"Russian Regional Environmental Centre can play an important role in raising attention towards environmental issues and strengthening environmental civil society"

Margot Wallstrцm, EU Commissioner on environment in 1999-2004

Support of and technical assistance to successful implementation of tasks within the framework of EU-Russia dialogue

RREC focuses within this project on the following strategic tasks:

  • stimulate inter sectoral cooperation and improve awareness of the stakeholders
  • support and provide technical assistance in implementation of the provisions of the EURussia
  • Dialogue on Environment, the Road Map on Common Economic Space
  • provide informational support for EU-Russia

Judging upon the outcomes of the work within this program, RREC has identified the reasons for insufficient activity in this field which on the one hand relate to imperfection of the Dialogue mechanism and on the other hand to weak information basis for its efficient functioning. For tackling above mentioned shortcomings, RREC suggested to develop a working plan for Dialogue’s subgroup on Convergence of Environmental Policies based on the analysis of the current situation and its development trends.

The plan was adopted by both, EU and Russia, ides at the next meeting which was held on February, 2008.

The following issues were chosen as priority for the nearest future:

  • Environmental assessment of economic activity
  • Economic (Market-based) instruments of regulation
  • Environmental impact assessment
  • Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espo) as a tool for Convergence of Environmental Policies
  • Environmental standards
  • The European Comission provided tangible input to implementation of ideology on convergence of environmental policies. In particular, DG Environment.released series of guidelines on policy convergences in the different areas. The following guidelines were submitted to the Russian side:
  • Convergence with EU policies in the field of air protection
  • EU horizontal legislation in the field of environment
  • Convergence with EU policies on integrated prevention and control of pollution
  • Convergence with EU policies on nature protection (biodiversity)
  • Convergence with EU policies on waste management
  • Convergence with EU policies on water management

All the guidelines were prepared in the unified format and contained the proposals on convergence of Russian and European approaches on tackling environmental issues. The European Commission and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation supposed to use the guidelines as a background document for maintaining the Dialogue.

It was envisaged to attract attention of the stakeholders, including policy and decision-makers, to the guidelines for further use as a reference in preparation of policy and regulatory initiatives.

The meeting of experts which was held in May 2008 in Moscow State University of International Relations under the Ministry of International Affairs of the Russian Federation allowed extending the partner community and was dedicated to assessment of previous cooperation and perspectives for development of sectoral dialogues in EU-Russia cooperation.

The meeting was attended by the members of the working groups and subgroups of the Dialogue, experts involved in implementation of the activities within the framework of the Dialogue and representatives of the permanent mission of the EC Delegation in Moscow.

The participants came to conclusion, that the Dialogues have become a sort of infrastructure created for enabling development of the Common Space for EU-Russia Road Maps and providing favorable conditions for forming political basis for EU-Russia cooperation. Furthermore, the Dialogues allow avoiding confrontation and assist in shaping a positive atmosphere for solving the most critical issues.

For further facilitation of the Dialogue RREC decided to develop an online resource on EU-Russia environmental cooperation in order to support the interest towards this issue and form the information basis for further interaction. Besides, RREC suggested developing a separate page for EU-Russia Dialogue on Environment, as it has been poorly represented on the web-sites of the key-participants - the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and the DG Environment.

The website was created to inform interested parties on EU and Russia experience in the field of environmental policies and results of their implementation. Analysis of represented information (official documents, strategies, plans and statistical data) allows defining existing shortcomings in the legislation.