Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)

HQ: Beirut, Lebanon

Focal Point: Halim Nader

Email: naderh [at]


Key Figures: Greenhouse gas emissions

Key Figures: Waste

 Key Figures: Water

Executive Secretary’s message


“Average temperatures in the Arab region are rising and could surge by 4.6 degrees Celsius before the end of the century. Other environmental changes may include a significant increase in climate extremes, such as droughts and flash floods, resulting in hunger and humanitarian crises that are often most felt by women, children and other vulnerable groups. ESCWA is committed to providing ongoing support to its member States in advancing climate action to address these and other challenges. It is also committed to leading by example, achieving carbon neutrality for operations and travel in 2017, four years before the 2020 target for United Nations entities. To limit its environmental and emissions footprint, ESCWA has implemented energy saving policies including climate controls, adopted water saving technologies, promoted recycling, and encouraged virtual meetings, while offsetting unavoidable emissions. Carpooling and electric vehicles are incentivized and facilities for bicycles and electric scooters have been improved. Moreover, the telecommuting option further reduces physical demands on facilities and decreases emissions from commuting. Emission-reduction policies have expanded since 2017, and ESCWA continues to fully support Greening the Blue and other global efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change.”

Dr. Rola Dashti, Executive Secretary, UNESCWA



ESCWA provides a framework for the formulation and harmonization of sectoral policies for member countries, a platform for congress and coordination, a home for expertise and knowledge, and an information observatory. ESCWA activities are coordinated with the divisions and main offices of the Headquarters of the United Nations, specialized agencies, and international and regional organizations, including the League of Arab States, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Experience so far


ESCWA managed to reduce its emissions for 2018 by 4% in comparison with 2017 and by 14% in comparison with 2016.

EMS and Reduction efforts


ESCWA has an Emission Reduction Strategy to improve environmental performance.

Inventory Management Plans


ESCWA’s inventory included:

  1. Purchased electricity
  2. Stationery combustion
  3. Refrigerants
  4. Air Travel
  5. Public transport
  6. Mobile sources (road transportation)
  7. Waste and water inventory


ESCWA’s 2018 emissions estimated at around 4,358 tons of CO2 equivalent were offset by purchasing CERs from the UN Voluntary Offsetting Platform.

Since 2017 and for the third year in a row ESCWA has declared climate neutrality, four years before the 2020 target established for all UN entities.

Waste management

Non-hazardous waste is measured by weighing. Paper, cardboard, plastics and metal cans are weighed and recycled. ESCWA minimized the number of individual printers, and provided network printers with double-sided printing. 

ESCWA is using 23 liters refillable plastic bottles for its water dispensers.

Water dispensers are available outside the meeting rooms on conference floors since March 2019. Single use plastic water bottles are no longer distributed during meetings effective March 2019.

Flyers with the moto “BE FANTASTIC and DITCH the PLASTIC” were posted in public places at the UN-House to encourage staff to replace the single use plastic with mugs and reusable bottles.

Water Management

Domestic water consumption is measured by meters.

Next steps


Continue implementing energy saving measures and energy efficient operating schedules and explore possibilities to further reduce consumption and recycle plastic bottles and metal cans.