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"ENVIRONMENT FOR EUROPE" PROCESS

EPE contains a series of recommendations to improve energy efficiency and renewable energy use in the region. For instance, it calls for action to ensure that all European countries reach a high level of energy efficiency by the year 2010.

A group of governmentally designated experts with both environmental and energy expertise under the leadership of Denmark, was established jointly by the ECE Committees on Environmental Policy and on Sustainable Energy to prepare guidelines and supporting documentation on energy conservation in Europe.

Work on the energy conservation initiative, in which the Energy Charter Secretariat , the International Energy Agency  and other international organizations actively participated, led to the preparation of recommendations to Governments. The Aarhus Conference endorsed the Policy Statement on Energy Efficiency (English, Russian, Français) and welcomed the Guidelines on Energy Conservation in Europe (English, Russian, Français) submitted by the ECE Committee on Environmental Policy.

The Committee on Environmental Policy, at its sixth session in September 1999, decided on the reporting procedure on the implementation of energy-related decisions of the Aarhus Conference. At its session in 2001 the Committee considered a progress report (English, Russian, Français)

The ECE Committee on Environmental Policy, at its session in September 2000, welcomed the report and recommendations of the ECE/OECD Workshop on Enhancing the Environment by Reforming Energy Prices, held in Pruhonice near Prague from 14 to 16 June 2000, and invited the ECE Committee on Sustainable Energy to consider establishing, together with the Committee on Environmental Policy, a cooperative mechanism such as a joint task force on environment and energy, to develop non-legally binding guidelines for decision-makers on reforming energy prices to promote sustainable development, on the basis of the Workshop's results and on existing work carried out by other fora and in cooperation with OECD, IEA, the Energy Charter Secretariat, the European Commission and relevant NGOs.


At their annual sessions in 2001, both Committees considered a discussion paper defining the objectives and activities related to this initiative (English, Russian, Français). They decided to establish a Task Force on Environment and Energy for the period 2002-2005 with a mandate to develop non-legally binding guidelines for decision-makers on reforming energy prices to support sustainable energy development. The guidelines should help, inter alia, in preventing and reducing waste of energy and energy-related environmental impact.

As a first step, the joint Task Force will focus on parts I and II of the guidelines, namely, on (a) raising energy prices to economic levels in countries in transition, and (b) reforming energy (consumption) subsidies throughout Europe.
The task force, at its meeting on 19 November 2002, will use elements on parts I and II to prepare draft guidelines. The results will be reported to the Committee on Sustainable Energy at its twelfth session on 20 November 2002. Guidelines, to be finalized in the light of these discussions, will be submitted to the Bureaux of both Committees and, thereafter, to the Committee on Environmental Policy in February 2003 for consideration and possible transmission, through the Working Group of Senior Officials, to the Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe" in Kiev, for endorsement.

For further information: mikhail.kokine@unece.org