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IPEN in Central & Eastern Europe in the first half of 2020: COVID19 didn't stop us

 
So far the year 2020 has hit our region hard. We've seen earthquakes, record drought and of course the pandemic that had major impact on both personal life and work of all of us. However, during the first 6 months of the year the civil society has done a tremendous amount of work. Here are a couple of snapshots of work of some of the IPEN members from the CEE region.
More than 100 NGOs and 7 networks across Europe, including 6 IPEN participating organizations from CEE and IPEN itself, honored the 50th anniversary Earth Day by publishing a joint open letter to the EU. In the letter they asked for a recovery from a pandemic that will lead to a fairer, more solidary and sustainable society rather than to a return to the normal. The letter was initiated by the croatian IPEN member Zelena Akcija / Friends of the Earth Croatia in cooperation with other Croatian organizations as their country holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The letter can be found here: https://go.aws/3cW5J3a
We need to familiarize companies with ways to identify hazardous chemicals in products, as well as improve communication within their supply chains and consumers to meet the consumers' need to have information and make responsible decisions – that is a conclusion of a two-day international seminar for NGOs and businesses held in February in Belgrade. IPEN member organization ALHem helped to organize this event that was a part of the international project AskReach that aims to enahnce the information on the content of substances of very high concern in products on European market. One of the most visible outputs from the project is a mobile app Scan4Chem that is already available in some countries. IPEN organizations from several countries are involved in the project. 
Clean Air Action Group together with another 2 NGOs from Hungary released a statement urging a ban on incineration of green waste that is a strong contributor to air pollution in many Hungarian villages. The statement was followed by a positive feedback from many mayors and community leaders. At least 9 villages immediately issued the ban
Bulgarian therman power plant Bobov Dol abandoned unregulated incineration of waste. The decision came after a years long campaign run by IPEN participating organization Za Zemiata together with Greenpeace Bulgaria. During the campaign hundreds of people asked the Executive Environmental Agency not to issue a permit. Later the organizations filed a lawsuit. There is still a number of other coal power plants in Bulgaria that keep incinerating waste.
At the beginning of the year Environmental Ambassadors for Sustainable Development from Serbia released a publication "Circular Economy in Serbia - the process started" that analyzes the country approach to circular economy, identifies policy frameworks to be strengthened. 
Arnika from Czech Republic wrote an open letter to Czech MEPs and organized a small social media campign to oppose recycling exemption for lead in products. Unfortunately, the proposal to allow the exemption was not declined.
At the beginning of June Mare Nostrum from Romania organized the first Romanian Green Week Online Fest. The program of the event included online workshops, live sessions, online challenges, videos and posts dedicated to various areas of interest of the organization, as well as competitions with eco prizes. Each day had a specific theme and program. 
...and of course, there has been much more done by other IPENers in our region.
If you have some interesting story about your work please don't hesitate to let me know or share the news with the listserve.
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