About BEF Group


Baltic Environmental Forum (BEF) was founded as a technical assistance project aiming to strengthen the co-operation among Baltic environmental authorities by the Baltic Ministries of Environment, Germany and the European Commission in 1995.

Multi-stakeholder seminars, trainings, info-days and publications on EU environmental policy have served as key tools for meeting these objectives. Over time the core project was prolonged and BEF activities grew far beyond the initial project. BEF became accepted as an institution responsible for networking and experience exchange among environmental stakeholders in the Baltic States. The organization has contributed to the EU accession process of the Baltic States by organizing a large amount of events and trainings targeted at understanding the environmental legislation which was to be transposed and by facilitating the dialogue and experience exchange for the implementation of the new environmental legislation.

In order to keep the network active new NGOs in Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania and Germany were founded in 2003. 
Organizations are independent in legal and fiscal terms, but they form a network of so-called "BEF Group" and have common goals and joint activities. The network character is laid down in an agreement of cooperation between all parties. According to this agreement, BEF Latvia functions as headquarter of the network and the other organizations are its members. Since 2004 "BEF Group" cooperated with the Centre of Transboundary Cooperation in St. Petersburg, the member of the BEF Group 2005 - 2015, which has closed its operations in beginning of 2015 due to the Russian government’s policy of accusing international environmental NGOs as being “Foreign Agents”. At inspection no fraud has been detected, however, the operations have not been taken up as there is no political support for environmental issues in Russia at current moment. The office is closed for time being.

Four independent NGOs develop projects together mainly in the Baltic Sea region, which is the target region of the activities of the group. Each of the NGOs also acts on national level in its country, however multi-country projects are predominating. BEF NGOs are operating based on projects and depend on grants and contracts.

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