At the Sixth Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe" that took place in Belgrade (Serbia) from 10 to 12 October 2007 ministers agreed to undertake a reform of the “Environment for Europe” (EfE) process in order to ensure that the process remains relevant and valuable, and to strengthen its effectiveness as a mechanism for improving environmental quality and the lives of people across the region.
As stated in the Belgrade Ministerial Declaration, the reform should focus on, although may not be limited to, the following aspects:
a) The format, focus and priorities of the process and Ministerial Conferences;
b) Evaluating the performance and impact of the process;
c) Attracting the broader interest and more active engagement of all stakeholders, in particular the private sector;
d) Expanding the use of partnerships as vehicles for improving implementation;
e) Leveraging external contributions of expertise, manpower and resources;
f) Assessing ways and means to promote more effectively the UNECE region-wide dimension of environmental cooperation;
g) The full cost of the process and the effective allocation of available resources;
h) Future secretariat arrangements.
In order to address the above issues in depth and with due consideration, ministers invited the Committee on Environmental Policy (CEP) to develop by the end of 2008, in consultation with EfE partners, a plan for EfE reform so that it can be endorsed, at a political level, by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) at its next session in spring 2009. The ministers further agreed that the next EfE Ministerial Conference will be organized on the basis of the agreed reform.
At its meeting on 30 January 2008 the Bureau of the CEP discussed a possible outline for preparation of the EfE reform plan and agreed that a compilation document (En, Fr, Ru) reflecting the views of member States was needed as a basis for the discussion of the reform.
This complilation together with the views of member States and stakeholders that could not be included in the document were discussed in depth at the 15th session of the CEP that took place on 21-23 April 2008 in Geneva.
The CEP-15 was a first step in a serie of meetings and consultations that were planned to be held with broad participation of the UNECE member States and all stakeholders in order to develop and agree upon the EfE reform plan. The meeting provided further guidance on the main elements of the reform that were reflected in an outline of the EfE reform plan (En, Ru).
The Extended CEP Bureau meeting (23-24 June 2008) discussed the outline of the EfE reform plan and generally agreed that the draft of the EfE reform plan could follow the structure of the outline document, provided that more details were included in order to reflect all necessary aspects of the reform.
The updated draft of the EfE Reform Plan (En, Fr, Ru) was finalized and adopted (En/En, Fr/Fr, Ru/Ru) at the special session of the CEP that took place in Geneva from 27 to 29 January 2009 and was transmitted to the Economic Commission for Europe at its sixty-third session (Geneva, 30 March - 1 April 2009) for endorsement. The Commission endorsed the Reform Plan.
All documents related to the EfE reform along with the individual views expressed by the member States and stakeholders may be found here.