UNECE Weekly
771 26 - 30 November 2018

Trade

Africa seeks ways to make international trade cheaper, faster and easier

 

Complex, time-consuming and inefficient import and export procedures are a major barrier to trade and hamper development, especially for low and middle-income countries. In response, African countries seeking to make interregional and international trade in goods and services cheaper, quicker and more straightforward gathered for the First African Forum for National Trade Facilitation Committees in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 27–29 November. The landmark event, organized by UNCTAD and seven partner organizations including UNECE, came as Africa scales up its trade-easing efforts after the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement entered into force in February 2017 and as they prepare to implement the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement signed in March 2018.

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Environment

Countries to gather in Geneva under UNECE Convention on Industrial Accidents to strengthen industrial safety for SDGs and Sendai Framework

 

On 4 December 2018, more than 30 years after the transboundary environmental disaster at Sandoz, Schweizerhalle, and more than 25 years after the adoption of the UNECE Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents, the 10th meeting of the Convention’s Conference of the Parties will take place. The Conference will review the Convention’s achievements in improving industrial risk management and will be looking ahead, with a view to adopting its workplan for the next two years, and a long-term strategy to 2030. The strategy sets out the Convention’s vision “to significantly improve industrial safety and reduce the risk of technological disasters by ensuring full implementation of the Convention, its wide recognition as a legal instrument for risk reduction under the Sendai Framework and its contribution to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.” 

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Environment

Chad’s accession to the Water Convention celebrated at a series of events organized by UNECE, Chad, the African Development Bank and the Lake Chad Basin Commission

 

On 23 May, Chad became the first African country to accede to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention), serviced by UNECE. As a landlocked country in Central Africa, Chad faces significant water management challenges and depends to a large extent on the water resources it shares with its neighbours - Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Libya, Niger, Nigeria and Sudan. The practical benefits of this growing cooperation on activities between the Convention and the AfDB as well as the practical advantages of the Convention became apparent at a workshop on the preparation of bankable projects for climate change adaptation and transboundary cooperation, which preceded the official celebration ceremony.

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Statistics

Who gets the biggest slice? UNECE supports measurement of poverty and inequality

 

While the bottom half of adults collectively owns less than 1% of total wealth, the richest top 10% of adults owns 85% of global wealth, and the top percentile alone accounts for almost half of all household wealth (47%). Although the importance of intra-household inequality has long been recognized, there is little information available about income or consumption at the individual level. The primary source of data on poverty is household surveys, and with such surveys it is extremely difficult to record which family member owns a particular household asset or how the family’s income or consumption is shared between partners, children or extended family members. This and more were discussed during the UNECE meetings on measuring poverty and inequality that took place in Vienna on 28-30 November, bringing together more than 80 experts from statistical offices, research institutions and international organizations.

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Environment

UNECE Environmental Performance Reviews support SDGs progress through peer learning  

 

Reduce deaths from air pollution… Achieve water and sanitation for all… Double energy efficiency… Consume sustainably… These and many other targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to be achieved in just 12 years from now sound more than ambitious. Making them a reality requires not only political commitment but also strong policies, good planning and the right prioritization vis-à-vis the available resources. That is why, since 2017, UNECE Environmental Performance Reviews (EPRs) help governments to cross-check their environmental policies against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and provide advice for achieving them. On 21–22 November 2018, representatives of 19 governments participating in the EPR Programme gathered in Minsk, Belarus, to exchange experience and learn from each other on how to advance the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda.

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Trade

UNECE supports trade connectivity in the Western Balkans

 

Interoperability of Single Window and other IT systems facilitating international trade in the broader European space can only be reached by using the same semantic standards for data sharing in the process of regulation of international trade. As part of broader efforts aimed at improving connectivity in the Western Balkans, UNECE has provided capacity building to key experts dealing with projects on Single Window for export and import clearance, notably on linking these and related projects to the work in the European Union and United Nations. This was an opportunity to share developments in Single Window in the European Union and elsewhere in the UNECE region, and how to use international standards and data models including the EU Customs Data Model, and the UN/CEFACT Multimodal Transport Reference Data Model. 

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