Environment Minister Stavytskyi signs REC Charter and Status Agreement
By Nathan Johnson
On Friday, November 9, 2012, H.E. Mr Eduart Stavytskyi, Ukraine's Minister for Ecology and Natural Resources, signed on his country's behalf the 'Charter of the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe' at REC headquarters in Szentendre, Hungary. The Minister also put his name to a new International Agreement that will open the door to establishing a REC Office in Ukraine, thus lending considerable support to sustainability efforts in the country.
The REC International Agreement, which entered into force on October 31, 2012, recognises the REC as an international organisation with international legal personality. Albania, Hungary and Latvia have ratified the agreement; Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro have signed it; and more countries are certain to become state parties to the agreement in the near future.
The Government of Ukraine first expressed its commitment to support the establishment of a REC Office in Ukraine and sign the REC Charter during the recent Rio+20 UN Conference in Brazil. The initial letter of interest emphasised that such a commitment is likely to encourage public participation in the shaping and implementation of implementation of environmental policy in Ukraine, and to help the country to become a full and responsible partner in the field of environmental protection by addressing regional and global problems as well.
"The Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine views work and cooperation with international environmental organisations, institutions and other partners as one of its primary activities," said Minister Stavytsky.
The REC, founded in 1990 by the US, the European Commission and Hungary, fulfils its environmental mission by promoting cooperation amongst governments, NGOs, businesses and other environmental stakeholders, and by supporting the free exchange of information and public participation in environmental decision making.
Today, the REC is legally based on a charter with over 30 signatories. The REC has an office network in 17 countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey. The head office is located in Szentendre, Hungary.