The new policy cycle should take into account the fundamental importance of preserving natural capital in the EaP countries – and strengthening their institutional framework, claims EaP CSF Policy Paper on Environment. The concerted action of EU institutions, International Financing Institutions (IFIs), in particular European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and European Investment Bank (EIB), and civil society can help reinforcing EaP countries’ good governance frameworks and implementation of environmental reforms.

So far, EaP roadmap obligations and EU support have slowly succeeded in moving environmental protection and environmental policy reform higher up on the agenda. Despite some advancements, EaP countries’ road towards effective environmental reform remains hindered by two interconnected stumbling blocks: (i) institutions with inadequate capacity to implement the adopted laws, leading to (ii) insufficient implementation of the adopted environmental reforms. The fact that in Belarus and Azerbaijan civil society does not have a structured dialogue with the Ministries of Environment – and lack the possibility to discuss and advocate for environmental protection – continues to negatively affect prospective environmental protection in these countries.

Environmental reform is integrated into the Eastern Partnership (EaP) in a number of ways. The Association Agreements (AA) signed between the European Union (EU) and Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, and the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA), include provisions for strengthening institutions the field of environment – in order to adopt new legislation in line with European standards. Deliverable 16 of the 20 Deliverables for 2020 contains targets meant to guide all six EaP countries towards better environmental protection and climate change adaptation.