile. The Executive Secretaries reaffirmed their commitment to support and accompany their Member States through the post-2015 development agenda process, already being discussed within different forums. The also held a dialogue with the High-Level Committee on Programmes (HLCP), the policy pillar of the Chiefs Executive Board for Coordination (CEB) of the United Nations, which held its 27th session at ECLAC.

Read ECLAC's press release

26 February

Meeting with the Minister of Transport of Jordan

The Minister of Transport of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, Lina Shbeeb, met the Executive Secretary, and addressed the 76th session of the Inland Transport Committee,  to call for the global opening of the European Agreement concerning the Work of Crews of Vehicles engaged in International Road Transport (AETR).

25 February

76th annual session of the Inland Transport Committee

The Executive Secretary delivered the opening statement of the policy segment on “Innovations for Sustainable Inland Transport and Mobility”.

After the policy segment, he opened the photo exhibit “E 40 – Image of the Road”. The exhibit depicts a journey along the 8,000 kilometre long E40 European Highway from Calais, France, to Ridder, in northeast Kazakhstan, by Helen Kirwan, Simon Pruciak and Jarek Karpik.

18-19 February

Visit to Albania

The Executive Secretary was on official visit to Albania to discuss further strengthening cooperation between UNECE and Albania in areas of common interest. During his visit he held a series of bilateral meetings with government officials including Environment Minister Lefter Koka, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Edmond Haxhinasto, Industry and Energy Minister Damian Gjiknuri, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ditmir Bushati and Speaker of the Parliament Ilir Meta.

13 February

Compact signing ceremony

The UN system’s senior managers gathered around Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday for the annual compact signing ceremony. The Executive Secretary was among the 17 senior managers who were present in New York, while nine were connected by video conference.

Read the article in UNECE Weekly

10 February

Meeting with the Minister of Economic Development of Tajikistan

The Executive Secretary met with Sharif Rakhimzoda, Minister of Economic Development of Tajikistan, to discuss the results of a recent study, conducted by UNECE, on the regulatory and procedural barriers to trade in Tajikistan. The Minister presented the study’s conclusions at the 6th session of the Committee on Trade.

Read the article in UNECE Weekly

4 February

Workshop on the future of social housing

The Executive Secretary delivered the opening address of the workshop “The future of social housing: environmental and social challenges and the way ahead”.

 

Read the speech

14 January

Visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel

The Executive Secretary met with Avigdor Liberman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, at the Palais des Nations on 14 January 2014. Mr Liberman was in Geneva to attend the ceremony marking the admission of Israel as the 21st Member State of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
The two sides discussed bilateral cooperation and further opportunities to reinforce it.

Read the article in UNECE Weekly

13 January

Meeting with the Permanent Representative of Greece

The Executive Secretary met with Ambassador Alexandris to discuss the fruitful cooperation between UNECE and Greece.

5 January 

5 January  -  Real Estate Roundtable

The Executive Secretary was one of the speakers at the conference, “Towards a Sustainable Real Estate Market – Real Estate Registration, Investment, Regulation and Capacity Building” organized by Dubai Real Estate Institute. He presented UNECE’s work in support of housing, land management and real estate markets throughout the Pan-European region.

 

Read more in UNECE Weekly

16 December

End of year celebration with EXCOM

EXCOM members and UNECE staff gathered on Monday 15 December at the Palais des Nations at the invitation of the UNECE Executive Secretary and the Chair and Bureau of EXCOM (Ambassador van Schreven, Chair, Ambassadors Winzap and Aydogdyan, Vice Chairs) to celebrate together the end of the year.

 

 

 

Read the article in UNECE Weekly

9 December

Metsa2013 and 2nd European Forest Week

The Executive Secretary was one of the speakers at the opening of the Joint session of the UNECE Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry and the FAO European Forestry Commission in Rovaniemi, Finland.

Read the Press Release

2 December

Visit of the Executive Secretary to Azerbaijan

The Executive Secretary was in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 1-2 December, to conclude negotiations on the establishment of a Specialist Centre for Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) infrastructure in Baku. This Specialist Centre, which will be affiliated to the UNECE International PPP Centre of Excellence in Geneva, will aim at identifying international PPP best practice models in ICT and act as an international repository for PPP projects in the ICT sector.

This cooperation will be formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UNECE and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of Azerbaijan, to be signed on the occasion of the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2014.

In Baku, the Executive Secretary visited BakuTel 2013, the largest International Telecommunications and Information Technologies Exhibition in the Caucasus, with President Ilham Aliyev. He held bilateral meetings with the President and with Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Ali Abbasov Minister of Communications and Information Technology of the Republic of Azerbaijan.

27 November

Meeting with the President of the Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists’ Association

Mr. Murat Karimsakov, President of the Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists’ Association presented the Executive Secretary with a diploma conferring the title of “Honorary Professor” from the Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists’ Association.


The two sides reiterated their wish to enhance their collaboration and to organize events jointly.

20 November

Lecture to the Geneva School of Diplomacy

The Executive Secretary was one of the speakers of this lecture organized as part of a course on the United Nations system. He presented a brief history of the organization, before n overview of UNECE’s main activities and current priorities.

The event was hosted by the Library of the United Nations Office at Geneva.

19 November

Global Round Table on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (PRTRs)

The Executive Secretary delivered the opening address at the first Global Round Table on PRTRs, organized under the auspices of UNECE and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in cooperation with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).

Read the statement

6-8 November

Regional consultation on the Post 2015 Development Agenda

The Executive Secretary was one of the speakers at the opening session of the Regional Consultation entitled “Inclusive and Sustainable Development: Perspectives from Europe and Central Asia on the Post-2015 Development Agenda”.


The high-level event was hosted by the Ministry of Development of Turkey in Istanbul and co-organized by the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Europe and Central Asia, which is chaired by UNECE, and the regional United Nations Development Group.


In his address the Executive Secretary said: “in order to address inequalities, it is necessary to create decent jobs, invest in quality health and education services, strengthen social protection, and tackle gender-based discrimination. Enhancing the voice and participation of the society as a whole is also crucial. The active role of civil society at this meeting is one example of the significant contribution it can make”. Moreover, “international cooperation at all levels will be vital in moving towards more inclusive and sustainable societies. UNECE is working to further develop regional cooperation on sustainable development issues, through the exchange of policy experiences, implementation of legal instruments, and capacity-building”, he concluded.

Read the press release

31 October

Dialogue of the Executive Secretaries with the Second Committee

The Executive Secretary participated in the Dialogue of the Executive Secretaries with the Second Committee on “Inter‐regional Cooperation: an enabler for the Post‐2015 Development Agenda” in New York.


In his address he recalled that UNECE has been intensely involved in promoting economic integration and cooperation among its member countries. Since UNECE programmes and activities address core developmental challenges faced by middle income countries, there is reason to believe that they can be shared and replicated with other regions. Examples from several areas (environment, transport, statistics, innovation, housing etc.) show the relevance of these activities also in the context of the MDGs and the post-2015 development agenda. 

 

Read the statement

22 October

Committee on Environmental Policy

The Executive Secretary delivered the opening statement at the 19th session of the Committee on Environmental Policy, held from 22 to 25 October at the Palais des Nations.

 

Read the statement

 

17-18 October

Conference on "Energy Security and Sustainability - the OSCE Perspective"

The Executive Secretary delivered a keynote statement in the opening session of the high-level international conference “Energy Security and Sustainability - the OSCE Perspective” organized under the Ukraine chairmanship of OSCE and hosted by Turkmenistan in Ashgabat.


In his address he highlighted the role that UNECE has played and can continue to play in the energy security dialogue.

 

Read the statement

 

8-9 October

Budapest Water Summit
The Executive Secretary was on the speakers at the opening session of the Budapest Water Summit, where he highlighted UNECE’s work under the Water Convention and the Protocol on Water and Health.

Read the statement

On the occasion of the summit, he met with Sandor Fazekas, Minister of Rural Development of Hungary to discuss Hungary’s role in transboundary water cooperation. 

 

Mr Alkalaj expressed his appreciation for the important role Hungary is playing in the field of water, particularly in transboundary water cooperation. Mr Fazekas explained Hungary’s interest in such work and observed: “Rivers and lakes tie us together, not separate us”. Mr Fazekas also expressed his country’s pride to host the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention in 2015.

He also met with José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), to discuss strengthening cooperation between the two organizations.

They examined how the organizations could continue their successful long-term cooperation in the field of forestry—a joint office in Geneva has addressed this issue for the past 60 years—and how they might broaden cooperation in other areas related to agriculture in the pan-European region. Agricultural cooperation might be based upon FAO’s substantive experience and field presence in a number of countries in pan-Europe and upon UNECE’s expertise in economic and statistical analyses as well as agricultural standards.


Mr da Silva was in Budapest to open an enlarged regional office of FAO.

7 October

World Habitat Day
The Executive Secretary was one of the speakers at the press-conference on Post-Disaster Housing organized by UNECE on the occasion of World Habitat Day 2013. Other speakers included Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of UNISDR, Sylvain Labbé, président-directeur général, Bureau de promotion des Produits du bois du Québec (Canada) and Ingrid Lampe, Marketing Manager, Palmako AS (Estonia).

Read his statement

25 September

Special Event towards achieving the MDGs
The Executive Secretary participated in the Special Event towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) convened by the President of the General Assembly.

In his address he recalled that the Millennium Development Goals had proven to be an extremely effective mechanism for addressing world poverty. For many of the goals there has been impressive progress and various goals have been achieved. However, the global financial and economic crisis in the late 2000s resulted in setbacks in MDG progress in many countries, mainly through higher unemployment, lower incomes and cuts in government spending. A final push is needed to achieve the goals outlined in the Millennium Declaration.
When designing the new development agenda, some of the lessons from the MDGs should thus be incorporated. These include:

  • relevance for all countries;       
  • good governance and human rights;
  • sustainable consumption and production;
  • strengthened accountability and monitoring mechanisms, including better and more comparable data.

Read the statement

11 September

21st  OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum
The Executive Secretary was one of the keynote speakers at the Opening Plenary session of the 21st  OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum in Prague (11-13 September), which this year discussed “Increasing stability and security: Improving the environmental footprint of energy-related activities in the OSCE region”.

Read his speech.

10 September

Exhibition of post-disaster housing
Compared to post-conflict preparation, there are few guidelines available to address issues related to the right to adequate housing in the wake of disasters. In order to highlight the importance of this issue, UNECE is hosting an exhibition of temporary disaster relief housing in the park of the Palais des Nations from 10 September 2013 to 10 October 2013. The exhibited houses have been provided by Canada and Estonia and showcase some of the most recent developments in low-cost, quick-build, short-term housing for those displaced by disasters.

The exhibit was opened on 10 September by the Executive Secretary alongside Elissa Golberg and Jüri Seilenthal, permanent representatives to the United Nations in Geneva of Canada and Estonia, respectively, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Director General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, and Szilard Fricska, Senior Humanitarian Coordinator for UN-Habitat in Geneva.

Read more

 

10 September

Meeting with the Secretary General of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO)
The two sides stressed the long and very good cooperation between ECO and UNECE, based on the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2003. The MoU accelerated the promotion of international agreements and conventions signed under the framework of UNECE in ECO member countries (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Republic of Azerbaijan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Republic of Tajikistan, Republic of Turkey, Turkmenistan, and Republic of Uzbekistan). This has led to tangible achievements, especially in the elaboration of railway and road development plans in ECO countries. The most recent example is the re-activation of the TIR convention in Afghanistan.


Mr. Shamil Aleskerov emphasized the complementary work of UNECE and ECO on the development of transport corridors connecting Europe and Asia, East-West as well as South-North. He invited UNECE to support ECO countries in implementing border crossing procedures and harmonising technical standards. He also praised the cooperation between ECO, UNECE and the Islamic Development Bank based on the MoU signed in 2011.
The Executive Secretary emphasized that accession to UNECE’s global conventions and agreements would benefit ECO member countries in their integration in regional and global processes.


He invited ECO countries to mobilize the efforts of all stakeholders to achieve the objectives of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020). He also invited them to promote the inclusion of transport as one of the Sustainable Development Goals to be defined in the post-2015 development agenda.
The two sides agreed that closer cooperation could be enlarged to areas such as energy, environment, trade promotion, statistics and research.
Mr. Aleskerov invited Mr. Alkalaj to attend the Council of Ministers of ECO countries in November 2013.

3-6 September

Visit to Turkmenistan
The Executive Secretary visited Turkmenistan from 3-6 September. During his visit, he met with President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet and Minister of Foreign Affairs Rashid Meredov, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers for Agriculture, Water Resources and Nature Protection Annageldi Yazmyradov, Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers for Economy, Foreign Investment, Finance and Monetary System Annamuhammet Gochiyev, and other high–level officials.

The Executive Secretary thanked the President for the contribution of Turkmenistan to the work of UNECE, highlighting its Vice-Chairmanship of the Commission, successful Chairmanship of SPECA and recent accession to the Water Convention. The two sides acknowledged the existing successful cooperation of Turkmenistan with the United Nations, notably its active role in the promotion of the MDGs and post-2015 development agenda.

The two sides also discussed the key areas of further cooperation which include energy, environmental protection, water management, transport and trade. The President reiterated the need for enhancing energy security and the development of energy transit routes, an area where UNECE could provide technical assistance and expertise.

Read more.

 

 

1-2 September

Bled Strategic Forum
The Executive Secretary participated in the Bled Strategic Forum, where he delivered a message of the Secretary-General. He also took part in the panel discussion "Economic Perspectives of Russian and Central Asia: Opportunities and Challenges".

26 June

Memorandum of Understanding with the Eurasian Economic Commission 
The Executive Secretary and Viktor Khristenko, Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between UNECE and EEC at a ceremony in Geneva.

The Memorandum aims at strengthening cooperation between the Parties on areas such as customs administration, technical regulations, trade, macroeconomic policy, transport and logistics.

Read the Press Release

21 June

Visit to Tajikistan
The Executive Secretary met with President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan.

17 - 18 June

Visit to Kyrgyzstan
The Executive Secretary met with Prime Minister Jantoro Satybaldyev and other members of Government.  

10 June

Conference of European Statisticians
The Executive Secretary delivered a statement at the opening of the 61st plenary session of the Conference of European Statisticians, which discussed, in particular, the key challenges in measuring sustainable development in the follow-up to Rio+20 and in implementing the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting.

 

Read the statement

31 May

4th Meeting of the Parties to the Sava Framework Agreement 
The Executive Secretary delivered the opening statement at the meeting, where he stressed that, through its Water Convention, UNECE is helping Sava countries (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia) to collectively adapt to climate change and anticipate flood risks. 

Read the statement

28 May

Vienna Energy Forum
The Executive Secretary spoke at the high-level Panel on Energy in the Post-2015 Agenda stressing that there is no sustainable development without sustainable energy.

Some of the key priorities in the UNECE region to be addressed in a post-2015 sustainable development framework include: greening the economy, promoting sustainable energy, and reducing energy poverty through the development of sustainable cities and energy efficient housing.

Read the statement.

22-24 May

Astana Economic Forum
The Executive Secretary participated in a series of events during the VI Astana Economic Forum.

On this occasion, he held bilateral meetings with Kazakh officials, including President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Transport and Communication, Environmental Protection, and Economy and Budget Planning.

Read the statements.

Watch the photo gallery.

Mr Nikolay Pomoshchnikov, Head of the ESCAP Subregional Office for North and Central Asia with Sven Alkalaj

Meeting with Mr. Azat Bekturov, Vice-Minister of Transport and Communication of Kazakhstan

 

The Executive Secretary delivered speeches at the Astana Economic Forum.
http://www.unece.org/press/execsec/execsectoc.html

15-17 May

Visit to Georgia
The Executive Secretary visited Georgia, where he held a series of bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, Deputy Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili and the ministers of the Economy, Energy and the Environment.


In these meetings, he discussed further cooperation between Georgia and UNECE, in particular in the areas of sustainable economic development, environment, energy, transport and statistics.

 

Read the article in UNECE Weekly

6 May

Second UN Global Road Safety Week
The Executive Secretary delivered the opening statement at the symposium on “Regional perspectives on preventing alcohol‐related crashes involving vulnerable road users”, organized by UNECE on the occasion of the launch of the Second UN Global Road Safety Week.

 

Read the statement

Click here for the programme of activities.

24 April

Meeting with the Permanent Representative of Austria
The Executive Secretary and Ambassador Thomas Hajnoczi agreed that the incorporation of the standards elaborated by UNECE’s teams of specialists into national legislation, especially in areas such as trade, transports, environment protection and health, allows members States to improve the national standards and facilitates regional cooperation.

The Executive Secretary conveyed his gratitude to the Austrian government for its support to the Trans-European Motorways (TEM) and Trans-European Railways (TER). He invited the Austrian government to consider signing the statements on the Development of Euro-Asian Transport Links and Activities towards a Unified Railway Law, adopted at the Ministerial Meeting on Euro-Asian Transport Links in February 2013.

UNECE highly appreciates the contribution of Austrian specialists to its work on trade facilitation and the development of electronic business, as during the 21st UN/CEFACT Forum held from 15-19 April, 2013 in Geneva.

The parties expressed their expectations that an agreement to open negotiations on the Framework Convention on Sustainable Housing would be reached at the Ministerial Meeting on Housing and Land Management on 8 October, 2013.

Both parties confirmed their desire to continue cooperating closely in the future.

17 April

7th European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns
The Executive Secretary  delivered a speech on public service financing at the Mayors’ Session of the 7th European Conference on Sustainable Cities and Towns.
During this event, he met with Sandrine Salerno, Deputy Mayor of the City of Geneva.

Read his address.

12 April

General Assembly of the International Road Transport Union
The Executive Secretary delivered an address at the General Assembly of the International Road Transport Union (IRU).

 

Read his statement

9 April

Meeting with the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities
The Executive Secretary said that UNECE and OSCE share almost the same membership and stressed the quality of the cooperation between the two institutions.

Mr. Halil Yurdakul Yigitgüden said that the joint “Handbook of best practices at Border-Crossings” had been very successful and had triggered interest from various countries outside the region, in particular from Egypt.
He said that OSCE will support the project on Euro-Asian transport links and conveyed an invitation to the Executive Secretary to be one of the speakers at the 21st Economic and Environmental Forum, to be held in Prague in September.

9 April

Sixty-fifth session of the Economic Commission for Europe
The Executive Secretary delivered opening remarks.

Read the speech

 

Photo Gallery

8 April

Meeting with the Secretary-General of the Eurasian Economic Community
The Executive Secretary and Mr. Tair Mansurov, Secretary-General of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC), agreed to renew a Memorandum of Understanding between EurAsEC, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).

 

The renewed MoU will be signed by the three parties at the Astana Economic Forum on 22 May 2013. The aim of the MoU is to further strengthen the legal framework for tripartite cooperation based on the principles of transparency, reciprocity and mutual benefit, with a view to achieving sustained growth and sustainable development in the region.

 

Mr. Mansurov is in Geneva to participate in the 65th session of the Economic Commission for Europe as a keynote speaker.

21 March

 

Meeting with the Deputy Head of the Federal Forestry Agency of the Russian Federation

The Executive Secretary expressed his gratitude for the strong support of the Russian Federation to UNECE’s work on forests, stressing the key role of the Russian Federation, which has the largest forest area in the world.


The Executive Secretary and Mr. Alexander Panfilov, State Secretary and Deputy Head of the Federal Forestry Agency of the Russian Federation, discussed future opportunities for cooperation. These include a workshop to be held in Saint Petersburg in May 2013 and a conference on forest and the economy in 2014.



21 March

 

Multi - stakeholder Dialogue on Water in the Post - 2015 Development Agenda

The Executive Secretary was one of the speakers of the opening session of the multi stakeholder dialogue on Water in the post-2015 agenda organized in The Hague to present and discuss the results of the global thematic consultation on Water.
 
UNECE led five rounds of regional sub-consultations to feed into the overall recommendations on any water-related Sustainable Development Goals — the final objective of the Thematic Consultation on Water.


Read his speech

21 March

1st International Day of Forests


The Executive Secretary delivered a welcome address at the event Forests: the roots of sustainability, co-organized by UNECE, FAO and the Permanent Mission of the Federal Republic of Germany, in cooperation with UNOG, on the occasion of the 1st International Day of Forests.

 

Read his speech

27 February

Post-2015 Development Agenda Consultation on Water

The Executive Secretary opened the two-day consultation on water, which scrutinized the role of water and its importance in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, in particular two aspects defined as “Water Resources Management” and “Wastewater Management and Water Quality.” Participants also discussed how water relates to the other 10 themes of the ”World We Want” consultation, such as energy, health and food.
 
Read the press release

26 February

Photo exhibition “Transport in Motion”

The Executive Secretary opened the photo exhibition “Transport in Motion”, organized to mark the 75th Jubilee Session of the Inland Transport Committee.
 
The exhibition is made up of more than 300 photos from 22 countries showcasing infrastructure achievements along Euro-Asian transport routes, underpinning their cultural and economic significance from a social perspective.
 
The photos in the exhibit were chosen as visual reminders of the importance of affordable transport infrastructure and services for the well-being of individuals and nations. Artistically, the photos also highlight the human resources and faces that go into these transport success stories.
 
Watch the photo gallery

26 February

Ministerial segment of the Internal Transport Committee
On the occasion of the 75th Jubilee session of the Inland Transport Committee (ITC) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), a high-level Ministerial meeting was held on 26 February 2013. More than fifty Ministers, Deputy Ministers and other high-level officials from across Europe and Asia gathered in Geneva to endorse the final report of Phase II of the Euro-Asian Transport Links (EATL) project. The report identifies overland transport routes that could save both time and costs of delivery of freight and trade between two continents. In addition, the Ministers and other heads of delegations from thirty two countries signed a Declaration future cooperation on the EATL project.

 

Read the press release

26 February

Meeting with the First Deputy Minister of Tajikistan
The Executive Secretary and the First Deputy Minister of Melioration and Water Resources of Tajikistan, Mr. Sulton Rahimov, discussed cooperation on projects and activities related to water and environment in Tajikistan. They also discussed cooperation on water at the global level in the context of the International Year of Water Cooperation (2013).

 

Read the press release

25 February

Meeting with the Minister of Trade of the Eurasian Economic Commission 

On the occasion of his meeting with Mr. Andrey Slepnev, Member of the Board, Minister for Trade of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), the Executive Secretary stressed that UNECE was interested in developing effective cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) with a view to improving economic collaboration in the UNECE region.

 

He pointed out that the new draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), developed by UNECE and EEC, will broaden the scope of cooperation to cover areas such as trade and transport facilitation, promoting a competitive transport market, developing an innovative economy, facilitating public-private cooperation, improving the exchange of statistical data, etc.

 

Read the article in UNECE Weekly

 

5 February

Session of the Team of Specialists on Public-Private Partnerships
The Executive Secretary delivered the opening address of the Substantive Segment of the session, dedicated to the activities of the UNECE International PPP

Read speech

29 January

Meeting with the Permanent Representative of Albania

The Executive Secretary mentioned various areas of cooperation in the last years, including progress in the implementation of the Water Convention in Albania, with the second meeting of the Drin Core Group held on 20 November 2012 in Tirana; the second Environmental Performance Review of Albania carried out by UNECE in 2012; and training of Albanian statistical and energy experts by UNECE.

 

Special mention was made to the progress on establishing a Single Window in Albania, which saw the signature of bilateral agreements with the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro on Customs transit data exchange.

 

Ambassador Kodra expressed her full support to the work of UNECE and stressed the need to keep national institutions informed on progress. She also acknowledged the importance of UNECE’s regional programmes in the Balkans.

 

Both parties confirmed their desire to continue cooperating closely in the future.

 

25 January

Third town hall meeting

The Executive Secretary held his third town hall meeting to brief staff on two main issues:  

  • Further budget reductions requested by the General Assembly and their impact on UNECE
  • Preparations for the sixty-fifth Commission session (9-11 April 2013)

Read the full story in UNECE Weekly

21-22 January

Meeting of UNDP’s resident representatives for Europe & CIS

The Executive Secretary participated in the annual Regional Bureau for Europe and Central Asia (RBEC) meeting with UN Resident Representatives in Zagreb.

 

Discussions focused on the contribution that the region can bring to the follow-up to Rio+20 and consultations on the post-2015 development agenda in the context of inclusive and sustainable development. UNECE and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have been working on an inter-agency report that will provide a pan-European perspective to these discussions and inform the global consultative process, in particular the high-level meeting of the General Assembly in September 2013.

 

The Executive Secretary also held a bilateral meeting with Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator. He stressed the excellent cooperation between the two organizations and invited UNDP to contribute to the work of the United Nations Special Programme for Economies of Central Asia (SPECA). This could take the form of a sub-regional discussion about the post-2015 development agenda at the 2013 SPECA Economic Forum and joint technical cooperation projects under relevant Project Working Groups. Cooperation among UNECE and UNDP Regional Advisors could be reinforced, to strengthen synergies and coherence in the delivery of regional advisory services in Europe and Central Asia by the UN.

 

Read the statement

14-17 January

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week

From 14 to 17 January 2013, the Executive Secretary participates in the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, including the World Future Energy Summit, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) 3rd General Assembly and the International Water Summit.  Within the high level segment of the plenary of the IRENA Assembly, the Executive Secretary participated in the Ministerail round table ' Renewable energy costs and benefits' held in Abu Dhabi on 14 January 2013.

 

The discussions touched upon the broader economic, social, and environmental benefits of renewable energy. The Executive Secretary recalled that renewable energy currently comprises 15% of the global energy mix. In order to meet the objective of the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative to double its share by 2030, sustained efforts are required from all actors and stakeholders.

 

Investments in renewable often are blocked by risks of various sorts, including political and regulatory risks, and there should be a concerted effort to remove the blockages to enable the shift to sustainable energy. UNECE can contribute to the necessary shift by working with IRENA to remove the investment barriers including the establishment of multilateral agreements, normative instruments and standards while promoting innovation.

 

UNECE will also continue to contribute to the policy dialogue on renewable energy and share best practices on various renewable energy sources, he said.

Ministerial Panel on Building National Frameworks for Renewable Energy during the Abu Dhabi International Renewable Energy Conference, 15 January

Meeting with the Director-General of IRENA

On 16 January, the Executive Secretary met Mr. Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), to discuss possible ways to strengthen the cooperation between the two organizations. UNECE and IRENA intend to cooperate closely on renewables in the UNECE region but also globally with the other UN Regional Commissions. Joint efforts could  result in boosting the development of renewables in the UNECE region, in particular in South-East Europe, where projects could focus on biomass and wood energy.


Both parties agreed to formalize their cooperation through   a Memorandum of Understanding.

27-28 November

SPECA Economic Forum and Governing Council

Under the theme “Strengthening Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration in Central Asia by Sharing the Asian Experience”, the 2012 SPECA Economic Forum aimed to learn from the successes and challenges of regional economic integration in similar blocs. These include in particular the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Greater Mekong Subregion, a development project of the Asian Development Bank.

Read the press release and statements

26 November

SPECA meetings on Trade and Afghanistan

The Executive Secretary opened the meeting which focused on the “Challenges to the development of regional trade and investment” in SPECA countries, and review the progress being made in implementing the Baku Ministerial Declaration on Aid for Trade.

 

He also delivered the opening statement at the session “Review of Work in the SPECA Framework in Support of Implementation of the Decisions of the Fifth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan”.

Read statements

23 November

Meeting with the President of the Asian Development Bank

The Executive Secretary visited the Asian Development Bank (ADB), where he met President Haruhiko Kuroda to discuss ways to re-launch the cooperation amongst the two institutions. President Kuroda welcomed the proposal to strengthen cooperation and suggested that concrete projects for cooperation should first be identified at the expert level during the coming months.

Read the article in UNECE Weekly.

22 November

Signature of MoU establishing Specialist Public-Private Partnership Centre on Health in the Philippines

Sven Alkalaj and Dr. Enrique T. Ona, Secretary of Health of the Republic of the Philippines, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) establishing the Specialist Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) Centre on Health in the Philippines. An official signing ceremony took place in Manila at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI), where the office of the Specialist Centre is located.

Read the Press Release.

7 November

Meeting with the Permanent Representative of Luxembourg

The Executive Secretary expressed high appreciation for the excellent cooperation with Luxembourg in the area of environment. Luxembourg is one of the very few countries which is a Party to all UNECE multilateral environmental agreements, except for the Protocol on Civil Liability.

He also acknowledged active participation of Luxembourg in the work of the UNECE in the work of WP.29 and its six subsidiary working groups. He briefed the Ambassador on the preparations for the Inland Transport Committee’s (ITC) Euro-Asian Transport Links (EATL) Ministerial to be held on 26 February 2013. He encouraged participation of Luxembourg in UNECE meetings.

Ambassador Hoscheit assured the Executive Secretary that Luxembourg would continue to be actively engaged in the work of the UNECE.

Mr. Alkalaj congratulated Ambassador Hoscheit on the recent election of Luxembourg as a non-permanent member of the Security Council for a two-year term beginning on 1 January 2013.

25 October

Launch of the UNECE Trade Facilitation Implementation Guide

The Executive Secretary launched the UNECE Trade Facilitation Implementation Guide. This is a web-based  interactive tool designed to help countries simplify cross-border trade. Trade facilitation has become a key policy issue for both governments and business as it helps cut the costs of doing trade, reduce delays at the border, and make public agencies dealing with trade more efficient. It is at the heart of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round negotiations.

 

Read the press release

 

24 October

Regional Coordination Meeting

The Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson, chaired the annual formal meeting of the Regional Coordination Mechanism (RCM) for the UNECE region on 24 October in Geneva.

The RCM, convened by the UNECE Executive Secretary, brings together regional directors of UN agencies, funds and programmes to address issues of high priority on the UN development agenda that call for policy coherence at the regional level and require interagency cooperation. Eighteen agencies participated in the meeting.

Read the article in  UNECE Weekly

 

17 October

Meeting with the Permanent Representative of Israel

The Executive Secretary thanked Israel for its active participation in the work of UNECE and for its support, stressing in particular its very effective and constructive role as EXCOM bureau member.

He encouraged Israel to more actively participate in the work of UNECE’s sectorial Committees. 

Special emphasis was made on sustainable energy. Mr. Alkalaj acknowledged the lead role of Israel in energy security and sustainability in the region. He informed the Ambassador about the SG’s initiative on SE4All and the contribution of UNECE to this initiative in the context of the follow-up to Rio+20, especially with respect to energy access, energy efficiency and renewables.

Ambassador Eviatar Manor assured the Executive Secretary that Israel would be actively engaged in the work of UNECE.

9 October

Visit of the President of Turkmenistan

 

The Executive Secretary met with the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, on the occasion of his visit to the United Nations Office in Geneva.

 

Read the article in UNECE Weekly

4 October

Meeting with the Permanent Representative of Belgium

 

The Executive Secretary thanked the Government of Belgium for its active participation and continuous support to the work of UNECE, in particular to environmental activities and its leadership in the Meeting of the Parties to the Pollutant Release and Transfer Register Protocol (PRTR). He also expressed appreciation for Belgium’s support to transport activities and the appointment of a Transport Attaché in the Belgian Permanent Mission in Geneva.

 

Ambassador de Crombrugghe expressed high appreciation of the experience and leadership that Mr. Alkalaj brought to the organization. He acknowledged UNECE’s achievements, especially in the fields of Transport, Statistics, Forestry and Timber. He stated the Commission has set norms and developed very important regional policies.

 

Mr. Alkalaj briefed the Ambassador on the UNECE’s most recent activities and informed him about the outcomes of the Ministerial Conference on Aging in Vienna and the status of ratification of the amendment to UNECE’s Water Convention.

2 October

Second Town Hall meeting

The Executive Secretary convened a Town Hall meeting to brief staff on 4 issues:

· Secretary-General’s 2012 Retreat

·  Proposed Programme Budget 2014-2015

·  Status of the review of the 2005 UNECE reform

·  UNECE Staff Elections

Read the full story in UNECE Weekly

1 October

Opening of the exhibition “Building the Future We Want” on the occasion of  World Habitat Day
Read more here.

28 September

Meeting with the Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany

 

The Executive Secretary thanked Germany for its longstanding and generous contributions to a wide range of UNECE’s activities. He also thanked Germany for its active role in the work of several intergovernmental and subsidiary bodies of UNECE.


In particular, the Executive Secretary acknowledged Germany’s continuous support to the transboundary water cooperation project in Central Asia, the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea and the UNECE Ministerial Conference on Ageing, held in Vienna last September.


Ambassador Fitschen expressed high appreciation and continued support for UNECE and the Executive Secretary. He stated that given the deep inter-dependency of modern economies, countries should embrace cooperation with UNECE, as an ideal platform for the development of deeper cooperation strategies. He said that Germany was in the process of ratifying the amendment to the Water Convention, which will open the treaty to countries outside the UNECE region.

19 September

Sven Alkalaj delivering opening Statement at the UNECE during Ministerial Conference on Ageing in Vienna. 

 

Speeches of the Execuitve Secretary during the conference.

11 July

Sven Alkalaj swears in as new Executive Secretary of UNECE.

18-22 June

UNECE at Rio+20



UNECE participated in the Rio+20 Conference with a small delegation led by the Executive Secretary. UNECE organized or co-organized a number of events to share experience and good practices in several areas, namely:

 

* Access to information and public participation in decision-making

* Transboundary water

* Sustainable forest management

* Sustainable housing/real estate markets

 

During the week, the Executive Secretary held a number of high-level bilateral meetings with heads of State and government, and ministers to discuss further cooperation in UNECE’s areas of work.

Turning to the future, the Executive Secretary briefed the Geneva press corps on the outcome of the Conference from UNECE’s perspective upon his return from Rio on Monday 25 June. According to the Executive Secretary, the outcome document contains a range of important provisions that recognize the role and contributions of the UN Regional Commissions to sustainable development and the green economy and invites them to play an active role in the follow-up, both at the regional level and across regions.

Read the full story in UNECE Weekly

8 June

Townhall meeting

 

The Executive Secretary hosted his first Townhall meeting exactly two months after taking his duties to introduce himself to all staff members and share his first impressions. In his first remarks, he said that UNECE “has an important place and even a leading role among regional organizations and the UN system as a whole” and stressed “how UNECE’s programmes of work and products have a real and practical impact on people’s lives”.

Read the full story in UNECE Weekly

23 May

Meeting with the Minister of Health of the Philippines

 

The Executive Secretary met with Dr. Enrique T. Ona, Minister of Health of the Philippines, to discuss strengthening cooperation in the area of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). The Government of the Philippines plans to make the most of the potential that PPPs offer to modernize the country‘s health sector.  In this regard, close cooperation has been developed over the last years with UNECE’s PPP programme, to build up capacity and share best practices.               

Read the full story in UNECE Weekly

10 May

Meeting with the Permanent Representative of Germany

 

Mr. Schumacher, Ambassador of Germany, said that Germany’s priorities amongst UNECE’s activities are within the Environment and Transport sectors.  He also showed special interest in the UNECE water convention. Germany is among the promoters of the BLUE group in Geneva, which works on enlarging access to safe drinking water.

He expressed appreciation for the very good cooperation with UNECE in the field of Statistics and assured the Executive Secretary of his country’s support to all UNECE activities, and especially in the context of the review of the reform.

8 May

Meeting with the UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative

 

Mr. Zouev, UN Resident Coordinator & UNDP Resident Representative in Tajikistan, thanked Mr Alkalaj for the highly appreciated UNECE assistance to the preparation of the fifth Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA), held in Dushanbe on 26-27 March 2012.

 

He stressed that collaboration with UNECE was extremely important for Tajikistan, in the fields related to water management, trade integration, statistics, transport and other issues covered by SPECA, in view of the difficult economic, political and social situation in the country and more generally in the region , including security and peace concerns.

 

Tajikistan will be part of two initiatives at the Rio + 20 Conference: it is one of the 10 pilot countries for the Sustainable Energy for All initiative; and it participates in the global integrated water management initiative.

 

Finally, Mr Zouev invited Mr. Alkalaj to visit Tajikistan on the occasion of the launch of the new five-year national development strategy in November 2012.

3 May

Meeting with the Permanent Representative of Lithuania

 

Mr. Rytis Paulauskas, Ambassador of Lithuania, said that his country is actively participating in a number of UNECE activities, including the Working Group on Ageing, which is preparing for the Ministerial Conference on Ageing that will take place in September 2012 in Vienna. Lithuania is also an active participant in the UNECE administered Trans-European Railways (TER) and Trans-European Motorways (TEM) projects, and   in   the Committee on Housing and Land Management.

25 April

UNECE workshop on water and adaptation to climate change in transboundary basins
Opening statement of Mr Alkalaj

24 April

Meeting with the Permanent Representative of Turkey

 

Mr. Alkalaj thanked Mr. Oguz Demiralp, Ambassador of Turkey, for Turkey’s support and engagement in many UNECE activities, in particular in the field of Transport.



Mr. Demiralp stressed that UNECE’s work in setting norms and standards is essential for the wider Europe, especially for non-EU countries. He said that UNECE’s activities cover a range of issues like Transport, Energy, Environment and Trade which are of interest to Turkey and are also very important for countries outside the region. He stated that Turkey aims at further strengthening its cooperation with UNECE, supporting it through the review process, and helping raise awareness about its products.

17 - 20 April

50th meeting of EXCOM and bilateral meetings

Link to the Press Release


© United Nations Economic Commissions for Europe – 2013