Network of Central and Eastern European NGOs for Sustainable Consumption and Environmental Protection
The CEE Network is a partnership 28 non-governmental consumer orgranizations from 16 countries in the Central and Eastern European region.
The aim of the network is facilitating co-operation between Central and Eastern European NGOs, and addressing the interrelationship among consumption patterns, consumer protection and environmental issues as they pertain to the CEE region.
Countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have experienced significant changes in recent years. The shift in the region to a market based economy has widely affected consumption habits. The accession of 10 CEE countries to the European Union and current negotiations by more have brought about new opportunities and in some cases, new challenges. In both cases, the role of consumers in directing the economy and thereby influencing the state of environment has been heightened. Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) need to work together to reflect the trans-national character of these issues and to compile resources and experiences to be effective in shaping consumer behaviour for the benefit of all. Because of the common background and the similar character of issues around the region, this network of organisations is dedicated to the region, to foster action that does not consider problems in isolation but oversees the cross boundary pattern.
The interrelationship between consumption patterns and the environment is becoming more central to the demand side of sustainability. A sudden influx of corporations over the past 15 years has created a new environment for the CEE consumer. These consumers, however, often lack experience with making complex decisions in a world of such vast choices. Understanding the life cycles of products, and the impacts on natural resources of products and services is a complicated task that even the savviest consumer struggles with. There are currently a number of organizations in the CEE region whose efforts are focused on either consumer protection or environmental protection. However, there is a lack of coordination between these two fields. The link between consumerism and environmental protection is becoming increasingly clear; efforts to address this are growing worldwide. CEE countries will benefit by working together to address the shortcomings of their institutions and consumer attitudes in face of the above issues. Because of the cross-boundary nature of these issues, a common approach is ideal especially within the new EU member states where economies and policies are becoming increasingly interconnected.
By linking current experience and partnering on new initiatives, NGOs in CEE countries will take a lead in promoting conscious consumption patterns that would drive the economy of the region in an ecologically sustainable direction. In the above context, networking, capacity building and information sharing bring a balance between adopting models of best practice and pioneering initiatives which are born out of an authentic understanding of local conditions.
Mission, vision and objectives
We envision a world in which the continuous improvement of quality of life is assured, in a just society, without burdening our natural resources or endangering the environment. This can be achieved by altering the dominant patterns of production and consumption and by promoting sustainable lifestyles and behaviour.
The mission of the Central and Eastern European network is to heighten awareness in the region regarding the need to change our unsustainable consumption trends. We do this by translating our passion for the environment and social justice into practical actions and initiatives. Rooted in a common understanding of the need for cooperation, this network serves to join together efforts in the region and seek out innovative and creative ways to change consumer behaviour.
We aim to do this by: building the capacity of our members; creating tools for shifting consumption patterns; raising awareness and campaigning on issues relevant to our cause.