Implementation of the Environmental Action Programme for CEE
|Local Air Pollution|
Report to the 8th Meeting of the Task Force for Implementation of the Environmental Action Programme for Central and Eastern Europe Paris, November 19-21, 1997.
Submitted by the delegation of Bulgaria
in co-operation with the REC
Dr. Dimitar Kanterdjiev
Deputy Minister of Environment
|Miroslav Chodák, Project Manager
The Regional Environmental Center
Ady Endre út 9-11, 2000 Szentendre, Hungary
Tel.: (36-26) 504-000; Fax: (36-26) 311-294
http://www.rec.org/, E-mail: email@example.com
Mr. Mihail Staynov, Liaison Officer
The Sofia Initiatives were adopted by the Third “Environment for Europe” ministerial conference in Sofia, Bulgaria in October 1995. The aim of these initiatives is to accelerate the implementation of the Environmental Action Programme (EAP) for Central and Eastern Europe, through policy, regulation and investment measures. One of these initiatives is the general improvement of local air quality in Central and Eastern Europe with two areas of emphasis: (1) the advanced promotion of unleaded gasoline throughout the region, and (2) the significant reduction of sulphur and particulate emissions.
The Sofia Initiative on Local Air Pollution promotes cooperation among air pollution control experts at national and municipal levels in developing and implementing activities for measurable improvements in air quality in highly polluted urban areas. The initiative relies on east-east experience sharing, in cooperation with western partners and has the following objectives:
- To exchange information on local air pollution control strategies and their implementation;
- To harmonize policies, standards and regulations among the participating countries (with regard to international practices and approximation to the EU); and
- To develop and implement national or municipal strategies for least cost reduction of airborne lead, particulates and sulphur, as well as public information and participation.
The Initiative is open for all participants in the Environment for Europe process, who wish to contribute to the program's objectives and outcomes. Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia have supported the Local Air Pollution initiative already prior to the Sofia conference. Since then, two more countries joined the core Working Group of governmental officials, namely the Czech Republic and Croatia.
Participation in the Initiative is open-ended -- both CEE and Western participants are welcome to join all or some of the activities in accordance with their interests and at any point in time. Reporting commitments are voluntary; however, participants are expected to carry out their commitments, once such commitments are made. In line with the decisions of the Sofia conference to encourage gradual shift of activities to the CEE countries, core meetings related to the Initiative take place in CEE countries.
The work programme under this Sofia Initiative focuses mainly on:
- Data collection in order to obtain a comprehensive overview of the situation in the participating CEE countries with respect to phasing out leaded gasoline and reduction of sulphur and particulate emission;
- Exchange of experience in the two main areas of work, through Regional Workshops for experts from both, CEE and Western countries;
- Preparation of a synthesis paper which will provide a comparison among the participating CEE countries, including their situation, approach taken, policies used and experience with implementation of those policies;
- Development of a database of available technology options and alternatives containing pertinent data;
- Support to the participating CEE countries with the preparation of country analyses and development of possible scenarios, specific projects and project proposals, legislative, economic and investment measures for implementation.
Progress to date
To date, the following progress was made:
Institutionalisation of the programme
On March 18, 1996, a Working Group consisting of Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia was established and Bulgaria was appointed to chair the Working Group. The Chairman reviewed options for obtaining secretariat services and international technical and policy expertise and requested that the Regional Environmental Center provides these services. A Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Environment, Bulgaria and the Regional Environmental Center was signed on September 27, 1996. To support providing the secretariat services, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has approved a financial assistance of USD 150,000 to the Regional Environmental Center.
Meeting of the Working Group
In accordance with the draft Program Outline, a meeting of the Working Group took place on February 12-13, 1997 in Szentendre, Hungary. The meeting was attended by members of the Working Group representing Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. Western governments and international institutions were represented by Denmark, Germany, the US Environmental Protection Agency and the World Bank. A Work Plan 1997-1998 has been developed and approved by the Working Group and endorsed by the participating representatives of Western governments and international institutions. The Working Group was suggested to start implementing the Work Plan immediately.
Regional Workshop to Phase Out Lead in Gasoline
A Workshop on phaseout of lead in gasoline was held on June 24-26, 1997 in Bourgas, Bulgaria with participants from five Working Group member countries, three Western countries and three other CEE countries. The workshop covered the following topics:
- Health aspects as seen by U.S. experts;
- Pan-European process of phasing out leaded gasoline and cooperation with the UNECE Task Force to Phase Out Lead, chaired by Denmark;
- Car fleet study presented by Danish Technology Institute;
- Technologic, administrative and economic aspects of phasing out lead in gasoline - case studies from Norway, Slovakia and USA;
- Phasing out lead in CEE- status report on Sofia Initiative Working Group members;
- Preparation of draft phaseout schedules for Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia;
- Experience sharing with other countries from the region, including: Albania, the Czech Republic and Russian Federation;
- Visit to the largest Bulgaria refinery Neftochim.
Country Status Reports
In order to obtain a comprehensive overview of the situation in the Working Group member countries, a questionnaire was prepared with respect to phaseout lead in gasoline. This questionnaire was filled out by the participating countries and presented for the purposes of the pan-European study on phase out of gasoline. Poland later declined its participation in this part of the programme for internal reasons. A separate questionnaires was later developed and filled out to provide a comprehensive overview of the situation in Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, with respect to reducing of SOx and particulate emissions. Results of the questionnaires for lead phaseout were compiled in a Country Status Report. A separate Country Status Report is under development for SOx and particulate emissions.
Preparation of the Synthesis Paper
The preparation of a Synthesis paper is under way, which will combine the results of the questionnaires and Country Status Reports. The Synthesis Paper, which is expected to be completed in accordance with the Work Plan, will be presented to the Ministerial Conference in Aarhus in June 1998.
Regional Workshop to reduce SOx and Particulate Emissions
A Regional Workshop on reduction of SOx and particulate emission will be held in Bratislava in January 1998. The event will cover:
- Health aspects of SOx and particulates;
- Implementation of international commitments;
- Technologic, administrative and economic aspects - best available practices;
- The role of the international financial institutions;
- Status report of Working Group member countries;
Database of available technology options
An easily accessible database of available technology options and alternatives containing pertinent data will be developed prior to the Aarhus conference.
Input to the Ministerial Conference in Aarhus
The major input to the Ministerial Conference in Aarhus in June 1998 will be the Synthesis Paper which will be suggested to be presented among Official Documents to the conference. The Synthesis Paper will include both main areas of focus, namely: phaseout of lead in gasoline and reduction of SOx and particulate emissions. Among other things, it will:
- Present an interpretation of the available data and assess the situation in the participating countries;
- Provide a comparison among the participating countries;
- Present relevant case-studies and identify successful programmes, as well as list problems encountered by the participating and other CEE countries;
- Outline a list of priority projects for each participating country and for the region as a whole. This list would be submitted for an approval by the International Bodies and suggested as a frame for further collaborative actions.
Apart from the Synthesis Paper as a number of background documents will be presented, including data sheets, Country Status Reports, and the minutes of the Working Group member meetings and regional workshops.
ANNEX: Minutes of the Regional Workshop on Phasing Out of Lead in Gasoline; Bourgas, Bulgaria; June 24-26, 1997
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