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Diplomacy in Action

2006-2008 Plan of Action Pursuant to the U.S.-Bahrain Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Cooperation


Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
October 1, 2006

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The Governments of the United States of America and the Kingdom of Bahrain (?the Governments?), recognizing the importance of protecting the environment while promoting sustainable development in concert with the expanded bilateral trade and investment ties accompanying the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement, have, through the Joint Forum, developed the following Plan of Action (?Plan?) pursuant to the U.S.-Bahrain Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Cooperation (?MOU?).

I. BACKGROUND

The Annex to the MOU identifies the following as priorities for environmental cooperation between the United States and Bahrain with the goal of improving Bahrain 's ability to protect the environment by building human and institutional capacity in the management and conservation of natural resources:

  1. Strengthening the capacity to develop, implement and enforce environmental laws and regulations;
  2. Improving the public and private capacity to conduct environmental impact assessments in Bahrain ;
  3. Encouraging the development of incentives and voluntary mechanisms to contribute to the achievement and maintenance of high levels of environmental protection;
  4. Promoting opportunities for public participation in environmental protection efforts and improving public access to information and access to justice on environmental issues;
  5. Developing projects and programs to improve air quality and reduce the adverse health impacts of air pollution;
  6. Improving water resources management;
  7. Protecting coastal environmental zones and estuaries and preventing the over-exploitation of living and non-living marine resources;
  8. Strengthening the capacity to protect endangered species.

II. MUTUALLY-IDENTIFIED GOALS

Prior to the appointment of the Joint Forum, participants from an informal network of interested parties from both governments initiated several projects adhering to the MOU Annex priorities. Building on this foundation, the Joint Forum has developed and is putting forward the following Plan of Action, incorporating activities to be pursued during the period 2005-2008, including activities that are currently underway, in the planning stages, or proposed. The Joint Forum intends to review progress toward achieving the objectives of this Plan in future consultations to assess cooperative environmental activities undertaken pursuant to the MOU. The objectives and activities set forth in this Plan may be updated and modified by future consultations between the Governments, and the implementation of activities is contingent upon the availability of funding and other resources from the Governments and other sources.

a) Strengthening the Capacity to Develop, Implement and Enforce

Environmental Laws and Regulations

  • A course on the Principles of Environmental Law and Enforcement was delivered in Manama in May 2005.
  • A regional enforcement training course for Inspectors is planned for Amman , Jordan for February 2007.
  • A regional enforcement networking workshop, planned for Amman , Jordan for February 2007, will build on the INECE conference attended in Marrakech in April 2005.
  • A course on institutional strengthening of environmental organizations will be delivered in Manama in March 2007.
  • A course on the Role of Science in Environmental Law will be delivered in Manama in April 2007.
  • Sector-specific regional enforcement training on addressing marine pollution from vessel traffic in the Arabian Gulf will be held in Manama in September 2007.

b) Improving the Public and Private Capacity to Conduct Environmental Impact Assessments in Bahrain

  • An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) course was delivered in Manama in September 2006.
  • An EIA course for Reviewers is planned for Manama for December 2006.

c) Encouraging the Development of Incentives and Voluntary Mechanisms to Contribute to the Achievement and Maintenance of High Levels of Environmental Protection

  • A course on Principles of Pollution Prevention and Cleaner Production was delivered in Dubai , United Arab Emirates in December 2005.
  • Additional regional cooperation on pollution prevention and the establishment of clean production centers in the region.

d) Promoting Opportunities for Public Participation in Environmental Protection Efforts and Improving Public Access to Information and Access to Justice on Environmental Issues

  • A course on Public Participation in Environmental Law is planned for April 2007.
  • Share U.S. experience in developing environmental education programs for schools, the internet and national parks.
  • Share U.S. experience with creating an advisory committee system and assist Bahrain in establishing a national advisory committee on trade and environment matters .
  • Development of an international environmental public participation toolkit for use by multi-stakeholder audiences.
  • Capacity building on strengthening the role of environmental NGOs to assist with the implementation of and support for environmental management in the Middle East region.

e) Developing Projects and Programs to Improve Air Quality and Reduce the Adverse Health Impacts of Air Pollution

  • Assistance with the development of a diesel retrofit program for Bahrain through information gathering, a study tour of Bahrain government officials to the U.S. , and additional technical consultations with respect to implementation. In June 2008, a regional workshop will be held in Manama to highlight Bahrain 's successes in implementing diesel retrofit projects and to discuss other relevant air issues.
  • Water reuse program that was delivered in Tunisia in September 2006 may be repeated in the Gulf region in 2007

f) Improving Water Resources Management

  • Water program being developed by FAS/USDA in Tunisia in spring 2005 may be repeated in Gulf region in 2006.
  • A course on Principles of Hazardous Waste Management and Disposal will be delivered in Manama in October 2007.

g) Protecting Coastal Environmental Zones and Estuaries and Preventing the Over-exploitation of Living and Non-living Marine Resources

  • Delivery of a course in Chemical Emergency Planning and Preparedness, possibly in 2008.
  • Share experience in oil spill contingency mechanisms and preparedness, possibly in 2008.
  • Consider applicability of UNEP NOAA/NPA for management in Gulf region, possibly in 2008.

h) Strengthening the Capacity to Protect Endangered Species

  • Share U.S. experience in implementing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and assist Bahrain with its efforts to develop and implement legislation to protect endangered species.
  • Evaluate water quality in rural areas that may affect bird breeding sites.

III. BENCHMARKS

As the Joint Forum further defines cooperative programs, projects and activities under the Plan, it intends to strive to identify performance indicators and benchmarks to measure the progress made in accomplishing or otherwise furthering the goals and objectives of such programs, projects and activities and to facilitate public reporting of that progress. To the degree that the Governments use independent sources of monitoring data and evaluation to assess progress, they intend to collaborate with those other sources in identifying suitable performance indicators and benchmarks.

IV. MONITORING AND EVALUATION

Through participation in the Joint Forum, the Governments intend to seek and consider input from relevant local, regional and international organizations regarding relevant environmental conditions and indicators and views on the utility of cooperation under this Plan. The Governments also plan to encourage public participation in setting goals for and implementing environmental collaboration, and to make information on activities carried out under the MOU available to the public on a regular basis. As part of the regular consultations of the Joint Forum under the MOU, the Governments plan to establish benchmarks and indicators in order to evaluate progress toward meeting the goals established under the Plan.



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