Newsletter no. 4, October 2020 - May 2021

Dear Reader / Dear EPPA Follower,

Welcome to EPPA’s fourth newsletter. We hope that you stay healthy and safe as the COVID-19 pandemic  continues to disrupt the world for the second year. We miss the opportunities for on-site events but we are also glad to see your strong commitment and inputs to the EPPA online workshops connecting outstanding EU and EPPA beneficiaries experts.  

In this issue, you will find the overview of events and activities covered by the EPPA project in the period October 2020 - May 2021. Among those, there are 3 EPPA Studies in the process of final approvals and editing and several unique regional TAIEX EPPA online workshops across all project technical components.

We are glad to inform you that as a result of approving project addendum the implementation of additional outputs and activities within component 3 (water), 5 (nature protection) and 6 (compliance checks) is forthcoming. More news on this can be found in our newsletter.

If you have not managed to attend any of our events please remember that all presentations and detailed events' reports are available on EPPA website. Please remember also to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

We would like to send you warmest wishes of good health and joyful time during the upcoming summer holidays season !

We look forward to meeting you again at our events in September.

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

October 2020 - ongoing

The EPPA team has been continuing adopting telework strategies using various IT tools in close cooperation with TAIEX. 15 on-line capacity building workshops have been held within the period of the current issue of the newsletter.
All the activities are being planned and arranged with utmost scrupulosity in order to assist Beneficiaries in their efforts to align legislation to the EU acquis and build capacity within their institutions. Thanks to TAIEX assistance the EPPA workshops bring expertise of multiple EU Member States to give better understanding of the complexity of legal issues along with examples of its implementation and best practices applied. 

Progress Monitoring

May 2021

The Progress Monitoring (PM) has been launched by the European Commission within EPPA Project with delivering a letter to Beneficiaries from Ms. Florika Fink-Hooijer, Director General for DG Environment on May 18th, 2021. The PM is a tool for the EU candidate countries and potential candidates that aims at providing an updated, comprehensive overview of the current situation in the Beneficiaries concerning the status of transposition and implementation of the EU environmental acquis.

The PM activity will be held from May 2021 till February 2022. The respective ministries will fill the Tables of Concordance and Implementation Questionnaires in two rounds with the assistance of the EPPA Team. The results of the PM shall be taken into consideration by the Beneficiaries when setting enlargement strategies, planning resources and defining priorities within the Chapter 27.

The 3rd Project Steering Committee meeting

September 2021

The Project Steering Committee (PSC) meeting is tentatively scheduled for late September 2021 with engagement of all relevant stakeholders.

The PSC meeting will centre around:

♦ current state of implementation and transposition of the EU environmental acquis in Beneficiaries and further EPPA Project assistance on the subject,

♦ EPPA Project's implementation status and the main outcomes 

♦ planned activities within the Project and Beneficiaries' perspective for their best possible implementation.

Involvement of the national Civil Society Organisations 

October 2020 - May 2021

The EPPA team has been continuously working towards assuring CSO sector participation in all project activities. Around 60 representatives of relevant national CSOs took part in 15 TAIEX EPPA regional and national workshops, held between October 2020 - May 2021 and will be involved in the coming activities.


TAIEX EPPA National Workshop on Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy in Turkey

17-18 November 2021

The on-line workshop addressed issues concerning transition to circular economy (CE), prevention and management of plastic waste, food and packaging waste, circular business models.

The conclusions of the  workshop include the following:
♦ one of the key measures of CE is collecting and recycling waste,
♦public and private sector representatives shall take measures to advance transition to CE, including circular business models that are useful tool to maximize product value and extend its lifetime through re-use, repair, refurbishment and remanufacturing, 

♦ major challenge in terms of plastic waste is its increasing amount as well as collecting and recycling systems that shall be better adjusted,
♦ relevance of extended producer responsibility and deposit-refund scheme was highlighted in tackling packaging waste in particular,
♦ managing food waste is another common challenge of the EU and Turkey, the latter adopted and implemented the National Strategy on Prevention and Monitoring of Food Losses and Waste and the action plan making it one of its priorities.

Extract of the power point presentation by Mr. A.ten Wolde, Circular Future

TAIEX EPPA Sub-regional Workshop on Circular Economy in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia

26-27 May 2021

The on-line workshop has attracted many stakeholders from public, NGO and business sectors and high level participants from the European Commission and 3 beneficiary countries. The participants have discussed topics related to transition towards sustainable, low-carbon emissions, resource efficient and competitive circular economy within 6 thematic sessions:
♦ the EU policies,
♦ prevention and improved management of plastic waste, packaging waste and food waste
♦ construction and demolition waste sector,
♦ circular business models for SMEs and consumers.
The participants came to conclusions that plastic redesign and reuse possibilities shall be rethought as well as we shall reduce packaging waste with possibilities for easier recycling. It was also stated that it is very important that we find new ways and develop existing ones to reuse construction materials to reduce climate impact. Finally participants stressed that it is also crucial to reduce food losses among food production and supply chain.

Upcoming events:

November 16-17, 2021, webinar
TAIEX EPPA Sub-regional Workshop on Resource Efficiency and Circular Economy (for Albania, Kosovo*, North Macedonia)


TAIEX EPPA Sub-regional Workshop on implementation of Barcelona Convention

16-17 February 2021

The workshop was held for Beneficiaries that are parties to Barcelona Convention (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Turkey) and focused on several Protocols of the Convention: Land-Based Sources Protocol, Protocol on Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity, Integrated Coastal Zone Management Protocol.
The workshop concluded with the following:
♦the importance of synergies between the MSFD and the Barcelona Convention's ecosystem approach to achieve good environmental status (GES),
♦ UNEP/MAP efforts along with the EU and other stakeholders towards GES (including creating an integrated GES assessment),
♦ experience of the EU Member States ( Romania and Slovenia) was provided in terms of Integrated Coastal Zone Management, area-based management (RO), as well as offshore and coastal blue corridors for biological diversity and sustainable fishery (SI),

♦ waste management and circular economy approach are one of the priorities to curb land-based sources of pollution in the Beneficiaries.

Extract of the power point presentation by Ms. M.Mance, European Commission, DR Environment

TAIEX EPPA Sub-regional Workshop on implementation of Barcelona Convention

4-5 May 2021

The workshop was held for Beneficiaries that are parties to Barcelona Convention (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Turkey) and focused on three Protocols of the Convention: Dumping Protocol, Prevention and Emergency Protocol as well as Hazardous Waste Protocol. 
The workshop has identified major challenges that shall be addressed, among others:
♦ development of practical and cost effective management plans for networks of MPAs,
♦ sustainable financing and lack of the institutional and staff capacity,
♦ harmonizing the monitoring methods,
♦ encourage regional financing tool,
♦ strengthen and support regional cooperation and data sharing among parties.

Upcoming events:

June 16-17, 2021, webinar

TAIEX EPPA Regional workshop on awareness raising activities on marine litter issues

October 27-28, 2021, webinar

TAIEX EPPA Regional workshop aiming to create a platform for national stakeholders to disseminate the multiple benefits of green and blue infrastructure solutions

December 1-2, 2021, webinar

TAIEX EPPA Regional workshop on awareness-raising on climate change adaptation, climate proofing measures and evaluation indicators for assessing their efficiency within River Basin Management Plants


TAIEX EPPA Regional workshop on Ambient Air Quality Directive

13-14 October 2020 

The online workshop has followed up results of the previous workshop on the subject from September 2019 and provided platform for sharing experience with the EU Member State experts from Austria, Finland, France and the Netherlands.
The workshop's conclusions covered, among other things, the following:
♦ the EPPA Beneficiaries  shall need to find more resources to fully implement the EU legislation on air quality, some progress was noted on development of the national air monitoring networks and reporting of air emissions and the designation of reference laboratories,
♦ some of the key air pollution problems are with coal fuelled industry and biomass-based heating in households.

Extract of the power point presentation by Ms. V. Jakir, European Commission, DR Environment

TAIEX EPPA Regional workshop on emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants

3-4 February 2021

The online workshop was a platform for discussions  between the EPPA Beneficiaries and the EU MS experts (from Austria, Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia) on National Emissions of Certain Atmospheric Pollutants Directive (NECD) in general and National Air Pollution Control Programmes in particular. 
Workshop's participants exchanged experience in terms of implementation status of the NECD in the EU Member States, including Directive's requirements. The main challenges faced by the EPPA Beneficiaries are related to:
♦ the inventory completeness and reporting,
♦ the preparation or implementation of air pollution prevention programmes,
♦the establishment of ecosystem monitoring networks and lack of technical capacities, human and financial resources as well as availability of data and inter-institutional coordination.

TAIEX EPPA Regional workshop on implementation of Sulphur Directive

9-10 March 2021

The online workshop was the 1st one on the subject. It provided knowledge sharing and capacity building between EPPA Beneficiaries and EU MS experts from Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Poland in terms of:
♦ reporting requirements under sulphur directive,
♦ performing controls of sulphur content in fuels,
♦ grounds for incompliance cases,
♦ comparison of fines for non-compliance in different EU MS,
♦ ship' inspection process (documents verification, visual inspection, fuel samples).

TAIEX EPPA Regional workshop on implementation of Industrial Emissions Directive

6-7 April 2021

The participants of the 3rd and the last EPPA event on the subject have discussed together with the EU MS experts from Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ireland, Slovakia and Spain the following topics, among others:
♦ cement sector (BREF document, IED/ BAT implementation),
♦ performing controls of sulphur content in fuels,
♦cement industry within circular economy (co-processing and air quality measurement, waste co-incineration plants), 
♦ enforcement and inspection control of the waste co-incineration in cement factories (necessity of cooperation between inspectorate and permit writer),
♦ waste incineration and waste co-incineration in cement factories,
sampling plans for waste and solid recovered fuels. 

Upcoming events:

November 9, 2021, webinar

TAIEX EPPA Regional workshop on the implementation of Sulphur Directive 


EPPA Studies

May 2021

The EPPA Team has prepared 3 major project studies that are undergoing final approvals and editing and will be published shortly. The 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,

♦ Recommendations for designation of the new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro.

Our brochure with the executive summary of the Green Infrastructure Study is already available on the EPPA website.

TAIEX EPPA Regional workshop on invasive alien species and  pollinators' initiatives

27-28 October 2020 

The workshop was a platform for discussion on two key topics:
♦ invasive alien species (IAS) as a threat to biodiversity and economic sustainability,
♦ decline of pollinators due to IAS, land use and land management, pathogen spread and climate change.
The EPPA Beneficiaries exchange views and knowledge with the EU MS experts from Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Poland. Representatives of the European Commission, Joint Research Center (JRC) and Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) advised on the European Alien Species Information Network (EASIN) as well as the IAS Regulation and the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030.

EPPA Regional workshop on establishment of regional wildlife trade regulation enforcement network

4-5 November 2020 

The online workshop was opportunity for the EPPA Beneficiaries to get insight on the EU Wildlife Trade Regulations (EUWTR) in terms of requirements, implementation and enforcement along with the supporting tools (EC guidance documents, CITES products like Species+, the CITES checklist and Trade Database, EU-TWIX).
All the EPPA Beneficiaries are making efforts to harmonize with the EUWTR. Some challenges identified are:
♦ lack of resources (human and financial),
♦ need for further capacity building (especially for enforcement), 
♦ necessity for increasing inter-institutional cooperation between all CITES actors,
♦ need to appoint CITES scientific authorities by some of the EPPA Beneficiaries,
♦ necessity to establish centres to care for seized wildlife.

TAIEX EPPA 2nd Regional workshop on best practice on managing illegal timber

3-4 March 2021

The online workshop discussed the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and relevant controls by Competent Authorities and implementation of due diligence system (DDS) as well as the EUTR monitoring organizations and Chain of Custody (CoC) certification standards for assuring legality and due diligence.
The workshop's findings and recommendations included:
♦ main shortcomings in terms of fulfilment of the EUTR/ DDS requirements,
♦ common challenges in terms of forest certification audits and CoC,
♦ risk assessment and conclusions on 'negligible' risk,
♦ main conclusions of the EU TREES Project.

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

16-17 March 2021 

The online workshop was platform for discussions and experience exchange between EPPA Beneficiaries and EU Member State experts from Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Portugal and Spain.
The event was addressed to CITES Management and Enforcement Authorities and focused on several issues:
♦ reporting requirements under CITES Convention as well as trade, administrative and criminal sanctions for non-compliance with the Convention, 
♦ verification of CITES permits and certificates,
♦ case studies of seizures, confiscations and investigations as well as importance of licenced rescue centres and their capacity to keep seized animals.

TAIEX EPPA  Sub-regional workshop on recommendations on designation of the Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) Study in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro

20-21 April 2021 

The online workshop presented the results of the EPPA Study developing initial proposals for establishment of new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Adriatic Sea basin. The study has come up with set of scientific, legal, institutional and procedural recommendations in regards to designation and effective management of the MPAs in Adriatic Sea. The workshop has provided know-how and latest best practices on management of already existing MPAs in Albania, Italy, Romania and Slovenia with the MPAs' managers sharing with the EPPA Beneficiaries:
♦ challenges faced, monitoring guidelines and future tasks,
♦ benefits of investment in MPAs,
♦ importance of adopting management plan, setting priority conservation objectives and ecological education.
The study is in the final stage of consultations and will be published in the coming weeks.

The Regional Working Group on green infrastructure and ecological connectivity meeting

11 May 2021 

The online Regional Working Group (RWG) meetings involving the Nature WG Coordinators of all EPPA Beneficiaries, aim at strengthening the regional cooperation for joint actions in order to develop GI and ecosystem connectivity. The participants of the meeting in May have reviewed and approved the work program proposed by the EPPA Team, discussed and accepted the proposed outline of the Regional Action Plan for GI. Members of the Group have also discussed proposals for the organization and governance of regional cooperation in relation to the GI and ecological connectivity, as part of the proposed action plan.

TAIEX EPPA  Regional workshop on integration of Green Infrastructure and ecological corridors into the spatial planning and sector policies

17-18 May 2021 

The participants of the workshop have exchanged views and opinions with the EU Member State experts from Austria, Slovenia and the Netherlands on:
♦ implementation of the EU legislation as well as blue and green infrastructure into the spatial planning and sectoral policies,
♦ improving functionality of green corridors through integrated planning,
♦ supporting transboundary ecological connectivity.
The participants have also discussed objectives and results of the major relevant projects, such as the Interreg Dunabe SaveGreen Project, Interreg Project D2C DaRe to Connect and DINALPCONNECT Project.

Upcoming events:

September 15, 2021, webinar

2nd Regional Working Group meeting

September 21-22, 2021, webinar

TAIEX EPPA Regional workshop on CITES

November 24, 2021, webinar

3rd Regional Working Group meeting

* 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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