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ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AUSTRIA

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INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is responsible for development cooperation with developing countries and the Federal Chancellery is responsible for development cooperation with countries in transition. Dialogue among all relevant institutions (in the field of the environment, consumer protection, business and agriculture) is an integral part of the decision-making processes in Austria.

Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Federal Ministry of Finance.  Advisory Board of Development Cooperation advising the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, H.E. Benita FERRERO-WALDNER, Coordination Commission on Development Cooperation. With  regard to the new global partnerships in development cooperation (DAC 21st Strategy) decentralization plays an important role in development cooperation.  

Regional offices: In order to promote decentralization, the management of programmes and projects is more and more often transferred to the partner countries, where the necessary structures are established on the spot, in the form of regional offices.  Coordination offices of the Austrian Development Cooperation have been established in Addis Ababa/Ethiopia, Kampala/Uganda, Ouagadougou/Burkina Faso, Praia/Cape Verde, Beira/Mozambique, Managua/Nicaragua, Thimphu/Bhutan and Rám Alláh/Palestine. In addition there are three liaison offices in Dakar/Senegal, Maputo/Mozambique and Bujumbura/Burundi.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Austrian Law on Development Cooperation.  Membership in the European Union

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In line with the partnership principles of the DAC 21st Century Strategy the Austrian Development Cooperation has supported so far development processes in its partner countries of development cooperation which are based on the principles of respect for human rights, promotion of democratic structures and good governance, gender equality and environmental protection. All projects and programmes shall be designed in concert with the persons concerned, who are to be considered as partners. Partnership and ownership are of utmost importance.  From this perspective environmental protection means primarily the promotion of sustainable use of natural resources, the support of measures preventing degradation of resources and the securement of natural resources.

Austria fully supports the in-country dialogues on national strategies for sustainable development (nssds), it takes part in all coordinating events on priority and cooperation countries (round tables, consultative group meetings). It strives for political dialogue at least once a year with its development cooperation partners.  At the latest Austrian DAC Aid Review in November 1999 it was stated that the share of the budget spent for projects and programmes of the Directorate of Development Cooperation in the Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs which pursue environmental protection as their main objective has considerably increased over the last two years (The DAC Journal International Development 2000, Volume1, No.2, see page 28). Furthermore, all new project proposals are screened for their environmental and socio-economic sustainability. In addition, on-going projects that started before the requirement of environmental assessments became official must undergo an ex post evaluation of their environmental sustainability. The environmental impact assessment is based on DAC´s Environmental Guidelines and the environmental policy marker system.

Multilateral cooperation and agreements related to sustainable development Austria is a Contracting Party of the three Rio Conventions (Framework Convention on Climate Change, Convention to Combat Desertification and Convention on Biological Diversity) and supports the implementation of its principles within the framework of development cooperation. Furthermore, Austria’s partner countries of development cooperation are Contracting Parties of the so called Rio Conventions.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

Projects and Programmes of the Austrian Development Cooperation are executed by non-governments and firms.

Programmes and Projects   

In 1997 the Austrian Parliament authorized the Federal Minister of Finance together with the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs to cancel official debt in the amount of approximately 1,7 billion Austrian Schilling in favor of the poorest and most highly indebted developing countries. Up to the end of the year 1999 an amount of 1,17 billion Austrian Schilling has been released and the following countries have been taken into consideration: Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.  From 1993 to 1996 the Austrian Development Cooperation implemented the Rain Forest Initiative Programme. At present there are no specific environmental programmes but there are programme lines in various partner countries and regions, spread over various budget lines:

 1)  Securement of sustainable use of tropical rainwoods in North Western Amazonas (Brazil, Columbia); further projects pursue the strengthening („empowerment“) of local indigenous societies; measures to built up institutional capacities, to improve health services and educational institutions and for sustainable use of natural resources (especially non forest wood products).

 2)  The programmes in West Africa and in the Himalayas/Hindukush region focus on the fight against increasing degradation and rehabilitation of soil and vegetation. The promotion concentrates on rural development programmes.

 3)  Measures to develop sustainable use of resources and improvement of living conditions in buffer zones which are situated near precious ecological-systems, reserves or parks build a second focus within the bilateral cooperation programme. Currently, the geographical focus is in Ethiopia (Simien Mountain National Park) and in Central America (Nicaragua, Guatemala).

 In all projects - also those which promote the private sector - Austria follows a participatory approach, which ensures that all project elements -also the elements which ensure sustainability - are taken on by the local project partners. The creation of local ownership will lead to the continuous application of behavior which fosters sustainable development. Furthermore, each project has to undergo an environmental check before it can be financed by the Austrian Development Cooperation, in order to ensure environmental sustainability.

 The Austrian Development Cooperation partly finances projects of Austrian investors who plan to invest in joint ventures with local companies from developing countries (project name: Wirtschaftspartnerschaften). In order to be eligible for this support, strict criteria relating to macro-economical (job creation) and environmentally sustainable behavior must be met.  Project example: The National Cleaner Production Center Nicaragua - financed by Austria.  In 1994 UNIDO in Vienna, together with UNEP, set up the National Cleaner Productions Center Programme. The objective of this programme is the promotion of cleaner production processes in the industry of developing countries and countries with economies in transition. To date eighteen such centers have been established - four of which have been financed by the Austrian Development Co-operation (i. e. Nicaragua, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic). The establishment of this Programme has been a core element of UNIDO´s reform process which had been initiated in 1997. Furthermore it is one of the fields of the newly reformed organization where UNIDO implements its comparative advantage through the transformation of know how and expertise.  

The Nicaraguan Cleaner Production Center (NCPC) in Managua, financed by Austria, gives an excellent example of the successful new strategy of UNIDO; i. e. the focus on the development of cleaner and sustainable industrial development. The Center has been established in  May 1998 and operates with the technical support of an Austrian associate expert and the fruitful co-operation with the Austrian consulting company STENUM. The establishment and initial operational phase of the center  has been entirely financed by Austrian (approximately 9 Mio. ATS including personal costs). Eventually the Center will become financially self sustainable.   In this first phase of the project the challenge has been to introduce the cleaner production concept to the country’s industry as an issue of relevance, importance and success, while at the same time laying the basis for the Center’s long-term financial sustainability. The strategy adopted was to implement pilot projects and training courses that gave visibly successful results. The Nicaraguan industry became interested  in the services of the NCPC and was ready to pay for them. 

First results clearly show the successful implementation in 20 Nicaraguan companies of different sizes and sectors (both manufacturing and service sectors). A significant effort has been made to adapt UNIDO´s cleaner production concept to the needs of the local small and micro enterprises. Examples are the more efficient use of raw materials & energy, substantial reduction of waste streams and emissions, replacement of toxic substances through less harmful alternatives, enhanced consciousness in handling of toxic substances, improvement of health and safety conditions in the workplaces. Due to these first year’s visible successes NCPC was able to offer a variety of services on a commercial basis to client companies, mainly in-plant cleaner production assessments and assistance with implementation of the cleaner production options evaluated, as well as training courses tailored to the needs of the NCPC´s target group. While assessments and training were initially offered at below-market prices they are increasingly being sold at Nicaraguan market prices.

One of the next steps will be the strengthening of the policy dialogue between client companies, the NCPC and national authorities in order to disseminate the know-how on environmental benefits through Cleaner Production on a broader scale. Nicaragua is a country with comparably low industrial development  (only 17% industry contribution to GNP) but the environmental impact of the sector and the levels of pollution and contamination are high. Industry development in Nicaragua seems to be at a crucial stage with significant investments in industrial infrastructure likely to be made in coming years: The ongoing liberalization of the economy is likely to attract foreign investors. Existing industries are only likely to survive if their productivity, efficiency and product quality are improved. These new investments create a good chance to build in Cleaner Production right from the start.    UNIDO´s present efforts in the establishment of the Nicaraguan Cleaner Production Center and its tangible results are highly appreciated by the Nicaraguan Industry. The  Nicaraguan NCPC is but one example of UNIDO´s continuous efforts to set up programmes which lead to visible results and which underline the valuable input of UNIDO to the development of competitive, environmentally sustainable industries.

Status   

The volume of the Austrian Development Cooperation: As of the 1970s Austria, as well as the other industrial countries, has committed itself within the context of the United Nations to provide, if possible, 0.7% of its gross national product (GNP) for Official Development Assistance. Until now only few countries have achieved this goal. The development aid funds of the majority of the industrial countries amount to less than half the international target.  According to the provisional figures of the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Austria’s development assistance has increased to 0.26% of the GNP compared to the previous year (1998: 0.22%, 1997: 0.26%, 1996:0.24%, 1995: 0.33%). So Austria’s ODA corresponds to the OECD average, but it is lower than the EU average, which has slightly declined and is at 0.31% at present (1998: 0,33%).

Bilateral programme and project aid:  In view of the limited funds available it will be even more imperative for the Austrian Development Cooperation to attach importance to efficient programme conceptions both now and in future, based on clearly defined priorities with regard to regions and essential policy issues, and integrated in a global context.

Quality through geographic and sectoral concentration:  The geographic concentration on selected priority and cooperation with countries in specific key regions, which has been practiced for a few years, has shown measurable results: in 1999 almost 70 percent of the bilateral programme and project aid were used for the following key regions:

In addition to projects in the priority and cooperation countries mentioned above special programmes for individual countries and regions, such as Palestine and West Sahara, are being carried out.

(1)      The programme for Rwanda, maintained until 1993, was suspended due to the civil war and resumed in 1997. The cooperation with Burundi, which was discontinued after the military coup, was resumed in 1998 in the context of a reconstruction programme.

(2)      The former South Africa programme has been continued in the context of a regional cooperation programme, dimensioned similar to the Namibia and Zimbabwe programmes. Since the beginning of 1999 South Africa has become a cooperation country of the Austrian Development Cooperation.

Specific application of Austrian know-how:  Austria‘s concentration on selected fields of activities, the so-called priority sectors, is implemented step by step. Here the intention is to offer support and cooperation especially in areas where Austria has special know-how and profound technical knowledge, such as rural development, vocational training, health care, water supply and sanitation, democratic development, promotion of trades and crafts, energy and tourism, among other fields.

Project examples

Mozambique: Rebuilding the infrastructure and securing water quality after the flood disaster of spring 2000; „Voice of Women“ radio programme by women for women in the individual languages of the country, removal of anti-personnel mines.

Uganda: Support of administrative reforms, education and training of skilled workers, granting of loans for the promotion of small trades and crafts.

Nicaragua: Emergency aid and reconstruction after the hurricane „Mitch“ in October 1998; integrated health projects, waste water disposal at Leon.

Burkina Faso: Technical teaching and support of vocational training centers.

Cape Verde: Promotion of micro and small enterprises, strengthening of local government, support of public utilities for the supply with water and energy, annual food aid.

Ethiopia: Securing nutrition by means of cattle-breeding projects in north Gondar, establishment of decentralized health centers to provide basic care for the rural population.

Bhutan: Construction of a hydropower station and support for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the cultural property. 

Multilateral development cooperation plays an important role in the general framework of the Austrian Development Cooperation. At present Austria contributes between 2 and 2.5 billion Austrian Schillings to international development organizations (1999: UN approx. ATS 575 mill., EU approx. ATS 1.5 bill., international financing institutions approx. ATS 234 mill.).  International organizations are important platforms for the dialogue between donor and recipient countries. The Austrian Development Cooperation endeavors to play a more pronounced role in the context of multilateral cooperation and to introduce its principles in the field of multilateral cooperation by way of the committees in which Austria is represented. Austria’s election to the Presidency and four functional commissions of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in May 2000 has been an important step in this direction.

Austria concentrates its contributions on a number of specific organizations. Regarding financing institutions IDA, a subsidiary of the World Bank receiving approx. ATS 345 mill. annually,  plays a central role. For UNDP, the most important UN organization for financing technical assistance, an annual volume of approx. ATS 127 mill. is provided, which is the largest share to a UN development organization. Thus, Austria ranks among the medium group of donors. Austria has markedly contributed to the intensification of practical cooperation between Funds and Programmes of the United Nations and Austria by means of joint projects, and has also developed corresponding framework agreements for the future cooperation with UNDP and UNICEF.  Austria also supports the activities of UNIDO, which has its headquarters in Vienna.  After far-reaching reforms UNIDO is now concentrating its main activities on promoting environmentally sound production and strengthening industrial competitiveness (National Cleaner Productions Center Programme) 

Development cooperation and the European Union

The European Union (EU) is the world’s largest donor of development aid. Since Austria’s accession to the EU in 1995, approx. 40% of the Austrian multilateral development aid funds, or approx. ATS 1 bill. annually, have been transferred to the European Union. Austria plays an active role in the development policy of the EU, with special emphasis placed on the coherence of measures taken by the Austrian Development Cooperation and the development policy principles of the EU. In addition Austria has effected the first payments to the European Development Fund, to the amount of ATS 537 mill.

On 23 June 2000, after two years of negotiations, the Post-Lomé agreement was signed in Benin, thus providing a new basis for the economic relationship between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. Under this agreement regional integration (free trade zones, etc.) shall be promoted with the aim of a medium-term integration in the world economic system determined by the WTO of the ACP countries.  On the first EU-Africa summit held in Cairo on 3 and 4 April 2000 under the Presidency of Portugal, a joint action plan to combat poverty and the debt crisis in Africa was adopted. By intensifying trade relationships and promoting joint ventures between African and European investors Africa will be more firmly integrated into the international economy. On the other hand the EU demanded that its African partners should make special efforts to combat corruption and to promote „good governance“, i.e. to maintain democracy, human rights and the rule of law as central goals of development.

Challenges  

 Time, confidence and patience are a big challenge towards achieving sustainable partnerships with other countries.  Partnership for Poverty Reduction: From commitment to implementation.  Networking of institutions with representatives of the civil society is very important.

 Development cooperation takes place in an ever-changing global context. Success can be achieved only through constructive collaboration between players at a bilateral and multilateral level. Austria supports the targets jointly agreed by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) for sustainable economic and social development ”on the threshold of the 21st century”. Development is seen as a process anchored in the developing countries themselves that relates directly to the people, who also help to shape it. This process is based on the principles of responsibility both to oneself and to others, joined benefit and on the ability of the parties concerned to evaluate what has been achieved.  This global task requires that earlier strategies be evaluated and adapted. Partnerships need to be strengthened; suitable instruments for implementation of this process need to be developed.  The reviews of Austrian development assistance carried out within the DAC provide valuable support in this respect (last review on 16 November 1999).  Austria takes part systematically in all coordinating events on priority and cooperation countries (round tables, consultative group meetings). It strives for political dialogue at least once a year with its development cooperation partners. Austria supports local coordination efforts within the framework of bilateral and multilateral structures (Comprehensive Development Framework CDF, United Nations Development Assistance Framework UNDAF) as well as of the European Union.  

Since its membership in the European Union Austria always has supported the course of development in appropriate fora. The Development Council in May 1999 for instance stressed the need for an integrated and strategic up-to-date-statement on Development Policy based on the broad goals set out in the Treaty of the European Community. The different development objectives need to be finely balanced if they are not to run counter to each other. Development cooperation needs a holistic multi-dimensional approach and strategy which takes into account the inter-relatedness of poverty, environment, human security and peace building. Therefore, the Austrian Delegation has requested that the following policy objectives be incorporated into the EU’s Policy Statement on Development Aid:  Poverty eradication as the overarching goal, human security and peace, and Safeguarding the environment. Austria has supported within the European framework a better position of the least developed countries with free access to the European free market. It was Austria which pushed for the inclusion of Fair Trade as an objective in the recently signed Cotonou Agreement.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

In the last years, an amount of about ATS 50 million annually was appropriated by the Austrian Development Cooperation in the Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs for awareness raising of NGOs. The largest share (about 2/3) was disbursed for structural promotion measures in the field of nation-wide educational activities in and outside schools, the publication of magazines (Südwind Magazine, Journal for Development Policy), documentation centers and libraries, cultural activities as well as encounters and events.   The remaining 1/3 was distributed among some 70 projects per year, whose eligibility for support was determined according to the promotion programme elaborated in 1997. Preference was given to projects in the field of education and culture as well as to publications.  Capacity-building and technology issues are integrated into the three-year Programme of Austria's Development Cooperation.

The key areas of the projects supported during the last three years were employment, global economy, fair trade, the development policy of the EU, environment/climate, development cooperation, cultural exchange, Africa and Latin America.  Target groups include: teachers and other responsible actors in the field of youth and adult education (multipliers); NGOs and various interest groups; journalists and media; communal institutions; and individuals interested in cultural activities as well as young people.  The main methods used were counseling measures, information events (lectures, meetings, conferences), exhibitions and cultural activities (with a focus on music, but also featuring arts and literature).

Information   

Information and data on bilateral, sub-regional, regional and multilateral/international cooperation are made available to potential users by the following means and communication activities (and can be accessed via the Internet: www.eza.at). Also, through a 3 Year Programme of Austrian Development Cooperation, a 3 Year Report of Austrian Development Cooperation,  Newsletter “Weltnachrichten“ and Website of the Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs: www.bmaa.gv.at  A more detailed presentation of all the supported projects (grouped by organization, theme, activities, target groups and disbursed sums) is available online (www.komment.sbg.ac.at).

In 1995 WIFO (Austrian Institute for Economic Research) did a study on the quality of location of Austrian enterprises. As there is no Internet-access to this study, information can only be provided by the Austrian Ministry for Economy.

Written publications:

Monatsheft der WIFO" (WIFO monthly report), followed by a special chapter on indicators for Austrian economy;

Statistisches Monatsheft der Österreichischen National bank" (monthly journal on statistical data from the Central Bank of Austria);

Berichte und Studien" (reports and studies from the Central Bank of Austria), every 3 months

Web-Sites:

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs

Austrian Business Agency, ABA

Austrian Central Agency for Statistical Data, ÖSTAT

Central Bank of Austria, OeNB

Austrian Chamber of Commerce

Research and Technologies   

The government plays the Role of facilitator.  Transfer of environmentally sound technology and know how According to the special situation of its partner countries of development cooperation technology transfer is not the primary objective.  The cooperation is guided by the following principles: Cooperation with the target groups and use of traditional knowledge and know how Wherever possible, sustainable technologies are being offered.  Cooperation with the private sector plays an important role Cooperation in the field of science and research in the field of environmental technologies play a key role within the sector of education.

Financing   

In order to promote environmental sustainability in production, the Austrian Development Cooperation promotes Cleaner Production Centers. In order to reach the sustainable development of the private sector, the Austrian Development Cooperation supports the financial and organizational sustainability of Business Development Services (BDS). Local business service providers are strengthened and supported in the development of new service products demanded by and adapted to the local private sector These leads to a provision of these services, also after the project support has ended.

 See under Status for additional information.

Cooperation  

The Austrian Development Cooperation with its selected individual countries of cooperation strongly supports the protection of the environment of partner countries. Environmental impact studies for all new projects have been systematically introduced since 1996.

*    *    *

This information is based on Austria's submission to the fifth, eighth and ninth Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: March 2001.

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TRADE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

The Austrian economy is projected to grow by 2.2 per cent in 1999 and by 2.6 per cent in 2000. In Austria almost every second job is linked to the export industry. The economic growth is usually mainly driven by exports. During the last months, however, private consumption took the leadership in creating economic growth. The expenses of Austrian firms for the environment are among the highest in comparison to other industrial states. Firms providing environmental technologies are world market leaders.

Challenges  

Besides traffic related problems there are no increases in environmental problems due to export-induced increases in production in Austria.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

A connection between consumption and environment can be observed since a couple of years: Consumers are more sensitive to environmental impacts of their consumption. Preferences for organically grown products are high, consumers also take care for the wrapping of their purchases; the industry of recycling is booming.

Information   

As a member of WTO Austria has the general duty to report trade related information to WTO. The European Commission provides WTO with a complete report for all EU-Member-Countries (according to its competence in the field of external trade). In case of need Austria provides the European Commission with relevant detailed information on specifically Austrian matters.

WTO-related reporting is very extensive and complex (about 175 different obligations). Certain agreements require one single reporting others oblige Member States to send regular or ad hoc information. That is the reason for why the following list contains only cases of regular information for WTO:

WTO does not require any special reporting on trade-related environmental measures.

Reports may be found at the following Internet-address: http://www.wto.org

In 1995 WIFO (Austrian Institute for Economic Research) did a study on the quality of location of Austrian enterprises. As there is no Internet-access to this study, information can only be provided by the Austrian Ministry for Economy.

Written publications:

Österreichs Außenwirtschaft" (Austrian Foreign Trade Yearbook), annual report of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs, last publication 1998/1999;

Monatsheft der WIFO" (WIFO monthly report), followed by a special chapter on indicators for Austrian economy;

Statistisches Monatsheft der Österreichischen National bank" (monthly journal on statistical data from the Central Bank of Austria);

Berichte und Studien" (reports and studies from the Central Bank of Austria), every 3 months

Web-Sites:

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs

Austrian Business Agency, ABA

Austrian Central Agency for Statistical Data, ÖSTAT

Central Bank of Austria, OeNB

Austrian Chamber of Commerce

Austrian Institute for Trade-related Research, WIFO

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing 

No information is available

Cooperation

For Austria WTO and the upcoming Millennium- Round are of great interest. Austria supports an extensive approach for an equilibrated result for all Member States. In addition to liberalization in services and agriculture further aspects have to play a major role. Austria therefore supports the integration of issues like trade and environment, trade and investment trade and competition and trade and social standards (cooperation of ILO and WTO) into WTO.

To promote exports from developing countries, Austria has guaranteed duty-free treatment for many tariff lines (Austrian Scheme of Generalized Preferences, 1972) and enforced additional tariff preferences. Austria also tries to ensure that technical regulations, standards, testing methods, certification systems and the determination of conformity with technical regulations and standards do not create unnecessary obstacles to exports from developing countries by paying special attention to the developmental, financial and trade needs of these countries.

Austria takes an active part in the trade and environment discussions in such fora as the WTO, OECD and UNCTAD.

*    *    *

This information is based on Austria's submission to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: October 1999.

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CHANGING CONSUMPTION PATTERNS

 

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Various measures such as energy efficiency, district heating, and traffic reduction measures come under the responsibility of the federal laender and municipalities.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Federal Ministry of the Environment awards eco-labels and makes voluntary agreements with industry. The basis for this is Art. 15a of the Federal Constitutional Law agreements.

The environment label is a quality label awarded by the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Youth and Family Affairs upon approval by a state-authorized testing institute. The first eco-label criteria guidelines were approved in 1991.

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has supported the utilization of bio-energy by improving the necessary facilities and processes. Measures to promote efficient use of energy include the use of bio-energy (e.g. wood, straw, rapeseed oil).

Voluntary agreements are complemented by the EU regulation on the voluntary participation of business enterprises in the Community Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) which entered into force in April 1995. The success of these voluntary measures depends on the incentives the government can offer to the enterprises so as not to cause considerable costs for installing an eco-management system in their enterprises.

The EMAS Regulation has been supported by the national Eco-Auditors and Register of Sites Act (1 Oct. 1995). The Eco-Auditors have been appointed and more than 25 enterprises have been audited.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

National policies to reduce waste and to promote energy and material efficiency have been initiated in Austria. Public procurement policy and provision of enabling facilities and infrastructure have been changed to be more sustainable.

The government of Austria favors non-regulatory instruments to implement its policies. With these instruments, including information and education, voluntary agreements, eco-label and quality label for timber and timber products, as well as economic instruments, the government tries to influence consumption and production.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

There is an NGO project on sustainable lifestyles together with the Austrian UNCED-Commission. In addition to the central government, local authorities can introduce regulatory instruments in Austria.

Programmes and Projects   

Austria has a programme of national targets. Some examples are:

Status   

In 1993, the total bio-energy output in Austria amounted to 12% of the country's primary energy output and approximately 14% of its energy consumption.

In the field of waste management, in particular, voluntary agreements have been concluded between a number of economic sectors and the ministries in charge, under which the sectors concerned agree to take back the waste material generated by them. The following represent examples of the recycling rate in some sectors:

Challenges

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

National awareness programmes on consumption and production and its consequences have been initiated. There are action campaigns to monitor the implementation.

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing 

Funds are made available to encourage its use for individual space-heating installations and small-scale district heating system

Among the fiscal measures introduced in Austria are the following:

In 1994, twenty-five small- and medium-sized enterprises received approx. 38 million ATS (US$ 3.5 million) within the framework of the Innovation and Technology Support Programme.

Cooperation  

An expert workshop on sustainable consumption is under preparation with UN/ECE. Within the OECD cooperation activities have concentrated in the field of environmentally sustainable transport.

*    *    *

This information is based on Austria's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

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FINANCING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In June 1996, energy taxes on natural gas and electricity were introduced. The tax rates are 0.6 ATS/m3 of natural gas and 0.1 ATS/kWh of electricity. Due to economic reasons, both taxes apply to enterprises that produce corporeal goods only to the extent of 0.35% of value added.

Since 1992, a duty on vehicles (fuel consumption tax) has been levied on passenger cars which are registered in Austria for the first time. The tax rate is calculated as follows according to the fuel consumption of the car:

- petrol-driven cars: [average fuel consumption (liters / 100km) minus 3 liters] x 2%;

- diesel-driven cars: [average fuel consumption (liters / 100 km) minus 2 liters] x 2%.

The assessment base of the tax is the net price of the car.

In June 1996, the duty on vehicles was modified. Calculation of the average fuel consumption was changed from the ECE-based method to the EU-harmonised MVEG method. This has led to an average increase of the resulting measured fuel consumption and therefore to an increase of the tax rate. Concurrently, the ceiling rate of the tax was raised from 14% to 16%.

The deposition and export of waste materials are taxed. Tax rates depend on the type of waste. From 1997 onwards, tax rates have been gradually yet significantly increased and will continue to be stepped up until 2001. A further increment to the tax rate is imposed if the waste depot does not comply with a higher level of technical standards.

The current mineral oil tax on motor fuels and heating fuels are as follows:

leaded petrol:                                        6.60 ATS/l

unleaded petrol:                                    5.61 ATS/l

diesel oil:                                              3.89 ATS/l

LPG (used as motor fuel):                    3.60 ATS/kg

gas oil for heating purpose:                  0.95 ATS/l

heating oil:                                          0.50 ATS/kg

LPG (used as heating fuel):                   0.60 ATS/l

The Council Regulation (EEC) No 1836/93 of 29 June 1993 allowing voluntary participation by companies in the industrial sector in a Community Eco- Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) has been in force and is currently being reviewed. The objective of the scheme is to promote continuous improvements in the environmental performance of industrial activities. There are of projects encouraging environmentally friendly investment by third party financing (contracting) and regional initiatives financing sustainable development.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

Austria makes no basic difference between foreign and domestic direct investment. As an impetus for promoting environmentally friendly projects through FDI, Austrian Federal Law (specifically the so called Umweltförderungsgesetz (UFG), Environmental Assistance Act) provides for an aid-mechanism to conduct endeavors of environmental significance in CEE countries bordering Austria. Most notably, projects to cut emissions from fossil fuel power plants as well as projects targeting the irrevocable exit from nuclear energy production receive subsidies. Rather than imposing environmental restrictions on FDI operations by law, the Federal Government creates investment incentives via subsidizing whereby monetary FDI potentials (private and federal) are being channeled towards environmentally friendly projects. A private bank executes this policy.

Another bank pursues a different approach counseling SMEs and other enterprises in the acquisition of monies for investment in the environmental (except agricultural and forestry) sector. Eligible regions comprise CEE, Latin America and Asia.

Combating Poverty

Today, the Austrian living standard of households in the lowest income bracket is higher than that of the average household 25 years ago. Since then, the number of households in substandard flats has decreased from 25% to less than 5%. While 25 years ago the average per capita net income in pensioners’ households was 50% of that in employees’ households, it is now 85%. Although 60% of all social transfers go to the three lowest tenth and 7% to the three top tenths of the income scale, one can speak of a poverty rate in Austria of around 5%, if poverty is defined as a combination of financial bottlenecks and indicators of a lack of social participation (e.g. housing, food, availability of basic goods). Even if the poverty phenomenon is less evident in Austria, it is considered necessary to take adequate measures in this field.

Challenges  

Some environmentally unsustainable subsidies in tax law are related to EU or other international obligations, such as the exemption of kerosene fuel from mineral oil tax. The recent EC initiatives to offset this taxation anachronism (see KOM(99)263 final) are fully welcome, as long as attempts at simultaneously promoting the use of nuclear energy are forestalled.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

Information related to financing sustainable development is made available to potential users and can be accessed via the Internet: http://www.kommunalkredit.at

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

See cooperation.

Cooperation  

Austrian ODA in 1994 amounted to ATS 7.483 billion, which is 0.33% of GDP. This means an increase of ATS 1.16 billion from 1993. The ODA distribution per sector since 1992 has been the following: (1) Integrated planning and management of land resources, ATS 24 million; (2) Combating desertification, ATS 6 million; (3) Sustainable agriculture and rural development, ATS 20 million; and (4) Environmentally sound management of biotechnology, ATS 7 million. As a result of UNCED, the Austrian Government spent a total of US$ 20 million on a global programme (35 single projects) for the development and conservation or rehabilitation of forest biotopes in developing countries. During the pilot phase of the GEF (1991 - 1993), Austria contributed ATS 400 million and from 1994 to 1996 another ATS 231,51 million to the fund. The Austrian Global Environment Cooperation Trust Fund was initiated in 1995, and endowed with a maximum of ATS 4.5 million in special drawing rights from 1995 to 1997. Since 1992, Austria has provided US$ 1.071 billion new and additional grant funds for sustainable development and US$ 340 million in loans.

By 1994, Austria had concluded bilateral debt-relief agreements with 11 African and 2 Latin American countries. Relative to the total period of rescheduling, the debt relief granted was equivalent to ATS 1 billion. Austria has also granted ATS 8.4 million of debt-relief to Poland. In total, Austria committed itself to provide financial assistance of ATS 11.3 billion in 1992 to the countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In 1993, public assistance to economies in transition was 0.22 % of GDP, mainly consisting of debt reduction schemes agreed upon by the Club of Paris. In 1994, all the rescheduling schemes amounted to a total of ATS 63.8 million.

Support for the economies in transition is primarily aimed at assisting economic and political transformation, largely in neighboring states. Austrian support measures include i.e.. humanitarian assistance, environmental rehabilitation and improvements of the economic and social infrastructure, support of market-oriented sectoral reforms, transfer of know-how, macro-economic financial assistance, export credit and investment guarantees. Austria participates also in the EU assistance programmes to the Eastern Europe (e.g. PHARE and TACIS).

Within the frame of the specific environment support scheme, the Federal Ministry of Environment supported a total of 103 projects in the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Hungary and Slovenia with over 786 mio ATS. During the last years emphasis shifted from end-of-pipe to integrated pollution prevention and energy saving projects.

In the context of the Pan European environmental process, Austria was involved in the review period of a study examining the effectiveness of financial instruments for environmental investment in CEE countries, and in the development of innovative financing instruments, especially in the context of environmental funds in the Central and Eastern European countries.

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This information is based on Austria's submission to the 5th and 8th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: October 1999.

For information on participating States in the Global Environment Facility, click here:

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TECHNOLOGY

Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available

Programmes and Projects

No information is available

Status

In 1992, the Energy Technologies Programme (ATS 50 million in 1993) and the Industrial Design programme (ATS 15 million    in 1993) were established and the programme for environmental  technologies was renewed within the framework of the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) with the aim of promoting the development and use of cleaner technologies, production-integrated environmental protection, recycling logistics and new environmentally-compatible product and material use.

In 1995, a total of 288 million ATS was made available through ITF of which about nearly 40% were earmarked for precautionary environmental measures, 53 million ATS to energy efficiency and environmental-friendly technologies and the use of renewable energy resources, and 50 million ATS to develop environmentally-sound transportation technologies.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

The Government supports R&D  on EST as well as the increased use of environment and energy related technologies.

Both in 1993 and 1994, product competitions (Ecodesign) were organized to stimulate new ideas and innovative solutions for environmentally sound product design and development and to raise awareness on these issues.  In 1994, a junior research category was added to enable students and young designers to participate in the competition.

In the Summer of 1996, the first Austrian Cleaner Production Center was established  in Graz under the supervision of the Ministry of Environment.  The activities include providing environmental technology and management of information, initiating and supporting regional and local cleaner production and toxic waste/emissions reduction programmes, stimulating research and development as well as transferring cleaner production technology.

Austrian development cooperation promotes primarily capacity-building for independent technology development, including, above all, the promotion of independent R&D activities, strengthening R&D institutions, and support for education and training in technical and management disciplines.

Information   

The Austrian Economic Research Institute carried out a study called Environmental Technologies-a Growing Market (19950 providing an overview of environmental technologies currently available in Austria, including end-of-pipe technologies and clean technologies.  According to the study, environmental industries spend more on research (6.7%) than other sectors (average 3.1%).  The share of  innovative activities in the environmental sector is also bigger than average:  90% of the companies surveyed stated that they had invested in product innovation during the past three years.

The Seiberdorf Environmental Technology Database for products and processes has been set up to facilitate the access of Austrian enterprises to modern environmental technologies.  Support is provided, i.a., for extended cooperation with the Eastern European neighbors, for linking up the ;database    with the Network for Environmental Technologies Transfer (NETT-Brussels) and for cooperation with domestic and foreign banking institutions.

Research and Technologies   

In the Summer of 1996, the first Austrian Cleaner Production Center was established  in Graz under the supervision of the Ministry of Environment.  The activities include providing environmental technology and management of information, initiating and supporting regional and local cleaner production and toxic waste/emissions reduction programmes, stimulating research and development as well as transferring cleaner production technology.

Financing 

A federal environmental funding system was initiated in 1987 and modified in 1993 to support environmental activities. It provides interest payment grants, investment grants and loans for water protection projects in municipalities, pollution control by industry and contaminated site clean-up.

Cooperation  

Austria has participated in 21 transnational research projects under the 3rd EU Framework Programme on R&D.  The total cost of these projects was ECU 16.7 million  of which ECU 3.8 million was spent on Austrian projects.  Austrian enterprises and research institutions have also participated in the COST (21 projects) and EUREKA (31 projects) Programmes of the European Union, e.g. in EUROENVIRON, a project that has investigated safe ways of utilizing industrial waste.

In cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Austria has organized three seminars in 1993 - 1995 for participants from developing countries (Egypt, India, Jamaica, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Brazil, China, Cuba, Malaysia, Mexico, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan) to help establish or strengthen environmentally sound technology (EST) centers in those countries. Between 1993 and 1995, altogether 102 development assistance research projects aimed at the promotion of technology transfer, financed by Austria, were carried out in developing countries. Austria has also been financing south-south scholarships, e.g. Nicaragua to Brazil and Mexico, Cape Verde to Brazil.

In 1994, financial support for plant-specific measures in Eastern European countries amounted to US$ 15.4 million. Management and professional training are the core elements of Austrian economic aid to the countries of Eastern and Central Europe.

A meeting on energy-related issues was held in Slovakia and a counseling and training project on the use of energy was conducted in the Czech Republic. Austria participates also in the EU assistance programmes to Eastern Europe. Austrian consultancy companies are active in establishing environmental management systems (EMAS and ISO 14000) in Austria and the eastern neighboring states (STENUM).

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This information is based on Austria's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

 Biotechnology

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available 

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Genetic Engineering Act (1994) is the main act governing activities with genetically-engineered organisms in closed systems and their release, gene analysis and gene therapy in humans. It contains the principles on biotechnology risk assessment and risk management.

The Genetic Engineering Act transforms EU Directives 90/219 and 90/220 into Austrian law. To achieve the objectives of the Act, the following research activities have been intensified:

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

The main institutions specialized in biotechnology research in Austria are the Federal Ministry of Science and Research; Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (responsible for the EU Framework Programme on Biotechnology); Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs (promotes research projects which contribute to an environmentally sustainable management in the field of biotechnology); Inter-university Research Institute for Agricultural Technology (Tulln); Institute of Applied Microbiology of the University of Agriculture; and the Institute of Biotechnology of the University of Technology (Graz). There are also several other institutes, societies and companies working in this field, such as the Institute of Molecular Pathology of the University of Vienna; Institute of Molecular Biology of the University of Vienna; Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Technological Impact Assessment; Institute of Microbiology and Genetics of the University of Vienna; Austrian Society for Biotechnology (Vienna); Working Group for the Promotion of Test-Animal-Free Substitute and Supplemental Methods (Linz); Austrian Nuclear Research Center (Seibersdorf); Institute for Food Research (Vienna); Austrian Beverage Test Institute (Vienna); Austrian Textile Research Institute (Vienna); Biochemie GmbH (Kundl); Sandochemia conglomerate; Bender & Co.

Many of the projects are cooperation projects conducted by several institutions and universities.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Public hearings are organized in the case of a release of and activities involving genetically engineered organisms in closed systems at high security levels.

The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs promotes research projects which contribute to the environmentally-sustainable management of biotechnology, such as extraction of aromatics with supercritical CO2 and abandoning hot sealing in the case of returnable glass packages. In the field of forestry, the research has been strengthened on new biochemical methods to improve the analysis, identification and monitoring of trees (measurement of genetic parameters).

 Information   

The Federal Environmental Office is preparing a study on biotechnology in Austria. There is also a study on biological exhaust air decontamination.

For national information on gene technology, click here.

The relevant authorities in the Member states of the European Union, the European Commission and, when necessary, international organizations exchange information on the procedural requirements for the safe handling and risk management and about the conditions of release of biotechnological products. The Act also provides for security classification of activities involving genetically engineered organisms or licensing procedures.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

Participation in the OECD Expert Group on Biotechnology for a Clean Environment, the OECD Biosafety Working Group, and Panel 4 of the UNEP under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

With regard to access to biotechnology through international cooperation, Austria participates or has participated in the following programmes:

Austria has also proposed a multidisciplinary chestnut research programme under the COST Initiative. (5 years if approved).

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This information is based on Austria's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP's International Register on Biosafety.
Click here for the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Biosafety WebPages

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INDUSTRY

No information is available.

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[1] Address: Österreichische Raumordnungskonferenz, Geschäftsstelle

  A-1010 Wien Hohenstaufengasse 3, Tel.0043 1 535 34 44, Fax 0043 1 535 34 44 54

e-mail : oerok@oerok.gv.at

 

TRANSPORT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

 Principally, the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology is the federal decision making body for  transport issues in Austria. However, also other government bodies or institutions are to some extent involved in the decision making process if appropriate.  It is important to bear in mind that in Austria as a general principle decisions are taken at the appropriate level (e.g. national, regional or local). For international and national transport matters the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology is the relevant authority. Formulating Transport policy such as the “Austrian Overall Transport Concept” is usually guided by the mandate which the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology has to fulfill. This mandate which was elaborated in close contact with other relevant stakeholders comprises the following points:

However, the needs of the people may change over time as well as with the development of new technologies. For that reason a fruitful and constructive dialogue is sought with the above mentioned stakeholders to enhance the guiding principles and to facilitate the decision making process.  As already stated above, decision-making at the appropriate level is a basic principle in Austria’s Transport Policy.  In that context parking management schemes introduced by local authorities in order to fight congestion could serve as an excellent example. Furthermore, speed limits on motorways are subject to regional authorities.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

At present Austria has one of the most stringent emissions standards for vehicles on a global scale. Since Austria joined the European Union in the year 1995 all emissions standards have been brought in line the European standards.  Furthermore Austria has established a comprehensive incentive based framework to reduce the environmental impact of transport by limiting unnecessary travel. On the fiscal side  several reforms were conducted aiming at making individual motorized transport more environmentally sustainable. Outstanding in this context is the introduction of a motor toll sticker obligatory for all vehicles using Austria’s highway system as well as an electronic ecopoint system for transit traffic.  Outlined in the guiding principles of Austria’s Transport policy switching traffic to environmentally friendly means of transport is an important point. In the following measures are listed which are considered to be essential steps toward an environmentally sound transport system.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

 In Austria the 9 regional authorities called "Länder" are responsible for spatial and regional planning. Thus, there are different legal frameworks for spatial and regional planning. For urban planning, in general, towns are responsible, often based on the legislation of the Länder. In spite of the complex legal situation, efforts have been made to improve the co-ordination of planning. The federal government, the 9 Länder and the communities work together in the Austrian Conference on Spatial Planning. This conference, which has a permanent office in Vienna[1], however can only issue recommendations, which are not legally binding. At the moment, the conference is working on an Austrian Spatial Planning Conception 2001. Experts from the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology are involved in this project. For further information we add the English summary of the Austrian Spatial Planning Conception 1991.

Moreover the bigger towns in Austria work together in an authority called "Österreichischer Städtebund". Sustainable transport is an important topic in some working groups of this authority.  And interesting approach to an integrated strategy for spatial planning, transport an environment is the National Environment Plan, published by the federal ministry for environment in 1995. Also the Austrian Overall Traffic Conception which was carried out by the Federal Transport Ministry in Austria in 1991 can be regarded as an integrated approach for urban planning, rural development and transport infrastructure.

The Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan and the Master Plan

The "Austrian Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan (Bundesverkehrswegeplan)" is currently drafted by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology. A report should be published at the end of the year 2000. A core-part of the "Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan" is the "Master Plan for the transport infrastructure", which was published in 1998. This plan will be updated for the 2000-report of the "Bundesverkehrswegeplan".  Based on a calculation, the Master Plan states requirements as to how the railway and road network should evolve up to the year 2015. Of course, thought is also given to the Danube as a waterway and to the country's airports. If the various forms of transport are to combine and interact to best effect it is important that investments are properly co-ordinate and that there are enough points of linkage between these forms of transport.

The Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan and the Master Plan should be regarded as the practical implementation of the 1991 "Austrian Overall Transport Concept (GVK-Ö)". The principal transport objectives of the Concept include:

The aim of the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan was to provide the instruments based on sound scientific knowledge for creating a transport network which - in economic terms - was as good as it possiblly could be.  Consequently, this instrument includes the essential elements of strategic environmental assessment and gives equal consideration to the needs of the economy.

In concrete terms the Master Plan contains general stipulations as to what the capacity and quality of the transport network and its links should be. The future network will link up to the European transport networks (TENs, TINA) as an integral part of them, but will also play an active part in shaping their future development.  Calculated forecasting is the basis of all sensible transport planning. All experts agree, that traffic volumes will continue to increase, not least as Europe opens up to the east and the countries of the former eastern bloc are to be integrated into the EU. But there are ways of influencing the process. Thus the forecasts looked at a range of transport scenarios from which it is possible to deduce how much room there is for maneuver and intervention. By comparing measures against a forecast trend it is possible to determine their efficiency.

The growth in road and rail traffic was forecasted for two development scenarios:

One thing is apparent in every scenario: After decades of intensive investment in roads the railways have a lot of ground to make up. The need for investment in roads is modest in comparison with railways, especially if fair transport pricing succeeds in switching a substantial proportion of traffic to more environmentally beneficial modes of transport.  The main message of the Master Plan concerns the structure of the network. A survey points to sizeable regional differences in accessibility - especially by rail. A clear correlation was also identified between the accessibility of a region and its economic vigor. Being hooked on the transport system is a factor of major local and regional importance. Additions to the network are thus needed above all in areas where many Austrians suffer because of poor accessibility.

The Master Plan describes how the transport networks are to be developed by the year 2015: The expansion of the rail network must eliminate the problem of poor accessibility, create new capacity and make the railways more attractive. Additions to the road network must be made with caution. Equality of opportunity between the regions have to be promoted. Capacity must handle the volume of necessary traffic in a way which is as kind to the environment and as safe as possible, and there should be nothing to encourage new traffic, especially road traffic. Moreover, railway journey times should be organized in a way that an integrated timetable can be put together as part of an operating programme geared to the needs of the customer.  Precisely in regions where the railway currently has a slight edge, this aspect should be developed further. In the light of existing forecasts and in view of the objectives of the Austrian Overall Transport Concept, vigorous road building would send out the wrong signal and be an irretrievably false move in a direction which is undesirable in transport and environmental terms.

Road infrastructure projects:

The Austrian motorway and highway network is almost complete. Still, there are a few gaps, as e.g. in the lesser congested sections of the Pyhrn motorway in Upper Austria and in the link from the East Motorway A4 to Bratislava. Provision is made in the Master Plan for closing these gaps. The Master Plan indicates which sections are to be improved for reasons of capacity or safety.  The Master Plan of 1998 does not contain a lot of further improvements in the national road network. Projects are already in progress to add these important road links to the up-dated version of the master plan 2000. The recommendations concerning the national road network are based on a study called "Design of the road network in the Danube region with special reference to Austria´s role as a business location" which was carried out in 1999 commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs which had been - until April 2000 - responsible for planning and constructing the federal road network. Two overview-maps have been added to the Master plan. Further information can be found on the internet-homepage of the ministry <www.bmv.gv.at> under the point "infrastructure".

Due to problems in the federal budget, the focus of short-time measures is to finish the transport infrastructure projects which are already under construction (e.g. upgrading the Western-Railway from Vienna to Wels in Upper Austria). New priorities for transport infrastructure projects in Austria - under consideration of budget policy goals - are in elaboration and will be published in December 2000 as mentioned above. An important goal is to encourage competition on rail network, so that more transport undertakers can take advantage of the save and environmentally more sustainable rail network.   

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

 No information is available

Programmes and Projects 

In 1999 the second phase of the combined road-rail-water  freight program started and will last until 2002. The main goal of the ambitious program is to promote the concept of inter-modal freight transport by subsidizing inter-modal related infrastructure investments. To achieve the desired shift to more environmentally friendly modes the construction and remodeling of terminals for combined transport, ramp facilities, containers, interchangeable structures will be funded.  Another essential element to switch transport to environmentally sound modes is the concept of the „Anschlußbahnförderung“. This program focuses on the financial support to build railway infrastructure to  mayor enterprises and has the idea that with already existing railway infrastructure a strong incentive is given to companies to take advantage of it. An evaluation of these programs has surprisingly shown that almost two thirds of the environmental benefits take place in the neighboring countries.

 Rail infrastructure projects in the Master Plan

Upgrading the Western railway (Westbahn) between Vienna and Wels to four tracks.  The main purpose of this measures is to increase capacity and cut journey times (e.g. Vienna - Linz: 1 1/2 hours). Only in  this way the Western railway will become an attractive alternative to the Western motorway.  The construction of the Lainzer Tunnel links up the Western railway to the Southern and Eastern railway. The Lainzer Tunnel will relieve large areas of Vienna of freight traffic and, in conjunction with a transit station, will provide time-saving transit for international passenger trains through Vienna.  The new section from Vienna to St. Pölten, plus the link-up with the Franz Josefs-Railway, will accelerate the traffic from Vienna to the West and also improve the prospects for regional development.  From St. Pölten (60 km in the West of Vienna to Attnang- Puchheim, ca. 70 km in the East of Salzburg) an upgrading programme of the Western Railway is under work. This section will be upgraded from two to four tracks. The programme continued well and today some sections are already under service.  In future the improvement of the Western railway between Attnang-Puchheim and Salzburg will cut journey time  to about 30 minutes (Linz - Salzburg: 1 hour). The existing route can be used for an attractive local and regional service.

Link-up of Vienna airport - As the volume of air traffic increases it is also increasingly necessary that the airport should not only be linked to the city by an attractive shuttle rail service but also be fully integrated into a modern railway network, as most international airports are.

Construction of the Semmering transalpine tunnel - The historic Ghega Railway, the oldest of the alpine railway routes, is no longer up to the requirements of modern-day transport. The Semmering transalpine tunnel will simplify and streamline  railway operations, particularly freight, will enhance the value of Upper Styria as an industrial region and will cut journey times between Vienna and Graz and Vienna and Klagenfurt by about 30 minutes. Because of difficulties with the protection of nature in Lower Austria (Niederösterreich) an expert working group was established and studies ordered to check alternatives to improve capacity and speed in the Southern Railway system from Vienna to Styria, Carinthia, Slovenia and Italy.

 New Koralm Railway Graz - Klagenfurt - The existing southern railway provides only poor integration of the south of Austria and particularly the city of Graz. The Koralm Railway will hugely enhance the economic importance of southern Austria, shorten the journey time between Graz and Klagenfurt to one hour, ease freight traffic and create new local and regional transport services.

Selective improvement of other sections of the main Austrian rail network - Improvements to specific points in the network will focus on important links from the     Arlberg - via the Tauern region - to he Ennstal-Pyrhn-Schober axis and will help to increase capacity and cut journey times. Here too, a major objective is the putting together of an attractive timetable.

Improvement of links to the east - Political and economic changes in Austria's neighbor-states in the former eastern bloc make it very important to improve rail links with those countries: traffic could be switched to the environmentally beneficial railway before it actually reaches our borders. A new link from Parndorf on the Eastern railway via Kittsee to Bratislava was opened in 1999. Further improvements are planned for the line from Vienna to Sopron and a connection  to the Kiev/Trieste/Koper corridor. Moreover the lines from Graz to the Slovenian border and to the Hungarian border will be upgraded.

Status   

As people without a car become more and more disadvantaged, it’s an important task to develop public transport systems which are efficient also with little demand in rural areas. Dial-up busses and taxis can be an economically reasonable and comfortable alternative to normal scheduled bus and train services.  In Austria a number of measures have been taken: In order to ensure the integration of handicapped people in the transport system, e.g. the federal railway company ÖBB (in co-operation with the Transport Ministry and consultants - some of them are blind) developed a guiding system for blind people. The Vienna public transport company "Wiener Linien" and also other public transport companies in towns use more and more low floor busses and trams. The "Wiener Linien" also have implemented a guiding system for blind people in the underground network.     

 Challenges

 No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

 No information is available

Information   

A study of the Technological University of Vienna (institute for town- and regional research , Prof. Bökemann) shows clearly where poor accessibility still exists in Austria. Especially the accessibility of the rail network in some regions is bad compared with car traffic.  Moreover, the federal railway company ÖBB plans to close some regional railway-lines for economic reasons.

Research and Technologies  

Concerning technologies and schemes to integrate environmental concerns into transport policy the BMVIT considers R&D-programs as an essential element. In the field of transport research the Ministry has recently launched a program to increase the competitiveness of Austria’s transport economy as well as to reduce the negative impacts of traffic. The so called MOVE program which will last until 2003 and is mainly driven by the problem oriented approach  and will initially focus on two main areas of transport innovation. In its first target field is to build on the outcomes of “Logistics Austria” which has been established in the course of the former transport technology program.  In order to increase the eco-efficiency of logistics in the era of the “new economy“ a program called “green logistics” was launched to pursue the above mentioned goals. The second target field addresses the service quality of public transport facilities. New to Austria’s transport research policy is the fact that beside traditional tools like calls for proposal, contests as an element to bring about new ideas and new partnerships have been established.

As a result, MOVE should significantly improve the service quality of public transport (first goal) as well as the improvement of inter-modal transport (second goal) leading to a win –win situation in terms of better environmental quality and a more efficient transport system with all its implications for the entire economy.  In the field of transport systems the Ministry’s directorate for Technology Policy and National Technology Programs is currently designing its overall research strategy for the coming years. Main feature of the strategy will be the concept for sustainable mobility supported strongly by the use of modern technologies like IT which aims at satisfying mobility needs while accommodating environmental and social concerns.

Beside efforts to strengthen the role of soft measures e.g. Mobility Management in the field of transport the Ministry is still committed to foster innovation in the field of hardware developments. The most recent developments in fuel cell research has encouraged the Ministry to establish an national information network  on this topic to link the different stakeholders and interest groups.  Together with a very renowned Austrian research company the Technical University of Graz is preparing a project which will be partly financed by the Ministry to build and test an engine driven by an Alkaline fuel cell using NH3 as fuel. Beside that the Ministry has acknowledged the importance of the fuel cell for the future transport system by devising a strategic study to prepare in the best possible way the important Austrian automobile auxiliary industry for that technology.  Furthermore  innovative technologies and systems to enhance the quality of combined transport e.g. information and communication technology, feasibility studies, education & training and enterprises will be supported. The most recent development in the field of inter-modal transit transport was the foundation of the Danube Transport Development Agency Ldt. This company  will focus mainly on facilitating and enhancing freight transport on the Danube in order to fully use the potential of inland navigation and to boost technology in this field.

All common to the above mentioned programs are the following objectives: switching transport to environmentally sound modes, inter-modal co-operation, reducing the burden of transit traffic and increasing transport security.

Financing

No information is available

Cooperation

Austria is situated in central Europe, bordering eight countries, four of which have economies in transition, with considerable implications for transit traffic, and for greenhouse gas (GHG) abatement policy in the transport sector. Beside regulatory and fiscal instruments to reduce the negative impacts of increased transit transport the Ministry has established a comprehensive scheme to promote environmentally friendly means of transport.  The concept of Mobility Management has proven a very promising approach to foster more sustainable (i.e. less car based) travel.   For this reason, Austria is actively engaged in the European Platform on Mobility Management (EPOMM) which act as a catalyst to spread the idea of  demand side management in the field of transport within Europe. In May 2000 Austria  hosted the 4th European Conference on Mobility Management which was dedicated to the application of Mobility Management in the regions. More than 300 participants from more than 15 countries discussed in a fruitful and constructive manner ways to promote sustainable transport by using Mobility Management as an innovative policy tool.

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This information is based on Austria's submission to the 9th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 2001. Last update: March 2001.

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SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

No information is available.

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| Natural Resource Aspects | Institutional Aspects | Social Aspects |

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