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8th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference - Greener, Cleaner, Smarter!

8-10 June 2016 | Batumi, Georgia

Highlights for Wednesday, 8 June 2016

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Daily Web CoverageAbout | 8 Jun | 9 Jun | 10 Jun | Summary

Heads of delegation posed for a family photo during the first day of the
8th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference

The Eighth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference opened on Wednesday, 8 June 2016, in Batumi, Georgia. The meeting convened under the theme ‘Greener, Cleaner, Smarter!’

In the morning, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Georgia, welcomed participants to the Conference, underscoring the importance of the EfE process as a platform for international cooperation on environmental issues and Georgia's commitment to a green economy and sustainable development. Christian Friis Bach, Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), called for the EfE process to continue to reach tangible achievements to help implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and take bold decisions at this Conference on the proposed Batumi Initiative on the Green Economy (BIG-E) and the Batumi Action for Cleaner Air (BACA). Ambassador Tomáš Pernický, Czech Republic, said the SDGs provide an opportunity for common ground for EfE activities. Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), highlighted the second UN Environment Assembly’s (UNEA-2) resolutions on inclusive green economy and air quality and called on EfE participants to take actions to tackle air pollution and foster a green economy.

In the morning and afternoon, a plenary session and interactive discussion took place on ‘The environment dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: moving forward in the pan-European region.’ During discussion, participants focused on: cross-cutting issues; education, water and health; responsible consumption and production; and industry, innovation and infrastructure, among other topics.

Participants also addressed, ‘Keeping the pan-European environment under review,’ including a discussion of progress in establishing the Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) in support of regular reporting in the pan-European region and key findings and policy messages of the European regional assessment of the Sixth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-6).

In the evening, participants attended a reception and cultural event at the State Musical Centre of Batumi, hosted by the Government of Georgia.

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Opening of the Conference

The 8th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference opened with a video of a sand-box show illustrating the
Conference themes.
Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister, Georgia
Christian Friis Bach, Executive Secretary, UNECE
Archil Khabadze, Chairman, Government of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara, Georgia
Ambassador Tomáš Pernický, Czech Republic
Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Executive Director, UNEP
L-R: Christian Friis Bach, Executive Secretary, UNECE; Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister, Georgia; and Chair Gigla Agulashvili,
Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection, Georgia

Opening of the Conference
Ibrahim Thiaw, Deputy Executive Director, UNEP, moderated the session
Khayrullo Ibodzoda, Tajikistan
Andrei Kovkhuto, Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Belarus
Giannis Tsironis, Alternate Minister of Environment, Greece
Chair Gigla Agulashvili, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection, Georgia

Delegates celebrated 20 years of successful implementation of the ECE Environmental Performance Review Programme

Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister, Georgia, being interviewed by the media.

Keeping the Pan-European Environment Under Review

Andrei Kovkhuto, Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Belarus, addressed participants on the topic ‘From Astana to Batumi: Developing the Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) Across the Pan-European Region’
Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director, European Environment Agency (EEA), addressed participants on the topic ‘The European Environment Agency and Milestones in the European Union and European Neighbourhood Implementation of SEIS’
Delegates discussed the value of SEIS in a video presentation.
John Matuszak, US
Guenter Liebel, Director General of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management of Austria, presented on SEIS and air quality
Inga Podoroghin, State Secretary of Environment of Republic of Moldova, presented on SEIS and the green economy’
Marat Anuarov, Ministry of Energy of Kazakhstan, presented on ‘Opportunities, Challenges and Priorities on the Road Towards 2030, Including Monitoring of SDGs’

Launch of Regional Assessment GEO-6

Jan Dusík, Director, Regional Office for Europe, UNEP
Christian Friis Bach, Executive Secretary, UNECE
Matthew Billot, UNEP Regional Office for Europe
Participants during a break
L-R: Philippe Pypaert and Michel Ricard, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Delegates consulting
Norbert Kurilla, State Secretary of Environment, Ministry of Environment, Slovakia
Cristiana Pasca Palmer, Minister of Environment, Waters and Forests, Romania
Panelists of the session on “Towards a New Society: 10 Years of Education for Sustainable Development”

Around the Venue

Local musicians entertained delegates at lunch time
Musicians before the start of the conference.
Daily Web CoverageAbout | 8 Jun | 9 Jun | 10 Jun | Summary
Specific funding for coverage of the 8th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference,
has been provided by Environment for Europe