The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) was set up in 1947 by ECOSOC. It is one of five regional commissions of the United Nations. The others are the :
- Economic Commission for Africa (ECA),
- Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP),
- Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC),
- Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).
UNECE's major aim is to promote pan-European economic integration. To do so, it brings together 56 countries located in the European Union, non-EU Western and Eastern Europe, South-East Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and North America. All these countries dialogue and cooperate under the aegis of UNECE on economic and sectoral issues. However, all interested United Nations member States may participate in the work of UNECE. Over 70 international professional organizations and other non-governmental organizations take part in UNECE activities.
UNECE's terms of reference have been defined by ECOSOC.
Terms of Reference and Rules of Procedure of the Economic Commission for Europe
Fifth revised edition (2009)
As a multilateral platform, UNECE facilitates greater economic integration and cooperation among its member countries and promotes sustainable development and economic prosperity through:
- policy dialogue,
- negotiation of international legal instruments,
- development of regulations and norms,
- exchange and application of best practices as well as economic and technical expertise,
- technical cooperation for countries with economies in transition.
UNECE contributes to enhancing the effectiveness of the United Nations through the regional implementation of outcomes of global United Nations Conferences and Summits. It gives focus to the United Nations global mandates in the economic field, in cooperation with other global players and key stakeholders, notably the business community.
UNECE also sets out norms, standards and conventions to facilitate international cooperation within and outside the region.