For more than 20 years, the OECD has been supporting the countries of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) to green their economies through the Task Force for the Implementation of the Environmental Action Programme for Central and Eastern Europe, formerly known as the “EAP Task Force” and was established in 1993, following a request to OECD from the “Lucerne Environment for Europe” Ministerial Conference.
The 8th “Environment for Europe” Ministerial Conference in Batumi, Georgia (8-10 June 2016) provided an occasion to consider the future of the EAP Task Force. Given the increasing emphasis on green growth in the work of the OECD-EAP Task Force in recent years and ‘greening the economy’ as the theme of the Batumi Ministerial Conference, the members of the EAP Task Force have decided to change its name to the “GREEN” Action Task Force. “GREEN” stands for “GReen Economy and ENvironment”. The OECD will continue to host the Secretariat of the Task Force for the implementation of the programme, in co-operation with other interested partners.
The mission of the GREEN Action Task Force is to “guide improvement of environmental policies in transition economies of Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia (EECCA) by promoting the integration of environmental considerations into the processes of economic, social and political reform”. More specifically, the GREEN Action Progamme aims to:
In line with its mission to “guide improvement of environmental policies by promoting the integration of environmental considerations into the processes of economic, social and political reform”, the EAP Task Force since its inception has helped countries achieve tangible results on the ground. The GREEN Action Task Force will focus on the continuation of those results.
The work of the EAP Task Force has evolved considerably since its establishment in response to new needs and a changing geo-political landscape. The first cycles of work focused on facilitating environmental policy design. Since the late 1990s, an increasing emphasis has been put on policy implementation in the context of EECCA countries.
Work on water supply and sanitation was launched during a joint meeting of environment, finance and economy ministers in Almaty in 2000, and has been steadily growing in importance.
Since the 2007 Belgrade Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference, the Task Force’s work was organised around two major areas: water resources management and environmental policy implementation. Within these areas, work was conducted on policy instruments for greener economies, natural resources management, including water, and public and private finance for environmental and climate change programmes. This complemented the previous work on a range of policy instruments, such as indicators and valuation, cleaner production and integrated pollution prevention and control, environmental compliance assurance, public environmental expenditure and environmental finance more generally.
Following the 2016 EfE Ministerial Conference in Batumi, Georgia, the Task Force has been re-invented to adjust to shifting demand from countries. Since 2016 it has been acting under the new name of the Green Economy and Environment (GREEN) Action Programme Task Force. Its work has been organized around four major areas:
The shift of EAP Task Force work to the EECCA region required new working methods to be developed. Whereas policy analysis and dialogue – the traditional working methods of OECD – were appropriate for central European countries, the needs of EECCA countries required more direct engagement. Accordingly, the EAP Task Force implemented its work increasingly through demonstration projects that were designed to either develop or test tools that could support policy and institutional reform. The new approach helped secure important outcomes on the ground. More attention has also been given to capacity development, including through training. Implementing such activities has required closer co-operation with aid agencies, as well as environment ministries, in OECD countries.
The location of the GREEN Action Task Force Secretariat at the OECD has enabled the its members to draw upon the policy analysis and recommendations prepared within OECD directorates and committees dealing not only with environmental matters but also financial and enterprise affairs, public management, economics, regulatory reform and others.
The members of the GREEN Action Task Force comprise the governments of Western, Central and Eastern Europe, North America, the Caucasus and Central Asia. International organisations and financial institutions, business and civil society representatives actively participate in the work of the Task Force.
The GREEN Action Task Force meets once a year. Between the annual meetings, a Bureau of the Programme provides guidance for the Secretariat on the implementation of the work programme. The EAP Task Force is co-chaired by Kazakhstan and Germany and its major donors are: the European Commission, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. Other donors include Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, and the United Kingdom.