About us

The technical assistance project (now - Baltic Environmental Forum/ BEF) was set up in 1995 to strengthen cooperation of the Baltic States in the field of environmental policy and later to assist in the EU accession process. Multi-stakeholder seminars, trainings and information days have been the key tools for meeting these objectives. Since its inception, the technical assistance project organized over 500 events, gathering national environmental administrations, industries, experts, scientific institution and municipalities of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Thematic focus was on EU accession policy in environmental sector in inter-sectoral cooperation (e.g., environment and transport; environment and health). With EU accession the technical assistance projects ended in December 2004. 

However, to keep the networks active and to implement more projects in the Baltic Sea Region the experts has founded new NGOs in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Germany in 2003 and “merged” them as
Baltic Environmental Forum Group (BEF Group). It is a network of five independent, non-profit, non-governmental, environmental organisations. As an NGO, the Baltic Environmental Forum - Latvia (BEF-Latvia) is continuing to facilitate a Baltic dialog and acting on national level by involving stakeholders, organising seminars and training to build capacities, providing expertise on emerging and challenging environmental issues. Such environmental issues as nature conservation, water policy, waste management, renewable energy, chemicals policy are still on the agenda of the BEF-Latvia. Though new topics - ecosystem services, land, coastal and maritime spatial planning, climate change – have been uptaken in the projects and its activities. 

BEF  has created one of the foundations for the development of modern environmental legislation in the Baltic States. For many years BEF has generated environmental knowledge and competences in the environmental and management area. The implementation of the concepts was made possible, above all, by the development of European funds.

An example of the achievements of BEF's work is the designation of marine protected areas in Latvia as part of the implementation of the European Flora-Fauna-Habitat Directive (FFH). The problem arose here was that the country did not have the necessary resources to study the areas in question and thus to delineate the area, based on the actual distribution of protected species. However, this is a prerequisite for identifying FFH areas and, in case of doubt, being able to legally defend them. BEF, with its holistic approach, succeeded in acquiring a corresponding project for Latvia (including Estonia and Lithuania) so that in the end seven areas along the entire Latvian coast could be designated as FFH areas.

BEF contributed and contributes to the implementation of European politics on the ground.
In the projects initiated and coordinated by BEF, process instruments and guidelines are developed, and ministries, municipalities and companies are trained. In this way, EU environmental legislation in the Baltic States has been transposed into national law and applied.

Decisive, however, are the concrete ecological results. Through newly designated nature reserves, water management and waste management strategies, application of marine protection indicators, a modern chemicals policy, and transport and energy concepts for cities and communities, the Baltic Environmental Forum team has contributed significantly to the Baltic and EU environmental change. The competence team built up is now not only a sought-after partner in the Baltic Sea region, but has also transferred the experiences from the Baltic to the Balkans and the eastern neighbors of the EU and acts as a think tank for environmental policy processes in pan-European projects.

 Now, 15 years have passed since the creation of the independent BEF organisations and BEF-Group is living a well-deserved 15th anniversary celebration. By now, the staff count has grown to 48 and all BEF offices have acquired project funds for the region amounting to roughly 50 million €. Since 2003, nearly 220 projects have been implemented (including ongoing projects). BEF can reach even more people, organizations and municipalities around Europe. And of course, BEF will keep standing and fostering the implementation of European environmental policies around the Baltic Sea and beyond by implementing various multi- national projects either as lead partner or as project partner.

If you want to read more information about BEF-Group 15th Anniversary we  invite you to find out more by getting acquainted the following materials that we have fondly prepared:
BEF Story poster 

Management of Baltic Environmental Forum-Latvia

The executive body of the association "BEF Latvia" is the Board consisting of four board members elected by the Annual General Assembly of members.
The current composition of the Board is as follows:
Kristīna Veidemane - Chairperson of the Board
Ingrīda Brēmere - Deputy chairperson of the Board
Daina Indriksone - Member of the Board
Anda Ruskule - Member of the Board