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IP/10/341

Brussels, 23 March 2010

The European Commission launches environmental flagship project under the Eastern Partnership

The flagship project aims to strengthen environmental governance and develop a regional Shared Environmental Information System to strengthen the collection, storage and monitoring of reliable data. It was unveiled at the first meeting of the Eastern Partnership's (EaP) Panel on the Environment and Climate Change. The meeting was attended by representatives from the six partner countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, EU Member States, as well as representatives from EU institutions and civil society. The project has received EU funding of around €13 million.

EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Štefan Füle said: “Environmental problems don't know borders. It is in our common interest to work together with our Eastern partner countries so that our neighbourhood becomes greener”.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "I am pleased to see the commitment of our Eastern partners to addressing the environmental challenges facing this region. The work begun today is another step on the path to achieving the ambitious objectives they have set for themselves."

Environment concerns, such as pollution, have a direct effect on citizens in the EU and EaP countries alike, while greenhouse gas emissions and the loss of biodiversity also have an impact at global level.

Environmental governance sets the foundations to ensure proper development and implementation of environment policy and legislation. Key aspects relate to the availability of accurate information, involving stakeholders and avoiding unintentional negative impacts of activities in other policy areas.

The first phase of the initiative launched today focuses on increasing the availability of reliable information in EaP countries. Environmental data across the region varies in quality and is not collected and managed in a harmonised way. The Flagship project will also focus on involving relevant stakeholders in environmental decision-making, reporting and on conducting Environmental Impact Assessments and Strategic Environmental Assessments for projects in line with EU legislation.

Background:

The Eastern Partnership completes the EU’s foreign policy towards Eastern Europe and Southern Caucasus countries as a specific Eastern dimension of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). Launched in May 2009 at Prague Summit the EaP fosters necessary conditions to accelerate political association and further economic integration between the European Union and interested countries. The EaP Flagship Initiatives give additional momentum and more visibility to the Partnership. They also seek to mobilise multi-donor support, funding from different International Financial Institutions and investment from the private sector. Altogether there are now six EaP Flagship Initiatives:

More information on the Eastern Partnership and Flagship initiatives:

http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/eastern/index_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/eastern/initiatives/index_en.htm


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