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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 is a Party to the Protocol on SEA since 2014. It is one of the first countries in the Eastern European and Caucasian region to join 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:

  • Improve its legislative and institutional framework to fully comply with the Protocol and relevant EU legislation;
  • Define roles and responsibilities of various authorities in the SEA process;
  • Build 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;
  • Raise 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.

In November 2013, in order to build capacity of national stakeholders a training workshop was organized by EaP GREEN in close cooperation with the Ministry of Ecology of the Republic of Armenia and the EcoGlobe NGO.

Armenia, with the help of EaP GREEN, is currently conducting a review of its national legislative and institutional framework of SEA. In close collaboration with the Ministry of Nature Protection of Armenia, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the NGO, Ecoglobe held a round-table meeting to discuss the results of the review was organized on 26 September 2014 in Yerevan.

UNECE experts are in the process of reviewing Armenia’s national law on EIA and based on the request of the Espoo Convention Implementation Committee (IC). The UNECE experts presented analysis that there are gaps in the national legislation vis-à-vis the Protocol on SEA. Currently, the UNECE Secretariat is in the process of negotiations to incorporate its recommendations and comments into the new draft law.

National and local training workshops on SEA to support implementation of pilot projects are scheduled for the period of October 2014 – December 2015.

Armenia will take part in the Study Tour for the Countries of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus on Sharing the Best Practices of the Czech Republic in the field of applying SEA.

Finally, Armenia plans to implement a SEA pilot project between 2014 and 2015.

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;
  • 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.

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), State Agency on Alternative and Renewable Energy Resources Use and Azerbaijan Branch office of Regional Environmental Centre for Caucasus in cooperation with the UNECE Secretariat to the Espoo Convention are 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.

A round-table was organized on 28 August 2014 in Azerbaijan by EaP GREEN in close collaboration with the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan, the UNECE and the Regional Environmental Center Caucasus Branch Office in Azerbaijan to discuss the first draft of the review of national legislative and institutional structures vis-a-vis the Protocol on (SEA) in Azerbaijan.

Following the request of national stakeholders at the round table, further support will be provided to Azerbaijan in order to further its efforts to strengthen its national legislative framework and capacities for application of SEA. Recommendations will result in the drafting of relevant legislation in 2015 and will be followed by the finalisation of the Review.

Additionally, a pilot project will be conducted by a team of national experts with support from EaP GREEN in close cooperation with the Ministry of Azerbaijan on Alternative and Renewable Energy Resources Use responsible for the preparation of the Action Plan on Alternative and Renewable Energy Resources Use. Plan for the implementation of pilot SEA of the Action Plan on Alternative and Renewable Energy Resources Use is from January – October 2015. 

Azerbaijan will take part in the Study Tour for the Countries of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus on Sharing the Best Practices of the Czech Republic in the field of applying SEA.

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).

  • The technical assistance on SEA, including analysis of the current legislation in Belarus in the application of the UNECE Protocol on SEA,
  • Three training workshops on SEA at local level were held 7-9 October, 2013, Gomel 21-23 October, 2013, Brest, 24-25 October, 2013, Grodno;
  • Joint pilot project between Belarus and Ukraine on post-project analysis of the exploitation of the Khotislavskoye quarry was completed.

The analysis of the current legislation in Belarus was prepared by an international consultant in close collaboration with a national consultant nominated by Belarus. The results of the review were presented and discussed with national stakeholders during a national level round table consultation meeting on 5 September 2013. The final review was prepared based on comments received during and after the meeting. The final review was prepared based on comments received during and after the meeting. The final results of the project were presented at a subregional conference in Minsk, on 15 April 2014.

Belarus is seeking further assistance in the drafting of SEA provisions to the law on EIA in the period between December 2014 and December 2015.

Belarus will take part in the Study Tour for the Countries of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus on Sharing the Best Practices of the Czech Republic in the field of applying SEA.

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). 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:

  • 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.

In responses to these challenges and to better prepare for accession to the treaties the Ministry of Environment Protection of Georgia in cooperation with the UNECE Secretariat and the Environment Information and Education Centre  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;
  • Defining roles and responsibilities of various authorities in the EIA and SEA processes;
  • Building national and local capacities, developing practical experience and national guidelines in application of the EIA and SEA procedures in line with the both treaties and relevant EU legislation;
  • Raising awareness and common understanding of the EIA and SEA benefits at national and local levels and in different sectors, including the benefits of public participation and the consultation of relevant authorities.

EaP GREEN assisted in the revision of the existing national regulatory and legislative framework which took place in Georgia for EIA between 9 September and 15 October 2013. Additionally, a national seminar was organized to discuss the draft results of a technical advice project on EIA in a transboundary context in Georgia on November 4, 2013.

Georgia held a mapping exercise between 1 July to 31 September 2014. A workshop organized by the Ministry of Environment Protection of Georgia and UNECE in the framework of the Espoo Convention capacity building and technical advice programme aiming to support Georgia in strengthening its national capacity to integrate EIA and SEA procedures into national legal, regulatory and administrative frameworks in order to join the Espoo Convention and its Protocol on SEA took place on 25 - 26 August 2014 in Tbilisi. 

As a result of this workshop, Georgia has conducted two legal exercises in public participation to aid in the process drafting of its law.

In autumn 2015 Georgia in conjunction with EaP GREEN will host a regional conference for exchange experiences on improving legal and institutional frameworks for application of EIA and SEA in the participating countries. Additionally this conference is aimed to help the trainers on practical application of SEA.

Additionally, Georgia once its laws on SEA and EIA are adopted, are planning to host a media tour to promote the adopted law to various national stakeholders in autumn 2015.

Georgia will take part in the Study Tour for the Countries of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus on Sharing the Best Practices of the Czech Republic in the field of applying SEA.

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 should be improved to fully comply with the Protocol and relevant European Union (EU) legislation;
  • Roles and responsibilities of various authorities in the SEA process should be defined;
  • Central governmental and local capacities should be 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 should be raised 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.

With support provided by EaP GREEN the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Moldova developed a draft law. The adoption of the law will foster accession of the Republic of Moldova to the Protocol and facilitate further harmonisation of the national legislative framework with the requirements of the appropriate EU Directives.

A training workshop on the practical application of the Draft law on SEA to urban plans and programmes in the Republic of Moldova was organised by EaP Green with close consultation with the Ministry of Environment at the National round-table meeting on 29 July 2014 in Chisinau to discuss the draft law with national stakeholders.

Here, a pilot project on the application of the Draft Law on SEA to the Orhei town Master Plan development process initiated for the period between July to December 2014.

A series of other workshops will take place in November 2014 to end of January 2015.

The Republic of Moldova will take part in the Study Tour for the Countries of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus on Sharing the Best Practices of the Czech Republic in the field of applying SEA.

Early 2015, the country is planning to adopt the law on SEA that was developed with technical support from the secretariat in 2014. Further assistance is needed in drafting bylaws for the implementation of the EIA and SEA laws.

The SEA Pilot project on application of SEA to the Orhei Master Plan is progressing well. This is a small case used for the testing the SEA procedure proposed the draft law on SEA. Further training events planned for 2015 and 2016 should be implemented in conjunction with another bigger pilot project at a national scale involving different stakeholders. If you have any suggestions please contact the Espoo Secretariat.

After the signature of the Protocol on SEA by Ukraine in 2003, SEA has been applied in strategic planning by several national and local authorities. However, 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.

In responses to these challenges and to better prepare for the ratification to the Protocol the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine cooperates UNECE secretariat of the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) and the Protocol on SEA in the framework of the EaP GREEN Programme. The partners undertake the following steps to develop a national SEA system in accordance with the Protocol:

  • Enhancing the national legislative and institutional framework should be  improved to fully comply with the Protocol and relevant European Union (EU) legislation;
  • Identification of roles and responsibilities of various authorities in the SEA process;
  • Building capacities of central governmental and local authorities, through development of practical experience and national guidelines in the application of the SEA;
  • Raising awareness and establishing 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.

In 2013 Ukraine developed a new legislation on SEA, creating a need for stronger and wider integration of SEA into national and regional planning processes. EaP GREEN in close cooperation with the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine organised training workshop to provide a step-by-step guidance on application of the SEA as a tool in the strategic decision-making and strengthen the implementation of the UNECE Protocol on SEA in Ukraine.’

The workshop launched a comprehensive set of technical advice and capacity building activities envisioned for 2013–2016 under the Workplans of the Espoo Convention and its Protocol on SEA. A national training workshop on SEA conducted on 1-4 October 2013 in Kiev.Additionally, a pilot project on PPA of environmental iampact in transboundary context in Belarus and Ukraine is completed, including a report by the bilateral working group for the environmental Monitoring of Khotislavskoye quarry and expert assessment of the pilot project  and  recommendations for improving transboundary EIA procedure and post-project analysis.

Ukraine will take part in the Study Tour for the Countries of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus on Sharing the Best Practices of the Czech Republic in the field of applying SEA.

Ukraine’s priority for 2015 is a media tour on SEA and EIA, in particularly in relation to cumulative effect of small hydropower stations in Carpathian Rivers.
Ukraine is also planning implement lessons learned from the practical application of SEA in the participating countries by 2016. 


© United Nations Economic Commissions for Europe – 2013