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ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMME FOR EUROPE

Preamble

The 1991 Dobris Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe" called for a comprehensive assessment of Europe's environment and envisaged the development of an Environmental Programme for Europe. At the 1993 Lucerne Conference, Ministers endorsed "Elements for a Long-Term Environmental Programme for Europe" elaborated under the UN/ECE framework and decided on the further development of this programme on the basis of a comprehensive assessment of Europe's environment.

"Europe's Environment: The Dobris Assessment" is the first report to provide such an assessment. It identifies, through the data it makes available, the key environmental issues which face Europe as a whole. The Dobris Assessment provides a foundation for the Environmental Programme for Europe (EPE) as presented hereunder.

The Programme is the first attempt to set out long-term environmental policy priorities at the pan-European level to serve as a framework for the better coordination of national and international efforts to improve environmental conditions throughout Europe and to promote convergence of environmental quality and policies. It does not attempt to be comprehensive and has been drafted so that, if ministers so decide, it could be further updated, developed and expanded in the light of its implementation and experience gained, thus becoming an evolving document.

The EPE is based upon the principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. The Programme takes fully into account other results of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), and attempts to make Agenda 21 more operational in the European context, particularly its provision relating to the integration of environmental policy with other policies.

The EPE reflects the collaboration on environmental health dimensions endorsed by Ministers at the 1994 European Conference on Health and the Environment in Helsinki. The mechanism of the European Environment and Health Committee, established within the terms of the Helsinki Declaration, will be used in relation to the human health aspects of the EPE.

The key recommendations of the EPE are as follows:

PROMOTE the participation of all European countries in the work of the European Environment Agency in order to make comparable, harmonize and coordinate existing data collection systems and to provide the necessary information for the next pan-European state-of-the-environment reports.

APPLY the ECE Guidelines on Access to Environmental Information and Public Participation in Environmental Decision-making, respecting any limitations to their application which may arise if subnational approval is required in federal States, and invite ECE to review the implementation of these Guidelines in 1997.

ENSURE the integration of environmental considerations into decision-making, including the consideration of environmental costs and benefits and the assessment of risks involved and the application of the precautionary and polluter-pays principle in all key sectors, and take further steps to promote partnerships between ministries, parliaments, business and industry, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other major groups.

RECOGNIZE the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Meeting on Military Activities and the Environment convened in Linköping (Sweden) in cooperation with ECE in 1995 as an important contribution to the dialogue between the military and environmental sectors, recognize and encourage the efforts made by the military sector in many countries to address environmental problems as well as those conducted or planned under the auspices of the North Atlantic Treaty Organizations’s Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society in which all countries are invited to participate, and invite other appropriate international organizations to consider promoting, at an appropriate time, a dialogue between the military sector and environmental ministries and organizations on the development of national environmental policies for the military sector.

ENCOURAGE the ratification of, and ensure compliance with, international legal instruments in the field of the environment of relevance to the ECE region, in particular the recent ECE environmental conventions and protocols.

TAKE measures which will ensure that all European countries have reached a high level in energy efficiency by the year 2010.

FULLY IMPLEMENT existing national commitments under the Framework Convention on Climate Change and pursue the process of strengthening those commitments as agreed in the Decisions of the 1995 Berlin Conference of the Parties, using all appropriate means for that purpose such as:

(a) Economic instruments, including fiscal measures such as C02/energy taxation and the elimination of disincentives to the efficient use of energy;

(b) The provision of more efficient thermal insulation for buildings;

(c) The promotion of the use of new and renewable sources of energy;

(d) The reduction in CO2 emissions from energy-intensive industrial sectors;

(e) The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector].

(f) The enhancement of carbon sinks in agriculture and forestry sectors;

(g) The reduction in methane emissions through, for example, improved management of municipal landfills.

INVITE interested Govenments, in cooperation with ECE and other relevant intergovernmental organizations/institutions, business and industry, environmental and consumer organizations, to identify ways and means of carrying out life-cycle assessments and environmentally benign procurement and of facilitating market access for environmental goods and services in the ECE region.

ENCOURAGE the implementation of product stewardship from cradle to grave, the introduction of a corresponding producer’s responsibility and the internalization of external costs.

TAKE FORWARD existing efforts to improve the resource efficiency and reduce the environmental and health impacts of all forms of transportation by introducing policies that take into account the mode of transport and the possibilities for reducing the volume of transport; to these ends, promote a variety of actions, including better land-use planning, strengthening water, rail and public transport systems, tightening technical standards and applying environmental impact assessment and economic instruments, such as measures to encourage the further use of unleaded petrol, to reduce the lead content of petrol with the aim of phasing out lead in petrol, to reduce vehicle fuel consumption and the introduction of air-fuel taxation at an international level.

DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT codes of good agricultural practice on local, national and pan-European scales, to protect waters, soils and the environment in general, and invite ECE, in that regard, to develop appropriate best practice guidance.

STRENGTHEN measures to protect soil and draw up appropriate remediation strategies to control water shortages and desertification, in particular in eastern and southern Europe.

MINIMIZE to a harmless level discharges into transboundary waters from point and non-point sources likely to cause adverse transboundary impacts, and implement, in a transboundary context and by way of agreements between riparian parties, sustainable water management schemes established by joint bodies in consultation with water users within the framework of the agreements mentioned above.

SUPPORT the efforts made to integrate the conservation of biological and landscape diversity in all sectoral policies in the region.

PROMOTE the sustainable management and conservation of all kinds of forests, especially by supporting the ongoing international processes, such as the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests established by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development.

GENERAL ISSUES

The programme elements which were endorsed by the Lucerne Ministerial Conference emphasize a number of common cross-sectoral issues shared by all countries of the region. The long-term policy tools presented in this section build upon the Lucerne elements while taking into account the diversity of requirements in various parts of Europe - in particular the need for economic reconstruction and environmental restoration in countries in transition.

Information

Information on the environment assists in decision-making on policies and priorities, facilitates monitoring and enforcement of compliance with rules and ensures transparency. In this sense it constitutes a basis for environmental action by public policy makers, major groups, such as business and industry, trade unions, NGOs, and the public at large. Developing and increasing cooperation in environmental policy-making depends on better data and on their better availability. At present, many public and private actors bear various responsibilities for collecting, assessing and making available such data. The coordination and integration of their activities is an important objective. There is a need, in particular, for statistical offices and environmental agencies to coordinate environmental data collection and assessment, to ensure compatibility of data and reporting standards. Moreover, international and national actors in the field of the environment need better access to this information.

The following recommendations are made:

Promote the role and work of the European Environment Agency (EEA) and its network in the tasks of:

(a) Establishing and improving a pan-European network for data collection, analysis and dissemination with a view to improving data compatibility, and involving other international and national organizations which bear responsibilities in this field;

(b) Assist countries in transition with capacity building on environmental information issues.

Promote the participation of all European countries, particularly countries in transition, in the EEA's work in order to make comparable, harmonize and coordinate existing data collection and processing systems, as well as to provide the necessary information for the next pan-European state-of-the-environment reports.

Conduct work at appropriate levels (international, subregional, national, local) to fill information gaps, preferably on the basis of the gaps identified in "Europe’s Environment".

Develop new and strengthen existing regional environmental centres, to improve access to environmental information.

Welcome the continuation of national environmental performance reviews (EPR) undertaken by

the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and urge ECE to continue its efforts to establish such a system for the entire ECE region.

Public participation

As stated in principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, "environmental issues are best handled with the participation of all concerned citizens, at the relevant level". Public participation is important at all levels of environmental policy-making: setting objectives, selecting instruments, implementation and monitoring. However, in order to achieve sustainable development, public participation also requires the willingness of citizens and their ability to take responsibilities.

The following recommendation is made:

Apply the ECE Guidelines on Access to Environmental Information and Public Participation in Environmental Decision-making, respecting any limitations to their application which may arise if subnational approval is required in federal States, and invite ECE to review the implementation of these Guidelines in 1997.

Encourage practical steps to implement these Guidelines through, inter alia, training programmes undertaken by the Regional Environmental Center in Budapest.

Interdepartmental cooperation

 

Sustainable development and the process of economic reform require concern for the environment to be integrated into virtually all policy-making by government ministries and agencies. Environmental policy should be the concern of the entire Government. Environment ministries have a particular responsibility to ensure that this principle is put into practice. The level of integration needs to be assessed in national environmental performance reviews. Further, all levels of government need to set an example and reduce the adverse environmental impact of their own activities. Environmental assessment provides an effective means of integrating environmental considerations into all levels of decision-making by administrators.

The following recommendations are made:

Promote at the national level close coordination on environmental aspects when preparing major sectoral decisions by ensuring inter alia, the exchange of information between experts at various departments, with the Environment Ministry as a supporting and coordinating point.

Strengthen administrative procedures for interministerial consultation on policy-making and legislation affecting the environment, in particular by fully considering the impacts of legislative proposals and other policy recommendations on the environment and human health, and promote the principles of sustainable development and pollution prevention in government activities, and seek the full participation of all sectors of the community in moving towards sustainable development.

Encourage the application of environmental assessment to policies, plans and programme proposals.

Recognize the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Meeting on Military Activities and the Environment convened in Linköping (Sweden) in cooperation with ECE in 1995 as an important contribution to the dialogue between the military and environmental sectors, recognize and encourage the efforts made by the military sector in many countries to address environmental problems as well as those conducted or planned under the auspices of the North Atlantic Treaty Organizations’s Committee on the Challenges of Modern Society in which all countries are invited to participate, and invite other appropriate international organizations to consider promoting, at an appropriate time, a dialogue between the military sector and environmental ministries and organizations on the development of national environmental policies for the military sector.

Capacity building and major groups

Capacity building encompasses a country's human, scientific, technological, organizational, institutional and resource capabilities. Given the close correlation between capacity in this sense and economic competitiveness and prosperity, capacity building can be considered a goal that all European countries share, irrespective of their level of development, even though it is currently of particular relevance to countries in transition. The wider implementation of Agenda 21 and the development of new tools to further environmental policy require capacity building in all countries. They also require the active involvement of all major groups, including local authorities, environmental NGOs, women, youth, trade unions, farmers, business, industry and finance, in environmental management, policy-making and awareness raising.

The following recommendations are made:

Further promote and strengthen the capacity-building activities of, inter alia:

(a) International organizations like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), ECE, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Council of Europe;

(b) Bilateral and multilateral assistance programmes like PHARE and TACIS of the European Union (EU);

(c) The Task Force for the Implementation of the Environmental Action Programme for Central and Eastern Europe;

(d) The Regional Environmental Center in Budapest;

(e) Informal sector organizations, particularly environmental NGOs;

(f) The private sector.

Strengthen the capacity and responsibility of local and regional authorities for operational environmental management and cooperation in transboundary environmental matters, while ensuring the proper distribution of centrally managed funds and coordination with central authorities.

Promote environmental education systems, educational resources, new teaching techniques and new ways of integrating environmental education at all levels.

Strengthen environmental training and capacity-building centres for industry to assist the development of environmental management schemes, cleaner production and cleaner product programmes, and reporting on environmental performance.

Compliance and enforcement

Effective enforcement of environmental laws and regulations is important to protect the environment and avoid distortions in competition.

The following recommendations are made:

Give more attention to compliance monitoring and enforcement procedures for environmental legislation and promote an international exchange of experiences in this field, including on the cost-effectiveness of compliance and enforcement activities.

Encourage the ratification of and ensure compliance with international legal instruments in the field of the environment of relevance to the ECE region, in particular the recent ECE environmental conventions and protocols.

Encourage the continuation of the work already undertaken within ECE to formulate guidelines relating to the question of responsibility and liability regarding transboundary pollution.

Restructuring, privatization, employment and wider economic effects

The concept of sustainable development calls for the integration of environment and economic development in decision-making at the policy, planning and management level. This integration is in the interest of economic sectors and actors as their subsistence and future development depend on the availability and quality of environmental resources. Market mechanisms can assist this integration by promoting cleaner technologies, lower energy and natural resource consumption, and least-cost solutions. This approach offers opportunities for setting incentives to remove environmentally unsustainable activities insofar as the existing legal framework is not sufficient. Policy instruments, such as standards for best available technologies, environmental management and audit schemes, environmental taxes and charges, emissions licensing and tradable permits, as well as voluntary actions can encourage this process. In countries in transition, policy-making towards restructuring will remain far more complex since important problems related to privatization, finance and past environmental liabilities need to be solved.

The following recommendations are made:

Promote the integration of environmental considerations in all key sectors to stimulate the use of clean production methods, foster economic development and lower the intensity of the use of energy and natural resources, while creating employment.

Encourage the internalization of environmental costs in the prices of energy and raw materials, and ensure adequate access, in particular for the population, to the environmental resource base.

Support the development of international environmental technical and management standards, and foster the further introduction of environmental management in business and industry in cooperation with them, taking into consideration, inter alia, the EU eco-audit scheme and the respective activities of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Ensure that any law on privatization procedures includes the appropriate requirement for environmental aspects to be integrated into any privatization scheme, and encourage environmental audits as a key step in the privatization of industrial and manufacturing enterprises.

Ensure that lending and further assistance policies of Governments, the European Union and international financing institutions apply environmentally sound standards and requirements.

 

CLEANER PRODUCTION AND EFFICIENT USE OF ENERGY AND MATERIALS

Improved energy efficiency and renewable energy

On the basis of past experience with the implementation of the ECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, international cooperation will include the ratification and updating of existing protocols to this Convention. Existing thermal power plants will have to be refurbished and the energy sector restructured. These activities should lead to substantial reductions in SO2 emissions. NOx emissions will also cut, but they may increase again, depending on the development of energy consumption and the demand for transport. International experience suggests that further reductions in air pollution emissions can be expected particularly through the repowering and retrofitting of large industrial plants and power generating installations, as well as the application of environmentally sound technology and energy-efficiency measures.

In the long term, energy policy will increasingly focus on the development of technology programmes for improved energy efficiency and renewable energy, a less carbon-intensive energy structure, and improving and introducing economic instruments to allocate the full environmental and economic costs of energy use. In the countries in transition too, efforts towards sustainable economic development are expected to incorporate higher energy efficiency, including changes in consumer behaviour. In this context, market-based prices for energy will set appropriate incentives. The overriding aim is to ensure that all European countries reach a high level of energy efficiency by the year 2010.

On the issue of climate change, the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed at their first conference in Berlin on further action to implement and develop the Convention. In particular, they agreed in the "Berlin Mandate" on a process to strengthen the commitments of developed countries Parties and other Parties included in Annex I to the Convention by aiming, as the priority, to elaborate policies and measures, as well as to set quantified limitation and reduction objectives within specified time-frames, such as 2005, 2010 and 2020, for their anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol. The process will include in its early stages an analysis and assessment. The negotiations should be conducted as a matter of urgency with a view to adopting the results at the third conference of the Parties in 1997.

The following recommendations are made:

Promote further international cooperation in the development and innovation of cleaner energy technologies through, inter alia, activities implemented jointly, and encourage the dissemination of the results of relevant demonstration projects.

Limit and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and support efforts at the global level in that regard by promoting energy efficiency, energy conservation and the use of environmentally sound and renewable energy sources.

Prepare and adopt a European energy conservation strategy using integrated resource planning, to achieve a substantial overall reduction in primary energy use in Europe by the year 2010.

Promote the further development of energy efficiency demonstration zones, in particular, in cooperation with international financing institutions, especially the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Examine, in cooperation with energy companies, options for enabling energy service companies to operate both nationally and across borders.

Encourage the introduction of energy audits before granting any public funding or tax breaks.

Facilitate, in cooperation with business, the introduction of standard energy-use labels for products that use much energy, such as domestic appliances, domestic heating, cars, and large appliances.

Promote energy conservation, for instance, through insulation and the use of renewable energy and the increase in the share of renewable sources in the energy mix through the exchange of information, research and development efforts as well as the involvement of electric power utilities.

Fully implement existing national commitments under the Framework Convention on Climate Change and pursue the process of strengthening these commitments as agreed in the Decisions of the 1995 Berlin Conference of the Parties, using all appropriate means for that purpose such as:

(a) Economic instruments, including fiscal measures such as C02/energy taxation and elimination of disincentives to the efficient use of energy;

(b) The provision of more efficient thermal insulation for buildings;

(c) The promotion of the use of new and renewable sources of energy;

(d) The reduction in CO2 emissions from energy-intensive industrial sectors;

(e) The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector;

(f) The enhancement of carbon sinks in agriculture and forestry sectors;

(g) The reduction in methane emissions through, for example, improved management of municipal landfills.

Support the implementation of the Berlin Mandate with a view to having a protocol or another legal instrument adopted at the third conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1997, aimed at elaborating both policies and measures, as well as setting quantified limitation and reduction objectives within specified time-frames for the anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases not controlled by the Montreal Protocol.

Environmentally sound technology

Environmentally sound technologies are a key element for the protection of the environment, as they are less polluting, use resources in a more sustainable manner and recycle more of their by-products, residues and waste than the technologies they replace. The integration of environmental protection into the industrial production cycle aims at preventing pollution and innovating clean technical production processes which open up strategic opportunities to industry.

The following recommendations are made:

Integrate the clean production objective into industrial policies through appropriate legislative or other measures, and further the exchange of experience on voluntary agreements, the implementation of environmental quality targets in industrial technology and the setting of product standards.

Promote integrated pollution prevention and control in permitting and monitoring the environmental performance of industrial plants, as well as preventive, preparedness and response measures according to the provisions of the 1992 Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents.

Develop programmes to promote environmentally sound production methods and products in specific industrial sectors.

Encourage the implementation of product stewardship from cradle to grave, the introduction of a corresponding producer’s responsibility and the internalization of external costs.

Waste management

Many human activities produce growing quantities of increasingly noxious waste. This waste is returned to the environment in a degraded form, potentially threatening environmental and health conditions. With respect to the movement of waste for disposal, the implementation of the principles of self-sufficiency and proximity and therefore the establishment of an integrated and adequate network of disposal installations are of the utmost importance.

The following recommendations are made:

Develop information systems on the sources, definitions and categories of waste, and on the composition and management of waste streams in order to promote waste prevention and set up and implement waste prevention and minimization and waste recovery and recycling schemes.

Further develop the concept of producer responsibility as a means to bridge the gap between the production of goods and the management of consumption wastes, inter alia, with regard to waste minimization.

Ensure the development and the adoption of national waste management plans aimed at:

(a) Decreasing the consumption of raw materials and natural resources including energy in order to reduce, in particular, the quantity of wastes at the end of the production chain;

(b) Intensifying and promoting recovery, re-use and recycling of waste and promoting, in particular, material recycling, composting and energy recovery;

(c) Adopting the principle of proximity of the waste treatment and applying the principles of waste stream management;

(d) Ensuring the safe and environmentally sound management of waste the generation of which cannot be avoided.

Ensure the enforcement of the provisions of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal and work towards the implementation of the decisions adopted by the Conference of its Parties by all Parties by undertaking joint efforts in capacity building, monitoring transboundary movements of hazardous wastes and other wastes, and strengthening cooperation among countries to prevent illegal transboundary movements of hazardous wastes.

SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION PATTERNS

Sustainable consumption means meeting the needs and aspirations of current and future generations within the limits of the Earth's carrying capacity; it thus addresses the quantity, quality and distribution of consumption. The effectiveness of demand-side action to reduce the life-cycle environmental damage of consuming goods and services from dispersed sources should be emphasized as a way of complementing the traditional supply-side measures to curb industrial pollution. However, it is the fundamental responsibility of Governments to set the framework of incentives, infrastructure, regulation and leadership which enable other actors such as business, trade unions, NGOs and households to meet their own responsibilities.

The following priority recommendation is made:

Invite interested Governments, in cooperation with ECE and other relevant international organizations/institutions, business and industry, environmental and consumer organizations, (to build on the results of the 1995 Oslo Ministerial Roundtable and the decisions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development on sustainable production and consumption) to identify ways and means of carrying out life-cycle assessments and environmentally benign procurement and of facilitating market access for environmental goods and services in the ECE region, by focusing initially (1996-1997) on pilot projects.

Market-based instruments

Integrating environmental considerations into sectoral policies requires proper pricing of environmental resources and internalization of environmental costs. Market-based instruments cannot, however, entirely replace direct regulations and administrative interventions in environmental policy. They have to be linked to and supplement clearly defined standards on emissions and environmental quality insofar as the existing legal framework is not sufficient. Guidelines for the use of market-based instruments for environmental policies have been developed since 1991 by OECD, subsequently recommended by ECE for use in countries in transition, and recently reviewed by OECD and ECE and at a workshop under the auspices of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development.

The following recommendations are made:

Promote the wider use of market-based instruments and phase out market disturbing subsidies with negative environmental implications so as to complement administrative regulations and any voluntary arrangements, where appropriate, and to provide an incentive for industry and consumers to behave in an environmentally sound way and take into account environmental costs, and for industry, in addition, to meet or exceed existing standards, in a cost-effective manner, and to accelerate technical progress.

Report periodically at pan-European level on the comparison and the harmonization of national environmental and resource use charges and taxes through a joint OECD/ECE endeavour.

Eco-labelling

In some countries eco-labelling initiatives have been taken by the private sector to advertise particular product brands or types of product using criteria which do not guarantee the objectivity of the label and its attribution. This proliferation of various eco-labelling programmes can mislead the consumer and result in a loss of credibility for the entire eco-labelling concept.

In order to promote eco-labelling as an instrument towards sustainable consumption patterns, the following recommendations are made:

Create international (voluntary) standards for environmental labelling terms, definitions and methodologies, preferably in cooperation with international standard-setting bodies.

Develop and update product categories and stringent criteria for awarding an eco-label to improve comparability and reproducibility at the European and global levels. Test criteria should cover the entire life cycle of a product or a product group.

Promote the use of eco-labelling systems as part of national strategies to influence the overall pattern of demand for goods and services by introducing environmental criteria and goals into procurement policies, the provision of services and administration.

Environmentally friendly transport

The transport sector is currently a major contributor to air pollution, energy consumption, land-use encroachments and other environmental problems in Europe. Current remedial and preventive policies for this sector have focused on technological improvements, while measures designed to affect end-use are not applied at the same level in all countries. Growth in road and air transport is offsetting environmental benefits achieved through efficiency improvements. Countries in transition need special consideration. With substantial development taking place in those countries, the opportunities should be taken to develop land-use patterns that reduce the need to travel and encourage the use of environmentally friendly means of transport.

The following recommendations are made:

Ensure that environment ministries and environmental NGOs play an active role in the preparations for the 1996 Regional Conference on Transport and the Environment and in its follow-up.

Promote at the national and international levels:

(a) The taking into account of the possibilities for reducing the volume of transport in transport and traffic policies and land-use planning at all levels, especially where it relates to new developments;

(b) The reduction of environmentally harmful forms of transportation, for example, by strengthening water, rail and public transport systems, while improving at the same time their efficiency and performance, and locally promoting cycling and walking;

(c) The tightening of technical standards together with the application of economic instruments to reduce emissions of air pollutants and noise by motor vehicles, to improve fuel efficiency and fuel quality, to reduce vehicle fuel consumption and to encourage the further use of unleaded petrol and to reduce the lead content of petrol with the aim of phasing out lead in petrol, so as to decrease the impact on health and the environment;

(d) The development of pilot projects that encourage the application of clear criteria for air quality, noise and emission levels, energy use and accessibility in urban transport systems and transport systems for goods;

(e) The minimization of the environmental damage caused by any change in the organization of the transport sector, and the application for that purpose, in particular, of environmental impact assessment of proposed transport infrastructure projects and programmes; priority should be given to investments in infrastructure for environmentally sound forms of transportation;

(f) The application of economic instruments, such as road pricing and environmental charges for car parking and air-fuel taxation at an international level, in order to make transport users pay the full costs of infrastructure construction and maintenance, as well as environmental and health externalities;

(e) The review of existing transport plans in the light of new potential telecommunication technologies;

(h) The accession to the conventions and codes of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to prevent pollution by vessels and ensuring greater port State controls in this respect, as well as appropriate training of the personnel engaged in the maritime sector to raise awareness in environmental protection and related issues.

Recreational activities

Recreation and leisure are an important ingredient of the quality of life, particularly at the local level. Recreation and tourism have an environmental impact at global, regional and local levels. In particular, sensitive areas such as national parks and protected areas, mountain areas and coastal zones, suffer from temporary influxes of tourists. Car-free tourist resorts should be promoted together with innovative travel incentives to and from tourist centres.

The following recommendations are made:

Further develop methods and procedures for putting the concept of environmentally sound tourism into practice, including guidelines for their implementation in other policy sectors and the design, construction and management of tourist facilities taking into account relevant guidelines and recommendations developed by UNEP, OECD and the Council of Europe.

Introduce or reinforce the use of economic instruments, wherever appropriate, to protect sensitive areas in combination, inter alia, with the development of environmentally sound forms of transportation.

Make active use of land-use planning regulations and incentives to secure opportunities for environmentally sound tourism including eco-tourism and local recreation, taking into account sound environmental practices.

Develop and install environmentally sound technologies in leisure infrastructure (e.g. solar energy in remote hotels and lodges, combined heat and power in hotels and recreation centres); and promote the application of strict environmental standards for the quality of air, water and waste management in tourist centres.

 

Urban stress including human health aspects

Nearly two-thirds of Europe’s citizens live in urban areas. Europe’s cities constitute an important economic factor, but they also exert increasing pressure on human health and the environment. Agenda 21 acknowledged the crucial role of cities and local authorities for the achievement of sustainable development. The implementation of Agenda 21 in Europe’s cities requires new policy concepts and programmes. Improving environmental monitoring at the urban scale will be essential to assess the changes in environmental quality of urban centres and of the effects of policies and programmes.

The following recommendations are made:

Establish and expand networks that provide policy makers at all levels with information necessary to estimate the impact of urban activities on human health and the natural environment.

Encourage the necessary changes in consumption patterns and individual lifestyles through awareness raising, technical regulations and economic incentives.

Strengthen governmental authorities, in particular municipal authorities, and adopt appropriate administrative structures to facilitate the application of an integrated approach to the prevention and control of adverse impacts on the environment and human health, in the planning, building and management of urban areas.

Ensure that countries and all relevant organizations as well as NGOs play an active role both in the preparation of and in the follow-up to the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II).

SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Soil protection

Soil degradation, in particular soil erosion, is a major environmental problem in many countries of the region, as it can lead to irreversible damage. Contaminated soil has a major impact on the quality of groundwater. Processes relating to industrial and agricultural activities, transport and urbanization contribute substantially to the chemical contamination of soil through the accumulation of waste and pollutants and through acidification by airborne and waterborne pollutants. Desertification and water shortages are a serious environmental problem affecting the most fragile areas. It is affecting the Mediterranean region and some countries in transition. At present, data on recent trends in desertification and on the factors and processes involved are poor. More research on climate change in connection with desertification is needed.

The following recommendations are made:

Review national environmental legislation and legislation concerning agriculture, forestry and other sectors, as appropriate, to ensure the sustainable use and protection of soils.

Put more emphasis on preventive and protective strategies, supplementing them with remedial and reactive strategies, where necessary, to ensure the protection of the natural characteristics and functions of soils.

Identify contaminated sites, including sites contaminated by military activity, assess their threat to health and the environment and develop measures to reduce the risks considered unacceptable.

Intensify work on the investigation and understanding of the effects of desertification and design appropriate remediation strategies, such as water management and reforestation, in particular in eastern and southern Europe.

Review agricultural policies and subsidies and develop national and local programmes and plans to protect soil, in particular, from erosion, the unsustainable use of chemicals and irrigation by polluted waters, and to restore soil fertility.

Encourage Parties to the Convention on Desertification to fulfil their commitments under the Convention as soon as possible.

Integrated and sustainable water management, in particular in transboundary waters

The aquatic environment provides a basic resource for all kinds of ecosystems and human activities. Therefore, the sustainable use of such a vital resource is paramount. There is a need to prevent, control and reduce the pollution of waters, including transboundary waters, to ensure that water resources are used with the aim of ensuring integrated and sustainable management, in a reasonable and equitable way, as well as of protecting or restoring aquatic ecosystems at the local, national and transboundary levels. Water-quality objectives are an important supplementary instrument to prevent, control and reduce water pollution. The whole catchment area has to be considered the natural unit for water management. As most problems related to transboundary waters are common problems of water management at all levels, cooperation on the protection and use of transboundary waters, including the fair distribution of water resources, would also help to improve the management of internal waters.

The following recommendations are made:

Promote water demand management, including the use of differentiated charge rates in accordance with the polluter-pays principle or the beneficiary/user-pays principle, and water-conservation measures.

Minimize to harmless levels discharges into transboundary waters from point and non-point sources likely to cause adverse transboundary impacts.

Set up compatible information systems that provide reliable data on the quality and quantity of surface waters and groundwaters as well as on consumption patterns.

Implement in a transboundary context and by way of agreements between riparian parties, sustainable water management schemes established by joint bodies in consultation with water users within the framework of the agreements mentioned above including the restoration of transboundary aquatic ecosystems and transboundary watercourses.

Establish programmes for assessing quality and quantity in transboundary waters, and develop appropriate programmes for improving their quality, including the monitoring of pollution from point and diffuse sources and of the effectiveness of measures taken.

Integrated coastal zone management and the protection of the marine environment

Coastal management acquires a special priority for Europe as it experiences significant pressures for development. Europe has a coastline of 143,000 km with a great number of islands known for their particular and sensitive environment. Specific environmental threats to coastal zones relate to sea level rise, changes in hydrological cycles of major rivers, pollution including contamination through waste dumping, loss of habitats and erosion. The main challenge for the future consists in developing and implementing regional seas programmes. An integrated approach to monitoring and managing marine areas and coastal zones could help to overcome the difficulties which arise from the different uses of seas and coastal zones. It would also bring together national and local bodies with legislative and regulatory responsibilities for specific tasks in marine and coastal zone management. The main target should be to identify specific goals for sustainability in strategic planning and to design instruments for achieving these goals.

The following recommendations are made:

Improve international cooperation, including cooperation between joint bodies established by the respective coastal States, on the collection and assessment of information on the quality of Europe’s seas in order to establish a pan-European marine water quality database and unified reporting schemes.

Design criteria for determining priorities for action, taking into account environmental aspects and the economic value of marine areas and coastal zones, including the terrestrial parts of coastal zones.

Introduce measures and institutional arrangements promoting the integration of environmental, social and economic concerns in coastal management and improve the collection of data and their use for the assessment of the quality of coastal zones.

Strengthen measures to protect the marine environment, in particular by reducing discharges to the seas from land-based sources, taking into account the entire hydrological network of the European continent and its coastal waters.

Strengthen existing international cooperation to improve the environmental quality of coastal zones, in particular coastal zones of high ecological value, and review and revise existing policies and programmes in terms of their impact on coastal resources.

Spatial development

The richness and diversity of rural and urban landscapes in Europe is a distinctive feature of the continent. Spatial development aimed at promoting economic and social cohesion, as well as sustainable development, will benefit from a pan-European approach. Spatial planning has to rely on the principles of subsidiarity, participation and transparency.

The following recommendations are made:

Promote regular reporting and exchange of information on relevant legal and other arrangements at local and subregional levels on the application of land-use planning as a tool for sustainable development and management of physical areas.

Enter into partnerships with stakeholders to produce local plans and action strategies for sustainable development.

Support the work of national and international environmental NGOs which address the issue of conservation of nature and landscapes.

Promote pan-European cooperation among landscape planning administrations and experts on establishing networks of conservation areas by identifying and linking up core areas, buffer zones, corridors, rehabilitation areas and considering forest conversation aspects.

BIOLOGICAL AND LANDSCAPE DIVERISTY

Europe's ecosystems comprise a wide diversity of habitats with rich flora and fauna. In spite of many important initiatives, biological and landscape diversity has declined rapidly over the past decades. Intensified exploitation of the natural resources, mainly in the rural sector, is the major cause of deterioration, followed by urban expansion and the development of infrastructure and transport. While protected areas are important, more is needed to conserve the biological and landscape diversity which is affected mainly by the increasing development of human activities. Special attention also needs to be given to the highly sensitive Arictic ecosystems. Recent political and social developments in Europe offer a number of unique opportunities to conserve biological and landscape diversity, in particular by taking it into consideration in all relevant policies, pursuant to the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The following recommendations are made:

Implement the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy prepared under the auspices of the Council of Europe, and ensure its integration with other policy actions put forward in the Environmental Programme for Europe.

Support the application of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) report "Biological and Landscape Diversity in Central and Eastern Europe: Best Practices for Conservation Planning in Rural Areas."

Ensure that adequate measures are taken to safeguard biodiversity, whenever areas important to national and international biodiversity are privatized, and encourage the involvement of nature conservation organizations in its management.

Encourage an adequate contribution from national, bilateral and multilateral funds to actively promote the conservation of biological and landscape diversity, and develop and apply innovative financing mechanisms for this purpose.

Promote awareness and involvement of the public in the conservation of biological and landscape diversity.

Support the efforts for the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity and other relevant legally-binding instruments in the region.

Ensure that the Arctic Environment Protection Strategy is fully implemented to prevent the further deterioration of the specially vulnerable biodiversity of the circumpolar area of Europe.

SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE, FORESTRY AND FISHERIES

Sustainable agricultural policy

During the last 40 years, the mainstream of agricultural policies focused on increasing agricultural production while artificially restraining product prices. These policies were mainly based on specialization and intensified technological input and led to environmental problems. The growing awareness of the potential dangers to human health and the environment caused by agricultural activities all over Europe has motivated policy makers to begin to integrate environmental issues into agricultural policies. This integration has to be promoted and further steps have to be taken towards sustainable agriculture.

The following recommendations are made:

Develop guidance mechanisms including economic instruments, standards and labelling, accompanied by information and public awareness campaigns, to encourage extensive/low input farming and/or organic production, and environmentally senistive farming.

Develop and implement codes of good agricultural practice on local, national and pan-European scales, to protect waters, soils and the environment in general, and invite ECE, in that regard, to develop appropriate best practice guidance.

Establish registration procedures for pesticides and, where appropriate, complementary measures to minimize the use of pesticides and/or replacing the most dangerous ones by safer alternatives and switching to integrated pest management systems.

Sustainable forestry

Because of the diversity of their uses, forests play an important part in the economy and environment of most European countries. Amongst the most important aspects of forest degradation in some parts of Europe are non-sustainable management practices, air pollution and forest fires. Air pollution, including acid precipitation, thought to exceed the critical levels and loads for forest ecosystems, represents a serious threat to the sustainability of forest resources in central and eastern Europe and, as regards acidification, northern Europe. Forest fires are a major concern in southern Europe. Developing a concept to further improve sustainable forest management is one of the fields of action in the follow-up process to the Rio Conference and the 1993 Helsinki Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe. The non-wood functions of European forests, such as nature conservation, biodiversity, groundwater generation, erosion control, protection function and recreation, are increasingly regarded as being essential aspects of sustainability.

The following recommendations are made:

Strengthen efforts to reduce the impact of air pollution on forest ecosystems.

Improve the information base and encourage the exchange of experience on sustainable forest management, including forest fire prevention and control, and prepare actions with due emphasis on the social and ecological aspects of forests.

Gather information and develop codes of practice for multi-use forestry together with national and regional forest-use plans that incorporate activities such as soil and water protection, nature conservation, recreation and heritage protection.

Conserve the biodiversity of forests by, inter alia, preserving, to the extent possible, the present level of natural and semi-natural forest areas, encouraging the participation of wood producers in the preservation of such areas and integrating conservation and sustainable development concerns into the economic apsects of forest management.

Promote the sustainable management and conservation of all kinds of forest, and support the ongoing pan-European initiatives for the follow-up to the 1993 Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe.

Support the examination of the issues for priority action and of the programme of work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests established by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, especially by:

(a) Strengthening the efforts to further the national implementation of the Forest Principles through appropriate arrangements and mechanisms covering all types of forests, including through legal instruments;

(b) Strengthening the efforts to develop criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management and applying these criteria;

(c) Examine the relationship between trade and sustainable forest management and in this context study in the appropriate forums the importance of market-based instruments to promote sustainable forest management.

Examine the issue of voluntary certification and labelling of forest products to contribute to a better understanding of the role of voluntary certification with regard to the sustainable management of forests.

Sustainable fisheries

Fisheries are a very sensitive subject in many European countries because of the varying shares of their contribution to national income and the overexploitation of stocks. Fisheries policy concepts focusing on the maintenance of populations of target species above a level which is consistent with sustainable fishing take care of the environment to a certain extent. Given the present overexploitation, changes in fisheries policy concepts will become necessary. These changes might include a switch from fixing quotas to controlling fishing activities, restricting the number of boats allowed into certain areas, preferably through licensing or the payment of user fees, regulating the time spent at sea, reducing the nets per boat, temporary closures or restrictions for certain shellfish and fishery areas. In addition, fisheries policy will have to face new issues, such as the effects of emissions from aquaculture on marine and freshwater ecosystems, maintenance of biodiversity, the impact of climate change on inland and coastal habitats and the increasing awareness of consumers about the intrinsic quality of fisheries products.

The following recommendations are made:

Consider the signing and ratification of the Agreement for the Implementation of the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the conservation and management of straddling fish stocks and highly migratory fish stocks.

Support the work of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) on the code of conduct for responsible fisheries.

Improve international cooperation within the framework of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) in the collection and assessment of data on fisheries through better reporting to regional fisheries bodies.

Promote cooperation between coastal States in sea basins to improve fisheries policies through joint agreements on codes of conduct or codes of practice for sustainable fisheries.