The almost twenty-year collaboration between the Italian Ministry of the Environment (now Ministry of Ecological Transition) and the REC (Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe) begins with the signature of an Agreement in 2001 for the implementation of environmental projects in Central and Eastern Europe.
The Agreement provided, among other things:
• the development of policies and programs for the improvement of the environment in the Region;
• the identification of projects for the protection of the environment, with a special emphasis on integrated, multi-stakeholder projects, and extended to a regional and cross-border dimension;
• the preparation of feasibility and pre-feasibility studies, as well as seminars, workshops and conferences.
Goals and results
REC is an international organization whose goal is to promote cooperation on environmental matters beyond regional and national borders by involving governments, non-governmental organizations, individuals and other interested actors. To this end, the REC supports the exchange of information and public participation in the main environmental decision-making processes, promotes environmental knowledge - also through dissemination, information and sharing of good practices - and contributes to the creation of joint projects and specific partnership.
Although not having a binding geographical limitation, the area of action of the REC is Central and Eastern Europe and South-Eastern Europe: Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Macedonia, Latvia, Montenegro , Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey.
REC operates in various thematic sectors in the environmental field, including: sustainable development, the strengthening of environmental management and policies, education for sustainable development, environment and health, eco-building, energy efficiency, climate change mitigation and renewable energy.
During the collaboration between the Ministry of the Environment and the REC several projects were carried out:
• SEARCH - School Environment and Respiratory Health of Children, a multi-year environmental education project on children's health and well-being in the school environment, concluded in December 2016. As part of this work, the Ministry, ISPRA and REC have produced the AirPAck: an innovative multimedia and multilingual educational tool, available free of charge online, containing didactic and playful-educational materials, designed for teachers and students, on indoor air quality in schools and on the actions to be taken to improve it.
• Building bridges between Regions - Building Bridge III, (attivare link) which aims to spread access to information and public participation in Latin America and Caribbean countries, as established by Principle 10 of the United Nations Rio Declaration and taking inspiration from the work carried out under the Aarhus Convention. Also thanks to this effort, in March 2018, 24 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean adopted an agreement, legally binding, to protect access to environmental rights.
• Climate Edu-Pack (previously approved as a 'Care Toolkit') which promotes a package of multimedia teaching tools based on the methodology, structure and results of the AirPack, but with a focus on the impact of climate change on the quality of air and, more generally, on human health.
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