At UNECE, promoting sustainable urban development provides a unique opportunity for inter-sectoral cooperation, tapping the potential provided by several UNECE divisions and sub-programmes, including Energy, Environment, Housing, Trade and Transport. An interdivisional working group was created in 2013 based on the priorities established by the Rio+20 UN Sustainable Development Conference. The Secretary General’s Five year action agenda and the Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for all (SE4ALL) Initiative also serve as a framework for joint activities on sustainable urban development.
Over the medium-term, the working group will coordinate UNECE’s contribution to Habitat III, the third UN conference on housing and sustainable urban development, to be held in Quito in October 2016 and focus on its contribution to reinvigorating the global commitment to sustainable cities.
The Committee works to improve housing energy efficiency and to facilitate the maintenance, management and refurbishment of existing housing stock. The Committee issued the publication “Action Plan for Energy-efficient Housing in the UNECE Region” which provides a framework for member states to overcome barriers to energy efficiency investments and move progressively toward a low energy, ultimately zero energy and carbon neutral housing sector. In 2012, the Committee has also developed basic principles for successful policies, outlining the required institutional changes, in the study “Green Homes”.
As a result of member States request, the Committee has published “Good Practices for Energy-Efficient Housing in the UNECE Region”, to assist countries in the preparation of national action plans for energy efficiency in the residential sector and develop a casebook of good practices on energy efficiency.
In 2015, to understand the situation and the challenges of the member States in the field of standards and regulations, in particular in the sector of energy efficiency in buildings and to identify the most important areas and activities in the field of building standards and regulations the Committee presented the “Outcomes of the Survey on Building Standards and Building Regulations in the UNECE Region”.
The Committee on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management organizes Regional workshops on energy efficiency in buildings to strengthen national capacities and to address environmental and social impact and to enhance the sustainable growth of cities (Georgia, Tunisia, Albania, Armenia, and Prague workshops).
Furthermore UNECE is supporting governments of countries with transition economies in raising their capacities for sustainable housing and urban development in the framework of UNDA projects. The projects are supported by the United Nations Development Account.