Environment for Europe process

The Environment for Europe (EfE) process was launched in Dobris in 1991, in the then Czechoslovakia, to serve as a framework for improving and harmonising environmental quality and policies on the continent. Josef Vavrushek the Minister of Environmental protection of the former Czechoslovakia saw it as a unique opportunity to unify the countries, thus promoting peace, stability and sustainable development.

The EfE process seeks to improve coordination of national and international efforts in Europe, focusing on central and Eastern parts of the region. The process sits within the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) framework, in which there are 55 member states, including countries in North America (Canada and America), Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) and Western Asia (Israel).

The UNECE region covers more than 47 million square kilometres and has a population of 1.2 billion (20% of the world's population). Details of the UNECE region are available at www.unece.org/oes/nutshell/region.htm.

The Kiev Conference

Kiev was the 5th ministerial conference to take place under the EfE process. It brought together delegates from 55 UNECE member states as well as representatives of the major international organisations, NGOs and other experts.

The Conference made important progress in raising environmental standards across the wider European region through:

  • Adoption of three new protocols to UNECE conventions: Strategic environmental assessment; Pollutant release and transfer registers; Civil Liability and Compensation of Damages (more details available on Kiev conference website - see link below)

  • Adoption of an environmental strategy for EECCA countries not involved in EU accession: Agreement to a series of targets to support biodiversity objectives

  • Commitment to develop a strategy on education for sustainable development in the UNECE region

  • Ministerial declaration setting strategic priorities for the future of the EfE process

During the conference the then Secretary of State launched Defra's "Environment for Europe" fund, worth £2 million in 2003/04. The priorities of the fund are to promote environmental protection and sustainable development in central and eastern Europe by supporting a range of multilateral and bilateral programmes as well as smaller grass-roots projects.

Follow-up to Kiev

A UK stakeholder event to look at follow-up to the conference took place on 21 July 2003. This identified possible priority areas of follow-up from the conference for the UK, looked at how the UK could deliver Kiev commitments, and explored funding options for UK stakeholders. For further information about the event please see the programme and papers on the outcomes of Kiev and report of the meeting below:

Following on from this stakeholder event the UK has formulated a strategy for action, giving priority to work on water, energy, biodiversity, public participation, education for sustainable development and private sector involvement within the EfE process. Details of the UK's strategy on Kiev follow-up are outlined in the matrix below. The glossary explains abbreviations used.

A meeting of EECCA Environment Ministers and their partners ('Kiev+1') was held in Tbilisi, Georgia, from 21-22 October 2004. This reviewed partnerships and action programmes established since Kiev and discussed future priorities.

The next EfE Ministerial Conference will be held in Belgrade in Autumn 2007.

Environment for Europe fund

The UK Environment for Europe Fund was launched by the Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs at the 5th Ministerial Environment for Europe Conference which took place in Kiev on 21-23 May 2003.

The broad aims of the Fund are to promote environmental protection and sustainable development in Central and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia and to support activities of environmental organisations in these countries.

The Fund is a successor to the former Environmental Know How Fund which was created in the early 1990s by the then Department for the Environment and merged with the assistance programmes of the Department for International Development in 1999.

The UK Environment for Europe Fund is managed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). In many cases Defra works in partnership with other agents, including the Department for International Development (DFID); British Council; United Nations Economic Commission for Europe; the Environmental Action Programme Task Force; the Regional Environment Centres and other non-governmental organisations working in the region.

For more information about the UK Environment for Europe Fund please see our website contact us at: efe_enquiries@defra.gsi.gov.uk

Iuliiana Best
Europe Environment Division, Zone 5/E8
Ashdown House
123 Victoria Street
London SW1E 6DE

Tel: +44 (0)20 7082 8556
Fax: +44 (0)20 7082 8587

Partners for Environmental Cooperation in Europe (PECE)

Following the Kiev conference, the UK developed an initiative which brings together organisations from the public and private sectors and civil society - Partners for Environmental Cooperation in Europe (PECE) - to protect the environment and promote sustainable development in the EECCA region.

Defra has offered to provide the Secretariat and has also provided co-funding for PECE projects from its Environment for Europe fund.

PECE was launched on 8 March 2005 with 34 founding members.

Further Information

For further information and background to the Kiev Environment for Europe Conference click on the following links:

Page last modified: 22 May 2010
Page published: 22 April 2003