The “Environment for Europe” process has become an important
platform for dialogue and cooperation not only among Governments but
also with international organizations, non-governmental organizations
and the private sector.
Kiev was the fifth “Environment for Europe”
Conference in a process that began in 1991. This process has had a significant
impact on the region covered by the United Nations Economic Commission
for Europe, whether in improving environmental rights, strengthening
public participation, promoting education for sustainable development,
or banning leaded petrol. These ministerial conferences have made important
strides in extending the environmental legal framework, ensuring compliance
and enforcement of international environmental law, and keeping the
environment high on the international agenda.
The process has also led to significant subregional
and cross-boundary cooperation, not only through new legal instruments
but also as partnerships and common strategies. The environment strategy
for countries of Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus, adopted
in Kiev, is the most recent example.
Coming in May 2003, the Kiev Conference was of particular
importance because it was the first high-level regional meeting to assess
the follow-up to the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development.
Over the years, the contributions to the process have
grown and many international organizations and institutions, such as
the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the European Union,
the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development, the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development, the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations
Development Programme, the European Environment Agency, and others now
take a very active part in the Conferences, their preparations and their
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe has
been proud to contribute to the process and will continue to do so.
I wish to express my deepest gratitude to the Government
and the people of Ukraine for hosting this Conference, for making it
a memorable event, and for the warm welcome and hospitality extended
to all of us.
MRS. BRIGITA SCHMOGNEROVÁ
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe