International Sub-regional Conference

International sub-regional conference on Enhancing Strategic Environmental Assessment in selected countries of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia is taking place on November 2 – 6 in Kakheti, Georgia. The event aims to support legislative reforms of environmental assessment systems and build national capacities in implementing Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in the selected countries. More than 40 participants from 8 countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation, Moldova, Ukraine) and 10 international experts from the EU countries were brought together in Georgia to discuss various approaches to enhance their legal and institutional frameworks for the application of SEA. Mr. Gigla Agulashvili, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia and Ms. Maia Bitadze, Deputy Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia highlighted the important role of the SEA system for Georgia. They welcomed sharing of experience of Georgia and other countries on addressing challenges related to difficulties in understanding and procedures on screening, quality control and transboundary SEA procedures. “This experience will support our country and the ministry, in particular, in efficient development and adoption of relevant legislation as well as harmonisation of all processes with the Association Agreement,” – underlined the Minister. Ms. Elena Santer, UNECE secretariat representative encouraged Georgia to join the UNECE Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment that sets the framework for integration of environmental and health considerations into governmental plans and programmes. Moreover, she stressed that UNECE stands ready to continue supporting the participating countries in building their national SEA systems. International sub-regional conference was organized by the UNECE secretariat of the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary context (Espoo Convention) in the framework of the EU Programme ‘Greening Economies in the European neighbourhood’ (EaP GREEN). More information is available at http://www.unece.org/index.php?id=40656#/ The EaP GREEN programme is funded by the European Union and other donors, and is jointly implemented by the four partner organisations: OECD, UNEP, UNECE and UNIDO. The project partner in Georgia is Georgia’s Environmental Outlook GEO.