UNUnited Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Press Release

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Signing of environmental agreement among countries of South-Eastern Europe due 20 May

Geneva, 9 May 2008 -- The fourth meeting of the Parties to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (sometimes called the Espoo Convention after the Finnish city where it was adopted in 1991) will take place from 19 to 21 May 2008 in Bucharest. Environment ministers from countries of South-Eastern Europe will be invited to adopt and sign an agreement which will provide for further implementation of the Espoo Convention.

Environmental threats do not respect national borders. Governments have realized that to prevent environmental damage before it occurs, they must inform and discuss with each other all major projects under consideration that might have an adverse transboundary environmental impact. The Convention requires that States notify and consult each other on all such projects.

The Bucharest Agreement will particularly help countries in South-Eastern Europe to implement the Convention, by offering a practical framework for enhanced international cooperation to prevent, minimize and monitor environmental impact. The Agreement includes detailed provisions for consultations between countries both sides of a border, detailing appropriate means for providing information to authorities and the public, as well as opportunities to comment for both the countries and the public affected by the transboundary impact.

The countries being invited to adopt and sign the Agreement are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Neither Bosnia and Herzegovina nor Montenegro is yet a Party to the Espoo Convention. Serbia is the most recent Party, having acceded to the Convention on 18 December 2007.

For more information, please visit http://www.unece.org/env/eia/bucharest.htm or contact:

Mr. Wiek Schrage
UNECE Environment, Housing and Land Management Division
Palais des Nations, Office 407
CH - 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Phone: +41 (0) 22 917 2448
Fax: +41 (0) 22 917 0107 or 917 0613
E-mail: wiecher.schrage@unece.org
Website: http://www.unece.org/env/eia/

Ref: ECE/ENV/08/P05