Establishing structured approach towards training of Environmental Inspectors in Armenia and Azerbaijan
August 30, 2011

Background

Within the 2003-2007 work programme, the EAP Task Force Secretariat organised numerous training and know-how transfer events at the level of sub-regions (e.g. in the Caucasus) and countries, including Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine. In total, training involved about 300 people. Most of the training events were conducted in cooperation or with logistical support from EECCA RECs. The training programme was based on the ―Toolkit for Better Environmental Inspectorates‖, which is a comprehensive manual reflecting modern theory and practice of environmental compliance promotion, monitoring, and enforcement. The programme had a positive impact and, as a result, the Secretariat and its partners in EECCA have faced an increasing demand for training, which is difficult to satisfy without enlarging the number of trainers and creating a mechanism that would enable trainers to continuously update the training programmes and materials.

REC Caucasus with cooperation of OECD EAP TASK Force implemented several projects in the period 2003 – 2008:

Sub-regional managers workshop IMPROVING ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE ASSURANCE IN CAUCASUS, June, 16-20 2003, Tbilisi, Georgia

Translation and putting out of OECD publications“Guiding Principle for Reform of Environmental Enforcement Authorities in Transition Economies of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia” and the “ Glossary of Terms Used in Environmental Enforcement and Compliance Promotion” in Armenian, Azerbaijanian and Georgian languages.

Institutional Development Seminar and Management Training, November, 2005, Tbilisi, Georgia.

Peer Review of Environmental Compliance Assurance System of Armenia, (organisation of training for inspectorates), June 2005, Yerevan, Armenia.

The project was prepared in frame of OECD EAP Task Force and EECCA RECs joint work programme under the Programme Area 2. Environmental Policy Reform, project JP/2.2.4. “Training Programmes for Inspectorates” and aims to promote a structured approach towards training of environmental inspectors and facilitate networking among specialized institutions in the EECCA region and with similar institutions in OECD and CEE countries.

Individual capacity (or competence) can be defined as a set of standardized requirements for an individual to properly perform specific duties within an organization and encompasses both knowledge and skills. A continuous improvement of employees’ individual capacity is essential for any enforcement authority, including State Environmental Inspectorate (SEI), to achieve its objectives and maintain high standards of service to the general public. There is a clear need to change the current approach to training of the individuals within SEI and make it more coherent and structured, based on a clear understanding of incentives to enhance performance.

In Armenia and Azerbaijan, similarly to many other countries of EECCA, the development of individual capacities of the employees faces a number of problems that hinder the successful full-scale performance of the SEI. The main problems linked to the training of inspectors in Armenia and Azerbaijan are lack of professional training opportunities for SEI  specialists, inconsistency of the knowledge flow, lack of holistic approach to SEI specialist skills development, limited access to up-to-date materials, lack of cross-country experience exchange. 

Short description of the project

Aim

The aim of this project is to introduce a structured approach towards trainings for the employees of the State Environmental Inspectorate (SEI) of Armenia and Azerbaijan, also establish a mechanism of information exchange that will help SEI employees to continuously learn about new developments.

 

Background

Within the 2003-2007 work programme, the EAP Task Force Secretariat organised numerous training and know-how transfer events at the level of sub-regions (e.g. in the Caucasus) and countries, including Armenia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine. In total, training involved about 300 people. Most of the training events were conducted in cooperation or with logistical support from EECCA RECs. The training programme was based on the ―Toolkit for Better Environmental Inspectorates‖, which is a comprehensive manual reflecting modern theory and practice of environmental compliance promotion, monitoring, and enforcement. The programme had a positive impact and, as a result, the Secretariat and its partners in EECCA have faced an increasing demand for training, which is difficult to satisfy without enlarging the number of trainers and creating a mechanism that would enable trainers to continuously update the training programmes and materials.

REC Caucasus with cooperation of OECD EAP TASK Force implemented several projects in the period 2003 – 2008. 

Sub-regional managers workshop IMPROVING ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE ASSURANCE IN CAUCASUS, June, 16-20 2003, Tbilisi, Georgia

Translation and putting out of OECD publications “Guiding Principle for Reform of Environmental Enforcement Authorities in Transition Economies of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia” and the “ Glossary of Terms Used in Environmental Enforcement and Compliance Promotion” in Armenian, Azerbaijanian and Georgian languages.

Institutional Development Seminar and Management Training, November, 2005, Tbilisi, Georgia.

Peer Review of Environmental Compliance Assurance System of Armenia, (organisation of training for inspectorates), June 2005, Yerevan, Armenia.

The project was prepared in frame of OECD EAP Task Force and EECCA RECs joint work programme under the Programme Area 2. Environmental Policy Reform, project JP/2.2.4. “Training Programmes for Inspectorates” and aims to promote a structured approach towards training of environmental inspectors and facilitate networking among specialized institutions in the EECCA region and with similar institutions in OECD and CEE countries.

Individual capacity (or competence) can be defined as a set of standardized requirements for an individual to properly perform specific duties within an organization and encompasses both knowledge and skills. A continuous improvement of employees’ individual capacity is essential for any enforcement authority, including State Environmental Inspectorate (SEI), to achieve its objectives and maintain high standards of service to the general public. There is a clear need to change the current approach to training of the individuals within SEI and make it more coherent and structured, based on a clear understanding of incentives to enhance performance.

In Armenia and Azerbaijan, similarly to many other countries of EECCA, the development of individual capacities of the employees faces a number of problems that hinder the successful full-scale performance of the SEI. The main problems linked to the training of inspectors in Armenia and Azerbaijan are lack of professional training opportunities for SEI  specialists, inconsistency of the knowledge flow, lack of holistic approach to SEI specialist skills development, limited access to up-to-date materials, lack of cross-country experience exchange.

Overall Objectives

The overall objective of this project is to introduce a structured approach towards trainings for the employees of the State Environmental Inspectorate (SEI) of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Specific Objectives

The specific objectives of the project are:

  • Promotion of consistency in SEI planning and execution.
  • Improvement of SEI performance.
  • Establishment of a strong regional network of Environmental Inspectorates.
  • Sharing of experience on regular basis.

Expected Outcomes

  • Increasing of skills and ability of State Environmental Inspectors;
  • Sharing experience between State Environmental Inspectors in Armenia and Azerbaijan.

 

Results to Date:

Activities

 

The project implementation was initially delayed due to the following two major reasons:

1. As part of joint work programme of EECCA RECs and OECD EAP Task Force, project activities should have been started in parallel and under the guidance of the Secretariat of OECD EAP Task Force, however due to objective reasons REC Caucasus has been informed that Secretariat was not able to start their part of activities on time due to late provision of funds from donor.   

 

2. Significant restructuring process started in REC Caucasus in the end of 2009. New institutional structure  was approved by the RECs Board of Directors and introduced in January 2010. Due to changes, contracts with the previous staff members were terminated, but new programme staff has not been hired. Moreover, several internal and external audits started in organisation in 2010. Therefore implementation of some projects, including this one, was postponed.Due to those facts the Project implementation process started with significant delays and relevant project reports were not submitted to the donor in accordance to contractual requirements. Launching of the project and as well as preparatory meeting with State Environmental Inspectorate of Armenia and Azerbaijan were conducted in Baku (September 10, 2010) and Yerevan (September 14, 2010).

Discussion on identification of initial methodology for needs assessment conducted with national authorities, process of identification of competence profiles and major focus areas for possible trainings started. Several consultation with OECD EAP Task Force secretariat, partner of the project, have been also conducted to finalise methodology for capacity needs assessment exercise and identification of targeted areas. Relevant questionnaires were developed on the basis of the Guidance for the Organization of Trainings within State Environmental Inspectorates of EECCA countries, elaborated by the Organisation for  Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and sent to all stakeholders on December 2010. Filled questionnaires were submitted to REC Caucasus till January 17, 2011. The filled in questionnaires have been analyzed by the Project Team in close cooperation with the Ministries of Environment. The working group have been conducted in  Armenia and Azerbaijan for the preparation of training need assessment report in March 2011. REC Caucasus, with consultative and methodological support of the OECD, aims to fill the existing gaps by implementing training needs assessment (TNA) for the staff members of the Inspectorate (based on the methodology suggested by OECD and approbated in Georgia), develop a coherent multi-year training program and training materials (based on “Toolkit for Better Environmental Inspectorates”) and organize trainings for SEI employees, which will provide them with practical and up-to-date knowledge and skills necessary to successful performance of SEI. The Project introduces a structured approach towards trainings for the employees of the State SEI of Armenia and Azerbaijan and also establishes a mechanism of information exchange that will help SEI employees to continuously learn about new developments.

Project expected results:

  • Professional knowledge and skills gaps are identified through training needs assessments (TNA)
  • Gaps are addressed through conduction of trainings session and knowledge transfer.
  • The structured approach with strong mechanisms of training provision for SEI is established.

The project is prepared in frame of OECD EAP Task Force and EECCA RECs joint work program under the Program Area 2. Environmental Policy Reform, project JP/2.2.4. “Training Programs for Inspectorates” and aims to promote a structured approach towards training of environmental inspectors and facilitate networking among specialized institutions in the EECCA region and with similar institutions in OECD and CEE countries.

Individual capacity (or competence) can be defined as a set of standardized requirements for an individual to properly perform specific duties within an organization and encompasses both knowledge and skills. A continuous improvement of employees’ individual capacity is essential for any enforcement authority, including State Environmental Inspectorate (SEI), to achieve its objectives and maintain high standards of service to the general public. There is a clear need to change the current approach to training of the individuals within SEI and make it more coherent and structured, based on a clear understanding of incentives to enhance performance.

The Project involves staff Environmental Inspectorate, including its representatives in every administrative division of the Republic of Armenia and Republic of Azerbaijan.

 

REC Caucasus Branch Offices will provide expert support as well as facility and materials for all stages of project implementation. RECC Branch Offices role is organization of training needs assessment, support to Ministry of Nature Protection to develop training program and organization of training sessions.

State Environmental Inspectorate of Ministry of Nature Protection will provide professional, informative and organizational support throughout all stages of project implementation. OECD EAP Task Force will provide methodological and consultative support throughout all stages of project implementation. Before organization of training session RECC has involved qualified experts (4 experts in each country) in the field of environmental inspection to develop training modules based on modern knowledge, best international experience and currently applied local experience.

 

Phase I

The project team in close cooperation with the Ministries of Environment of Armenia and Azerbaijan have prepared the training modules. The training modules have been prepared in two languages (national and English). Meanwhile the organization of training sessions have been started. So in June in Armenia and September in Azerbaijan 2011 REC Caucasus in close co-operation with Ministry of Environment and State Environmental Inspection agencies has launched the first round of 3 days professional trainings for environmental inspectors.  

During the two-day professional training 12 modules, subsequent case studies, questionnaires, as well as presentations, information package including national and EU legislation, EU directives (IPCC, Environmental liability, etc), information on co-operation between local and national agencies in the sphere of environmental inspection, legislation frameworks regulating environmental inspection, organization of work within environmental inspection/institutional issues and many other topics have been presented and discussed . 

Environmental inspectors from State Environmental Inspectorate (SEI) of Ministries of Environment of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been selected to take part in the sessions of professional trainings. During the session the brief information on the project mission, goal and expected results have been given. There was especially valued the idea of the project, which was born long before it started and emphasized the importance of the project which is based on assessment of real needs within the State Environmental Inspection and will serve as a capacity-building and skill –building tool both for experienced and start-up professionals. Bearing in mind the regionality of the project and as well as the common background in the region, Project team tried to keep the almost the same agenda in both countries. So the first session has started with the presentation on “The Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive (96/61/EC) implementation procedures in and the collaboration between state management and local self government bodies in the field of environmental inspection” during the session were discussed the main targets of the IPPC Directive: a framework directive aiming at a high level of protection for the environment as a whole, operating permits for industry with conditions to be based on “best available techniques” (BAT), which provides for an exchange of information on BAT, environmental permit system, permissions toward separate components of environment, complex permission and the scope use. Also was presented the institutional regulation of environmental permitting system, timeframes, permission for small and medium business organizations, and permits transition strategy by IPPC directive requirements and etc. During the first session also presented “Implementation of self-control towards compliance with the requirements of environmental legislation” introduction on draft law”.

Presentation were made on “Legal field regulating Environmental inspectorate control procedure” and “Judicial protection procedure of Environmental control results and the role of inspectors in that procedure”, on “Environmental and natural resource use fees, financial-economic mechanisms of inspectorate” and “Collaboration of Ministries of Environment with international organizations, expected outcomes from the collaboration”. Trainers were discuss general approaches of introduction of Inspectorate reforms in Azerbaijan and Armenia, environmental risks, according to environmental field approaches of preparation of check lists, development of work plans, as well as presented environment impact assessment and organization of inspectorate control and also presented Specification of state control towards requirements of the flora and fauna. Besides presentations, five Group Work sessions have been carried out during the two-day training on case studies prepared by trainers.  Inspectors have been working on

  • “Identification of conflict situations during environmental inspection and analysis”
  • “Assessment criteria of leakage of water resources and water basins, the atmospheric emissions, hazardous waste installation and processing of the environmental risks”
  • “Supporting tools of EC available for Armenia and Azerbaijan (Twining)”.
  • “Special conditions of Environmental impact assessment and inspection toward them / Hydro electro stations, mining/
  • “Discussion of practical issues required for assessment of environmental inspection in maximum   permissible environmental emission and water use”
  • “Functions of inspectors in illegal poaching”
  • “Compliance and differences of EC and national legislation, applicability of  rules”

Interactive discussions and presentations on results have been conducted after each group work by environmental inspectors and facilitated by trainers and working group facilitators. To assess the quality and impact of the training session, all training participants and trainers have complied evaluation forms, which are proving the productiveness and efficiency of organization and conduction skills of professional trainings by REC Caucasus.   At the end of the training session Environmental inspectors have been awarded Certificate.

The followings should be mentioned as main outcomes of conducted trainings:

  • The importance of application of structural approach in environmental inspection was better understood by training participants (environmental inspectors);
  • The participants have increased their knowledge on basic elements of environmental inspection, strategic planning and personnel administration during inspection process local experience and the best applications applied at international level
  • Practical activities (group works) enabled participants to use learned knowledge and properly apply during provision of the inspection activities.
  • At the end of the training session, it was decided to continue provision of such type of trainings on environmental inspection in future.

 

 

Phase II

Training of Trainers (TOT) on June 24-25 in Armenia and June 30-July1 in Azerbaijan, 2011 Project Team in close co-operation with Ministry of Nature Protection in Armenia and Ministry of Environment in Azerbaijan conducted training of trainers (TOT). The aim of the training of trainers (TOT) was to introduce structured professional knowledge in regard with environmental inspection procedures, institutional structures of Inspection, environmental indicators, risks and Directives in EC countries, as well key points and components to conduct efficient, productive and successful trainings through development of technical skills of trainer.  Environmental inspectorate trainers: representatives of Ministries of Environment have been taking part in the sessions of TOT.

 

TOT was consisted of two parts: professional and technical parts.

During two-day TOT sessions, in professional part case studies of EC countries (Netherlands, Czech Republic, Belgium) on Environmental Legislation compliance and Indicators, Institutional structure of State Environmental Inspectorate in EC countries (Austria, Germany, Swiss, Norway and Belgium), Directive (2004/35/EC) on Environmental Liability and Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) have been presented and actively discussed by all participants. Presentation-communication-management, time management and team building skills have been presented and practiced in technical part of TOT.  Just to make more impressive the impact of TOT and achieve desirable results, sample of Team building and Ice Breaker has been practiced by training team.

Post evaluation sheets have proven the productivity and efficiency of TOT. Training participants have made some recommendations in regard with the trainings to be implemented in next session including training materials, modules, presentations and training conduction, presentation, communication, group works, time management skills and how to make it proactive.

 

 

Phase III

On July 31 and August 01, 2011 the second round of professional trainings for environmental inspectors have been organized by Armenia Branch Office of of Regional Environmental Centre for Caucasus.

Two-day professional training sessions have been held for the second group of 20 inspectors. 12 modules, subsequent case studies, questionnaires, as well as presentations, information packages including national and EU legislation, EU directives (IPCC, Environmental liability, etc), information on co-operation between local and national agencies in the sphere of environmental inspection, legislation frameworks regulating environmental inspection, organization of work within environmental inspection/institutional issues and many other topics have been presented and discussed.

Most of the time of the second round of training sessions has been allocated to group works according to recommendations suggested by participants and trainers in the first round of training sessions and TOT.

Six focus group works have been conducted by trainers. Group works helped to enhance productiveness of sessions through knowledge transfer in a practical way. Trainees had a chance to interact on the topics chosen by trainers, observe, analyze, discuss, improve their knowledge and gain professional expertise. While practicing knowledge and expertise, environmental inspectors have been dealing with various tasks, such as identification of conflict situations during environmental inspection, functions of inspectors in illegal poaching, assessment of environmental risks, application of EC supporting tools available for Armenia (Twining and Taiex). The groups have also been working on clarification of special conditions of environmental impact assessment and inspection control over those conditions in Hydro-electro stations, mining and discussed practical issues, which are required for assessment of environmental inspection in maximum permissible environmental emission and water use. Presentations on the results of group works have been efficient and shown evidence of knowledge and expertise obtained from a range of resources, information and knowledge provided by trainers. Working groups have presented well-balanced arguments and drawn appropriate conclusions to the tasks above described.       

On December 28 and 30, 2011 the second round of professional trainings for environmental inspectors have been organized by Azerbaijan Branch Office of Regional Environmental Centre for Caucasus.

Before organization of training sessions Azerbaijan BO has involved 4 qualified experts, together with them Azerbaijan BO specialists decided to conduct 3 days of training sessions on two topics:

1) Introduction to production self-control;

2) Preventing violations through effective communication

There were made many presentation by the representatives of the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources (MENR) and by experts of REC Caucasus. After the presentation session started question-answer session, and during the session the participants were clarified on unclear points of the training topics. The experts provided comprehensive information on questions arisen by training participants.

 

At wrap-up session, the topics studied during all training process were revised again and the participants were informed on next planned trainings in the field of environmental inspection. It was decided to organize next round of trainings in January or February month of 2012 and mainly to focus on applied methodology and best experience in environmental inspection at international level.

The followings should be mentioned as main outcomes of conducted trainings:

  1. The importance of application of structural approach in environmental inspection was better understood by training participants   (environmental inspectors);
  2. The participants have increased their knowledge on production self control, its advantages, types of monitoring and its parameters.
  3. The participants have increased knowledge on importance of effective communication during environmental inspection activities and its role in preventing environmental violations;
  4. The participants get knowledge on local experience and the best applications applied at international level in the fields of production self-control and effective communication during environmental inspection.
  5. Practical activities (group works) enabled participants to use learned knowledge and properly apply during provision of the inspection activities.

At the end of training session, all participants appreciated the organization of such type of trainings. It was decided to continue provision of such type of environmental inspection in future.

 

Phase IV

In the beginning of 2012 REC Caucasus Armenia and Azerbaijan Branch Offices continued conducting of the professional trainings for environmental inspectors. On January 27-28, 2012 REC Caucasus Armenia BO in close co-operation with Ministry of Nature Protection of Armenia and State Environmental Inspection agency has launched the third round of professional trainings.

Training sessions were officially opened by Advisor to the Minister of Nature Protection.

First day training session was started with the presentation

on “The Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive (96/61/EC) implementation procedures in RA and the collaboration between state management and local self government bodies in the field of environmental inspection”, and continued with many other presentations on topics:

  1. “RA Law on “The implementation of self-control towards compliance with the requirements of environmental legislation”.
  2. “Environmental and natural resources use fees, financial economic mechanisms in SEI under MNP”
  3. “Organization of implementation of the inspection works by environmental inspectors”
  4. “RA Environmental Statistics” (legal filed, analysis, the aim of the procedure)
  5. “General approaches of investment of inspectorate reforms in RA, (environmental risks, approaches for development of questionnaires according to the environmental field inspection, development of work plan, questionnaires)”

The second day also continued with presentation of trainers based on the Modules of the Project. The trainings were finalized with group works Seven group works within the Case studies listed above have been conducted by the Environmental inspectors and assisted by trainer, and facilitators. Training participants have been divided into 3 groups, 6 and 7 inspectors in each group and smoothly entered into the case suggested and continued their work demonstrating situations where conflicts are found while conducting inspection and invested their expertise, after this it continued  in conditions of discussions: question-answer: discussion sessions took place after each presentation, which covered multiple issues raised by

environmental inspector, trainers. Discussions were interactive. Environmental inspectors came up with a number of questions listed below.

25-26 January of 2012 Azerbaijan Branch office of Regional Environmental Center for Caucasus (REC Caucasus) has organized third round of trainings which lasted 2 days training sessions.

During two days sessions were discussed the following two topics:

1) Environmental violation and legal actions taken to eliminate its consequences and legal actions taken to eliminate its consequences and international experience in this field;

2) Inventory of entities (users of nature)

In order to provide participation of representative from donor organization at the training sessions, Azerbaijan Branch office of RECC has written invitation letter to Norwegian Embassy in Baku and invited Executive officer - Kristian Lundby Gjerde to participate at training session.

Training session started at 25 January 2012. Kristian Lundby Gjerde -  Executive officer of Norwegian Embassy in Baku. He also welcomed all participants and trainers, and mentioned that there is good cooperation between governments of Norway and Azerbaijan. Norwegian government supports different development projects in the country. This project is one of them. The project aims to increase capacity of environmental inspectors leading to increase of quality of services provided by them. Final result of this is improvement of environment where we all live. Mr. Kristian thanked Azerbaijan Branch office of REC Caucasus for good organizational work and wished success to training participants.

After this the day was full of presentations from the trainers based on modules, which were developed by the experts of the REC Caucasus. The presentation informed participants of formal and informal response mechanisms. There are 2 forms of response to violations: formal and informal. Informal responses may include telephone calls, site visits, warning letters and notices of violations. The purpose of informal action is to force the offender to comply with the requirements, or to initiate a formal legal process. Formal mechanisms are either civil or criminal. Civil action may be taken either in the administrative way or by applying to a court or other judicial body.

During discussions the participants from different regions have raised current problems and asked questions.  The trainer has clarified all issues answering to all questions.

The second day also was full of presentations, the last presentations were devoted to international experience in the field of environmental inspection. At wrap-up session, the topics studied during all training process were revised again and the participants were informed on next planned trainings.

Third round of professional training sessions have been completed successfully by SEI and RECC Armenia BO and Azerbaijan BO. As the result of the project implementation, the steps of establishment of strong mechanisms are undertaken and in process of development. Professional knowledge and skills are transferred to environmental inspectors and creation of structured approach towards trainings for employees of the SEI is in process of creation.

Within the project implementation, environmental inspectors have gained knowledge and skills, taken part in group works. The project helped to enhance capacity and capabilities of SEI inspectors.

 

Phase V

Recommendations

Training sessions’ Recommendations

  • Prepare and publish Trainer’s guideline;
  • Adapt International SEI expertise locally and figure out applicable mechanisms in Armenia and Azerbaijan;
  • Develop mechanism for the selection of the best environmental inspectors;
  • Initiate and conduct one extra training for the best environmental inspectors (core selected group of 10 or 20 best inspectors);
  • Allocate more time to discussions and group works.

 

TOT’s Recommendation

  • Presentations on the EU Inspectorate legislation  and legal system;
  • Presentation on case studies in regard with SEI procedures in EU countries;
  • Presentation on SEI methods and activities in EU countries;
  • Presentation on obstacles which are result of legislation contradictions in inspectorate activities;
  • Training sessions should be focused on group works; (for more productivity and efficiency allocate more time for group works).
  • Training participants have also made some recommendations in regard with the training time management, training productiveness, effectiveness, relevance to be implemented in next session including training materials, modules, presentations, participants and training conduction, presentation skills.

 

Project visibility

Press releases on forthcoming events and reports on conducted activities were disseminated through REC Caucasus network and uploaded on the REC Caucasus web page www.rec-caucasus.org, in order to keep all stakeholders informed about progress and results of project.