The Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network for Accession (ECENA) was established by high-level officials from the environment ministries of South Eastern Europe (SEE) in Sofia, Bulgaria, in March 2005.

ECENA is an informal network of environmental authorities from candidate and potential candidate countries. The members of ECENA are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo (as defined under UNSCR 1244), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. The European Commission is also a member of ECENA.

The mission of ECENA is to protect the environment in its member countries through effective transposition, implementation and enforcement of EU environmental legislation by increasing the effectiveness of inspectorate bodies and promoting compliance with environmental requirements.

ECENA seeks to take over the role previously played by the Accession Countries IMPEL (AC IMPEL). It is a logical continuation of the work of the Balkan Environmental Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement Network (BERCEN).

ECENA operates under the framework of the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP), the European Union's strategy for creating the conditions needed to integrate the countries of the region into European structures.

A cornerstone of this approach is the stabilisation and association agreement, a contractual agreement adapted to the specific context of each country. This agreement offers a country the prospect of integration into the EU's structures while setting the political and economic conditions to be met. Environment is included as a key area for cooperation. The SAP also sets political and economic conditions for the countries, as well as the need for regional cooperation.

ECENA facilitates, assists in and promotes the enforcement of regulations throughout SEE by disseminating information, finding common denominators for cooperation and developing projects of common interest with the countries participating in the network. The members of ECENA will work together to advance the application and implementation of environmental legislation and to increase the effectiveness of enforcement agencies and inspectorates.

ECENA will use the experience of BERCEN, IMPEL, INECE and the Regulatory Environmental Programme Implementation Network (REPIN, previously known as NISECEN, the NIS Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network) to provide a good strategic framework for future cooperation and the exchange of information.

The European Commission CARDS programme provides funding for ECENA's activities.


The Secretariat maintains contact with the national network coordinators and other members of the network. it supports the chair of the plenary meeting in its duties and prepares the draft agenda for the plenary meeting. It is responsible for all organisational and logistical issues related to the plenary meeting.

The Secretariat actively disseminates information from other similar compliance and enforcement networks, such as:

  • The European Union Network for the Implementation and Enforcement of Environmental Law (IMPEL);
  • The International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE); and
  • The Regulatory Environmental Programme Implementation Network (REPIN, previously known as NISECEN, the NIS Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Network).

The Secretariat disseminates information from and to the European Commission, international organisations and donors etc. it reviews progress made in ECENA activities for each plenary meeting, while reviews are carried out by members of ECENA of their national key achievements in environmental regulatory compliance and enforcement.

The Secretariat is managed by the REC and works in close cooperation with the EC and IMPEL.

Network plenary meetings

Annual meeting of all ECENA members

Regional training programmes

Training for key personnel, helping them to spread know-how in their home countries

Exchange programmes

Informal trainings featuring roundtable discussions, the sharing of experience and practical approaches to enforcement

Peer reviews (under 2003-2006 BERCEN)

Assisting countries to identify and analyse potential weaknesses in implementing environmental legislation

Study tours

Visits to third-party countries to gain understanding of how a national environmental protection system works

Participation in international meetings

Participation of ECENA members in the events of sister networks

National Trainings

Trainings held in the beneficiary countries and in the local language


Collection of useful documents