intro 095On October 9, 2018 the 2nd Eastern Partnership (EaP) Ministerial Meeting on Environment and Climate Change co-chaired by the Environment, Maritime Affaires and Fisheries Commissioner Mr Karmenu Vella and the Austrian Presidency of the EU Council, Environment and Water Management Director-General Mr Gunter Liebel took place in Luxembourg.

Ministers reaffirmed the need to keep environment and climate action high on political and economic agendas and agreed to strengthen efforts for the integration of environmental and climate goals into sectoral and investment strategies, improving environmental governance, promoting circular economy, and protecting ecosystems.

The meeting was dedicated to the implementation of the EaP Luxembourg Declaration adopted at the 1st ministerial in 2016. EaP Civil Society Forum was represented by delegates Ina Coseru, National EcoCenter of Moldova, the WG3 Coordinator and Anna Golubovska-Onisimova, UNENGO MAMA-86, Ukraine.

At the first session on Stocktaking of Environmental Actions implementing the Declaration, Anna Golubovska-Onisimova reminded that at the first Ministerial in 2016 CSF requested for clear targets and timetable for the LD implementation, therefore CSF happy about 20x20 targets but so far, only Ukraine developed national Roadmap to implement Declaration’s provisions linking a long-term, mid-term and short-term policy goals with 20x20 targets. She called upon EaP environmental ministries to elaborate their national soft documents, which inter alia could help to organise and communicate to the society a new policy and laws development in line the Declaration.

She called on the distinguish participants of high-level meeting to pay special attention to cases when developers attempt to ignore or get around of new assessment procedures for big projects and proposed to establish regular reporting by the EaP countries on SEA and EIA implementation on big projects which encroach to the Emerald Network territories, Ramsar sites or other nature territories of high value.

She stressed that the deforestation in majority of EaP countries continues and mainly attributed to illegal logging, which is carried out even in natures reserves and highlighted that these are largely encouraged by the artificial prohibition by the Government of ecological inspections in forests, what unfortunately proves that deregulation often continues in a cost of environmental loses.

On behalf of CSF she expressed big concern about HPP epidemic in EaP countries fuelled by green tariffs causing grave environmental consequences, while hydropower harms the environment, therefore should not be considered green, green tariffs shouldn’t apply and such projects should not be financed by IFIs.

Civil society marks a significant progress made by the EaP countries in developing policy on combating climate change, reforming water and waste management system, expansion of nature protected areas and Emerald network development, but also enhancing accountability, openness and public participation. However, the trend of losing already attained positions persists. CSF advocates for comprehensive approach to the environmental governance issue, because GEG is an important prerequisite to enable, promote and sustain environmental reforms in EaP countries. For this far more strong environmental institutions and better cooperation to increase political weight of environmental sector in the Governments are needed. She reconfirmed CSF position that institutional strengthening needs to be a priority of environmental cooperation and included into the core of planned actions and ensured that civil society will continue the monitoring and assessment of the environmental reforms in EaP countries and remain a reliable partner and active participant of this process.

At the second session of Dialogue on Circular Economy (with a Focus on Waste Management) Ina Coseru stressed that in order to promote circular economy in EaP countries, which at the moment have very low waste recycling rates, EaP countries need strong institutional and legislative framework. She also said that it is difficult for Moldova and Georgia to implement AA in the field of environment, because Ministries of Environment were merged with the Ministries of Agricultures and urged other EaP countries not to follow this example, and Moldova with Georgia, to reconfigure the structure of the Government with Ministries of Environment being an independent structure within the new Governments after Parliamentary elections.

She also informed about the EU Green Week, which demonstrated that circular economy is implemented efficiently where local authorities, SMEs and the general public take an active part in promote the principles of circular economy.

She called that no old technologies should be allowed to enter the territory of EaP region and single-use plastic should be banned on the whole territory of EaP region. Otherwise, with already depleted natural resources, we will not be able to build a safe and secure border between EaP and EU countries in terms of environment.

She recalled that environmental conditionalities should be a part of the process of monitoring the implementation of AAs and CEPA in the EaP region and macrofinancial assistance and proposed to implement flagship projects, combining EU4Environment Programme and EaP CSF Regranting Scheme.

At other sessions participants discussed the preparation to CBD COP14 and UNFCCC COP 24.

Full text of EaP CSF Delegation’s Statements here.

EU news and Presidential conclusions in the bottom here.