[Dateline: Geneva | Author: UNECE]
Ján Kubiš, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), assumed the role of coordinator of the five United Nations Regional Commissions on 1 August, for a period of one year.
This informal function, which rotates annually amongst the five Executive Secretaries, was established in the mid-1980s with a view to reinforcing the regional dimension, alongside the national and global ones, in all key issues dealt with by the United Nations.
It was also meant to foster cooperation and synergies amongst the five regional commissions.
Over the years, this coordination function has indeed allowed the regional commissions to strengthen their cooperation, work on issues of common interest and launch joint initiatives.
Two of the most recent examples cover statistics measuring violence against women (via the project "Enhancing capacities to eradicate violence against women through networking of local knowledge communities" launched in May this year) and energy efficiency (via the Global Energy Efficiency 21 project launched in June).
Finally, it also offered a framework facilitating the representation of the regional commissions in the major United Nations Conferences and Summits as well as in internal UN bodies such as the Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB).
Ján Kubiš commented "the five regional commissions are supporting their Member States in identifying and implementing concrete solutions to address the main challenges of our time: the financial and economic crisis, food security and climate change. Four months ahead of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference (COP 15) in December, they are well-placed to assume an active role supporting actions mitigating climate change in their regions through their various programmes in energy, environment, transport, and, in the case of UNECE, timber. "