intro 051On 9 June 2016, the side-event “Environmental Policies, Programmes and Plans to implement SDGs in Eastern Partnership countries: from commitments to achieving targets” was held as a part of official programme of the “Environment for Europe” 8th Ministerial Conference (Batumi, Georgia).

It was organised by the European Eco-Forum with support of Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum in partnership with the European Environmental Bureau, UNENGO MAMA-86 and in cooperation with Georgian National Platform of the EaP CSF. The panellists included: Ostap Semerak — Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine, Inga Podoroghin — State Secretary of the Ministry of Environment of Moldova, Sylvie Motard— Deputy Director of the Regional Office for Europe of UNEP, Plamena Borisova — Institute for Environmental Strategy, Bulgaria, EaP CSF WG3 Co-ordinator, Anna Tsvetkova — UNENGO MAMA-86, Ukraine, Anna Golubovska-Onisimova — European Eco-Forum and Leida Rijnhout — EEB.

Speakers and participants discussed how environmental policies could contribute to the implementation of the SDGs taking into account the specifics of the EaP countries.

The UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on 25 September 2015. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets will stimulate action over the next 15 years in areas of critical importance for humanity and the planet.

There is an enormous challenge for all countries to design and implement effectively their integrated environmental policies to achieve environmental targets of SDGs. It requires a fundamental transition to new patterns of consumption and production for making the economies sustainable. In Eastern Partnership countries, such transition should be based on obligatory integration of environmental policy into all other economic policies, as well as, the institutional and governance reform.

For meeting this challenge at the global, regional and national levels, taking into account countries diversities within the Eastern Partnership region, best practice examples and existing international obligations provide main framework. Main achievements, obstacles and opportunities, which are forming preconditions and way forward, including the role of Association Agreements with the EU, were presented by speakers and discussed. Issue of good environmental governance, linkages to other policies and roles of civil society were considered by participants remaining the core for transformation required.

Presentations