Hungarian signature brings status harmonisation within reach
By Nathan Johnson
On November 7, Hungarian Minister of Rural Development Sandor Fazekas signed the agreement on the legal status of the Regional Environmental Center. As co-founder and host country of the REC, Hungary's signature is an historic moment in the status harmonisation process of REC and paves the way for the agreement entering into force.
This process was set into motion during events commemorating the 15th Anniversary of the REC when Charter Signatories called for the completion of harmonised legal status between the REC office network and its Head Office in Szentendre, while pledging assistance to this end. As a first step-with the active support of renowned legal experts from countries such as the Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland and the United States-the REC Charter was amended with the solid support of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In the ongoing second phase, Signatory governments have been invited to join the international agreement; following Latvia and Montenegro, Hungary is the third country to do so.
Achieving harmonised status as an international organisation will create more favourable conditions for direct funding and operating. As a consequence, the development of services and products-including the initiation of new flagship programmes for environmental stakeholders-will be increased. It will also result in broadening the scope of regional and national programme, to the advantage of both the REC and its many beneficiaries. As an international organisation with national presence, the REC will be able to capitalise on its strong network and offer a framework for substantive policy discussions in the foreseeable future.
Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina are expected to sign the international agreement in the very near future. Considering the added value of the international agreement for the Signatories to the Charter of the REC, more countries are expected to follow suit in the coming months.