Environment in emerging and transition economies

Guiding Principles to Reform the Environmental Enforcement Authorities in Transition Economies of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia


The transition to a market economy and the democratisation of societies in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) generated the a need to develop this policy paper. After gaining independence in 1991, the twelve countries of the region have experienced a decade of serious economic recession with drops a decline of 50% and more in industrial production and real GDP. This situation, quite common fora transition from the centrally planned economic systems, helped to reduce some important pressures on the environment. Over the last two years, however, economic growth has been recorded in the region and the environmental enforcement authorities are being challenged to prevent and control environmental pollution and degradation during the economic recovery and production upturn.

The challenge of achieving best environmental results at a least cost for society is being influenced by many factors. The transition period accentuated old and brought about new problems in environmental enforcement, such as, a lack of political and social recognition of negative impacts of environmental problems, a greater diversity in the regulated community, or lobbying by powerful groups or individuals for special privileges. Several studies have shown that enforcement systems and institutions have not received sufficient attention from decision-makers, and low environmental performance and violations of environmental laws have been widespread in the EECCA region. Furthermore, the slow pace of governance and economic reforms, a complicated legal framework and poor economic situation, society's failure to believedisbelief in fair regulation and the erosion of the rule of the law nourished non-compliance. Limited powers, scarce financial and human resources of enforcement agencies are also major causes of low effectiveness in ensuring compliance.

Under these circumstances, the representatives of the environmental agencies from the EECCA countries decided that reforms of national enforcement systems are needed to cope with current challenges, but also to establish clear targets for a long-term institutional development. These targets have been identified, discussed among key stakeholders and agreed upon in the "Guiding Principles for Reform of Environmental Enforcement Authorities in Transition Economies of EECCA". Recommendations are given on the wayhow to organise implementation and a mechanism is proposed for monitoring and evaluation. The international dimension is discussed only briefly to avoid duplication with documents already developed or under development by other international bodies (e.g., UNEP Guidelines on Compliance with and Enforcement of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEA), adopted in February of 2002 and the UNECE draft Guidelines for strengthening compliance with and implementation of MEA in the European region).

In addition, two other documents, a "Review of Enforcement and Compliance Practices in EECCA" and a "Toolkit for Environmental Inspectorates" have been developed in the framework of the NISECEN. They accompany the Guiding Principles by presenting the current situation in the region and describing the tools, which that should facilitate their the implementation of the Guiding Principles. These documents are developed under the umbrella of the EAP Task Force work programme and will be part ofenter in the package of products for the Kyiv Ministerial Conference, to be held in May 2003 as part of "Environment for Europe" process.

For further information please contact Ms. Angela Bularga, e-mail: angela.bularga@oecd.org.

See also:
Guiding Principles for Effective Enforcement Authorities in the NIS


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