Published: 16-12-2011 here.

Full report and / or executive summary as well as a Benefits Assessment : Social and Economic Benefits of Enhanced Environmental Protection in the ENPI countries.

Between 50,000 and 150,000 lives could be saved due to reduced air pollution if the countries of the European neighbourhood made even a partial, voluntary adoption of EU environment legislation, with the value of other benefits ranging up to €21 billion a year. The figures come in the results of an international study project released by the European Commission, on the socio-economic benefits of enhanced environment protection in the European Neighbourhood partner countries and Russia.

Positive effects of enhanced environment protection would also be significant in the water sector. Improved drinking and waste water standards could lead to a decrease in morbidity and mortality in the region and to benefits ranging from € 9 to € 21 billion per year, the research shows.

On waste, a partial take-over of the EU environment acquis would lead to additional 64 million people being connected to proper municipal waste collection. Around 25,000 jobs would be created in this sector. Major positive social and economic benefits would also result from reinforced nature protection, sustainable forest management, reduced land degradation, stronger use of renewable energy, and better adaptation to climate change.

The study covers Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, the occupied Palestinian territory, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tunisia, and Ukraine.

It intends to alert decision-makers and society in the region that strengthened environmental protection also leads to significant social, health and economic benefits. It estimates the possible advantages resulting from voluntarily adopting parts of the EU environmental legislation, and proposes a methodology to quantify these benefits.

Partner countries are invited to use this methodology in their national law and policy-making, and the European Commission will consider its findings in the planning of its future development and cooperation portfolio in the neighbourhood region.

The 20-month study was carried out as part of an EU-funded project by environment experts from the partner countries, in cooperation with international research institutes and consultancy firms.