The broad aim of UNECE´s environment activities is to safeguard the environment and human health and to promote sustainable development in its member countries.
The United Nations regional commissions have been set up in various regions of the world to foster cooperation on issues affecting their respective regions. The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE, or just ECE) focuses on economic analysis, environmental issues, sustainable energy, trade and industry, transport and water issues.
The Swedish EPA is involved in the ECE's work on environmental and water issues. The ECE Committee on Environmental Policy seeks to encourage the adoption of common environmental policy and the formation of similar environmental legislation by member states. We are the Swedish representative in the Committee on Environmental Policy, as well as in the ECE's environmental performance reviews expert group.
Another priority area for the Swedish EPA within the ECE is the implementation and development of European environmental conventions. The most important of these is the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP), but others include the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters, the Espoo Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (which obligates parties to notify neighbour states about projects which may impact their environment), and the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe has 56 member states. Not withstanding its name, it counts the United States, Canada and several countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus as members. In the past 15 years the ECE has organized eight large environmental ministerial conferences, which have increasingly focused on addressing the environmental performance of former Soviet republics and the Balkan states.