Environmental assessments are tools that benefit people and nature. Their use ensures the soundness and transparency of economic and territorial planning decisions, preventing damage to the environment and health from economic growth. The Republic of Moldova committed to apply strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and environmental impact assessment (EIA), including in a transboundary context. Such commitments arise from the Association Agreement with the European Union, as well as from the UNECE Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (Protocol on SEA) and the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) to which the country is a Party.
UNECE and the European Union help Moldovan authorities to align national legislation and practices with international commitments, through the EU-funded regional programme, “European Union for Environment” (EU4Environment). The programme aims at greening economies in the six Eastern Partnership countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) based on EU funding of nearly 20 million euros.
Work on SEA and transboundary EIA that the UNECE secretariat to the Espoo Convention and its Protocol leads, is one of many elements of EU4Environment. In Moldova, this work was launched on 1 November at a workshop organized by UNECE and the Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment. This workshop brought together governmental agencies and environmental NGOs for discussing the benefits of SEA, as well as specific procedures, roles and responsibilities in its application. The workshop paved the way for further capacity- and institutional building, including training and guidelines on quality assurance of SEA documentation and, later, a pilot project on SEA. Previously, from 2013 to 2018, the EU and UNECE helped Moldovan authorities to develop and adopt relevant legislation and create initial capacities for conducting environmental assessments, including two pilot projects on SEA.
“SEA is an effective tool for integrating environmental consideration and increasing responsible participation in decision-making to upgrade Moldova’s national sectoral strategies, programs and plans in line with Sustainable Development Goals.” said Ms. Iuliana Cantaragiu, State Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment.
“The EU has an ambitious and evolving agenda on environment and climate and supports action in these areas worldwide. EU4Environment will help the Republic of Moldova to speed up progress in areas that need more capacity and attention.” said Mr. Gintautas Baranauskas, Deputy Head of Operations Section, EU Delegation to the Republic of Moldova.
“The Republic of Moldova recently becoming a Party to the Protocol on SEA further demonstrates the important efforts made by the country to comply with international requirements for SEA. Today’s event will support it in further promoting the effective application of SEA.” said Mr. Leonid Kalashnyk, EU4Environment Project Manager at UNECE.