13

Sep

Launching the Smart city Profile of Goris

Republic of Armenia State Committee on Urban Development, UNECE Land and Housing Division, Regional environmental center for Caucasus and Municipality of Goris city have launched the Smart city Profile for Goris (Syuniq...

22

Aug

RECP Green clubs : supporting resource efficiency and cleaner production for SMEs

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are considered as priority for job creation and overall development of Armenian economy. The Government of the Republic of Armeni...

23

Mar

Resource Efficiency and Cleaner Production Primer for Business Companies

10

Jun

About Project
Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) applies proven preventive environmental approaches and productivity concepts for the triple benefits of improved resource productivity (hence reduced operational costs and reduced use of materials, energy and water), reduced environmental impacts (less waste, emissions and pollution) and improved occupational and community health and safety. RECP is a cornerstone of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP), particularly in the manufacturing and related productive sectors. UNIDO has gained valuable experience in implementing RECP in the Eastern Neighbourhood (EaP) region. The programme is aimed at improving resource efficiency and environmental performance in each of the six EaP countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine), in particular in the prioritized agro-food, chemicals and construction materials’ sectors, through the widespread adaptation and adoption of RECP methods, practices and techniques. Specific outputs pertain to building capacity for RECP service delivery, implementation at enterprise level and fostering of technology innovation. Agro-food processing, chemical and construction materials’ sectors are specifically targeted given the current and expected future contributions of these sectors to the economies at large, their potential for job creation and development of small and medium enterprises, and their significant resource-use and pollution footprints. Inclusion of agro-food sector further supports decentralization of economic growth to rural and remote areas, which have in many cases remained deprived from past economic growth. Moreover, further development of the construction materials sector is pivotal for urban and infrastructure developments.
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28

Jun

Approbation of Pocket Guides for Milk Processing and Chemical Industry Specialists, UNIDO RECP EaP GREEN Program, 4 June 2017
UNIDO RECP EaP GREEN Program, June 2017. In 2016, as a part of EaP GREEN Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) program, special Pocket Guides were prepared and published in the national languages of the six participating countries for specialists working in milk processing industry, as well as for chemicals industry specialists. To complete all planned activities in connection with using these training guides, it is proposed to organise two on-line seminars for specialists working in the enterprises and organizations of these branches in EU Eastern Partnership countries and participated in the RECP program. On-line seminars shall be organized and conducted by Belarusian Center for Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production, created as a result of UNIDO RECP program in 2014 - 2017. The proposed time for having seminars is July, 04. The communication lines and technical capabilities of the School of Business and Management of Technologies of the Belarusian State University (premises, equipment for video communication, Internet traffic) will be used to organize and conduct the seminars (the national RECP center is the part of SBMT). Specialists from enterprises of mentioned branches (technology engineers, energy managers, environmental managers, etc., approx. 30-40 persons) will be invited to Belarusian RECP center for participation in the seminar and discussion about presented by the lecturer’s materials, including related Pocket guides. Lectures (presentations) will be translated into Russian beforehand, and simultaneous translation into Russian of lectures will be provided during seminars. For the interested participants from other countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine) links will be provided as on-line connection to the seminars.
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23

Mar

National Consultation Workshop on SEA Report for Solid Waste Management
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The national consultation workshop on the draft Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Report was carried out as a part of the SEA pilot on “Strategic Development Plan, Road Map and Long Term Investment Plan for the Solid Waste Management Sector in Armenia” (more details on SEA pilot can be found here http://www.unece.org/environmental-policy/conventions/environmental-assessment/about-us/protocol-on-sea/enveiaabouteap-green/environmental-policytreatiesenvironmental-impact-assessmentabout-usprotocol-on-seaenvseaeapgreensea-pilot-projects/armenia.html). The event is organized by the Ministry of Nature Protection of Armenia in cooperation with the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE) with logistical support provided by the Regional Environmental Centre for Caucasus (REC) in the framework of EaP GREEN programme. The purpose of the workshop was to present and discuss the draft SEA report, including
  • Analysis of environmental and health problems revealed within the assessment, proposed main conclusions, mitigation measures and recommendations towards the waste management planning. Participants of the workshop will be introduced to the steps in SEA process conducted so far, as well as methodological approach applied in SEA pilot. The results of the discussion will be considered in the final version of the SEA report.
  • The workshops also raised the awareness on SEA and contribute to enhanced capacities of the key actors in SEA including governmental planning agencies, decision-makers, NGOs and experts.
  • The workshop also supported the RA Ministry of Nature Protection, RA Ministry of Territorial Administration in implementation of recommendations towards the “Strategic Development Plan, Road Map and Long Term Investment Plan for the Solid Waste Management Sector in Armenia” formulated by SEA in order to follow requirements of the Law on “Environmental Impact Assessment and Expertise” of Armenia (2014), and the UNECE Protocol on SEA, respectively.
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06

Oct

REC Caucasus – 15 years of experience
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The Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus The Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus (REC Caucasus) is an independent, non-for-profit organisation, established to assist in solving environmental problems as well as development of the civic society in the countries of the South Caucasus. Mission

The mission of the REC Caucasus is determined as “to assist in solving environmental problems in the Caucasus region through the promotion of co-operation at national and regional level among NGOs, governments, business, local communities, and all other environmental stakeholders, in order to develop a free exchange of information, in line with the principles of the Aarhus Convention; offer assistance to all environmental NGOs and other stakeholders; and increase public participation in the decision-making process, thereby assisting the states of the Caucasus in the further development of a democratic civil society”.

 Founders REC Caucasus has been established within the framework of the “Environment for Europe Process” based on the decision made at the Sofia Ministerial Conference in 1995. The founding document of REC Caucasus – its Charter – was signed in September 1999 by the governments of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and the European Union. In March 2000 REC Caucasus was officially registered as an independent, not-for-profit, non-advocacy foundation in Tbilisi, Georgia. Structure Headquarters of REC Caucasus are located in Tbilisi, Georgia. The organisation has also branch offices in Yerevan, Armenia and Baku, Azerbaijan. REC Caucasus is managed by the Executive Body – a collegial Troika consisting of representatives from Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.  REC Caucasus is directed by the Board of Directors comprising representatives from the governments of the three founding states, representatives of NGOs from all three states, a donor representative and a science/ business representative. Donors The work of REC Caucasus is being supported by: European Commission (EC), Government of Germany, Government of the Netherlands, Government of Norway, Global Environment Facility (GEF), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Eurasian Partnership Foundation, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Principality of Liechtenstein and others. Overall Goals REC Caucasus has been established:
  • to serve environmental stakeholders within and outside the South Caucasus region: national and local governments, NGOs, media, business, local communities, science, international community, teachers, students, children, etc;
  • to contribute to the improvement of the Caucasus environment by facilitating introduction and implementation of global, European, regional and national environmental policies;
  • to provide a gateway for dialogue, networking and cooperation among environmental stakeholders and partners at global, regional, national and local levels;
  Stakeholders The REC Caucasus serves the following stakeholders in the three countries of the South Caucasus region:
  • National and Local Governments
  • NGOs
  • Media
  • Teachers
  • Students
  • Business
  • Science
  • Community Based Organisations, as well as
  • International Community.
REC Caucasus at work: serving as a “bridge” REC Caucasus successfully implements its mission through various programmes and projects throughout the Caucasus region. One of the tasks of REC Caucasus is to serve as a “bridge” between the public and governments. REC Caucasus assists its stakeholders in capacity building through provision of information, advice, and expertise and to encourage dialogue, cooperation and public participation in environmental decision-making. REC Caucasus plays an active role in inter-agency cooperation, too. The organisation together with active environmental NGOs and the ministries of environment promotes the idea of environmental protection and sustainable development in the South Caucasus countries, demonstrating examples and arguments of direct links between environmental degradation/ destruction and the growth of poverty, migration, and economic recession. REC Caucasus at work: Improving the environment Since its establishment the Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus has implemented about 60 medium and large scale projects in the region which have contributed to policy development, capacity building, facilitation of dialogue and networking, information exchange on environmental issues and supporting the civil society in the South Caucasus states. Capacity building and training of various environmental stakeholders at regional, national and local levels have been provided throughout project implementation. REC Caucasus has strong experience in providing trainings to different interest groups and deep insight regarding their needs, demands and constraints. REC Caucasus is well positioned in the South Caucasus region to assist various national and international organizations in implementing their activities targeted at the needs of the region, countries and specific stakeholders. REC Caucasus has strong capacity to address environmental issues related to Rio Conventions and other international covenants simultaneously at national and regional levels. REC Caucasus has been addressing  environmental challenges in the region through implementation of local and regional initiatives and projects based on a regional approach. RECC strengthens capacity regarding preservation of biodiversity, climate change (mitigation and adaptation), management of transboundary water resources, sustainable management of natural resources, fighting land degradation, disaster risk reduction, sustainable forest management, capacity development and research learning. REC Caucasus has proven to be a viable and independent partner providing services to governments, local authorities, non-governmental organisations, businesses, international organisations and other environmental stakeholders. FOCAL AREAS
  • Biodiversity and forests
  • Water
  • Land
  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Green Economy
  • Climate Change mitigation and adaptation
  • Waste governance
  • Cleaner production
  REC CAUCASUS SERVICES
  • Advising
  • Expert backstopping
  • International events
  • Capacity Building
  • Confidence Building
  • Consulting
  REC Caucasus engagement in international processes Environment for Europe and Cooperation with OECD Environmental Action Plan Task Force (EAP TF) Since the beginning of 2010 RECC is actively involved in the meetings of the Committee on Environmental Policy of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). Most recently, the Seventh Pan-European Ministerial Meeting on Environment held in Astana in 2011 was in the focus. Based on negotiations with the European Environmental Agency (EEA) on the elaboration of a pan-European assessment on environment, RECC in partnership with other RECs  and EEA,  was involved in elaboration of the “Assessment of Assessment Report”. RECC has finalized the regional Assessments on Water Eco-system and Green Economy. The reports are available on RECC web site, www.rec-caucasus.org. RECC has also participated at OECD EAP TF Bureau meetings. With Reference to Belgrade decisions during its annual meeting the EAP Task Force endorsed the proposed draft Consolidated Programme of Work and Budget of the EAP Task Force for 2008 that was jointly prepared by the OECD/EAP Task Force secretariat and EECCA RECs. At the same time, RECC along with other EECCA RECs and OECD, works on the post-Astana mandate and strategy of the EAP Task Force. The major inputs of EECCA RECs to the EAP Task Force will be as follows:
  • Integration of the concept of Green Growth into economic development of EECCA (sub-regional approach)
  • EAP Task Force input to Rio+20.
Environment and Security Initiative In light of the current political situation after the August events and taking into consideration that OSCE stopped its operations in Georgia, the potential role of REC Caucasus in coordinating certain activities/projects under the umbrella of the EnvSec has been discussed with major partners of the process, as well as with the Chairman of the ENVSEC Board at the regional meeting conducted in Tbilisi in March 2009. The willingness to involve REC Caucasus in the process has been officially stated by the governmental representatives as well. REC Caucasus engagement in international processes EU Eastern Partnership Initiative and the Civil Society Forum RECC participates in the Civil Society Forum (CSF) under the EU Eastern Partnership and is a permanent member of the third platform under the Eastern Partnership CSF on Energy and Environment. RECC has been participating in EC call under the Eastern Partnership Flagship projects; “ENPI – programme for the prevention, preparedness and response to natural and man-made disasters”  and in the Framework Agreement for promotion of Shared Environmental Information System. RECC will coordinate the national energy security and environmental panel on the regional level. For this, several consultations and meetings with national SCOs have been conducted. In future years, RECC will have to strengthen the role of the regional coordinator of the Eastern Partnership Initiative. Council of Europe RECC initiated its involvement in Council of Europe activities, particularly in the Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Spatial/Regional Planning (CEMAT). Status of observer for the RECC has been negotiated with CoE. RECC sent an official letter for getting the status of observer in CEMAT which was submitted to the Head of the Cultural Heritage, Landscape and Spatial Planning Division. During the next CEMAT session the Committee of Senior Officials will discuss the possibility for RECC to be granted the status of observer. International Network of Basin Management Organisations REC Caucasus has become a member of EECCA Network of basin management organisations as part of the International Network of Basin Management Organisation’s family. Director of the International Office for Water (France) which served as aREC’ sub-contractor  under “Creation of Enabling Environment for Integrated Management of the Kura-Aras Transboundary Rivers Basin” project, bears the role of executive secretary for  International Network of Basin Management Organisations. RECC, being a member of INBO, is taking active participation in its annual conferences, and will organize preparatory regional meeting on World Water Forum 6 in Tbilisi, Georgia, on 14-15 November, 2011.   UN Framework Convention on Climate Change RECC is actively participating in different negotiations and CSO meetings within the UNFCCC. This engagement provides opportunities to get involved into different climate change related activities and projects. One of such initiatives was elaboration of the South Caucasus climate change and Gender strategy together with IUCN USA office. RECC is organizing  Regional VII Annual International Conference of REC Caucasus titled “Climate Change Adaptation – Challenge and Opportunity for the Caucasus” in November 2011,. The main focus of the conference is a regional approach and priorities of CC adaptation and mitigation in the South Caucasus countries. The conference, provides a forum for all interested parties for comprehensive discussion of climate change problems taking into account natural and anthropogenic factors, environmental, economic and social impacts in the region. REC Caucasus engagement in international processes  World Water Forum 6 RECC has been invited to the first regional consultations meeting in December 2010 by the International Office for Water, which is the regional coordinator for organizing the World Water Forum 6 to be held in 2012 in France. RECC has been nominated as a member of the European Regional Steering Committee. RECC have organized  regional conference for the preparation to the WWF6. It will be for the first time that RECC participates in the preparation of the World Water Forum, which will gives an opportunity to be involved into the international water policy-making processes and as well to deliver messages on regional level.   Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and World Reconstruction Conference RECC has participated in the Third Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and World Reconstruction Conference  in Geneva (May 2011) as part of the official government delegation. REC presented the outcomes of the “Views from Frontline” project piloting community disaster risk reduction in the regions. Subsequent outcome reports and recommendations on implementation of Hyogo Framework for Action were presented in different side events and plenary, as well as to UNISDR and Global Network for Disaster Reduction. “Views from Frontline” Study has been published and presented during the “Development of DRR System in Armenia” Conference (October 2011) and “Communication workshop on developing common approach to the regional communication strategy” within EU funded project PPRD East in November, 2011, in Tbilisi.   REC Caucasus for Governments Creation of Enabling Environment for Integrated Management of the Kura-Aras Transboundary Rivers Basin The overall goal of the project is the creation of an enabling environment for integrated management of the Kura-Aras trans-boundary rivers basin. The project focuses on the elaboration of a Road Map on sustainable management of the Kura-Aras river basin through introduction of the EU Water Directives as outlined in the National Action Plans of European Neighbourhood Policy, and, also, adoption of the National Road Maps by the participating countries. Furthermore, it supports the establishment of the Regional Coordination Body, which will - based on the Road Map - assess the progress made for sustainable management of the Kura-Aras river basin in light of introduction of EU Water Directives. Project scope: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia Donor: European Commission Identification and implementation of adaptation response to Climate Change impact for Conservation and Sustainable use of agro-biodiversity in arid and semi-arid ecosystems of South Caucasus The overall objective of the project is to build adaptive capacities in the South Caucasus countries to ensure resilience of agro-biodiversity of particularly vulnerable arid and semi-arid ecosystems and local livelihoods to climate change.  The project supports promotion of agro-biodiversity conservation and adaptation to climate change through introduction of a supportive policy framework at national and local level. Furthermore, it improves institutional and individual capacity for sustaining agro-biodiversity in arid and semi-arid ecosystems and increasing livelihood level in face of climate change. In addition, it supports the development and implementation of coping mechanisms to improve resilience of  local communities to future climate change through the introduction of sustainable agricultural practices in selected regions. Project scope: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia Donors: European Commission, German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)   Promoting Replication of Good Practices in Nutrient Reduction and Joint Collaboration in Central and Eastern Europe The project aims to consolidate and critically review, respectively assess the achievements and experience gained in nutrient reduction and multi-country cooperation of GEF's action in the CEE and EECCA regions (Black Sea - Danube, Baltic Sea, Caspian Sea). Furthermore, it documents good practices and provides recommendations for their replication and scaling up. Project scope: multi country Donor:  Global Environment Facility (GEF) REC Caucasus for Governments Establishing a structured approach towards training of environmental inspectors in Armenia and Azerbaijan The main aim of the project is to introduce a structured approach towards trainings for the employees of the State Environmental Inspectorate (SEI) of Armenia and Azerbaijan, and also to establish a mechanism of information exchange that will help SEI employees to continuously learn about new developments. In Armenia and Azerbaijan, similarly to many other countries of EECCA, the development of individual capacities of the employees faces a number of problems that hinder the successful full-scale performance of the SEI. The main problems linked with capacity building of inspectors in Armenia and Azerbaijan are lack of professional training opportunities for SEI  specialists, inconsistency of the knowledge flow, lack of holistic approach to SEI specialist skills development, limited access to up-to-date materials, lack of cross-country experience exchange. Project scope: Armenia, Azerbaijan Donor: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway Waste Governance – ENPI East The European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) Eastern Regional Programme Strategy Paper for the period 2007 – 2013, sets out the scope for the agreed Action Programme in which ‘environment’ and ‘waste management’ have been identified as key areas for cooperation.  As stated in the Strategy Paper and confirmed in the course of the project formulation mission, “lack of proper waste management practices and infrastructure is a serious concern throughout the region. Prevention, collection, treatment, recovery and final disposal need to be stepped up”.  It follows that actions are required at both the national and the regional scales. The overall objective of the project is to reduce the risks arising from inappropriate management of wastes, that create environmental pollution hazards to communities and to natural resources., through cooperation among, partner states in the region. Project scope: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine Donor: European Commission Administrative Monetary Penalties and Environmental Liability in EECCA  The concept of environmental liability in EECCA countries usually applies to damage to water resources, land, and habitats and species and does not cover “traditional damage” (economic loss, personal injury and property damage). The main aim of the project is to assist EECCA countries in streamlining the design and implementation of current environmental liability. The project will develop recommendations on improving the system of assessing environmental damage and support its promotion as an instrument of environmental policy in EECCA. Project scope: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Russian Federation, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kirgizstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan Donor: Government of the Netherlands REC Caucasus for Governments Transboundary Joint Secretariat for protection of conservation of biodiversity and management and enlargement of specially protected areas  The Transboundary Joint Secretariat (TJS) for the South Caucasus has been established in 2007 on the initiative of the Government of Germany to implement the BMZ/ KfW Eco-regional Nature Protection Programme (ENP) for the Southern Caucasus. The ENP is a part of the  Caucasus Initiative, launched by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The ENP aims to develop a coherent strategy to ensure biodiversity  conservation of the Caucasus Eco-region in the long term and to harmonize the resource protection objectives and instruments through cross-border cooperation (Armenia-Georgia, Azerbaijan-Georgia) among the respective national environmental actors. Project scope: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia Donor: Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) Caucasus convention for sustainable development The overall objective of the project is to reach a general agreement between the governments of the Caucasus countries to develop a convention for Sustainable Development. The project supports  the preparation of the content of the convention, provides an analysis of the legal, environmental and political status quo in the participating countries and supports development of a strategy for the further support of the Convention process. Furthermore, a feasibility study for the development of a legal instrument for the protection of mountains of the Caucasus is conducted. Donor: European Commission REC Caucasus for Local Communities Fostering Community Forest Policy and Practice in Mountain Regions of the Caucasus  The overall objective of the project is to foster community forest policy and practice in mountain regions of the Caucasus to address deforestation and climate change issues, secured land tenure and forest rights, rural poverty reduction, diminishing regional and national tensions, conservation and sustainable development needs of local communities. The project focuses on the development of new institutional, legal and technical set-up for community forest management and in particular supports securing land tenure and forest rights of local communities, implementation of institutional arrangements and land use policies for forest conservation and sustainable use. In addition, the project supports awareness raising among local communities and local authorities on sustainable forest management, its relation and impact on other fields such as climate change, poverty reduction, and sustainable development. Project scope: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Russian Federation Donor: European Commission   Replicating Local Environmental Action Plans Experience to Three New Communities in the South Caucasus The project aims at improving local decision making on air quality as well as other environmental questions and strengthening regional cooperation between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to solve environmental problems. It supports decision-makers in local and regional governments, industries, and NGOs to rank environmental protection needs, develop plans of action to address priority problems, and implement, cost-effective actions that reduce pollution and save consumers and industries money. It will also strengthen regional cooperation between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia in finding common solutions for environmental problems. The Project contributed to increasing awareness about best practices for local air quality governance decision-making and to building local government capacity in development of environmental democracy and public participation. Donors: The Netherlands Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM)   REC Caucasus for Local Communities Sustainable Land Management for Mitigating Land Degradation and Reducing Poverty in the South Caucasus Region The overall objective of the Project is to ensure continued ecosystem functions and integrity, reduce poverty and enhance food security and income for rural farmers by combating desertification, strengthening the natural resource base and revitalizing the agricultural sector. The project strengthens policy, planning and regulatory environments for promotion of sustainable land management (SLM) in transboundary watersheds of the South Caucasus region. Furthermore, it demonstrates benefits of watershed based sustainable land management and alternative livelihood for rural people while protecting fragile ecosystems and demonstrating lessons learned and best practices through developing a replication strategy. Donor: European Commission Introducing sustainable use of natural resources practices in local communities and strengthening  their resilience towards natural disasters The main aim of the project is to increase the capacity of local communities of high-mountainous villages of Racha-lechkhumi region in disaster risk prevention trough training on  the bioengineering methods for protection of territories heavily affected by natural disasters. The project provides training to local communities in Georgia in effective use of local land resources in villages of Racha-Lechkhumi region: Ghebi, Glola and Tchiori. Furthermore, it supports in the selection and demonstration of best methods of re-habilitation of forests and pastures, damaged by natural disaster, with the participation of the local population. Project scope: Georgia Donor: Eurasia Foundation Sustainable Development of Mountain Regions of the Caucasus - Local Agenda 21 The project’s main objective was to elaborate a Local Agenda 21 for the Caucasus Region; despite its local orientation, the project created a practical base at the local level for the second phase of the elaboration of the Caucasus Convention. The project contributed to improving the environmental situation by improving environment management mechanisms as well as strengthening regional cooperation between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia to solve common environmental issues. Project scope: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and the Russian Federation. Donor: Ministry of Environmental Affairs, Land Use Planning,  Agriculture and Forestry of Principality of Liechtenstein.   REC Caucasus for Local Business Promotion of Cleaner Production and Energy efficiency technology through development of business planning practices for Cleaner Production and Energy efficiency projects The overall objective of this project is to contribute to sustainable development and minimise negative environmental impacts from the industrial sector by stimulating small and medium size enterprises (SMEs). The objective will be reached via increase of SME’s capability in the preparation of financial documentation for CP and EE projects. The increased possibility for getting the financial resources from local and international financial institutions, will improve SME’s operation capabilities to become more economically efficient, and at the same time becoming more environmentally friendly and reducing demand for scarce resources. Project scope: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia Donor: Government of the Netherlands REC Caucasus for NGOs Electronic News Within the framework of the Electronic News REC Caucasus offers all stakeholders an opportunity to disseminate information about their activities,  projects, events. The Electronic News aim to on the one hand disseminate information about REC Caucasus activities and on the other hand to assist in strengthening capacities of regional target groups through providing access to information on available financial, informational, technical support. The Electronic News comprise news from RECC Headquarters, Branch and Project Offices as well as news from RECC grantees and partners. Furthermore, it publishes grants calls for NGOs, science, local governments, announces seminars for the above stakeholder groups and links to interesting events. Electronic News also provides information about a specific convention/agreement implementation status in the three countries, projects run, progress made, state policy and relevance of national legislation.       CONTACT INFORMATION REC CAUCASUS HEAD OFFICE IN TBILISI, GEORGIA 76c, Ilia Chavchavadze Ave, 3rd floor 0162 Tbilisi, Georgia Tel: +995 32 2253649 ⁄ +995 32 2253648 Fax: +995 32 2916352 E-Mail: nune.harutyunyan@rec-caucasus.org Website: www.rec-caucasus.org Executive Director Mrs. Nune Harutyunyan   REC Caucasus Armenia National Office Aygestan str.7, building N 2, 0070, Yerevan, Armenia Tel/Fax: +374 11 574743 / +374 11 575148   Email: nune.harutyunyan@rec-caucasus.org. www.rec-caucasus.am    REC Caucasus Azerbaijan National Office 100a, B. Agayev Street, 1073 Baku, Azerbaijan Tel:+ 994 12 4924173, www.rec-azerbaijan.az  

 

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27

Sep

SEA Scoping Report, 2016
Pages from SEA Scoping Report ENGLISH

Scoping Report on Strategic Environmental Assessment on “Strategic Development Plan, Road Map and Long Term Investment Plan for the Solid Waste Management Sector in Armenia”

About the Project

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) effectively promotes sustainable development by mainstreaming environment into economic development at the national, regional and local levels. SEA is a well-established, practical and efficient planning and environmental governance tool/system set out in the UNECE Protocol on SEA to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention). It ensures that strategic policy and legal frameworks and development plans in key sectors, including energy, water, waste management with likely significant adverse environmental effects are developed taking into account potential environmental and health effects and considerations. SEA ensures the identification of the most sustainable and cost-effective strategic development alternatives for attracting new investments and improving its environment. SEA also helps strengthening environmental governance through fostering transparency and consultation with relevant stakeholders and the public prior to the approval of plans and programmes which significantly improves public awareness and participation to the environmental decision making at national and local levels. SEA in a transboundary context can also greatly facilitate regional cooperation on environmental matters.

“SEA for Strategic Development Plan, Road Map and Long Term Investment Plan for the Solid Waste Management Sector in Armenia” /hereafter referred to as the “waste management plan” or the Plan/ was selected as a SEA pilot project in Armenia, as the Law stipulates that founding documents related to the waste management sector are subject to strategic assessment and expertise. The assessment and expertise processes should also include the organization of public discussions in the processes of SEA and expertise from the very start of the assessment process and until the decision-making stage / provision of the expertise conclusion/. The pilot SEA should be implemented in accordance with the provisions of the RA Law on “Environmental Impact Assessment and Expertise”, and the Protocol on SEA.

The aim of Scoping

The Scoping (or according to the Law ‘preliminary assessment’) is the initial stage of the SEA process. The aim of the Scoping stage is to identify environmental and health issues related to the plan or programme, which should be further analyzed within the SEA.

The Scoping is important for the efficiency of the SEA process, since it ensures that SEA focuses only on the likely significant effects which are relevant for the proposed plan or program.

The Scoping in SEA for the Waste Management Plan shall entail the following activities and analyses. According to guidelines of the scoping report that has been provided as support within the framework of the program, the definition of the waste management plan SEA scoping implies:

  • Preliminary analysis of the environmental and health baseline,
  • Identification of key environmental and health issues relevant to the Waste Management Plan,
  • Identification of environmental and health policy objectives relevant for the Waste Management Plan,
  • Identification of stakeholders and consultations with stakeholders.

The pilot project will reveal the opportunities via the practical application of legislation, will allow proposing recommendations as to how to improve the SEA process in Armenia, and will raise the overall awareness on the benefits of SEA. It will also inform the legal recommendations that will help to bring the national SEA legislation in line with the requirements of the Protocol.

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09

Mar

Training Workshop on Practical Application of SEA in Armenia, Strategic Environmental Assessment
20160309_121544

The training workshop on practical application of strategic environmental assessment (SEA) in Armenia organized by the Ministry of Nature Protection of the RA in cooperation with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Regional Environmental Center for Caucasus (RECC) in the framework of the EU funded Programme ‘Greening the Economies in the Eastern Neighborhood’ took place from 9-10 of March, in the Conference Hall of Ani Plaza Hotel, Yerevan.

The aims of the workshop were raising awareness and building capacities of various stakeholders, decision-makers, national experts on SEA procedure developed under the new national legislation, supporting implementation of the Pilot SEA of the ‘’Strategic Development Plan, Road Map and Long Term Investment Plan for the Solid Waste Management Sector in Armenia’’ and providing the enhancement recommendations to the Law based on the provisions of the UNECE Protocol on SEA.

The meeting was attended by Mr. Khachik Hakobyan, Deputy Minister of Nature Protection of RA, Mr. John Barker, International Aid/Cooperation Officer, EU delegation Armenia, Ms. Eleonora Grigoryan, Adviser to the Minister of Nature Protection of Armenia, Espoo Convention focal point, Ms. Elena Santer, EaP GREEN Project Manager, UNECE Secretariat, Ms. Nune Harutyunyan, National SEA Team Leader, Director REC Caucasus, Mr. Martin Smutny and Dr. Maia Gachechiladze-Bozhesku, International SEA Consultants to UNECE, Ms. Azganush Drnoyan, National Expert, Ministry of Nature Protection of Armenia, national SEA experts, NGOs, international organizations, RECC representatives, etc.

The participants of the workshop got familiar with the SEA procedure as required by the national legislation and the Protocol on SEA; the roles and responsibilities envisioned under SEA for the national and local authorities as well as civil society; methodological aspects of strategic environmental assessment for plan and programmes and approaches to preparation of the SEA scoping report.

The workshop was delivered by the experts from the Ministry of Nature Protection of the Republic of Armenia, national SEA experts, the UNECE SEA international consultants, and experts from the Regional Environmental Center for Caucasus Armenia National Office. The workshop deployed the format of interactive sessions with elements of practical case-based work.

UNECE international SEA expert Mr. Martin Smutni has introduced the Protocol on SEA and EaP GREEN Programme. The general obligation of the Protocol is to ensure that the necessary legislative, regulatory and other appropriate measures are taken to implement the provisions of the Protocol within a clear, transparent framework. UNECE SEA Team Leader, REC Caucasus ED Ms. Nune Harutyunyan introduced the pilot UNECE SEA project for the Strategic Development Plan in Solid Waste Management Sector of Armenia and stakeholder expectations. The main objectives of the project were presented. Planned works in the frames of the project were also outlined, particularly, development of a concept to make the results of the project public and increasing the awareness about SEA procedure and its benefits, report of SEA to be developed by the SEA national and international experts. UNECE international SEA experts Mr. Martin Smutny and Dr. Maria Gachechiladze-Bozhesku presented and facilitated a discussion for the scoping and baseline analysis in SEA. They introduced  the importance and the objective of the scoping report which is it provides preliminary analysis of environmental and health conditions in the concerned area,  identifies the key issues to be further addressed in SEA,  outlines approach to further analysis,  suggests early inputs into the planning process and presents a basis for preparation of the SEA Report. The international experts also introduced the proposed structure of Scoping report. Preliminary results of the SEA baseline analysis of the Strategic Development Plan in Solid Waste Management Sector of Armenia were presented by the SEA national experts, in particular the key findings, main challenges and difficulties, as well as the scope for further SEA analyses was introduced by them. A scoping exercise was carried out by Mr. Martin Smutny and Ms. Maya Gachechiladze – Bozhesku which was aimed at identifying the key environmental, social, and health issues to be addressed by SEA, identifying specific problems and concerns, areas of concern and geographic scope, likely linkages of environmental, social and health issues to the Strategic Development Plan and preparation of scoping matrix, data resources / limitations and stakeholders.
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02

Mar

New initiative on Strategic Environmental Assessment for Solid Waste Management Sector in Armenia
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The new initiative on piloting application of SEA for the Solid waste management sector in Armenia has been undertaken by the Ministry of Nature Protection, UNECE and Regional environmental center for Caucasus Armenia National Office within the frames of EaP Green funded by European Union.  The overall aim of a SEA pilot project is to build capacities in application of SEA procedures at national level and raise awareness of SEA benefits among various national stakeholders. Specific objectives include:
  • testing and demonstrating opportunities of practical application of the Law of RA “On Environmental Impact Assessment and Expertise”
  • providing recommendations for environmental optimization and modifications of the selected plan/programme, and
  • developing recommendations for further improvement of national legislative and institutional frameworks on SEA in a country
  • Developing the concept, structure and substantive inputs for the guidance on practical application of the SEA in Armenia.
A pilot project will be conducted by a team of national experts (SEA Team) with support from qualified SEA international consultants and the UNECE secretariat and in close cooperation with the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Development of the Republic Armenia responsible for the preparation of the Strategy and Ministry of Nature Protection responsible for the implementation of the Law of RA “On Environmental Impact Assessment and Expertise”. During the project the following will be implemented:

(a)     Develop a concept for the publicity campaign to disseminate the results of the pilot project among the national stakeholders and raise their awareness about the SEA procedure and its benefits

(b)     Ensure media coverage and visibility for SEA pilot implementation(through websites, notification in media)

(c)     Develop information and promotional materials,

(d)     Monitor the results of the publicity campaign.

Implemented activities Currently, two cooperation MOUs were signed by REC Caucasus and UNECE, targeting application of the SEA within the pilot Solid Waste Management  Sector in Armenia, as well as the second one aiming elaboration of a new legal amendments package for the current national Law of the Republic of Armenia on Strategic environmental assessment and EIA. The national expert group on SEA has started its work and is currently devising the draft baseline analysis and scoping of the draft SEA report. Preparatory works are ongoing on two events planned for March – capacity building workshop on SEA for the national expert group and stakeholders, and legal round-table event to discuss the future strategy and legal amendment package on current law in accordance with requirements of UN Convention On Environmental Impact Assessment In A Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) accessed by Armenia on 17th February of 1997.  
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11

Feb

Primer on ”Resource efficiency and cleaner production” for SME support and green business development in Armenia
New Picture (2)
For its prosperity, creation of competitive product every business company operating in the market needs investment of ecologically safe, methods, means and tools accepted by the world, and the primer for ‘’RECP for SMEs’’ will assist for this objective. Primer on ”Resource efficiency and cleaner production ” has been elaborated within the framework of cooperation on “Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production Demonstration” project of UNIDO and REC Caucasus Armenia National Office, based on methodology targeting green economy promotion in the business sector. The Primer creates large opportunities for the implementation of ‘’better, cheaper, quicker’’ strategic objective within the business sector targeted by any company operating in a competitive marketplace. RECP applies proven preventive environmental approaches for improved resource productivity (reduced manufacturing costs and materials, use of energy and water), reduced environmental impact (less waste, emissions and pollution) and improved occupational and public health and safety.

By mainstreaming RECP into business and production cycle it will become possible to support and achieve

  • reduction of production and technology costs
  • increase of work effectiveness
  • possible improvement of the product quality
  • reduction of waste and air pollution costs
  • possible improvement of production conditions
  • improvement of the company`s status in different negotiation processes
  • Improvement of public opinion about the company.

We are hopeful that Primer will be become a practical tool for small and medium enterprises to improve enterprise performance by production of cleaner and more competitive products, as well as through efficient management of resources.

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31

Oct

First UNIDO RECP Stakeholder forum on Energy Efficiency for SMEs took place on 30th of October, in Ararat city
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UNIDO Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) Demonstration Component project organized the First RECP Stakeholder forum on Energy Efficiency within the context of RECP application for Small and Medium Businesses in Armenia. The forum took place on 30th of October, in the House of Culture of Ararat City Ararat Marz, RA.

The forum was aimed at implementation of the “Engage and learn” as well as “Engage and Refine” steps in RECP domestication process. The aim was to develop a domesticated argument for enterprises, governments, and civil society to consider and implement RECP, as well as demonstrate newly developed RECP introductory document “Primer”, and explain in what manner SMEs could benefit from RECP application etc. The aim was also enriching RECP by sharing experiences and perspectives, from enterprises, as well as ministries, leading civil society organizations, experts attended RECP forum, etc. to instill trust and facilitate understanding between stakeholder groupings, allowing momentum and partnerships for adopting RECP to naturally develop and mature (Agenda is attached).

The Deputy Minister of Nature Protection of RA Mr. Khachik Hakobyan, Deputy Minister of Energy and Natural resources of RA Mr. Hayk Harutyunyan, Ararat City Mayor Mr. Hayk Haykyan, and Head of UNIDO operations in Armenia Ms. Anahit Simonyan attended the forum. Representatives of international organizations, including UNFCCC, IFC, ARMSEFF, INOGATE, UNIDO RECP Ararat Green Club members, UNIDO RECP experts, SME representatives, representatives of institutes, producers and laboratories, media, NGOs and the Regional Environmental Centre of Caucasus team members, overall more than 40 participants were present (the list of participants is attached).

The Deputy Ministers, Head of UNIDO operations in Armenia and UNIDO RECP National coordinator welcomed the participants of the stakeholder forum and expressed their expectations from the organized forum.

UNIDO RECP National coordinator Ms. Nune Haruytunyan presented the importance of the energy efficient use for the country, its role and necessity in the RECP context, presented the aims and objectives of the effective and clean business directory, the role of the energy efficiency for the business. She spoke about customizing RECP approaches and proposing nationally appropriate rationales for uncovering business interest and desire to act on RECP. Ms. Nune Harutyunyan presented the key activities leading to green economy, introduced RECP project, RECP Techniques, methods and tools, improved housekeeping, better production process control, equipment modification, technology change, recycle and reuse of materials, useful byproduct and product modification (presentation is attached).

RECP Communication and Advocacy Expert Mr. Tigran Sekoyan presented the main short report aimed to promote debates about RECP domestication (comprising scaling up and mainstreaming) policy and strategy. He talked about RECP and in particular Energy Efficiency significance and benefits for every enterprise independent of the turnover, sphere of activity etc. (presentation is attached). RECP Communication and Advocacy Expert briefly presented also peculiarities of the Energy Consumption in RA and SMEs as well.

He also shortly presented RECP business benefits (expressed in Primer in plain language) while answering to the questions (presentation is attached).

All participants were given a voice they were able to express their standpoints without restrictions friendly or opposed. Forum welcome atmosphere allowed all participants to speak freely and nobody was singled out.

Thematical discussions were held; questions and answers, as well as recommendations were arisen during the forum among the representatives of different sectors and units about energy efficiency, cleaner production, state level policies, innovations, technologies, financial and economic tools, certificates for green businesses, etc.

Mr. Khachik Hakobyan suggested motivating mechanisms to be developed in the frames of the RECP project. Green certificates can be considered as a motivational tool and it must belong to private sector, not to the state. Certificates, which will demonstrate the proper performance of the organization based on RECP, accepted standards. He also mentioned that the certificate should provide long-term tangible results, thus there must be a unit, which will monitor the performance of those organizations to comply with the requirements.

Mr. Hayk Haykyan suggested to financially support communities, especially the smaller ones, which are lacking in own financial resources to implement improvements in terms of energy efficiency (replacement of the traditional lightening on the roads with energy efficient ones, modification of technologies wasting too much energy).

Mr. Hayk Harutyunyan said that RECP project application is especially important for Armenia, which is not rich with fossil resources. RECP and R2E2 Energy Efficiency projects should be respectively implemented in many as possible industrial facilities and public buildings. In Ararat city a project on energy efficiency will be implemented. He also added that the financial tools are also entering the market and that the risks on energy saving loans will change over time.

Ms. Anahit Simonyan mentioned that there is a problem of new technologies and innovations in majority of organizations and there is a need for investing new technologies in the businesses; they need investments with low interest rates to afford them. Anyway, RECP brings new thinking and new methods that must be used in production to become more competitive. The RECP family should decide: what needs to be done in country to localization and development of RECP way of thinking, principles, terminology and format in Armenia.

Mr. Gagik Makaryan suggested internationalizing the business organizations based on ISO standards accepted in the international markets. This is corresponding to the 5-th RECP business benefit, i.e. License-to-operate. He also presented the opportunities of UNIDO and RECC for the implementation of joint projects.

To the suggestion of one of the participants of the forum about promoting financial tools in the market Mr. Hayk Badalyan replied that the financial tools will enter the market from the next year and will rapidly grow as it will be available to many organizations.  He added that auditing on energy must be promoted in industry sector as well as in residential and public buildings and SMEs must have knowledge on RECP and in energy efficiency.

SME representatives mentioned that because of RECP implementation there should be evident economic, environmental and social benefits for business and consumers, as well as government and the country as a whole.

RECP Ararat Green Club members, media, NGOs representatives said that no businessperson would refuse to get an advice from a wise and experienced expert, especially the advisor like RECP. The main issue is lack of information regarding RECP in the rural SMEs. Awareness companies are essential for promotion of the Primer.

Ms. Nune Harutyunyan found it mandatory to include RECP based education in educational system, starting from kindergartens to give primary information on RECP to students.

Ms. Dshkhuhi Sahakyan presented the best practices of ‘’Kashi’’ OJSC, where she made expert assessments during the first RECP project phase. She introduced the assessment results from the visits.

Mr. Artur Tsughunyan made short presentation and showed that by combining electric and solar drying units a technology change for dry fruit production was performed in “Ervandashat agricultural association” consumer cooperative company. As a result of using solar energy the saving of electricity amounted to around 75% or 4.7 kWh annually. The reduction of CO2 emissions amounted to 2 tons. The annual saving is equal to 200 thousand AMD and the repayment period is 10 months.

Mr. Mkrtich Jalalyan said that RECP implementation would create a favorable situation regardless of the political environment and corruption risks that present in any country. He described the RECP benefits in HATM household union that produces construction materials and furniture currently used administrative spaces were optimized and matched with current production volumes i.e. improved housekeeping RECP technique was applied.

Mr. Hrant Ter-Gabrielyan found that there are gaps in the estimations done in organizations or public institutions which indirectly affect the savings. He also added that in case of green certificates the number of economic tools would increase in the market.

UNIDO RECP experts mentioned that implementation of RECP tools, methods are necessary for any industry and any company operating in a market economy and enterprises can contribute by active participation and promotion of RECP.

Mr. Aram Gabrielyan said that Natural resources are limited and humankind must fit in the limit of natural resource use.

Mr. Levon Vardanyan conclude that consistent work is needed to implement for domestication and development of RECP principles, tools, methods, terminology in Armenia and the Primer is the first step.

Other suggestions and recommendations included setting green filter as a clean production tool rising awareness on energy efficiency through newsletters, booklets, educational programs, creating collective partnership conditions (the document already exists on this issue) and using it as a platform, promoting energy audit and RECP audit service, as well as developing and piloting scale-able model for RECP in small businesses to show how business can achieve RECP benefits.

Ms. Nune Harutyunyan gave information about the key topics and forums. She invited the participants to take part in the planned forums for the next topics. The main points arisen during the forum were summarized and there were expectations to have some tangible results in energy efficient and cleaner production in near future.

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25

Oct

UNIDO Resource Efficiency and Cleaner Procuction Green Clubs in Ararat and Dilijan cities, Armenia
UNIDO Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) Demonstration component project www.recp.am is being implemented in the frames of Partnership for Environment and Growth (EaP GREEN) financed by the European Union. Regional Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) Demonstration Programme for Eastern Partnership Countries is called for scaling up resource efficient and cleaner production (CP) in small businesses through RECP Clubs for small and medium SMEs/enterprises. RECP project in Armenia is being implemented by the Armenian National Office of the Regional Environmental Centre for Caucasus www.rec-caucasus.am. RECP club component includes foundation of ‘’RECP Green Clubs’’ in pilot Ararat and Dilijan cities of Armenia, and later on, replication of current RECP approach in other cities and regions for inclusion of local SMEs dealing with food, beverage, construction and chemical production into RECP assessment cycle in support to more efficient use of resources, improved performance and economic benefits, innovative ideas for waste management and recycling, reduction of energy costs, targeting support to SMEs. The principal idea of a RECP Club is to bring together up to a dozen small businesses from the same region and take them jointly through an intensive training and coaching programme over a period of about 4 months, leading to a customized RECP action plan for all member companies on completion of the Club. The first two meetings in Ararat and Dilijan city will take place on 8th and 9th of October 2015 in collaboration with local municipalities who agreed to adapt green growth and promote RECP based on MOUs signed with RECP team. ‘’RECP Green Clubs’’ in the mentioned cities will be supported by relevant workshops for the neighboring community businesses on opportunities to undertake assessments of SMEs based on Resource efficient and cleaner production methodology (UNIDO). ‘’RECP Green Club’’ will implement twelve meetings in the selected cities in three months with participation of local business organizations interested in RECP. The topics for the RECP Club meetings are going to cover the business environmental profile, energy, water and wastewater, materials and waste, chemicals and chemical waste, and RECP action plan to be developed jointly with local SMEs and REC C. The RECP club aims and objectives, expectations, technical contents related to the problems of resource efficiency and waste, opportunities and benefits, RECP concept and functions, problems and solutions are going to be presented by RECP project team. SMEs will also be engaged in ‘’Developing RECP Action Plans’’ and together with RECP team will explore the needs and identify possible improvements within their own companies. More information on UNIDO RECP Demonstration component project can be found at www.recp.am. For queries please address RECP nune.harutyunyan@rec-caucasus.org.
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28

Apr

National Conference on UNIDO ”Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production” (RECP) Demonstration Component Project of the EAP Green Programme of the EU in Armenia
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On 28th of April National Conference was organized for “Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production’’ (RECP) project in Armenia implemented by United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in co-operation with Regional environmental center for Caucasus, Armenia National Office and financed by the European Union (EU) within “Greening Economies in the Eastern Neighborhood” (EaP Green) initiative. The National Conference took place at ''Ani Plaza'' hotel. RECP conference discussed project progress and main results achieved, as well as the business cases on RECP demonstration component project of Armenia. The conference was attended by Mr. Rene Van Berkel, Chief of Industrial Resource Efficiency Unit, UNIDO, Mr. John Barker, International Aid/cooperation officer, Ms. Anahit Simonyan, Head of UNIDO Operations in Armenia, Dr Zinaida Fadeeva, Senior Specialist of Policy & Strategy at United Nations University, Professor Thomas Lindhqvist from Lund University, Ms. Nune Harutyunyan, UNIDO RECP National Coordinator, Ms. Ruzanna Alaverdyan Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Urban Development, RA, representatives of SMEs, demonstration organizations which participated in RECP assessments, representatives of Regional Environmental Center of Caucasus, as well as large number of government agencies, civil society, experts, academia and professional industrial unions. National Conference organizers mentioned that the aim of the conference is to gather representatives of SMEs, demonstration organizations chosen within the frames of the RECP project, as well as large number of government agencies, civil society, experts, academia and professional industrial unions. International Aid/cooperation officer, Mr. John Barker also welcomed the participants. He emphasized on the importance of RECP project for the development of Armenian economy. The Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Urban Development of RA, Ms. Ruzanna Alaverdyan greeted the conference participants and expressed her willingness to get introduced to the project results. Ms. Nune Harutyunyan, UNIDO RECP National Coordinator, welcomed the participants and emphasized on the importance of the project for the demonstration organizations. Mr. Rene Van Berkel, Chief of Industrial Resource Efficiency Unit, UNIDO talked about the importance of Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) project for better enterprises, cleaner environment and green economy. Ms. Nune Harutyunyan, UNIDO RECP National Coordinator included in her speech the Progress and results achieved of the Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production Demonstration Project of the EaP GREEN Programme in Armenia. The national experts working with the demonstration organizations in the first phase of the RECP project frames were given certificates, certifying the quality of the honorable work done in the organizations. The certificates were given to experts by Mr. John Barker, Mr. Rene Van Berkel, Ms. Anahit Simonyan and Ms. Nune Harutyunyan. UNIDO RECP, Administrator Mr. Tigran Oganezov presented the profiles of demonstration companies. Mr. Oganezov mentioned that the project phase was successfully accomplished by achieving significant results within the companies. The RECP project was highly useful for the companies to find out the areas where they were lacking in and getting experts` recommendations on how to improve those issues. Mr. Oganezov also mentioned all the demonstration organizations that were selected within the RECP project frames. Mr. Oganezov`s speech was followed by the review of RECP assessments at the demonstration organizations carried out by RECP national experts. Along with the assessments the experts worked and developed business cases for each of the demonstration organizations involving comprehensive data and accurate calculations for energy, water, electricity and gas waste in the production processes, efficiency losses, priority management issues, opportunity losses for cost reduction and revenue increase. Mr. Rene Van Berkel and UNIDO RECP National Coordinator, Ms. Nune Harutyunyan presented the project activities of RECP work plan of 2015-2016. Mr. Rene Van Berkel thanked all the participants for their active participation in the National Conference and expressed his willingness to cooperate in the near future to achieve more results at the national level.
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13

Mar

Local Environmental Action Plan (LEAP) For Jermuk City, Project Official Closing Conference
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On 13th of March, 2015 closing conference was organized by Regional Environmental Center of Caucasus Armenian Branch Office and Jermuk representatives in the frames of Local Environmental Action Plan project carried out in Jermuk city. The meeting was attended by the Mayor of Jermuk city, Mr. Vardan Harutyunyan, other representatives of the city government, representatives of Jermuk city, experts working within the project frames, GeoTeam representatives and REC Caucasus team. The aim of the closing conference was to summarize and discuss achievements and results that were achieved within the project, classify main issues, problems, initiatives, threats and opportunities for Jermuk city. Along with this the book for Jermuk LEAPs written and published by REC Caucasus team and Jermuk representatives was presented and handled to participants of the conference. The LEAP project in Jermuk city was implemented successfully by highly coordinated work of the project team members Ms. Nune Haruytunyan, Ms. Dshkhuhi Sahakyan, Ms. Emma Avoyan, Mr. Tigran Oganezov, local experts, Jermuk city representatives, local authorities and Jermuk city local coordinator Ms. Lilit Zohrabyan. The starting speech of the meeting was made by the Mayor of Jermuk City Mr. Vardan Hovhannisyan. He welcomed the participants of the meeting and talked about the benefits that projects similar to LEAP will have for their city. Mr. Hovhannisyan provided some background information about the city, its profile. He emphasized that there is an importance of finding out vulnerable sectors of the city and working on them in the frames of similar projects. The representative of the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA, Ms. Larisa Kharatovna welcomed the participants.  She thanked the Regional Environmental Center of Caucasus Armenian Branch Office and mentioned that numerous projects have been implemented by the close cooperation of the Government of Jermuk with RECC. She summed up her speech by wishing good luck in further projects planned. REC Caucasus director Ms. Nune Harutyunyan thanked all the participants for taking part in the conference. She mentioned that the current problems cannot be fully solved until all the parties taking part in the project change their mentalities, understanding that it is their own benefit to cooperate and help to solve the problems of their city. According to Ms. Harutyunyan the book for Jermuk has been written for the city population as an informative brochure about their city, its threats, strengths and opportunities. At the end of her speech Ms. Haruytunyan pointed that fund raising is a must to implement further projects on the city. In his speech REC Caucasus project coordinator, Mr. Tigran Oganezov mentioned that during the project they have raised main threatening issues present in the city. They analyzed them, and calculated the amount of financial resources needed. Project national expert Ms. Dshkhuhi Sahakyan emphasized the importance of struggling to keep Jermuk city the way it is, without harming its environment, but adding some new flavors to it. In her speech Ms. Sahakyan added also that the English version of Jermuk book must be available to internationally introduce the city of Jermuk. She pointed that the book is quite accessible, detailed and emphasizes on different sectors of the city with their full description. According to the experts the book of Jermuk will serve as an informative guide for all those who want to get information about the city and its different sectors. It is an informative document about the city current situation. Experts also mentioned that the project was successfully implemented by the active involvement of Jermuk citizens which provided with more accurate data on different sectors. Due to the involvment the citizens turned their attention on the environmental issues of their own city. Geoteam CJSC Sustainable Development senior manager Mr. Armen Stepanyan presented the Amulsar project. He also presented the mitigation measures that must be taken to minimize the negative impact on the environment of Jermuk as a resort cernter. He mentioned that before the project start-up they need to be assured that the population of Jermuk is aware and introduced properly to the project details to avoid further conflicts. The Jermuk city representatives expressed their willingness to organize a separate meeting where the project of Amulsar with all its details (risks, negative environmental impacts from mining, opportunities, threats, alternatives, etc.) will be introduced. The suggestion was accepted and the meeting is going to be organized in the near future. The closing conference focused mainly on the LEAP project benefits that were achieved as a result of the project implementation. As a summarization the following achieved due to the project implementation are present:
  • Problems and urgent issues uncovered in Jermuk city;
  • Active involvement of local authorities and city representatives in solving environmental issues of their own city;
  • Attracting government representatives` and population attention on vulnerable issues of the city;
  • Presenting the environmental description of Jermuk city about various sectors in Jermuk book;
  • Calculating financial resources needed to solve the major environmental issues of the city;
  • Presenting the city of Jermuk internationally (during conference in Geneva).
The project of Jermuk LEAP was successfully implemented and continuation of such projects is warmly welcomed by the city representatives. On 13th of March, 2015 closing conference was organized by Regional Environmental Center of Caucasus Armenian Branch Office and Jermuk representatives in the frames of Local Environmental Action Plan project carried out in Jermuk city. The meeting was attended by the Mayor of Jermuk city, Mr. Vardan Harutyunyan, other representatives of the city government, representatives of Jermuk city, experts working within the project frames, GeoTeam representatives and REC Caucasus team. The aim of the closing conference was to summarize and discuss achievements and results that were achieved within the project, classify main issues, problems, initiatives, threats and opportunities for Jermuk city. Along with this the book for Jermuk LEAPs written and published by REC Caucasus team and Jermuk representatives was presented and handled to participants of the conference. The LEAP project in Jermuk city was implemented successfully by highly coordinated work of the project team members Ms. Nune Haruytunyan, Ms. Dshkhuhi Sahakyan, Ms. Emma Avoyan, Mr. Tigran Oganezov, local experts, Jermuk city representatives, local authorities and Jermuk city local coordinator Ms. Lilit Zohrabyan. The starting speech of the meeting was made by the Mayor of Jermuk City Mr. Vardan Hovhannisyan. He welcomed the participants of the meeting and talked about the benefits that projects similar to LEAP will have for their city. Mr. Hovhannisyan provided some background information about the city, its profile. He emphasized that there is an importance of finding out vulnerable sectors of the city and working on them in the frames of similar projects. The representative of the Ministry of Nature Protection of RA, Ms. Larisa Kharatovna welcomed the participants.  She thanked the Regional Environmental Center of Caucasus Armenian Branch Office and mentioned that numerous projects have been implemented by the close cooperation of the Government of Jermuk with RECC. She summed up her speech by wishing good luck in further projects planned. REC Caucasus director Ms. Nune Harutyunyan thanked all the participants for taking part in the conference. She mentioned that the current problems cannot be fully solved until all the parties taking part in the project change their mentalities, understanding that it is their own benefit to cooperate and help to solve the problems of their city. According to Ms. Harutyunyan the book for Jermuk has been written for the city population as an informative brochure about their city, its threats, strengths and opportunities. At the end of her speech Ms. Haruytunyan pointed that fund raising is a must to implement further projects on the city. In his speech REC Caucasus project coordinator, Mr. Tigran Oganezov mentioned that during the project they have raised main threatening issues present in the city. They analyzed them, and calculated the amount of financial resources needed. Project national expert Ms. Dshkhuhi Sahakyan emphasized the importance of struggling to keep Jermuk city the way it is, without harming its environment, but adding some new flavors to it. In her speech Ms. Sahakyan added also that the English version of Jermuk book must be available to internationally introduce the city of Jermuk. She pointed that the book is quite accessible, detailed and emphasizes on different sectors of the city with their full description. According to the experts the book of Jermuk will serve as an informative guide for all those who want to get information about the city and its different sectors. It is an informative document about the city current situation. Experts also mentioned that the project was successfully implemented by the active involvement of Jermuk citizens which provided with more accurate data on different sectors. Due to the involvment the citizens turned their attention on the environmental issues of their own city. Geoteam CJSC Sustainable Development senior manager Mr. Armen Stepanyan presented the Amulsar project. He also presented the mitigation measures that must be taken to minimize the negative impact on the environment of Jermuk as a resort cernter. He mentioned that before the project start-up they need to be assured that the population of Jermuk is aware and introduced properly to the project details to avoid further conflicts. The Jermuk city representatives expressed their willingness to organize a separate meeting where the project of Amulsar with all its details (risks, negative environmental impacts from mining, opportunities, threats, alternatives, etc.) will be introduced. The suggestion was accepted and the meeting is going to be organized in the near future. The closing conference focused mainly on the LEAP project benefits that were achieved as a result of the project implementation. As a summarization the following achieved due to the project implementation are present:
  • Problems and urgent issues uncovered in Jermuk city;
  • Active involvement of local authorities and city representatives in solving environmental issues of their own city;
  • Attracting government representatives` and population attention on vulnerable issues of the city;
  • Presenting the environmental description of Jermuk city about various sectors in Jermuk book;
  • Calculating financial resources needed to solve the major environmental issues of the city;
  • Presenting the city of Jermuk internationally (during conference in Geneva).
The project of Jermuk LEAP was successfully implemented and continuation of such projects is warmly welcomed by the city representatives.              
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28

Aug

Forest/Biodiversity
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Forests provide important benefits to rural communities including wood for construction and fuel, non-wood forest products such as mushrooms, berries, nuts and medicinal plants, and grazing for domestic animals. They protect villages from landslides and floods and prevent erosion of agricultural lands. Forests also provide wider benefits which are important at a national and even global level: they are an important storehouse for biodiversity; they help protect water supplies and water quality; and they contribute to climate change mitigation by sequestering. Many forests in the Caucasus region, which are used by rural communities have been, and are continuing to be, degraded. The communities which are using the forests do not have an incentive to take care of the forests: they do not own the forests; they do not have secure rights; in some cases they need the land for grazing their animals; and the people know that if they do not take the benefits someone else will, therefore it is better to take them while they are available. State forestry authorities do not always have the resources to be able to prevent unsustainable use and the local self-government bodies which are responsible for forests do not have the resources and technical knowledge. Conflicts can arise between the objectives and activities of the organisation which is responsible for managing a forest territory and rural people who use the forest territory or for whom the territory has some special cultural significance. Conflicts are more likely in cases where communities have acquired customary rights and where the forest management organisation’s use of the forest ignores those rights. REC Caucasus addresses these environmental problems by consulting with communities and by making information about forest management plans and activities easily accessible to wide audiences.   Our projects: Fostering Community Forest Policy and Practice The project aims to promote the adoption of policies that are pro-community involvement, to elaborate the legal framework necessary for implementing community forestry, and to provide recommendations on technical aspects of implementing community forestry. The aim of the project is to raise awareness and build capacity of local communities and local authorities for sustainable forest management and demonstration of methods of restoring and improving degraded forests. The project contributes to implementing policies and measures called for by international agreements, including agreements made in the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Forest Europe process.
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01

Aug

Newsletters
From now on our visitors will be able to find the latest, as well as the oldest versions of Newsletters (starting from 2012). Our administrative team works hard on keeping web-site visitors informed about upcoming events, events that took place, new projects ideas and a lot more. Below you can find Newsletters issued on different dates, choose the one needed, and download to your computer for further reading purposes.
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20

Jun

Who We Are

THE REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL CENTRE FOR THE CAUCASUS

The Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus (REC Caucasus) is an independent, non-for-profit organisation, established to assist in solving environmental problems as well as development of the civic society in the countries of the South Caucasus. MISSION The mission of the REC Caucasus is determined as “to assist in solving of environmental problems in the Caucasus region through the promotion of co-operation at national and regional level among NGOs, governments, business, local communities, and all other environmental stakeholders, in order to develop a free exchange of information, in line with the principles of the Aarhus Convention; offer assistance to all environmental NGOs and other stakeholders; and increase public participation in the decision-making process, thereby assisting the states of the Caucasus in the further development of a democratic civil society”. FOUNDERS OF REC CAUCASUS REC Caucasus has been established within the framework of the "Environment for Europe Process" based on the decision made at the Sofia Ministerial Conference in 1995. The founding document of REC Caucasus - its Charter - was signed in September 1999 by the governments of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and the European Union. In March 2000 REC Caucasus was officially registered as an independent, not-for-profit, non-advocacy foundation in Tbilisi, Georgia. OUR DONORS The work of REC CAUCASUS is being supported by:  European Commission (EC), Government of Germany, Government of the Netherlands, Government of Norway, Global Environment Facility (GEF), Deutche Gasellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Eurasian Partnership Foundation, German Financial Cooperation (KFW), Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Principality of Liechtenstein and others. Work of the organisation is supported by the EU, US EPA, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the Principality of Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), etc. STRUCTURE  Headquarters of REC Caucasus are located in Tbilisi, Georgia. The organisation has also branch offices in Yerevan, Armenia and Baku, Azerbaijan. REC Caucasus is managed by the Executive Body – a collegial Troika consisting of representatives of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.  REC Caucasus is directed by the Board of Directors which comprises representatives from the governments of the three founding states, representatives of NGOs from all three states, a donor representative and a science/ business representative. OVERALL GOALS REC Caucasus has been established:
  • to serve environmental stakeholders within and outside the South Caucasus region: national and local governments, NGOs, media, business, local communities, science, international community, teachers, students, children, etc;
  • to contribute to the improvement of the Caucasus environment by facilitating introduction and implementation of global, European, regional and national environmental policies;
  • to provide a gateway for dialogue, networking and cooperation among environmental stakeholders and partners at global, regional, national and local levels;
STAKEHOLDERS The REC Caucasus serves the following stakeholders in the three countries of the South Caucasus region:
  • National and Local Governments
  • NGOs
  • Media
  • Teachers
  • Students
  • Business
  • Science
  • Community Based Organisations, as well as
  • International Community.
REC CAUCASUS AT WORK: SERVING AS A "BRIDGE" REC Caucasus successfully implements its mission through various programmes and projects throughout the Caucasus region. One of the tasks of REC Caucasus serves as a “bridge” between the public and governments. REC Caucasus assists its stakeholders in capacity building through provision of information, advice, and expertise and to encourage dialogue, cooperation and public participation in environmental decision-making. REC Caucasus plays an active role in inter-agency cooperation, too. The organisation together with active environmental NGOs and the ministries of environment promotes the idea of environmental protection and sustainable development in the South Caucasus countries, demonstrating examples and arguments of direct links of environmental degradation and destruction with the growth of poverty, migration, economic recession, etc., i.e. other components (social and  economic) of sustainable development. REC CAUCASUS AT WORK: IMPROVING THE ENVIRONMENT Since its establishment the Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus has implemented about 60 medium and large scale projects in the region which have contributed to policy development, capacity building, facilitation of dialogue and networking, information exchange on environmental issues and supporting the civil society in the South Caucasus states. Capacity building and training of various environmental stakeholders at regional, national and local levels have been provided throughout project implementation. REC Caucasus has strong experience in providing trainings to different interest groups and deep knowledge on their needs, demands and constraints. REC Caucasus is well positioned in South Caucasus region to assist various national and international organizations to implement their activities targeted on the needs of the region, countries and specific stakeholders. REC Caucasus has strong capacity to address environmental issues related to Rio Conventions and other international covenants  simultaneously at national and regional levels. REC Caucasus has been addressing  environmental challenges in the region through implementation of local and regional initiatives and projects based on regional platform, strengthened capacity of  technical expertise on preservation of biodiversity, climate change (mitigation and adaptation), management of transboundary water resources, sustainable management of natural resources, fighting land degradation, disaster risk reduction, sustainable forest management, capacity development and research learning. REC Caucasus has proven to be a viable and independent organisation providing services to governments, local authorities, non-governmental organisations, businesses, international organisations and other environmental stakeholders. REC CAUCASUS ENGAGEMENT IN INTERNATIONAL PROCESSES Environment for Europe and Cooperation with OECD Environmental Action Plan Task Force (EAP TF) Since the beginning of 2010 RECC is actively involved and participates at the meetings of UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy. Preparatory activities to the Seven Pan-European Ministerial Meeting on Environment held in Astana in 2011 were in the focus. Moreover, based on negotiations with European Environmental Agency (EEA) on elaboration of pan-European assessment on environment, RECC in partnership with other RECs  and EEA,  was involved in elaboration of  Assessment of  Assessment Report. RECC has finalized the regional Assessments on Water Eco-system and Green Economy. The reports are available on RECC web site, www.rec-caucasus.org. RECC has also participated at OECD EAP TF Bureau meeting. With Reference to Belgrade decisions during annual meeting  the EAP Task Force discussed and broadly endorsed the proposed draft Consolidated Programme of Work and Budget of the EAP Task Force for 2008 that was jointly prepared by the OECD/EAP Task Force secretariat and EECCA RECs.  The programme consists of  three parts: activities to be jointly implemented by OECD and EECCA RECs; activities to be implemented by OECD alone; and activities to be implemented by EECCA RECs alone. At the same time, RECC along with other EECCA RECs and OECD, is focused on elaboration of post-Astana mandate and strategy of EAP Task Force. The major inputs of EECCA RECs to the EAP Task Force will be as follows:
  • Integration of the concept of Green Growth into economic development of EECCA (sub-regional approach)
  • EAP Task Force input to Rio+20.
Environment and Security Initiative The role and involvement of the REC Caucasus into Environmental and Security Initiative was discussed at the regional meeting conducted in Tbilisi in March 2009. In light of the current political situation after the August events and taking into consideration that OSCE stopped its operations in Georgia, the potential role of REC Caucasus in coordinating certain activities/projects under the umbrella of the EnvSec has been discussed with major partners of the process, as well as with the Chairman of the ENVSEC Board. Willingness to see the REC Caucasus in the process has been officially stated by the Governmental representatives as well. EU Eastern Partnership Initiative and the Civil Society Forum RECC applied and was selected again  to participate at the Civil Society Forum under EU Eastern partnership in 2010. Moreover, REC is a permanent member of third platform under Eastern partnership CSF on Energy and Environment. REC C has been participating in EC call under the Eastern Partnership Flagship projects; “ENPI – programme for the prevention, preparedness and response to natural and man-made disasters”  and in the Framework Agreement for promotion of Shared Environmental Information System. Bearing in mind the multilateral approach of the Eastern Partnership Initiative RECC  is going to coordinate national energy security and environmental panel on the regional level. For this, several consultations and meetings with national SCOs have been conducted. In future years, RECC will have to strengthen the role of the regional coordinator of the Eastern Partnership Initiative. Council of Europe RECC initiated process of involvement into Council of Europe activities in 2009, particularly to be involved at  Council of Europe Conference of Ministers Responsible for Spatial/Regional Planning (CEMAT). Status of observer for the RECC has been negotiated with CoE. RECC sent an official letter for getting the status of observer in CEMAT which was submitted to the Head of the Cultural Heritage, Landscape and Spatial Planning Division. During the next CEMAT session Committee of Senior Officials will discuss possibilities for RECC to be granted the status of observer. RECC has been requested to re-submit its application since CEMAT has undergone some restructurization, and members of the Committee were changed. International Network of Basin Management Organisations REC Caucasus has become a member of EECCA Network of basin management organisations as part of International Network of Basin Management Organisation’s family. Director of the International Office for Water (France) that is REC’ sub-contractor  under “Creation of Enabling Environment for Integrated Management of the Kura-Aras Transboundary Rivers Basin” project, is serving as executive secretary for  International Network of Basin Management Organisations. RECC being a member of INBO is taking active participation at its annual conferences. UNFCCC RECC was actively participating in different negotiations and CSO meetings within the UNFCCC. Engagement of RECC in the work of the UNFCCC increased awareness of the ongoing processes and provided opportunities to get involved into different climate change related activities and projects.  One of such initiatives is elaboration of the South Caucasus climate change and Gender strategy together with IUCN USA office. Joint proposal was elaborated and submitted for the donors’ (Government of Finland) consideration. World Water Forum 6. RECC has been invited to the first regional consultations meeting in December 21, 2010 by International Office for Water, which is a regional coordinator for organization of the World Water Forum 6 to be held in 2012 in France. During the meeting RECC have been nominated as a member of the European Regional Steering Committee. Currently RECC is working over the organization of the regional conference for the preparation to the WWF6. We have to note that it is the first time, when RECC participate in the preparation of the World Water Forum, which of course give an opportunity to be involved into the international water policy making processes and as well to deliver the regional messages. Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and World Reconstruction Conference RECC has participated in  the Third Session of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and World Reconstruction Conference  in Geneva (May 2011) as part of the official government delegation, and presented the outcomes of the “Views from Frontline” project piloting community disaster risk reduction in the regions. Subsequent outcome report and recommendations on implementation of Hyogo Framework for Action were presented in different side events and plenaries, as well as to UNISDR and Global Network for Disaster Reduction. REC CAUCASUS FOR GOVERNMENTS In the beginning of 2003 REC Caucasus initiated the process for applying LEAPs methodoloy to the South Caucasus countries. Since then the pilot projets: Local Environmental Action Plans (LEAPs) have been developed and implemented in the three selected cities of the South Caucasus - Ararat, Ganja and Kutaisi. The LEAPs documents have been developed in close cooperation with the local authorities and citizens. Final documents published in Russian and national languages were presented at hte final city conference and the memorandums of understanding between the city mayors and REC Caucasus were signed. According the memorandus the local goverments took the responsibility to integrate LEAPs in city development plans and implement priority actions identified in LEAP. An important component of the LEAPs process is provision of financial support to implement some of the LEAPs environmental solutions. For this purpose REC Caucasus initiated a small Grants Programme and provided funding for 15 projects ranging from environmental awareness and education initiatives to low-cost, pollution reduction and environmental improvements in each of the LEAP cities. This included small grants for local governments to encourage partnership with business and/or NGOs, as well as small grants for NGOs. Projects addressed improving drinking water supply and irrigation systems, improving waste management, planting of greenery and raising environmental awareness. The LEAPs Programme helps decision-makers in local and regional governments, industries, and NGOs to rank environmental protection needs, develop action plans to address priority problems and implement cost-effective actions that reduce pollution and save consumers’ and industries’ money. Moreover, the following projects and activities have been undertaken within the framework of the environmental policy and LEAPs Programme to support governmental initiatives in the South Caucasus countries:
  • Sub-regional training for inspectorates “Improving environmental compliance assurance in the Caucasus” (2003) – in cooperation with OECD EAP Task Force;
  • Government needs assessment (2004);
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) Capacity Building in the South Caucasus: Towards a Coherent Strategy (2004-2005)
  • Introducing SEA in the South Caucasus: Learning Lessons and Transferring Experiences (2006).
REC FOR LOCAL COMMUNITIES REC Caucasus assisted local communities through implementation of projects supported within the framework of Small Grants Programme "Sustainable Development of Caspian Coastal Communities". The goal of this Programme was to reduce and prevent the overuse of natural resources of the Caspian Sea region by assisting coastal communities to develop alternative and sustainable sources of livelihood, and in general to promote sustainable economic development. The Small Grants Programme, administered by the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia in collaboration with REC Caucasus and the Russian REC, financed more than 150 Projects changing lives of the local communities to the better. Grants from 1,000 to 2,500 Euro have been allocated to The Small Grants Programme, administered by the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia in collaboration with REC Caucasus and the Russian REC, financed more than 150 Projects changing lives of the local communities to the better. Grants form 1,000 to 2,500 Euro have been allocated to
  • setup new small companies and create additional jobs that contribute to sustainable development and improved quality of life of the local communities;
  • implement pilot projects on environment rehabilitationon;
  • train community members in additional professional skills to ensure a more sustainable economic base in small villages of the Caspian coastal area.
REC CAUCASUS FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES  Promotion of Cleaner Production and Energy efficiency technology through development of business planning practices for Cleaner Production and Energy efficiency projects

The overall objective of this project is to contribute to sustainable development and minimise environmental impact from industrial sector by stimulating small and medium size enterprises (SMEs). The objective will be reached via increase of SME’s capability in the preparation of financial documentation for CP and EE projects. The increased possibility for getting the financial resources from local and international financial institutions, will improve their (SME’s) operation capabilities to become more economically efficient, while becoming more environmentally friendly and reducing their demand on locally scarce resources.

Project scope: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia

Donor: Government of the Netherlands
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19

Jun

Vacancies

Regional Environmental Center for the Caucasus

TITLE:  Experts on Resource Efficiency and Clean Production PROJECT: Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) Demonstration Programme in Armenia START DATE/ TIME:  ASAP DURATION:  1 year. LOCATION:  Yerevan, Armenia   SUMMARY OF THE PROJECT: REC Caucasus Armenia National Office will provide the following services to facilitate UNIDO RECP Demonstration programme in Armenia aimed to improve resource productivity and environmental performance of business at the regional and national levels particularly in agro /food processing, chemicals and construction materials sectors prioritized by the Government of Armenia as proposed areas for UNIDO RECP intervention. JOB DESCRIPTION:  National RECP experts are to provide necessary services including training and assessment of potential RECP methodology and its application to selected demonstrated organizations, to improve their awareness and understanding of RECP, its benefits and contribution to sustainable development, and which started to take up specific measures for implementation, in particular in the prioritized sectors, included but not limited to food and beverages, construction materials and chemicals. JOB RESPONSIBILITIES:
  • Participation in RECP methodology trainings assessment of potential RECP methodology.
  • Organization and conduction seminars and trainings aimed to demonstrate the potential RECP methodology and its application to selected demonstrated organizations, and to improve resource productivity and environmental performance in agro/food processing, chemicals and construction materials.
  • Provide support in organization of meetings, seminars, discussions and assistance to the REC Caucasus activities, events and related duties.
  • Implementation other Project tasks as per instruction of Project National Coordinator and Administrative Unit.
REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS:
  • Advanced university degree in field relevant to RECP;
  • Good understanding of RECP, EaP Green programme, Green Economy, Green Growth, Clean production, Energy efficiency.
  • Experience of working with governmental structures, local administration, donor organizations, non-governmental organizations and private sector;
  • Good organizational and interpersonal skills, tact and high sense of responsibility;
  • Good time management skills;
  • Ability to clearly express ideas in oral and written forms, accuracy in task implementation and concentration;
  • Ability to work under pressure and with strict deadlines;
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills;
  • Ability to establish and maintain working relations in a team and independently;
  • Proven excellent experience of working with computer, applications, Word, Excel, Access, Internet search engines and office equipment;
  • Native speaker of Armenian and good knowledge of written and oral English. Knowledge of Russian is an asset.
APPLICATION PROCEDURES:  To apply, please send your CV to Mr. Tigran Oganezov at: tigran.oganezov@rec-caucasus.org . Short-listed candidates will be invited to the interview. OPENING DATE:  19 June 2015 APPLICATION DEADLINE:  July 2015 ABOUT COMPANY:  REC Caucasus Armenian National Office is a non-entrepreneurial (non-commercial) legal person – an independent, not-for-profit organization with international character. The mission of REC Caucasus is to assist the Caucasus states in solving environmental problems and support in building the civil society through promotion of public participation in the decision-making process, development of free exchange of information and encouragement of cooperation at national and regional level among NGOs, governments, businesses, local communities and all other stakeholders.
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22

Apr

Development of Mew modules for International Bachelor and Master Programmes in Sustainable Tourism Management

Development of new modules for international bachelor and master programmes in sustainable tourism management

Duration

15.11.2012 – 14.10.2015 (3 years)

Objective

A multi-country project to modernize curricula in sustainable tourism management (SuToMa) and develop a joint understanding about the principles.

Occasion

Tourism is a regional priority for the Caucasus but an underdeveloped field in all three countries. Especially for Europeans the entire Caucasus is a fascinating area with a rich cultural history and biodiversity/the cradle of European mankind.

Our perspective

Only a sustainable regional development within the tourism sector meets the expectations of these target groups and guarantees a long- term economic, social and ecological welfare for local people and following generations.

Partners

30 universities, enterprises and NGOs in Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. European partners in Ireland and Latvia

Targets

12 new modules for innovative topics, such as
  • integration of theory and praxis,
  • intercultural communication,
  • eLearning and IT technologies, to be implemented in existing and new BSc. and MSc,
  • study programmes, accredited with ECTS
  • interdisciplinary approach such as agriculture, tourism and business studies.

Outcomes

  • a common understanding of sustainability and regional development
  • modules created according to the Bologna standards
  • comparable qualification standards
  • new methods and materials for teacher and tutor training
  • formal integration of practical placements in the curricula
  • regular monitoring of milestones
  • implementation of eLearning platform
  • new international academic cooperation

Chronology

Development of modules: first year Training of teachers: second year Testing with students: third year
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31

Oct

The 1st Georgian Channel broadcasts RECC activities
1351668107
During October 25-27 within the EU funded project ”Fostering Community Forest Policy and Practice in Mountain Regions of the Caucasus” Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus (RECC) held two day training and one day on-job training for the communities of Gebi, Chiora, Glola, of Oni Municipality. About 80 participants were trained based on the community forest management plans, specially developed for the three villages within the framework of this project. The planting activity was broadcasted by the 1st Georgian Channel; the footage is avaliable on the following page: http://www.rec-caucasus.org/photoVideo.php?id=1314690928&lang=en
The overall objective of the project is fostering community forest policy and practice to address the following problems:
  1.  deforestation and climate change issues
  2.  secured land tenure and forest community rights
  3.  rural poverty reduction
  4.  diminishing regional and national tensions and the risks of insurrections let by alienated elements among population
  5.  conservation and sustainable development of local communities
Community forest management The management plans include 10-years action plan on sustainable forest utilization and covers the following topics:
  •       forest management (inventory, monitoring, harvesting, reforestation, protection)
  •       socio-economic aspects
  •       consumption  of non-timber resources
  •       usage  recreational potential.
The project is regional and similar activities are held in Republic of Armenia, Azerbaijan Republic and Russian Federation.                   Landscape Restoration Activities Regional project``Support Development of Biodiversity Conservation Policies and Practices in Mountain Regions of the South Caucasus``, implemented by Regional Environmental Centre for the Caucasus (RECC) with financial support of Government of Norway is currently underway in Oni Municipality of Racha Region. Major goal of the project is to build capacity of local communities and authorities to address biodiversity loss in forest ecosystems of mountain regions of South Caucasus in order to improve participatory biodiversity management. Jointly with EU funded project ”Fostering Community Forest Policy and Practice in Mountain Regions of the Caucasus”  is carrying out reforestation activities in Ghebi community.

Representatives of Ghebi Community proposed initiative to cultivate nut-trees on the adjacent area of the village. Mentioned initiative was shared and supported by the representatives of local authorities. As a result 2000 walnuts seedlings (from 3 to 5 yaer) are being planted on three plots (5 ha in total) in surrounding areas of Ghebi community. Villagers  from the community actively participate in planting activities. At the same time they have been provided with suitable practical skills and knowledge on planting and maintain activities of wallnuts seedlings, as a follow up activity. It should been mentioned that nut-tree (Juglans regia) is included in the Red List of Georgia as vulnerable species.

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12

Jun

REC Caucasus publishes Newsletters
1339501147
REC Caucasus is pleased to inform you about newly published newsletters within the framework of the EU-funded project "Fostering Community Forest Policy and Practice in Mountain Regions of the Caucasus". The newsletters includes information on landscape resotation activities in pilot communities, joint stakeholder workshops and series of trainings conducted within the project, as well as public awareness initiatives, success stories and visibility action overview. The publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union.  
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23

Mar

Improvement of environmental liability regime: introduction of methodology for valuation of environmental damage
Armenia and Georgia, two South Caucasus countries, determined to establish a sovereign, democratic, social state governed by rule of law, have adopted a policy to shift toward market relations in the economy. In order to implement this policy, a process of economic reforms based on liberal values has been initiated. In the current social and economic situation, all countries have overcome a period of drastic collapse and for more than five-seven year almost two-digit economic growth rate is registered in the countries. It has become of utmost importance to ensure sound bases for long-term economic development, which becomes increasingly urgent in a situation when there is an issue of maintaining growth rates, on the one hand, and increasing its effectiveness, on the other. In this context, economic progress requires mainly qualitative improvements, which ultimately leads to the necessity to ensure qualitative economic development along with quantitative growth. Qualitative improvements are those factors that will ensure a general increase in the level of life quality by utilizing economic growth results for the improvement of the public life standards in the country. The overall objective of the project is to improve environmental management system in the countries through enhancement of the environmental liability regimes. The specific objectives of the project are: 1. To develop modern methodology for estimation of the monetary value of damage caused as a result of environmental pollution and exploitation of natural resources at the national level. 2. To design and implement pilots in selected sectors to illustrate how the elaborated methodology would work in practice and explore replication opportunity at country level. Project Duration: 15 months Donor: Government of Netherlands  Concept Note   Notwithstanding the fact that two countries have  adopted the main principles of sustainable development (economic, social, environmental) and will pursue the following principle – "economic development and the environmental system are not ends but means to ensure normal conditions for and satisfactory level of the process of sustainable development of a person," the economic development in Armenia and Georgia in the upcoming years will continue to be of a man-caused nature and in this regard the solution of existing environmental problems (issues) in the Republics will become more complicated and more expensive. Even for the maintenance of the current state of the natural environment in the countries the society, the state, local self-governance bodies and business entities will need to carry out additional environmental activities and make additional expenses. Underestimation of the damage caused to natural resources and the environment in general results in a forged presentation of economic development and progress figures. Today, traditional macroeconomic indicators accepted in this field /gross domestic product, income per capita and others/ overlook environmental degradation, ignore the decrease in natural resources. Thus, exploitation of resources, i.e. loss of natural resources often is regarded as a net income. In this way a possibility to deteriorate natural resources and to pollute the environment emerges. Underestimation of damage caused to the environment or failure to record such damage in expenses, in its turn, brings about distortions of major macroeconomic figures, such as, for example, gross domestic product (GDP) or net domestic product (NDP). When the mechanism for compensation of environmental and economic damage (based on "The polluter pays" principle) does not work effectively, then this results in corresponding real losses for business entities or the population. According to estimations made by Western scientists, this kind of damage in developed countries comprises 3-5% of GDP. No such calculations or relevant assessments were carried out in South Caucasus states. The absence of above-mentioned studies does not allow assessing the real picture of the country's economic development in terms of sustainable development, that is, real gains and losses in the economy become non-comparable. On the other hand, in a situation when relevant studies were not conducted and (or) were absent, real scopes of the damage already caused and being caused as a result of the pollution of environment are not assessed. This is the reason why economic mechanisms aimed at the reduction of the scope of environmental damage (the system of environmental fees and fees for the use of natural resources) operate less effectively, because the tariffs do not correspond to/are not equivalent to the real scopes of damage already caused or being caused as a result of pollution of environment. Moreover, there is a clear tendency observed in the countries that pollution taxes did not provided any significant incentive for pollution abatement measures; rather, they mainly served to generate revenues for the Government budget. The system remains underdeveloped in EECCA, where it is still based on the Soviet concept of “compensation for damages” and is seldom put into practice. The existing state-approved methodologies for environmental damage assessment are speculative, inaccurate, and often too complex to present to courts that are supposed to adjudicate on these issues. In these conditions, it has become necessary to examine the actual scope of damage caused to the environment in the GDP structure and its influence on GDP, which, in its turn, will enable to calculate the real scope (volume) of damage caused by environmental pollution and exploitation of natural resources.   Country's Situation Armenia   The development of Armenian economy in the coming years will continue to have a technological nature and as a result, solutions to environmental problems in the country will become more complicated and more costly. Even in the current conditions, the preservation of Armenia’s environment requires additional environmental measures and expenditures on the side of the public, the state, local governments and enterprises. Following traditional economic indicators might lead to negative consequences for Armenia in the near future.  Those indicators can be rapidly improved (and thus formally achieve economic stability and end the economic crisis) through accelerated logging in forests, relentless use of all mines, using cheap "unclean" technologies, etc., which, unfortunately, is currently taking place in the country to some extent. However, the extremely negative ecological consequences of this state of the affairs for many regions of the country are obvious. In order to reduce harmful influence on the environment and to maintain efficient (sustainable) use of natural resources in Armenia (regulatory role), as well as to generate financial resources (increase cash flows) to make environmental investment and to fill the budget (fiscal role), the  Law on Environmental and Nature Use Charges and pertinent bylaws have been adopted and introduced a certain set of economic tools (environmental and nature use charges) in 1998-2000 (charges are paid for water use, mining of useful underground resources, use of biological resources, disposal of hazardous substances into the environment, placing industrial and municipal waste in the environment, and production and import of environmentally hazardous commodities). Moreover, following the objective of “improving environmental economic tools” stated in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, the following legislative acts were adopted in 2004-2005: - A number of changes and amendments to the law “On environmental and nature use charges” have made the charge system more effective and efficient, in its both fiscal and regulatory (reduction of the volume of hazardous discharges into the environment) aspects. - Adoption of the law “On tariffs for compensation of damages caused to fauna and flora as a result of environmental violations" (2005) and approval of assessment procedures for impact of economic activities on water and land resources and the atmosphere by the Government of Armenia allow environmental inspection bodies to ensure a more effective and efficient process of recording environmental damages and their compensation/transfer to state budget. It should be stated that the state budget allocation for the environmental action programme is not significant, therefore all types of environmental charges, fees and compensations for environmental damage are accumulated in the state budget and disbursed in a highly centralized manner. The main shortcoming of the current system is that the charges collected for the purposes of funding environmental protection measures and programmes are only partially used for this purpose. For instance, according to some expert estimations, Armenia’s economic growth causes environmental damage commensurate with 8-10% of the country’s annual GDP. The current budget revenues from environmental charge collection do not exceed 0.25 -0.27% of GDP, i.e. are 20 to 40 times less than the damage caused.  According to latest analysis, more than half of major resources collected for environmental protection purposes is used to finance other priorities. Currently for more targeted use of environmental charges the Law “On the Budget System” stipulates the sum total of budget earmarked for environmental programmes shall be no less than the sum total of environmental charges actually collected in the preceding budget year. With regard to environmental liability it should be mentioned that although OECD study has been conducted in Armenia, and based on results of the study an assessment procedures for impact of economic activities on water and land resources and the atmosphere were elaborated and approved by the Government of Armenia that allow environmental inspection bodies to ensure a more effective and efficient process of recording environmental damages, the methodology for assessment of environmental damage is not yet precise and comprehensive.   Georgia Georgia is a lower middle income country that has as its legitimate major policy priority to achieve sustained economic growth and, related to this, to substantially reduce poverty. The Government’s strategy is largely based on establishing a liberal and largely deregulated market economy and introducing stringent measures designed to minimize corruption and rent-seeking. However, in this context the role of environmental policy was neglected, moreover the role of environment in dealing with the external effects of economic activity in the form of pollution has effectively been ignored. Among the major policy measures introduced by the government was a Tax reform, enshrined in a new Tax Code entered into force in 2005. Its main objectives was the reduction of the tax burden and elimination of administrative barriers to doing business. After approval of Tax Code there has been a significant change in the mix of instruments for environmental protection. The new Tax Code abolished taxes on emissions of air and water pollutants alongside a tax on the use of natural resources dating from 2005, all of which had been introduced in the 1990s. Also were eliminated a road transit fee on foreign motor vehicles and a tax on fuel imports. Among the legal reforms the new Law on Licenses and Permits being endorsed in 2005 introduced mandatory auction-based allocation of licenses for the use of natural resources. Few changes have been made to existing product taxes on motor fuels and vehicles, but there have been some improvements in the application of user charges for utility services. The auctioning of licenses has become an important source of revenue for the central Government. The level of fees rates for each of the natural resources is defined in the Law on Fees for the use natural Resources (2004) amended later by Law on Introduction of Changes and Amendments to the  Law on Fees for the Use of Natural Resources. Another set of instrument is fines for environmental offences. As with pollution taxes, fines per ton of excess emissions have not been altered since 90th. Collection rates of fines for administrative violation were very low in the early 2000s  (around 5%), but have increased significantly since the Environmental Inspectorate was established in 2005. For instance fines imposed in 2008 were almost collected. However, it should be mentioned that the current system of calculation of fines is regulated by the order of the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources and based on methodology that is not accurate, does not consider any externalities. It can be stated that the methodology for calculation was put in place by chance. Goals and Objectives    The overall objective of the project is to improve environmental management system in the countries through enhancement of the environmental liability regimes. The specific objectives of the project are:   1. To develop modern methodology for estimation of the monetary value of damage caused as a result of environmental pollution and exploitation of natural resources at the national level.   2. To design and implement pilots in selected sectors to illustrate how the elaborated methodology would work in practice and explore replication opportunity at country level.   Activities There are following major activities will be implemented:   Activity 1. Inception activities During the inception phase the following preparatory activities will be accomplished: - Formation of the Project team – TORs for major staff and experts will be developed and selection conducted in accordance to REC rules and procedures. In addition leading governmental entities will be requested to provide nominate project contact point for further collaboration and coordination of activities in each of the countries. - Identification of stakeholders and formation of the project inter-agency National Steering Committee (NSC) – based on consultations at national level the project steering committees will be formulated in each beneficiary country at the beginning stage. It is very important to ensure involvement into the process since the beginning of all related stakeholders. Apart of leading agency, that will be Ministries of Environment in two countries, would be necessary to involve into the process Ministries of Finance, Economy, Justice and Tax authorities. - Preparation and conduction of the inception workshops – Inception meeting in each country will be organized with participation of selected stakeholders from public sector and Civil Society Organisations from Armenia and Georgia. Goals and objectives of the project will be presented, general approach toward implementation and major outputs will be discussed, recommendation for detailed work plan will be elaborated. Based on result of national workshops, regional meetings will be organize to discuss project approach and methodology, come up with consolidated project work plan, to setup major milestones.   Activity 2. Identification of key sectors of the economy (economic activities) in each country mostly causing damage to the environment   (in the result of overexploitation or pollution). Based on key sectors of economy that cause damage to environment are already indicated in national policies (NEAPs, EPR, Sustainable development strategy, etc.), as well as in the result of discussions to be held in the framework of a workshop organized with the participation of stakeholders, determine the key sectors of the economy in each country that are increasingly vulnerable toward overexploitation of natural resources and damage caused to the environment as a consequence of carrying out economic activities and their further development (expansion).   Activity 3. Support in revision and analysis of the system of economic instrument applied in all two countries of the region Analysis of the existing system of economic instruments used in the countries will be conducted as well as liability regimes with regard to environmental damage will be reviewed. Institutional analysis will be updated, legislative requirements and existing gaps in the system will be revealed. It is important to consider experience of OECD EAP TF activities in the countries in the area of introduction of economic instruments and environmental liability.   Activity 4. Identification and Assessment of the best available practice in introduction of the system (methodology) of valuation of damage into environment. The project needs to analyze and categories the different methods for valuing natural resources, mostly used in OECD countries and relevant EECCA countries, that can be used for the application of liability regimes. The advantages and disadvantages of using different methodologies in Caucasus countries should be well documented, recommendations as to the best method or combination of methods to be applied under national liability regimes will be elaborated.   Activity 5. Development of relevant methodology(ies) for monetary assessment of depreciation of natural resources and indicators for calculation of the damage. A framework approach will be developed for different sectors for identification of methods for monetary assessment of depreciation of natural resources and calculation of the damage caused as a consequence of environmental pollution and exploitation of natural resources. It is important to identify clear links between environmental losses and country’s development trends while evaluating macroeconomic parameters. It is also very important to understand how to define “significant damage” to environment and a level of restoration, therefore criteria to define the scope of damage for the application of liability regime will be elaborated. Relevant recommendations will be developed and submitted to the government for approval.   Outputs   In the framework of Project results, in the long run, the suggested Project activities will contribute to the achievement of the following major results:
  • Developed methodology(ies) for valuation of actual damage caused to the environment by economic activities and recommendations to the government provided
  • Benefits of using elaborated methodology demonstrated through pilot activities and best practices are disseminated
More generally, areas or spheres of the economy which are more vulnerable for environment in terms of damage and exploitation of natural resources will be identified, modern methodology for an assessment applied and valuation exercise in pilot sector conducted.   The following risks/obstacles have to be addressed in the process of Project implementation,: Political factors: Speculations regarding assessments elaborated as a result of the Project implementation beyond the framework of sustainable development principles; Lack of political will for the acceptance of recommendations due to the fact the project objective may be seen as an attempt to somehow put in limitation into economic development. Anticipated conflicts among the Project team, the group of stakeholders, enterprises and organizations operating in the sectors and areas of the economy that are increasingly vulnerable toward overexploitation of natural resources and damage caused to the environment, populations in the territories where these enterprises are located and local self-governance bodies. Institutional and human factor: Institutional restructuring of government bodies may lead to significant changes in priorities and lack of interest towards the project objectives. Lack of knowledge, experience and skills to initiate new approaches among local specialists or experts; Lack of professionals and relevant staff at a corresponding level who would perform assessments of environmental issues taking into account links with economic, health care and social issues.   The Project's Approach Activities planned in the Project will be guided by and based on the following principles:

Cooperation and Participatory principle

Project development requires close operational relations among the state stakeholders, enterprises and organizations operating in the economic areas and sectors mostly vulnerable in terms of overexploitation of natural resources and damage being caused to the environment, populations living in corresponding territories and local self-governance bodies. This principle of cooperation can be successful only if it is based on a common goal and mutual trust among parties. The Project implementation and recommendations accepted in the process of implementation require an active public involvement during the whole process, while successful public relations require a two-way communication. Firstly, public participation means raising the level of awareness through informing all stakeholders about the scale and aims of their own efforts, environmental issues and priorities, and possible actions to address the most pressing issues. Active involvement of non-environmental government regulatory bodies (Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Finances, Tax Authorities, etc.) into the project since the beginning will be ensured.

Principle of using best international practices

In order for the project to achieve multiple results and be successful, the experience of realization of similar projects in other countries (preferably, eastern European) implemented by international environmental or financial organizations can have essential importance. OECD experience, and, particularly, activities conducted under the framework of EAP TF in the field of assessment and introduction of economic instruments in the EECCA region  will be used. The EAP Task Force has done extensive work on helping environmental regulatory agencies in EECCA countries to modernize their systems of economic instruments for environmental protection, particularly pollution and product charges.  The project should also use an accumulated experience and materials from “Monetary Penalties and Liability” EECCA RECs Joint Projects.

Principle of integrity

The procedure for classification of issues related to environment should make it possible to monitor environmental issues from various viewpoints and integrate health care, environmental, economic and social aspects of environmental degradation, which, ultimately, comprise the context for sustainability. Project Duration and Budget Project Duration: 15 months
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02

Nov

VII Annual International Conference of REC Caucasus on “Climate Change Adaptation – Challenge and Opportunity for the Caucasus”
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On November 10-11, 2011 with financial support of the Ministry of Environmental Affairs, Land Use Planning,  Agriculture and Forestry of Lichtenstein, VII Annual International Conference of REC Caucasus on “Climate Change Adaptation – Challenge and Opportunity for the  Caucasus” is being organized in Tbilisi, Georgia. The event is designed to provide a forum for all interested parties in a comprehensive discourse on climate change issues. The primarily goal of the Conference is to discuss problems of climate change taking into account natural and anthropogenic factors and environmental, economic and social impacts of global climate change in the South Caucasus  region; to search for balanced approaches towards reduction of anthropogenic pressure on climate system through promotion of understanding among scientists, governments, business and public; to learn about existing trends; to raise awareness of target groups and to promote information exchange and transfer of experience within and beyond the region in the field of global climate change. The occasion aims to take stock of challenges posed by climate change in South Caucasus focusing on three countries’ (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) specific problems, strategies and response actions for reaching an effective agenda on climate change. The participants of the conference include Embassies; International Organizations; Local and Regional NGOs; Representatives of the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Georgia, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, Ministry of External Affairs, Economy of and Sustainable Development and State Ministry of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration. Climate risks and hazards are already increasing and evident in the Caucasus region, therefore introduction of integrated approach in identification of common risks, in planning and application of innovative adaptation practices can increase a number of options that government and population can exercise to tackle with climate risk to improve environment and reduce poverty.    

Agenda for the VII Annual International Conference

November 10, 2011

10:00-10.30  Opening  Ceremony

10:30-11:00  Welcoming Remarks: Giorgi Khachidze        Minister of Environment  Protection  of Georgia Boris Iarochevitch      Deputy Head  of Delegation Delegation of the European Union to Georgia Dr. Felix Näscher        Director General, the Office of Forests, Nature and Landscape, Principality of Liechtenstein     11:00-11:30  General Introduction of the Issue:    Sophiko Akhobadze     Executive Director of the REC Caucasus  

Session One

11:30-12:00        National Climate Change Policies of the South Caucasus countries and  their positions towards COP 17 Chairman : Giorgi Zedginidze Giorgi Zedginidze           Deputy Minister of Environment  Protection of Georgia Samvel Amirkhanyan   Advisor of Minister,  Ministry of Nature Protection of Republic of Armenia   12:00-12.30 Discussion: Questions: - Country and region specific institutional and technical challenges and needs SC countries face in meeting post Cancun reporting obligations - How support can be directed to meet these challenges - Are the funding mechanisms in place and how much work has been done in this area that we can use as a starting point - Challenges for South Caucasus in evaluation of CC impact - National and regional priority issues: adaptation measures, effectiveness, donor co-operation - Prospects for co-operation 12:30-13:00     Coffee Break  

Session Two

13:00-14:00

Climate Change adaptation perspectives of Civil Society

Chairman:  Nino Chkhobadze

ELKANA-                                      Presentation "Importance of agricultural biodiversity and sustainable                                                           agriculture for the  climate change adaptation in Georgia" Mariam                                                         Jorjadze,  Elene Shatberashvili RECC BO ARMENIA                     Approaches to identification and implementation of adaptation                                                           response to climate change impact for conservation and sustainable                                                           use of agro-biodiversity in arid and semi-arid ecosystems of Armenia                                                         Dshkhuhi Sahakyan/Armine Simonyan   ECOVISION                                   Dedoplistskaro Municipality Sectoral Planning on the Basis of                                                         Landscape- Ecological Background- Gia Sopadze   ECO TEAM                                     Presentation      Raising awareness on issues of climate change and                                                            promotion of   renewable energy sources in Armenia and world –                                                          Artashes Sargsyan SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT     Presentation Energy security of the Azerbaijan Republic and the                                                               problem of sustainable development of alternative energy sources Fikret Djafarov   ENERGY, ECOLOGY, ECONOMY     Presentation     Influences of Regional Change of the Climate on the                                                                  Environment- Shamil Movsumov   ARMENYAN                                          Mainstreaming Climate Change Considerations into Tourism -Zhanna  ECOTURISME ASSOSIATION           Galyan   14:00-14:30           Discussion 14:30-15:30           Lunch   Session Three   15:30-16:30                 Climate Change adaptation perspectives of the Academia Tamaz Chelidze         “On the climate change in Georgia in the past, at present and in the future: what                                         should be done for filling the gaps “

                 M.Nodia Institute of Geophysics of Iv.Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University

Nicholas Meskhidze-   “Climate Change and Sustainable Development with the Emphasis on the                                           Southern Caucasus” North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA George Fayvush          On the impact of global climate change on the flora and vegetation of Armenia Institute of Botany, National Academy of Sciences of Armenia Khayyam Rahimov      Assessment of the impact of expected cllimate change on population of                                        Azerbaijan and possible adaptation Climate and Agroclimate Department of Geography Institute, NASA. Tahira Gahramanova  Several aspects of Geosystem climate change influenced by wind erosion within                                          the coastal region of Azerbaijan. Baku State University   Session Four 16:30-16:40 Climate Change adaptation perspectives of the business sector Maharam Mehtiyev  Presentation -The role of International Organizations and private sector for adaptation to climate change-SOCAR 16:40-17:00   Discussion 17:00-17:20   Coffee Break   Session Five  17:20-18:30 Climate Change adaptation perspectives of international Organizations GIZ                  Dieter MullerClimate Tolerant Rehabilitation of Degraded Landscapes in Georgia                         Project Director   UNDP             Presentation Climate Change Adaptation – Challenge and Opportunity for the Caucasus-                        Marina Shvangiradze- Georgia   WWF              Presentation ‘Climate Change Related Projects Implemented by WWF-Caucasus                              Programme Office” Ilia Osepashvili, Forest Officer   RECC            Presentation” Sustainable Land Management for Mitigating Land Degradation and Reducing Poverty in the South Caucasus Region”   UNDP              theses- Adaptation to climate change impacts in forests                         and forestry of Armenia –Piloting selected adaptation measures in forest regeneration                         and   forest rehabilitation to enhance the resilience of mountain forests to climate                             change, Essi Ulander, Armenia   CENN             Presentation Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Mitigation (CCADM) project Tamar Mtvarelidze   UNDP/GEF     “Role of Collaborating Partners in Implementation of Climate Change Mitigation Projects                             at Local Level: Case Studies of GEF SGP Funded Projects in Armenia”  Vardan                                 Tserunyan 18:30-19:00   Discussion

19:00         Closure of Day I

Wrap up of the first day and introduction of next day’s parallel discussion sessions 19:30    Dinner    

November 11, 2011

Session Six 10.00-11:30  Dialogues on Climate Change:     Parallel Discussions 1:               Integrating climate change risks into national development policies, plans and strategies Moderator:       Aram Gabrielyan (FP UNFCCC)

2:                 Identifying financing for adaptation initiatives Moderator:       Nino Antadze(UNDP Georgia)   3:                 Priority directions for climate change adaptation Moderator:       Oqtai Djafarov (FP UNCCD) 11:30-12:00   Coffee Break   Session Seven   12:00-13:00  Reports from parallel discussions: Group 1                      Group 2                      Group 3   Session Eight 13:00-14:00  Common Problems in the Region and Potential Ways of Resolving Chairman: Grigol Lazriev, Division of Hydrometeorology  and Climate Chnge,                      Ministry of Environment Protection Of Georgia                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                14:00-14:30  Closing of the Conference   Chairman: Giorgi Zedginidze Edgar PIrumyan President of the REC Caucasus International Advisory Council   14:30   Lunch
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20

Oct

Yerevan’s zoo celebrates 70th anniversary and introduces a new ‘animal care’ concept
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This project is one of the numerous reforms launched at the zoo marking its 70th anniversary this year. The improvement program has been initiated by the new director – president of the Preservation Fund for Wildlife and Cultural Values Mr. Ruben Khachatryan. By reorganization of the park, the personnel of Yerevan Zoo makes an attempt to turn the zoo into a reserve where animals inhabit in as spacious areas as possible and people visiting the zoo get a chance to not simply see an animal locked in a cage, but can watch him in a more natural environment, study and better understand their vital importance in the nature. The area is suitable for creating such conditions, as only 6 ha of the 35-hectare park is currently used. Mr. Khachatryan believes that foreign experts’ participation in the project is highly important. While new plans are being made taken from the world practices in this sphere, visitors now notice the improvements made at the zoo. If compared to last year, it is obvious that the space has been re-arranged and improved; the cages are in a better condition, the characteristic strong smell has been reduced too, even new garbage bins have been placed separately for plastic and polyethylene wastes as well as other kinds of trash. In order to help children better familiarize themselves with the fauna, every Friday viewing of documentaries about wildlife is offered at a designated for that purpose quite comfortable area in the park and those who are interested can take a bus that offers a free ride to the zoo from vicinity of Yeritasardakan (Youth) metro station in the center of Yerevan.
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10

Oct

Prevention, Preparedness and Response to Man-made and Natural-Disasters in the ENPI East Region” (PPRD-EAST)
South Caucasus is high-risk disaster zone that  undermines countries  economy, and threatens natural environment and human security. Due to countries prolonged transitional period the gap has been formed through: Non existing electronic Risk Atalas;  Outdated statistics on DRR;  imperfect  Cartography, GIS, non existing satellite imagery; Imperfect legislative framework DRR; low capacity of national staff, low public awareness; Lack of knowledge of  EU Civil Protection Mechanism The mission of the project is to raise awareness on DRR issues and improve collaboration between different stakeholders on national and regional levels via pinformation , communications and public relations. Duration: 2011 -2014   The expected results of the project include: 1) Better knowledge of risk exposure and available resources for enhanced preparedness and response capacities

2) Enhanced legislative, administrative and operational civil protection capacities

3) Improved information , awareness and participation.

4) Partner countries are well informed about EU Civil Protection Mechanism and able to effectively collaborate

5)Needs for a possible of cooperation with Eastern partners, end of programme (Phase II) are identified.

Indicators:

1) Knowledge products (booklets, manuals, newsletters etc.) are created and disseminated in appropriate languages and made available on the internet. Information is shared, transferred and used at policy and management levels. Educational materials are developed in Armenian, Azerbaijani and Georgian languages and distributed among 30,000 stakeholders. 2) At lest 8 trainings  are organised at the national and regional levels 3) 6 conferences are organized to present result and  share experience 4) At least 2 regional conferences are organised 5) The website is developed, with all information and materials uploaded
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10

Oct

The EU greenhouse gas emission increases
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Recent reports published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Commission said the EU increased greenhouse gas emission by 2.4 percent in 2010. Despite this slight increase past year, since 1990 the EU has decreased its emissions by 15.5 percent, while the economy grew by 42 percent in the same period of time. Connie Hadegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, underlined the importance of breaking the link between carbon emissions and economic growth. The EU-15 feels positive about reducing emission by more than 8 percents, therefore achieving Kyoto Protocol - a protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC) aimed at fighting global warming. "The EU continued decoupling emissions from GDP during the recession. Between 2008 and 2009, emissions fell by 7.1 percent in the EU-27, much more than the around 4 percent contraction in GDP. However, last year's estimated 2.4 percent rise in emissions shows that we need to continue the decoupling process. Pursuing our efforts to make Europe a low-carbon society is the way forward." “It will stimulate technological innovation, spur economic growth and create jobs while further reducing emissions so that we meet our 2020 climate and energy targets and long term goals," Hedegaard stressed,” pointed out Ms. Hedegaard.
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01

Oct

Promotion of Media – Government – Civil Society Environmental Dialogue in the South Caucasus

Background The South Caucasus – a unique region in terms of its bio and landscape diversity and natural resources - currently faces alarming environmental threats. Quality of water and air, as well as the issue of transport systems, waste, pipelines, mining, soil degradation and other raise many questions about secure future and quality of life in the region. Lack of the will and capacities at the governmental level, lack of regional harmonised approaches are also a threat, along with the low environmental awareness of public and reluctance to actively participate in environmental decision-making and problem solving. The role of media in building environmentally friendly civil society and practically assisting in solving the problems is considered as a crucial pillar for the process. Hence, raising awareness of media representatives and encouraging coverage of environmental issues is imperative for achieving the desired level of public participation in environmental decision - making. The project is developed under the umbrella of the “environmental awareness raising” motto through promotion of more active and competent intervenes of media outlets, exchange of information, providing practical tool kits, establishing links between representatives of governmental, nongovernmental and international organisations, experts, students, mass media and general public.

Description
  • Trainings of media representatives on communication techniques with local NGOs and environmental experts (as a source of information) and decision-makers (as a target audience);
  • Trainings of local NGOs aimed to raise communication and public participation skills of nongovernmental sector. Trainings will be organised in regions and targeted relatively new organisations with limited experience.

Objective the Project will support local journalists in development of materials covering all aspects, including negative and positive, of environmental concerns; raise environmental awareness of public in the South Caucasus through strengthening environmental journalism and encourage public participation in environmental decision-making through innovative techniques of communication and cooperation between environmental stakeholders, especially local media, NGO communities, decision-makers and local businesses; and increase awareness and commitments of decision-makers to sustainable development, environmental protection and biodiversity conservation in the Caucasus

Project donor
Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) EU
Target groups
Journalists, NGOs, local and national decision-makers
Project scope
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
Articles Azerbaijan Armenia Georgia
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30

Aug

Establishing structured approach towards training of Environmental Inspectors in Armenia and Azerbaijan
Background
Within the 2003-2007 work programme, the EAP Task Force Secretariat organised numerous training and know-how transfer events at the level of sub-regions (e.g. in the Caucasus) and countries, including Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine. In total, training involved about 300 people. Most of the training events were conducted in cooperation or with logistical support from EECCA RECs. The training programme was based on the ―Toolkit for Better Environmental Inspectorates‖, which is a comprehensive manual reflecting modern theory and practice of environmental compliance promotion, monitoring, and enforcement. The programme had a positive impact and, as a result, the Secretariat and its partners in EECCA have faced an increasing demand for training, which is difficult to satisfy without enlarging the number of trainers and creating a mechanism that would enable trainers to continuously update the training programmes and materials. REC Caucasus with cooperation of OECD EAP TASK Force implemented several projects in the period 2003 – 2008: Sub-regional managers workshop IMPROVING ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE ASSURANCE IN CAUCASUS, June, 16-20 2003, Tbilisi, Georgia Translation and putting out of OECD publications“Guiding Principle for Reform of Environmental Enforcement Authorities in Transition Economies of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia” and the “ Glossary of Terms Used in Environmental Enforcement and Compliance Promotion” in Armenian, Azerbaijanian and Georgian languages. Institutional Development Seminar and Management Training, November, 2005, Tbilisi, Georgia. Peer Review of Environmental Compliance Assurance System of Armenia, (organisation of training for inspectorates), June 2005, Yerevan, Armenia. The project was prepared in frame of OECD EAP Task Force and EECCA RECs joint work programme under the Programme Area 2. Environmental Policy Reform, project JP/2.2.4. “Training Programmes for Inspectorates” and aims to promote a structured approach towards training of environmental inspectors and facilitate networking among specialized institutions in the EECCA region and with similar institutions in OECD and CEE countries. Individual capacity (or competence) can be defined as a set of standardized requirements for an individual to properly perform specific duties within an organization and encompasses both knowledge and skills. A continuous improvement of employees’ individual capacity is essential for any enforcement authority, including State Environmental Inspectorate (SEI), to achieve its objectives and maintain high standards of service to the general public. There is a clear need to change the current approach to training of the individuals within SEI and make it more coherent and structured, based on a clear understanding of incentives to enhance performance. In Armenia and Azerbaijan, similarly to many other countries of EECCA, the development of individual capacities of the employees faces a number of problems that hinder the successful full-scale performance of the SEI. The main problems linked to the training of inspectors in Armenia and Azerbaijan are lack of professional training opportunities for SEI  specialists, inconsistency of the knowledge flow, lack of holistic approach to SEI specialist skills development, limited access to up-to-date materials, lack of cross-country experience exchange. Short description of the project Aim The aim of this project is to introduce a structured approach towards trainings for the employees of the State Environmental Inspectorate (SEI) of Armenia and Azerbaijan, also establish a mechanism of information exchange that will help SEI employees to continuously learn about new developments.   Background Within the 2003-2007 work programme, the EAP Task Force Secretariat organised numerous training and know-how transfer events at the level of sub-regions (e.g. in the Caucasus) and countries, including Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine. In total, training involved about 300 people. Most of the training events were conducted in cooperation or with logistical support from EECCA RECs. The training programme was based on the ―Toolkit for Better Environmental Inspectorates‖, which is a comprehensive manual reflecting modern theory and practice of environmental compliance promotion, monitoring, and enforcement. The programme had a positive impact and, as a result, the Secretariat and its partners in EECCA have faced an increasing demand for training, which is difficult to satisfy without enlarging the number of trainers and creating a mechanism that would enable trainers to continuously update the training programmes and materials. REC Caucasus with cooperation of OECD EAP TASK Force implemented several projects in the period 2003 – 2008. Sub-regional managers workshop IMPROVING ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE ASSURANCE IN CAUCASUS, June, 16-20 2003, Tbilisi, Georgia Translation and putting out of OECD publications “Guiding Principle for Reform of Environmental Enforcement Authorities in Transition Economies of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia” and the “ Glossary of Terms Used in Environmental Enforcement and Compliance Promotion” in Armenian, Azerbaijanian and Georgian languages. Institutional Development Seminar and Management Training, November, 2005, Tbilisi, Georgia. Peer Review of Environmental Compliance Assurance System of Armenia, (organisation of training for inspectorates), June 2005, Yerevan, Armenia. The project was prepared in frame of OECD EAP Task Force and EECCA RECs joint work programme under the Programme Area 2. Environmental Policy Reform, project JP/2.2.4. “Training Programmes for Inspectorates” and aims to promote a structured approach towards training of environmental inspectors and facilitate networking among specialized institutions in the EECCA region and with similar institutions in OECD and CEE countries. Individual capacity (or competence) can be defined as a set of standardized requirements for an individual to properly perform specific duties within an organization and encompasses both knowledge and skills. A continuous improvement of employees’ individual capacity is essential for any enforcement authority, including State Environmental Inspectorate (SEI), to achieve its objectives and maintain high standards of service to the general public. There is a clear need to change the current approach to training of the individuals within SEI and make it more coherent and structured, based on a clear understanding of incentives to enhance performance. In Armenia and Azerbaijan, similarly to many other countries of EECCA, the development of individual capacities of the employees faces a number of problems that hinder the successful full-scale performance of the SEI. The main problems linked to the training of inspectors in Armenia and Azerbaijan are lack of professional training opportunities for SEI  specialists, inconsistency of the knowledge flow, lack of holistic approach to SEI specialist skills development, limited access to up-to-date materials, lack of cross-country experience exchange.
Overall Objectives The overall objective of this project is to introduce a structured approach towards trainings for the employees of the State Environmental Inspectorate (SEI) of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Specific Objectives The specific objectives of the project are:
  • Promotion of consistency in SEI planning and execution.
  • Improvement of SEI performance.
  • Establishment of a strong regional network of Environmental Inspectorates.
  • Sharing of experience on regular basis.
Expected Outcomes
  • Increasing of skills and ability of State Environmental Inspectors;
  • Sharing experience between State Environmental Inspectors in Armenia and Azerbaijan.
  Results to Date: Activities   The project implementation was initially delayed due to the following two major reasons: 1. As part of joint work programme of EECCA RECs and OECD EAP Task Force, project activities should have been started in parallel and under the guidance of the Secretariat of OECD EAP Task Force, however due to objective reasons REC Caucasus has been informed that Secretariat was not able to start their part of activities on time due to late provision of funds from donor.   2. Significant restructuring process started in REC Caucasus in the end of 2009. New institutional structure  was approved by the RECs Board of Directors and introduced in January 2010. Due to changes, contracts with the previous staff members were terminated, but new programme staff has not been hired. Moreover, several internal and external audits started in organisation in 2010. Therefore implementation of some projects, including this one, was postponed.Due to those facts the Project implementation process started with significant delays and relevant project reports were not submitted to the donor in accordance to contractual requirements. Launching of the project and as well as preparatory meeting with State Environmental Inspectorate of Armenia and Azerbaijan were conducted in Baku (September 10, 2010) and Yerevan (September 14, 2010). Discussion on identification of initial methodology for needs assessment conducted with national authorities, process of identification of competence profiles and major focus areas for possible trainings started. Several consultation with OECD EAP Task Force secretariat, partner of the project, have been also conducted to finalise methodology for capacity needs assessment exercise and identification of targeted areas. Relevant questionnaires were developed on the basis of the Guidance for the Organization of Trainings within State Environmental Inspectorates of EECCA countries, elaborated by the Organisation for  Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and sent to all stakeholders on December 2010. Filled questionnaires were submitted to REC Caucasus till January 17, 2011. The filled in questionnaires have been analyzed by the Project Team in close cooperation with the Ministries of Environment. The working group have been conducted in  Armenia and Azerbaijan for the preparation of training need assessment report in March 2011. REC Caucasus, with consultative and methodological support of the OECD, aims to fill the existing gaps by implementing training needs assessment (TNA) for the staff members of the Inspectorate (based on the methodology suggested by OECD and approbated in Georgia), develop a coherent multi-year training program and training materials (based on “Toolkit for Better Environmental Inspectorates”) and organize trainings for SEI employees, which will provide them with practical and up-to-date knowledge and skills necessary to successful performance of SEI. The Project introduces a structured approach towards trainings for the employees of the State SEI of Armenia and Azerbaijan and also establishes a mechanism of information exchange that will help SEI employees to continuously learn about new developments. Project expected results:
  • Professional knowledge and skills gaps are identified through training needs assessments (TNA)
  • Gaps are addressed through conduction of trainings session and knowledge transfer.
  • The structured approach with strong mechanisms of training provision for SEI is established.
The project is prepared in frame of OECD EAP Task Force and EECCA RECs joint work program under the Program Area 2. Environmental Policy Reform, project JP/2.2.4. “Training Programs for Inspectorates” and aims to promote a structured approach towards training of environmental inspectors and facilitate networking among specialized institutions in the EECCA region and with similar institutions in OECD and CEE countries. Individual capacity (or competence) can be defined as a set of standardized requirements for an individual to properly perform specific duties within an organization and encompasses both knowledge and skills. A continuous improvement of employees’ individual capacity is essential for any enforcement authority, including State Environmental Inspectorate (SEI), to achieve its objectives and maintain high standards of service to the general public. There is a clear need to change the current approach to training of the individuals within SEI and make it more coherent and structured, based on a clear understanding of incentives to enhance performance. The Project involves staff Environmental Inspectorate, including its representatives in every administrative division of the Republic of Armenia and Republic of Azerbaijan.   REC Caucasus Branch Offices will provide expert support as well as facility and materials for all stages of project implementation. RECC Branch Offices role is organization of training needs assessment, support to Ministry of Nature Protection to develop training program and organization of training sessions. State Environmental Inspectorate of Ministry of Nature Protection will provide professional, informative and organizational support throughout all stages of project implementation. OECD EAP Task Force will provide methodological and consultative support throughout all stages of project implementation. Before organization of training session RECC has involved qualified experts (4 experts in each country) in the field of environmental inspection to develop training modules based on modern knowledge, best international experience and currently applied local experience.   Phase I The project team in close cooperation with the Ministries of Environment of Armenia and Azerbaijan have prepared the training modules. The training modules have been prepared in two languages (national and English). Meanwhile the organization of training sessions have been started. So in June in Armenia and September in Azerbaijan 2011 REC Caucasus in close co-operation with Ministry of Environment and State Environmental Inspection agencies has launched the first round of 3 days professional trainings for environmental inspectors. During the two-day professional training 12 modules, subsequent case studies, questionnaires, as well as presentations, information package including national and EU legislation, EU directives (IPCC, Environmental liability, etc), information on co-operation between local and national agencies in the sphere of environmental inspection, legislation frameworks regulating environmental inspection, organization of work within environmental inspection/institutional issues and many other topics have been presented and discussed . Environmental inspectors from State Environmental Inspectorate (SEI) of Ministries of Environment of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been selected to take part in the sessions of professional trainings. During the session the brief information on the project mission, goal and expected results have been given. There was especially valued the idea of the project, which was born long before it started and emphasized the importance of the project which is based on assessment of real needs within the State Environmental Inspection and will serve as a capacity-building and skill –building tool both for experienced and start-up professionals. Bearing in mind the regionality of the project and as well as the common background in the region, Project team tried to keep the almost the same agenda in both countries. So the first session has started with the presentation on “The Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive (96/61/EC) implementation procedures in and the collaboration between state management and local self government bodies in the field of environmental inspection” during the session were discussed the main targets of the IPPC Directive: a framework directive aiming at a high level of protection for the environment as a whole, operating permits for industry with conditions to be based on “best available techniques” (BAT), which provides for an exchange of information on BAT, environmental permit system, permissions toward separate components of environment, complex permission and the scope use. Also was presented the institutional regulation of environmental permitting system, timeframes, permission for small and medium business organizations, and permits transition strategy by IPPC directive requirements and etc. During the first session also presented “Implementation of self-control towards compliance with the requirements of environmental legislation” introduction on draft law”. Presentation were made on “Legal field regulating Environmental inspectorate control procedure” and “Judicial protection procedure of Environmental control results and the role of inspectors in that procedure”, on “Environmental and natural resource use fees, financial-economic mechanisms of inspectorate” and “Collaboration of Ministries of Environment with international organizations, expected outcomes from the collaboration”. Trainers were discuss general approaches of introduction of Inspectorate reforms in Azerbaijan and Armenia, environmental risks, according to environmental field approaches of preparation of check lists, development of work plans, as well as presented environment impact assessment and organization of inspectorate control and also presented Specification of state control towards requirements of the flora and fauna. Besides presentations, five Group Work sessions have been carried out during the two-day training on case studies prepared by trainers.  Inspectors have been working on
  • “Identification of conflict situations during environmental inspection and analysis”
  • “Assessment criteria of leakage of water resources and water basins, the atmospheric emissions, hazardous waste installation and processing of the environmental risks”
  • “Supporting tools of EC available for Armenia and Azerbaijan (Twining)”.
  • “Special conditions of Environmental impact assessment and inspection toward them / Hydro electro stations, mining/
  • “Discussion of practical issues required for assessment of environmental inspection in maximum   permissible environmental emission and water use”
  • “Functions of inspectors in illegal poaching”
  • “Compliance and differences of EC and national legislation, applicability of  rules”
Interactive discussions and presentations on results have been conducted after each group work by environmental inspectors and facilitated by trainers and working group facilitators. To assess the quality and impact of the training session, all training participants and trainers have complied evaluation forms, which are proving the productiveness and efficiency of organization and conduction skills of professional trainings by REC Caucasus.   At the end of the training session Environmental inspectors have been awarded Certificate. The followings should be mentioned as main outcomes of conducted trainings:
  • The importance of application of structural approach in environmental inspection was better understood by training participants (environmental inspectors);
  • The participants have increased their knowledge on basic elements of environmental inspection, strategic planning and personnel administration during inspection process local experience and the best applications applied at international level
  • Practical activities (group works) enabled participants to use learned knowledge and properly apply during provision of the inspection activities.
  • At the end of the training session, it was decided to continue provision of such type of trainings on environmental inspection in future.
    Phase II Training of Trainers (TOT) on June 24-25 in Armenia and June 30-July1 in Azerbaijan, 2011 Project Team in close co-operation with Ministry of Nature Protection in Armenia and Ministry of Environment in Azerbaijan conducted training of trainers (TOT). The aim of the training of trainers (TOT) was to introduce structured professional knowledge in regard with environmental inspection procedures, institutional structures of Inspection, environmental indicators, risks and Directives in EC countries, as well key points and components to conduct efficient, productive and successful trainings through development of technical skills of trainer.  Environmental inspectorate trainers: representatives of Ministries of Environment have been taking part in the sessions of TOT.   TOT was consisted of two parts: professional and technical parts. During two-day TOT sessions, in professional part case studies of EC countries (Netherlands, Czech Republic, Belgium) on Environmental Legislation compliance and Indicators, Institutional structure of State Environmental Inspectorate in EC countries (Austria, Germany, Swiss, Norway and Belgium), Directive (2004/35/EC) on Environmental Liability and Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) have been presented and actively discussed by all participants. Presentation-communication-management, time management and team building skills have been presented and practiced in technical part of TOT.  Just to make more impressive the impact of TOT and achieve desirable results, sample of Team building and Ice Breaker has been practiced by training team. Post evaluation sheets have proven the productivity and efficiency of TOT. Training participants have made some recommendations in regard with the trainings to be implemented in next session including training materials, modules, presentations and training conduction, presentation, communication, group works, time management skills and how to make it proactive.     Phase III On July 31 and August 01, 2011 the second round of professional trainings for environmental inspectors have been organized by Armenia Branch Office of of Regional Environmental Centre for Caucasus. Two-day professional training sessions have been held for the second group of 20 inspectors. 12 modules, subsequent case studies, questionnaires, as well as presentations, information packages including national and EU legislation, EU directives (IPCC, Environmental liability, etc), information on co-operation between local and national agencies in the sphere of environmental inspection, legislation frameworks regulating environmental inspection, organization of work within environmental inspection/institutional issues and many other topics have been presented and discussed. Most of the time of the second round of training sessions has been allocated to group works according to recommendations suggested by participants and trainers in the first round of training sessions and TOT. Six focus group works have been conducted by trainers. Group works helped to enhance productiveness of sessions through knowledge transfer in a practical way. Trainees had a chance to interact on the topics chosen by trainers, observe, analyze, discuss, improve their knowledge and gain professional expertise. While practicing knowledge and expertise, environmental inspectors have been dealing with various tasks, such as identification of conflict situations during environmental inspection, functions of inspectors in illegal poaching, assessment of environmental risks, application of EC supporting tools available for Armenia (Twining and Taiex). The groups have also been working on clarification of special conditions of environmental impact assessment and inspection control over those conditions in Hydro-electro stations, mining and discussed practical issues, which are required for assessment of environmental inspection in maximum permissible environmental emission and water use. Presentations on the results of group works have been efficient and shown evidence of knowledge and expertise obtained from a range of resources, information and knowledge provided by trainers. Working groups have presented well-balanced arguments and drawn appropriate conclusions to the tasks above described. On December 28 and 30, 2011 the second round of professional trainings for environmental inspectors have been organized by Azerbaijan Branch Office of Regional Environmental Centre for Caucasus. Before organization of training sessions Azerbaijan BO has involved 4 qualified experts, together with them Azerbaijan BO specialists decided to conduct 3 days of training sessions on two topics: 1) Introduction to production self-control; 2) Preventing violations through effective communication There were made many presentation by the representatives of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources (MENR) and by experts of REC Caucasus. After the presentation session started question-answer session, and during the session the participants were clarified on unclear points of the training topics. The experts provided comprehensive information on questions arisen by training participants.   At wrap-up session, the topics studied during all training process were revised again and the participants were informed on next planned trainings in the field of environmental inspection. It was decided to organize next round of trainings in January or February month of 2012 and mainly to focus on applied methodology and best experience in environmental inspection at international level. The followings should be mentioned as main outcomes of conducted trainings:
  1. The importance of application of structural approach in environmental inspection was better understood by training participants   (environmental inspectors);
  2. The participants have increased their knowledge on production self control, its advantages, types of monitoring and its parameters.
  3. The participants have increased knowledge on importance of effective communication during environmental inspection activities and its role in preventing environmental violations;
  4. The participants get knowledge on local experience and the best applications applied at international level in the fields of production self-control and effective communication during environmental inspection.
  5. Practical activities (group works) enabled participants to use learned knowledge and properly apply during provision of the inspection activities.
At the end of training session, all participants appreciated the organization of such type of trainings. It was decided to continue provision of such type of environmental inspection in future.   Phase IV In the beginning of 2012 REC Caucasus Armenia and Azerbaijan Branch Offices continued conducting of the professional trainings for environmental inspectors. On January 27-28, 2012 REC Caucasus Armenia BO in close co-operation with Ministry of Nature Protection of Armenia and State Environmental Inspection agency has launched the third round of professional trainings. Training sessions were officially opened by Advisor to the Minister of Nature Protection. First day training session was started with the presentation on “The Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive (96/61/EC) implementation procedures in RA and the collaboration between state management and local self government bodies in the field of environmental inspection”, and continued with many other presentations on topics:
  1. “RA Law on “The implementation of self-control towards compliance with the requirements of environmental legislation”.
  2. “Environmental and natural resources use fees, financial economic mechanisms in SEI under MNP”
  3. “Organization of implementation of the inspection works by environmental inspectors”
  4. “RA Environmental Statistics” (legal filed, analysis, the aim of the procedure)
  5. “General approaches of investment of inspectorate reforms in RA, (environmental risks, approaches for development of questionnaires according to the environmental field inspection, development of work plan, questionnaires)”
The second day also continued with presentation of trainers based on the Modules of the Project. The trainings were finalized with group works Seven group works within the Case studies listed above have been conducted by the Environmental inspectors and assisted by trainer, and facilitators. Training participants have been divided into 3 groups, 6 and 7 inspectors in each group and smoothly entered into the case suggested and continued their work demonstrating situations where conflicts are found while conducting inspection and invested their expertise, after this it continued  in conditions of discussions: question-answer: discussion sessions took place after each presentation, which covered multiple issues raised by environmental inspector, trainers. Discussions were interactive. Environmental inspectors came up with a number of questions listed below. 25-26 January of 2012 Azerbaijan Branch office of Regional Environmental Center for Caucasus (REC Caucasus) has organized third round of trainings which lasted 2 days training sessions. During two days sessions were discussed the following two topics: 1) Environmental violation and legal actions taken to eliminate its consequences and legal actions taken to eliminate its consequences and international experience in this field; 2) Inventory of entities (users of nature) In order to provide participation of representative from donor organization at the training sessions, Azerbaijan Branch office of RECC has written invitation letter to Norwegian Embassy in Baku and invited Executive officer - Kristian Lundby Gjerde to participate at training session. Training session started at 25 January 2012. Kristian Lundby Gjerde -  Executive officer of Norwegian Embassy in Baku. He also welcomed all participants and trainers, and mentioned that there is good cooperation between governments of Norway and Azerbaijan. Norwegian government supports different development projects in the country. This project is one of them. The project aims to increase capacity of environmental inspectors leading to increase of quality of services provided by them. Final result of this is improvement of environment where we all live. Mr. Kristian thanked Azerbaijan Branch office of REC Caucasus for good organizational work and wished success to training participants. After this the day was full of presentations from the trainers based on modules, which were developed by the experts of the REC Caucasus. The presentation informed participants of formal and informal response mechanisms. There are 2 forms of response to violations: formal and informal. Informal responses may include telephone calls, site visits, warning letters and notices of violations. The purpose of informal action is to force the offender to comply with the requirements, or to initiate a formal legal process. Formal mechanisms are either civil or criminal. Civil action may be taken either in the administrative way or by applying to a court or other judicial body. During discussions the participants from different regions have raised current problems and asked questions.  The trainer has clarified all issues answering to all questions. The second day also was full of presentations, the last presentations were devoted to international experience in the field of environmental inspection. At wrap-up session, the topics studied during all training process were revised again and the participants were informed on next planned trainings. Third round of professional training sessions have been completed successfully by SEI and RECC Armenia BO and Azerbaijan BO. As the result of the project implementation, the steps of establishment of strong mechanisms are undertaken and in process of development. Professional knowledge and skills are transferred to environmental inspectors and creation of structured approach towards trainings for employees of the SEI is in process of creation. Within the project implementation, environmental inspectors have gained knowledge and skills, taken part in group works. The project helped to enhance capacity and capabilities of SEI inspectors.   Phase V Recommendations Training sessions’ Recommendations
  • Prepare and publish Trainer’s guideline;
  • Adapt International SEI expertise locally and figure out applicable mechanisms in Armenia and Azerbaijan;
  • Develop mechanism for the selection of the best environmental inspectors;
  • Initiate and conduct one extra training for the best environmental inspectors (core selected group of 10 or 20 best inspectors);
  • Allocate more time to discussions and group works.
  TOT’s Recommendation
  • Presentations on the EU Inspectorate legislation  and legal system;
  • Presentation on case studies in regard with SEI procedures in EU countries;
  • Presentation on SEI methods and activities in EU countries;
  • Presentation on obstacles which are result of legislation contradictions in inspectorate activities;
  • Training sessions should be focused on group works; (for more productivity and efficiency allocate more time for group works).
  • Training participants have also made some recommendations in regard with the training time management, training productiveness, effectiveness, relevance to be implemented in next session including training materials, modules, presentations, participants and training conduction, presentation skills.
  Project visibility Press releases on forthcoming events and reports on conducted activities were disseminated through REC Caucasus network and uploaded on the REC Caucasus web page www.rec-caucasus.org, in order to keep all stakeholders informed about progress and results of project.
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