The Baltic Environmental Forum (BEF) has been acting in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as a multi-lateral project set-up since 1995. It provides practical support for the environmental co-operation as laid down in a trilateral agreement of the three Baltic governments in 1995.
The BEF organised since that time more than 400 workshops and trainings on various EU environmental policy issues mainly for the national environmental administration, but as well for industries and municipalities in the Baltic States. During the 9 years of its existence the BEF team has increased from 5 till 21 persons working in different projects, most of them having been funded by Germany, Finland, Sweden and the European Commission.
Under the umbrella of BEF the following four large programmes (sub-projects) are implemented:
- Environmental policy fields like water, waste, energy and industrial pollution are tackled within the frame of the Core BEF Project “Workshop programme on EU environmental policy”, so called BEF 4. It has started on 1 June 1995 and is meanwhile in its 4th prolongation from 1 September 2003 until 31 December 2004.
In 1998 derived the need to start a comprehensive training and workshop programme on chemicals policyand the “Baltic States’ Regional Co-operation Programme on Chemicals Control”, called BACCON was developed. A seria of projects have been implemented under this headline, currently the BACCON 3 is running from 1 August 2003 until 31 December 2004.
EU Accession negotiations brought up the need for intensive information exchange on nature conservation issues among the Baltic states and with their Nordic Neighbours, therefore the “Baltic States’ Regional Co-operation Programme for Natura 2000”, called BANAT has been started in 1999 and is currently implemented in its 3rd Phase, BANAT 3 from 1 October 2003 until 31 December 2004.
Due to the perceived need to grow capacity at local and regional authorities for implementationand enforcement of the new legislation a project was developed called “Capacity Building on EC Environmental Policy for the Regional and Local Environmental Administration” implemented by BEF in Latvia and a partner organisation, ECAT, in Lithuania.