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News from the

February 2015

Email website: a tool for communication

In January 2015, the website has been renewed! Browse the website from its homepage, where you can find the link to the main sections (e.g. blog, e-learning courses, environmental policy) and also some photo-galleries regarding the activities, including events with citizens, round tables, conferences and training. You can also look into the section ‘What we do’ to better understand action.
Moreover, a calendar of events has been introduced to keep you updated on events, but also to keep an eye on the most important International Environmental Days and promote relevant activities organised, also by others, in these particular days. Please let us know if you wish to spread the voice on the events you are planning to organise on these days by writing to
And do not miss to regularly check our blog to look for latest news from the network!

The team
Tureky, Winter in Cappadocia

News from partners


All countries: training programme

Distance learning courses:
a)“Social media, Activism and participation”, The course on social media (read more):  Next e-trainings: 12th - 26th March 2015.
b) “Get funding from the European Union”, the course developed by regards the EU as resource partner (read more).  Next e-trainings: 3rd - 17th March 2015.
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". Further inquiries about the course may be sent to (or click here).

In-country news: in action

Co-PLAN participated on a Consultative Meeting organized by TACSO office and EU Delegation in Albania on 23rd February in Tirana. This meeting was especially dedicated to IPA CSF 2014 -2015 and EIDHR 2014 – 2015 program. As EU delegation stated, the programs had entered their second year of implementation. The four main LOT of the new CALL of IPA CSF (by late spring) will be the following: 1. Anticorruption; 2. Monitoring to Judiciary and access to justice; 3. Monitoring Living Conditions; 4. Reuse of assets confiscated to organized crime. The Environment and media was already opened last year, where two organizations were awarded to sub-grant other grass root organizations for environmental issues.

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: The focus of 4x4x4 Balkan Bridges was the compiling of the EU progress reports for Macedonia from 2008-2014, and relevant information on the national environmental legislation related to the selected topics (climate change and water), which will be used for the identification of the progress/gaps with regard to the approximation to EU acquis.
In addition, the brochure of the first phase of the project, printed in Macedonian, Albanian and English language, was presented and distributed to the key target groups (CSOs, governmental authorities and media representatives). 4x4x4 Balkan Bridges stressed on the finalisation of the registration process of the Green Consortium as a more organised form of CSOs for their pro-active participation in the monitoring process of the approximation to the EU acquis (read more).
Serbia: During February, team Serbia has started organizing the celebration of the Water Day.  On March 22, the team will take a tour to "Sava Lake" on Ada Ciganija, which is a major urban beach in Belgrade.  The event will be organized in cooperation with Serbian Institute for Nature Protection, National Association for Lifeguards and Public Enterprise "Ada Ciganlija". The aim is to promote the importance of wetlands in terms of biodiversity protection and to pay citizen's and school-children's attention to take care on such very sensitive areas. Experts from Serbian Institute for Nature Protection will prepare lecture for visitors and field visit to some habitats of protected bird species, as well as fungi species, which exist in surrounding of "Sava Lake" beach.

Turkey:  Within the Development of Civil Society Participation to Climate Policy Making project by TEMA Foundation and WWF Turkey, an e-learning program in Turkish on ‘Climate Change and Civil Society’ has started. The program consists of 8 modules on climate change science, mitigation and adaptation, best practices, international negotiatians and role of Turkey. Click here for the application.
To celebrate World Wetlands Day, TEMA volunteers visited the wetlands of Istanbul to watch beautiful birds and spend a day with their loved ones in the nature. BeÅŸiktaÅŸ Municipality and Istanbul Bird Watchers Society supported the event to which 70 people participated.


News from the EU

I. NGOs demand Commission justify axing of Circular Economy package. When the news came in that the European Commission has  withdrawn the ambitious waste and recycling policy proposals tabled by its predecessor environmental campaigners have demanded the European Commission to provide any analysis it has that justifies its decision to ditch the Circular Economy package of recycling, waste and landfill rules. No such evidence has been given since Commission First Vice-President Frans Timmermans announced the laws would be axed in December, said four non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in a letter officially applying for the release of internal documents (read more)

II. Commission's infringement package for February. The European Commission is taking Greece to Court over a failure to ensure that waste water is properly treated.  Furthermore, the European Commission is referring Slovenia back to Court for its failure to license industrial installations that are operating without permits. Also other EU member states, namely Latvia, Romania, Estonia and Poland have been under the scrutiny of the European Commission and, if no satisfactory response received from these countries in two months time, they might be taken to the European Court of Justice (read more).

III. Citizen scientists map air pollution with smartphones. Citizen scientists have helped to map pollution across the Netherlands using their smartphones. Their results, produced by thousands of volunteers, are presented in a study which shows how a combination of mass participation and smartphone technology can be a powerful approach to environmental monitoring (read more).

IV. European air quality in 2020: success story for PM. Levels of the air pollutant PM2.5 in Europe will continue to fall in 2020, concludes a recent study. Furthermore, deposition of nitrogen from air pollution will also drop. The outlook seems less positive for ground-level ozone, however, as large amounts of this pollutant continue drift over to Europe from other continents (read more)

V. Germany sees fourfold increase in renewables since 2000. Renewable energy sources are on the rise in Germany, with wind power continuing to play the most important role. But a current study reveals the potential of renewables is far from being fully exploited (read more).

VI. EU climate policy Commission cannot be allowed to abandon 2 degree climate target.  On 25 February, the European Commission presented a paper outlining the EU's position towards this year's crucial UN climate summit in Paris. The Greens in the European Parliament expressed regret both at the ambition in the Commission's proposals and some of the crucial elements absent from the communication. Commenting on the 'Paris Roadmap', Green spokesperson for the UN climate talks Yannick Jadot said: "The Commission sadly seems to be just going through the motions on climate policy, without any real conviction. This is beyond disappointing, given how high the stakes are for Paris and the COP21: we need to reach an ambitious and binding global agreement if we are to have a chance of halting climate change, and the EU will have to play a central part to this end. "This communication is totally out of line with the overarching goal of limiting global warming to below 2 degrees and preventing dangerous climate change. The Commission is just lying down and accepting that Paris will not produce a deal consistent with the 2 degree target, rather than making an effort to ensure it does: such as by suggesting the EU up its insufficient emissions reduction target." (read more) 

VII. Biofuels, land use and climate MEPs address some flaws in EU biofuels policy but problems remain. On 24 February, the European Parliament's environment committee voted on legislative proposals on biofuels, aimed at curbing the negative impact on the climate associated with indirect land use change (ILUC) due to biofuel production. The Greens welcomed the vote to ensure that the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from changes in land use will be accounted for but stressed that the new rules will not fully address the flaws associated with the production and use of biofuels. After the vote, Green climate spokesperson Bas Eickhout said: "MEPs have voted to address some of the flaws in the EU's approach to biofuels, which exacerbate climate change and have a negative social impact. Ensuring that the emissions resulting from indirect land use change are accounted for under the fuel quality directive from 2020 onwards will help ensure the EU is not promoting the use of biofuels that clearly have a negative climate impact. This would help steer investors and the fuel industry away from bad biofuels.” (read more)

VIII. Environmental sustainability in urban planning: a Finnish case study. The complexity of environmental issues and a lack of co-operation or shared objectives between parties involved in urban planning are preventing promotion of environmental sustainability, a new study suggests. The Finnish research, based on focus groups with 32 professionals in urban planning and environmental sustainability, suggests that the short-term economic goals of local authorities, the complexity of environmental sustainability, and a lack of co-operation between different decision-making groups in urban planning were creating barriers to achieving sustainability (read more)

IX. Commission Energy plans need beefing up on efficiency and green energy. The European ‘Energy Union’ Communication released on 25 February sets out a vision to see energy efficiency as an “energy source in its own right” and says that Europe is ready to step up its ambition on energy efficiency for 2030. This rhetoric now needs to be backed up by action, but is already overshadowed by an almost obsessive search for new gas suppliers. A successful Energy Union requires putting the ‘efficiency first’ principle into practice and a binding efficiency target at the cost-effective level of 40% by 2030 (read more).

X. MEPs vote for curbs on bad biofuels as conclusion neared. MEPs from the European Parliament Environment Committee on 24 February showed that they are determined to see a decent conclusion to the climate impacts, biodiversity loss and land-grabs resulting from EU biofuels policy. Biofuels are highly subsidised in Europe, as they were once considered a green alternative to fossil fuels. Yet in some cases emissions from them can be even higher than those from fossil fuels, when the displacement of food production is taken into account. In voting to limit harmful biofuels, MEPs sent a strong signal to the European Council - with whom they will negotiate biofuels limits - that they want a better solution than that which the Council previously agreed to (read more).

Latest from the region

Floods in Albania: the EU announces support for the affected population  on 17th February.
The European Commission has announced additional support to cover the needs of the people affected by floods in Albania.
To assist the population affected by the floods in Albania, the European Commission is giving over € 118 000 to provide around 8 000 people in the most badly hit areas with food parcels, hygiene kits and blankets and as well as information material on health and hygiene during floods.

Funding opportunities

A few new calls launched in the area, an opportunity for CSOs:
Civil Society Dialogue between EU and Turkey – IV Environment Grant Scheme (CSD-IV/ENV). The Call for Proposals aims to establish strong links and a high level cooperation between civil society in Turkey and the EU Member States through civil society dialogue in the area of environment where civil society dialogue is particularly valuable for Turkey’s successful accession to the EU. Deadline for submission: 25th May 2015 (read more).

Frequently Asked Questions of the month

Q: "How can we charge the per diem for mission and travel in an EU funded action?"
A: "For travelling the EU accept two ways of payment: the organisation may pay the actual cost of travelling (accommodation, meals, tips, local travel, and sundry expenses) or can charge the EU per diem. In the latter case, the EU rules state that per diem should be given to the staff according to the per diem rates published by the European Commission (see here). In any event, the maximum per diem rates eligible, may not exceed those normally borne by the Beneficiary(ies) nor those in force at the time of the mission and published by the European Commission.
Per diems cover accommodation, meals, tips, local travel, and sundry expenses and the ceiling is fixed according to the number of nights spent on the event and not to the number of days.
Per diems should be traceable to supporting schedules (number and names of staff, number of times the per diem was paid, per diem rates and countries concerned) and the Beneficiary's records (accounting, payroll, Human Resources).  Where a “unit rate” is agreed, not all supporting documents are required (restaurant's bills, taxi slips…), but only those to prove that the travel actually took place. The Contracting Authority will reimburse the unit rates established in the Action budget, according to procedures and conditions set out in the contract.
There is not an official template to be used to justify the per diem cost so the Grant beneficiary may use its own format to which it should add the boarding passes of the person travelling abroad, the bank statement proving the payment and possibly other documents concerning the reason of the travel (e.g. invitation to an event, participants list signed by the person, minutes)".

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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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