UN Report Highlights Sustainable Development Challenges in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

23 March 2012: A new report on sustainable development in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, prepared by 13 UN agencies, has highlighted the need for the region to remove fossil fuel subsidies, invest in green jobs, and establish social protection floors in order to ensure a sustainable future.

The report, titled “From Transition to Transformation: Sustainable and Inclusive Development in Europe and Central Asia,” was launched at the first Global Human Development Forum in Istanbul, Turkey, on 23 March 2012. The aim of the report is to present the sustainable development challenges in the region, and to make policy proposals for overcoming these challenges and achieving a green transition. Three concepts underpin the report: resource depletion and environmental degradation; poverty; and inequality.

The report underlines the importance of cross-sectoral policies to achieve sustainable development. It highlights the need to foster green investment and innovation in order to achieve the transition to a green economy. To that end, it calls for investments in eco-innovation, technology, capacity building, training and education for sustainable development, combined with taxes, incentives, tradable permits and regulations.

The report urges: removing fossil fuel subsidies to send the right signal to both businesses and households; establishing a social protection floor, in part to ensure the poorest are not hurt by the removal of fossil fuel subsidies; investing in green and decent job creation for women and men in the sectors where there is greatest opportunity in the region, such as renewables, recycling, energy efficient housing, and sustainable transport; integrating sustainability considerations in all major government decisions at national and local levels; and raising awareness among producers, consumers, political parties, and scientific and cultural communities.

The report was coordinated by the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and prepared jointly by UNECE, UNDP, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), with input from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

It was prepared as an input to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20). [Publication: From Transition to Transformation: Sustainable and Inclusive Development in Europe and Central Asia] [UNDP Press Release][UNECE Press Release]