Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

Opportunities and options for promoting a green economy in the Eastern Partnership Countries

A new report on ways and potential to promote a green economy in the Eastern Partnership countries has identified substantial opportunities for green growth in energy efficiency, as well as for greening the industrial sector. All countries in the region would need to improve legal and regulatory systems, upgrade capacity and infrastructure and raise public awareness, the report says, while the European Commission has an important role to play in knowledge transfer and policy support.

The EU-funded report was commissioned to provide information about the current situation and potential opportunities in the Eastern Partner countries to make progress towards a green economy and the introduction of eco-innovation policy instruments. It will serve as a basis for the Eastern Partnership thematic seminar on the green economy to be held in Brussels today, 7 July 2011.

The report finds that the concepts of green economy and green growth are new for all Partner countries, and that while most have a general socioeconomic development strategy and have adopted or are updating environmental documents, no country has specific strategic documents on green economy, sustainable production and consumption or cleaner production.

Most relevant legislation dates back to the 1990s, and environmental permitting systems in all countries are almost fully based on the old Soviet ad hoc system, the authors say. The report also says that economic instruments do exist but are not efficient or fully implemented. Harmful subsidies are still in place, mainly in the energy and water sector, it adds.

However, all countries do implement measures to increase energy efficiency and introduce renewable energy technology in order to reduce dependence on energy imports and to improve energy security. All countries also have available (though under-funded) intellectual potential in scientific research, while all countries are parties to the majority of relevant global multilateral environmental agreements.

In terms of opportunities, the report highlights:

  • Substantial opportunities for green growth in energy efficiency (including housing), organic agriculture and food industry, transport sector and ecotourism/eco-agro-tourism could be found in the region. Potential for expanding the use of renewable energies is widespread but differs from country to country.
  • Concrete opportunities for greening the industrial sector (especially manufacturing) can be found in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ukraine and Armenia.. Opportunities in sustainable forestry management and wood processing industry (e.g. construction materials) exist in Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine.
  • Opportunities for regional or sub-regional activities can be found in: energy, transport (rail and water transport), air quality governance and water management (trans-boundary rivers, Black Sea). 

In order to promote a green economy, the report says all countries wound need to:

  • improve their legal systems and especially their regulatory mix
  • build additional capacities in the field of environmental management
  • improve coordination among ministries and relevant state agencies
  • develop specific water related infrastructure as well as waste management systems
  • improve their environmental monitoring system (with the exception of Belarus)
  • support green procurement at all levels of public administration
  • raise awareness in the field of green economy

In order to support Partner countries towards the green growth objective, the European Commission is urged to:

  • Increase the importance of green economy issues in ongoing projects
  • Prepare a new ‘umbrella’ project on Green Economy Governance
  • Increase the importance of green economy relevant issues in existing financing mechanisms
  • Increase coordination of activities with international organisations active in the region in the field of green economy

The 73-page report also provides country-by country analysis, and delivers country-specific recommendations. (ENPI Info Centre)

Read more

Opportunities and options for promoting a green economy in the Eastern Partnership Countries – download the full report (PDF) (also available in Russian)

DG Environment – website

ENPI Info Centre webpage – environment

ENPI Info Centre press pack – EU and the Eastern Partners: Cooperation to face the environmental challenge

Project funded by the European UnionEU