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UNECE helps Azerbaijan draft law on Environmental Impact Assessment

Azerbaijan is assessing a draft law on Environmental Impact Assessment prepared with support from UNECE. Following a first round of discussions with all stakeholders (representatives from the relevant Ministries, members of Parliament, local authorities, representatives from NGOs and the private sector) at a round-table held on 2 March in Baku, the draft law will now be improved and submitted to the Government by the end of March. The aim is to develop a national environmental assessment system in accordance with the principles laid out in the UNECE Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a transboundary context (Espoo Convention). Ultimately, this should foster accession of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment to the Espoo Convention and facilitate the harmonisation of the national legislation with the requirements of the relevant EU Directives.

One key objective is to initiate the pilot application of Strategic Environmental Assessment in the energy sector, which is a major component of Azerbaijan’s economy, and notably to the State Strategy on Alternative and Renewable Energy Resources Use for 2015-2020.  To this end a training workshop for environmental experts, energy planners and representatives of the other relevant stakeholders, was convened on 3-4 March in Baku. In the framework of the pilot project a team of national experts with support from the UNECE secretariat will test the draft law on practice and prepare suggestions to improve it further. Azerbaijan intends to submit the draft law to the Parliament at the end of October 2015.

These activities are carried out by the secretariat to the Espoo Convention and its Protocol, with support of the EU-funded programme Greening Economies in the Eastern Neighbourhood (EaP-GREEN).