Environmental advisers passed European training

  • 2000-10-12
  • Aleksei Gynter
TALLINN - Estonian environmental specialists passed a one-week training course organized in cooperation with the PHARE foundation, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers on Sept. 25-30.

The training is held in every country seeking EU membership, and Estonia was the first to pass it. Twenty-one specialists from 16 Estonian consulting companies participated.

Environmental consultancy involves estimating risks that threaten nature, people or surroundings, and setting the appropriate safety measures as well as eliminating the consequences of accidents.

Ian Milborrow, PriceWaterhouseCoopers project manager, said the next countries to host the training are the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary and Slovenia. The project will last until February 2001.

"After the training, Estonian environmental consulting companies will be more competitive," said Milborrow.

The course included subjects such as environmental requirements and standards of the EU and EBRD, environmental sector risk management and health safety.

Eike Riis, an environmental expert from E-Konsult Ltd. and one of the participants, said the training was a useful experience in general.

"The certificate is given to every participant may make Estonian consultants more trustworthy," she said.

Another participant, Peep Siitam, production director of Estonian building giant Merko Ehitus, is sure the certificate will have a positive effect on his company's cooperation with foreign partners.

Dr. Rada Olbina, representing the EBRD, said the bank planned to arrange the training in all countries headed toward EU membership, because they will soon have to meet European standards and requirements in many fields, particularly the environment.

"The main reason is to improve the qualification of local specialists for the benefit of their employers, the country and, of course, the bank," Olbina said.

For example, if a company is going to invest in some Estonian businesses and takes a loan from the EBRD, the bank will appoint environmental advisers to evaluate possible environmental risks, if necessary. According to materials PriceWaterhouseCoopers gathered, the demand for environmental consultancyin the market in the next five years will increase in waste treatment, and health and safety management. The demand for consultation on water pollution and water resources, however, will decrease.

Max Smith, environmental adviser from Maves Ltd., admitted that the topics related to the consultancy's promotion and cooperation with financial institutions like the EBRD were very informative, although he already knew most of the environmental issues discussed at the training.

Smith said the certificate itself is actually worthless, but it does have a political value. "It shows the person is familiar with the international trends in the field," he said.

Regarding participants' benefits, Smith said they had a great chance to establish new business contacts. "They should cooperate often because none of the Estonian consulting companies has a full range of advisers," he explained.