UNECE is one of the five UN Regional Economic Commissions. Headquartered in Geneva, it has 56 member States from Europe, but also from North America (Canada, United States), Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan) and Western Asia (Israel). As a multilateral intergovernmental platform, UNECE facilitates greater economic integration and cooperation among its member States and promotes sustainable development and economic prosperity through policy dialogue and the exchange of best practices, technical cooperation, the negotiation of international instruments and the development of regulations and norms.
Similarly to GCH, UNECE – in particular its Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management (CUDHLM) – is committed to provide cities with a voice in relation to urban sustainability, which lies at the center of its areas of interest. Some activities of the CUDHLM are listed below.
The Forum of Mayors
The Forum of Mayors builds on the experiences of the 2019 Day of Cities which gathered Mayors from the European region to share best practices and define a new vision for urban sustainability. UNECE convened in October 2020 to the first ever Forum of Mayors. Its overall theme was “City Action for a Resilient Future: Strengthening Local Government Preparedness and Response to Emergencies and the Impact of Disasters and Climate Change”.
The Forum offered a multilateral platform for cities to engage with States and IOs and to present their creative solutions and specific actions to make cities resilient, focusing particularly on Covid-19 and climate change. The Forum culminated in the adoption of the Geneva Declaration of Mayors, under which mayors in the UNECE region undertook to, inter alia, strengthen the resilience of their cities, make them greener, guarantee sustainable urban transport and affordable housing for all, and make their cities more equitable and more inclusive. The next Forum of Mayors will be organized on 4 and 5 April 2022, in partnership with the Geneva Cities Hub.
The SDG11 Day aims at fostering dialogue on the successes and challenges in the implementation of SDG11 between UN agencies, academia, experts and international city networks. In 2020, the event gathered over 30 international city networks, Geneva-based UN agencies, academia and civil society on the theme “Supporting city actions for a resilient future”. The SDG11 Day will again be organized in October 2021, in close partnership with the Geneva Cities Hub.
“Urban Matters” podcasts
A series of weekly podcasts “Urban Matters” to share UNECE’s work on urban development and talk about challenges faced by cities with mayors, experts, UN, and other urban stakeholders. The series started on 17 March 2021.
- Geneva Declaration of Mayors, October 2020
- A guide to circular cities, United for Smart Sustainable Cities, June 2020
- Geneva UN Charter on sustainable housing, UNECE, October 2014
- Sustainable urban development, UNECE website