Newsletter no. 3, April 2020 - September 2020

Dear Reader / Dear EPPA Follower,

Welcome to EPPA’s third newsletter. We hope that you are staying healthy and safe in the current difficult circumstances shaped by COVID-19 pandemic. We miss the opportunities for direct interactions with you in the field but also we are truly happy with your active engagement in our online workshops.

In this issue, you will find the overview of events and topics covered by the EPPA project in the period April 2020 - September 2020. This edition also marks half time of the project implementation that will last until February 2022. We would like to express our appreciation to all beneficiaries, member states experts, the European Commission representatives and all other stakeholders participating in our activities and supporting EPPA implementation.   

We would like to send you warm wishes of peace, joy and good well-being for the upcoming time. 

The EPPA Secretariat Team 

The current issue will give you an overview of the project activities  within the following areas:
è Cross cutting issues
è Waste management 
è Water management
è Air quality
è Nature protection


COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on project implementation

April 2020 - ongoing

Due to worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 which has impact also on the project implementation, the team has adopted telework strategies and moved to IT tools in close cooperation with TAIEX that allowed to implement planned activities. The pandemic, and the resulting lockdowns, led to the postponement of several activities. The events took place online, slightly later than planned (i.e. the technical workshops). The same approach will be continued until the situation is improved. The EPPA Project team cooperates with all stakeholders engaged, in order to deliver the best quality of output. 

EU - Western Balkans Summit in Zagreb

May 2020 

The Summit, which was held on May 6th, focused on the EU cooperation with Western Balkans' partners in pandemic situation and delivered message of unity and solidarity. The leaders of participating countries have adopted Zagreb declaration, which emphasised the EU support in tackling consequences of the pandemic, commitment of Western Balkans towards democracy, rule of law as well as association of the region to the EU's climate related ambitions in line with the Paris Agreement and promoting the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans.

The 2nd Project Steering Committee meeting

September 15th, 2020

The Project Steering Committee (PSC) meeting took place on September 15th, 2020 and involved EPPA beneficiaries (Focal Points, IPA Coordinators for the Environment Sector and Working Group Coordinators) as well as the European Commission Directorates General (DG ENV, DG NEAR, DG SANTE), European Environmental Agency, Regional Cooperation Council, the EU Strategy for Adriatic-Ionian Region and Energy Community Secretariat. It was also attended by the EPPA Secretariat Team and the implementing consortium.

The PSC meeting focused on:

♦ reviewing recent EU policy developments (the EU Green Deal, the Green Agenda for Western Balkans, the New Circular Economy Action Plan, the Biodiversity Strategy, the Farm to Fork Strategy),

♦ the available funding opportunities that will lay foundation for the EU, Western Balkans and Turkey future cooperation (IPA III, WBIF, TAIEX),

♦ current state of implementation and transposition of the EU environmental acquis in beneficiaries,

♦EPPA Project's main outcomes as well as proposal for further activities to the work plan, based on key recommendations identified by the project team.

Compliance checks

September, 2020

The project has so far responded to, and delivered, four compliance check requests. In August 2020, the project team prepared the third compliance check report on Bosnia and Herzegovina's “Environmental Protection Act” against Directive 2010/75/EU on industrial emissions. In September 2020, the fourth compliance check report was prepared on Turkish by-law on waste management, with the requirements of the 2018 EU waste legislation package.

Involvement of the national Civil Society Organisations 

April 2020 - September 2020

The EPPA team has been continuously working towards assuring CSO sector participation in all project activities. The representatives of relevant national CSOs took part in eight TAIEX-EPPA regional and national workshops, held between April 2020 - September 2020.

On May 6th, EPPA Regional Meeting of the Environmental Civil Society Organizations was held in form of webinar with participation of 24 organizations. The objective of the meeting was to involve CSOs from EPPA beneficiaries into the ongoing  policy debate about new environmental priorities arising from the European Green Deal, Green Agenda for the Western Balkans and enlargement process as well as inform them about EPPA activities. The speakers from The Nature Conservancy and European Environmental Bureau shared their experiences in collaboration with the EC in the broader context.

The event’s conclusions included the following:

♦ ensuring donor funds to the Western Balkans and Turkey have conditionality and monitoring mechanism, conditionality should prevent financing the carbon economy,

♦  taking into account  by the European Union feedback received via TACSO project,

♦ the need for concrete measures for domestic heating, transport and industry as well as improvement of monitoring and reporting of pollution and waste management,

♦ the need for intensified capacity building (financial, scientific and human) in the nature sector.


TAIEX EPPA Sub-regional Workshops on Creating Integrated Waste Management Systems

May 2020 - June 2020

The first event was held on-line on May 12th covering three beneficiaries (Albania, Kosovo*, North Macedonia), whilst the second event was held on June 2nd covering four beneficiaries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey). The workshops helped to define major obstacles of implementing effective integrated waste management systems and drew recommendations for future activities as well as contributed to development of regional perspective for waste management. They involved EU member states experts from Austria and Croatia.

The conclusions of the 1st workshop include the following issues:
♦ beneficiaries shall develop fit for purpose legislation as well as develop their strategies and action plans, create monitoring and reporting mechanisms,
♦ beneficiaries shall allocate the necessary resources for infrastructure construction and have a solid enforcement and inspection system in place as the lack of financial capacities, human resources and other technical capacities are the main obstacle.

The 2nd workshop’s discussions centered around the following topics:
♦ to improve inter-institutional coordination at all levels as well as to increase beneficiaries' ownership of waste management,
♦ to engage of blending financial schemes, where donor funding is complemented by countries' resources,
♦ the need for better waste management information system.

Upcoming events:

November 17-18th, 2020, webinar

TAIEX EPPA National Workshop on Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy in Turkey
March 2nd, 2021, webinar
TAIEX EPPA National Workshop on Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy (Beneficiary: TBC)


TAIEX EPPA National Workshops on implementation of Marine Strategy Framework Directive, MSFD (beneficiaries: Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina)

May 2020

The first workshop was held on May, 19-20th and addressed Albania, whilst the second one was held on May, 26-27th and focused on Bosnia and Herzegovina, both in form of webinar. The workshops strengthened national capacities in the context of implementation of MSFD as well as designation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and collective subregional action and trans-boundary management of Adriatic Sea. They involved EU member states experts from Greece, Romania, Slovenia.

Selected conclusions of the 1st workshop concerning Albania were:
♦ the importance of establishing the National Agency for Protected Areas,
♦ identification of 11 sites that can be designated as MPAs,
♦ the main threats to Albanian present and future MPAs are fisheries, shipping, tourism and coastal urbanization.

The workshop addressing Bosnia and Herzegovina has concluded with the following, among others:
♦ Bosnia and Herzegovina's marine waters are of better quality and less polluted than other places in the Adriatic Sea, although the expected growth of urbanization and tourism might pose future risks,
♦ the main environmental issues land-sea related are the management of municipal solid waters and the management of communal waste waters,
♦  establishing clear protection goals will be key to gain support and understand what kind of management measures will be needed.

TAIEX EPPA Regional Workshop on Flood Protection and River Restoration

September 22-23th, 2020

The online event involved all EPPA beneficiaries and was focused on exchanging views and good practices between the EU member states experts from Romania and Slovenia and beneficiaries on challenges of implementation of the EU Flood Directive as well as flood protection and river restoration techniques.

The workshop's conclusions covered: 
♦ highlights of benefits of an ecosystem services approach and nature- based solutions in flood management, providing sustainable, positive outcomes with significant benefits for biodiversity, climate adaptation, nature conservation and human well being,
importance of coordination in implementation of the Flood Directive and the Water Framework Directive, including interlinks between river basin management plans and flood risk management,
♦ latest developments in policy at the EU level (Flood Directive fitness check report indicating that the directive has performed well so far in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, coherence, relevance and EU added value).

TAIEX EPPA Regional Workshop on Managing Marine Litter

September 29-30th, 2020

The online workshop focused on sharing views and experience of the EU member states experts  from Croatia, Greece, Romania, and Slovenia  with beneficiaries on preventive, mitigating and remedial measures regarding marine litter. This was put in the context of achieving circular economy in synergy with the process of reaching objectives of Single Use Plastic Strategy (SUP), Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), Water Framework Directive (WFD) and the 2020 international goals of the Barcelona Convention for Biological Diversity.

The key points of discussion included:
♦ the latest policy developments and tools related to marine litter at the EU level as well  as the latest marine litter funded projects relevant for Adriatic and Ionian Seas,
♦ exchanging experiences in the prevention and management of marine litter between the EU member states and the EPPA beneficiaries,
♦ identification of national obstacles towards implementation  of the EC policies, strategies and directives (involvement and commitment, data and methodologies, coordination and cooperation, capacity building needs).

Upcoming events:

February 16-17th, 2021, webinar

TAIEX EPPA Sub-regional workshop on the implementation of the Barcelona Convention (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Turkey)

May 4-5th, 2021, webinar

TAIEX EPPA Sub-regional workshop on the implementation of the Barcelona Convention (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Turkey)


TAIEX EPPA Regional workshop on the implementation of Industrial Emissions Directive - Current Status, New Developments

June 9-10th, 2020 

The online workshop provided guidance on Industrial Emissions Directive and its implementation in the beneficiary countries. Special emphasis was put on enforcement, inspection, permitting and emissions monitoring. The event involved EU member states experts from Austria and Ireland.

Workshop's conclusions showed:
♦ the need for further regulatory framework development and improved administrative capacities (monitoring and inspection),
♦ monitoring and reporting infrastructure already exists but needs further development,
♦ the need for rising awareness amongst operators and their capacities to deal with permitting process.

Upcoming events:

October 13-14th, 2020, webinar

TAIEX EPPA Regional workshop on Ambient Air Quality Directive

December 2-3rd, 2020, webinar

TAIEX EPPA Regional workshop on the implementation of Sulphur Directive 

February 3-4th, 2021, webinar

TAIEX EPPA Regional workshop on the implementation of National Emmission Ceiling Directive (NEC)

April 6-7th, 2021, webinar

TAIEX EPPA Regional workshop on the implementation of Industrial Emissions Directive (IED)


EPPA Studies - development and finalization 

April - September, 2020 

The EPPA team intensively worked on development and finalization of 3 major project studies, which are expected to be fully completed by November 2020 and which were subject of consultations of the workshops conducted in May and June 2020.

These studies cover the following topics: 
♦ Green Infrastructure Deployment and Ecological Connectivity Status in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia;
Illegal Logging and Timber Trade Flows, Legal and administrative aspects, implementation and enforcement;
Establishment of the New Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Adriatic Sea basin - two MPAs in Albania, one MPA in Bosnia and Herzegovina, two MPAs in Montenegro.

TAIEX EPPA Regional workshop on Green Infrastructure and Ecological Connectivity

June 24-25th, 2020 

The online workshop provided guidance on implementation of the EU policy on nature and biodiversity. The main focus was put on ecological connectivity and green infrastructure, namely on the EU Biodiversity Strategy 2020, the EU Strategy on Green Infrastructure and Habitat Directive. Moreover, the workshop presented results of the EPPA Study on Green Infrastructure Deployment and Ecological Connectivity in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.

The workshop's focus was on:
♦ the need to develop green infrastructure and ecological corridors to conserve species and habitats, in addition to development of the Natura 2000 network,
♦ technical expertise from the EU Member States: identification, mapping and implementation of green infrastructure (Slovenia), assessment and valuation of ecosystem services (Bulgaria), case studies of development of specific types of green infrastructure and the promotion of connectivity (Austria and the Netherlands). 

Upcoming events:

October 27-28th, 2020, webinar

TAIEX EPPA Regional Workshop on Invasive Alien Species and the EU Pollinators Initiative

November 4-5th, 2020, webinar

TAIEX EPPA Regional Workshop on implementation of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations

January 27-28th, 2021, webinar

TAIEX EPPA Sub-regional Workshop on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) Study

February 24-25th, 2021, webinar

TAIEX EPPA Regional Workshop on Managing Illegal Timber (for beneficiaries and private sector)

March 16-17th, 2021, webinar

TAIEX EPPA Regional workshop on  implementation of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo* declaration of independence.

This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of NIRAS IC Sp. z o.o. and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

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