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", prepared by the European Environment Agency for the 1995 Sofia Conference, provided a foundation for the Environmental Programme for Europe.
The Third Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe" (1995, Sofia) endorsed the Programme prepared within the UN/ECE. The Programme is the first attempt to set long-term environmental priorities at the pan-European level and to make Agenda 21 more operational in the European context, particularly its provision relating to the integration of environmental policy with other policies. It serves 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 covers a broad range of issues and contains some 100 recommendations; it also contains provisions allowing it to be updated, further developed and expanded in the light of the experience gained with its implementation. The Programme (English, Русский, Français) was accompanied by a background document (English, Русский, Français).
The Sofia Conference invited the ECE Committee on Environmental Policy to screen the Programme in order to make proposals for concrete priority actions. The Ministers invited ECE, furthermore, to assess its implementation and report on progress at the fourth Conference, which took place in Aarhus, Denmark in 1998. The Ministers at Aarhus considered the progress made in the Programme implementation and invited the ECE Committee on Environmental Policy to continue to screen the programme, taking into account the report " Europe's Environment: The Second Assessment", in order to implement priority actions on a pan-European level within the long-term programme of work and to report on progress of this work at the next Ministerial Conference (Kiev, 2002).