Japan Special Fund

The Japan Special Fund (JSF), established in 1993, is a mechanism through which the Government of Japan supports the REC in its efforts to provide assistance in addressing environmental issues in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and beyond. The JSF is a flexible mechanism, a needs-driven process through which any type of project may be implemented in any region, as long as it genuinely contributes to the safeguarding of the environment. The JSF has achieved impressive results to date. Since its establishment, the contribution from the Government of Japan through the JSF has exceeded USD 12 million. All projects are implemented in collaboration with the REC and the respective REC country office.

Prior to the establishment of the fund, financial support was first granted to the region by the Government of Japan immediately following the transition process in 1991. During the early years, the JSF portfolio was dominated by large-scale projects in the form of technical assistance focusing on specific problems in specific places. The first projects were connected to the environmental assessment of two rivers. These were followed by a soil rehabilitation project, then others related to waste management.

This first period of technical assistance projects was followed by numerous smaller-scale projects. In addition to support to individual countries, help was given to regions in which several countries were working together to solve common environmental problems. The number of countries receiving support increased, although the majority of assistance was targeted towards CEE. By the year 2000, the focus had shifted to South Eastern Europe (SEE). The range of topics addressed also expanded to include environmental law, sustainable transport, waste and water management, environmental capacity building, energy efficiency, and public awareness raising campaigns and workshops.

In recent years, JSF activities have focused on the issue of climate change, reflecting Japan’s global commitments. Japan has contributed significantly to building capacities in the CEE region to develop climate policy; supporting the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol; raising awareness; and involving a range of stakeholders in the climate process. Capacity-building projects have been implemented in relation to the flexible mechanisms to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and to facilitate adaptation to the impacts of climate change. The JSF has also financed projects to support the shaping of the post-2012 climate regime, thereby facilitating discussion on future GHG reduction commitments. Recent activities have focused on GHG mitigation options in the agricultural and waste sectors in SEE, capacity building, and support to decision making in relation to climate change adaptation.

Since 2012, the fund’s geographical scope has been extended to include the Eastern Partnership countries (Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine) as well as the GUAM countries (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova). JSF-funded projects (listed by starting year):






  • Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) Secretariat for CEE
  • Support to the Implementation of the Kyoto Protocol in CEE Countries: Promotion of Kyoto Mechanisms
  • Assistance to Bulgarian Waste Management Policy
  • Assistance to the Implementation of the New Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • Development of the Framework National Strategy and Action Plan for Response to the Problem of Greenhouse Gases in Serbia and Montenegro


  • Support to CEE for the Implementation of the Kyoto Protocol
  • Environmental Information, Education and Public Awareness (Phase II)
  • Support to the Implementation of the Kyoto Protocol, Lithuania
  • The Water Sector and Support to the Implementation of the Sava Agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Regional Municipal Waste Management (REMUS)


  • Second Environmental Indicators Workshop
  • Seminar on Environmentally Sound Technologies for Energy-Efficient Production and Consumption
  • Support to the Implementation of the Kyoto Protocol: Registry System Development of GHG Emissions
  • Improving Energy Efficiency Practices in Romania
  • Environmental Capacity Building of Local Authorities in the Framework of the Szeged Process
  • Municipalities and Environmental Protection (Autumn Session)
  • Training Seminars for the Implementation of Waste Management Practices in Bulgaria, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Romania and Yugoslavia
  • Environmental Information, Education and Public Awareness
  • Water Treatment Training Centre, Phase II
  • Pilot Project on Household Waste Separation
  • Support to the Macedonian Legal System with International Environmental Impact Assessment Guidelines
  • Support to the International Sava Basin Commission Initiative
  • Technical Assistance in Drafting the National Action Plan for Global Climate Change Actions
  • Environmental Resource Center
  • Designing a Waste Management Strategic Policy Framework
  • Municipal Solid Waste Management Plan
  • National Water Monitoring Strategy


  • Further Assistance for Complying with UNFCCC Requirements
  • Green Spots: Animated Anti-waste TV Spot
  • Low-Cost Wastewater Treatment Technologies (Galvanic Processes; Reed-Bed Fields)
  • Sofia Initiative: SEA Workshop
  • Environmental Management System “Train the Trainers” Resource Kit
  • Promotion of Sustainable Transport
  • Environmental Indicators Workshop II
  • Emergency Programme for Aukstrakiai Industrial Hazardous Waste Dumpsite, Lithuania
  • Wastewater Treatment Training Centre
  • Training Seminar for the Implementation of Waste Management Practices
  • Developing New Opportunities for Municipal Waste Management in the Baltic States
  • CEE Skillshare Workshop: Municipal Waste Management


  • Technical Support for the Aukstrakiai Remediation Project, Lithuania
  • Technical Support for the Demonstration Project MHK Zletovo, Veles, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • Training for Young Environmental Leaders
  • Online Information Module on Sustainable Cities
  • Progress in Environmental Transition
  • Development of Environmental Law and Policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Environmental Media Service
  • Strengthening the Information Society Using Electronic Tools to Access/Disseminate Information
  • High Officials Sustainable Transport Meeting
  • Strengthening Cooperation on the Implementation of the Environmental Management System between Bulgarian and Macedonian Industries
  • Environmental Audit for Selected Industries in Daugavpils City, Latvia
  • Follow-up: Technical Assistance and Public Awareness Campaign on Environmental Problems in Veles City, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • Public Awareness Campaign in Fier, Albania
  • Training of Young Environmentalists
  • Raising Public Awareness and Participation on Fier Environmental Issues
  • Public Support for Water Conservation in Fier, Albania
  • CP Training Sub-regional Programme (Workshop)
  • Early Implementation of Aarhus Convention in Lithuania
  • Tisza NGO Grants
  • Survey of Environmental Key Players
  • Environmental Headline Indicators for Economies in Transition Case Study on the Baltic States
  • Improving Energy Saving and Energy Efficiency in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • Climate Change, Compliance with UNFCCC Requirements, Supporting NGOs


  • The Bulletin: The Quarterly Magazine of the REC
  • Environmental Action Programme Task Force Communications
  • Environmental Indicators Workshop
  • Network of National Environmental Action Plan Experts
  • Implementation of Environmental Management in Enterprises Policy Statement
  • Capacity-Building Training Programme in Bulgaria
  • Environmental Management System Daugavpils-Latvija, Environmental Audit for Selected Industries
  • Japan Special Fund Promotion Redesign
  • WRI/REC Capacity for Climate in CEE
  • Support for Environmental Action Plan Task Force Activities in CEE and NIS
  • JSF Workshop Organisation in Bulgaria
  • Raising Public Awareness in Veles City, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia


  • Bosnia and Herzegovina Environmental Law and Policy Preparation
  • OECD/REC Environmental Action Plan Task Force Support
  • Environmental Management System Round Table Workshop
  • Wastewater System Refurbishment in the City of Fier, Albania


  • Municipal Water Supply and Wastewater Project, Fier, Albania
  • Integrated Wastewater Treatment and Monitoring System for MHK, Zletovo, Veles, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • Hazardous Waste Management System in Siauliai, Lithuania


  • Support to the Environmental Rehabilitation of the Ziar Valley, Slovakia
  • Sediment Remediation Feasibility Study for Zelazowa Wola, Poland


  • Masterplan for the Restoration of Utrata River Water Quality in Poland


  • Contamination Assessment and Determination of Prevention Measures for the Sajo Valley, Hungary

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