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European countries adopt Vienna Declaration on clean, safe and healthy transport

Today, European countries adopted the Vienna Declaration to spur the transformation towards clean, safe, healthy and inclusive transport and mobility, with a strong focus on promoting cycling across the pan-European region.  

The Vienna Declaration was signed at the end of the Fifth High-level Meeting on Transport, Health and Environment. The virtual meeting, hosted by the Federal Government of Austria, brought together 46 ministers and state secretaries and representatives of 41 countries in the pan-European region.  

European Union

High-Level Meeting on Transport, Health and Environment will push forward clean, safe, healthy and inclusive mobility in Pan-European Region

Decarbonizing transport and mobility remains a critical policy challenge, for which we must seize the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic as a unique opportunity to accelerate progress. Decarbonization is one example of an issue where transport, health, and environment all meet – an intersection which has been the focus of two decades of multilateral negotiation and cooperation under the Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme (THE PEP).

Building climate resilience through improving water management and sanitation at the national and transboundary levels

Water, health, climate change and disaster risk reduction are interlinked and interdependent. For example, with climate change, floods and droughts increase in both intensity and frequency.  Floods can damage water and sanitation infrastructure, disrupt essential public service provision, undermine ecosystem services that are vital for human health, and lead to outbreaks of waterborne diseases in affected communities. Droughts can reduce the availability or have an impact on the quality of water, limiting its use, including public drinking water supplies.

Acidification of lakes and rivers declining in Europe and North America through air pollution reductions, but climate change and land use could slow recovery

When scientists in the 1960s investigated the causes of the die-back of forests, the so-called ‘Waldsterben’, and acidification of lakes with associated fish loss, they found that air pollution, often emitted thousands of kilometres away, was the culprit. This research formed the basis for the deliberations on the 1979 UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution.

UNECE assists Montenegro in its journey towards sustainable development

Since 2018, UNECE has been assisting Montenegro in the implementation of the recommendations from the third Environmental Performance Review (EPR) carried out in 2015. 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, activities have been adapted, with funds being redeployed to support the preparation of additional strategic and policy documents with a view to strengthening Montenegro’s environmental governance and enhancing its resilience. 

Improving air quality 

More “joined-up” approaches to measure and monitor sustainability are needed to sharpen policies in UNECE region 

More robust monitoring and measuring systems are required to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to a UNECE report on Measuring and Monitoring progress towards SDGs that uses a “nexus” approach to chart a course for more “joined up”

UNECE calls for integrated and sustainable natural resource use through a "nexus" approach

The use of material resources, fuelled by economic and population growth, urbanisation and societal changes, has increased more than ten times since 1900 and is set to double again by 2030. The annual global extraction of materials has increased from 27 to 92 billion tonnes since 1970, while the world's population more than doubled, and global CO2 emissions rose by about 90 per cent.