The Environment Sectoral Operational Program (Environment SOP) is closely correlated with the strategic national objectives provided in the National Development Plan (NDP) prepared for 2007 – 2013 and the National Strategic Reference Frame (NSRF), which are based on the principles, practices and objectives pursued at the level of European Union. The SOP Environment was prepared such as to constitute a foundation, as well as a catalyst for a more competitive economy, a better environment and a more balanced regional development. Environment SOP is based on the objectives and priorities of EU environment and infrastructure development policies, reflecting Romania’s international obligations, as well as specific national interests. Environment SOP continues the environment infrastructure development programs at national level performed within the pre-accession assistance, in particular PHARE and ISPA. In addition to infrastructure development, the Environment SOP aims to establish efficient management structures for the services relevant to environment protection.
The global objective of the Environment SOP is the protection and improvement of environment quality and life standards in Romania, aiming for the compliance with the provisions of environment acquis. The objective is to reduce the existing gap between the European Union and Romania as regards the environment infrastructure from both the quantitative and qualitative points of view. In accordance with the EU Cohesion Policy, the Environment SOP contributes to strengthening the economical integration by developing the water and environment infrastructure and increasing the access to general purpose services, by improving governance for a better quality of public policy and developing the abilities of Romanian citizens in a developing sector such as the environment protection.
The specific objectives of the Environment SOP are:
- Improve the quality and access to water and waste water infrastructure by providing water supply and sewerage services in most urban areas until 2015 and establish efficient regional structures for the management of water and waste water services;
- Develop sustainable systems for waste management by improving the waste management and reducing the number of areas with historic pollution in at least 30 counties, until 2015;
- Reduce the negative impact on the environment and mitigate the climate changes caused by urban heating systems in the most polluted localities, until 2015;
- Protection and improvement of biodiversity and natural patrimony by supporting the management of protected areas, including the implementation of Nature 2000 network;
- Reduce the risk of natural disasters affecting the population by implementing preventive measures in the most vulnerable areas, until 2015.