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Experts review the environmental performance of Bulgaria and Tajikistan

Delegations from Bulgaria and Tajikistan meeting with expert representatives from other UNECE countries in Geneva from 6 to 8 December 2016 discussed and finalized recommendations arising from environmental performance reviews (EPRs) undertaken in those countries. In January 2017, the Committee on Environmental Policy will undertake a peer review of the final recommendations.

The expert review, which is undertaken by the Expert Group on Environmental Performance Reviews, is a unique feature that distinguishes UNECE EPRs from other peer review mechanisms. EPRs focus on best practices in environmental protection and the integration of environmental considerations in sectoral policies (e.g., agriculture, industry, energy or transport). Given the complexity of the issues involved and the specialized knowledge required, the expert review allows for a thorough evaluation of the environmental performance and associated recommendations by specialists prior to the peer review by decision makers and policymakers. It therefore improves the quality of the review process, and also ensures that it best responds to the needs and capacities of the countries under review. In addition to providing a quality check, the Expert Group serves as a forum for peer learning, where the reviewed and reviewing countries share experiences and best practices and learn from each other.

For the third EPR of Bulgaria, the discussion focused on such key topics as the practical implementation of environmental legislation and policy documents, adaptation to climate change, water-use and energy efficiencies, recycling and extended producer’s responsibilities. In cooperation with the Bulgarian delegation, the Expert Group revised the recommendations on the legal and policymaking framework, water and waste management, biodiversity protection and strengthening the status, value and role of protected areas.

During the discussion of the EPR of Tajikistan, air quality was the biggest subject of debate, looking at a variety of issues connected to fuel choices available to the population of Tajikistan and the opportunities for reducing the impact on air quality from heating installations in areas not connected to functional central heating. Another hot topic was the challenge of further developing the system of separate collection of recyclable waste. Together with the delegation of Tajikistan, the Expert Group fine-tuned the recommendations on environmental monitoring, public participation, education, air protection, waste management, biodiversity, energy, transport and health.

Experts from Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Montenegro, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Nations Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries and the UNECE transport, energy and trade divisions contributed their knowledge and expertise to the reviews of Bulgaria and Tajikistan.

For more information, please contact:

Antoine Nunes
EPR Programme Manager
E-mail: antoine.nunes@unece.org