The idea is to prevent the emergence of new dividing lines between the EU and its neighbours after the latest enlargements and move to a significant degree of integration in order to strengthen stability, security and well-being.
With a financial envelope of approximately 12 billion euros, the European Neighbourhood Policy will support a variety of political, economic and social reforms whose fulfilment will contribute to bring neighbours closer to the European Union.
Countries covered by this policy are Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Palestinian Authority, Russia (with special status of strategic partner), Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine.
Protecting natural resources
Many of Europe’s last natural ecosystems are found in such countries and represent the ‘natural capital’ on which economic development is based. WWF works with partners in neighbouring countries to ensure that their environmental and socio-economic values are preserved.
WWF believes that environment protection brings benefits to citizens and businesses, increases prosperity and stability and contributes to reducing conflicts over scarce resources, such as water or fossil fuels.
Environment and sustainable development are already recognized as priority areas for cooperation in the neighbourhood strategy. However, in the past, they have been overshadowed by other priorities – like transport infrastructures and trade – at the time of translating policies into concrete action.
The south Caucasus, eastern Europe and south Mediterranean regions already face potentially irreversible environmental problems (water pollution, water scarcity, overexploitation of fish resources and forest degradation) that need to be urgently addressed.
The EU should try and promote with its neighbours what it’s heading towards domestically, in terms of environmental standards, sustainable management of forests, freshwater, marine and energy resources.
Promoting democracy and good governance
Sustainable development cannot be isolated from the other major goals of the European Neighbourhood Policy, notably those underpinning human rights, strengthening the rule of law, extending democracy and reducing poverty.
Short-term interests must not overtake good governance, but in many neighbouring countries public participation and access to information are not fully developed yet.
WWF works with other NGOs – Aprodev , Eurostep, Womnet – so that good governance, gender equality, social justice and democratic reforms are ensured within this process.