Chairman's letter

During the year, the REC actively focused on new and multi-year projects, working with donors, beneficiaries, partners and experts. At the same time, preparations began for the celebration of the REC’s 25th anniversary in 2015.

With the support of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the REC started to implement the project “Building Local Community Resilience for Sustainable Development in International Watersheds, such as the Drini/Drina river” (CRESSIDA), in partnership with the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea and local governments within the watersheds — in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia — in order to create a flexible and easily replicable “living laboratory” for pilot sustainability tools and practices.

The REC launched a new project in Ukraine that aims to bring together policy makers, businesspeople, academics and civil society leaders at municipal level in selected cities in Ukraine to develop local environmental and energy action plans.

A new multi-year programme was also launched in 2014 in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region — “Sustainable Use of Transboundary Water Resources and Water Security Management (WATER SUM)” — with the support of the Government of Sweden.

In Nagoya, the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) selected the REC’s Green Pack as one of 25 good ESD practices. During the event a new partnership was formulated with the Al Saad Foundation to develop the first Arabic version of the multimedia educational materials in Kuwait.

At international level, the year 2014 was marked by the development of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As well as being a global “lighthouse”, the 17 goals will be integrated in regional and national strategies, with 169 targets covering a broad range of sustainable development issues. The REC aims to contribute to the implementation of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda in the future.

The REC was also very active through its country office network: the Romanian Climate Forum, for example, developed a dialogue between key stakeholders in the sectors targeted by the National Strategy for Climate Change; and wetlands conservation and restoration are being undertaken in Poland’s Kampinos National Park.

The REC organised a series of stakeholder consultations in cooperation with REC Caucasus and the Regional Environmental Centre for Central Asia (CAREC), providing assistance to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in Sofia, Moscow, Kiev, Tbilisi, Almaty, Casablanca and London.

Over 100 projects were implemented by the REC in 2014, and I would like to express my thanks to all our partners — donors, beneficiaries and stakeholders — for their commitment and cooperation.

We're busily wrecking the chances for future generations at a rapid rate of knots by not recognising the damage we're doing to the natural environment, bearing in mind that this is the only planet that we know has any life on it.

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales