23 March 2021

Europe and Central Asia can recover greener and better from COVID-19, top UN leaders stress at first session of Regional Collaborative Platform

Europe and Central Asia have the opportunity to place women and youth at the centre for a greener, more equitable and more sustainable recovery from COVID-19 – in other words, a recovery process that is anchored in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This was a key message from the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed as she chaired the first Regional Collaborative Platform in Eastern Europe, a new mechanism bringing together UN entities working at the regional level for sustainable development.

“COVID-19 was the first stress test of some of the boldest reforms in the UN, including this new regional architecture,” the Deputy Secretary-General said, emphasizing the importance of multilateralism to respond and recover better. “Only together will we tackle the enormous challenges brought by an unprecedented pandemic and I recognize the role the new Regional Collaborative Platform has had so far to support our Resident Coordinators and UN teams in countries to address the pandemic’s multiple impacts, helping bridge the digital divide, placing environment, climate change and gender equality at the centre of our priorities.”

UN regional chiefs for Europe and Central Asia also focused on addressing cross-border issues, including migration, strengthening social protection mechanisms and activating the World Health Organization-United Nations-Red Cross regional platform for COVID-19, including to ensure equitable vaccines for all.

"The Europe and Central Asia region has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic. In these high-income and upper-middle-income economies, achieving environment-related goals remains out of reach for many countries. The pandemic presents opportunities for action to accelerate pre-existing trends towards digitization, carbon neutrality and greater sustainability in areas such as mobility and tourism, which are also strategic entry points for the UN," said Olga Algayerova, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Executive Secretary.

"We have grown closely together as a regional team due to COVID-19, and I hope we have passed the stress test, and will continue to raise the bar high going forward. In the region we will continue with the COVID-19 response as a key priority but will also go back to shifting our focus to the 2030 Agenda and the Decade of Action, because this is part and parcel of the COVID-19 response,” said Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

About the Europe and Central Asia Regional Collaborative Platform

The Regional Collaborative Platform (RCP) for Europe and Central Asia was established in response to the UN Secretary-General’s reform on the repositioning of the UN development system at the regional level. The RCP brings together UN entities with regional activities to support the sustainable development of the Europe and Central Asia region. It is chaired by the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, with two Vice-Chairs: Olga Algayerova, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Executive Secretary, and Mirjana Spoljaric Egger, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Screenshot of a virtual Zoom meeting shows 16 squares, each with either someone's name or face.
Photo: UN