Work in the Eastern partnership is organised around Platforms. They reflect the main areas of cooperation between the Eastern Partner countries and the EU namely:
Environment is part of Platform 2 which is coordinated by DG GROW. The thirteenth meeting of Platform 2 is scheduled for 23 April 2015 in Brussels and will have a specific dedicated session to Environment and Climate Change.
A Panel on Environment and Climate Change under the Eastern Partnership umbrella was also established as a regional forum for dialogue and cooperation on environment and climate issues. This Panel mainly aims at promoting the greening of the economies and best-practice in aligning partner countries' environmental legislation to the EU "acquis". See Work Programme 2014-2017.
Please see previous years reports:
In 2014 in the framework of the Eastern Partnership Panel on Environment and Climate Change a seminar on Waste Management was organised. The Seminar aimed at introducing the EU approach to resource efficiency and waste management and discussing the state of play and the needs of the partner countries.
The event was taking place back to back with Green Week (a yearly flagship event organised by DG ENV) from 3-6 of June. The last event related to the seminar was a study visit (photo) to UMICORE in Antwerp on 6 June. UMICORE is an international company which deals with recycling of electronic waste, batteries, copper waste etc. The participants had an introductory session and visited the site where the precious metals are recuperated (gold, silver, rhodium, platinum etc.). The visit showed the principles and challenges for putting resource efficiency and recycling principles in practice.
In 2015 the 2 days Seminar had as topic "Nature protection and Biodiversity" followed by a study visit to Kalmhout which aimed at showing the concrete example of LIFE project and its contribution to restore endangered habitats, including eradication of invasive alien species.
Regional Environmental Centers (RECs)
The idea of establishing regional environmental centers in the countries of the former Soviet Union emerged during the early Environment for Europe (EfE) process and was formally endorsed in 1996 by European environment ministers attending the Sofia Conference.
The success of the Regional Environmental Centre for Central and Eastern Europe based in Hungary served as a model for the establishment of new RECs in 1998-2000. Four Centers currently operate in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region in Russia, Moldova, Caucasus and Central Asia. The RECs original mission is to strengthen links between central and local government, NGOs, business and academia in order to develop environmental civil society; to enhance dialogue between the European Union and the countries concerned; and to foster integration of environmental, economic and social policies. However, since the European Commission does not provide core finding to the RECs any longer, at the moment the RECs face challenges requiring them to adapt their activities to the changing financial set-up.
In certain cases RECs also have a unique potential to address regional environmental problems that would not be tackled otherwise due to unsolved political issues between the countries (e.g. Caucasus).
Black Sea marine environment and the Bucharest Convention
In 1992 the Black Sea countries (Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine,) signed the Bucharest Convention for the protection of the Black sea against pollution and ever since the European Union, in close cooperation with other donors, has consistently contributed to the formulation and implementation of the longer-term Black Sea Strategic Action Plan (BS SAP, latest updated in 2009).
Following the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU, the Commission has declared EU membership to the Bucharest Convention a priority (Black Sea Synergy Communication). A range of projects managed by the Commission services (for example under ENP or implementing Preparatory Actions of the European Parliament) bring a direct benefit to the Black sea marine and coastal environment, in areas such as environmental monitoring, integrated coastal zone management, designation and management of marine protected areas, prevention of and emergency response to oil pollution from ships.
The Bucharest Convention can foster the regional cooperation required for the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive by Bulgaria and Romania and promote coordination and convergence of Black Sea countries' marine protection policies.
Black Sea Synergyinitiative was launched in February 2008 by the Foreign Ministers of the Black Sea partners and of the European Union. It is a regional initiative open to all states that have access to the Black Sea and it is part of the European Neighbourhood policy. The EU intends to implement this initiative by establishing sector partnerships in three crucial sectors: environment, transport and energy.The Black Sea Environmental Partnership was launched in March 2010. Further measures are now needed on biodiversity conservation as well as integrated coastal zone and river basin management. Other priorities include tackling pollution and promoting environmental integration, monitoring, research and eco-innovation.