64th Session of UNECE Commission Focuses on Energy and Transport

6 April 2011: The 64th session of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), which convened from 29-31 March 2011, in Geneva, Switzerland, discussed economic integration and cooperation with a focus on transport and trade infrastructure and energy cooperation.

The Commission is responsible for making strategic decisions on the UNECE programme of work and provides a forum for policy dialogue on the economic developments in the region. The first two days of the session were dedicated to: economic integration in the UNECE region, including technological, environmental or social developments that might impact its economic situation; and the role of regional integration and cooperation for promoting sustainable development in the UNECE region, in particular transport and trade infrastructure and related environmental impact such as carbon dioxide emissions.

On transport, discussions addressed: the most prominent best practices, and most striking challenges for sustainable transport development in UNECE countries; tools and policies to mitigate climate change effects and reduce transport-related carbon dioxide emissions; and the implications for making the transport sector more environmentally sustainable. On energy cooperation, discussions focused on: improving energy networks in the UNECE region; and promoting energy efficiency development from source to service, including through resource efficient policies, market formation, harmonization of norms and technology transfers. The session also included a round table on “Empowering women for sustainable development in the UNECE region.”

The Commission confirmed that the UNECE “makes a useful contribution to the promotion of sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium development goals (MDGs) and general stability in the region” and that it “is well placed to continue to address transboundary issues and contribute to building a coherent regional economic space.”
The Commission encouraged UNECE to continue to exercise its catalytic role by bringing the sustainable development goals down to the regional level and supporting their implementation. In this respect, it decided to organize the Regional Preparatory Meeting for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) on 1–2 December 2011, in Geneva. It stressed the need to continue to support the integration into the world economy of economies in transition, which benefit from UNECE technical cooperation activities. It also welcomed the global outreach of UNECE's instruments, norms and standards, and recognized that UNECE had reinforced cooperation with partner organizations, which helps to increase the impact and relevance of its work.

Finally, the Commission, welcoming the implementation and achievements of the reform adopted in December 2005, underlined the importance of the first five-year review that will take place in 2011-2012, with a view to drawing conclusions on UNECE's future work priorities. The Commission elected Serbia as Chair and Israel as Vice-Chair of its 65th session, which will be held in 2013. [Meeting Announcement] [Meeting Documentation] [UNECE Press Release]