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first article  UNEP ON THE GROUND
Central Asia eyes work with UNEP on SDGs

UNEP’s next stages of work in Central Asia are taking shape in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) following key meetings taking place in Almaty, Kazakhstan.


Ongoing rapid economic, technological and social changes offer a unique opportunity for sustainable development in Central Asia - in line with SDG goal 12 on encouraging responsible consumption. Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan moved closer to a consensus on priority work to be carried out under the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production patterns (10YFP) during a meeting on 23-24 November.


Cooperation was explored and priorities identified on sustainable buildings, public procurement and food systems among others, with the Head of the 10YFP Secretariat Charles Arden-Clark affirming that there is “huge potential to further strengthen implementation of the sustainable consumption and production (SCP) in the region”.


The event was attended by around 25 policymakers and civil society and business representatives and was partly funded by the EU and Switzerland. As the 10YFP Secretariat, UNEP co-hosted the meeting and will now draft a proposed plan of work based on priorities identified by countries.


In a separate event, Central Asian countries agreed that the Interstate Commission on Sustainable Development (ICSD) can be a platform for further work on sustainable development at global, regional and national levels.


National experts identified a number of ways for boosting cooperation on environmental and sustainable development issues through the platform. This includes improving its institutional and legal base – which UNEP is already supporting – and tweaking the its operational guidelines.


During the meeting, the experts also signalled strong interest to work on the SDGs and prepare for next June’s Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference, which will address air quality and Green Economy issues among other areas, as well as actively participate at the upcoming UN Environmental Assembly in May 2016.


The states are furthermore due to nominate experts to work on a Regional Waste Management Outlook to be released next Spring. The paper is one of the regional activities following up on a global report led by UNEP’s International Environmental Technology Centre in collaboration with the International Solid Waste Association.


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