First pilot project on post-project analysis under the UNECE Espoo Convention started with Belarus and Ukraine
A pilot project on post-project analysis under the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) was kicked-off during a workshop held in Brest, Belarus, on 9 and 10 April 2013. The pilot project will take stock of the environmental impacts of the exploitation of the “Hotislavskoe” chalky deposits in Belarus, located just 250 metres from the Belarusian-Ukrainian border, as well as the implementation of a joint monitoring programme by a bilateral working group subsequently set up by the two countries.
Upon the completion of the transboundary EIA procedure for the planned mining activities in June 2011, Belarus and Ukraine agreed to develop an extensive environmental monitoring programme to ensure the proper and cost-effective implementation of the project. The Parties then requested assistance from UNECE to undertake a post-project analysis with a view to further improving cross-border dialogue between the two countries as well as monitoring and mitigating transboundary impacts. The pilot project also aims to improve practices for providing the public of concerned countries with access to information about transboundary environmental impacts.
The workshop in Brest familiarized the relevant national and local authorities, experts and non-governmental organizations from Belarus and Ukraine with the pilot project and its objectives and discussed in detail the bilateral monitoring programme. Representatives of Poland also attended. At the workshop, a bilateral working group was established to oversee the joint monitoring and evaluation of the environmental impacts of the project activities with a focus on surface water and groundwater.
During the pilot project, an international consultant will assist the working group and prepare recommendations on post-project analysis and transboundary EIA. The project will also provide for an addendum on post-project analysis to the bilateral agreement between Belarus and Ukraine for the implementation of the Espoo Convention. The results of the pilot project will be assessed by a task force and presented to the Meeting of the Parties to the Espoo Convention in 2014. As the implementation of post-project analysis of transboundary EIAs is not yet widespread in the ECE region, the outcomes of the project will be beneficial to all the Parties under the Convention.
The project is being implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus and the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Ukraine. It is financed through the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC) and is implemented jointly by UNECE, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The project also contributes to implementing UNECE’s project component in a large regional project of the European Commission “Towards Greener economies in the Eastern Partnership” (EAP-Green), implemented by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), UNECE, UNEP and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
For further information, please visit www.unece.org/env/eia
Ms. Tea Aulavuo
Secretary to the Espoo Convention
Tel: +41 (0)22 917 17 23
Note to editors
The Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, elaborated under the auspices of UNECE, was adopted at Espoo, Finland, in 1991 and entered into force on 10 September 1997. The Espoo Convention, which has 45 Parties to date, stipulates that its Parties shall assess the environmental impact of certain activities at an early stage of planning. It also obligates States to notify and consult each other on all major projects under consideration that are likely to have a significant adverse environmental impact across borders.
The Espoo Convention contains provisions for a so-called post-project analysis which completes the transboundary environmental impact assessment of a project by providing feedback on the project implementation and allowing Parties to continue cooperating also during the project implementation phase. The concerned Parties, at the request of any such Party, can determine if and to what extent post-project analysis should be carried out. According to the Convention, post-project analysis has to include surveillance of the activity and the determination of any adverse transboundary impacts. It can be undertaken, for instance, to monitor compliance with regulations and mitigation measures, or to verify past predictions in order to develop the EIA process. When post-project analysis gives reasonable grounds for concluding that there is a significant transboundary impact, concerned Parties have to inform each other and to consult on necessary measures to reduce or eliminate the impact.
More information about the Convention can be found at http://www.unece.org/env/eia/eia.htm.