The Fourth Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe" took place in Aarhus (Denmark) from 23 to 25 June 1998. Fifty-two ECE member States were represented. The Ministers and Heads of Delegation adopted the Ministerial Declaration (En, Fr, Ru). A summary of the Conference is provided in the Report of the Conference (En, Fr, Ru).
"Europe's Environment: The Second Assessment" identifying the main areas of achievement and concern inthe state of the European environment set the scene for the Conference. Based on its findings, the Ministers decided to strengthen support within the "Environment for Europe" process for the newly independent States and those countries of central and eastern Europe that were not part of the European Union's accession process.
The Ministerial Conference adopted the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters. It was signed by representatives of thirty-five countries and the European Community. The Ministers also adopted the Resolution on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters.
An independent NGO session on "Strengthening Participatory Democracy for Sustainable Development" took place within the framework of the Conference. Two new Protocols to the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, on Heavy Metals and on Persistent Organic Pollutants, were adopted andsigned by 33 countries and the European Community.
The Ministers also adopted the Ministerial Declaration on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution.
The Declaration on Persistent Organic Pollutants was endorsed by representatives of 18 countries and the European Community.
The Ministers endorsed the Pan-European Strategy to Phase Out Leaded Petrol. In addition, 32 countries signed the Declaration on the Phase-out of Added Lead in Petrol. The Ministers endorsed the Resolution on Biological and Landscape Diversity and agreed to strengthen the process of integrating biodiversity and landscape conservation objectives into sectoral policies. Environmental financing was considered to be one of the most significant challenges remaining.
The Ministers agreed to facilitate and support the implementation of effective environmental management in enterprises, and confirmed their willingness to establish a dialogue with the business community on a more permanent footing. The Ministers also endorsed the Policy Statement on Energy Efficiency and welcomed the Guidelines on Energy Conservation in Europe.
The Ministers decided that the "Environment for Europe" process should continue with the same institutional arrangements and that the next ministerial conference would take place in 2002, preferably in a newly independent State. They agreed that the decision on the host country would be taken by the end of 1998. The Ministerial Declaration (En, Fr, Ru)