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Charter Signed to Establish Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe

[EPA press release - June 21, 1990]

A charter has been signed to establish a Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe in Budapest, Hungary. EPA Administrator William K. Reilly will participate in the opening of the Center in September.

The Center will serve as a focal point for efforts by many nations to address environmental problems in the region. It will function as an independent, not-for-profit, non-governmental operation under a 15-member international board, and will provide access to environmental data, expertise and educational materials from various countries.

Signing the charter on June 20 were EPA officials, representing the U.S. Government, and representatives of the governments of The Netherlands, Hungary, and the European Community, a group of 12 Western European countries. Other Central and Eastern European countries are expected to participate.

Proposed by Bush during a 1989 visit to Hungary, the Center will have an initial budget of approximately $9 million for three years; $5 million contributed by the United States and the remainder by the European Community, Hungary, and The Netherlands.

Activities being considered for the Center include the establishment of a clearinghouse for matching resources (assistance programs, donated equipment, exchange programs, etc.) and public environmental data bases on pollution sources, monitoring, and control mechanisms, from the region and from sponsoring countries. Also contemplated are assistance efforts in developing local and regional pollution monitoring capabilities, environmental education, and public participation in environmental decision-making and inter-governmental communication for policy planning.

The Center is one of many EPA environmental initiatives being undertaken in the region under the Support for East European Democracy (SEED) Act of 1989 and several bilateral and multilateral activities.