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Sixth Ministerial Conference "Environment For Europe"

10 - 12 October 2007

Belgrade, Serbia

The Sixth Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe" took place in Belgrade (Serbia) from 10 to 12 October 2007. Ministers and high-level officials from 51 UNECE member States and the European Commission, international organisations, NGOs and other stakeholders discussed progress achieved in the implementation of environmental policies since the Kiev Conference in 2003, capacity building and partnerships as well as the future of the "Environment for Europe" process.

The Ministerial Declaration (En, Fr, Ru) adopted by acclamation underlined that "the EfE process is a valuable response to the common intention of the UNECE member States to improve the environment throughout the region, contributing to sustainable development which may in turn contribute to poverty eradication, to improving the quality of life and to a safer world."

Ministers and Heads of delegation committed to intensify efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and to put in effect the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).

A number of reports such as on the implementation of UNECE multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), on Critical issues in implementation of environmental policies highlighted by the UNECE EPR programme, and on Policies for a better environment: progress in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia were presented at the Conference.

Various initiatives including the Belgrade Initiative on regional cooperation of interested South-Eastern European countries in the field of climate change, the Central Asian initiative on Sustainable Development, initiative on Strategic Environmental Assessment, and the Guiding principles of effective environmental permitting systems were noted with interest by the Confenrece.

Ministers and Heads of delegation UNECE member States and of the European Commission endorsed and called for the adoption and full implementation of the UNECE Recommendations on environmental indicators and indicator-based assessments, and the Guidelines for enterprise monitoring for countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. They noted with appreciation the First assessment of transboundary rivers, lakes and groundwaters in the UNECE region and invited the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention to prepare the second assessment of transboundary waters.

Two special sessions: a joint session of environment and education ministers from member States that adopted the UNECE Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development in Vilnius (March 2005), and other interested member States; and a roundtable of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and ministers from interested member States of the Council of Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy (PEBLDS) and the European ECO-Forum were held.

A milestone decision was taken to reform the EfE process in order to ensure that a future EfE process remains appropriate for, and fully aligned with, the needs of the UNECE region and the evolving political and economic landscape as well as the environmental priorities of the region.

The Conference concluded with the circulation of the Chair’s Summary (En, Fr, Ru), reflecting results of the discussions of the Ministers.

Further information on the Belgrade Conference, including a full list of documents (En, Fr, Ru), may be found here.