Global Advocacy - UNECE
Mika Vepsäläinen, OiC
Economic Cooperation and Trade Division
E-mail:virginia.cram-martos [at] unece.org ()
Tel: +41 22 - 917 3197
In its global advocacy, the UNECE focuses on bringing to the fore the trade development challenges and interests of transition economies in South-Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. For example, its outreach services (such as conferences, publications, and its website) and Aid for Trade activities promote a better understanding of the impediments to these economies’ increased participation in international trade, and how these impact the daily work of enterprises, setting limits to trade expansion and diversification. These economies need special assistance, particularly for developing their human capacity and building infrastructure. Many are at a level of development that is on a par with lower middle-income countries and, in some cases, with LDCs. In addition, they started their transition to a market economy with very limited experience in international trade and markets and very little institutional capacity. In some cases, infrastructure is non-existent in a number of key areas that are important if these countries are to participate effectively in global supply chains and international trade networks.
Additionally, UNECE plays a major role in advocacy for the international use standards in national and international rule-making and the implementation of global, regional and national policy frameworks.
At the national level, the UNECE conducts training for government officials on the use of standards in technical regulations, which results in better quality regulations that improve access to international markets and reduce technical barriers to trade.
At the global level, the UNECE promotes the use of voluntary international standards in the implementation of global frameworks – namely the SDG Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction - including SDG 12 on sustainable production and consumption patterns. Awareness raising events on the importance of standards to achieve sustainability in specific sectors – such as textile and clothing – have been organized.
UNECE has also been a strong advocate for the use of standards in the prevention and management of disaster risk and in particular:
- Issued a publication on Standards for DRR:
- Participated in the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan in March 2015 – in particular with an event on Standards for DRR; and
- Established a partnership with ISO TC 292 on “Security and Resilience” and contributed to its activities through a task force on “UN cooperation” which aims at contributing to the implementation of the outcome of the WCDRR and other important UN outcomes.
While standards are important, they are only so if they are properly used and implemented. In many cases, technical regulations are needed to complement voluntary standards, and to ensure and monitor compliance. Regulatory enforcement requires a complex system, the “national quality infrastructure system”, which includes an array of private and public sector bodies, i.e. metrology institutions, accreditation and conformity assessment bodies, as well as testing laboratories.
UNECE WP.6 plays a unique role in developing the capacity of policy-makers and businesses to implement standards and technical regulations, especially in sectors that have a critical impact on sustainability and on resilience to natural and man-made hazards, especially as regards: promoting the use of standards by policy-makers and business; integrating standards in regulatory frameworks furthering the use of standards in the implementation of UN-wide goals.