The ECE is incorporating countries from North America, Western, Central
and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It is the forum forging the tools for their economic
co-operation. Moreover, as a forum for dialogue, the Commission aims to bring about a
better understanding and fuller agreements on common guidelines and policies. It also
provides a stage where agreements are negotiated and assistance activities prepared. The
main purpose of these activities and objectives is to harmonise the policies and practices
of its member countries. This harmonisation does not only facilitate economic exchange
investment and the integration of transport networks, but also makes environmental
procedures more effective.
The ECEs position as a regional UN agency allows it to contribute to
the dissemination of conventions and standards negotiated under the its auspices to other
interested UN members states. In addition, it is able to represent the regions concerns
and problems at UN world conferences. The ECE is also able to cross the boundaries of
other regional institutions such as the European Union, NAFTA and the Commonwealth of
Independent States. This position enables the Commission to reduce cross-border tensions
and disagreements between these, and other, agencies whilst representing the interests of
its members at large.
The ECE defines its activities at its annual formal sessions where it
reviews the economic situation in the region and decides its work programme. The programme
of work is based on proposals from members, its own initiatives and decision adopted by
the United Nations General Assembly and/or the Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC). In
return the Commission then submits its recommendations to its parent body, ECOSOC. In
addition, quarterly meetings are held to focus on specific questions.
14 principle subsidiary bodies, and approximately 30 working parties of
experts covering the various prescribed sectors are undertaking the activities
defined at the annual sessions are. To support its work the Commission produces
publications and studies. Principally these include the Economic Survey of Europe and the
Economic Bulletin for Europe.
For further information on the ECE visit their homepage at http://www.unece.org
This was submitted by the ECE Committee on Environmental Policy through
the Ad Hoc Preparatory Working Group of Senior Officials at the Fourth Ministerial
Conference "Environment for Europe" in Aarhus, Denmark, 23-25 June 1998.
The document is particularly relevant to NGOs and other stakeholders
working in the field of environmental matters as well as working towards information
access and public participation in decision making. For example, NGOs are taking this
document forward to other regions outside Europe.
More information at http://www.unece.org/env/europe/ppconven.htm