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United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) was established on 28 March 1947 by the United Nations Economic and Social Council to develop economic activities and strengthen economic ties within the UNECE region and between this region and the rest of the world. The UNECE is one of the five regional economic commissions of the United Nations.

The executive body of the UNECE is the Session of the Commission, which takes place every two years. 56 states, including the countries of Europe, the USA, Canada, Turkey, Israel, the states of Central Asia are members of the UNECE. The UNECE headquarters is located in Geneva. H.E. Ms. Olga Algayerova (Slovakia) is the Executive Secretary of the UNECE.

The UNECE implements measures to analyze economic and technological potentials, to develop recommendations aimed to settle regional challenges of economic development.

The UNECE contributes to the implementation of SDGs through transforming global objectives into norms, guidelines, standards and conventions, conducting reviews and studies, developing capacity and creating conditions for cooperation with the private sector and civil society.

In 2015 – 2017, the UNECE Executive Secretary paid 6 visits to Belarus. H.E. Ms. Olga Algayerova visited Minsk on 21-22 February 2018 to participate in the Minsk forum of Sustainable Development Goals Coordinators “Building a Partnership to Underpin National Sustainable Development Solutions”. As a result of the Minsk forum, which was attended by H.E. Ms. Amina Mohammed, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, the Chair’s Summary of the Regional SDG Coordination Leaders Forum was adopted.

In April 2019, at the 68th session of the Commission Belarus was elected as a Chair of the UNECE for the period to 2021. The Belarusian delegation was headed by H.E. Mr. Vladimir Makei, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus. In his statement, at the high-level segment Minister urged countries to strengthen economic integration and trade relations in the pan-European space. Following the session, a political declaration was adopted to support the future activities of the UNECE in the areas of sustainable cities, sustainable use of natural resources, sustainable mobility and smart interconnectivity, measuring and monitoring progress towards the SDGs.

On 26-27 October 2016, an international conference “Laying the foundation in the UNECE region for economic integration and sustainable development towards 2030” was held in Minsk. During this event Belarus promoted the “integration of integrations” initiative which is devoted to the interaction of integration processes and structures in the UNECE region.

The Belarusian delegation participates in the annual Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, during which participants review the implementation of the SDGs at the national, regional and global levels. In the Forum 2019, the Belarusian delegation was headed by Ms. Laryssa Belskaya, Director General of the Department for Multilateral Diplomacy of Belarus Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who urged membership to support the Belarusian initiative to develop cooperation between the national coordinators on SDGs implementation. On the margins of the Forum, the Belarusian side organized a thematic event “Networking for the National SDGs Coordinators”, which was attended by the UNECE Executive Secretary Ms. Olga Algayerova.

Around 70 Belarusian delegations annually participate in sessions of the UNECE committees, working groups, conferences and other events.

Belarus takes an active participation in the work of the UNECE sectoral committees.

Committee on Innovation, Competitiveness and Public-Private Partnerships

UNECE in cooperation with Belarusian experts implemented two Innovation Performance Reviews of Belarus. In February 2018, the State Committee on Science and Technology of Belarus and the UNECE signed a Memorandum on Implementation of the Recommendations of the Second review on innovative performance. According to the document, the parties agreed to develop cooperation in areas of bilateral interest, including on the issues related to integrated forecasting of scientific and technological development.

UNECE implemented technical assistance project on the development of public-private partnership in the Republic of Belarus. As a result, parties selected seven infrastructure projects for the construction and modernization of roads. With the support of UNECE, Belarus established the Public-Private Partnership Center.

On 2 July 2019, a Forum for Regional Cooperation and Development “Open Park the Great Stone — an example of global opportunities” was held in the Belarusian-Chinese Industrial Park “The Great Stone” in the context of the “Belt and Way” Initiative. The head of the UNECE Cooperation and Partnership Unit Mr. Geoffrey Hamilton participated in the event and made a statement at the round table of the Forum.

On 12 September 2018, the International Conference “Role of PPP projects in achieving of Sustainable Development Goals and improving people’s well-being” was held in Minsk. The event was organized by the National Agency for Investment and Privatization together with the Ministry of Economy, UNECE and other agencies.

Committee on Environmental Policy

Belarus is a member to five environmental conventions adopted under the auspices of the UNECE. Taking into account the provisions of the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) and the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention), Belarus implement a project on construction of Belarusian Nuclear Power Plant.

The Commission together with the Ministry of Natural Resources of Belarus prepared the third Environmental Performance Review, which contains recommendations for further improvements of the environmental policy, national legislation on the environment issues and the effectiveness of Belarus' environmental policy.

With technical and organizational assistance from the UNECE, the Ministry of Natural Resources of Belarus launched a strategic environmental assessment for the project “Water Resources Management Strategies for Climate Change until 2030”.

On 20-21 November 2018, the international workshop “Policies for implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: exchange of good practices on the basis of UNECE Environmental Performance Reviews” took place in Minsk.

Steering Committee on Trade Capacity and Standards

The Commission together with Belarusian experts conducted a study “Elimination of regulatory and procedural barriers to trade in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan”, the results of which will be used to develop the National System of Paperless Trade in Belarus and the development of the “single stop” system. The results of the study were presented at the 5th session of the Steering Committee in May 2019 in Geneva.

On 10 – 11 December 2018, the regional seminar “The Single Window: Interoperability, data sharing and digital trade” was held in Minsk under the auspices of the National Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Communications of Belarus in cooperation with the UNECE and the UN Center for Trade Facilitation and Business Operations.

In the context of Belarus’ accession to the WTO, the UNECE is conducting a comprehensive study on the availability of Belarus to fulfill obligations arising from the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation. With the assistance of the UNECE Secretariat, on 12-13 December 2018, a seminar “Implementation of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation” took place in Minsk.

Committee on Sustainable Energy

The Department for Energy Efficiency of the State Standardization Committee of Belarus actively cooperates with the Committee in the areas of city energy efficiency, development of renewable energy sources.

Belarus follows UNECE regulations to ensure the energy efficiency of buildings and structures.

Belarus is included in the list of countries participating in the international technical assistance project under the auspices of UNECE “Sustainable Energy for All in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia”. The main objective of the project is to strengthen the national capacity of countries with transition economies to develop national action plans on sustainable energy in the context of the sustainable development agenda.

A delegation of the Department of Energy Efficiency of the State Standardization Committee of Belarus participated in the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development on 1-2 March 2018 in Geneva, as well as the International Forum on Energy for Sustainable Development on 12 – 15 November 2018 in Kiev.

Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management

National reviews on the housing policies and land management of UNECE are of practical importance for Belarus. These reviews allow for further adjust domestic policies in the field of housing and land management. The Commission together with the Ministry of Architecture and Constructions of Belarus is working on the preparation of a national survey of the housing policy of the Republic of Belarus with specific recommendations for its improvement.

The Commission in cooperation with the Ministry of Constructions and Architecture of Belarus has completed drafting of the Country Profile on Housing Policy of Belarus. On 20 May 2019, a presentation of the draft Profile was held in Minsk with the participation of the UNECE experts. The official launch of the review is scheduled during the 80th session of the UNECE Committee in October 2019 in Geneva.

On 20 — 24 May 2019, the international workshop “Towards the Implementation of the Sustainable Development Agenda until 2030: Housing Management, Energy Efficiency of Buildings and Sustainable Urban Development” was organized jointly by the Ministry of Construction and Architecture, UNDP Office in Minsk, the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Academy of Management under the aegis of the President of the Republic of Belarus.

Conference of European Statisticians

The National Statistical Committee of Belarus together with the UNECE is working to improve national statistics system and to ensure its comparability with international practices, as well as on compilation of statistical indicators that would reflect the implementation of the SDGs at the regional and global levels.

Representatives of Belstat actively participate in the activities of the Commission on such issues as national accounts, sustainable development, demographic situation, business activities registries, migration, consumer price indices, population and housing inventory census.

During the third meeting of experts on statistics in the field of SDGs, which took place 15 — 18 April 2019 in Geneva, Vice-Chairman of the National Statistics Committee Ms. Elena Kukharevich presented the best practices of Belarus in creating a national reporting platform for SDGs indicators.

The delegation of Belarus participated in the Regional Conference on Population Dynamics and Sustainable Development, which was organized by the UNECE and the Regional Office of the United Nations Population Fund for the Eastern Europe and Central Asia on 1-2 October 2018 in Geneva. Minister of Labor and Social Protection Ms. Iryna Kostevich took part in the Conference as its Co-chair. UNECE agreed to provide technical assistance and expertise in the preparation of the National Strategy for the Benefit of Older Citizens of Belarus. In December 2018 and April 2019, the UNECE provided expert missions to Minsk on this matter.

Belarus actively participates in the UNECE Working Group on Aging.

Inland Transport Committee

Belarus acceded to the twenty-three transport conventions within UNECE.

Belarus implements UNECE technical regulations on the production of motor vehicles, road safety regulation, and the development of inland water transport in Belarus.

Representatives of the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the State Committee for Standardization of Belarus take an active part in the specialized working groups of the Inland Transport Committee.

Belarus supported UNECE’s initiative to establish a Road Safety Trust Fund, which was launched on 12 April 2018.

Committee on Forests and Forest Industry

The Ministry of Forestry of Belarus cooperates with the UNECE on forestry development and management, developing strategies for the sustainable development of forest ecosystems.

 

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