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LIFE Third Countries 2005: Commission funds environment projects in third countries with more than €6 million

Commission Européenne - IP/05/1156   19/09/2005

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IP/05/1156

Brussels, 19 September 2005

LIFE Third Countries 2005: Commission funds environment projects in third countries with more than €6 million

The European Commission has approved funding for 15 new environment projects situated in the Mediterranean and Baltic regions, under the LIFE Third Countries programme 2005. These projects focus on capacity building. They represent a total investment of € 9.223.000, of which the EU will cover € 6,348,240.

“Sustainable development can be achieved only if it is recognised as a common objective : whatever is undertaken in one country or area will impact on the wider environment, said Stavros Dimas, Commissioner responsible for the environment. On the basis of mutual support and co-operation we can contribute to the development and implementation of the environment policy in neighbouring countries that responds to the needs of citizens, now and in the future”.

The European Commission has selected 15 projects situated in Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Russia, Tunisia, Turkey, the West Bank and Gaza, for funding through the LIFE Third Countries programme.

These projects aim at improving the environment and achieving sustainable development by contributing to the creation or strengthening of the relevant institutions, policies, monitoring tools, training facilities, networks and data bases.

They cover a wide range of issues, from waste management and industrial pollution prevention and control to soil monitoring and climate change. Some projects promote a movement towards EU environmental regulations or co-operation at regional or transnational level.

The total cost of the projects amounts to €9.223.000. EU financing represents approximately 69% of this amount.

LIFE Third Countries is part of the LIFE programme. LIFE is the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental and nature conservation projects throughout the EU, as well as in some candidate, acceding and neighbouring countries. Its objective is to contribute to the development and implementation of EU environmental policy by financing specific actions. Since 1992, LIFE has co-financed some 2 500 projects, contributing €1 500 million to the protection of the environment.

LIFE Third Countries specifically contributes to establishing capacity and administrative structures, and assisting in the development of environmental policies and action programmes in third countries bordering on the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea[1].

The two other components of LIFE, LIFE Nature and LIFE Environment, focus on nature conservation and innovation in environmental protection measures. For projects approved under LIFE Nature and LIFE Environment, see press releases IP/05/1155 and IP/05/1157.

The current LIFE programme (“LIFE III”) finishes at the end of 2006. The Commission has proposed a new programme called “LIFE +”, which would run from 2007-2013 with a budget of € 2,190 million. Its final adoption and budget is currently pending between the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament.
A summary of the 15 selected projects in third countries can be found in the annex to this press release. More detailed information on each project is available at:
http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/project/index.htm

ANNEX

Overview of LIFE Third Countries projects 2005 by country

Bosnia-Herzegovina - 1 project

The beneficiary of the project is the Hydro Engineering Institute of Civil Engineering Faculty, Sarajevo; the EU co-financing is € 299 250. The project aims at implementing an “Integrated Environmental Permitting” procedure focusing on the best available techniques for the food and beverage industry. Despite a reduction in the level of industrial activities after the war, industrial pollution still has a heavy impact on the environment in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Croatia – 4 projects

The beneficiary of the first project is the Croatian Environment Agency; the EU co-financing is € 533 700. The project aims to create national standards and methods for a soil monitoring programme which meet EU requirements. It also seeks to identify the locations of the nationwide soil monitoring stations with coordinates for agricultural land, forest land and contaminated sites and identify potential reference centres for gathering and analysing the data, and to deliver proposals for construction of a soil monitoring system, including a financial plan for future implementation of the system.

The beneficiary of the second project is the national water management agency - Croatian Waters; the EU co-financing is € 211 571. The project aims to create a new laboratory for biodegradation analysis of wastewater. It will contribute to the national water protection strategy and help comply with the EU Water Framework Directive.

The beneficiary of the third project is the Lonsjko Polje Nature Park Public Service; the EU co-financing is € 496 845. The project aims to develop and improve integrated river basin management by developing consultative processes involving stakeholders. A management planning process will ensure that the needs of the wetlands are recognized. A sustainable visitor management system will be provided and the ranger staff of Croatia’s protected areas will be equipped.

The beneficiary of the fourth project is the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Civil Engineering; the EU co-financing is € 492 584. The project will consist in assisting the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Physical Planning and Construction in establishing a sustainable system for managing construction and demolition (C&D) waste. Existing data on landfills and dumpsites, quantities and types of C&D waste will be analysed in order to get an overview of the present state and identify areas where data are missing. Typical sites will be selected, reflecting the variety of sizes, types of waste and logistic systems applied.. In the pilot region of Zagreb, collected material will be recycled in a pilot recycling plant on the Jakusevac landfill. The construction sector in Croatia produces 2 million tonnes of construction and demolition waste per year. Less than 5% of such waste is presently recycled and re-used.

Gaza and the West Bank – 2 projects

The beneficiary of the first project is the municipality of Hebron; the EU co-financing is € 770 000. The project aims at establishing a new environmental regulation in the Hebron Municipality for the treatment of marble debris, sludge and water from the industrial cycle. A network of Palestinian and Italian marble associations will be established and a pilot centre for the recycling of industrial wastewater and the separation of calcium carbonate, will be built.

The beneficiary of the second project is the Applied Research Institute, Jerusalem; the EU co-financing is € 200 819. The objective of the project is to help develop local sustainable development strategies and disseminate the knowledge generated by previous research. In practice, it aims to secure and maintain the involvement of the selected local and national authorities, establish a Geographic Information System (GIS, a set of intelligent maps and other views that show features, and feature relationships, on the earth’s surface) and reinforce the technical capacities of the municipalities and rural councils concerned. The knowledge gained through this project will be transferred to other local authorities in the West Bank in order to encourage them to carry out similar sustainability initiatives.

Israel – 2 projects

The beneficiary of the first project is the Upper Galilee Regional Council; the EU co-financing is € 369 442. The objective is to create a framework for balancing development and environmental needs of the Upper Galilee region, making it possible to use resources in a sustainable way. A Master Plan for land use designation, environmental management, flood prevention and proper drainage will be drawn up. It will encourage public participation in planning and decision making processes; develop eco-tourism alongside natural resources preservation; change destructive behavioural patterns through educational programs and enforcement; encourage ecological agricultural practices; and create an administrative framework for implementation, management and maintenance of the Master Plan.

The beneficiary of the second project is the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership; the EU co-financing is € 334 934. The project aims to establish large-scale environmental capacity building in local governments throughout Israel. Advocates, municipal professionals and mayors will be trained and networks will be created to connect them. Tools for local sustainability in municipal planning, management and legislation (by-laws) will be developed and a support network linking Israeli initiatives will be established.

Jordan – 1 project

The beneficiary of the project is the Hashemite University; the EU co-financing is € 473 701. This project aims to develop strategies and instruments to address the problems caused by the growth of tourism. In partnership with the tourism industry, pilot measures and studies will be implemented in two hotels to improve their environmental performance. The findings, strategies and instruments developed during the project will be presented to all stakeholders via a series of workshops. A guiding tool and an e-training module will be designed to promote environmental management in the tourism sector as a whole.

Morocco – 1 project

The beneficiary of the project is the University of Chouaib Doukkali; the EU co-financing is € 438 228. The project aims to develop an effective composting system on a pilot scale for the treatment of sludge generated by waste water treatment plants and drinking water plants, in order to produce high quality compost in Morocco. The annual generation of sewage sludge in Morocco is approximately 430 000 tons and rising sharply. The sludge is mainly stored near waste water treatment plants and then applied to land without prior treatment, or discharged to uncontrolled landfills.

Lebanon – 1 project

The beneficiary of the project is Arcenciel; the EU co-financing is € 449 697. This project proposes to launch a national policy on the management and treatment of infectious hospital waste in Lebanon. The activities include the treatment of hospital waste in the South Mont Liban region, training of hospital personnel and launching an awareness raising campaign on hospital waste.

Russia – 1 project

The beneficiary of the project is the Municipal Institution Environment Center ECAT Kaliningrad; the EU co-financing is € 492 837. This project will promote and facilitate the improvement of environmental and safety performance of the industrial sector in Kaliningrad. It seeks to ensure the effective control and monitoring of these activities by the competent authorities. This will be achieved through the promotion of integrated pollution prevention and control practices and the development and implementation of environmental and safety management systems. All actors involved in the industrial activities of the region will be informed and trained on these instruments via seminars and workshops. A web-based info-library will provide all relevant information. About 80% of the regional domestic industry is based in Kaliningrad with some 300 large and medium and 40.000 small industrial enterprises.

Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco– 1 combined project

The beneficiary of this combined project is the Observatoire du Sahara et du Sahel; the EU co-financing is € 526 144. The main objective of the project is to prevent drought crisis in this part of the southern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, by implementing an early alert system and reinforcing the operational capacities of these countries. A common information system on droughts plus a set of common early assessment methodologies will be developed. The national territories concerned will be split into eco-regions and the structural vulnerability of these eco-regions will be assessed. The results and know-how generated by the project will be disseminated to direct users, decision-makers and to the institutions of the three countries.

Turkey – 1 project

The beneficiary of the project is the Turkey Office of the Regional Environmental Centre; the EU co-financing is € 252 488. This is a capacity building project related to climate change. It will affect the national administration; promote intra-governmental cooperation; increase the awareness of stakeholders and improve their role in the climate change debate. The project will directly support the development of climate change policies for priority sectors; and will enhance public participation and access to environmental information.


[1] Eligible under LIFE TCY are: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, the West Bank and Gaza, and the Baltic shoreline of Russia (Kaliningrad and St. Petersburg regions).


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