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Country visits in 2016

Five country visits took place to Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine in 2016. 


The EEA team, together with the UNEP Regional Office for Europe, visited Yerevan, Republic of Armenia on 22-23 September 2016. The main findings are:

  • The Regional Environmental Center (REC-Caucasus) is profiled as a key partner to increase public participation in the decision-making process and facilitate the engagement of environmental NGOs in SEIS cooperation.
  • The Lake Sevan portal should be further improved and  nationally, and nationally, more effort should be made to calculate the water balance and extend thematic coverage to include biodiversity-related data.
  • The cooperation on SEIS should use of the results from many environmental projects that are currently running and link initiatives together.
  • Biodiversity monitoring and reporting faces a challenge  as a result of the division of responsibilities between local authorities and the national administration (certain land and biodiversity monitoring is under the jurisdiction of local government).  It is necessary to ensure that the Ministry of Nature Protection has full access to biodiversity-related systems and data administered under the Ministry of Agriculture, with the aim of developing a proper data policy. 



The visit to Azerbaijan took place in 2017. 


The main findings of the 6-7 September visit are:

  • Inter-institutional dialogue on environmental issues is reinforced through the Public Consultative Environmental Council, which is one of the few platforms allowing the involvement of civil society.
  • Environment is a key topic for EU-Belarus bilateral cooperation. Belarus is the only EaP country to put such strong emphasis on the environment in its cooperation with the EU.
  • A new EUR 14.5 million Action Programme known as “Strengthening Air Quality and Environmental Management in Belarus” was validated.  It cites cooperation with SEIS and covers technical assistance, procurement of mobile laboratories and equipment, educational work and involvement of the civil society.
  • There is strong interest in exploring and testing methodologies for environmental-economic accounting, with a proposal that initial testing could focus on water resources.
  • The SEIS II EAST project is expected to support the creation of a unified portal for environmental information at national level, with special attention to be placed on the user interface (visualisation). 


The EEA team, the Regional Office for Europe and its European Centre for Environment and Health (WHO ECEH, Bonn), and the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) visited Georgia on 8-9 November.  The main findings:

Due to political changes during the inception period, the dialogue at national level to define and establish the SEIS NIT has been postponed and should take place early in 2017.

    • The UNDP Global Environmental Facility (GEF) project on Enhancing Environmental Monitoring and Reporting in Georgia is implemented and coordinated through the Environmental Information and Education Centre. This project maps the national environmental information system that will strengthen capacities for evidence-based policy making.
    • There is strong interest in following-up the “Batumi Action for Cleaner Air (2016–2021)” and showcasing the benefits of SEIS in the field of environmental health by developing a national pilot project/case study to work with air quality data to assess health impacts.
    • The potential leading partner for the CLC mapping activity has been identified.
    • There is a need to help to develop a national water information system similar to the Water Information System for Europe (WISE), with technical and expert support for implementing data management and reporting-related aspects of the EU Water Framework Directive.


The main findings from 27-28 April visit:

  • A major on-going process has been the planning of an environmental institutional reform, with the possible creation of a new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Ministry of Environment has developed a draft concept, which includes a functional analysis (of the existing functions) and identifies overlaps, duplication of functions and potential conflicts of interest. The concept envisages the establishment of an EPA.
  • Moldova has highlighted the positive functioning of the inter-institutional working group for the EaP Green project (Greening Economies in the European Union's Eastern Neighbourhood), and plans a similar setup for its SEIS NIT.
  • The main priority areas for national support include capacity building to assess environmental impact at the household level (including in rural areas), with particular focus on water abstraction/consumption, waste and air pollution; the need to address data management and reporting aspects related to air quality monitoring and also to improve reporting under the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (CLRTAP); and the need to increase capacities to apply the SEEA.  



The visit of the EEA team to Kiev, Ukraine took place on 10-11 October 2016. The main findings are listed below:

  • The formalisation of the SEIS NIT is progressing well, with members and functions identified.
  • Statistical environmental data are available online in Ukrainian, Russian and English, but the government is considering re-organising the procedures for the collection of environmental statistics and transfeing the mandate for administrative reporting to sectoral agencies (i.e. the Ministry of Environment).  Since July 2016, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources together with the NGO Mama-86 has been developing a new portal to disseminate environmental data, indicators and assessments (
  • The potential leading partner in the  CLC mapping activity has been identified.
  • The EU-funded project providing support to Ukraine for the approximation of the EU Environmental acquis (the APENA project) focuses on three components: environmental governance and horizontal issues (four Directives), EU water quality and water resources management (six Directives), and EU nature protection (two Directives).
  • The main priority areas for national support include methodological support for producing environmental indicators and reporting to the Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution (CRLTAP); expert support for implementing data management and reporting-related parts of EU legislation, such as the Air Quality Directives 2008/50 (incl. development of an implementation plan and terms of reference for monitoring equipment) and 2004/107, and the EU Water Framework Directive.