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December 2018 | ENVSTATS Newsletter publishes an article on ENI SEIS II East

The latest EnvStats newsletter features EEA’s article on sharing European environmental knowledge with Eastern Partnership countries:

European Environment Agency: sharing European environmental knowledge with Eastern Partnership countries

(Contributed by Jana Tafi, Roberta Pignatelli, Luis Pinto and Andy Martin, European Environment Agency)

The European Environment Agency (EEA) is a unique institution in its capacity to generate environmental information and knowledge. Through its activities, the EEA supports capacity building as an evidence-driven process, and the long-term transition to a sustainable society. It is increasingly active in these areas in the six Eastern Partnership countriesof the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), for whom the EEA acts as a hub for the development of environmental and statistical institutions.

To achieve these goals, the EEA supports the pan-European environmental reporting process in the Eastern Partnership countries by implementing the ENI SEIS II East project4, funded by the European Union (EU). Project activities use the EEAs expertise on best national practices in EU Member States to develop the institutional capacities of environmental and statistical authorities in the Eastern Partnership. This is in line with international commitments related to the capacity-building, technology and systemic issues targets of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development’.

Training for experts

In this context, several activities have taken place over the last couple of years. Most recently, in August 2018, the EEAcademys ENI Summer School on Integrated Environmental Assessmentstook place with a view to supporting experts in the assessment field. The school built on the expertise of the EEA and its European environment information and observation network (Eionet), and on scientific advances in the field of integrated environmental assessments.

Some 18 experts from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, as well as six experts from EU Member States attended the school.The course — designed and hosted by the EEA and experts from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) — focused on the co-creation and sharing of knowledge. It covered thewhat, why and how?’ of integrated environmental assessments and looked in depth at how to move from such an assessment towards a more holistic integrated sustainability assessment. The course included academic and scientific presentations and hands-on exercises to develop practical skills and expertise.

Throughout 2018, the EEA and the Slovak Environment Agency (SEA) have held four vocational training courses in Minsk, Belarus (18-20 April), Tbilisi, Georgia (15-17 May), Baku, Azerbaijan (17-19 July) and Kyiv, Ukraine (2-4 October). A training package was developed for the training sessions, including didactic materials describing how to prepare data, indicators and assessment reports. The latest European methodologies and tools, such as the Environmental Indicator Catalogue(maintained by Eurostat with EEA support) and integrated environmental assessment applications were used to assess environmental indicators and integrate them into environmental reports.

Prior to these activities, in November 2017, the EEA and the SEA helped improve experts’ skills in state of the environment reporting. The aim was to build the capacity of national institutions working on the EEAs European Environment — State and Outlook report (SOER).

To kick off the institutional capacity development work, during August and September 2017, a vocational training course on environmental accounting was held in Montpellier, France. The course built on the capacity of the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD)in the field of environmental accounting. It also benefitted from the accumulated expertise of the EEA, the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UN CBD), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and cooperation with these institutions. Regional networks of national policymakers and experts were also involved.

The training was based on the Central Frameworkand the Experimental Accounting System of the UNs System of Environmental Economic Accounting10, and methodologies being developed at the EEA. The focus was on land cover accounts and relied in particular on the EEAs 10 years’ practical experience in producing and disseminating these accounts. The training covered the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) indicators and described how to merge the reporting processes of three UN conventions (the International Panel on Climate Change, the UN CBD and the Convention to Combat Desertification) with the SDGs’ short-term perspectives and longer-term expectations.


The EEAcademy is a knowledge and learning hub for the EEA and the Eionet, the EEAs Scientific Committee and EU institutional partners interested in developing competences on environmental sustainability issues at European and international levels. Created in 2016, it encompasses capacity-building and educational activities in knowledge areas where policy needs are evolving and where EEA-Eionet experience and competences need further development to meet new challenges. Key features of the EEAcademy include seminars and lecture series, a knowledge innovation lab and summer/winter schools.

As all the above activities illustrate, capacity building is integral to common efforts to tackle global issues such as climate change and global warming, which are perhaps the greatest threats our planet faces. Without capacity building, the Eastern Partnership countries will lack the institutional responses to achieve the necessary results.


The newsletter is available here.