The Fifth Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe" took place in Kiev (Ukraine) from 21 to 23 May 2003. It concluded with the adoption of the Ministerial Declaration (En, Fr, Ru), which underlined the importance of the EfE process as a tool to promote environmental protection and sustainable development in the region, thus contributing to wider peace and security. Environment Ministers and Heads of delegation from 51 countries in the UNECE region and the Representative of the European Commission emphasized their common goals with respect to the environment and highlighted theircommon dedication to cooperating in achieving high standards of environmental protection.
During the Conference, three Protocols to Conventions of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe were adopted and opened for signature. The Ministers and Heads of delegation also endorsed the Guidelines for Strengthening Compliance with and Implementation of MEAs in the UNECE region.
Governments of all seven countries of the Carpathian region adopted a Convention on the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians, which was opened for signature on 22 May 2003 and was signed by Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia and Ukraine.
The Kiev Conference adopted a groundbreaking Environment Strategy for Countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia and applauded the efforts of the Central Asian States to develop the Central Asian Initiative on Environment, Water and Security, “Invitation to Partnership.”
Ministers and Heads of Delegation reaffirmed their support to the Environmental Performance Review Programme of UNECE and decided that the programme should continue. They called upon the European Environment Agency to prepare a fourth assessment report for the next ministerial conference, building on new partnerships, especially with UNECE and UNEP, and they expressed their support of the UNECE Working Group on Environmental Monitoring and its activities. A number of other decisions were taken related to energy for sustainable development, water for sustainable development, biodiversity and education.
On the second day of the Conference, a special session between Ministers and environmental citizens’ organizations was held on “Environmental Policy Integration.” Three important issues were jointly addressed: letting the market work for the environment; agriculture as an example of sectoral policy integration; and overcoming institutional weaknesses that prevent integration.