Photo Credit: Andrea Egan / UNDP

In the Europe and Central Asia region, countries are working hard to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Across Europe and Central Asia innovative and transformative initiatives are underway to help countries reach the goals for peace and prosperity, but the negative impacts of climate change– such as increased droughts and more erratic storms – threaten to undermine decades of development gains - making climate action central to achieving the SDGs.

Photo credit: Andrea Egan / UNDP

Goal 5: Gender Equality

To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls requires addressing structural issues such as unfair social norms and attitudes, as well as developing progressive legal frameworks that promote gender equity.

 Across 10 countries and 16 projects in the ECA region, initiatives advancing women’s economic and political empowerment as well as improving gender equality in natural resource management are underway.

In Azerbaijan, work to increase communities’ resilience to floods and improve water management has specifically targeted women to serve in water user associations and local committees where they have been historically underrepresented; women now comprise 40% of such committees, and their efforts have strengthened local-level water resource and flood management.


Photo credit: Andrea Egan / UNDP

Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Investment in infrastructure and innovation are crucial drivers of economic growth and development. Technological progress is also key to finding lasting solutions to both economic and environmental challenges, such as providing new jobs and promoting energy efficiency. Promoting sustainable industries - and investing in scientific research and innovation - are all important ways to facilitate sustainable development.

 With GEF-funding and UNDP support, vulnerable communities in the Kura River Basin in Azerbaijan are benefitting from flood forecasts and community-based early warning systems. Timely information mitigates the destruction from climate-related disasters. Enhanced data also includes learning from similar interventions in the mountainous communities of the Turyanchay basin.

Additional monitoring stations installed on the Kura river’s tributaries increased coverage to 20,000km2, benefitting 1.2 million people.


Photo credit: Andrea Egan / UNDP

Goal 15: Life on Land

The aim of Goal 15 is to protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems such as forests, wetlands, drylands, and mountains by 2020. Halting deforestation is also vital to mitigating the impact of climate change.

For example, in Azerbaijan approximately 10,000ha of forest and 8,000ha of pasture are under improved management thanks to strong co-operation between stakeholders, state institutions, and local communities, while at the national level, improved governance frameworks are benefitting nearly 500,000ha of forest across the country.

Author: Andrea Regan

This story was originally published on, also available in French and Spanish.


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