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Workshop on The Strategy of Environment Protection for the countries of Eastern Europe,
Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA): Prospects and Obstacles

Background

The workshop aimed to recommend to the 5th Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe" what steps could be taken to build an effective biological and landscape diversity strategy for EECCA region.

Current status of the strategy for EECCA region is quite away from the understanding of importance of biodiversity conservation for sustainable development of the region. As a result the chapter 3.2 “Biodiversity conservation and protection of ecosystem” of the discussed document contains short list of general problems and does not provide clear picture of the way to resolve its:

  • Incorporation of biodiversity conservation issue in the state programs of social and economic development, strengthening of financial support of protected areas;
  • Establishment of adequate taxation for biological resources usage;
  • Introduction of effective mechanisms of an estimation of the damage for biodiversity and its indemnification at a national level with the purpose of prevention of losses of a biodiversity;
  • Introduction of an obligatory impact assessment on biodiversity in the process of Environmental Impact Assessment;
  • Adoption and realization of national strategies, action plans on biodiversity conservation;
  • Creation of the appropriate national interdepartmental commissions;
  • Increase of the number of especially protected areas, creation of the national system for biodiversity conservation, including development of ecological networks;
  • Achievement of the basic purposes of the Kiev resolution on biodiversity.

The workshop focused on the: "STRUCTURE", "CONTENT", and "SYNERGY" of the Strategy; exploring how biodiversity issue could be properly incorporated in the "environmental" strategy; what could be proposed for such purpose; how can synergy be created between different processes; how can harmonization of initiatives be achieved?

Conclusions and recommendations

A workshop on the Strategy of Environment Protection for the countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA): Prospects and Obstacles was held within the framework of the first regional session of the Global Biodiversity Forum for the countries of Eastern Europe (April 23-25, 2003, Chisinau, Moldova).

The workshop was attended by 40 representatives of governmental bodies, research institutions and non-governmental organizations from the EECCA countries with 22 reports presented and more than 15 statements made. The workshop adopted the following declaration:

Recognizing the priority of biodiversity conservation for the EECCA countries and taking into account their ethnic and cultural peculiarities and different social and economic development,

noting the inadequate level of attention paid to the issues related to biodiversity in the documents prepared for the Fifth Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe” (held in Kyiv on May 21-23, 2003)

recognizing the need of an integrated (institutional, legal, financial, humanitarian) approach towards the problem of landscape and biological diversity conservation,

noting the lack of an adequate legal and public regulation of nature conservation in the modern market environment, particularly in the economies in transition,

supporting the efforts of countries-members of the UN European Economic Commission aimed at landscape and biological diversity conservation,

the participants of the first regional session of the Global Biodiversity Forum for the countries of Eastern Europe request the Fifth Ministerial Conference on the topic “Environment for Europe” to adopt a draft resolution on biodiversity presented by the Council of the Pan-European Strategy in the field of biological and landscape diversity.

Noting the importance of setting up institutions of civil society for addressing the problem of landscape and biological diversity conservation,

emphasizing the importance of integrating the issues of biological and landscape diversity in the system of continued ecological education and training,

calling for close cooperation between all interested parties,

recognizing the urgency of cooperation within the framework of bilateral and multilateral agreements, and

convinced in the possibility of elaborating a common stand of the EECCA countries in respect of the strategy of biological and landscape diversity conservation on the basis of national and regional strategies,

the participants of the first regional session of the Global Biodiversity Forum for the countries of Eastern Europe identified the main provisions which, in their view, should be reflected in the documents of the Fifth Ministerial Conference on the topic “Environment for Europe” in respect of the Strategy of Ecological Partnership in the UN EEC region: nature conservation strategy for the countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA):

  • to encourage the inclusion of biodiversity conservation aspects in governmental programs in the field of social and economic development;
  • to regard inter-sectoral cooperation as a major pre-condition of sustainable development and biodiversity conservation;
  • the ideas of biodiversity conservation should become attractive to different social groups from economic and image-making point of view.

To achieve these goals biological and landscape diversity should be viewed by different agents as a special treasure that has economic value as well. The participants of the session consider it necessary:

  • to recommend to set up national and sub-regional international commissions on the issues of biodiversity;
  • to recognize the need of establishing a market of ecosystem goods and services;
  • to provide in the national legislation of the countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia for a system of tax benefits in carrying out activities related to biodiversity conservation;
  • to facilitate the practice of loans-and-grants support of ecologically acceptable patterns of farming and land use;
  • to encourage integration of ecological networks of the countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia within the framework of the Pan-European Strategy in the field of biological and landscape diversity;
  • to counteract an increased transboundary invasion of alien species as a particular threat to biodiversity conservation;
  • to recognize the need of further development of a system of international exchange of ecological information, inter alia through the Clearing-House Mechanism,
  • to recognize the need of inventory-making of territories and facilities that meet relevant international criteria of biodiversity significance and introduction of differentiated public accounting indicators for the absolute and relative size of specially protected natural areas and the share of GDP allocated for biological and landscape diversity conservation;
  • to develop regionally-specific requirements in respect of indicators and procedures of biological diversity assessment in carrying out strategic ecological assessment, environmental impact evaluation and ecological expertise;
  • to develop and introduce on the basis of an ecosystem approach an integrated assessment of damage caused by economic activities to landscape and biological diversity, as well as the methods of paying compensation for it;
  • to develop the mechanisms for consistent implementation of international conventions related to biodiversity issues;
  • to call upon the Russian Federation and Uzbekistan to accede to the Aarhus Convention;
  • to call upon Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to accede to the Ramsar Convention;
  • to call upon the Russian Federation to accede to the UN Convention on Desertification;
  • to draw attention of the states-parties of the Bonn and Bern Conventions to the need of sub-regionalization of these Conventions in order to take more fully into account the peculiarities of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia;

Welcoming the preparation of the Karpaty Convention for signature the participants of the workshop demand to speed up elaboration of the Caucasian and Central Asian Mountain conventions, as well as that of the Nistru and Dniepr conventions and express their expectation that legal aspects of landscape and biological diversity conservation will be adequately reflected in these documents.

The participants of the first regional session of the Global Biodiversity Forum for the countries of Eastern Europe consider it necessary to encourage national delegations to take the provisions of this resolution into account in adopting final documents of the Fifth Ministerial Conference on the topic “Environment for Europe” (Kiev, May 21-23, 2003).

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