The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the pivotal role of the regional dimension in its implementation, follow-up and review. Actions at the regional level bridge the global and national levels, and provide the necessary focus for international exchanges of experience and peer learning. Every year, all five United Nations regional commissions organize regional forums for sustainable development. In the region of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), which comprises 56 countries of Europe, North America and Central Asia, the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development will be held for the seventh time on 29 and 30 March 2023 in Geneva.

The 2030 Agenda cannot be fulfilled without relevant and timely statistics to track progress. Data are needed to enable us to understand the overall levels of progress, to design and monitor the results and impact of policy actions, and to identify areas, groups or regions that risk being left behind.

UNECE disseminates knowledge and data on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through its designated platforms – the Knowledge Hub, Dashboard and Database. Guidance for national statistical offices on how to manage a system for statistics and indicators for SDGs is contained in the UNECE Road Map.1 Starting from 2020, the UNECE Statistical Division has prepared a yearly report2 on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the UNECE region, to support the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development. This fourth report provides an assessment of progress as well as stories about the ways in which regional and country-level actions relate to sustainable development outcomes.

1 UNECE (2022). Road Map on Statistics for Sustainable Development Goals – second edition. Geneva: United Nations.

2 UNECE (2020). Towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the UNECE region: a statistical portrait of progress and challenges. Geneva: United Nations.

UNECE (2021). Is the UNECE region on track for 2030? Assessment, stories and insights. Geneva: United Nations.

UNECE (2022). Halfway to 2030: how many targets will be achieved in the UNECE region?
Snapshot and insights in 2022. Geneva: United Nations.

The assessment covers every goal and target for which there are data and for which it is possible to set a target value. The assessment looks at the trends at the regional level only. As shown in the 2020 report on the UNECE region, variation among countries is considerable in all areas and a trend in any individual country may differ from the general trend observed in the region. The regional assessment presented in the present 2023 report relies on the global indicator framework for SDGs3 and the available data on UNECE countries in the United Nations Global SDG Indicators Database as of 16 December 2022. Technical notes on the progress assessment at the end of this report explain the methodology used.

3 United Nations (2022). Global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Adopted by the General Assembly in A/RES/71/313 (Annex) in 2017. Changes and refinements2018–2022: E/CN.3/2018/2, E/CN.3/2019/2, E/CN.3/2020/2, E/CN.3/2021/2, E/CN.3/2022/2.

The agencies and United Nations country teams participating in the Regional Coordination Group on Data and Statistics for Europe and Central Asia and, for the first time, all UNECE programmes provided stories. These stories are rich in information on how various regional and country level actions relate to sustainable development outcomes. Most of the stories pertain to goals 6 (clean water and sanitation), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and 17 (partnerships for the goals) that are under in-depth review by the 2023 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. The stories show concrete ways in which progress towards SDGs is made in the region.