Within this area of expertise, the REC addresses the challenges associated with the negative environmental impacts generated by the use of natural resources; the rising costs of essential raw materials and minerals, their scarcity and price volatility; and the EU’s resource dependency. Consistent with its long-term commitment to biodiversity protection, the REC also contributes to shaping and implementing local, national and relevant international nature conservation regulations. Special emphasis is given to activities that support the development of rural areas in a way that benefits both the human population and nature, such as branding projects and capacity building for local stakeholders in the fields of sustainable agriculture and tourism.
The main objectives related to sustainable resource use are to:
- promote the implementation of the EU Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe in Central and Eastern Europe;
- foster the application of strategic approaches and processes targeting sustainable resource use both in economic sectors and in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, South Eastern Europe, and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia;
- assist businesses in improving their material efficiency;
- strengthen knowledge of European resource use and its negative environmental impacts and significance; and
- raise awareness among stakeholders of the significant negative environmental impacts of resource use.
Key objectives realted to biodiversity and nature conservation include:
- promoting the integration of biodiversity and sustainable use concerns in education and rural development at both national and international level;
- translating field experience into new European biodiversity policies and legislation (beyond 2013);
- extending local support for the designation and proper management of new protected territories or zones by promoting the REC brand "Education for Natura 2000";
- strengthening the role of rural communities in the management of areas rich in biodiversity, including protected areas and Natura 2000 sites; and
- strengthening cooperation and the exchange of knowledge among REC country offices on issues relevant to biodiversity.
Activities in this area of expertise are centered around the following main themes:
- resource efficiency;
- waste and circular economy;
- industrial emissions;
- sustainable agriculture; and
- sustainable tourism.