Czech-UNDP Trust Fund News
HIV Prevention: Knowledge sharing of HIV prevention programmes focused on Men having sex with men (MSM)
Prague, Jihlava, Czech Republic; January – June 2012: Czech – UNDP Trust Fund supported knowledge sharing between Serbian, Macedonian and Czech experts in the field of HIV prevention programs. Within two projects, representatives of Serbian and Macedonian civil society and Public health providers visited Czech Republic to exchange their experiences in the field HIV prevention programs with Czech counterparts. Main focus was aimed at HIV preventive program for most at risk group of MSM; especially to increase accessibility to Confidential Voluntary Counseling (CSV) and Testing and to empower MSM for using these services.
The facilitator of study tour was the Czech organization Česká Společnost AIDS Pomoc (CSAP) which is at the same time one of the main provider of services for people living with HIV in the Czech Republic. They operate the Centrum for HIV positive people called “The Lighthouse” which provides wide range of services for PLHIV including accommodation, therapy programs, free testing etc. Thus the participants could hear and see in reality an experience with introduction and running of HIV prevention and social programs in the Czech Republic. The participants got familiar with the general system of HIV prevention in Czech Republic. They visited major Czech public health institutions - National Institute of Public Health, AIDS Centre Bulovka Hospital, and they discussed the links between HIV prevention programs and services with various experts from Institute of Sexology, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labour and Social affairs, gay activist, representatives of City of Prague, epidemiologist etc.
The attendees met also CSAP’s street workers who are raising awareness about HIV issues directly in gay venues by provision of basic HIV information, distribution of condoms and lubricants and information about public testing spots. The participants appreciated mostly the experiences of Czech NGO related to fund raising as they will face lack of funding once Global Fund will stop support HIV programs in these countries. Particularly the introduction of the project Art for life was beneficiary for participants. This project aims to collect money for HIV prevention programs through an organization of exhibition sales, works of art auctions and cultural events.
Overall the result of the project was very positive. The beneficiaries appreciated mostly establishment of professional relations with Czech counterparts. The interaction continues also after the study tours by common participation in the EU project SIALON which aims at address the need to obtain reliable and valid information on HIV and STI prevalence, risky behaviour, cultural factors and prevention needs among MSM.
The study tours also contributes to establishment of 2 additional NGOs in FYROM, namely in the towns Strumica and Bitola. These NGO will extend the services provided to people living with HIV and will focus on HIV prevention between MSM group.
In Serbia based on study tours experiences, representatives of municipalities has gathered the different stakeholders (health, social, and education, youth office) to develop concrete prevention, treatment and support services for MSM. This model is replicable also to other municipalities. Last but not least, based on Czech experience the peer education trainings on HIV prevention are conducted, with inclusion of all high schools of the municipality of Zvezdara.
PCB Management: Exchange of knowledge to prevent and decrease the release of toxic compounds into the environment
September 2011 – July 2012: Research Centre of Toxic Compounds (RECETOX), an independent science institute within the Faculty of Science at Masaryk University in Brno, shared his knowledge on PCB management with national and local experts from Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. This exchange of technical expertise supported the effort to minimize the release of PCBs and subsequent health and environmental impacts.
Within the project Kazakh and Kyrgyz laboratory and Ministry personnel got familiar with Czech approach to implementation and conduction of laboratory research on identification of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the environment; investigation of the methodology on conducting lab research, the use of lab equipment and the international accreditation of the laboratory. The solution for monitoring and control of PCB was introduced to the experts including detailed summary of roles of state and private institutions in this processes.
Moreover, RECETOX helped to elaborate guidelines for conducting PCB risk assessments in Kazakhstan and piloted guideline’s implementation at the contaminated site. Last but not least, RECETOX advised Kyrgyz partners on elaboration of economic mechanism which establishes differential tariff fees in the energy sector for discrimination of equipment that contains PCBs.
Strengthen of capacities: Czech judiciary institutions shared their experiences with EU accession with Montenegrin partners
Prague, Kromeriz, Czech Republic – 22nd – 27th April 2012: Representatives of Montenegrin Ministry of Justice visited the Czech Republic to explore the experiences of the Czech judiciary with EU accession. The overall summary of judicial system in Czech Republic was presented to participants with the focus on international legal assistance and cooperation. Participants visited the major Czech institution such as the Ministry of Justice, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Administrative Court or the Supreme Prosecutor’s Office.
The most beneficial parts of the study tour were the presentations of educational system for judges, prosecutors and Ministry's staff provided by the Judicial Academy and visits of judicial institutions. The judicial representatives described problems in harmonizing national legislation with EU and international legislation and organization of judicial cooperation (domestic and interstate). Very appreciated was also presentation of Ministry of Justice however due to time limitation the issue of European and International dimension was not fully raised. The following visit on this issue would be therefore welcomed.
Apart from study tour, two documents were elaborated by Transparency International. The first called “the Judiciary” provides overview of the Czech judiciary system. It described primarily the resources of Czech judiciary with respect of the requirement to improve knowledge in the area of establishing capacities and human resource management. The second document “Ministry of Justice Reforms” put stress on the reforms which Czech Judiciary has undergone in the 21st century.
Azerbaijan improves environmental sustainability thanks to Czech expertise
Azerbaijan moves to more advanced environmental assessment of the country’s development plans and programmes. Experts from the Czech Republic supported drafting the new law which puts a requirement on the Azerbaijani authorities to check the environmental impact of all development initiatives and thus comply with international standards (Environmental Impact Assessment – EIA). Traditionally, the policies have been screened through meeting the minimum legal requirements (State Ecological Expertise system – SEE).
The Azerbaijan government needs assistance to improve an application of the environmental assessment systems and to harmonize national legislation with international standards. The current system in Azerbaijan has evolved into a mixture of the old Soviet and contemporary State Ecological Expertise based on the current Law on Environmental Protection. The modern Environmental Assessment Impact system hasn’t been legally adopted yet in the country.
An environmental impact assessment is an assessment of the possible positive or negative impact that a proposed project may have on the environment, together consisting of the environmental, social and economic aspects
Application of EIA is non-systematic in the country. The EIAs carried out so far are usually initiated only by foreign investors and follow standards of international institutions and agencies (e.g. the World Bank). National project developers follow mostly the minimum requirements of the Law on Environmental Protection and thus tend to comply only with the SEE procedure. The SEE is carried out by the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources and it aims solely at identification of the compliance with the environmental standards and legal requirements. The SEE is applied for development projects, as well as for the EIA reports and rarely also for plans and programmes.
The Azerbaijan system lacks efficiency mainly by absence of legal framework for environmental assessment system which would stipulate main requirements for EIA process, define main stakeholders and their role, rights and responsibilities and clearly describe a link between EIA, SEE and decision-making process.
In order to address the abovementioned issue, UNDP supported a project on transfer of Czech best practices to Azerbaijan on introducing EIA legislation in the country and to share Czech experiences with transition process and necessity to adopt the European Union standards in environmental sector.
The Czech Republic has almost twenty years of experiences with the practice of Environmental Impact Assessment. The EIA legislation exists in the Czech Republic since 1992 and it has been modify in 2004 according to EU EIA legislation. This recent experience with building-up the environment assessment system can be valuable for Azerbaijani counterparts.
The Czech experts from implementing organization Integra Consulting Ltd. shared their knowledge with Azerbaijan decision-makers, program developers and environmental assessment specialists on implementing EIA legislation to national system and on applying EIA in practice. Based on the recent Czech experiences, they have analyzed the current environmental assessment system in Azerbaijan and introduced the best examples from Czech Republic but also from other experienced countries (UK and Russia) and described legal frameworks as well as practical aspects of EIA application in various country contexts. Several members of the Azerbaijani delegation who attended training and a study tour to that attended a study tour to Czech Republic were included in the legislative task force that prepared draft law on Environmental Impact Assessment for Azerbaijan.
Based on this analyze and discussion held during study tour, Czech experts have also elaborated Guidelines on EIA which provides very concrete instructions on how to assess environmental impact. The Guidelines has been tailored to the country context, describing also possible linkages between EIA and the State Ecological Expertise procedure and the role of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources.
Additionally, the Czech experts suggested a number of comments and modification which have been integrated in the current version of the draft law and were presented at the discussion in the Parliament. They also attended the first public hearing of the Parliament presenting the draft law, shared best practice and suggested recommendations for the improvement of the EIA law before further legislative proceedings. The parliamentarians indicated that these proposals addressed key points and will be considered in further development of the Law. Works on the new EIA Law started in mid-2011 and it is supposed that the law could be adopted by the end of 2012.
Energy Efficiency: First energy efficient kindergarten in Macedonia constructed with Czech support
Skopje, 21. April 2012: The newly reconstructed kindergarten “Kalinka” in the Macedonian Municipality of Aerodrom will save up to 60 % of energy for its operations. The kindergarten was renovated according to guidelines valid in the European Union and is the first totally energy efficient building in the Republic of Macedonia. The project is a result of knowledge exchange between Czech and Moldovan experts in the field of energy efficiency of public buildings.
The pilot project of “Kalinka” renovation was realized within the UNDP project “Mitigation of climate change by improving energy efficiency in the construction sector” and was supported by the Czech-UNDP Trust Fund, Austrian Development Agency and the Municipality of Aerodrom. The Czech experts contributed to successful result of the project through the feasibility study on demonstration project and preparation of guidelines for energy efficiency retrofits in public buildings.
After the reconstruction the kindergarten receives a completely new and effective “look”. The roof and wooden walls of the old facility as well as doors and windows were replaced, completely new electrical installations were set up and new facade with thermal insulation was given. The nursery installed solar panels that will provide hot water and will reduce current costs. According to estimates, the expected savings in bills for electricity and thermal energy of kindergarten amount to about 60 % per year.
The Vice Minister of Ministry of Environment and Physical Planning, Stevo Temelkovski, present on opening of “Kalinka”, expressed hope for this example to be an incentive to many other projects of this type, which will awaken environmental awareness of local and national institutions for rational energy savings and enhanced environmental protection.
The Mayor of Municipality of Aerodrom Mr. Konevski confirmed that the authorities would like to continue to invest in energy efficiency and they plan to begin the reconstruction of the other municipal kindergartens “Buba Mara” and “Srnicka”.
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