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UNECE organizes Central Asian workshop to help mainstream environmental concerns in Government plans and policies

Published:15 March 2011

Geneva

A subregional workshop to enhance understanding of and strengthen capacity for the implementation of the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, and in particular the Convention’s Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment, will be held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, from 28 March to 1 April 2011. The workshop, which will bring together 25 participants from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, will focus on the water sector.

Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) offers a promising methodology to promote and improve planning processes in general, and the integration of environmental aspects into policies, plans and programmes in particular. The objective of the workshop is to help participating countries to apply SEA methodology effectively and to demonstrate how SEA will apply to policies, plans and programmes on diverse topics, and with differing sizes and local conditions. The workshop also aims to facilitate better implementation of the Convention and transposition of the SEA Protocol provisions into the national legal systems.

To enhance cooperation between authorities from the central and local levels and to foster dialogue with stakeholders, participants representing a wide range of stakeholders from central and local governments, including local planners, environment, health and water sector representatives, and representatives of civil society have been invited.

On the first day of the workshop, Governmental representatives from all participating countries are expected to present their national environmental assessment systems. Representatives from Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan will share their countries’ experiences in the practical application of the Convention. To promote sharing of good practice in SEA, case studies of successful application of SEA in the Crimea (Ukraine) and Belarus will also be introduced. 

The remaining four days are designed to improve the actors’ capacities to transpose and implement the international principles, standards and good practice in SEA based on practical exercises. Participants will themselves apply SEA to the hypothetical case of a spatial development plan for a river basin.

The workshop is organized with the support of the UNECE-GTZ Regional Dialogue and Cooperation on Water Resources Management Programme, in cooperation with the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia, Almaty.

For further information, please visit www.unece.org/env/eia or contact:

Mr. Nick Bonvoisin
Secretary to the Espoo Convention
Tel: +41 (0)22 917 1193
E-mail: eia.conv@unece.org

Note to editors

The Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, elaborated under the auspices of UNECE, was adopted at Espoo (Finland) on 25 February 1991 and entered into force on 10 September 1997. The Convention now has 45 Parties. The Espoo Convention stipulates that its Parties shall assess the environmental impact of certain activities at an early stage of planning. It also requires 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. Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan became Parties to the Convention in 2001. Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are not Parties to the Convention.

More information about the Convention can be found at http://www.unece.org/env/eia/eia.html.

The Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment to the Espoo Convention, signed by 35 Governments and the European Community back in May 2003 in Kyiv, Ukraine, entered into force on 11 July 2010. To date, the Protocol has been ratified by 20 States and the European Union. Though negotiated by UNECE member States and signed by European Ministers of Environment, the Protocol is open to all United Nations Member States, upon approval by the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol. None of the five Central Asian States — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — signed or have acceded to the Protocol.

More information about the Protocol can be found at http://www.unece.org/env/eia/sea_protocol.html.

Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) supports the German Government in achieving its development policy objectives. The Berlin Water Process was launched at the first “Water Unites” Conference (Berlin, 2008). The Process is an important part of the water and environment pillar of the European Union’s Central Asia Strategy. The Transboundary Water Management in Central Asia Programme is implemented by GTZ under the Berlin Water Process to optimize cooperation in the Central Asian water sector and improve the lives of people in the region. GTZ became part of Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in January 2011.

More information about GTZ and transboundary water management in Central Asia Programme can be found at: http://www.gtz.de/en/weltweit/europa-kaukasus-zentralasien/29994.htm

Ref: ECE/ENV/11/P09


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