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The CEO Platform for Green Growth in MENA has been initiated by the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS) − through the Italian Trust Fund (ITF).


Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea

The Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS) performs state functions and tasks related to the promotion, protection and restoration of the environment, according to EU and international regulations, with the aim of ensuring high quality of life, enhancing the sustainable and wise use of natural resources and preventing and controlling pollution.

IMELS is committed to promoting the positive effects of capacity building, networks and relationship building on shared environmental challenges and crises, and it is this engagement that underpins and directs its activities in the rest of Europe and beyond. IMELS fully recognises the exponential benefit that can be obtained through partnership, the exchange of know-how and best practices, and awareness-raising campaigns.

The ministry is structured into five sectoral directorate-generals dealing with the following clusters and issues:

  • The identification, conservation and improvement of natural protected areas, the protection of biodiversity and biosecurity
  • Waste management and the reclamation of polluted sites
  • The protection and management of water resources
  • The prevention of water pollution, protection from pollution, and the protection of sea and coastal areas
  • The prevention of, and protection from, air and noise pollution and risks from electromagnetic fields and industry
  • Environmental surveillance, monitoring and control, and the definition of limit values, standards, technical regulations, and quality and security objectives
  • Environmental impact assessments and strategic environmental assessments
  • The promotion of long-term policies for sustainable development at national and international level
  • Communication on environmental issues

IMELS has had an extremely productive relationship with Central and Eastern Europe and the MENA region for many years, owing to its geographical proximity and shared values. In 2001, IMELS established  the Italian Trust Fund (ITF), a targeted contribution to the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC), committed to promoting a sound environment in the region and  supporting sustainable development in key macro-European regions and beyond.


The Italian Trust Fund

The Italian Trust Fund (ITF) is a targeted contribution of IMELS to the REC. It contributes to overall environmental progress in Central and Eastern Europe and South Eastern Europe, operating in a wide range of areas including environmental governance, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, technical support, the development of joint environmental investment projects, institution strengthening, assistance to non-governmental organisations, strategic environmental assessment, the facilitation of international conventions, education for sustainable development, and climate change mitigation.

The ITF assists the REC in its fundraising activities by supporting its presence in the international arena, expanding fundraising opportunities and providing expert personnel from IMELS. Since the establishment of the ITF, Italy has become a major partner in environmental and sustainability solutions in the region served by the REC. Italy’s financial contribution exceeds EUR 12 million, helping to raise awareness of climate change and environmental and health challenges and supporting more than 200 implemented projects. The ITF is more than simply a funding mechanism: it is an advisory body to the REC and to stakeholders in the region.

Flagship capacity-building projects supported by the ITF are the Green Pack multimedia educational toolkit, which has now reached over 4 million students in 18 countries; and the Sustainable Development Academy, which offers high-quality courses for senior officials, businesses and local authorities. Since the launch of the Sustainable Development Academy in 2004, over 20 courses and certificate programmes have been delivered, attracting around 500 participants from Central and Eastern Europe, South Eastern Europe, the Black Sea Region, Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (the EECCA region); and the MENA region.



Regional Environmental Center

The Regional Environmental Center is supporting the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea in the implementation of the CEO Platform for Green Growth in MENA initiative

The Regional Environmental Center (REC) is an independent international organisation established in 1990 by Hungary, the United States and the European Commission. Today, the organisation is legally based on a charter with over 30 signatories.

The REC works in various fields of sustainable development, including environmental policy, biodiversity, climate change, renewable energy, environmental information, environmental investments, law drafting, sectoral integration and waste management. The REC works in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), the Caucasus and Central Asia, and in the MENA region, supported by its offices in 17 countries and expert network.

The REC’s mission is to assist in addressing environmental issues by promoting cooperation among non-governmental organisations, private institutions, governments, businesses and other environmental stakeholders, and by promoting the free exchange of information and public participation in environmental decision making.

Through various activities, such as training programmes, pilot projects, environmental assessments, analytical studies, educational packages and grants, the REC seeks to support targeted countries in various political and economic situations.

The REC also builds bridges to transfer regional experience to countries throughout the world.

To achieve its goals, the REC:

  • provides relevant services to all stakeholders in solving environmental problems and addressing environmental issues related to EU accession and sustainable development;
  • implements a multi-stakeholder approach to environmental issues; and
  • maintains both a local presence and a regional perspective on environmental issues.

The REC is headquartered in Szentendre, Hungary, with an international staff of over 90 people, most of them from Central and Eastern Europe. In addition to its head office, the REC has offices throughout the region with a staff of over 100 from some 30 nationalities.

Two stable funds generously support the REC’s efforts to complete its mission: the Japan Special Fund and the Italian Trust Fund, which focus on climate change and joint environmental investment projects.

The REC has introduced modern approaches to sustainable development in countries with diverse histories, cultures and levels of development. The organisation aims to build on this know-how and remain a solid partner to governments, businesses and civil society in Europe and beyond.