The “Environment for Europe” process is a unique partnership of member States within the UNECE region, organizations of the United Nations system represented in the region, other intergovernmental organizations, regional environmental centres, non-governmental organizations, the private sector and other major groups. The “Environment for Europe” process and its Ministerial Conferences provide a high-level platform for stakeholders to discuss, decide and join efforts in addressing environmental priorities across the 56 countries of the UNECE region, and is a regional pillar of sustainable development.
At the same time, the process focuses on helping countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia and of South-Eastern Europe to improve their environmental standards. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, which has been closely associated with the “Environment for Europe” process since the beginning, serves as secretariat.
At the Sixth “Environment for Europe” Ministerial Conference (Belgrade, Serbia) ministers agreed to undertake a reform of the “Environment for Europe” process in order to ensure that it remains relevant and valuable, and to strengthen its effectiveness as a mechanism for improving environmental quality and the lives of people across the region. Following the reform, the convening body for the preparatory process is the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy.
The Seventh Ministerial Conference took place in Astana (Kazakhstan) from 21 to 23 September 2011. The Conference focused on two main themes: Sustainable management of water and water-related ecosystems; and Greening the economy: mainstreaming the environment into economic development. More information on the Astana Ministerial Conference is available here.
The Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (MCED) has been held every five years since 1985. This gathering of ministers of environment and of development has been an agenda-setting forum to assess the state of sustainable development, identify regional perspectives and priorities and decide concerted actions in response to imperatives posed by global and regional environment challenges. The Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development in Asia and the Pacific (MCED-6) was hosted by the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan from 27 September to 2 October 2010 in Astana.
As the second decade of the twenty first century unfolds, the Asian and Pacific region continues to face persistent development challenges in terms of poverty alleviation, access to basic services, sustainable use of natural resources and enhanced social inclusiveness. This situation is exacerbated by emerging risks and uncertainties including the food, energy and financial crises as well as the threat of climate change. The region remains particularly susceptible to natural disasters, which are likely to increase in frequency and intensity as a result of climate change. All of these severe challenges threaten to slow down, and even reverse, developmental gains that the region has made over the past few decades.
It is increasingly being realized and accepted by policy makers, business leaders and society as a whole that pursuing sustained economic growth that is crucial to poverty reduction and social progress must be undertaken in an environmentally responsible and socially equitable manner. More and more countries have adopted Green Growth and other synergistic development strategies that boost healthy economic development, ensure environmental sustainability and strengthen socio-economic resilience.
Outcomes of previous MSEDS
1985 – UNESCAP action areas
1990 – Regional Strategy for Sound ans Sustainable Development for 1995-2000
1995 – Regional Action Programme for Environmentally sound and sustainable Development 2001 – 2005 and Kitakyushu Initiative for a Clean Environment