On 10-11 April 2019, Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) Working Group 3 Environment, Climate Change and Energy Security met in Brussels to discuss its activities for the coming months, present messages to stakeholders and vote on its Coordinator(s). The two days were divided into various sessions – covering country updates, results from last year’s Working Groups’ Re-granting projects and procedural changes, following the Internal Reform.
In their meeting with EU stakeholders: Angela Bularga (DG NEAR), Andrzej Januszewski (DG ENV) and Niels Schuster (DG CLIMA), members shown keen interest in EU programmes in the region, such as EU4Environment or EU4Climate. In this respect, civil society is ready to be a partner in monitoring and conducting environmental assessments, raising the profile of actions against climate change and communicating its outcomes to the wider public. Despite adoption of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) legislation, small and large-scale hydropower continues to pose a serious environmental threat, from Armenia to Ukraine. The impact of EIA and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is the subject of a 2018 WG Re-granting project, which aims to equip civil society with the right methodology and monitoring tools. Due to mixed signals on its implementation, members remain vigilant – also in how it applies to water or waste management.
Transport is another area of concern: in many countries, we see little to no real steps to promote road safety or sustainable forms of transport. The main challenges include poor urban mobility planning, road user behaviour and limited investment in infrastructure, particularly in rail and public transport. Across the region, civil society has been actively campaigning to change this, using different strategies and tools – from education programmes to establishing local road safety councils or pressure groups. Members had a chance to get acquainted with World Bank experts: Antonio Nunez, Elena Lungu and Mariya Ivchenko, working on Transport – who are in the process of setting up a regional Road Safety Observatory for EaP countries. It was also an opportunity to discuss potential synergies and vectors for cooperation, as well as on how to carry out advocacy while using economic arguments for road safety.
While the new Commission is likely to push for a clean energy package, the new EU Parliament will probably be less receptive to taking action on climate change, warned Marco Giuli and Stefan Sipka (European Policy Centre). Other presentations included an introduction to EaP Index from Tania Marocchi (EaP CSF), with a focus on Energy, Environment and Transport indicators. Olena Pavlenko (DiXi Group) presented the findings of “Ukraine and the Association Agreement in the Energy Sector” project – and its methodology, which can be readily applied in the context of other AA/DCFTA countries. The meeting culminated in a public event, marking 10 years of EaP policy and its impact on Environment, Climate Change and Energy Security – hosted by the Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic to the EU. On internal matters, delegates re-elected Ina Coseru (National Environmental Center, Moldova) and Ana Otilia Nutu (Expert Forum, Romania) as WG3 Coordinators.