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News from the

August 2014


New action submitted to the EU for phase 2

Objectives of the new proposed action (to start in 2015) is better concentrate on joint initiatives of partners especially aimed at informing citizens about the benefits of being compliant with EU environmental legislations and enable their active participation in the process. On this regard, the new phase includes the organisation of simultaneous events, the development of advocacy/information campaigns and a further development of the monitoring of the reform processes in the environment sector in Western Balkan and Turkey.
The project, in short, will work at establishing proper communication strategy to keep key stakeholders informed about the monitoring exercise and have a solid ground of discussion with the national authorities, local media, CSOs and EU institutions. In addition, awareness/informative events will be organised with citizens to involve them in the discussion and make them aware about the benefits of compliance with the EU environmental policy. Finally, a set of capacity development activities are planned to promote the role of CSOs working on the environment protection. In line with the call priorities, this is expected to create a favourable environment for civil activism and for the state-civil society dialogue, enhancing the legitimacy, transparency and accountability of the CSOs in the region.
the project team
 Parc National de la Vallée de Valbona , Albania    

News from partners

All countries: New distance learning courses on social media: To take part, interested participants should first register to the e-learning platform here and then choose the course to attend from the course catalogue. An confirmation mail will be send back. Next courses:  2nd September – 16th September 2014; 30th September – 14th October; 4th November -18th November. Further inquiries about the course may be sent to (or click here).

Albania:  By the end of this summer team in Albania assisted all three sub-grantees organization fully completing their actions. The first action was completed in June, where several awareness and advocacy activities were organized along the south coast of the country to promote renewable energy potentials in the country. Local authorities and civil society organizations were involved during these discussions. The second sub-grantee was completed in July, where one selected school in Tirana was training on energy audit and provided with LED lamps in all its premises. Students and academic staff were trained during 4 months of project implementation on energy efficiency issues. The third sub-grantee was completed in August, where 5 photovoltaic panels were installed in some selected houses in a village where no electricity is available. Inhabitants of these houses where first trained how to use these appliances, and they were able to use electricity produce by photovoltaic panels for lighting, to charge their mobile phones and for TV.
Turkey: “Nuclear nonsense in Turkey. While the discussions on a gradual phase out from Nuclear power continues in the EU, its neighbour and membership candidate Turkey is planning the construction of three nuclear power plants, first to be built in its history.
Last July, The Environmental Impact Assesment report of Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, one of the plants that is planned to be constructed at the Akkuyu province of Mersin – Gülnar was evaluated at a meeting held in Ankara by the Investigation and Evaluation Committee. This was the third time the EIA report of the Nuclear Power Plant was presented to the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization. partner from Turkey, TEMA Foundation participated to the meeting along with other CSOs and concerned citizens. Herewith, we would like to share some of the findings and assessments about the EIA report and voice following concerns (here).
Macedonia:  Environmentalists and residents from Debar and Reka marched for rescue of the river Radica.  The reason for the march was the declaration of ELEM (the national company for production of electric power) to continue with the project "Accumulation-Lukovo Pole" that was published on the website of the Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning. Macedonian environmental organisations in the fight to stop the project "Lukovo Pole" are supported by 150 scientists and ecological associations from the country and the world. Recently, through electronic petition they gathered 79,473 supporters from the country and abroad to stop the project for building the hydro-plants “BoÅ¡kov Most" and "Lukovo Pole". The petition is addressed directly to the Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, the director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank Country Director for South East Europe, and it requires a suspension of the funding for these energy facilities and definite cancellation of their realization.

Serbia: Two organizations from Serbia, that are sub-grantees of the project, finished the first phases of their projects.  Centre for development of the Civil Society “PROTECTA“ from Nis is working on the project “My choice, my right – healthy environment!” and they so far presented a series of lectures at 11 high schools in Nis and prepared related promotional material (read more).   Association for protection and improvement of environment and built heritage – Protego from Subotica, which is working on the project “Species of plants and animals of special conservation concern in EU”, organized a workshop in Vrsac where a publication under the same title was presented (read more).

News from the EU

I. In an open letter on 22 July, nine health and environment organisations called into question the role of Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA) to the President of the European Commission, stressing that the post is “fundamentally problematic as it concentrates too much influence in one person, and undermines in depth scientific research and assessments carried out by or for the Commission directorates in the course of policy elaboration”.  The intention of that letter was to stimulate a debate about how scientific policy advice should be structured, and the risks that continuing the CSA position poses to scientific policy advice in general. The NGO signatories have since been accused oftrying to undermine the integrity and independence of scientific advice received by the Commission.  Far from being anti-science, the message is that there should be more objective and diverse expertise available to policy-makers than any single adviser could reasonably be expected to provide. Further reading: here and here.
II. EXCLUSIVE FOR EurActiv - How the Commission ‘blocked’ key environmental plans. Plans to crack down on endocrine disruptors and illegal timber being imported into the EU, were buried by the outgoing President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and his secretary-general Catherine Day, according to a senior EU source. With only weeks remaining before the Commission President steps down, tongues are beginning to loosen at the EU executive. Barroso and Day have often been singled out by environmentalists for a perceived tilt to business interests when it comes to green legislation, a charge their spokespeople strongly deny. Please read further this interesting article here.
III. As of 1 December 2014 Potocnik will no longer be environment Commissioner. Please see further an English Translation of his Statement as published in his Facebook page: “I am announcing that in case the outgoing government decides to suggest a list of candidates for European Commissioner, I do not give my consent to be nominated. I appreciate and support the efforts of the President-Elect of the European Commission to have in his team as many qualified female candidates from 27 Member States. However I am surprised by some reports in Slovenian media in recent days. When appointing the President of the European Commission the important factor in the decision was the outcome of the European Parliamentary elections. I would also expect that in the choice of candidate for the Slovenian Commissioner it is the coalition of parties elected in the recent elections which should make such a decision. I would like to thank the SMC (Party of Miro Cerar) for their trust in me. With the experience I have gained in the past, I would like to continue to help the European Union and Slovenia, especially on the path towards sustainable development, which is and must be our common future. Link to the statement of Slovenia government here.

IV. Public Cons ultation on the Ratification by the EU of the Minamata Convention on Mercury. This consultation focuses on issues related to the ratification and the subsequent EU implementation of the Minamata Convention. It is a working document prepared by DG ENV based on an initial assessment of currently available information. It does not necessarily represent the Commission's views on the content and future orientation of the "Minamata ratification package". The purpose of the consultation is to provide stakeholders with a concise and clear understanding of the issues involved and to invite them to comment in view of the preparation of a ratification package by the Commission services.  The consultation is open until 14 November 2014. Link to consultation page here. Further reading: Study on EU Implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury - Draft Final Report (revised) 30 June 2014 here  and the EC webpage on mercury here.

V. Integration of renewable generation represents a key pillar of the Commission’s broader energy and climate objective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving the security of energy supply, diversifying energy supplies and improving Europe’s industrial competitiveness. The current study “ Integration of renewable energy in Europe” aims at analyzing how Europe can decarbonise its electricity sector in the timeframe to 2030, assessing different scenarios with varying level of renewable electricity. More specifically, this study is aimed at enhancing the understanding of how the impacts from alternative future developments on generation, transmission, distribution and storage interact, both locally and across Europe, and what the resulting implications are with regard to the regulatory framework. Link to the study here.

VI. European Environmental Agency has published a new report “ Developing a forest naturalness indicator for Europe” which documents the first steps for the development of a forest naturalness indicator for Europe. Further reading here.  

VII. The 18th BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India and China) Ministerial Meeting on Climate Change was held in New Delhi, India on 7-8 August 2014. The two- day meeting discussed important issues relating to the current UNFCC climate change negotiations specially on matters pertaining to the Adhoc Working Group on the Durban Platform discussion on 2015 outcomes. The major emerging economies have called on developed countries to set out climate finance plans and take on economy-wide emission reduction targets when they table pledges for the post-2020 climate deal early next year; The BASIC countries say developing countries should be able to make reduction pledges “premised” or based on financial and other support provided by developed countries. Developing countries’ pledges should depend on their “social and development needs”. Further reading here (Joint Statement by BASIC Ministerial meeting).

Latest from the Region

ETNAR conference, 10-12 September Banja Luka.
From 10th – 12th September, 2014 a regional Conference on natural resources and energy ENTER, organised as part of the EU funded IPA CSF project “Advocacy NGOs networks for sustainable use of energy and natural resources in the Western Balkans and Turkey“ETNAR IPA-CSF-2012/306-573 will be held from in Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
Attendance costs (transport, accommodation and food) will be fully covered by the organisers.
This event will be a good opportunity for exchange of information and dissemination of relevant educational and promotional materials from the participating organisations from the region. Eligible NGOs are from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania, and Turkey. Application forms for participation can be sent to by September 5th.
Link to the project here, to the initiative here

Funding opportunities

EU call: Civil Society Facility, Operating Grants to Support regional thematic associations.
This initiative aims at achieve a more dynamic civil society actively participating in public debate on democracy, human rights, social inclusion and the rule of law and with capacity to influence policy and decision making processes. More specifically the call wish to encourage a greater commitment and capacity of civil society organisation (CSO) to give citizens a voice and influence public sector reform processes through analysis, monitoring and advocacy, etc. by joining forces in a Regional Association. The Full Guidelines for Applicants are available here.  Deadline for submission of full application: 22/09/2014
Funding opportunities for Albanian organisations: 1) Calls for individual grants to improve governance at local level, deadline 8 September– SOROS Albania, Foundation for Open Society (read more). 2) Call  for Mediatic Competition “Circles III” – Soros ALBANIA, Foundation for Open Society (read more).

Frequently Asked Question of the month

Q: "What the EU is expecting form applicants in the Sheet N. 2 of the EuropeAid budget format with regards the two columns clarification on the budget items and justification of the estimated cost?"

A:  "In the first right column (clarification) the applicant should provide a narrative clarification of each budget item demonstrating the necessity of the costs and how they relate to the action (e.g. through references to the activities in the Description of the Action). It is important that means be named and explained in the same manner in the Grant Application Form, logframe matrix and the Budget. Differences may cause confusion during proposal assessment, so it is highly suggested to use the same terminology in the three project documents.
In the second right column (justification) the applicant should explain how the estimated costs were calculated. Note that the estimation should be based on real costs, as described in section 2.1.4 of the Guidelines for Applicants: the main aim is to avoid the introduction and use of lump sums which are never allowed".

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This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union.
The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of consortium and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union


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