Harmonic convergence

October 12, 2011

Latvia becomes first country to sign international agreement on REC's legal status

On October 5, the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) took a significant step forward when Latvia's Ambassador to Hungary, H.E. Veronika Erte, signed an agreement to recognise the REC as a full-fledged international organisation. This important development is the result of a complex effort to raise the REC's international profile through an official change of status, as well as to improve working relationships with 17 partnering country offices through a succession of harmonised changes in legal status.

With the adoption of the Charter amendments, the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs embarked on the second phase of the harmonisation process concerning signing of the optional international agreement on the legal status of the REC. At a meeting convened during Hungary's EU presidency, several countries hinted their interest in signing the agreement.

SIGNATURE MOMENT: Latvian Ambassador Erte (right) stands with Istvan Horvath from the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Photo: REC
Progress towards international status harmonisation promises to bring many important benefits to the REC and its beneficiary countries alike. Clearly determined status vis-à-vis stakeholders and funding mechanisms will not only broaden the scope of regional and national programmes-leading to more in-kind support and financial support-but it will help considerably in streamlining operations between entities and improving performance standards. Also, the international agreement will create more possibilities for REC and beneficiary country experts to work together on projects in third countries, which in turn will bring benefits to the entire CEE region.