ENVIRONMENT

Romania takes over Presidency of EU Environment Council from Austria

Romania has taken over on Friday the Presidency of the Environment Council of the European Union (EU) from the Austrian officials, on the priority agenda of the Bucharest authorities featuring climate change, sustainable development, biodiversity and water management, the Ministry of Environment announced in a press release issued on Friday.

The symbolic event, organized in Brussels, was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment Gratiela Gavrilescu (R) and Austrian Minister for Sustainability and Tourism Elisabeth Kostinger.

“We are counting on your support to achieve our common goals in advancing negotiations on legislative files and ensuring good representation at international level,” Minister Gavrilescu told her counterparts from EU member states during the presentation of the priorities of the Romanian Presidency.

In her turn, Kostinger pointed out that “on behalf of the Austrian Presidency, I wish Romania great success in the exercise of its mandate. We assure you of our full support.”

Starting January 1, 2019, the Romanian Environment Minister will preside over and coordinate the work of the Council of Environment Ministers, with the support of the General Secretariat of the Council, for a period of six months.

In this context, the Romanian Presidency will have as priority areas: climate change, sustainable development, biodiversity and water management.

According to the quoted source, with regard to climate change, “efforts will be focused on organizing a comprehensive and structured dialogue that will help shape the EU’s shared vision of a long-term strategy to stimulate climate action and a sustainable transformation of our economies.” Moreover, the preparation of the Union’s position for the Bonn International Negotiating Session in June 2019 will be envisaged.

At the same time, in the field of sustainable development, Romania will pay increased attention to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, will coordinate the active participation of the EU and Member States at the 4th session of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEA-4) which takes place in Nairobi from 11 to 15 March 2019 and will address the issue of sustainable chemical management.” At the same time, along with the other Member States, we will have the opportunity to promote the EU’s vision on this issue at the trilateral conference of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions in Geneva from 29 April to 10 May 2019,” the relevant ministry mentions.

As regards biodiversity, the Romanian Presidency aims to facilitate a ministerial debate on strengthening the post-2020 framework on this issue, taking into account the challenge of achieving the Aichi goals and the need to do more in this area. In addition, Romania will coordinate the active participation of the EU and Member States in important international meetings taking place in the first half of 2019, such as the 18th CITES Conference of the Parties (Sri Lanka, May 23 – 3 June 2019) and the seventh plenary session of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (Paris, 29 April – 4 May 2019).

In the field of water management, the Bucharest authorities propose that, during the six months of presidency of the Council of EU Environment Ministers, they should advance the negotiations on the two legislative files on drinking water and water reuse as much as possible.

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