EaP GREEN

Greening Economies in the Eastern Neighbourhood (EaP GREEN) programme is a large regional programme implemented in 2013-2016 by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), OECD, UNEP, and UNIDO to assist the six European Union’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, in their transition to green economy. The programme is financed by the European Commission, the four implementing organisations and other donors.

The programme’s overall objective is to assist the EaP countries to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation and resource depletion. The programme component that ECE is in charge of implementing, aims to promote the use of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and environmental impact assessment (EIA) as essential planning tools for an environmentally sustainable economic development.

ECE will support the participating countries in developing and applying SEA legislation and systems in accordance with the provisions of the Protocol on SEA to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) (and the EU SEA Directive). The related activities are linked to the workplans under the Convention and the Protocol; and they contribute to promoting the ratification and implementation of the Protocol on SEA. As appropriate, assistance will also be provided for improving the current practices and legal and institutional frameworks on EIA in compliance with the Espoo Convention (and with the EU EIA Directive).

Read more about EaP GREEN Activities implemented by ECE in 2013-2016:

Revision of the existing national regulatory and legislative framework

Capacity building on SEA/EIA procedures

Strengthening of administrative capacities

  • Legislative review of SEA and, as appropriate, of EIA
  • Legal drafting for SEA legislation
  • Sub-regional overview
  • National and sub-national level training on SEA
  • Development of national guidance documents
  • Coordination and experience-sharing events
  • Pilot SEAs and EIAs
  • Legislative reviews and development of recommendations
  • Policy dialogue
  • Institutional reviews and recommendations

Country Results

Armenia

Armenia is a Party to the Protocol on SEA since 2014, and thus it is one of the first countries in the Eastern European and Caucasian region joining the SEA Protocol to the UNECE Espoo Convention on EIA. Since 2013, Armenia, with the support from EaP GREEN, is gradually introducing the SEA elements into the planning and permitting systems in order to:

  • Improving national legislative and institutional framework to fully comply with the Protocol and relevant EU legislation;
  • Clearly defining roles and responsibilities of various authorities in the SEA process;
  • Building national and local capacities, developing practical experience and national guidelines for application of the SEA procedures in line with the Protocol and relevant EU legislation;
  • Raising awareness and common understanding of the benefits of the SEA at national and local levels and in different sectors, including the benefits of public participation and the consultation of relevant authorities.

Since June 2013, the UNECE secretariat to the Convention on the Environmental Impact Assessment in the Transboundary Context (the Espoo Convention) assists the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resource Protection of Armenia (hereinafter also the ‘Ministry’) in developing a national environmental assessment system in line with the Convention and its Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (Protocol on SEA). The activities were implemented in the framework of the EU funded programme ‘Greening Economies in the Eastern Neighbourhood’ (EaP GREEN) in several phases and in close cooperation with the non-governmental organisation EcoGlobe and recently REC Caucasus.

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Outcomes and activities

Team members

 

Azerbaijan

The Republic of Azerbaijan is not yet a Party to the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). Despite the increasing recognition of the SEA as a tool for sustainable development in the region, SEA is rarely used in the country. This is due to a number of reasons, including:

  • Weak legislative and institutional framework for its application;
  • Low level of awareness of SEA and its benefits among public authorities responsible for preparation of the plans and programmes;
  • Lack of understanding of the roles and responsibilities of various authorities in the SEA process.

In responses to these challenges and to better prepare for accession to the Convention and its Protocol the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources (MENR) and Azerbaijan Branch office of Regional Environmental Centre for Caucasus is undertaking a number of steps to develop a national EIA and SEA systems in accordance with the Convention and the Protocol, including:

  • Improving its legislative and institutional framework to fully comply with the Protocol and relevant EU legislation;
  • Defining roles and responsibilities of various authorities in the SEA process;
  • Building national and local capacities, developing practical experience and national guidelines in application of the SEA procedures in line with the Protocol and relevant EU legislation;
  • Raising awareness and common understanding of the benefits of the SEA at national and local levels and in different sectors, including the benefits of public participation and the consultation of relevant authorities.

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Outcomes and activities

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Belarus

The EaP GREEN activities in Belarus are implemented in close cooperation with the ENVSEC Project “Managing Environment and Security Risks with Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)”. Between 2013 – 2014 the activities of the project were focused on building administrative capacity and enhancing legal and institutional development for applying both SEA and transboundary EIA procedures to projects and plans subject to environment and security challenges in Belarus. The activities are jointly implemented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus, the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Ukraine, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

With help from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECEF), Belarus is currently assessing its legislation with a view to implementing the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment (Espoo Convention) and its Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (Protocol on SEA). Belarus is already a Party to the Espoo Convention, but has not yet join the Protocol.

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Outcomes and activities

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Georgia

 

Georgia is currently not a Party to the UNECE’s Espoo Convention on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in a Transboundary Context and its Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). The country has signed, but not ratified the SEA Protocol. Thus, despite the increasing recognition of the SEA and EIA as a tool for sustainable development in the region, they are still rarely used tools in Georgia. This is due to a number of challenges and reasons, including:

(a)      Weak legislative and institutional framework for its application;
(b)      Low level of awareness of SEA and its benefits among public authorities responsible for preparation of plans and programmes;
(c)      Lack of understanding of the roles and responsibilities of various authorities in the SEA process;
(d)      Absence of specific guidelines and practical experience in the application of SEA and EIA.

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Outcomes and activities

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The Republic of Moldova

The Republic of Moldova is not a Party to the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). Despite the increasing recognition of the SEA as a tool for sustainable development in the region, SEA is rarely used in the country. This is due to a number of reasons, including:

  • Weak legislative and institutional framework for its application;
  • Low level of awareness of SEA and its benefits among public authorities;
  • Lack of understanding of the roles and responsibilities of various authorities in the SEA process;
  • Absence of specific guidelines and practical experience in  the application of SEA.

To prepare for accession to the Protocol, it is important for the country undertake a number of steps and develop a national system on SEA procedures according to the provisions of the Protocol. Such steps would mean that:

  • The national legislative and institutional framework is improved to fully comply with the Protocol and relevant European Union (EU) legislation;
  • Roles and responsibilities of various authorities in the SEA process are defined;
  • Central governmental and local capacities are built, through development of practical experience and national guidelines in the application of the SEA procedures in line with the Protocol and relevant EU legislation;
  • Awareness about SEA is raised among sectoral authorities so that there is a common understanding of the benefits of the SEA at national and local levels and in different sectors, including the benefits of public participation and the consultation of relevant authorities.

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Outcomes and activities

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EaP GREEN Country Update Autumn 2015  ENG  RUS

Ukraine

After the signature of the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) by Ukraine in 2003, SEA has been applied in strategic planning by several national and local authorities on a pilot basis. Despite the increasing recognition of the SEA as a tool for sustainable development, SEA is rarely used in the country and the Protocol on SEA is still not ratified. This is due to a number of reasons, including:

  • Weak legislative and institutional framework for its application;
  • Low level of awareness of SEA and its benefits among public authorities responsible for preparation of the plans and programmes;
  • Lack of understanding of the roles and responsibilities of various authorities in the SEA process.

In responses to these challenges and to better prepare for the ratification to the Protocol on SEA the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine collaborate with various partners, including UNECE secretariat in order to develop a national SEA system in accordance with the Protocol on SEA and EU SEA Directive.

Since 2013 Ukraine has been developing a new legislation on SEA in the framework of the EU funded project ‘Complementary Support to the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine for the Sector Budget Support Implementation’. Pilot SEAs for Development Strategies of Lviv and Dnipropetrovsk Oblasts’ were carried out by a project ‘Building Capacity in Evidence-Based Economic Development Planning in Ukrainian Oblasts and Municipalities’ (EBED) funded by the Canadian Government. EBED has also supported development of a Practical guide on application of SEA in Ukraine. 

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Outcomes and activities

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Promotional materials on Protocol on SEA

Brochure on Strategic Environmental Assessment and its Benefits

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Video: Introduction to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)                                    

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GEO