UNECE’s Committee on Environmental Policy adopted the Recommendations of the Third Environmental Performance Review (EPR) of Romania on 10 November 2020.
The Third EPR of Romania assessed progress made in the environmental performance of the country since 2012 and made recommendations to address identified challenges. The Review recalls the adoption by Romania in 2018 of a new Strategy for Sustainable Development 2030. Its practical implementation was supported by the establishment of cross-sectoral governance and institutional structures, notably the Intergovernmental Committee for Sustainable Development chaired by the Prime Minister and the State Department for Sustainable Development under the Prime Minister’s Office.
In his statement to the Committee, the State Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests of Romania, Mr. Iulian Octavian Stana, highlighted the main priorities for the country towards advancing environmental governance, including the codification of numerous environmental legislative acts to consolidate them, the improvement of inter-ministerial cooperation to ensure continuity and coherence in environmental policy, the strengthening of regulatory and compliance assurance mechanisms, the boosting of strategic planning and implementation efforts to address climate change and biodiversity loss, and the guarantee of public participation in decision-making on environmental matters. Romania is also seeking to strengthen its activities to protect the Carpathian Mountains by enhancing institutional coordination and administrative capacity for the implementation of the Carpathian Convention and its protocols.
The Chair of the Expert Group on EPRs, Mr. Harry Liiv (Estonia) informed the Committee on Environmental Policy of the main outcomes of the Expert Group’s work in 2020, highlighting the richness of the Third EPR of Romania, with its 61 recommendations addressing 52 Sustainable Development Goal targets. He also emphasized the constraints of meeting virtually, while recognizing a positive aspect of enabling a broader participation of experts from the reviewed country.
Sharing key findings in selected areas of the EPR , the rapporteur designated by the Expert Group , Ms. Alessandra Fidanza (Italy) drew attention to some priority issues requiring further attention by Romania, including the promotion of sustainable development and support of the cross-cutting work of the Department for Sustainable Development, the streamlining and stabilization of the environmental legal framework, and the enhancement of open access to environmental information by upgrading and developing further the country’s Integrated Environmental Information System. Ms. Fidanza also highlighted the need for more strategic management of water resources, the expansion of the solid waste integrated management system to cover the entire country, the greening of the economy through green public procurement and private sector participation, the building of resilience to climate change and support of the path to a low-carbon economy and society. Finally, in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, the EPR recommended the improvement of air quality and raising awareness about the negative health impacts of air pollution as a critical factor in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 and other future possible airborne threats, and adapting procedures to ensure effective public participation in decision-making on environmental matters in times of pandemics.
The Chair of the Committee on Environmental Policy, Ms. Elisabete Quintas da Silva (Portugal), congratulated Romania on the adoption of recommendations, wishing the country success in implementing them.
The EPR was prepared under the auspices of UNECE by a team of 11 experts from Hungary, Portugal and UNECE. The review was supported financially by the Governments of Austria and Switzerland and the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety and the German Federal Environment Agency through their Advisory Assistance Programme.
The recommendations of the Third EPR of Romania are available on the website of the 26th session of the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy (http://www.unece.org/index.php?id=54631).