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NATURAL RESOURCE ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AUSTRIA

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AGRICULTURE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Austrian Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Federal Chancellory are responsible for the development cooperation. Activities concerning food relief have been carried out by the Federal Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Due to Austria’s membership in the European Union Council Regulation 2092/91 on organic production of agricultural products is applied to Austria.

Integrated Pest Management

"Integrated pest management" was implemented into national law with the "Plant Protection Products Act 1997" in August 1997. According to this Act plant protection products have to be used taking into account the principles of integrated pest management.

Sustainable plant nutrition

According to the "Fertilizer Act 1994" the marketing of fertilizer which endanger the fertility of the soil or the health of humans and animals is forbidden.

The "Fachbeirat für Bodenfruchtbarkeit und Bodenschutz" ,a body of independent experts related to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, worked out "Guidelines for appropriate fertilization". These Guidelines made Austria one of the countries with the most moderate use of fertilizer in Europe.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The so-called "ecologically and socially orientated market economy" which was developed in Austria in 1987 followed the same targets. The goal of this concept was to renew the Austrian agricultural policy, to improve the situation of the environment and to maintain farms of small scale (70% of all farms in Austria have less than 20 ha). Within this concept Austria recognized the multifunctional role of agriculture from production of food to the conservation of rural landscapes and the protection of the environment. Agriculture’s contribution to the viability of rural areas became indisputable.

Food security

Austria does not publish a national policy review related to food security. Within the FAO, a „committee for food security„ will edit a questionnaire concerning the „increase of nutrient security„ by the end of this year. Till then, it will be clear, which measures have to be taken, following the World Food Summit.

Integrated Pest Management

Financial support for the use of warning systems to determine a potentially necessary and/or exact application of plant protection products: The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry supports the installation of climate observation systems in order to estimate more precisely the pressure of pest infestation. Depending on the crop this brings about a reduction of chemical plant protection products up to 50 %.

Supply and breeding of healthy plant material (preventive measures): The examination of plant material for the freedom from specific diseases and pests is an important preventive measure in integrated plant protection.

Promotion on the use of beneficial organisms: In order to encourage biological measures of pest control the first Austrian breeding station for beneficial organisms was completed in Vienna with the financial support of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry a few years ago. Biological pest control is practiced in Austria not only in horticulture, but also in maize, fruit growing and viniculture. All in all an area of about 12.000 ha were treated with beneficial organisms in 1998.

Financial support for organic farming: There has been an enormous boom in organic farming in the course of the last years. In 1998 there were already about 20.000 farms in Austria cultivating according to this method.

Austria started the "Austrian Environmental Programme" in 1995 according to Council Regulation (EEC) No 2078/92 on agriculture production methods compatible with the requirements of the protection of the environment and the maintenance of the countryside.

Irrigation

Irrigation policy in Austria has to cope with the following issues:

Water Availability

The Federal Water Law sets the legal framework for irrigation in Austria by regulating water withdrawal from ground water or from superficial water bodies on the one hand and by (ground) water quality regulations with high priority.

Federal and provincial authorities control irrigation development by means of legal measures laid down in the Federal Water Law. Ground water withdrawals for irrigation have to be approved by the Water Authorities. Water Authorities on district level are responsible for minor and medium size irrigation projects (ground water withdrawal up to 300 l/s, water withdrawal from other sources up to 1000 l/s). Projects with a bigger amount of water use have to be approved by the provincial authorities (Landeshauptmann).

Water use efficiency

Provincial authorities grant financial subsidies for sustainable and legally approved irrigation systems. One of the main targets of funding irrigation projects is to implement reliable control mechanisms for better water quality and water saving irrigation methods. Individual water users join to medium size irrigation systems under the management of a water users' association. Organizational structures for water users' cooperatives or associations that are defined by the Water Law are the so-called "Wassergenossenschaften". The associated water users are controlled by the water authorities.

Adverse effects of agriculture on water quality

The existing irrigation practice puts severe impacts upon water quality protection by contamination of ground water by pesticides and nutrients (esp. nitrate). Measures to ameliorate these impacts by agricultural management methods are examined in case studies for ground-water-restoration. Several measures of the Austrian Agri-Environmental Programme aim at reducing negative effects of agriculture on (ground) water quality.

The lowering of the groundwater tables is a problem only in some Austrian regions. The implementation of the Marchfeld Canal System improved low-flow problems in the main tributaries in the Marchfeld. Artificial wetlands of value for flora and fauna were created. The major area for future development of irrigation plants in Austria is the so-called "Marchfeld - Hochterrasse". Public discussion of the pros and cons led to the elaboration of a study, discussing also measures appropriate to improve environmental impacts of irrigation in the planning region.

Rural Development

As part of the of the Trade Regulation 1997, direct marketing by farmers is promoted. Within the concept of Agenda 2000, „rural development„ became the second pillar within the Common Agricultural Policy. Cooperation between agriculture, commerce, crafts and services is promoted within this concept. Among other things, projects which improve the environment, landscape or habitat of wild animals are supported financially.

Biodiversity

Nutrition of human beings only can be safeguarded with useful plant species which are fruitful, resistant and suited to the location. It is of highest importance to maintain a big variety of agricultural plants to preserve the local genetic resources.

Organic farming is most compatible to environment and plays an important role in preservation of old local varieties and races. This kind of agriculture is supported by the agri-environmental programme according to EU Regulation 2078/92.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

Initially all in conservation activities for endangered breeds of livestock in Austria were based on private initiative. Idealistic farmers and other enthusiasts kept and bred these animals. Breeding activities were not well directed and in most cases no records were kept. Only a few cattle breeds (Murboden, Carinthian Blond, Waldviertel Blond, Tux-Zillertal) tried to establish a breeding programme in close co-operation with the ÖNGENE which was based on blood typing and calculation of heterocygosity.

Programmes and Projects   

Information and communication technology offer further possibilities for the development of the rural society. The Federal Ministry for Agriculture started the project „profit – Paket„. This project promotes the distribution of computers, software and internet to farmers, to take the opportunity of tele-working, tele-learning, electronic publishing and internet publication.

With the accession of Austria to the European Union a comprehensive agri-environmental programme was established according to EU–Regulation 2078/92. The environmental programme consists of 36 measures. Austrian farmers can select and combine measures in a suitable manner. Main objective of the agri-environmental programme is the reduction of harmful impacts of farming to the environment. The programme promotes agricultural intensification and by doing so the conservation of resources like water, soil, landscape, genetic variety and habitat.

Short description of measures of the Austrian agri-environmental programme:

creation, maintenance and care of valuable and unique landscape elements;

compliance with the rules of "good agricultural practice"

The maximum animal quota for 1 ha farmland is 2 LSU

creation, maintenance and care of valuable and unique landscape elements; green-covering or covering with straw in fruit growing and viniculture; legal basis: EU regulation 2092/91

Means of production like chemically synthesized plant protection products and fertilizers, fertilizers with chlorine, sewage sludge and the use of seed disinfections are banned. The maximum animal quota for 1 ha farmland is 2 LSU.

Means of production like chemically synthesized plant protection products and fertilizers, fertilizers with chlorine, sewage sludge and the use of seed disinfections are banned. The maximum animal quota for 1 ha farmland is 2 LSU.

compliance with the rules of "integrated controlled production";

restricted use of fertilizer and plant protection products; rules for green covering have to be obtained

protection of water resources; green covering (15%, 25%, 35%) during autumn and winter against erosion and leaching of nitrogen into groundwater

The share of maize and cereals must not exceed 75% of the whole arable land.

cultivation of extensive varieties; inhibitors and fungicides are forbidden; limitation of nitrogen fertilizer (for instance: wheat max. 120 kg N/ha)

The use of sewage sludge is banned. Farmers have to record their use of fertilizers, plant protection products and varieties. At least 10% and 40% for most of the whole arable area have to be managed in this manner.

It is forbidden to use these means for to increase the yield.

compliance with the rules of „integrated controlled production„ in the area of vegetable production; ban of sludge sewage

extensification of grassland management; in maximum 2 LSU/ha farmland allowed; ban of freely soluble commercial fertilizers, chemical – synthetic pesticides and sludge sewage; in general, conversion of grassland into arable land or permanent crops is forbidden

ban of freely soluble commercial fertilizers, chemical – synthetic pesticides, silage fodder and sludge sewage

Reaping times have to be defined in accordance with the Institute for Nature Conservation; renunciation on freely soluble commercial fertilizers, chemical – synthetic pesticides and sludge sewage

ground coverage over winter for at least 10 month (green covering, mulch, straw or other organic compounds); the use of sludge sewage is forbidden

promotion of ground coverage of arable land by means of direct seeding

diversion to forage area

diversion from silage maize to permanent grassland

keeping of pure-bred species in accordance with a „breed list„; keeping of livestock recordings in form of herd – books; confirmation by a breeding society; rearing only with pure-bred animals

annual mowing and harvesting of steep slopes at least every second year; category of steepness: 25 – 35%; 35 – 50%; >50%

maintenance and care of alpine pasture to avoid forest coverage (brushwood and wood); farmers do have the commitment to pasture their cattle, sheep and horses for at least 60 days. They get an additional premium for pastoral and higher premiums for milk cows.

management of valuable agricultural areas, e.g. dry – meadows, water – meadows, meadows with extensive fruit trees, rare plant coverings, meadows with larches; promotion of projects, which are accepted by nature protection authorities; freely soluble commercial fertilizers and chemical – synthetic pesticides are forbidden

cultivation of valuable, endangered varieties of regional importance, in accordance with the catalogue of varieties

management of valuable agricultural areas for at least 20 years in accordance with restrictions by nature protection authorities; Promotion of single projects; it isn’t allowed to use the sward nor to burn off the promoted areas. The use of chemical – synthetic pesticides, fertilizers and sludge sewage is forbidden; applied on arable areas and grassland

management of valuable agricultural areas for at least 5 years in accordance with restrictions by nature protection authorities; promotion of single projects; it isn’t allowed to use the sward nor to burn off the promoted areas. The use of chemical – synthetic pesticides, fertilizers and sludge sewage is forbidden; applied on areas of arable land and grassland, e.g. arable field margins, food patches on fallow- or arable land

The Austrian „National Environmental Plan„ (NUP) is an important guideline to establish ecological long-term goals in different economic areas. With this concept Austria accomplished an essential demand of the outcome of the UNCED – conference in Rio and the 5. Environmental Action Plan of the European Union. These proposals should be implemented, within the next 20 years. As part of the National Environmental Plan, the Austrian government describes a series of proposals to promote sustainable agriculture in Austria.

Further conversion concerning organic farming is suggested due to the fact that it is the most environmentally compatible form of agriculture. Environmentally friendly farming methods have to be taken into consideration in the context of education and training of school teachers and advisors.

Animal biodiversity

Austria’s membership in the EU and the ratification of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1995 started more coherent actions in the field of animal genetic resources. 5 years ago a conservation programme for endangered breeds of livestock was launched by the Austrian Ministry of Agriculture. This program is part of the Österreichisches Programme zur Förderung einer umweltgerechten, extensiven und den natürlichen Lebensraum schützenden Landwirtschaft (ÖPUL). It is based on the EU directives 2078/92 and 1467/94 and targeted at the in situ conservation of cattle, horses, sheep and goats.

In this action 23 breeds were classified as endangered according to the guidelines of the European Commission. Farmers keeping pedigree stock of such breeds received a bonus for each female breeding animal if they granted to keep this or a replace animal for 5 years. For heavily endangered cattle breeds (less than 200 females) an additional bonus was available if the owner used a pedigree male of the same breed. A yearly census based on the applications for bonuses made by the farmers and confirmed by the breeders associations (partly private, partly organizations of the agricultural boards) was made by the Ministry for Agriculture.

The positive results of the ÖPUL programme were:

To take care of ex situ conservation in 1997 the Institute for Biological Agriculture and Biodiversity was founded. In this institute semen of all BIP is stored in the Austrian Gene Bank for Farm Animal Genetic Resources. The gene bank is owned by the Federal Ministry for Agriculture and provides breeding material to farmers as well as keeping semen in long time storage. A gene data bank registering and monitoring population size and management by the breeders associations completes the steps taken for ex situ conservation.

Problems not taken into consideration by the existing ÖPUL programme:

The next version of ÖPUL starting in 2000 (ÖPUL 2000) was established in close co-operation with the ÖNGENE and the Verein zur Erhaltung gefährdeter Haustierrassen (VEGH) and tries to cope with these problems.

Status   

With an organic farm share of 9% of all agricultural farms and of 10% of the utilized agricultural area, Austria, in relative terms, ranks first among the European countries. Most of the organic farms in Austria are members of organic farm associations applying even stricter guidelines than those of the corresponding EU-Regulation.

In Austria irrigation is primarily used as supplemental irrigation to compensate for a lack of rainfall during the vegetation period. The main irrigation regions are in the north-eastern lowlands (Marchfeld, Parndorfer Platte, Seewinkel, Südliches Wiener Becken, Tullner Feld, Retzer und Laaer Becken, Wachau), where natural precipitation reaches appr. 450 - 700 mm/y (appr. 300 - 450 mm in the vegetation period).

Other irrigation areas in southern and western parts of Austria are of minor importance. In the renowned wine-growing region "Wachau" (Danube valley section) drip-irrigation of vineyards (ca. 1000 ha) is being developed.

Statistical data on irrigated area and irrigation water demand are available for the year 1995 (W. Hüttler, 1996): 

(potentially) irrigable area: 96000 ha

(actually) irrigated in 1994/95: 45.000 ha

water used in 1994/95: 53,1 Mio m³

Total energy need in Austria: 1200 Petajoule (PJ)

Renewable energy share: 323 PJ (27%)

hydro-electric power: 164 PJ (14%)

other energy source: 159 PJ (13%)

other sources of energy (100%):

firewood: 120 PJ (76%)

waste: 8 PJ (5%)

heat pump: 6 PJ (4%)

industrial spent liquor, waste liquor: 21 PJ (13%)

solar power: 2 PJ (1%)

bio gas, bio fuel: 2 PJ (1%)

geothermics, wind energy: < 1 PJ (< 1%)

Means of production

Fertilizers and pesticides

Nutrient use

fertilizer

Plant protection and wood preservation

N

P

K

total

Import

Export

Import

Export

in tonns

Mio ATS

1980

       

957,9

1.836,6

1981

       

1.159,9

2.353,4

1982

       

1.295,7

2.637,9

1983

       

1.399,1

2.473,0

1984

       

1.219,6

2.653,2

1985

       

1.430,1

2.380,6

1986

       

1.298,4

2.052,1

1987

178.573

92.074

126.837

397.485

978,9

1.688,2

1988

110.134

67.795

91.203

269.130

1.100,4

1.954,2

619,4

1989

133.304

75.120

99.323

307.748

996,5

1.611,2

759,0

1990

140.379

74.872

97.306

312.555

860,9

1.454,2

849,5

1991

180.388

85.128

105.176

370.693

863,7

1.530,6

962,6

1992

91.154

56.526

68.640

216.319

772,3

1.332,9

840,2

999,2

1993

123.634

64.122

77.742

265.499

710,6

1.226,4

945,3

877,3

1994

177.266

72.919

84.204

334.389

785,7

1.341,8

914,9

576,4

1995

127.963

53.514

60.634

242.111

800,7

1.543,4

871,2

665,1

1996

112.641

54.131

63.175

229.947

888,7

1.843,7

876,5

811,8

1997

143.818

57.151

66.634

267.603

935,1

1.604,5

930,6

955,7

1998

113.301

55.991

61.562

230.854

675,0

1.784,8

1.070,0

682,3

1999

       

source.: Östat,. AMA, ALFIS

All relevant data about agriculture in Austria are available at FAO.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

There is strong acceptance of the environment programme (ÖPUL), which results in a greening of the Austrian agriculture. About 70% of all domestic farms and 90% of Austria’s utilized agricultural area take part in this programme. This shows strong a development of environmental awareness in Austria.  The intention to support the greening of the Austrian agriculture is recorded in national laws, special guidelines and a so called "advisor contract". This contract stipulates the subsidizing of personnel costs by the Federal Ministry for Agriculture and district chambers of agriculture.  The further development of environmental awareness to promote sustainable agriculture practice is backed up by a well organized education and training system.  

Main objective in training and education of school teachers and special advisors of the district chambers of agriculture, is to maintain and ensure sustainable development in the Austrian agriculture under a social, ecological and economic point of view.  As part of the federal training and further development of teachers and advisors, courses are offered continuously, concerning the promotion of organic farming, direct marketing, accomplishment to the project "holiday on the farm" promotion of renewable energy sources, environmental protection at farm level, biological sewage treatment, plants, environmentally friendly production methods for foodstuffs.

Information   

A systematic mapping of soil under agricultural use is carried out in Austria since 1958. Up to now, almost 98% of the area to be mapped is already surveyed in the field. Soil survey is done from both a pedagogical and an agricultural point of view. It also considers geological, geomorphological and climatically conditions. Out of 220 districts, 150 districts have been published as soil maps 1: 25 000 and further 50 districts as manuscript maps 1: 25 000; 15 districts remain for editorial work and 5 for field survey. For the digital capture of these soil data a GIS – based soil information system was installed. A three years program to convert geometric and attribute data to a digital form has already been started. Further on, available soil information is completed by a large set of data referring to distinct sampling points. Most of these points are arranged in grids of different densities, covering almost all the country.

Within the EU, according to EU Regulation 2078/92, Austria realized the most comprehensive agri-enviromental programme. The economic and ecological impacts of this programme are under current observation. An evaluation group by researchers, civil servants, and experts of different non governmental organizations, was founded. The results of the periodical investigations concerning effects of the environmental programme to the environmental situation furnish information's to revise and improve the programme.

The first environmental programme was elaborated in Austria in 1995. According to the first evaluation report, in 1998 an improved environmental programme was edited. In the year 2000 the next version of the Austrian agri-environmental programme will be established. The impacts of the environmental programme to soil, water, air, biodiversity and landscape are monitored. Some indicators follow:

Soil - development of the use of manure, commercial fertilizers, pesticides, fungizides, growth inhibitors; estimations about the quantity of toxic agents in soil. Valuation of soil erosion and the quality of soil (quantity of humus, activity of soil enzymes, stabilization of the soil);

Water - reasons for water-pollution; mutual effects between water, soil and methods of farm- management and practices;

Air - description of the initial position; continuing of measurements (CO2, CH4, NH3);

Biodiversity - description of domestic flora and fauna and determination of the population data of endangered species and varieties; description of the naturalness of Austria’s forests and forest eco-systems;

Landscape - description of initial position and expectations about the development of the landscape dependent on ÖPUL – measures.

Each criteria is evaluated in an single scheme:

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing

Since UNCED, financial support for energy use of biomass, has increased strongly. Supported projects are for instance, biomass heatings for single farms and communities (long – distance heating-systems), biogas plants.

In 1998 about 740 million ATS, were spent for projects concerning renewable energy. There was a financial support of about 300 million ATS paid by the Ministry for Agriculture, district governments and the European Union. (Federal ministry of agriculture and forestry: 144 million ATS; District governments: 97 million ATS; European Union: 59 million ATS).  A general 2% admixture of  biofuel to diesel is foreseen for the near future.

Cooperation

The European Union emphasizes the crucial importance of sustainable, multifunctional and competitive agriculture within the model of European agriculture. With the concept of Agenda 2000, the European Council established the promotion and the development of rural areas as second pillar within the Common Agricultural Policy. Europe’s main objective is to protect the social structure of rural areas and to promote the establishment of environmentally friendly farm management systems.

In 1992 the Convention on Biological Diversity (Rio Convention) was signed to improve international cooperation in this field. Austria ratified this agreement and established an adequate national law in 1995. To coordinate activities and programmes the „national biodiversity commission„ was founded. In 1996 Austria signed the „global plan of action„. This ratification initiated new tasks for Austria:

The „Index Seminum Austriae„ published by the Federal Ministry for Agriculture contains a general view of the gene-pool of old and typical Austrian varieties. In the „Austrian strategy to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity„ agriculture and forestry are represented.

The chapter on agriculture consists of several groups:

*    *    *

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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ATMOSPHERE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Federal Ministries of: Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management;  Transportation, Innovation and Technology; and Economic Affairs and Labor are responsible for atmosphere-related activities.  With regard to climate change, action is coordinated within committees  including ministries and social partners (“Inter-ministerial Committee for the Coordination of Measures to Protect Global Climate”) and the federal provinces (“Kyoto-Forum”). Measures have been developed at the level of expert working groups. For decision making on air quality regulations, the ministry responsible must coordinate decisions with other ministries, social partners and federal provinces.  Depending on the subject, competences are at provincial or local level (e. g. licensing process for plants and installations, building codes, regional planning).

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Legislation to protect the atmosphere has been reviewed and revised in part in the light of Agenda 21.  Already in place are energy and emission-related taxes including a mineral oil tax, a car registration tax and a motor vehicle tax. The introduction of a CO2/energy tax on natural gas and electricity was planned for 1996. The Government encourages industries to develop safe technologies through strict legislation and incentives such as subsidies and tax exemptions.

One of the fundamental provisions for protection of the atmosphere lies within the Industrial Code and the Clean Air Act for Steam Boilers, where a license for each new or modified installation is required. The determination of emission limit values and/or measures according to best available technology is carried out in the licensing procedure. For several categories of (new and existing) stationary emission sources explicit emission limit values and BAT requirements have been set by ordinance (boilers, waste combustion, solvent use, production and casting of iron and non-ferrous metals, production of bricks, glass, cement); emission limit values exist for cars, lorries and motor cycles. Details about these regulations can be found in the UN/ECE Major Review. Product regulations have been set with respect to sulphur content of fuels, heavy metals, several persistent organic pollutants and ozone depleting substances. The Ambient Air Quality Law prescribes air quality standards, the Smog Alert Act and the Ozone Law alert thresholds for several pollutants.

 The motor vehicle tax increases with engine power, surcharge for cars without catalytic converter. A general road use duty exists for heavy-duty trucks > 12 t. The fuel consumption levy applies to newly registered passenger cars and depends on the standard fuel consumption of the vehicle. Taxation on energy products exist for electricity, natural gas, petrol, diesel and fuel oil (part of the revenues earmarked for environmental and energy-saving measures and funding of public transport).   Measures for emission reduction, energy-saving and renewable energy in the commercial/industrial sector can receive financial support according to the federal Environmental Support Act. Subsidies for the construction and rehabilitation of residential buildings are increasingly coupled to energy efficiency parameters. Subsidies exist for the installation of solar collectors and heat pumps, for the purchase of electric vehicles, for biomass for energy use and district heating projects. In the agricultural sector, subsidies for organic and extensive (integrated husbandry and reduced fertilizer use) farming are granted.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Government promotes policies and programmes in the area of energy efficiency, environmentally sound and efficient transportation, industrial pollution control, sound land-use practices and management of toxic and other hazardous waste.  Greenhouse gas emissions shall be reduced mainly by domestic measures. Currently the strategy is being revised with regard to the Kyoto-Protocol; main focus is put on increased energy efficiency for residential housing, increased share of renewable energy sources, measures in regard to transport, waste and HFCs. The relatively high share of forested land and the use of sustainable forest management practices shall be ensured for the future and enhanced where possible, by implementing the Pan-European Criteria for Sustainable Forest Management, by preserving and increasing biodiversity and by reducing air pollution.  Regarding substances that deplete the ozone layer, the strategy comprises bans on production, placing on the market and use.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

Some 137 municipalities and communities (including almost all major cities) as well as eight Austrian laenders have formed a "Climate Alliance". Municipalities in the neighboring countries also participate in this Alliance. They have committed themselves to reducing their carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2010 through concrete measures in the field of traffic, energy, procurement, etc. and to supporting their partners in the Amazon region in the active preservation of rainforests.

Representatives of local authorities as well as of farmers, workers unions, business and industry (“social partners”) are involved in the process of law making. Decisions on licensing procedures, regional planning etc. happen at local level involving neighbors and people affected respectively.  Air quality standards are generally oriented towards the protection of the most sensible groups of the population, e. g. children. Climate change impacts could particularly hit inhabitants of the alpine regions and farmers; main policy focus is to take early action against climate change. 

Programmes and Projects   

There is a climate change programme which is coordinated on the experts level, not on the political level yet (October 2000).   A mix of measures related to energy supply, domestic energy consumption, industry and transport was considered essential. Regarding industry and agriculture, measures comprise a. o. promotion of combined heat and power generation, consulting services for efficient energy use in industry, favorable conditions for growing biofuels and for the use of biogas, support of organic farming as well as extensive farming in general (integrated husbandry and reduced fertilizer use, leading to a. o. reduced energy demand), preservation of the existing structure with a large share of small farms (favorable for local sale, leading to lower transport needs). The average size of an Austrian farm is about 13,7 hectare (agricultural areas) respectively 26,8 hectares (agricultural and wooded areas).

Ban of CFCs, halons, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform and methyl bromide; HCFCs are only permitted as refrigerant in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment; exemptions are restrictively given for certain essential or critical uses. Maintenance of a vital forest as carbon sink (protection against air pollutants detrimental to forests, reduction of game damages, development of biological diversity, sustainable forest management); extension of the forest area.

Status 

The implementation of the 1991 Master Transportation Concept is in progress, and transportation issues are an important part of the Austrian National Environment Plan. In order to have a less polluting and safer transportation system, issues such as relative cost-effectiveness of alternative systems, transportation technologies, mass transit systems, environmental impact assessment and safety have all been comprehensively addressed.  After a decrease at the beginning and an increase at the end of the 80s, CO2 emissions have stabilized in the 90ies and show a slight increase within the last years. The CO2 emissions per GDP index show a steady decrease for more than twenty years now. Other gases contribute to 20 per cent of total GHG emissions (in CO2 equivalents); whereas CH4 emissions have slightly decreased in the 90ies, N2O emissions have risen due to increased use of catalytic converters in cars.

The Government supports the conservation and enhancement of sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases by promoting biological farming without the use of mineral fertilizers and by reforestation activities. The use of biomass is promoted through subsidies.  There is no production of CFCs in Austria, and the Government provides information on refrigerator maintenance. As of 1 January 1995, CFCs were completely phased out. The target date for completely phasing out H-CFCs is 1 January 2002.  Deposition of acidifying substances is above critical levels in a considerable percentage of the ecosystems; there are widespread exceedances of critical levels for eutrophication. Tropospheric ozone pollution exceeds the WHO air quality standards for human health and for protection of forests all over the country. These problems are mainly related to transboundary air pollution. The current level of air quality with regard to particulate matter is considered to have serious impacts on human health.  Impacts of climate change may predominantly have negative impacts on hydrology (and therefore on water and hydro power supply as well as agriculture), on alpine protection forests, on winter tourism (due to reduced snow cover) and on mountain communities (due to increased danger of landslides and torrents).

About 45 per cent of Austrias land area is forested area. Forest area has increased by 5 per cent and standing stock by about 20 per cent since the 60ies. CO2 removal rates amounted to about 12 million tons at the end of the 80ies and about 8 million tons in the year 1998.  A 99% reduction of the total emission of ODS compared to the applicable base year (1986) has been achieved.  

Challenges  

The WHO air quality standard for NO2 (40 µg/m3 as annual mean) is exceeded at sites influenced by road traffic; exceedances occur at several sites on a few days per year. Also air pollution by particulate matter is a problem mainly related to cities and agglomerations. Peak levels of ground level ozone (> 180 µg/m3 as one hour mean value) can be measured especially in northeast Austria on several days during the summer season; exceedances of the WHO standard (120 µg/m3 as eight hour mean value) on up to eighty days occur in urban and rural areas all over Austria.

While no major problems occurred with regard to eliminating the use of ozone depleting substances, the situation is different for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Rising demand for road transport inside and outside of Austria, international treaties as well as missing harmonization within the EU with respect to fiscal measures, an already high share of hydro power in electricity generation, the fear of competitive disadvantages in the EU internal market, legislative and administrative competences scattered between different ministries and different levels of administration pose problems for the reduction of greenhouse gases.  Austria already has a high share of forested area with sustainable forest management. Increases in quantity and quality can still be expected, but the possibilities for further improvement is limited. In addition to the direct reduction of CO2-emissions much importance is attached to renewable resources.  

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Several action programmes have been launched to raise public awareness concerning ground level ozone and climate change. Target groups were schools (information material for teachers, school competitions), decision makers at community level (regular exchange of information, community competitions for best solutions) and the general public (brochures, radio and TV spots). The campaigns aimed at scrutinizing day-to-day behaviour and switching to more environmentally sustainable products, modes of transport etc. Modern media as CD-ROMs shall give an incentive to deal with the problem and give playful access to detailed underlying information.

The “Ecologisation of Schools” programme is central for environmental education; it focuses on the school’s function as a role model, whose environmental classes will be only credible if the school is run in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. It includes an analysis of the ecological and technical state of the school and development of improvement plans (energy consumption, air emissions, waste...). It started with a pilot phase with 22 schools, followed by national competition with over 100 participating schools. Presently. Currently a regional infrastructure is being set up and the aim is to reach about 1000 schools in the next three years up to 2002 all over Austria.

Information 

The Austrian Academy of Sciences has published a study on the air quality criteria, and a GAW monitoring site has been established i.e.. for total ozone column at the Sonnblick (3,105 m a.s.l.).  The government participates actively in the strengthening of the Global Climate Observing system at the national level with seven observation stations and in the Global Ozone Observing System with one observation station. Austria supports the findings of the second assessment report of the IPCC concerning threshold levels of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.

An air emissions inventory for a series of pollutants is maintained by the Austrian Federal Environment Agency. The inventory conforms to CORINAIR methodology and EMEP and IPCC reporting standards. Air quality measurements are performed at some 100 sites for several pollutants; annual reports allow an overview about ambient air quality and exceedances of AAQ standards. Both emission inventory and air quality measurement information are used for assessment and planning purposes.

 Emission inventory data and up-to-date air quality data are presented on the web site of the Austrian Federal Environment Agency (http://www.ubavie.gv.at). General information about air quality and climate change are published periodically (e. g. Report on ground level ozone, national communications to the UNFCCC) and is available in printed form as well as on the web (http://www.bmu.gv.at). Reports on special topics regarding air quality are published by the Federal Environment Agency. Information on climate change is compiled/distributed a. o. by the Austrian Council on Climate Change (http://www.accc.gv.at) and the climate change node of the Austrian Network Environmental Research (http://nuf.boku.ac.at/cc.htm).  Pollutant and GHG emission data and air quality measurement data provided within the framework of UN/ECE CLRTAP (EMEP) and UNFCCC as well as to the European Environment Agency. The climate change node of the Austrian Network Environmental Research is a platform for sharing scientific information on climate change at national and international level.

Research and Technologies 

Governmental activities in the field of energy, transport and industry concentrate on the development of safe technologies, R&D, development of new and renewable energy systems, public awareness- raising including product labeling, EIA and life-cycle analysis and environmental audits as well as introduction of economic instruments. The Austrian Federal Government publishes Energy Reports containing reviews of current energy supply mixes.  Fixed continuous measurement of CO, ozone, particulate matter, NO2 and SO2 respectively is performed at about 70–200 sites in Austria. Up-to-date information on air quality is made available to the public. Measurements of heavy metals and some persistent organic pollutants in soil have been carried out extensively in Austria throughout the last years; furthermore bio monitoring programs have been used for monitoring of deposition.

Research on renewable energy sources (e. g. biomass) is supported as well as the development of marketable products, e. g. by building „clusters“ of small producers to allow for an optimized exchange of know-how. In the framework of five-year research programs for environmentally sound transport (vehicle technology, integrated logistics concepts, improvement of public transport) and for sustainable economy (e.g. sustainable buildings, renewable raw materials, regional-scale economy) support for development and pilot-projects is granted.  he Austrian Network Environmental Research has established a “Climate Change” node to interlink Austrian research groups working in this field. Research is conducted at several universities and other institutes and covers a broad field of topics, e. g. evaluation of long-term climate data series, participation in the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch program, monitoring of stratospheric ozone, research about alpine regions (mesoscale weather effects, vegetation changes), glacier research, modeling of forest development in relation to climate change, development of a carbon balance model, etc.

Financing   

The private sector is obliged to conform with emission limit values for stationary and mobile sources and other kinds of environmental standards and therefore contributes a great deal to the protection of the atmosphere. Public funds according to the Environmental Support Act is available for activities which are more ambitious than existing legal standards; funds are granted for the business sector a. o. for reduction of pollutant emissions, for use of renewable energy and for energy saving measures. Public funding, partly coupled to energy efficiency and related parameters, is granted also for the construction of residential housing. Agricultural subsidies are granted for sustainable farming practices which lead to decreasing emissions and energy consumption. Scientific research on air quality and climate change issues is funded by the public to a large extent.

 Subsidies, e. g. according to the Environmental Support Act, cover only a part of the necessary investments. They serve as an incentive for the private sector to spend money for measures which would otherwise not be implemented for economic reasons.

Cooperation

Several Austrian energy agencies participate in international activities directed at energy saving and use of renewable energy sources. The federal government also directly supports projects for information transfer like the „Multilingual Urban Network for the Integration of City Planners and Involved local Actors“ (MUNICIPIA, in the framework program TURA of the EU Commission), which provides a web based best practice database also for environmental technology, or like international summer schools on solar energy, which are held in Austria since 1982 and which foster the exchange of information at academic level. Direct funding of projects in neighboring countries in central Europe, related to flue gas cleaning and energy saving, has also benefited technology transfer issues.

Austria has concluded a series of bilateral treaties on cooperation in environment matters with its neighboring countries in the Eastern part of Europe since 1985, directed a. o. at enhancing energy efficiency and use of renewable energy sources, at collecting and exchanging environmental data and information and at developing educational capacities and structures. Austria plays an active role in multilateral and regional cooperations such as the Central European Initiative (C.E.I.), the Regional Environmental Center in Budapest and the Central European Environmental Data Request Facility (CEDAR).  The Montreal Protocol, London Amendment, Copenhagen Amendment, and Montreal Amendment have been ratified and implemented; the Beijing Amendment will be ratified within the next year, the measure to reach its objective have already been implemented successfully.  Austria has signed the Kyoto Protocol  and its target, according to the burden sharing agreement within the EU, is a GHG reduction of 13 % for the first commitment period compared to the emissions of the year 1990. Mitigation of ozone depletion shall be reached by a complete elimination of ODS. Air emissions should not exceed 39 kt for SO2, 103 kt for NOx, 159 kt for anthropogenic  MVOC and 66 kt for NH3 in 2010; compared to the emissions of 1990 this represents reductions of 57 %, 45 %, 54 % and 18 % respectively.  

Austria takes measures to reduce emissions and protect sinks, is preparing a national plan to reach the Kyoto-Target, annually updates and communicates an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, has submitted national communications according to the provisions of the protocol, has provided financial contributions to the GEF and bilaterally, promotes research and systematic observation as well as education and public awareness related to the climate system.   The country is party to the UN/ECE Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution and has ratified or signed its protocols (EMEP 1984, sulphur 1985, nitrogen oxides 1988, VOC 1991, sulphur 1994, persistent organic pollutants 1998, heavy metals 1998, protocol to abate acidification, eutrophication and ground-level ozone 1999). Questions of transboundary air pollution play an increasing role within the EU; besides existing and developing air quality directives for several pollutants and directives prescribing emission standards for stationary and mobile sources a directive on national emission ceilings for four pollutants is currently prepared.   Projects that target transboundary air pollution comprise a. o. model development for ground-level ozone concentrations, research on damage caused by ozone in alpine forests, monitoring of heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants in ecosystems.

Austria contributes US$ 1.5 million per annum to the Vienna/Montreal trust funds and the interim multilateral ozone fund (1996). Austria hosted the 1995 Conference of the European Transport Ministers, and will also be the host of the UN-ECE Conference on Transport and Environment (November 1997). In 1982, Austria ratified the LRTAP-Convention and its protocols. The government participates in the Global Observing System. A bilateral project with Romania was planned in 1996.  The Montreal Protocol (1987) was ratified in 1989, the London Amendment (1990) was ratified in 1992, and the Copenhagen Amendment (1992) was ratified in 1995. The latest reports to the Montreal Protocol Secretariat were prepared in 1995. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was ratified in 1994 and the latest report to the UNFCCC Secretariat was submitted in 1994. Austria has already fully complied with the obligations of the amendments, and national legislation concerning timetables for the reduction of ozone depleting substances is even stricter than in the Copenhagen amendments.

After UNCED, Austria signed the EU treaty to reduce on-road transit traffic through Austria. Strict emission thresholds and very low sulphur content in diesel fuel (0.05%) were established and, in 1993, leaded gasoline was phased out. There are obligatory annual emission controls of on-road vehicles and continuous controls of important (large) emitters.  The Government provides exchange of data and information on transboundary atmospheric pollution control at the national and international levels. Training opportunities are provided in the area of transboundary atmospheric pollution control. The national capacity to predict atmospheric changes and fluctuations is good. Early warning systems have been strengthened. There are ten background air quality monitoring sites (mostly near borders) and more than 300 sites for a nuclear radiation early warning system.

*    *    *

This information is based on Austria's submission to the 5th and 9th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: March 2001.

For national information on air quality and air pollution, click here.
Click here for national information from the Web site of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
For the access to the Web Site of the Ozone Secretariat, click here:

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BIODIVERSITY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Federal Ministry of the Environment, regional governments, the Austrian National Association for Gene Reserves (OeNGENE) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (Federal Agricultural Institute and Research Center and Federal Forestry Experimental Institute) are primarily responsible for the conservation of biological diversity and genetic resources in Austria. In Austria, regional governments are primarily responsible for nature conservation legislation and its implementation.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Convention on Biological Diversity was signed in 1992 and ratified on 18 August 1994. The first report will be submitted in 1997. Austria acceded to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in 1982. and the latest annual report was submitted in 1995.

Among the protection categories under the various regional nature protection laws (species protection, natural monument, landscape protection zone, nature park, national park), nature protection zones are the strictest form of territorial protection, emphasizing the protection and preservation of natural, self-regulating and self-maintaining ecosystems and ecosystem complexes with a high level of biological and structural diversity. As of 1991, some 375,000 ha were officially registered as nature protection zones in Austria.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

There is a national strategy for the preservation of traditional local varieties of plants, endangered biotopes and symbioses, agricultural fauna, and seven breeds of cattle.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

The objectives of the nature conservation programmes, which have to be approved by the local authorities and population, are the preservation and enhancement of biodiversity and the conservation of habitats, creation of combined biotope systems and preparation of biotope conservation programmes, water protection, biotope mapping and the mapping of endangered animal species. Particular attention is being paid to the identification of the RAMSAR reserves (Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitats) and biogenetic reserves as well as the creation of national parks.

Nature conservation programmes are implemented only if approved by local authorities and local population. Breeder organizations and individual farmers are involved in the decision-making when conserving agricultural fauna. The authorities also work in close cooperation with research associations and nature conservation societies. About 100 institutions are involved in biodiversity programmes. They carry out 124 protection and 644 conservation projects.

There is another research programme on soil resources and soil biology the objectives of which are to improve the basic knowledge about the functions of soil organisms and interactions between different species of soil organisms. The Research Against Forest Decline programme, on the other hand, focuses on the development of a central integrated stress hypothesis which will help to understand the multiple causes of forest decline. This theoretical understanding will be translated into practical methods of stress diagnosis, stress evaluation and forest stabilization. There is also a programme for the preservation of the genetic diversity of forest tree species.

A Research programme called Sustainable Development of the Austrian Man-Dominated Landscapes aims at minimizing the substance flow and exploitation of energy resources caused by humans. Top priority is given to the establishment of an indigenous regeneration reserve which is not subject to external sources and favors natural regeneration in conjunction with small-scale forest management.

Status   

Of the 790 species of fern and flowering plants growing mostly in forests, 12% are listed as endangered.

Challenges  

The estimates on the seriousness of the biodiversity loss of flora and fauna, gathered from the Federal States and from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, vary because species which are generally not at risk at the national level may still be endangered at the regional level if they are isolated in small enclaves. At both regional and local levels, loss of fauna has been primarily the result of habitat destruction and pollution. Loss of flora has also been caused by habitat destruction as well as by the introduction of foreign plants and animals.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

With regard to the global capacity-building cooperation, Austria participates in the GEF capacity-building Si-A-PAZ (Nicaragua/Costa Rica) and in different programmes for indigenous self-administration.

Information   

The latest comprehensive base line survey on the state of biodiversity in Austria was conducted in 1993. A survey on the biodiversity in forests is being carried out within the Austrian Forest Inventory. There is a special project (Hemerobia of Austrian Forest Ecosystems) gathering data for evaluating the anthropogenic impact (natural occurrence of various forms of vegetation) on the ecosystems of forests. The red lists provide information on territorial losses and endangered animal and plant species. In addition to the federal list of Endangered Plant Species in Austria, several federal regions have compiled their own red lists. With regard to the agricultural fauna, continuous evaluation is undertaken by blood-samples.  

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing 

Public financial support has been provided to private initiatives aiming at the assessment, study and systematic observation of agricultural flora.

Cooperation

Austria has attempted to make Austrian financing facilities available for international programmes through the ECO Fund (foreign assistance) and within the financing mechanisms of the EBRD and World Bank trust funds.

Austria cooperates with other European institutes (in the case of capacity-building for agricultural flora) and has established contacts with the Danube riparian countries. A series of international programmes has been launched for Central and Eastern Europe within the framework of the OECD and with the support of international financing institutions. The most important of these are the Danube River Basin Programme, the Black Sea Programme, the Black Triangle programme, and the Danube Delta Programme. Within the framework of these programmes, Austria has tried to increase the input of its environmental technologies and know-how.

Austria became party to the Convention on the Preservation of European Wild Plants and Animals and their Natural Habitats in 1993.

*    *    *

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

For national information on nature conservation, click here.
For access to the Web Site of the Convention on Biological Diversity, click here:
For access to the Web Site of the CITES Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the CMS Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the Convention on the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, click here:
For the country-by-country, Man in the Biosphere On-Line Query System, click here:
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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DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT

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   

There are no deserts or areas in danger of becoming deserts in Austria.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

Austria has established regional desertification monitoring centers in Senegal and in Burkina Faso.

Austria is in the process of ratifying the UN Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa.

*    *    *

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

For access to the Web Site of the Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, click here:

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ENERGY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Austria is a federal republic with nine states “Bundesländer”.  The Federal Constitution allocates responsibilities either to the federal level (e.g. energy taxation, energy statistics, energy metering, energy supply emergency regulations) or to both federal level and the level of the states (e.g. electricity, gas, district heating, energy conservation, subsidies, prohibition of nuclear power).

The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labour (BMWA) is the main body responsible for energy matters on the federal level. Other ministries involved in energy policy matters include: Agriculture and Forestry, Environment and Water Management; Transport, Innovation and Technology; and Finance. Energy policy – as all other policies – is formulated and implemented in close co-operation with the social partner organizations, i.e. organizations representing important groups of society (employers, employees, agriculture), and in dialogue with NGOs  and the public.

On the level of states the responsible bodies for energy matters are units of the authorities of State Governments. What was said of the role of social partner organizations and interaction with NGOs and the public on the federal level does also apply to the level of states.  Responsible public bodies at both federal and state level make use of the expertise of organizations usually referred to as “energy agencies” (in Austria mainly non-profit organizations dealing with energy efficiency and renewable energies) and academic institutions.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Energy related aspects are negotiated in respective committees or working groups and legal acts (e.g. a draft of a law) are submitted to parliament for further treatment, or other cases (e.g. a political basis document as the Energy Report) have to be finalized by the council of ministers.

Residential/commercial sector

As far as the insulation of buildings is concerned the states are responsible for creating a regulatory framework that promotes energy efficiency.  In order to ensure a nation-wide coherent, strategy an agreement between the Federal State and the states under Article 15a of the Federal Constitution was concluded which obliges the states to adopt stringent energy efficiency legislation.  Since 1995, when this agreement entered into force, all states have adopted legal regulations which inter alia include provisions on k-values for buildings and efficiency standards for room heating and hot water supply.   A law on the individual metering of heat consumption of apartments in multiple-apartment residential buildings (Heizkostenabrechungsgesetz) now enables individual households to actually influence their energy costs (e.g. through consumption behavior or insulation measures) whereas before the total energy bill of the building was simply allocated in relation to e.g. the square meters of the various apartments.

In the area of household appliances the consumer is aided in his purchasing decision by – mandatory – energy efficiency labels. Products already covered by labeling regulations are refrigerators, washing machines and dryers. For dishwashers and household lamps directives have already been adopted at EU level. They will soon be transformed into national law. In addition an EU-directive for air conditioners is planned.

Transport:

In the transport sector apart from the taxation of fuels, vehicle taxation is used as a powerful tool to stimulate energy efficiency improvements.  In 1992 the fuel consumption tax (‘Normverbrauchsabgabe’) was introduced and is now imposed in addition to the VAT, which is 20 % . The fuel consumption tax has to be paid at the time of the purchase of a new car and depends on the fuel consumption of the vehicle. Before the introduction of the fuel consumption tax, the VAT rate for vehicles was 32 %.

As the fuel consumption tax increases the cost of vehicles depending on fuel consumption, this measure is an incentive for the purchase of energy efficient vehicles.  In addition to the fuel consumption tax a tax on engine performance, which is collected by insurance companies together with insurance premiums (Kraftfahrzeugssteuer), is a tool to stimulate energy efficiency improvements. As it depends on the performance of the engine it favors vehicles with a lower fuel consumption and therefore contributes to improving energy efficiency.

Industry:

Due to the considerable differences in energy consumption in the various industry branches caused by the different production processes, a general assessment of energy efficiency is impossible. That is why – in contrast to the residential/commercial sector and transport – no specific energy efficiency regulations exist for industry. However, the industry sector is subject to environmental legislation which also strongly affects energy efficiency.   Austria further trusts the effectiveness of other three instruments – i.e. RT&D, information dissemination and financial support instruments. These, together with the companies’ permanent endeavors to cut their energy costs has led to substantial efficiency improvements over the last years. Since 1990, industry’s total final energy consumption has decreased even in absolute terms.

The Austrian market for oil and oil products is a deregulated, open and competitive one. There is no regulation of prices.  However, there is price monitoring – and a complementary consultation structure – in order to try to avoid that fuel prices in Austria do not exceed a certain limit which is defined in relation to EU average fuel price level. Implementation of the EU internal market for natural gas is in progress in Austria. Currently natural gas is sold at tariffs which were approved by the responsible authority, the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labor.  According to new legislation – which should enter into force soon – the market is 50 % open as of 10 August 2000. That means end users with an annual consumption of more than 25 million m3 are free to chose their supplier. As of 1 October 2002 the natural gas market will be 100 % open with the possibility for every natural gas consumer to freely chose his supplier.

Implementation of the EU internal market for electricity is already well advanced in Austria. Currently all electricity consumers with an annual consumption of more than 20 GWh are free to chose their supplier. According to new legislation – which should enter into force soon – the market will be 100 % open as of 1 October 2001. Currently electricity is sold to consumers not yet entitled to freely chose their supplier at tariffs approved by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labor. There are also fixed tariffs for providing the grid and for using the grid. On the level of states there are feed-in tariffs for electricity produced on the basis of renewable energy sources fixed through decrees.  he responsibility for regulation of district heat prices – in principle a federal responsibility – was transferred to the states. They have the possibility to regulate prices but only some of them – where district heat is of relevance – do this.

For all other energies there are no price regulations. For exceptional circumstances a federal law gives the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labor the possibility to regulate prices for grid bound energies, i.e. electricity, gas and district heat.

Relevant Levies and taxes

The following are the tax rates for mineral oil products:

There are tax exemptions for: 

                -   fuels made exclusively as aircraft fuel, 

                -  mineral oil used as aircraft fuel,

                -  mineral oil used as fuels for boat transport (on the River Danube and the Lake Constance),

                -  liquid gas used as fuels in urban transport and 

                -  some other fuels for certain purposes.

Fuel oil extra light used by railway companies for rail vehicles is effectively taxed at a rate of ATS 950,--(EUR 69,04)/1.000 l (instead 3.890,-- (EUR 282,70)/1.000l).    Mineral oil used in plants for the production of electricity, liquid gas and fuel oil for heating purposes (heavy, medium, light) is exempted from taxation.

In plants for the combined production of heat and power the part of liquid gas, fuel oil (heavy, medium, light) attributable to the production of heat is subject to taxation (ATS 500,-- (EUR 36,34)/t in case of fuel oil; ATS 600,-- (EUR 43,60)/t in case of liquid gas). The quantity used for electricity production is tax free.  Fuel oil extra light is taxed at a reduced rate of ATS 950,-- (EUR 69,04)/1.000 l (instead of (EUR 282,70) ATS 3.890,--/1.000 l).

Electricity (with some exemptions for companies in the electricity sector) is taxed at a rate of ATS 0,2064 (EUR 0,015)/kWh. Auto-producers are exempted from this tax if their annual production is not more than 5.000 kWh.

Natural gas (with some exemptions) is taxed at a rate of ATS 0,60 (EUR 0,04)/m3. Companies in the manufacturing sector can apply for a refund of that part of the electricity and gas taxes which exceeds an amount equivalent to 0,35 % of their value-added.   The use of solid and liquid biomass, of biogas, of thermal solar equipment and geothermal equipment for heat production is not taxed.   Furthermore see policies to promote energy efficiency and conservation in Annex II and policies to promote renewable in Annex III.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Austria’s energy policy is committed to the following four goals:  security, (cost-) efficiency, environmental compatibility, and social acceptability of the energy supply system.  These energy policy goals are fully in line with those of the EU and the principles of the International Energy Agency.

In order to achieve these objectives the Federal Government especially makes use of the following strategies:

These strategies are complemented by a number of activities in various energy policy action fields:  Liberalization of energy markets, Diversification of energy sources and suppliers, IEA crisis-mechanisms, Mandatory oil stocks, Prohibition of nuclear energy, and Price monitoring.   The Energy Report (and Energy Action Plan) of the Federal Government describes the Austrian energy supply situation and contains a forecast of energy consumption as well as energy policy goals and measures.  Austria will continue her way of energy policy whereby some pillars beyond the already mentioned ones are setting targets that need special attention.

  Referring to goals the process of energy market-liberalization has to be recalled. Regarding electricity this process is well advanced, regarding gas initial steps are set. Further implementation will continue basing on the Energy Liberalization Act from July 2000, which will enter into force soon.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

Energy production and distribution are nearly completely organized in a private sector. The Federal Republic and the nine states (Bundesländer) respectively the governments of them in principle only set the (legal) framework for activities.

Programmes and Projects 

Most programmes aim at several goals:

The  Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Forestry, Environment and Water Management, have commissioned a projec Energy-/Emmissions-Prognosis and –Scenarios 2000-2020. First results are discussed at present. This study will be part of the next Energy Report of the Federal Government, respectively basis for modification of the Energy Action Programme of the last Energy Report.   The Energy Report of the Federal Government (and Energy Action Programme) is the basis-document of energy policy in Austria. The Energy Action Programme was set up in 1993 and is part of the 1993 Energy Report, which was approved by the Federal Government and taken note of by Parliament. A further Energy Report Action, which contains a review of the Energy Action Programme, was set up in 1996. It was also approved by the Federal Government and taken note of by Parliament. – The Austrian Energy Action Programme contains the following measures with relevance to energy efficiency:

 General measures with relevance to energy efficiency:

Room Heating and hot water preparation:

  Process heat:

Mobility:

-    co-ordination of aspects of transport policy relevant for energy with energy policy objectives,

-         information of drivers on energy saving,

-         improvement of the attractiveness of public transport,

-         increased co-operation of public transport companies,

-         integration of regional planning and planning of multi-modal transport infrastructure,

-         improvement of the attractiveness of walking and biking,

-         traffic information and control systems, co-operative transport management systems,

-         reduction of avoidable traffic peaks in professional and holiday traffic,

-         increased use of new communication technologies,

-         support of multi-modal transport,

-         improvement of the attractiveness of railways,

-         automatic road toll systems and road pricing,

-         programme for reduction of fuel consumption of passenger cars,

-         technological improvement of bus and railway transport,

-         support for electrical cars,

-         intensifying research.

Lighting and data processing:  optimization of lighting and electronic systems.

Biomass:

-         support of modern technologies for the combustion of biomass,

-         support of the use of biomass in CHP production.

Coal:

-         support of the use of new combustion technologies in small scale stoves.

Natural gas:

-         research concerning energy efficient use of natural gas,

-    support of modern, environmentally efficient technologies for small scale stoves.

Electricity:

-         exploitation of the potential for CHP,

-         energy saving through an ecologically optimized transmission line system,

-         efficient use of energy through a reform of pricing regulations.

District heat:

-         calculation of costs according to actual heat consumption.

 

Obviously the above mentioned programmes overlap partly.  For an overview over further programmes see Annex II (energy efficiency) and Annex III (renewables), for details by sectors and by states see Annex IV.

Due to the recent high oil prices, the Federal Government  - followed by the Governments of the States - decided on a subsidy to heating expenditures of low-income households.   Measures in the energy sector are considered essential for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Measures include inter alia promotion of district heating (including biomass); increased utilization of renewable sources of energy as solar and wind energy, biomass, sewage gas and biogas (special promotion programs, installation of energy agencies for consulting purposes, increased feed tariffs for electricity); energy-saving in residential heating (tightened minimum requirements in building code, criteria for subsidies for residential construction and rehabilitation); combined heat and power generation; consulting programs for efficient energy use in industry.

Programs comprise inter alia enhancement of public transport systems and increase the quality of their services, improving conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, projects for car-free tourism and mobility management, fuel consumption levy for cars, favorable conditions for biofuels.

Status 

Availability of Renewable Energy Resources in Austria (present estimations)

 

ENERGY-RESOURCES

additional Potentials  (GWh) [1]

 

present use (GWh) [2]

Biomass

up to 31000

approx. 34600[3]

Wind

up to 4250

approx. 140

Hydropower <10 MW

up to 3350

approx. 4150

PV

up to 1000

approx. 2

Agricultural Biogas

up to 750

approx. 21 (only electricity)

Landfill/Sewage Gas

up to 350

approx. 200 (only electricity)

See also enclosed figures „Indigenous Energy Production„, „Energy Imports„, „Net Import Tangent„, „Total Primary Energy Consumption„, and „Total Final Energy Consumption„ for the years 1973 to 1997.   With key-date 1 January 2000 the proofed reserves of oil come to 11,8 million tons, of natural gas to 26,4 billion cubic meters.

See enclosed figures „Electricity Consumption in GWh„ for the years 1973 to 1997 (ANNEX V).

-   Solar / hydro / wind energy;

-   Nuclear energy;

-   Others (Please specify).

The share of Renewable Energy Resources on Total Energy Consumption in Austria Development from 1993 to 

1998 (in PJ and %) 

 

 

1993

1994

1995

1996

1997

1998

Total Energy Consumption (in PJ)

1.095,952

1.090,078

1.127,413

1.165,460

1.189,191

1.185,346

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

share of

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ambient Heat1

3,966

4,293

4,744

5,213

5,796

6,346

Biofuels

39,674

38,977

40,529

42,383

46,679

45,003

Wood

85,549

80,450

83,382

87,436

81,255

79,817

Sum

129,190

123,720

128,655

135,031

133,730

131,166

Hydropower

132,200

128,607

133,500

123,224

130,025

133,834

Sum

261,390

252,327

262,155

258,255

263,755

264,999

Combustible Biogenic Residues

8,678

9,353

9,444

11,528

11,828

10,426

Sum

270,068

261,680

271,599

269,783

275,583

275,425

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Energy Consumption (in %)

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

share of

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ambient Heat1

0,36%

0,39%

0,42%

0,45%

0,49%

0,54%

Biofuels

3,62%

3,58%

3,59%

3,64%

3,93%

3,80%

Wood

7,81%

7,38%

7,40%

7,50%

6,83%

6,73%

Sum

11,79%

11,35%

11,41%

11,59%

11,25%

11,07%

Hydropower

12,06%

11,80%

11,84%

10,57%

10,93%

11,29%

Sum

23,85%

23,15%

23,25%

22,16%

22,18%

22,36%

Combustible Biogenic Residues

0,79%

0,86%

0,84%

0,99%

0,99%

0,88%

Sum

24,64%

24,01%

24,09%

23,15%

23,17%

23,24%

Final Data (ÖSTAT 1998)

See also enclosed figures Total Primary Energy Consumption Total Final Energy Consumption and Decoupling of Energy Consumption and Economic Growth for the years 1973 to 1997 and Consumption and Structure of Renewable Energy Sources for the years 1995, 1996 and 1997 - preliminary data (ANNEX V).

The utilization of nuclear fission for energy supply is prohibited in Austria by a federal law that entered into force on 15th December 1978 as a result of a referendum. Austria does not regard nuclear energy as a viable strategy-option to combat climate change as nuclear energy represents a hazardous technology that is potentially extremely expensive and which is incompatible with the principles of sustainable development.  Market liberalization in Austria (regarding electricity and gas) seems to be in a early stage too early for a reliable assessment of the situation.

Challenges

Energy related activities cause 80 per cent of CO2 emissions (transport and space heating contribute 1/4 of total emissions each, energy industry less than 1/5), more than 85 per cent of NOx emissions (more than half of total emissions by transport, about 1/5 by space heating), 80 per cent of SO2 emissons (1/3 of total emissions by space heating) and about 35 per cent of anthrop. NMVOC emissions. (Sector assignment according to IPCC inventory reporting format.)  Measured at the total CO2-emissions (1997) the most immediate attention requires the transport sector (with a share of more than 29%) followed by the residential sector (with a share of nearly 21%).

Generally it could be seen as a barrier that in Austria measures are set both federal level and states levels. This leads to a variety of measures which are – in details – differently designed and makes it rather difficult to overview the whole landscape of activities. But this is a consequence of the constitutional reality in Austria which – on the other hand – has the great advantage that measures are tailor-made for needs at the regional and local levels. Since Austria’s accession to the EU the situation has become even more complex due to the fact, that with the European Commission there is now an additional player and that certain activities have to be co-ordinated among Member States. But on the other hand being embedded in the European context has also synergetic effects for activities on the national and sub-national levels in Austria.  A barrier for measures in most areas of energy and non-energy policy is certainly the permanent and increasing pressure to reduce public budgets and personnel resources.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

Energy auditing services and agencies at the level of the states offer advice all over Austria in the fields of energy and environment to private organizations (housing companies, building societies, consultants, architects, suppliers, etc. See Information dissemination in Annex II (energy efficiency„) and Annex III (renewables).

Information 

Energy related information is disseminated either manually or electronically in form of bookletts, brochures (studies) etc. by responsible federal ministeries, state governments, agencies, private organisations and academic institutions.  Information which is available to the public is mostly tax-free (see information on dissemination in Annex II and Annex III).   In reaction on the White Paper refering to renewable sources of energy, the Federal Ministries of Economic Affairs and Labour and of Agriculture and Forestry, Environment and Water Management commissioned a study preliminarily called Renewable Strategies to prepare a campaign for take-off. The study will be presented and discussed at the end of November 2000 before completion.

Research and Technologies 

The enclosed figures „Structure of TPES in %, International Comparison„ and „Shares of Renewables in TPES in %, International Comparison„ show impressivly that Austria is very successful in development and utilization of renewables (ANNEX V). This aspect gains additional importance taking into account that Austria does not use nuclear energy (see answer to question 19.).   In 1997 29% of the total government energy research budget of 354,081 Millions ATS were spent on renewables with the following shares in detail:

 

 

in Mio ATS

in %

Energy conservation

117,211

33,1

Renewable sources of energy

102,391*

28,9

Power and storage

50,612

14,3

Nuclear fusion

23,150

6,5

Fossil fuels

23,325

6,6

Supporting technics

37,392

10,6

 * Biomass 56%, Hydro: Large (capacity of 10 MW and above) 8%, Hydro: Small (capacity less than 10 MW) 2%, Solar: Heating and Cooling 16%, Solar: Photo electric 11%, Solar: Thermal electric 0%, Wind 6%, Geothermal energy 1% For detailed development of energy R&D Budget see enclosed figure „Energy Research, Development & Demonstration Budget 1995-1997„ (ANNEX V).

Financing 

 See information under Research and Technologies.

 Cooperation

Since the accession to the European Union the European Commission also has an important role in Austria’s energy policy. In a not so direct way – but nevertheless very important too – international organizations, e.g. IEA, UN-ECE and the Energy Charter Secretariat, do have an impact on Austria’s energy policy. Austria takes measures to reduce emissions and protect sinks, annually updates and communicates an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions, has submitted national communications according to the provisions of the protocol, has provided financial contributions to the GEF and bilaterally, promotes research and systematic observation as well as education and public awareness related to the climate system. As to the Montreal Protocol, Austria has issued bans on production, placing on the market and use of prohibited substances.

  In regard to the Kyoto Protocol, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Environment and Water Management drafted a paper  Climate Strategy 2000-2008/2012 which covers seven areas of measures (room heating, electricity  and heat generation, waste management, transport, industry, agriculture and forestry, greenhouse gases other than CO2). This draft strategy is at present subject of political discussion.

Kyoto Protocol to the UN-Framework Convention on Climate Change, 1997 Following COP 3 in December 1997 in Kyoto the EU committed itself to a legally binding emissions reduction target of –8% for six greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N2O and the three fluorine compounds HFCs, PFCs, SF6) until the period 2008/2012 on the basis of the year 1990. According to the burden sharing within the EU set at the Council of EU-Environment Ministers in June 1998 Austria has to reduce its emissions by –13%.

White Paper for a Community Strategy and Action Plan, Communication from the European Commission ENERGY FOR THE FUTURE: RENEWABLE SOURCES OF ENERGY, 1997.  This White Paper required doubling of the share of renewable in the fuel mix (TPES) from 6% to 12 %, an amount Austria has surpassed long ago; nevertheless forcing of renewable will be continued currently and accompanied by a campaign for take-off.  White Paper “An Energy Policy for the European Union” from the European Commission, 1996.  The directives of the Austrian energy policy are fully in line with the directives in this White Paper.



[1] For Biomass Primary Energy , for Wind, Hydropower, PV and Gases End Energy (only electricity)

[2] See fn 1

[3] without combustible biogenic residues

1 Ambient Heat = Solar Thermal Energy, Photovoltaics, Heat Pumps, Geothermical Energy, Wind

 

ANNEX I


The Relevant (Legal) Framework

 

I.              Federal Responsibility

II.            Responsibility of Provinces

 

Constitution

 

 

 

- Electricity

x

x

 

- Gas

x

x

 

- District Heating

x

x

 

- Energy Conservation

x

x

 

- Energy Supply Emergency Regulations

x

 

 

- Energy Statistics

x

 

 

- Energy Metering

x

 

 

- Energy Taxation

x

 

 

- Subsidization

x

x

 

- Prohibition of the Use of Nuclear Power

x

x

 

EU Law

 

 

 

- Electricity Internal Market Directive (96/92/EC)

x

x

 

- Gas Internal Market Directive (98/30/EC)

x

x

 

- Energy Supply Emergency Directive

x

 

 

- Various Labeling Directives

x

 

 

- Energy Framework Programme (and its specific programmes – ETAP, SYNERGY, ALTENER, SAVE, CARNOT, SURE)

x

 

 

- 5th Framework Programme on Research, Technological Development and Demonstration (specific programme ENERGY)

x

 

 

Laws

 

 

 

- Electricity

law on the electricity economy and its organization

electricity  laws of Provinces

 

- Gas

federal rules, gas economy law

 

 

- District Heating

federal law on DH-promotion (not any longer in force)

Regulations of Provinces

 

- Energy Conservation

agreement between the Republic and the Provinces on energy saving; federal law on heating cost calculation, federal rules on labeling, rules implementing EU-directives (labeling)

Regulations of Provinces to implement this agreement; clean air laws, laws on oil heating equipment; relevant parts of building acts, housing promotion and improvement acts and area planning acts

 

- Energy Supply Emergency Regulations

energy control law, law on oil stocks and their registration

 

 

- Energy Statistics

federal law on statistics

 

 

- Energy Metering

federal law on metering and gauging

 

 

- Energy Taxation

taxation laws

 

 

- Subsidization

federal laws on environmental  subsidies

 

 

Energy Action Plans

 

 

 

- federal level

Energy  Action Plan of the Federal Government

 

 

- province level

 

Energy Action Plans of the 9 Länder

 

Provinces = States = Bundesländer = Länder

 

 


 

ANNEX II

Policies to promote energy efficiency and conservation

 

 

III.           Energy Consumption

 

Generation

Transformation

and Transmission

of Energy

 

Industry

 

Transport

 

Residential/Commercial

 

 

 

Regulatory

Framework

 

·     energy taxation

·     regulation on power plants

·     regulations on energy transmission infrastructure

·     energy taxation

·     clean air regulations for bioler installations

·     standards

·     energy taxation

·     vehicle taxation

·     energy taxation

·     energy efficiency standards for

·     household appliances

·     equipment for room heating

and hot-water preparation

·     thermal insulation of buildings

·     provisions for the individual

metering of heat consumption

in multi-dwelling buildings

 

 

 

RD&D and

Promotion of

Market

Penetration

 

·     CHP

·     extension of the high voltage electricity grid

·     EU 5th Framework Programme on

RD&D

·     research cooperation of the electricity industry

·     new production technologies

·     EU 5th Framework Programme on RD&D

·     EU SAVE II Programme

·     modernization of public transport

·     transport control and logistics

·     EU 5th Framework Programme on RD&D

·     EU SAVE II Programme

 

·     insulation and  heat recovery

·     integrated use of solar energy

·     small scale CHP plants

·     reduction of stand-by losses

·     EU 5th Framework Programme

on RD&D

·     EU SAVE II Programme

 

 

 

 

 

 

Information

dissemination

 

·     sector strategies of the  EU 5th Framework Programme on RD&D and the EU SAVE II Programme

·     energy audits of the Austrian Association of Energy Consumers (ÖEKV)

·     energy efficiency concepts for various branches in several Provinces

·     information dissemination activities of various institutions

·     EU SAVE II Programme

·     EU SAVE II Programme

·     information activities of motorists associations

 

·     labeling of various household

appliances

·     energy auditing programme of

the Association for Consumer

Information (VKI)

·     energy auditing programmes

of the Provinces

·     energy consulting services

provided by several

institutions

all over Austria

·     EU SAVE II Programme

·     energy certification of

buildings in some 'Länder'

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subsidies

 

·     federal subsidies for the improvement of the environment

·     CHP and district heating programmes of several 'Länder'

·     KIR Programme

·     federal subsidies for the improvement of the environment

·     BÜRGES activities for the improvement of SME structure

·     various subsidies for energy efficiency measures in several 'Länder'

·     KIR Programme

·     ERP Programme for the promotion of combined transport

·     KIR Programme

·     subsidies of the Provinces for

housing promotion and housing improvement

 

ANNEX III

Policies to promote renewables

Category

Measures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regulatory

framework

 ·   Provisions of the Electricity Organization Law and the novel, which should enter into force soon, especially regarding the share of electricity produced from defined renewable:

1 % at least from 1st October 2001

2 % at least from 1st October 2003

3 % at least from 1st October 2005

4 % at least from 1st October 2007

 

·   Energy Taxation

 ·   Income Tax Law

 ·   Housing promotion acts of the „Länder„

 

 

 

 

  Technology and RD&D

 ·   Standardization

 ·   Altener II-Programme

 ·   Cooperation of the Federal State and the „Länder„ in the research in the fields of raw materials, energy and environment

 ·   Energy-technology-programme with the Innovation- and Technology Fund

 ·   Research-Cooperation within the electricity industry

 

Information dissemination

 ·   Energy auditing services

 ·   Altener II-Programme

 

Subsidies

 ·   Federal programmes

·   „Betriebliche Umweltförderung„ by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Environment and Water Management

·   Subsidization of small hydro-power and of biomass district heating concepts by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labour

 ·   Programmes of the „Länder„


 

ANNEX IV

residential  sector

type of instruments

programme description

and aims

implementation status

 

BUDGET in US $*

(expected) RESULTS

Mandatory Standards

Article 3 of the 15a-Agreement stipulates precise maximum k-values for building components and Part V deals with improvements of energy conservation in residential buildings.

On-going

 

improved thermal characteristics of buildings

Mandatory Standards

Part VI of the 15a-Agreement pertains to individual heating cost billing.  Under the Agreement, new buildings with one common heating system and more than three units (residential or business) must have equipment to collect energy consumption data in each unit.  For buildings with one common heating installation and with "sufficient equipment for the collection of individual consumption data," the "major part of energy costs" must be allocated according to actual consumption.

On-going

 

giving the energy consumer – by means of actual influence on his heating bill – an incentive to put his heat consumption behavior on a rational, i.e. energy saving, basis.

Mandatory Standards

 

Some of the states require billing of energy costs according to actual consumption.  The state of Tyrol requires the installation of such measuring equipment in order to be eligible for certain subsidies.

On-going

 

giving the energy consumer – by means of actual influence on his heating bill – an incentive to put his heat consumption behavior on a rational, i.e. energy saving, basis.

Mandatory Standards

 

 

a 1993 law gave the government the legislative basis for introducing measures to minimize energy consumption of electrical equipment and authorized the government to introduce compulsory energy consumption labeling for certain types of appliances.  This conforms with requirements under the EU.

On-going

 

making energy efficiency a criterion in the  purchasing decision

Mandatory Standards

 

 

There is a Federal law on heat billing in district heating which came into force on 1 January 1995.

On-going

 

giving the energy consumer – by means of actual influence on his heating bill – an incentive to put his heat consumption behavior on a rational, i.e. energy saving, basis.

Mandatory Standards

Some states require new houses to be connected to district heating systems.

On-going

 

increased use of district heating

Mandatory Standards

Rules in the states prescribe regular checks of installations by chimney sweepers.

On-going

 

inter alia more efficient combustion in heating systems

Mandatory Standards

Heating system design standards, maximum exhaust gas losses.

On-going

 

inter alia more efficient combustion in  heating systems

Voluntary Agreement                               

As of late 1996, the state of Upper Austria has started a voluntary energy certification scheme for buildings called ‘Energieausweis’.

On-going

 

improved thermal characteristics of buildings

Financial incentive

All nine states (Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Vienna) offer subsidies for thermal insulation measures as part of their housing promotion and housing improvement laws as well as subsidies for certain types of renewable energy facilities.

On-going

 

improved thermal characteristics of new and existing buildings

Financial incentive

The state of Burgenland grants subsidies for the improvement of facades of houses.

On-going

 

inter alia the improvement of thermal characteristics of houses

Financial incentive

The chamber of labour of the state of Burgenland grants soft loans for inter alia the thermal improvement of houses

On-going

 

inter alia the improvement of thermal characteristics of houses

Financial incentive

The electricity utility BEWAG in the state of Burgenland grants its customers soft loans for energy efficient electric appliances

On-going

 

efficient use of electricity in households

Financial incentive

The chamber of labor of the state of Carinthia grants soft loans for inter alia the thermal improvement of houses and for replacing heating equipment

On-going

 

inter alia the improvement of efficient use of energy in households

Financial incentive

The state of Carinthia grants subsidies for the improvement of thermal characteristics of houses (new and existing ones)

On-going

 

the improvement of thermal characteristics of houses

Financial incentive

The electricity utility KELAG in the state of Carinthia grants its customers soft loans for the purchase of energy efficient electric appliances

On-going

 

efficient use of electricity in households

Financial incentive

The electricity utility EVN in the state of Lower Austria grants its customers soft loans for the purchase of energy efficient electric appliances

On-going

 

efficient use of electricity in households

Financial incentive

The electricity utility EVN in the state of Lower Austria grants its customers soft loans for energy efficient equipment using gas as energy source

On-going

 

efficient use of gas

Financial incentive

The state of Upper Austria grants subsidies for the replacement of old boilers

On-going

 

efficient use of energy and reduction of emissions

Financial incentive

The electricity utility Energies AG in the state of Upper Austria grants its customers subsidies for the replacement of old electric heating equipment in connection with inter alia insulation measures

On-going

 

efficient use of energy, in particular electricity

Financial incentive

The state of Salzburg grants soft loans for inter alia the thermal improvement of buildings

On-going

 

efficient use of energy

Financial incentive

The electricity utility Salzburger Stadtwerke AG in the city of Salzburg grants its customers subsidies for the installation of efficient equipment using gas as energy source

On-going

 

efficient use of gas

Financial incentive

The electricity utility Grazer Stadtwerke AG in the city of Graz  grants its customers subsidies for the installation of efficient equipment using gas as energy source

On-going

 

efficient use of gas

Financial incentive

The state of Vorarlberg grants subsidies for the replacement of old heating equipment through new and efficient equipment

On-going

 

efficient us of energy

Fiscal

tax on electricity: ATS 0,2064/kWh (€ 0,015/kWh) and on gas: ATS 0,60/m3 (€ 0,0436/m3

On-going

 

apart from raising income for public budgets the – at least partial – internalization of external cost

Fiscal

Reduction of income taxes through energy savings investments.

On-going

 

giving tax payers an incentive to invest in energy saving measures

Information

Advice and information on thermal insulation of new buildings are offered by utilities and the Association for Consumer Protection.

On-going

 

raising awareness for the necessity and possibilities for energy efficiency measures in buildings and giving support for concrete projects

Information

 

 

all over Austria there are more the 50 organizations providing information inter alia on all aspects of efficient use of energy for households, companies and municipalities

On-going

 

raising awareness and the possibilities for energy efficiency measures

*    Indicate budget only if data are readily available.

 


 

INDUSTRIAL SEKTOR

TYPE OF INSTRUMENTS

Programme Description AND AIMS

IMPLEMENTATION STATUS

BUDGET IN $*

EXPECTED RESULTS

Under some of the programmes described above under ‘4.1 Residential’, also companies can get financial support for energy efficiency measures – in order to keep the paper concise these programmes are not described again here.

Information, Consulting,  Financial Incentive

The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Labor has an agreement with the Association of Austrian Energy Consumers (ÖEKV) to provide energy consulting services to companies with an energy use of at least 20 TJ p.a. ÖEKV promotes energy accounting systems in companies. (see page 19 – ‘EE bugets)

On-going

~ ATS

0,6 Mio. p.a.

More transparency on energy flows in companies, systematic detection and exploitation of these.

Financial Incentive

ECO-Fund subsidies are granted to companies for measures described in Regional Branch Energy Plans (see below) and for other measures to improve energy efficiency in companies (e.g. heat recovery). ECO-FUND subsidies are also granted to companies for natural gas CHP-systems.

ECO-FUND subsidies are also granted to small and medium-sized hotels for insulation measures in buildings. (see page 19 – ‘EE budgets)

On-going

 

Motivating companies to actually exploit potentials for saving energy and for improving energy efficiency.

Financial Incentive

BÜRGES – a specialized bank – under its programme for the improvement of the structure of SMEs, grants subsidies and soft loans for heat insulation and other measures for improving energy efficiency.

 

On-going

 

Motivating SMEs to actually exploit potentials for saving energy and for improving energy efficiency.

Financial Incentive

The State of Burgenland – under the programme for the promotion of the economy – grants subsidies inter alia for energy efficiency measures.

On-going

 

Support to companies for exploiting energy efficiency potentials.

Financial Incentive

The State of Carinthia – under the programme for the improvement of the structure of the SME sector – grants subsidies for interest payments for investments in energy efficiency. Main objective of the programme is the improvement of the competitiveness of enterprises.

On-going

 

Inter alia to motivate SMEs to actually exploit potentials for saving energy and for improving energy efficiency.

Financial Incentive

The Carinthian Fund for the promotion of the economy grants subsidies for investments in energy efficiency (between 10 and 30 % of the investments cost).

On-going

 

Motivating SMEs to actually exploit potentials for saving energy and for improving energy efficiency.

Financial Incentive

The State of Lower Austria under the programme for investment promotion grants subsidies inter alia for energy saving measures

On-going

 

Support for the improvement of energy efficiency in companies, in particular SMEs.

Financial Incentive

The State of Lower Austria – under the programme for the promotion of investment for the protection of the environment – grants subsidies for interest payments for investments into environmental protection (mandatory or voluntary), encompassing also energy efficiency measures.

On-going

 

 

 

 

 

Inter alia to motivate SMEs to actually exploit potentials for saving energy and for improving energy efficiency.

Financial Incentive

The State of Lower Austria – under the programme for the improvement of the structure of SMEs – grants subsidies to SMEs inter alia for energy efficiency measures.

On-going

 

Inter alia to motivate SMEs to actually exploit potentials for saving energy and for improving energy efficiency.

Financial Incentive

The State of Upper Austria grants subsidies for projects for the improvement of energy efficiency which are implemented through ‘Contracting’.

Ongoing

 

Motivating companies to use the instrument ‘Contracting’ for improving energy efficiency.

Financial Incentive

The State of Salzburg grants subsidies for energetic optimization of SMEs

Ongoing

 

Support to companies for the actual exploitation of energy efficiency potentials.

Financial Incentive

The State of Styria – under the programme for the promotion of SMEs – grants subsidies to SMEs for the improvement of the competitiveness of enterprises, including investments into energy efficiency technologies.

On-going

 

Inter alia to motivate SMEs to actually exploit potentials for saving energy and for improving energy efficiency.

Financial Incentive

The State of Tyrol – under the regional planning programme – grants subsidies inter alia for installations for heat recovery and the use of waste heat.

On-going

 

Motivating companies to actually exploit potentials for the recovery of heat and the use of waste heat.

Financial Incentive

The State of Tyrol – under the programme ‘Impulspaket  Tirol’ grants subsidies i. a. for installations for heat recovery and the use of waste heat.

On-going

 

Motivating companies to actually exploit potentials for the recovery of heat and the use of waste heat.

Financial Incentive

The Province of Tyrol – under the action for the promotion of environmental protection – grants subsidies for interests payments for investments for efficient energy use.

On-going

 

Inter alia to motivate SMEs to actually exploit potentials for saving energy and for improving energy efficiency.

Financial Incentive

The Tyrolian Fund for the promotion of the economy grants soft loans inter alia for measures for the improvement of energy efficiency.

On-going

 

Inter alia to motivate SMEs to actually exploit potentials for saving energy and for improving energy efficiency.

Financial Incentive

The State of Salzburg – under the programme ‘Zukunftsinvestitionen für die Salzburger Wirtschaft’ grants subsidies for interest payments for investments i. a. for energy efficiency measures.

On-going

 

Inter alia to motivate SMEs to actually exploit potentials for saving energy and for improving energy efficiency.

Financial Incentive

The State of Vorarlberg – under the programme for the improvement of the economic structure of companies – grants subsidies inter alia for energy efficiency measures.

On-going

 

To support companies to improve their energy efficiency.

Information, Consulting

The State of Salzburg provides information and consulting (‘Ökologische Betriebsberatung’)  to enterprises i. a. on energy efficiency measures free of charge and/or at moderate cost.

On-going

 

To raise awareness for the importance of energy efficiency in companies and to help to detect actual potentials for improvement.

Information,

Consulting

ÖKOPROFIT-Graz, (Ecological Project for Integrated Environmental Technology of the City of Graz). Co-operation of the responsible municipal authority, consultants and companies. Planning, design and implementation of measures for environmental protection in companies.

Since 1991

On-going

 

 

Holistic approach integrating all relevant actors to improve inter alia the energy efficiency performance of companies.

Information, Consulting (in particular for SMEs)

ÖKOPROFIT programme of the State of Lower Austria. Workshops for the transfer of relevant knowledge, consulting support for implementing projects in companies

On-going

 

Holistic approach integrating all relevant actors to improve inter alia the energy efficiency performance of SMEs.

Information, Consulting, Financial Incentives (in particular for medium and large enterprises)

PREPARE programme of the State of Lower Austria. Implementation of projects by an internal team of the company together with external consultants. Half of the cost is covered through subsidies.

On-going

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raising the awareness for the importance of energy efficiency in companies.

Information

UNIPEDE-Eta-Award

Since 1988

 

Motivating companies to continue the efforts to improve energy efficiency through awards for exceptional solutions.

Information, Consulting

Regional Branch Energy Plans in the State of Upper Austria for

  • stone and ceramics industries,

  • metal processing industries,

  • saw mills,

  •  joiners,

  • butchers,

  • grocers,

  •  banks and insurance companies,

  • market-gardens.

  • Projects for plans for

  •  plastics processing companies,

  • bakers and

  • restaurants and hotels

are at advanced stage.

Plans include all possible measures for reducing energy consumption, a description of every measure and profitability data of every measure.

On-going

 

Giving companies easy-to-use support for identifying and exploiting energy efficiency potentials through guidelines for whole branches.

Information, Consulting

Regional Branch Energy Plans in the State of Salzburg for

  • bakers,

  • butchers,

  • grocers,

  • hotels,

  • restaurants,

  •  banks,

  • joiners,

  • fitters,

  • motor mechanic firms

  • laundries,

  • printing firms,

  • market-gardens.

Plans include all possible measures for reducing energy consumption, a description of every measure and profitability data of every measure.

On-going

 

Giving companies easy-to-use support for identifying and exploiting energy efficiency potentials through guidelines for whole branches.

Information, Consulting

Regional Branch Energy Plans in the State of Styria for

  • grocers,

  • bakers

  • hairdressers and

  • joiners.

Energy plans are part of the waste treatment plans for

  • chemical laundries and

  • motor mechanic firms.

Projects for plans for

  • companies in tourism and

  • metal processing companies

are at advanced stage.

Plans include all possible measures for reducing energy consumption, a description of every measure and profitability data of every measure.

On-going

 

 

 

 

Giving companies easy-to-use support for identifying and exploiting energy efficiency potentials through guidelines for whole branches.

* Indicate budget only if data are readily available.


 

SERVICE SECTOR TYPE OF INSTRUMENTS

PROGRAMME DESCRIPTION AND AIMS

IMPLEMENTATION STATUS

BUDGET IN US $*

(EXPECTED) RESULTS

Several of the programmes – classified as ‘Financial Incentive’ – mentioned above under ‘4.1 Residential’ and ‘4.2 Industrial’ are also open to municipalities (for energy efficiency improvements in public buildings, e.g. schools) – i. e. the public service sector.

Mandatory Standards

Article 3 of the 15a-Agreement stipulates precise maximum k-values for building components and Part V deals with improvements of energy conservation in residential buildings.

On-going

 

Improved thermal characteristics of buildings.

Fiscal

In June 1996, an energy tax on electricity and gas consumption came into force. The tax on electricity was increased in July 2000. Renewable and coal are excluded from the tax.

On-going

 

Apart from income raising for the public budgets internalization of costs.

Information

Energy bookkeeping in public buildings and government offices.

On-going

 

Improvement of transparency of energy flows in these building and providing a basis for energy efficiency measures.

Information

The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs co-finances Austria’s participation (through E.V.A.) in the EU Green Light Programme.

2000 – 2001

ATS 0,28 Mio. (€ 20.000,--)

Motivate companies to evaluate their lighting system and to make cost-effective improvements.

                * Indicate budget only if data are readily available.

 


 

TRANSPORT SECTOR

TYPE OF INSTRUMENT

PROGRAMME DESCRIPTION AND AIMS

IMPLEMENTATION STATUS

BUDGET IN US $*

(EXPECTED) RESULTS

Mandatory

Some Road Traffic Regulations were amended to implement a general night-time driving ban for non-low noise trucks and a 60 kph speed limit at night.

On-going

 

To motivate road haulage companies to renew their fleets and to use vehicles which are inter alia more energy efficient

Mandatory Inspections

Annual Technical Inspection of Vehicles

On-going

 

 

Financial incentive

Grants for Combined Goods Traffic – ERP Programme

On-going

ATS 40 Mio. p.a. (€ 2,9 Mio. p.a.)

Promotion of combined transport, reduction of CO2 emissions and other pollutant emissions from transport

Financial incentive

The city of Vienna grants subsidies for the purchase of electric bikes and cars

On-going

 

reduced use of fossil fuel in transport

Fiscal

A standard fuel consumption tax for gasoline and automotive diesel was raised in 1995 and an engine-related insurance tax were introduced. These were implemented to optimize pollution emission and low consumption.

On-going

 

Apart from income raising for public budgets to motivate drivers to buy more energy efficient cars.

Mandatory

Eco-Points System for Transit Traffic

On-going

 

Inter alia to motivate haulage companies to use more energy efficient vehicles.

                * Indicate budget only if data are readily available.

 


ANNEX V

Indigenous Energy Production

 Energy Imports

 Net Import Tangent

  Total Primary Energy Supply

 

Structure of TPES in %

International Comparison

 

Source: International Energy Agency and Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs

*) excluding electricity trade

Decoupling of Energy Consumption and Economic Growth

Index 1973 = 100

 

Total Final Energy Consumption

 

 Total Final Energy Consumption

Index 1973 = 100


Shares of Renewable in TPES in %

International Comparison

 

Source: International Energy Agency and Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs

*) excluding electricity trade

 

 

 

Consumption and Structure of Renewable Energy Sources

 

1) including electricity trade

2) incl. wood chips, bark, chopped wood, straw, RME, biogas, sewage sludge gas, waste gas and sewage sludge of paper industries

3) incl. solar heat, heat pumps, photovoltaic, wind and geothermal energy

 

Imports and Exports of Electricity

in GWh

 

Source: Bundeslastverteiler

 

Electricity Consumption

in GWh

 

Source: Bundeslastverteiler

 Energy Research, Development & Demonstration

Budget 1995 – 1997

 

Source: Austrian Research Institute Seibersdorf

 

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

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FORESTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is primarily responsible for the forestry sector in Austria. The Federal Ministry of the Environment takes active part in these matters, as well. Other important national institutions working in the sector are the following: Forestry Division for Torrent and Avalanche Control; Agrarian authorities, Chambers for Agriculture and Forestry (autonomous body representing farmers' interests and providing counseling), Austrian Union of Agricultural and Forestry Associations (representing major forest owners), regional forest-farmer associations (representing smaller forest owners) and the Austrian Forestry Society.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Relevant national laws and plans in the field include the following: National Forestry Act (1975; amended in 1993; Plant Protection Law (1995); Law providing for measures for the safe drainage of mountainwaters (amended in 1985) and the Forest Development Plan as part of the forest land use planning (reviewed every 10 years). More than a thousand forest experts at the district, regional and federal level implement the decisions and ensure compliance with forestry legislation.

Legal obstacles concerning the use of timber particularly in the construction sector have been lifted. Proholz, a marketing association sponsored by the forest and forest industry sector and supported by the Austrian government has launched a broad, middle term public relations initiative to promote the use of timber.  Due to federal law voluntary quality labeling is being introduced in Austria. Apart from this federal initiative there is a Pan-European-Certification-Initiative of private forest-owners. Besides the Pan- European- Certification- Initiative there is the so-called FCS (Forest Stewardship Council)- Label initiated and supported by WWF and other environmental NGOs.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

A Protective Forest Restoration Framework has been developed in Austria with the following measures: continuation and strengthening of clean air policies; restoration of a balanced stock of wild game; and separation of forests and pasture in ecologically sensitive protected and mountain forest regions. Suitable forest management measures will be taken to reduce regeneration intervals. It is also intended to raise the tree line by means of new plantations at higher altitudes. More detailed regional plans are elaborated by the federal provinces in close cooperation with competent authorities and forest owners. A great importance is given to the Mountain Forest Protocol currently under preparation within the framework of the Alpine Convention. Small-scale and naturalistic forest management projects have been promoted by means of intensive counseling and by providing financial support which has led to a decrease in the proportion of non-deciduous tree species and pure forests. In the new forest inventory, covering all types of forests, ecological parameters are now taken into account in addition to yield related parameters.

The ecosystems of the mountains are dynamic, complex, fragile and highly sensitive to global perturbations such as climate change and local interferences of anthropogenic origin. It is necessary that policies designed for the development of mountain areas follow the overall principle of sustainability. This must include the recognition of economic, social and environmental aspects as well as the preservation of the specific mountain-biodiversity and -landscape.

Within the framework of its energy policy and in the light of relevant international obligations Austria regards wooden biomass as an important energy-resource.  The Austrian Forest Strategy which is based on the Austrian Forest Law and the Austrian Environment Plan are integral parts of the Austrian land planning concept (Raumordnungskonzept). Due to the recent amendment of the Austrian Forest Law the Austrian Forest Strategy has been revised, taking into consideration the relevant guidelines of the IPF.  The maintenance and improvement of the stability and vitality of the Austrian forests, in particular the protective function of forests in mountainous areas, are key issues of the Austrian Forest Strategy. The conservation of biological diversity by promoting small scale, nature emulating forest management practices as well as the establishment of protected areas are points of main interest.

The Forest Development Plan indicates sparsely wooded areas and is therefore used for the planning of reforestation. All areas designated for reforestation are marked as ‘promising forest areas’. Forest authorities closely co-operate with their partners in the agricultural sector. The planting of new recreational and welfare forests in sparsely wooded suburban areas is a major task of the forest authorities.  The National Environment Plan and its subordinated fora (e.g. National Commission on Biodiversity, National Council for Sustainable Development) serve as mechanisms for the harmonization of cross-sectoral policies. Furthermore a variety of administrative bodies at federal and regional level are involved in the co-ordination of forestry- related issues.

The forest land use planning concept is an important regulatory instrument for the reconciliation of conflicting interests. Due to the particular susceptibility of mountainous forest ecosystems Austria continues to enhance its efforts towards further reduction of air pollutants load within the context of national legislation and international agreements. Particular attention will be paid to the very harmful synergistic effects of some air pollutants. The Austrian forest policy considers the minimization of harmful domestic and transboundary air pollution being an essential precondition for sustainable development of forests. The Austrian Environment Plan requires and promotes the further development of pollution abatement strategies in various sectors as energy production and industry. Regarding the protection of the atmosphere and the promotion of the rural development the Austrian government offers incentives for the use of renewable energy sources.

To safeguard forest biodiversity, the Austrian forestry authorities have adopted i.a. the following measures: naturalistic forest management and reforestation (where possible), biotope mapping in forests, separation of natural forest reserves (for example, by nature protection agreements), establishment of integrated projects for the further improvement of all functions performed by forests, including non-economic functions.   As a rule, any human intervention in these nature protection zones is forbidden. These forest sections are strictly protected and are to provide an optimal overview of the great variety of natural vegetation systems in terms of tree species and the structure of stands. The government has established a 430 natural forest reservations with a total of 10,000 ha to cover the 125 forest communities existing in Austria.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

All major groups are fully involved in the forestry planning at all levels in Austria. The Advisory Board responsible for the setting up of a labeling scheme for timber and timber products, and of the elaboration of criteria for sustainable forest management, consists of representatives of governmental organizations, timber industry, social and economic partnership organizations and environmental NGOs. The Forestry Act (1975) enables concerned citizens to take part in the drafting of regional forest plans and danger zoning plans.

Programmes and Projects   

Within the 1992 MAB Project "Hemerobia of Austrian Forest Ecosystems", the geographical distribution and the share of original, manipulated and artificial forest ecosystems are examined. The results of this study will serve as the basis for new development concepts in forest management and will facilitate estimates of future capacities of forest areas (tourism etc.), the choice of necessary forest management activities (stock conversion, maintenance measures) and the designation of natural forest reserves and biotopes.

As the establishment of a network is of particular interest for the public, long-term service contracts between the Republic of Austria and forest owners will be concluded, which stipulate a compensation for the tending of these areas and for the economic losses incurred, in order to ensure that this plan can be realized.

Status   

Covering about 47% of the federal territory, forests are a dominant feature of the Austrian landscape. Apart from its economic importance for timber production, forest performs a number of further functions, like the protective and recreational one, which directly or indirectly benefit the whole Austrian population.  Increased air pollution caused by the economic growth of the last decades resulted in a large scale loss of vitality in Austrian forests. Domestic emission of pollutants has been reduced due to stringent legal provisions taken to combat forest damages. This process has led to a gradual improvement of the state of the Austrian forests.

 Twenty-five per cent of Austrian forest can be considered as natural or nearly natural. Forty-one per cent have been moderately changed compared to the optimal state. This means that one-third of Austrian forest correspond to the modern concept of an intact ecosystem.  For the last ten years the improvement of the condition of the forests, in particular the restoration of their protective function, has been one of the main issues of the Austrian forest policy. Due to its strong ambition to improve the condition of its mountain forests, Austria attaches great importance to the implementation of the Mountain Forest Protocol elaborated within the framework of the regional Alpine Convention. 

The paper recovery rate has reached a level of more than 65%. Recovery wood is increasingly used for energy production.

Challenges  

There is a variety of reasons for the impairment of the protected forests. As production costs have risen under sustainable forest management, farmers have abandoned necessary logging operations, and this has led to the over maturing of many forests. In addition, many years of environmental strain exerted on the forests by air pollution, browsing by game bites and forest grazing have damaged the forests, and management measures need to be taken to regenerate them.  In particular forestry in mountainous regions has traditionally fulfilled a multitude of functions for society providing general benefits as security and safeguard of infrastructures vital for social and economic development. The protective effects of forests in mountainous areas (against natural disasters) was recognized early.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Forestry is taught in three forestry colleges and 12 agricultural colleges. Five forestry training centers are responsible for the education and training of foresters and for holding information seminars for rural forest owners. Counseling for forest owners is mainly provided by the experts of the Chambers of Agriculture and Forestry. In close cooperation with FAO, Austrian forest education centers have organized training courses for foresters with a special focus on forest technology. The Division for Torrent and Avalanche Control has trained experts in the mountain regions of the developing countries in the implementation of methods for the technical and biological stabilization of erosion and for its prevention.

Information   

A large amount of national information already exists on forests and national progress towards sustainable forest management within the United Nations system and other intergovernmental organizations; in particular, the following sources:

FAO/Forest Resources Assessment for the year 2000 (FRA 2000).

The Austrian Forest Report is published annually by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. The regularly published Austrian Environment Report contains a comprehensive chapter concerning forests. Regularly up-dated information about the Austrian Forestry is available at the following Web-Site: www.bmlf.gv.at/forst/forst.htm.

Research and Technologies   

For more than 15 years, Austria has been active in attempts to reduce air-borne forest pollution by introducing comprehensive technological measures in the power stations and industrial plants and by making the use of catalytic converters mandatory. Consequently, sulphur dioxide emissions have been reduced by approx. 75% from the 1980 level. However, due to significant quantities of transboundary pollutants, no reduction of sulphur dioxide emissions could be observed in Austrian forests. Nitrogen oxides were reduced only by 12% because of the increase in traffic emissions. The Austrian Forestry Act is currently being amended (third amendment) to extend the list of airborne pollutants hazardous to forests and to reduce the limits of emissions with special emphasis on the synergistic effect of pollutants.

Financing 

In 1990, an additional 13% was allocated to the forestry sector (including torrent and avalanche control).  As far as forestry is concerned the intensity of financial interventions is relatively low. Nevertheless the system of subsidies for forestry primarily aims at ensuring the non-wood functions of public interest. Recently this system has been changed in order also to meet ecological objectives. The Austrian network of natural forest reserves has mainly been established through long term contracts with forest owners, including compensatory measures.

Cooperation  

In fulfilling the commitments assumed at the UN-Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) e.g. the CBD, Austria is establishing a network of natural forest reserves. This network aims at covering all representative types of forest-ecosystems in Austria. In co-operation with WWF the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is co-financing a programme for the protection of rare and endangered tree– and shrub–species. In order to implement the legislation of the European Union (Fauna Flora Habitat Directive, Bird Protection Directive) 16 % of Austria’s forests are nominated for the EU-Network ‘NATURA 2000’.

As a supplement to Austria's development assistance, a special programme has been designed to provide support for the developing countries wishing to establish a system of sustainable forest management. Austria has a global rainforest budget line of ATS 200 million for special development projects. There are 35 projects in 16 countries in Latin America, Africa and South-East Asia. Austria has financially supported the FAO Tropical Forestry Action Programme, the Agricultural Forestry Research Center established within the framework of the Consulting Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). As a founding member of the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO), Austria also lends its support to the Special Programme for Developing Countries (SPDC). Austria participates as well in the GEF capacity-building Si-A-PAZ programme in Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

Austria has actively participated in the elaboration of criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management within the Pan-European Process. The Pan-European Criteria and Indicators have served as a basis for the national and regional reporting particularly for the Special Report on the Follow-up of the implementation of Resolution H1 and H2 adopted at the Second Session of the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe.  Building upon the core criteria of the various regional initiatives Austria recommends the harmonization of the regional criteria and indicators. Following the Pan-European Operational Level Guidelines for Sustainable Forest Management a relevant globally harmonized system should be elaborated.

Being a member state of the European Union Austria is deeply involved in the IPF-process. Austria supported the implementation of the IPF-proposals for action concerning forest research, by organizing an ‘International Consultation on Research and Information Systems in Forestry’ in cooperation with Indonesia and FAO. The relevance of the IPF proposals for action has been assessed in the current revision of the Austrian Forestry Policy.  In implementing the IPF proposals for actions Austria puts particular emphasis on the following issues:

Being one of the co-chairing countries of the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe, Austria launched an initiative to discuss the issue of national forest programmes in the Pan-European context.

At the moment particular emphasis should be put on the implementation of the Forest Principles and the IPF-proposals for action. Considering an evaluation of the implementation of the Forest Principles and the IPF-proposals for action the development of a global strategy for the rural area should be taken into consideration.

As more than 20% of the world’s forests are growing in mountainous areas, Austria welcomes the decision of the United Nations to proclaim the year 2002 the International Year of the Mountains and the decision of the United Nations Economic and Social Council recognizing the importance of the «momentum built around mountain forest ecosystems and the management of their resources for the well-being of upland as well as related lowland communities.

 

*    *    *

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 national information on forests, click here.

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FRESHWATER

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Apart from the competent water department in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and water- related service units in the Ministry of Environment and within the administrations of the nine federal laender, expert advice, investigations, monitoring and research work are available at the Federal Office of Water Management and the Federal Environment Agency.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Water Act (amended in 1990) defines an ambitious quality target for all bodies of flowing water, and calls for measures to guarantee the suitability of groundwater as drinking water throughout the country. Austria also prepared emission regulations on the quality of running surface waters. Recent intensive efforts are directed towards re-naturalization of flowing surface waters in order to improve the ecological function as required by the relevant law.

According to the Water Law Act, the suitability of groundwater for use as drinking water without special treatment has been defined as a general quality target. Nevertheless, groundwater protection through bans and restrictions on land use (for example, on the use of pesticides) in clearly defined water protection zones (approx. 6% of the national territory) is important to safeguard Austria's drinking water supplies.

There are general and sector specific emission standards, e.g. for paper and pulp industry and metal finishing plants, intended to diminish the overall pollutant burden, to reduce fluctuations of pollutant emissions over time and to ensure a higher degree of plant reliability.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

The major expert and professional association in the field of water management in general is the Austrian Waste and Water Management Association, and in the field of water supply the Austrian Gas and Water Association.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

The objectives of water resources management in Austria are to secure a reliable water supply over the long run, to maintain or to improve the quality of both surface waters and groundwater, to preserve or restore the ecological function of water bodies, and at the same time, to protect human settlements and properties against water hazards. Thanks to Austria's favorable hydrological conditions, a sufficient supply of drinking water is guaranteed. Ninety-nine percent of the total volume of raw water for the country's drinking water supply comes from groundwater of porous aquifers and of spring water. In addition to these zones, use of environmentally sound crop-growing methods is promoted, including the reduction of maize and wheat growing areas, restriction of the use of fertilizers, encouragement of organic agriculture and integrated plant protection.

Because of improved waste and water management in Austria, the total level of emissions has declined considerably in recent years. More than 85% of the total daily output of chemical oxygen demand of approx. 2,250 tons are subjected to sewage treatment, which results in an 95% reduction of loads. Following an alarming spread of water bloom in the Austrian lakes in the early 1970s, comprehensive measures of rehabilitation, (for example the installation of closed-circuit sewerage networks), were taken, which led to a noticeable improvement in water quality. Approximately 72% of the Austrian population is connected to community sewage treatment. With the volume of sewage sludge from waste-water purification continuously increasing, ecological criteria will have to be applied to sludge disposal. Moreover, particular attention will have to be paid to reducing pollution loads from diffuse sources of pollution (agriculture and forestry, leakage from households, trade and industry, leaking sewer pipes, contaminated sites, landfills and sludge pumps).

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

An intensive programme for further professional training and education takes place every year.

Information 

Austria intends to put up 6,400 measuring points to collect data on the quality and quantity of Austrian water resources. By 1994, 3,800 measuring points had already been put up. To monitor water quality, water samples of surface waters are taken at 1,750 measuring points at two-month intervals. On the basis of the information, water quality maps are produced every two or three years.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing 

Funding for residential water management, focusing on maintenance, modernization and expansion of existing sewage collection and treatment systems, is expected to be approx. ATS 183 billion in the coming 15 years, of which 3.9 billion per year plus 1 billion (non-recurring) are being contributed by the environmental funding programme of the Ministry of the Environment.

Cooperation  

Bilateral and multilateral transboundary water commissions for the protection of transboundary bodies of water and the settlement of water management problems have been established with neighboring countries. Austria takes particular interest in international cooperation for the protection of the Danube and participates actively in the Environmental Programme for the Danube River Basin. Moreover, Austria has set up a Permanent Secretariat for the Danube Water Protection Convention in Vienna.

*    *    *


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

For national information on water quality, click here.

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LAND MANAGEMENT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Land-management by surface-dedication- and -development-plans lies in the hand of the municipalities (local level).  Austria is a Federal State with 9 to a large extent autonomous regions and more than 2000 municipalities. Due to the fact that there is no uniform law for biological land-protection and land-management the competent authorities are federal as well as regional ones.  

The Austrian conference for spatial planning (ÖROK) was established to coordinate federal and regional interests. On the basis of a voluntary agreement meetings of representatives of the Federal Chancellory, of the Federal Ministries, of the Federal Regions, of the Cities-Association and of the Municipalities-Association as well as representatives of the so-called Social Partners (Chamber of Commerce, Trade Union, etc.) are organized. The development of national examples concerning spatial, regional and settlement-planning especially considering land-management-issues is the central task of this body. Due to the fact that 47% of the Austrian territory are covered by forests, land- management has to respect forests’ positive functions (recreational and protective function, etc.). The so-called Austrian concepts for spatial management (ÖRK) are developed for period of 10 years each time. At the moment ÖROK is preparing the „ÖRK 2001„, which will contain key-elements for the implementation of Agenda 21. The results of ÖRK 2001 and of all the other ÖROK-activities are only to be seen as recommendations.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The federal authorities are responsible for the legislation and execution of land-protection in the context of forest-, water-, air pollution control-, waste-management-, decontamination of contaminated sites- and mountain-law as well as in the context of trade and industrial regulations.  Concerning land-protection in the context of e.g. the agricultural settlements-law and the plant-protection-law the federal authorities set the basic legislation and the regions are responsible for executive laws.  The regions are fully responsible (legislation and execution) for the central instruments of land-management as spatial management-laws, nature-conservation-laws and laws concerning housing development-aid.  Surface-dedication- and -development-plans are the legal instruments for detailed soil-management in residential areas. These plans are decided on the local level (municipalities) by mayors and local councils.

By introducing measures concerning the development of free space, landscape and environment land protection is being implemented into federal and regional aid-programmes for the agricultural sector.  In 1984 Austria introduced a law (having constitutional character) on the comprehensive protection of the environment, which is a substantial basis the forcing of ecological aspects of land-protection and land-management. According to this law land-protection (being a part of general environmental protection) became a state-goal.

Environmental aspects of land have increasingly been en forced by:

In Austria tax-fees are traditionally used pursuing fiscal intentions (revenue). Taxation of real property and real property traffic is foreseen in broad range of measures. There is no tax on the increase of land value.

The Clean-Up of Contaminated Sites Act, in existence since 1989, forms the legal basis for the surveying, financing and implementation of securing and remediation of contaminated sites in Austria. In order to finance the needed measures on contaminated sites, a waste tax has to be levied in the case of land filling, backfilling, storage and waste export for land filling. The amount to be paid is determined both by the kind of waste and by the condition and equipment of the landfills.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Environmental aspects of land have increasingly been en forced by planning-standard specifications: consideration of land-management-issues in the context of local and supra-local space-management and space-related specialized plans, e.g. forest development plan (federal level), plans for dangerous zones and concept for the improvement of the protective function of the forest;

A land-political approach for better self precaution by public stock-piling of land by the municipalities is of increasing importance in the light of a lack in building land especially in municipalities close to urban centers and tourist-municipalities. This approach offers broader flexibility and the possibility of punctual intervention.

Successful efforts of municipalities on the land-market require exact market-knowledge and entrepreneurial acting on the market. The importance of professionalization has led to a number of different ways of semi-autonomous organization.

Biological diversity

The Austrian landscape and its biological diversity have been characterized by longstanding anthropogenic activities (agriculture, forestry). The conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity is of far-reaching importance with regards to its direct use with a number of cultivated and wild species. Indirect benefits include air pollution control, a counterbalance of global warming and various protection functions and recreation.

Fresh water resources

Compared to many other countries, Austria is blessed with plenty of water. Water policy problems occur only in few parts of Austria. With regard to water quality, remediation programmes have been successfully carried out for lakes in the sixties and seventies. Over the last two decades the quality of of rivers has significantly improved, too, which is due to the fact that about 76% of the population are connected to biological waste water treatment, and to strict regulations for industrial effluents, which have been treated according to the state of the art.

Fragile mountain ecosystems

The Alpine Convention with its protocols on soil-conservation, regional planning and mountain agriculture is Austria’s main instrument for to guarantee land-protection in mountainous regions.

Agriculture

Agriculture in Austria is characterized by rather small-sized structures. The Alps cover about 60 % of the whole area and permanent settlement exists in only about 42% of all the county. The resource soil, as site of agricultural production especially in valleys and basins is subject to high competitive pressure. This results in a continuous drop in utilized agricultural area.

The annual loss of agricultural area in Austria is around 120 square kilometers, of which half is used for building settlements, industrial transport facilities and for the production of raw-materials, while the other half is used for new forested areas.

Austria’s settlement-planning is increasingly following the concepts of "compact city" and "decentralized centralization". Measures are taken in order to maintain the settlement borders and to intensify inward settlement consolidation. Nearly all of the municipalities have oversized but unavailable building land reserves.

Transportation

The prime consideration of Austria’s transport policy are people and their needs in respect of quality of life, an undamaged environment, prosperity and mobility. Transport policy must play a pro-active, forward-looking role in shaping the transport system and not simply react when problems have already arisen. A successful and active transport policy demands an intermodal approach. Transport policy must steer and direct in cases where the interests of a few are at odds with the interests of the many. Transport policy must also act to safeguard precious assets such as public health or the environment, where these would be threatened by uncontrolled further development of the transport system. Transport measures thus need to strike a balance between divergent interests.

Following logically from these principles, the following ten objectives may be identified for Austria's Overall Transport Policy:

1. Avoiding unnecessary traffic

2. Switching traffic to environmentally friendly means of transport

3. Using state-of-the-art technology as soon as possible

4. Involving the public in transport planning

5. Fair transport pricing

6. Intermodal co-operation

7. Introducing new legislation on transport

8. Reducing the burden of transit traffic

9. Organizing urban traffic in a way which is environmentally and socially tolerable

10. Open borders

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

Since the beginning of the process of Local Agenda 21 the Federal Ministry for Environment, Youth and Family Affairs as well as the Federal Regions (constantly increasing their efforts) are trying to promote projects for sustainable regional development including citizens’ participation.

Programmes and Projects 

After Austria’s accession to the EU the „Österreichisches Programme für die Förderung einer umweltgerechten, extensive und den natürlichen Lebensraum schützenden Landwirtschaft„ (ÖPUL) has to be mentioned. This programme is financed by regional, federal and EU-authorities. In the context of ÖPUL the condition of the Austrian land was presented, development tendencies were pointed out and preventive measures were suggested. The possibilities of land-protection in Austria shown by the ÖPUL-publications are being used as a scientific basis for agricultural aid-management.

Status 

By January 1, 1998,

In Austria there is a general trend towards transforming land used for other purposes into forest land.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

A systematic mapping of soil under agricultural use is carried out in Austria since 1958. Up to now, almost 98% of the area to be mapped is already surveyed in the field. Soil survey is done from both a pedagogical and an agricultural point of view. It also considers geological, geomorphological and climatical conditions. Out of 220 districts, 150 districts have been published as soil maps 1: 25 000 and further 50 districts as manuscript maps 1: 25 000; 15 districts remain for editorial work and 5 for field survey. For the digital capture of these soil data a GIS – based soil information system was installed. A three years program to convert geometric and attribute data to a digital form has already been started. Further on, available soil information is completed by a large set of data referring to distinct sampling points. Most of these points are arranged in grids of different densities, covering almost all the country.

Research and Technologies   

Technological capacity in integrated planning and management of land resources has been strengthened. Further measures to strengthen education and training in this field are being planned.

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

The Austrian-Hungarian Regional Planning Commission has given a recommendation on the transfer of technology and on the areas for technology transfer centers. Austria participates in the work of the OECD, UN/ECE and CEMAT in this field. It has established bilateral Regional Planning Commissions with Germany, Hungary and Slovakia and contacts with Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. Member States of the Alpine Convention in Europe have initiated recommendations towards integrated protection of the Alps supplemented by a regional policy protocol. Austria has also established regional desertification monitoring centers in Senegal and in Burkina Faso.

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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MOUNTAINS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Federal Ministry of the Environment is responsible for sustainable mountain development in Austria as the coordinating body of environmental activities. Other bodies closely involved in the planning and implementation activities are the following:

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The main legislation and plans related to sustainable mountain development are the following:

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Guidelines for the Preparation of Tourist Strategies have been prepared for entrepreneurs, managers and local and regional authorities responsible for preparing or commissioning local and regional tourist schemes. According to the guidelines, the development of tourism must not neglect the population, other sectors of the economy and ecology of the region concerned.

Sustainable tourism requires efficient and careful use and management of the scarce natural resources and commodities taking into account cultural and social aspects as well the specific ecological factors of the region concerned. In the Austrian national tourism policy, protection of the environment is of prime importance. Recommendations and guidelines for action to make tourism and leisure time industry more sustainable have been prepared within the framework of the National Environmental Plan. In 1994, in cooperation with experts from the Laender, federal authorities and interest groups, efforts to design guidelines for a Federal eco-label for tourism began. At the regional level, such labels already exist.

Over concentrations of tourist facilities are no longer favored by public investment assistance. The Tourist Promotion Scheme and ERP (European Reconstruction Programme) have been modified accordingly to keep down the number of overnight stays per year and to include environmentally-relevant investments and loans for waste management, energy saving and environmentally-friendly use of energy, as well as fire protection and noise abatement. New development of areas for recreational and sports activities is allowed only within the development limits set forth in the regional policy schemes.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

Major groups involved in mountain issues in Austria are IUCN, CIPRA and Alpenvereine (climbing and mountaineering clubs).

Programmes and Projects   

To prevent forest damages and to maintain biodiversity in the mountain regions, a high altitude reforestation and protected forest safeguarding programme has been introduced, as well as area cultivation projects for safeguarding the protected forests in areas of torrents and avalanches. Forest damages in the mountain regions were considered insignificant in 1993.  Tourism is a major source of income for people living in the Alpine Regions. This area accounts for some 85% of the overall tourism and tourism-related business.  

Status   

The Alpine regions comprise 67.1% (56,244 km2) of Austria's total land area. 32.850 km2 of the area is forests; 23,500 km2 is cultivated land; 8,900 km2 is pasture land; 9,100 km2 is high mountains with no significant use, and 6,800 km2 is water surface and building areas (information from 1993).

Challenges  

Major obstacles to sustainable mountain development are caused by local or transfrontier emissions of air pollutants, excessive game populations, forest pasture, avalanches, local overstraining of the physical region through outdoor sports, large number of second homes, leisure time facilities and development of infrastructure.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Several social, economic and cultural incentives for farmers and mountain communities have been designed to undertake conservation and regenerative measures. To ensure sustainable agricultural management of mountains, increased use of local resources is promoted (e.g. further processing and direct marketing of indigenous products, alternative cropping, use of handicraft skills, conservation of cultivated alpine pastures). Compensation mechanisms for landscape conservation and regeneration have also been introduced based on the principle of true costs under the precautionary and the polluter pays principle.

Information   

The Austrian Regional Planning Institute has prepared a study on the use intensity in communities and areas affected by tourism. On the basis of the information, local authorities may formulate area-specific priorities when drawing up strategies for limiting or reducing existing strains.

Within the framework of the Mountain Shelters Restoration programme, some ATS 30 million are spent annually on the ecologically consistent adaptation of shelters important for tourism in the Alpine regions. See status report for more information on the economic incentives introduced to undertake conservation and regenerative measures.

Research and Technologies 

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

The most important instrument governing international regional cooperation in sustainable mountain development is the Convention on the Protection of the Alps (signed 1991, entry into force 6 March 1995). It promotes transregional cooperation among the Alpine countries and the EU, taking into account the special needs of this European mountain range through comprehensive and transboundary protection of the environment and thus preserving the Alps as a human habitat. There are also various relevant activities under the Austrian Development Assistance Programme.

 

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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


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OCEANS AND COASTAL AREAS

 

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   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing

No information is available 

Cooperation

Though a landlocked country Austria ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on 14 July 1995.

 

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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

For information on the status of ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, click here:

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TOXIC CHEMICALS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Austrian regulations concerning the classification and labeling of chemicals are in harmony with European Union regulations in this field and in some cases even stricter. The testing of substances as a prerequisite for classification has to be performed according to the relevant OECD guidelines, and Austrian testing bodies have to meet OECD criteria. The Chemical Safety Card, which has to be handed out to commercial users of hazardous chemicals according to Austrian legislation, is based either on the US standard or on the relevant EU regulations. Austrian authorities keep a chemical register listing all the newly registered substances, and this will be developed into a complete product register in the next few years. Communication of information on hazardous chemicals, incidents and accidents is obligatory by law.

The Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure was included in the Chemical Substances Act in Austria in 1992. A number of implementing regulations supplement the Act to make the PIC procedure fully operational. Austria welcomes the proposal to incorporate the PIC procedure in a binding instrument of international law and is in favor of sanctions in the case of non-compliance.  Communication of information on hazardous chemicals, incidents and accidents is obligatory according to the Austrian Industrial Accident Regulation and the Environment Information Act (1993). The polluter pays principle is laid down as the manufacturer's responsibility under the Chemical Substances Act. There is also a comprehensive Product Liability Act. For the polluter pays principle to be recognized under civil law, the Environment Liability Act will first have to adopted. In addition to legal instruments there are a number of non-regulative measures.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

An environmental label, to be awarded by the state, has been created to promote environmentally sound (chemical) products. Austrian companies participate also in the Responsible Care Programme sponsored by the chemical industry.

Programmes and Projects   

Within the OECD waste-substance processing programme, Austria is studying two high-volume chemicals. Austria participates also in the waste-substance programme of the European Union and takes part in the activities of the European Chemicals Office. A great effort is also being made to keep up with international developments in the field of analysis covering the whole life-cycle of chemical substances. Austria implements the ILO and OECD programmes on this question. Active participation in global PIC-Convention negotiations and in ECE negotiations on persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

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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


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WASTE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

Solid Waste and Sanitation

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Waste Management Act and a number of measures and regulations complementing it are to diminish the overall volume of waste generated in Austria. The Packaging Regulation, for example, requires certain percentages of packaging materials to be reused and recycled. At the local level, there are provincial sewage sludge regulations. The Plastics Labeling regulation and the PCP Regulation, for example, facilitate waste separation and collection for recycling purposes. A regulation has also been adopted for the reuse of construction debris and there is a Regulation on the Separate Collection of Biogenic Wastes. Emissions from thermal waste-treatment plants are subject to the Clean Air Regulation for Boiler Plants. The Landfill Regulation makes it obligatory for landfill sites to be built and operated according to the most recent state of art.

There are several regulations supplementing the Waste Management Act. Inter alia, enterprises with more than 100 employees have to appoint a waste-management officer, and companies exceeding a certain size are obliged to draw up their own waste-management plans.  Legislative measures have been taken to minimize the amount of particularly dangerous pollutants in waste streams. In addition to legislative measures, voluntary agreements have been made with trade and industry to ensure separate waste collection and recovery such as the voluntary agreement concerning the recycling of used cars.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

There are also sector-specific strategies, e.g. for medical wastes, waste paint and varnish, disposal of old cars, and reprocessing of residues from electroplating.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

Austria generates about 44 million tons of waste per year (estimate from 1994), a major part of which (22.5 million t/a) is construction residues. Residues from sewage treatment (sewage sludge) account for another 6.6 million t/a, which are disposed of in an environmentally sound manner in accordance with provincial sewage sludge regulations

Country-wide collection systems for waste paper, glass, hazardous waste, packaging waste and biogenic waste have been set up. With regard to beverage vessels, a step-by-step plan has been drawn up providing the following reuse and recovery targets to be reached by the year 2000: 96% for mineral and soda water, 94% for beer, 83% for non-alcoholic soft drinks, 80% for fruit and juices, milk and milk products, wine, champagne and liquors. High reuse percentages have already been reached with beer and mineral water.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available

Information

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

Seminars and workshops on waste issues have been organized for various neighboring countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

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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

For national information on solid waste and sanitation, click here.

 

Hazardous Wastes

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies     

No information is available

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Austria has the Waste Management Act; Chemical Substances Act and a number of regulations concerning the reduction of pollutant load in waste streams, waste prevention and recycling (e.g. Batteries regulation, Lubricants Regulation, Lamp Regulation, Asbestos Regulation). Hazardous waste substances are to be classified in the same manner as hazardous new chemical substances. For waste and waste disposal, additional specific criteria are to be considered. Concerning the classification of hazardous waste, Austria carries out the relevant EU legislation. Some 600,000 tons of hazardous waste were generated in 1995. Since the amount of waste classified as hazardous depends on the definition used, a significant increase has been recorded in many sectors in the recent years in spite of successful waste prevention efforts.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In addition to legal instruments governing the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes, there is a Federal Waste Management Plan (1992) setting specific targets on the reduction of the volume and the pollutant load of waste streams, the environmentally sound and economically viable reuse of waste, on the disposal of non-avoidable or non-reusable wastes and on the regional distribution of waste-treatment facilities throughout the federal territory. The plan is revised every three years. The last revision was effected in 1995.

Sector-specific waste-management strategies have been prepared for agriculture, leather industry, the medical sector, for the production and use of paints and varnishes, electro-plating industry and textile industry. To strengthen the institutional capacity in hazardous waste management, potential locations for landfills and thermal treatment plants have been identified.

To prevent illegal international traffic of hazardous wastes, several measures have been taken in Austria in accordance with proposals made by the ad-hoc Committee of the Basel Convention. Certain waste-relevant industrial facilities have been inspected and random border checks have been performed. Austria is also actively involved in the Liability and Compensation Protocol of the Basel Convention. Customs officers have been trained in accordance with the Waste Management Act to prevent illegal international traffic of hazardous wastes.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies 

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

Austria ratified the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal in April 1993.  Within the framework of the Technical Working Group of the Basel Convention, Austria participates in the elaboration of guidelines for environmentally sound treatment of wastes and supports these activities through a voluntary contribution to the Trust Fund of the Basel Convention. Austria also intends to contribute to the work done within the OECD in this field.

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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.

For national information on contaminated sites, click here.
For direct link to the Web Site of the Basel Convention, click here:

Radioactive Wastes

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

There is a Radiation Protection Regulation, but, since Austria is a country without nuclear power plants, radioactive wastes are generated only for medical, research and industrial purposes.  Provisions made for the disposal of radioactive wastes are subject to regular examinations and inspections in accordance with Austrian radiation protection legislation.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Minimizing the amount of radioactive waste is a declared objective in the Austrian radiation protection policy.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

There is a research programme to study the health and environmental effects of a long-term storage site for low- and intermediate-level radioactive wastes. With regard to their import restrictions, Austria is committed to the principle that radioactive wastes generated in Austria are to be disposed of in Austria. Concerning the spent fuel elements of Austrian research reactors, the supplier state has assumed a contractual obligation to take them back in compliance with all the relevant safety regulations. To control radioactive emissions, 300 sites of nuclear radiation early warning systems have been set up in Austria.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

Austria supports the efforts made by the IAEA to harmonize standards governing the handling of radioactive wastes and to implement the Code of Practice for transboundary movements of nuclear wastes.

 

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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

For national information on radiation, click here.


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