Regional knowledge sharing

Cross-learning and knowledge exchange on the regional level

Much more than a collection of national activities, ReGoKo succeeded in fostering regional knowledge exchange and cross-learning.

At first sight, some of ReGoKo’s activities seem to be of purely national interest. Taking a closer look at these activities, it appears on the contrary, that even national activities actually do provide many lessons learned on the regional level.

When Lebanon implemented its Strategic Environmental Assessment under the ReGoKo, an a priori national activity, the regional interest of this initiative became clear: Lebanon is in fact the only of ReGoKo’s beneficiaries having legislation on SEA. Therefore, on top of this SEA being a pilot of this recent Lebanese legislation, it also provided extremely relevant information and lessons for all other beneficiaries, because they are currently seeking to develop SEA legislation themselves.

During the first ReGoKo Steering Committee meeting, Morocco presented their interest in funding two national activities, one on the participation of local actors in environmental management and one on supporting sub-national observatories of the environment and sustainable development. When Tunisia learned about these proposals, they immediately expressed their motivation to be part of both activities, which are focusing on two issues of great importance for Tunisia as well. This way, two initially national activities became regional and offered great opportunities of cross-learning. For example, Tunisia benefitted largely from the Moroccan experience of developing sub-national observatories of the environment and sustainable development.  In fact, whereas Morocco is currently finalizing the creation of such sub-national structures in all of Morocco’s regions, Tunisia does not have any sub-national observatory at this time but intends to develop them in the near future.

Also during the first ReGoKo Steering Committee meeting, several national and regional activity proposals with a link to different environmental assessment methods and tools were discussed and approved (analysis of EIA system in Moroccowater sector SEA in Lebanon, environmental audits of industrial facilities in Lebanon and PalestineTraining on EIA and inspection procedures in Egyptregional socio-economic assessment of maritime activities, …) clearly bringing forward a regional need for knowledge generation in the field of environmental assessments. This is how the regional activity “Training on environmental and social assessments and guidebook” was initiated and subsequently implemented as part of ReGoKo.

Furthermore, Palestine was able to benefit from Lebanon’s experience in developing industrial audits for the Palestinian national activity on industrial pollution abatement. An activity conducting industrial audits in Lebanon had already been finalized under the ReGoKo when Palestine started to work on the definition of their “supporting industrial pollution abatement” activity and thus benefited from the Lebanese activities’ lessons learned and activity design (terms of reference, etc.).

All parties agreed that, even though some ReGoKo activities may seem of national interest only, the overall ReGoKo umbrella provided an effective framework for regional learning and knowledge sharing.