International cooperation

The Ministry of Environment and Energy cooperates with other countries on environmental protection issues by concluding and implementing bilateral agreements and at the same time through regular exchange of information, that is, holding of bilateral interstate meetings with the aim of realising the most efficient possible implementation of environmental protection. For this purpose, the Republic of Croatia concluded bilateral agreements on cooperation in the field of environmental protection with Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Hungary, Macedonia, Qatar, Serbia and Turkey as well as a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation with Albania.

The Republic of Croatia is a party to a great number of multilateral international agreements and participates in the work of international organisations and initiatives focused on protection of the environment and sustainable development.

GEF (Global Environment Facility)

GEF is an independent financial organisation that ensures funds for developing countries to implement projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, ozone layer and persistent organic pollutants which contribute to conservation of global environment and promote sustainability principles. GEF also has the role of a financial mechanism for implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. It also assists the implementation of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer as well as the Convention on Mercury.

GEF comprises 182 member governments, while the partnership is made up of international organisations, non-governmental organisations and the private sector.

Projects funded by GEF are owned by individual countries and their governments are expected to integrate GEF activities into the context of their priorities related to environmental protection and national development. Projects are managed by GEF’s implementing agencies, while national authorities responsible for political decision making and project planning have to be familiar with GEF operational policies and procedures and have to ensure national and local support for continuation of activities upon completion of certain projects. GEF general policies, operations and membership are approved by the GEF Assembly, composed of representatives of all countries, which decides on amendments to the Instrument – the document on the establishment and operation of GEF.

The main governing body of GEF is its Council, consisting of representatives of 32 country groups (constituencies), which develops, adopts and evaluates GEF programmes, and the work of the Council is open to representatives of non-governmental organisations and the civil society.

The Republic of Croatia is a GEF member country, and was in the capacity of a recipient country until it became an EU Member State.

Using GEF funds, 14 national projects and 17 regional and global projects were implemented or are still being implemented in the Republic of Croatia the executing agencies of which are national institutions, while implementation is carried out by GEF implementing agencies (UNDP, World Bank, UNEP and UNIDO):

  • Strengthening the Institutional and Financial Sustainability of the National Protected Area System - PARCS (GEF/UNDP)
  • Adriatic Sea Environmental Pollution Control Project (I) (GEF/WB)
  • Enabling Activities to Facilitate Early Action on the Implementation of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in the Republic of Croatia
  • Strategic Partnership for the Mediterranean Large Marine Ecosystem (GEF/UNEP MAP)
  • Neretva and Trebisnjica Management Project (GEF/WB)
  • Protection and Sustainable Use of the Dinaric Karst Aquifer System - DIKTAS (GEF/UNEP/UNESCO)

Link: Global Environment Facility (GEF)


HORIZON 2020 / Union for the Mediterranean

On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, at the summit held in Barcelona in November 2005, the parties of the partnershiphave expressed their commitment to intensify efforts to reduce pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by 2020 through the Horizon 2020 initiative. At the conference of environmental ministers in Cairo in November 2006 the Horizon 2020 initiative, one of the key initiatives within the Union for the Mediterranean which is the current name of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, was launched. The Steering Group is responsible for implementation of the initiative.

The aim of the initiative is to reduce pollution of the Mediterranean Sea so that the most significant sources of pollution, namely municipal waste, waste water and industrial emissions, responsible for up to 80% of pollution in the Mediterranean Sea, are tackled in an appropriate manner.

At the meeting of the Horizon 2020 Steering Group held in December 2014 the Work Programme for the second phase of implementation (2015 – 2020) was adopted and three groups for implementation and monitoring were formed:

  1. Investments for Pollution Reduction and Prevention;
  2. Capacity Building;
  3. Review and Monitoring.

From 2011 to 2013, within the framework of the capacity building group, in the Republic of Croatia 10 national, subregional and regional workshops were held, and Croatian experts participated in over 20 workshops throughout Europe.

At the UfM Ministerial meeting on Environment and Climate Change held in Athens on 13 May 2014 the ministers agreed on launching the second phase of the Horizon 2020 initiative to reduce the pollution of the Mediterranean, with full participation of the UfM Secretariat and UNEP/MAP. Besides the ministerial declaration also the Mediterranean Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development was adopted the aim of which is to encourage countries of the Mediterranean to develop and incorporate ESD into their formal education systems, and in non-formal and informal education.

Useful links:


Adriatic-Ionian Initiative

The Adriatic and Ionian Initiative (AII) was established at the Conference on the Development and Security in the Adriatic and the Ionian Sea, held in Ancona on 19 - 20 May 2000, at which the Ancona Declaration was adopted by which member countries committed to co-operate with the aim of strengthening peace and security in this part of Europe, good neighbourly relations, economic development, land transport connections, eliminating all forms of crime, technical assistance, environmental protection, health and cultural co-operation, tourism development and maritime co-operation.

The Adriatic Ionian Council (AIC) established at the ministerial level decides on all basic and specific issues, including the areas and forms of co-operation among the member states of the Initiative, co-operation with other international organisations and initiatives, as well as political issues in the region.

The work of the Initiative takes place at round tables divided into four thematic units: Round Table for Environment and Protection against Fire, Round Table for Tourism, Culture and Inter-University Cooperation, Round Table for Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises, and Round Table for Transport and Maritime Cooperation.


Joint Commission for the Protection of the Adriatic Sea and Coastal Areas

The Joint Commission for the Protection of the Adriatic Sea and Coastal Areas was established in 1977 under the Agreement on Cooperation for the Protection of the Waters of the Adriatic Sea and Coastal Zones from Pollution concluded in 1974 between former Yugoslavia and Italy to address environmental issues in the Adriatic region in a multidisciplinary manner. The Republic of Croatia is a party to the Agreement on Co-operation pursuant to the succession of international agreements, and other member states of the Commission are the Republic of Slovenia, the Italian Republic, and Montenegro.

Each state appoints a chairperson and members of the Commission. In the Republic of Croatia coordination of activities is conducted by the Ministry of Environment and Energy, while the members are representatives of the ministries responsible for activities within the framework of the Commission: Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Science, Education and Sports. Experts whose work concerns issues of protection of the Adriatic also participate in the work of the Joint Commission.

The Commission considers all issues relating to pollution of the Adriatic Sea waters and coastal areas, makes proposals and recommendations to governments regarding research it considers necessary, gives an opinion on programmes and takes care of their alignment, proposes to the governments the measures to be taken in order to remove existing and prevent new causes of pollution of the Adriatic Sea, submit to governments draft international regulations necessary to ensure the purity of the Adriatic Sea.

So far the Commission has carried out the following activities:

  • working together on a continuous examination of the Adriatic Sea ecosystem,
  • cooperation and mutual direct assistance in combating pollution incidents and special protection of sensitive areas as well as adoption of a joint (sub-regional) Contingency Plan for accidental pollution of the Adriatic (Sub-regional Contingency Plan was signed in 2005 in Portorož),
  • establishing a traffic separation scheme and establishing of sailing routes in the Adriatic,
  • identification and control of pollution caused by inadequate handling and disposal of solid and hazardous waste,
  • cooperation concerning revitalization and protection of environmental values (landscape, nature and construction heritage),
  • remediation of the most burdened areas (Po, Bay of Trieste, Bay of Koper, Rijeka Bay, Kaštela Bay) and other areas of larger cities, industrial zones and ports,
  • cooperation in preventive protection and further implementation of development strategies aligned with resource conservation,
  • information activities
  • solving the issue of ballast waters in the Adriatic.

The Commission's work currently takes place in three sub-committees. At the Commission meeting held in Portorož in September 2011 the sub-committees were renamed as follows:

  • Within the framework of the Sub-Commission for Management of Ballast Waters and Contingency Plans, which also provides support to activities of the GloBallast (UNDP/ GEF/ IMO) project, activities were initiated on the development of the Adriatic ballast water management strategy.
  • The task of the Sub-Commission for Integrated Coastal Zone Management and Sustainable Development is to promote sub-regional and transnational cooperation and coordination for a timely implementation of the ICZM protocol and its Action Plan.
  • Sub-Commission for implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive was established with the aim of coordinating activities and exchanging information among countries of the Adriatic on the implementation of the EU Directive on Marine Strategy. This sub-commission shall examine and harmonize existing monitoring programmes, the list of indicators and methodologies to select the most suitable for the Adriatic and to facilitate exchange and comparison of data.

The Joint Commission meets once or twice per year and each year another member takes over the hosting.


REC – Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe

Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe is an international organisation the aim of which is environmental protection. It was established in 1990 by the United States, the European Commission and Hungary and is legally based on a charter signed not only by the European Commission but also by governments from 31 counties. The REC fulfils its mission by promoting cooperation among governments, non-governmental organisations, private sector and other environmental stakeholders, by supporting free exchange of information and public participation in environmental decision making. Its head office is located in Szentendre, Hungary.

Link: Regional Environmental Center (REC)


UNDP – United Nations Development Programme

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is a global development network of the United Nations operating in 177 countries and territories.

UNDP is a United Nations agency the goal of which is to assist countries in strengthening capabilities for addressing national and global development challenges. UNDP focuses on the following main areas: democratic governance, poverty eradication, crisis prevention and recovery, energy efficiency and environment, social inclusion of vulnerable groups and fighting HIV/AIDS.

UNDP's presence in the Republic of Croatia is governed by a Standard Basic Assistance Agreement with the Government of the Republic of Croatia signed in 1996.

As of 1 July 2014, UNDP in Croatia operates as a self-funding Project Management Office while also performing some regional functions such as knowledge sharing in the areas of UNDP’s comparative advantage. The scope of the activities and mandate of the project office includes projects that are currently under implementation and any potential new engagements requested by the Croatian national institutions, and in line with UNDP’s work in new EU Member States. Under agreement with the Government, UNDP will continue to implement projects in the Republic of Croatia until the end of 2017.

For the Ministry of Environmental and Nature Protection as implementing agency, in the period from 2007 to 2012 UNDP carried out the project Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in the Dalmatian coast through greening coastal development (COAST).

Furthermore, UNDP is an authorised international organisation for implementation of projects funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and currently in the Republic of Croatia UNDP-GEF project for sustainable management of the National Protected Area System PARCS is being implemented.

UNDP as a Project Management Office focuses on promoting sustainable energy solutions, low-emission development, conservation of protected areas of nature and nature protection; on improving living conditions and economic opportunities in war–affected, rural and remote areas; on advocating full social inclusion of people with disabilities, minorities and other vulnerable groups; and on sharing knowledge on Croatia’s EU integration process with other countries in the region. 



UN/ECE United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is one of five regional United Nations commissions set up in 1947 by ECOSOC, with headquarters in Geneva. Its main objective is to promote economic cooperation among its fifty-six member states. It represents a forum where the countries of western, central and eastern Europe, central Asia and North America cooperate in areas such as economy, energy, environment, human settlements, population, statistics, timber, trade, and transport. Commission’s activities include analysis of general policy, development of conventions, regulations and standards, as well as technical assistance.

Over 70 organizations and non-governmental organizations take part in UNECE activities.

The Republic of Croatia participates in the work of the Commission.

Link: UN/ECE United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Committee on Environmental Policy (CEP)

UN Committee on Environmental Policy provides collective policy direction in the area of environment and sustainable development, prepares ministerial meetings, develops international environmental law and supports international initiatives in the UN/ECE region. CEP work is based on three main strategic pillars:

  1. participation in two main international cooperation processes, i.e. Environment for Europe and regional promotion of Agenda 21 and Johannesburg Action Plan;
  2. development and implementation of Environmental Performance Reviews in central and eastern European countries;
  3. increasing the overall effectiveness of environmental conventions and facilitating the exchange of experience related to their implementation.

The Ministry is involved in CEP’s work and participates in CEP meetings and certain task forces.

Link: UN/ECE Committee on Environmental Policy (CEP)


Environment for Europe process (EFE)

The Environment for Europe process was initiated by the first Pan-European conference of environment ministers held in Dobris (former Czechoslovakia) in 1991. At this conference the need to develop a report describing the state of the environment in Europe was underlined, as well as the need to develop an Environmental Programme for Europe along with the Environment Action Programme in the light of this report. At the second and third ministerial conferences held in Lucerne (1993) and Sofia (1995) significant progress in the development of the indicated documents was achieved and in Sofia the long-term Environmental Programme at a Pan-European level, prepared within the UN/ECE, was endorsed. The Programme is an attempt to make Agenda 21 more operational in the European context, particularly its provision relating to the integration of environmental policy with other policies. It serves as a framework for better coordination of national and international efforts to improve environmental conditions throughout Europe, covers a broad range of issues and contains numerous recommendations. It also contains provisions allowing it to be updated, developed further and expanded in the light of the experience gained with its implementation. At the Fourth Ministerial Conference that took place in Aarhus in 1998, progress achieved in implementation of the indicated Programme was considered and the ECE Committee on Environmental Policy was tasked to continue assessing progress, taking into account Europe's Environment: The Second Assessment with the aim of implementing priority activities at the Pan-European level within the framework of the long-term work programme and report thereon at the Fifth Ministerial Conference in Kiev.

Fifth Ministerial Conference EfE - Kiev, 2003

  • key document adopted at the conference was the Ministerial Declaration
  • three protocols were adopted: Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment – SEA Protocol, Protocol on Civil Liability and Compensation for Damage Caused by the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents on Transboundary Waters – Civil Liability Protocol, and Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers – PRTR Protocol
  • the Republic of Croatia is a signatory to 2 protocols: Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment to the Espoo Convention and the Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers to the Aarhus Convention
  • the document Guidelines on reforming energy pricing and subsidies was endorsed
  • the Statement on Education for Sustainable Development was endorsed by which Education Ministers and other relevant Ministers were invited to take an active part along with Environmental Ministers in the development of the Strategy for education for sustainable development
  • the document Environmental partnerships in the UNECE region: Environment Strategy for countries of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia was adopted. Thereby a process was initiated by which the activities to date carried out within the EfE process related to improving the environmental status in countries of central and eastern Europe were diverted to EECCA countries.

At the Sixth Ministerial Conference EfE held in Belgrade, 10 – 12 October 2007 three main topics were discussed:

  • assessment of progress achieved in implementation of agreed commitments (state of the environment and monitoring, education for sustainable development, biodiversity);
  • capacity building and partnership to support implementation (perspectives for SEE, environmental policy and international competitiveness and financing, implementation of environmental policy);
  • future of the Environment for Europe process (adoption of the Ministerial Declaration)

At the joint session of environment and education ministers the Joint statement on education for sustainable development by the ministers of education and of the environment of the UNECE region was endorsed in which commitment to further implementation of education for sustainable development in the region is expressed.

In the part of the conference dedicated to biodiversity the Belgrade statement on biodiversity was adopted the most significant elements of which are the future full support of Europe’s environment ministers to the process of establishing an operational Pan-European Ecological network (PEEN), perseverance in the implementation of the Kiev resolution on biodiversity and meeting the objective of halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010 (Countdown 2010 Initiative) through strengthening of cooperation between all interested parties. The Ministerial Declaration was adopted in the final text of which the document 'Future of the EfE process' was endorsed whereby it was determined that the process would continue along with implementation of a reform of its structure and narrowing of thematic areas in its focus, the key being: strengthening environmental institutions and organizations, and implementation of policy instruments;strengthening environmental monitoring and assessment; transboundary and subregional issues in the UNECE region, andnew emerging issues of special relevance for the region not covered by other processes. Also, the continuation of the process should focus on result-based, action-oriented activities.

The Seventh 'Environment for Europe' Ministerial Conference took place in Astana, Kazakhstan in September 2011. It had two main themes: Sustainable management of water and water-related ecosystems and Greening the economy: mainstreaming the environment into economic development.

Through the adopted Ministerial Declaration, among others, the importance and commitment to the Environment for Europe objectives is confirmed; significance of water is recognised and the remaining pressures on water and water ecosystems and the improvement of the system and environmental policies is encouraged; readiness to pursue implementation of principles of integrated water resources management is expressed; countries are invited to ratify and implement the relevant multilateral environmental agreements and encouraged to undertake trans-national agreements on transboundary water management; mobilisation of incentives for water efficiency and the generation of revenues to finance water services aiming at full cost recovery prices for water, while making adequate provisions for vulnerable social groups is encouraged; the Astana Water Action is endorsed and countries and other actors are invited to implement it; the need is stressed to strengthen efforts for the transition to a green economy by supporting the decoupling of economic growth from environmental degradation, through stimulating green investment in various economic sectors, applying effective mixes of policy instruments to promote resource efficiency and supporting research, innovations, education and training to secure the achievement of a green, and competitive economy; readiness to take the lead in the transition to green economy is expressed as well as a decision to establish a regular process of environmental assessment and to develop the Shared Environmental Information System SEIS across the region.

The Eight Ministerial Conference was held in Batumi, Georgia in June 2016 and it addressed two main themes: greening the economy in the pan-European region and improving air quality for a better environment and human health.

The Ministerial Declaration "Greener, cleaner, smarter!" was adopted at the conference. It endorsed the voluntary “Pan-European strategic framework for greening the economy”, welcomed the “Batumi initiative on green economy” and called for their implementation. It also endorsed the voluntary initiative "Batumi Action for cleaner air” and committed to improving air quality for a better environment and human health and through cooperation to address transboundary impacts and enhanced policy coordination and coherence at the national and regional levels.

At the High-level segment on education for sustainable development, Education and Environment Ministers adopted the new Framework for the future implementation of the UNECE Strategy for education for sustainable development until 2019 and the Ministerial Statement on education for sustainable development.

Link: UN/ECE Environment for Europe process (EfE)


Environmental Performance Review - EPR

In 1991 at the Environment for Europe Conference the Environment Ministers launched a programme for environmental performance reviews.

A comprehensive report is developed on the state of the environment in certain member countries of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE). Its aim is to improve environmental management and strengthen the mechanisms for its protection through assessment of the current status, adoption of conclusions and provision of recommendations to the Government for future activities aimed at improving creation of policies, adoption of best practice and alignment with identified standards and principles. The programme is in non-OECD countries implemented by the UN/ECE –Committee on Environmental Policy (CEP).

The main goals of the EPR programme are:

  • to assists countries to improve their environmental management and performance through adoption of concrete recommendations for development of better policies and their implementation
  • to promote information exchange among countries on policies and experiences
  • to help integrate environmental policies into economic sectoral policies (e.g. agriculture, energy, transport, tourism and health)
  • to promote greater accountability to other countries and the public
  • to strengthen cooperation with the international community.

The first EPR in the Republic of Croatia was carried out in 1999. Implementation of the second cycle of EPR in the Republic of Croatia began in October 2012, and in late 2013 the preparation of the Review containing 9 chapters was completed along with the accompanying recommendations related to planning, creation and implementation of environmental policies, mobilisation of financial resources for environmental protection and integration of environmental issues into the economy and promotion of sustainable development.

Recommendations were adopted on 24 October 2013 at the 19. Session of the UN/ECE Committee on Environmental Policy (CEP) in Geneva.

Link: UNECE Environmental Performance Review

Environmental Monitoring

At the ministerial conference 'Environment for Europe' held in Aarhus, Denmark in 1998 the European Environment Agency (EEA) was requested to prepare, in cooperation with other international organisations, the third pan-European assessment report on the state of the environment (Kiev Assessment) based on indicators for the conference held in Kiev. The Ad Hoc Working Group on Environmental Monitoring was formed in order to coordinate the preparation of the Kiev assessment report, in particular data collection, the preparation of the assessment based on this data and ensuring data compatibility.

For the 7. EfE Conference held in Astana in 2011, the EEA prepared the pan-European environmental report entitled Assessment of Assessments. One of the main conclusions of this report is the need for improving data collection and reporting as well as the development of a joint information system (SEIS). Its establishment was decided on at the conference.

Link: UNECE Monitoring and Assessment


Education for sustainable development (ESD)

The concept of education for sustainable development (ESD) is promoted through Agenda 21 (1992) and the UN resolution on the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005 – 2014 in order to stimulate processes for integration of principles, values and sustainable development practice in all aspects of education with the aim of addressing social, economic, cultural and environmental challenges in the 21st Century and in order to stimulate changes in behaviour. Subsequently, the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UN/ECE) in 2005 adopted the Strategy for sustainable development that encourages introduction and promotion of education for sustainable development in the countries of the UN/ECE region with the aim of realising the common vision.

Its objectives are to:

  1. Ensure that policy, regulatory and operational frameworks support ESD;
  2. Promote sustainable development through formal, non-formal and informal learning;
  3. Equip educators with the competence to include sustainable development in their teaching;
  4. Ensure that adequate tools and materials for ESD are accessible;
  5. Promote research on and development of ESD;
  6. Strengthen cooperation on ESD at all levels within the UNECE region.

The Strategy was adopted at the high level meeting of Environment and Education Ministers held in March 2005 in Vilnius, Lithuania, at which also the framework for its implementation was adopted according to which countries need to prepare National Implementation Plans as the central element of implementation. In April 2011 the Government of the Republic of Croatia adopted the Action plan for education for sustainable development which is continuously implemented.

Competences in education for sustainable development

Educators, which also have to possess certain competences in order to improve the quality of education, play a very important role in education for sustainable development. Therefore, the UN/ECE Expert Group developed Competences in education for sustainable development which were adopted in January 2011. The Competencies represent the 'minimum standard' which all educators should meet, and are gathered around three essential characteristics of education for sustainable development: holistic approach, envisioning change and achieving transformation.

Progress Report on the Sustainable Development Strategy

For the purpose of a comprehensive overview of implementation of the Strategy, a reporting mechanism was established for the entire UN/ECE region. The first mandatory reporting was carried out in 2010, and the second in 2014.


Environment and health

The first joint meeting of the ministers of environment and health was held in 1989 in Frankfurt and resulted in the European Charter on Environment and Health. The basic principles, mechanisms and priorities for environment and health programmes were agreed and the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health was established.

At the Second Ministerial Conference in 1994 in Helsinki the Declaration on Action for Environment and Health was adopted which prompted the development of the Environmental Health Action Plan for Europe. Countries are obliged to prepare national action plans (NEHAP) and the first European Environment and Health Committee (EEHC) was established.

The Third Ministerial Conference held in 1999 in London, with the theme 'Action in partnership', was the greatest political event at that time. The Protocol on Water and Health to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes was adopted along with the Charter on Transport, Environment and Health and the London Declaration by which EEHC's mandate for organisation of these conferences was extended.

The conference in Budapest in 2004 with the theme 'The future for our children', was the fourth, and its main issue was decided on following responses by certain countries and non-governmental organisations to the questionnaire regarding interests, preoccupations and needs, whereby it was confirmed that the health of future generations lies at the core of sustainable development. The goal of the previous as well as this conference was to eliminate the most significant environmental threats to human health, through the prevention is better than cure approach. The Declaration and the Children’s Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe (CEHAPE) were adopted at the conference.

The Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health took place in Parma, Italy in 2010 with Croatia participating at the level of state secretary for health. The Parma Declaration on Environment and Health was adopted, along with the European Regional Framework for Action, the European Environment and Health Process (2010-2016): Institutional framework and the Youth Declaration.

The Sixth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health was held in 2017 in Ostrava, Czech Republic. The Ostrava declaration on environment and health was adopted by acclamation. It is supported by two annexes: a compendium of possible actions to advance the implementation, and institutional arrangements for the European Environment and Health Process. It identifies 7 key focus areas for action:

  1. improved indoor and outdoor air quality;
  2. ensuring universal, equitable and sustainable access to safe drinking-water, sanitation and hygiene;
  3. minimizing the adverse effects of chemicals on human health and the environment;
  4. preventing and eliminating the adverse environmental and health effects, costs and inequalities related to waste management and contaminated sites;
  5. strengthening adaptive capacity and resilience to health risks related to climate change and supporting measures to mitigate climate change;
  6. supporting the efforts of European cities and regions to become healthier and more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable;
  7. building the environmental sustainability of health systems.


Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme (THE PEP)

THE PEP is a unique model for intersectoral policy coordination in transport, health and environment and a platform for international cooperation and exchange of good practice, which was jointly established by the UNECE and the Regional Office for Europe of the World Health Organization (WHO/Europe) at the second High level meeting on transport, environment and health in Geneva in 2002. The program aims to assist UNECE and WHO Member States, as well as other interested stakeholders, to develop and implement sustainable transport policies with a focus on environment and health.   

At the third High level meeting, held in Amsterdam in 2009, the ministers adopted the Ministerial Declaration which defined four priority goals of THE PEP:

  1. to contribute to sustainable economic development and stimulate job creation through investment in environment- and health-friendly transport;
  2. to manage sustainable mobility and promote a more efficient transport system;
  3. to reduce emissions of transport-related greenhouse gases, air pollution and noise;
  4. to promote policies and actions conductive to healthy and safe modes of transport.

Also, the following implementation mechanisms were established:

  • Developing National Transport, Health and Environment Action Plans (NTHEAP's);
  • Launching of THE PEP  Stafette (relay-race) workshops intended to share experience and best practice in sustainable and healthy transport and mobility;
  • Establishing THE PEP Partnerships.

At the fourth High-level meeting in Paris in 2014, the Ministerial Declaration adopted the fifth priority goal - to integrate transport, health and environmental objectives into urban and spatial planning policies. 

Several thematic partnerships have been established within the THE PEP: the Partnership on cycling, the Health Economic Assessment Tools - HEAT, the Partnership on jobs in green and healthy transport, the Partnership on eco-driving and the Partnership on the integration of transport, health and environmental objectives with urban and spatial planning policies.



UN/ECE international agreements and related protocols

1.Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution
(Geneva 1979)
Pursuant to the notification on succession, the Republic of Croatia became a party to the Convention on 8 October 1991 (OG-IT 12/93)

  • Protocol to the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution on Long Term Financing of the Cooperative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long-range Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe (EMEP)
    (Geneva 1984)
    Pursuant to the notification on succession, the Republic of Croatia became a party to the Convention on 8 October 1991 (OG-IT 12/93)

  • Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution on Further Reduction of Sulfur Emissions
    (Oslo 1994)
    Published in OG–IT, No. 17/98, 3/99 - corrigendum, came into force with respect to the Republic of Croatia on 27 April 1999

  • Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution to Abate Acidification, Eutrophication and Ground-level Ozone
    (Gothenburg 1999)
    The Republic of Croatia signed the Protocol in 1999. Published in OG–IT No. 04/08, came into force with respect to the Republic of Croatia on 5 January 2009, and the effective date was published in OG-IT No. 7/08

  • Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution Concerning the Control of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds or Their Transboundary Fluxes
    (Geneva 1991)
    Published in OG-IT No. 10/07, entered into force with respect to the Republic of Croatia on 01 June 2008, and the effective date was published in OG-IT No. 2/08

  • Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution Concerning the Control of Emissions of Nitrogen Oxides or Their Transboundary Fluxes
    (Sofia 1988)
    Published in OG-IT No. 10/07, entered into force with respect to the Republic of Croatia on 01 June 2008, and the effective date was published in OG-IT No. 2/08

  • Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution on Heavy Metals
    (Aarhus 1998)
    Published in OG-IT No. 05/07, entered into force with respect to the Republic of Croatia on 05 December 2007, and the effective date was published in OG-IT No. 9/07

  • Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution on Persistent Organic Pollutants
    (Aarhus 1998)
    Published in OG-IT No. 05/07, entered into force with respect to the Republic of Croatia on 05 December 2007, and the effective date was published in OG-IT No. 9/07

2. Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context
(Espoo 1991)
Published in Official Gazette – International Treaties, (hereinafter referred to as OG–IT), No. 6/96, entered into force with respect to the Republic of Croatia on 10 September 1997

Act on Ratification of the Amendment to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context, Sofia, 27 February 2001, and of the Amendment to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context
Cavtat, 4 June 2004
Published in OG-IT No. 7/08 and Corrigendum to the Act in OG-IT No. 1/09

  • Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment
    (Kiev 2003)
    The Republic of Croatia signed the Protocol on 23 May 2003.
    Published in OG–IT No. 7/09. The Protocol entered into force with respect to the Republic of Croatia on 11 July 2010, and the effective date was published in OG-IT No. 3/10.

3. Convention on Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents

(Helsinki 1992)
Published in OG–IT No. 7/99, entered into force with respect to the Republic of Croatia on 19 April 2000, and the effective date was published in OG-IT No. 10/01

4. Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters
(Aarhus 1998)
Published in OG–IT No. 1/07, entered into force with respect to the Republic of Croatia on 25 June 2007, and the effective date was published in OG-IT No. 7/08

  • Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers
    (Kiev 2003)
    The Republic of Croatia signed the Protocol on 23 May 2003.
    Published in OG–IT No. 4/08, entered into force with respect to the Republic of Croatia on 8 October 2009, and the effective date was published in OG-IT No. 13/11

5. Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (under the competence of the Ministry of Agriculture)
(Helsinki 1992)
Published in OG–IT No. 4/96.

  • Protocol on Water and Health
    (London 1999)
    Published in OG–IT No. 4/06.

UNEP – United Nations Environment Programme

UNEP is a programme within the United Nations system which through work with numerous partners (UN bodies, international organisations, governments, non-governmental organisations, business sector, industry, media and civil society) participates in environmental protection and the development and implementation of environmental policies at the global and regional level.

It was established in 1972 as a result of the UN Conference on Human Environment held in Stockholm, and its mandate as the leading environmental programme within the UN was confirmed at the Conference on Environment and Development held in 1992. At the Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 (Rio+20) it was decided that the environmental component of sustainable development would be strengthened and was then confirmed by the UN General Assembly Resolution by which universal membership in the UNEP Governing Council was introduced and UNEP’s status was promoted to a specialised environmental agency.

The headquarters of the UNEP Secretariat are located in Nairobi, and its activities take place through its six regional offices and eight liaison offices. In Europe these are offices in Geneva, Vienna and Brussels.

UNEP is funded from the regular UN budget and the voluntary Environment Fund for financing the programming activities.

At the 27th session of the UNEP Governing Council, the first with universal membership (February 2013) it was decided that it would be renamed 'the United Nations Environment Assembly', it would convene its sessions on a biennial basis, and would conclude with a two-day high level segment which would take strategic decisions, set the global environmental agenda, provide political guidance and set the strategic guidance on the future direction of the United Nations Environment Programme. The Assembly will ensure effective engagement of civil society in its work and promote a strong science-policy interface. The open-ended Committee of Permanent Representatives to UNEP will be the subsidiary body of the Assembly and contribute to the preparation of the agenda and prepare decisions for adoption.

Link: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)


UNEP/MAP - United Nations Environment Programme, Mediterranean Action Plan

The Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP) was established in 1975 within the framework of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). MAP is the first in a series of Regional Seas Programmes established with the aim of ensuring a better quality life for the inhabitants of countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and establishing and strengthening mutual cooperation and aligning of the strategy for managing joint natural resources. Furthermore, it is focused on environmental protection, promoting of the sustainable governance model as well as harmonisation of the relations between Mediterranean countries.

In 1976, 16 Mediterranean countries and the European Community signed the Convention for Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution, the so-called Barcelona convention which was in 1995 amended to the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean. The Barcelona Convention represents the legal framework for the work of MAP, and to date it was complemented by seven specific Protocols. The Convention has 22 Contracting Parties: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Croatia, Egypt, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Montenegro, Monaco, Slovenia, Spain, Syria, Tunisia and Turkeyand the European Union.

Common interests for protection of the sea and marine environment, or specific sub-themes are defined in the seven protocols to the Barcelona Convention. Over time the protocols have been upgraded and they represent the legal framework for implementation of joint activities in the protection of the sea and marine environment, together with the MED POL programme (Programme for the Assessment and Control of Marine Pollution in the Mediterranean) and Programme 100 HS (Programme for the Protection of Coastal Historic sites).

The Protocols to the Barcelona Convention are:

  • Dumping Protocol - The Protocol for the Prevention of Pollution in the Mediterranean Sea by Dumping from Ships and Aircraft or Incineration at Sea (1976, amended in 1995)
  • Emergency Protocol - Protocol Concerning Cooperation in Preventing Pollution from Ships and, in Cases of Emergency, Combating Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea (1976, replaced by a new protocol in 2002)
  • LBS Protocol - The Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities (1980, amended in 1996)
  • SPA and Biodiversity Protocol - Protocol Concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean (1982, replaced by a new protocol in 1995)
  • Offshore Protocol - Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution Resulting from Exploration and Exploitation of the Continental Shelf and the Seabed and its Subsoil (1994)
  • Hazardous Wastes Protocol - Protocol on the Prevention of Pollution of the Mediterranean Sea by Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (1996)
  • ICZM Protocol - Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean (2008)

Within the framework of MAP there are 6 regional activity centres (RACs) that are located in Mediterranean countries, and offer their expertise in specific fields of MAP action.

REMPEC (Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea), Malta

REMPEC is managed under the joint auspices of MAP and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). It assists Mediterranean coastal states build national capacities to prevent or act in the event of major marine pollution incidents. The centre also facilitates cooperation between countries in combating accidental marine pollution from hydrocarbons and other hazardous and harmful substances.

BP/RAC (Blue Plan Regional Activity Centre), France

The Regional Activity Centre for the Blue Plan is responsible for environmental protection in the context of sustainable development in certain Mediterranean regions. In its work BP/RAC adopts a systemic approach to the Mediterranean environment and development issues, using observation and assessment instruments, as well as by developing environmental protection and sustainable development indicators.

PAP/RAC (Regional Activity Centre for the Priority Actions Programme), Croatia

The Regional Activity Centre for the Priority Actions Programme was established with the aim of setting up integrated coastal zone management to alleviate and stop negative environmental impacts due to development in built-up coastal areas. The centre offers technical assistance and coordinates Coastal Area Management Programmes (CAMP). The Republic of Croatia (the City of Split) is the host of this Centre.

SPA/RAC (Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas), Tunisia

The Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas focuses on the protection of biodiversity in the sense of protecting Mediterranean species, their habitats and ecosystems. The Centre develops management plans, information tools for monitoring, and promotes awareness campaigns and the circulation of information among specialists and relevant international organizations including NGOs.

INFO/RAC (Regional Activity Centre for Information and Communication), Italy

RAC/INFO provides communication services and technical support to the MAP Secretariat and the other RACs. It also focuses on enhancing public awareness and establishing partnerships that enable sustainable development across the Mediterranean region.

SCP/RAC (Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production), Spain

The Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production is a centre for international cooperation with Mediterranean countries on development and innovation in the production sector and civil society, based on more sustainable consumption and production models. The centre also carries out training programmes, promotes exchange of experts and transfer of technologies in the region.

The Mediterranean Commission on Sustainable Development (MCSD) was established in 1996 as a MAP advisory body which on the basis of the assessment of various sectoral issues develops recommendations, guidelines and other documents for achieving sustainable development in the Mediterranean. Within the framework of MCSD activities, and with the support of other regional activity centres, the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development was developed. After its adoption in 2005, the most important role of MCSD became the implementation of the Strategy at the level of the Mediterranean region as well as encouraging and assisting countries in implementing the Strategy at the national and local level.

Programme for the assessment and control of marine pollution in the Mediterranean (MED POL) represents a scientific and technical component of MAP and is responsible for the implementation of LBS, Dumping and Hazardous Wastes protocols. MED POL had a key role in the upgrading of technical capacities in most Mediterranean countries through realisation of 500 research contracts concluded with national institutions in the period from 1982 to 1995 and assisted MAP countries in establishing marine status monitoring programmes.

The programme is continuously implemented since 1975.

Compliance Committee

The Compliance Committee of the Barcelona Convention came into being on the occasion of the 15th Meeting of the Contracting Parties, held from 15 to 18 January 2008in Almeria, Spain. The Committee is composed of seven members and their alternates. The aim of the Compliance Committee is to facilitate the implementation of and compliance with commitments under the Barcelona Convention and its Protocols, taking into account the specific situation of each of the Contracting Parties.

Ecosystem approach

At their 15th meeting, held in January 2008 in Almeria (Spain), the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention have adopted a decision on implementation of the ecosystem approach to the management of human activities that may affect the Mediterranean marine and coastal environment. The decision contains the 'Roadmap' for the indicated approach. Since 2008 to date expert meetings have been held at which detailed steps in the implementation of this approach are agreed. One of the most important tasks is assessment of the ecological status and pressures in the Mediterranean that would enable Contracting Parties to the Convention to more easily determine goals to achieve good status of marine and coastal environment.