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EPA's International Assistance Efforts: Developing Effective Environmental Institutions and Partners

October 1994

Citation: ELR 10593

Author: Ruth Greenspan Bell

In recent years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has expanded its programs to assist governments around the world in building their capacity to protect the environment. This effort serves policies embodied in a variety of treaties, appropriations, and other legislative and executive decisions. A small but important part of this work is the effort to help other countries develop an effective legal framework for environmental protection.

This Dialogue begins with a brief overview of EPA's international assistance efforts. Next, it highlights the major potential benefits flowing from international environmental assistance programs, and some of the challenges facing those programs. The Dialogue then illustrates the special challenges and opportunities of legal assistance by describing EPA's effort to provide environmental law assistance to Russia. The Dialogue concludes that environmental legal assistance has the potential to encourage broad reforms with benefits that extend beyond the environmental area.

Ruth Greenspan Bell is Senior Attorney in the International Activities Division of the Office of General Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C. From March 1991 to August 1991, she was Senior Fellow and Polish Representative for the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (Budapest). The author benefitted greatly from the assistance of Durwood Zaelke and Claudia Saladin, and the comments of Bob Ward and David Sandalow. Laura Neuwirth and Debbie Dalton of EPA also provided invaluable support. The approach for Russian assistance described in this Dialogue was formulated by the author with contributions from two AID contractors, Michele Brown and Eugene Gibson. The views expressed here are the author's and do not necessarily represent the views of EPA or the Regional Environmental Center.

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