Working groups to be set up on wolves, cormorants and beavers
Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze and her Polish colleague Henryk Kowalczyk signed a new agreement on transboundary environmental assessments (EIA) at the 13th German-Polish Environment Council in Neuhardenberg. The bilateral EIA agreement of 2007 was updated in light of experiences to date and was expanded in scope. It now also covers transboundary strategic environmental assessments (SEA) for plans and programmes, in addition to transboundary EIA processes for projects.
Minister Schulze commented: "In both Germany and Poland we have many projects, plans and programmes that include transboundary participation. The new agreement will help continue and strengthen the excellent German-Polish cooperation on transboundary environmental impact assessments."
Transboundary environmental assessments – environmental impact assessments (EIA) and strategic environmental assessments (SEA) – are important tools of environmental policy in practice. They provide an opportunity for authorities and the public to participate in approval and planning procedures in other countries. Their suggestions, concerns and objections have to be considered in the further approval and planning processes.
Beyond transboundary environmental assessments, the meeting's agenda also included an exchange of views in preparation of the upcoming international Climate Change Conference in Katowice (COP 24), the European Climate Initiative, the management of wolves and cooperation on nature conservation in the Lower Oder Valley. Today, the Council agreed to establish three working groups on wolves, cormorants and beavers.
Participants in the Environment Council included the Environment Minister of Brandenburg, Jörg Vogelsänger, the State Secretary for the Environment in Brandenburg, Carolin Schild, representatives from the environment ministries of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony and the neighbouring Polish voivodeships as well as the Polish Ambassador to Germany, Andrzej Przyłębski.
The representatives of the Länder and the voivodeships reported on transboundary exchange of experience and the status of regional cooperation on sustainable development. The German-Polish Environment Council voiced its support for earmarking EU support funds for environmental and nature conservation issues in the partner regions beyond 2021. The Council believes that environmental protection and climate action to remain a key funding area in transboundary cooperation, also in the context of European Territorial Cooperation (ETC).
The final communiqué of the German-Polish Environment Council is available for download.