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Transcript of Recs Evaluation

Evaluation of the Regional Environmental Centers (RECs) in Caucasus, Moldova, Russia and Central Asia

Contract N 2006/126467 Version 1 Framework Contract Beneficiaries Lot 6

June 2007

Team composition: Dr. Gretta Goldenman Dr. Daiva Semnien

Team Leader: Dr. Gretta Goldenman

This report was prepared with financial assistance from the Commission of the European Communities. The views expressed are those of the consultants and do not necessarily represent any official view of the Commission or the Governments of the countries concerned.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary Abbreviations & Acronyms Used Lists of Figures, Tables and Boxes 1 2 3 4 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 5 INTRODUCTION ................................................................................................. 1 METHODOLOGY................................................................................................ 1 OVERVIEW OF THE NEW RECS ................................................................... 4 ASSESSMENT OF THE EECCA RECS ............................................................. 8 REC Caucasus ....................................................................................................... 8 REC Moldova........................................................................................................ 24 Russian REC......................................................................................................... 39 CAREC ................................................................................................................... 54 OVERALL ASSESSMENT AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NEXT STAGE 67

ANNEX I: LIST OF PEOPLE MET .......................................................................... 71 ANNEX II: RESOURCES CONSULTED .................................................................. 85 ANNEX III: REVENUES RECEIVED BY EECCA RECS TO DATE........................ 91 ANNEX IV: LIST OF PUBLICATIONS BY REC MOLDOVA ................................ 101 ANNEX V: TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE EVALUATION .......................... 105 ANNEX VI: PROPOSED METHODOLOGY FOR THE EVALUATION ................. 115 ANNEX VII: QUESTIONNAIRE USED DURING INTERVIEWS ........................... 123 ANNEX VIII: INCEPTION REPORT ...................................................................... 129

Evaluation of the RECs in Caucasus, Moldova, Russia and Central Asia by Gretta Goldenman & Daiva Semnien

Executive SummaryThis Report has been prepared for the European Commission under the project Evaluation of the Regional Environmental Centers (RECs) in Caucasus, Moldova, Russia and Central Asia (henceforth REC Evaluation). The objective of the assignment, according to the TOR, is to evaluate whether the activities executed by the EECCA RECs from the year the EU started funding them until now are in line with the activities set forth in their respective charters. In addition to desk studies, the evaluation process included missions to each REC in late 2006 and early 2007. Background The idea of establishing regional environmental centres in the countries of the former Soviet Union emerged during the early Environment for Europe process and was formally endorsed in 1996 by European environment ministers attending the Sofia Conference. The Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC CEE) based in Hungary was the initial model for the EECCA RECs, which were set up with the following mission in mind: to assist in solving environmental problems in the NIS region through the promotion of cooperation at national and regional level among NGOs, governments, businesses, local communities, and all other stakeholders, in order to develop a free exchange of information, in line with the principles of the Aarhus Convention; offer assistance to all environmental NGOs and other stakeholders; and increase public participation in the decision-making process, thereby assisting the states of the NIS in the further development of a democratic civil society. The Charters of the EECCA RECs set forth common objectives and were established with similar governance structures and some common programme areas. Emphasis was placed on the development of democratic civil society in the EECCA countries, in the belief that this was important for solving environmental problems. The EC agreed to provide start-up funds and core financing for the RECs in the Caucasus, Moldova, Russia and Central Asia. In 2000 the first sizable EC grants were released to the EECCA RECs ready to begin operations. From start-up on, each EECCA RECs Board of Directors has included an EC representative. Overall assessment Each REC is unique in terms of geographical area covered, political environment of the host country, the environmental problems in the countries served, and the needs of civil society in the various regions. Each REC has taken its own path v is--vis their original common objectives. It is likely that this divergence will continue, reflecting the divergence among EECCA countries and their relations with the EU. However, because of the same origin of establishment; dependence on EU money; a nd because civil societies in the countries concerned have had similar political histories until recently, the four EECCA RECs face similar problems today. These include difficulties in achieving long-term financial sustainability and in promoting the role of civil society in often unsupportive political environments. In general, the evaluation team concludes that the EECCA RECs have fulfilled their missions of promoting cooperation, free exchange of information, and public participation in environmental decision-making successfully. While each REC had the model of the REC CEE to follow, they were given little other guidance on how to proceed and in light of this, their overall track record in carrying out activities related to their missions is quite good.

AGRECO Consortium, June 2007

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Evaluation of the RECs in Caucasus, Moldova, Russia and Central Asia by Gretta Goldenman & Daiva Semnien

The following table indicates some of the areas where the different EECCA RECs excelled, as well as where improvements are possible. The sections for each REC provide details concerning how these conclusions were reached. It should be noted that their role in supporting civil society remains a key success and the importance of this role has only grown.CAREC 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Information exchange & dissemination on environment and sustainable development issues Support for environmental education, training & capacity building Support for environmental awareness initiatives Establish grants programmes Promotion of public participation in environmental decision making processes Provide a forum for discussion & policy analysis of environmental issues & for interaction between governments, NGOs & other stakeholders Provide a framework for possible regional co-operation at a governmental and non-governmental level Link with the business community and industry on environmental issues Key: +++ = good; ++ = satisfactory; + = could do better; - = none ++ +++ ++ +++ ++ +++ ++ + RECC +++ ++ ++ +++ +++ ++ ++ + RECM ++ +++ ++ +++ +++ ++ + RREC ++ + ++ +++ ++ +++ + ++

In each REC visited, however, staff members expressed concern that the EC had lost memory of the RECs. The contacts that had been built in Brussels and in the various EC delegations during the period of establishing the RECs had been lost as officials moved to other positions, taking the history of the RECs and the appreciation of why they were established and the difficulties they had faced in getting to their current situations with them. The table below summarizes the countries served by the EECCA RECs and the sources of their revenues.REC Caucasus 2000 AR,AM,GE 4,046,884 2,111,368 52.2% 378,925 9.4% 1,556,591 38.4% REC Moldova 1998 MD only 3,350,330 1,658,009 49.5% 781,763 23.3% 910,558 27.2% Russia CAREC REC 2002 2000 RU only KZ,KY,TJ,TM,UZ 5,230,415 6,339,565 2,383,065 2,383,746 45.6% 37.6% 1,382,602 2,300,000 26.4% 36.3% 1,317,349 2,655,819 25.0% 26.1%

Date began operating Countries served Total funding received to date (EUR) EU core funding (EUR) % core funding of total EU-funded grants programs (EUR) % EU grants funding of total Funding from other donors (EUR) % total from other donors

Each REC is acutely aware that the era of EU core funding is coming to an end, but there is a lack of understanding or experience in how to go about making the changes needed to move toward a financial sustainability based on multiple donors and defined projects. While their capacities diverge, all will need assistance to improve management in areas such as finances, procedures and project pipelines. The EECCA RECs can continue to play a valuable role in promoting environmental protection in the countries they serve, and it is recommended that they continue to receive support from donors, including the EC. At the same time the EC should support the

AGRECO Consortium, June 2007

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Evaluation of the RECs in Caucasus, Moldova, Russia and Central Asia by Gretta Goldenman & Daiva Semnien

independence of the RECs, while recognising that in the current political situation of most EECCA countries, this implies a difficult course for REC leaders to navigate.

Overall Recommendations for the EECCA RECs 1. Continue to give importance to grants programmes to support NGOs in the regions 2. Financial management training on project-based budgeting (for all staff) 3. Develop longer-term project pipelines and support each other in efforts to attract new donors 4. Play a stronger role in conveying best practices in the area of environmental protection and sustainable development, including alignment of national legislation and practices with EU env