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ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

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INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The European Community is of the view that strong environmental policies should be in place to tackle negative environmental effects arising from trade liberalisation, both at national and international levels, so as to make sure that trade and environment are mutually supportive for the sake of sustainable development. Since the 1970s, the Community has progressively developed a solid set of environmental measures that are regularly extended and up-graded to meet new environmental needs and problems, in accordance with the Treaty obligation to ensure a high level of environmental protection.

Such an approach was taken on board when putting in place the so-called "Internal Market" within the European Community with a view to balance trade and environment objectives, being both equally necessary and legitimate, so as to ensure their mutual support. As a result, the economic growth engendered by the Single Market has been paralleled by significant achievements in the environmental fields. Such an approach was recently reaffirmed in the European Commission Communication on "The Single Market and the Environment", stressing in particular that the principle of integration of environmental requirements into other policies is key to promoting sustainable development.

This was reinforced in the revised Treaty on European Union (Amsterdam Treaty which came into force in May 1999), and gives Member States additional possibility to adopt environmental measures even if the field is already harmonised at Community level. More importantly, the Treaty also introduces sustainable development as an overarching objective and the integration of the environment into other Community policies as an essential tool to achieve such an objective.

In assessing the state of the environment and in monitoring progress, the European Commission is supported by the work of the European Environment Agency, which produces regular reports on the state of the environment. In addition, and in order to properly integrate environmental considerations into other Community policies, the European Commission is reporting to the European Council on environmental and integration indicators that should help monitor environmental integration strategies in different sectors. Coherent indicator reporting systems should help support decision-making by providing an overview of relevant facts and trends on a regular basis. Special priority will therefore be given to the development of such indicators.

As far as international trade policy is concerned, the European Commission has taken the initiative to carry out a Sustainability Impact Assessment of the WTO round, which should help identify trade and environment inter-linkages and design policy package accordingly. Such an assessment constitutes a practical tool for integrating environment into international trade policy.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Development Policy

The Union has reconsidered its approach to development policy as a result of the adoption in 1992 of the Treaty on European Union (the Maastricht Treaty), which for the first time introduced a specific chapter on development into the Union's basic texts.

The Treaty specified that Community policy was to be complementary to the policies pursued by Member States and was to foster; the sustainable economic and social development of developing countries and particularly the most disadvantaged of them; the integration of developing countries into the world economy; the campaign against poverty in developing countries.

Community development policy was to contribute to the general objective of developing and consolidating democracy and the rule of law, and to that of respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms. Furthermore the Treaty mandated both the European Community and the Member States to comply with the commitments and take account of the objectives they had approved in the context of the United Nations and other competent international organisations.

The Community has also passed Resolutions since 1992 on fundamental issues such as human rights, democracy and development, gender issues and development, non governmental organisations and development; and on important fields of cooperation such as poverty, population and development, health, HIV/AIDS, education and training, food security, energy, migration, regional integration and research. In addition there have been Resolutions on particular forms of support such as structural adjustment, decentralised cooperation, emergency aid and rehabilitation aid and on techniques for improving aid quality including environmental assessment and evaluation. The Council also adopted a number of Regulations better defining the use of existing forms of aid.

In November 1996 the Council adopted an important Resolution on Human and Social Development and European Union Development Policy which stressed the need for a people-oriented emphasis in development and recognised that the objectives of Union development policy depend crucially on human and social factors. The Resolution called for action in the following areas:

The Resolution acknowledged the need for traditional macro-economic dialogue with partner countries on economic reform and debt relief to take place in the context of these underpinning development objectives. It stressed the particular importance of financing for health and education activities. The Council urged that indicators used to assess development performance of partner countries should include socio-economic issues such as those set out in the Resolution. In addition, the Council considered that the European Union should put greater emphasis on efforts and results in poverty reduction and human and social development when making decisions on funding.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

The European Commission generally shares the view that trade and investment liberalisation, in supporting economic growth, has a great role to play in alleviating poverty. Such liberalisation offers developing countries considerable potential to increase economic efficiency and benefit from new market-access opportunities. The Multilateral Trading System has successfully enhanced the integration of a number of developing countries into the world economy. It is worth noting, however, that benefits arising from trade and investment liberalisation have not been equally shared among developing countries; thus poverty remains a challenge for a great number of them, in particular those whose economies are not sufficiently export led and foreign direct investment (FDI) intensive.

With respect to investment in particular, the European Commission is of the opinion that the liberalisation of investment, by generating inflows of funds, transfer of technologies and job creation, has a positive effect on the host country economy, both in a short- and long-term period. An increase of FDI over recent past years should therefore have positive implications on economic performance of host developing countries.

Nevertheless, the European Commission emphasises that, in other to ensure sustainable development in the long run and ensure in particular the proper and efficient management of natural resources, environmental policies should be put in place at national level so as gradually to tackle emerging environmental problems in developing countries. Trade-induced growth can actually add pressure on the environment and lead to the use of unsustainable production patterns.

As regards FDI, multinational enterprises (MNEs) have clearly an increasing role and responsibility to play in ensuring that their activities positively contribute to sustainable development in the host countries. They should therefore be further encouraged to sign on to voluntary commitments and to carry out Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and use best practices.

Status

It is clearly difficult to distinguish between export-induced increases in production and domestically oriented production. However, it is nonetheless quite clear that any increase in production, including export-induced increase that represents a significant part of the whole EU production, does per se have environmental implications. This results notably in greater use of natural resources, increased transport or increased generation of waste, adding pressure on air quality, water or soils for instance. There is consequently a clear link between increase in production, whether export or domestic oriented, and pressure on the environment. This covers both environmental problems of local/domestic dimension and of transboundary/global dimension.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

As far as consumption patterns are concerned, there has been a significant move over the past years for environmentally friendly products and for appropriate consumer information in this respect. The public has become increasingly sensitive to environmental issues and is increasingly supporting the right to make an "informed choice" on the basis notably of the environmental characteristics of the product. This also has some implications on production patterns insofar as public expectations for environmentally friendly products also cover production (and not only product characteristics). In order to benefit from new market opportunities for such products, notably through the granting of eco-labels, producers obviously need to improve their production patterns as well. At the Community level, some voluntary tools (Eco-labelling scheme and the European Community’s Eco-Management and Audit Scheme - EMAS) are increasingly used by industry to improve production patterns.

Information

Information related to trade, investment and economic growth is made available to potential users, through the following European Commission websites:

Trade DG:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/dgs/trade/index_en.htm

Development DG:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/dgs/development/index_en.htm

Economic and Financial Affairs DG: http://europa.eu.int/comm/dgs/economy_finance/index_en.htm

The European Commission reports regularly to the OECD and the WTO.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

The European Community attaches great importance to the need for trade, development and the environment to be mutually reinforcing for the benefit of sustainable development. It is indeed important to integrate the environment, in accordance with the respective level of development, into trade and development to ensure their long-term sustainability. The European Commission is active in various international institutions and bodies, including UN organisations like UNEP, UNCTAD, ITC, UNDP and FAO; the Secretariats of the MEAs; the WTO; the Bretton Woods Institutions; as well as other organisations like the OECD, to address effectively and positively the trade/environment/development continuum. With this in mind, the European Commission also initiated a Sustainability Impact Assessment of the new round so as to start identifying trade, environment and development interlinkages and to help design policy responses. The European Commission decided to ask those with expertise in the field of sustainability impact assessment to examine the potential impact of Commission proposals for the negotiations on sustainable development, taking into account the three components – economic, environmental and social.

The EC position for the WTO ministerial conference in Seattle was to make sustainable development a central benchmark in the new round and to better address developing countries’ needs. This was reflected in the European Commission’s Communication of 8 July 1999 - "The EC Approach to the WTO Millennium Round" (see http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/trade/2000_round/position.htm).

Given what happened in Seattle, it is clear that it is necessary to work on the trade/environment/development continuum in a more constructive way so as to overcome the current impasse. To this end, the European Commission looks forward to the forthcoming international processes that will take place throughout the period 2000/2003 and which should be devoted to the trade/environment/development continuum. UNCTAD X will take place in February 2000 in Bangkok and will decide on its work programme for the next years. CSD8 will provide a timely opportunity to exchange views on the outcome of Seattle and on how to enhance understanding and to best address the trade/environment/development continuum in a confidence-building exercise. The European Commission hopes that these conferences and their follow up will contribute in a complementary way to improved confidence-, consensus- and alliance-building and improved dialogue with all partners involved and help support any efforts to identify practical means in this regard.

Furthermore, the European Commission attaches great importance to the need for coherence in international law and cooperation between the relevant international institutions and to promote cooperation between the relevant international organisations and institutions, stressing their comparative advantages.

Another major issue is the potential of investment, especially Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), to assist countries in promoting sustainable development via economic growth, improved market access, the use of environmentally sound management systems and the dissemination of environmentally sound technologies (EST). The potential of FDI to contribute significantly to economic growth and hence sustainable development in both home and host countries is being increasingly recognised. This is not necessarily the case, however, of any investment under any circumstances. In order to make sure that FDI supports sustainable development, it is necessary to examine the impact of FDI on the environment and try to define better the respective roles of government, industry, NGOs and other stakeholders for creating favourable framework conditions to promote international investment conducive to sustainable development. The European Commission remains of the view that there is a need to set up a multilateral framework governing international investment.

In November 1996, the European Commission launched a discussion document on relations between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries on the eve of the 21st Century. Known as the Green Paper, the document is intended to stimulate debate about the challenges and options for a partnership after the expiry of Lomé IV in February 2000. Discussions on the basis of the European Commission's Green Paper are currently taking place in a wide variety of fora, involving official as well as non-official actors, in Europe and in the ACP countries. After this debate, the European Commission will put forward new proposals, taking into account the opinions and suggestions that will have emerged from this wide and unprecedented consultation process.

Debt

As a major donor to most of the highly indebted poorest countries, the Community has a key interest in ensuring that their adjustment and development efforts are not constrained by an unsustainable debt burden. Indeed, the debt issue has been a major concern to the ACP States during negotiations of successive Lomé Conventions. In recent years, the Community has taken several measures in order to prevent a further increase in the ACP States' debt to the Community. Since Lomé IV, all European Development Fund (EDF) resources apart from risk capital are provided as grants. The special loan instrument has been replaced by grants and there is no longer a requirement for countries receiving Stabex transfers to contribute to the replenishment of the system. Furthermore, in 1991, the Council decided to abandon the obligation to contribute to the repayment of Stabex resources granted under earlier Conventions, and in the context of the mid-term revision of Lomé IV in 1995, the Community agreed to transform all uncommitted special loans of the previous Conventions into grants. Lending from the European Investment Bank to the poorest countries continues to be made on subsidised terms.

Since Rio, the Community has also supported major advances that have been made in the global framework for tackling the debt problems of developing countries including the agreement of Naples Terms for Paris Club (bilateral government) debt. The Community has also supported a World Bank/IMF led Initiative aimed at ensuring that the overall debt burden of heavily indebted poorest countries (HIPCs) is brought down to sustainable levels. This Initiative was agreed at the 1996 IMF/ World Bank Annual Meetings. Although the European Community is a relatively small creditor in the context of the initiative, eleven of the thirteen countries currently expected to qualify for assistance under the initiative are ACP states with Community-level debt outstanding. Under the Initiative, all creditors - bilateral, commercial and multilateral - are committed to taking co-ordinated action to ensure that all HIPCs in adjustment have the prospect of achieving sustainable debt levels within a reasonable timeframe. In this context, the European Commission has recently presented a Communication to the Council, proposing further ways in which the Community can play its part in this global effort to deal with the debt problems of the HIPCs, both as donor and creditor.

 

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This information was provided by the European Commission to the 5th, 6th, and 8th sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: December 1999.

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TRADE

No information is available.

 

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This information was provided by the European Commission to the 5th, 6th, and 8th sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: December 1999.

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CHANGING CONSUMPTION PATTERNS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

Structure of decision-making

Directorate General XI, Environment, Nuclear Safety and Civil Protection deals with aspects of sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Policies and major programmes

The European Community’s Action Programme on the Environment and Sustainable Development "Towards Sustainability" (the Fifth Action Programme) comprises policy on sustainable production and consumption in relation to the five target sectors of the Programme: industry, agriculture, energy, transport and tourism.

The Action programme addresses:

- increasing energy and material efficiency in production processes;

- reducing wastes from production and promoting recycling;

- promoting use of new and renewable sources of energy

- using environmentally sound technologies for sustainable production;

- reducing wasteful consumption; and

- increasing awareness for sustainable consumption.

Under the Fifth Action Programme, the process of integration of environmental considerations in Commission policy-making has been strengthened through various interdepartmental structures as well as political objectives.

European social and cultural policy has a long tradition and the integration of these policy objectives and economic objectives have been going on for a number of generations. The integration of environmental considerations in these policy areas is a newer phenomenon. In the first instance, European policy on sustainable development has therefore come to focus on environmental protection. From this it has gradually developed into a policy where environment and economic considerations are integrated in the various economic sectors of society. The social role of these economic sectors feature as important elements in that integration process.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Very few legislative actions in the field of the environment in fact do not have as their final objective or consequence the promotion of more sustainable production and consumption. This is particularly the case for European legislation on water, waste and air emissions.

DGXI and DGIII are co-operating in a number of fields in order to develop bases for industry action on sustainable production and consumption. Part of this work is done in collaboration with industry. An example is the efforts to promote eco-efficiency within industry and the financial sector.

Policy tool such as the European Environmental Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) is voluntary scheme for industry.

The European Eco-labelling scheme has a dual target in that it is a policy tool for both consumers and industry.

There is a proposal for a common energy tax, which is not implemented. Considerable reform was made of the European Common Agricultural Policy following the Fifth Action Programme, including a shift from production support to income support and support for environmental measures. Proposals for further reform are made under the Agenda 2000 proposals.

The enforcement of relevant laws, regulations and standards are monitored by the European Court of Justice.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

The democratic structure of the European Union and the European Community is based on the national parliaments and democratically elected governments of the European Union Member States. At the Community level there is the directly elected European Parliament.

The European Commission also has set up a Consultative Forum on the Environment and Sustainable Development that addresses a wide-ranging service of issues. The Forum is made up of representatives of all major groups.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status

The efficiency in the use of energy, water and other resources have improved considerably. However, the growth in output or the growth in transport has to certain extents negated this positive development.

Various voluntary initiatives exist in European industry in order to attain more sustainable production. One example is the Responsible Care Programme of the chemicals industry.

The European Commission through its Research and Development Framework Programme is funding socio-economic research on transport, climate, energy saving, waste, packaging, etc. SAVE, THERMIE, SYNENERGIE, ALTENER are further programmes that fund research projects in the energy sector.

Challenges

The lack of clear focus in the topic of sustainable production and consumption has made it difficult to develop strategies or concrete policy actions. However, many actions, legislative actions and programmes have a positive effect on the consumption and production patterns.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

The European Commission funds a number of projects related to awareness-raising. A number of projects funded under the Environment Directorate (DGXI), although not directly targeted towards consumers (but rather policy-makers or decision-makers in economic sectors) have an impact on, or relate to, modes of consumption. In addition, sector-specific awareness-raising or networking activities are of relevance, such as the Car-free cities, sustainable cities, sustainable tourism, and actions in relation to environmental education.

A specific budget line of one million euro was established in 1993, on the request of the European Parliament, with the objective to improve public awareness amongst consumers and to encourage the development of consumption habits which will be less damaging for the environment. This fund is administered by the Consumer Directorate (DGXXIV) and support is given to concrete and practical actions with a direct impact on consumer behaviour, and the dissemination of best practice by supporting the transfer of successful actions to Member States of the EU.

The European Commission has increased its outreach to media on matters related to the environment and sustainable development, for example by education seminars for targeted journalists.

Information

Most major policy issues are represented in the European Union’s Web-site. Most programmes, campaigns and networking activities also have their own specific web-sites.

The Europa server of the European Union

The European Environment Agency and Eurostat co-operate on developing core indicators for sustainable development. These follow the process initiated under the CSD for indicators. The European indicators project will in the first instance focus on transport, agriculture and energy.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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This information was provided by the European Commission to the 7th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: January 1999.

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FINANCING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (97/11/EC) requires an environmental impact assessment to be carried out before development consent is given for projects which are likely to have significant effects on the environment. The EIA procedure ensures that environmental consequences of projects are identified and assessed before authorisation is given. The Directive outlines the project categories that are subject to an EIA, the procedure to be followed and the content of the assessment.

The European Community supports the establishment of a multilateral framework of rules governing international investment in the WTO, which is conducive to sustainable development and has proposed that this be discussed in the new WTO Round. To this end, inter alia, such a framework should preserve the ability of host countries to regulate the activity of investors (whether foreign or domestic) on their respective territory for the achievement of legitimate policy (including sustainable development) objectives.

In the EU, all taxes are levied by the Member States. However, within the energy field there are minimum rates for mineral oils, which Member States have to respect. There is a Commission proposal to increase the taxes on oil products and to extend the energy taxes to coal, natural gas and electricity, but no agreement has yet been reached by the EU Council of Ministers on these issues.

The interest in identifying environmentally unsustainable subsidies is increasing. All subsidies given by the European Community for regional aid are subject to an environmental assessment. Discussion has started on whether not all state-aid given by the Member States should also be subject to environmental assessment, in line with the increased requests for environmental integration.

The European Commission adopted its major Communication Agenda 2000 in July 1997, which proposed a broad framework for the budget of the Community for the years 2000 to 2006. The proposal acknowledges that not all the Community’s funds have been used in an environmentally optimal way. Example of an area where improvement is needed is agricultural subsidies. It is proposed that agricultural support payments should be made conditional on the respect of certain environmental criteria by farmers.

In the funds used for regional development, Environmental Impact Assessment is necessary for all projects exceeding certain financial thresholds. Awareness and quality of these assessments have increased over recent years. In the Cohesion Fund, used for the poorest Member States, the balance between transport (mainly road-building) and environmentally related projects has sharply shifted in favour of environmental projects.

In order to ensure coherence, the Commission recently proposed that environmental impact assessments should not only be done for projects, but also for programs and policies. This proposal for Strategic Environmental Assessments is set out in detail in document (COM/96/511).

There are no environmental taxes levied by the European Commission. However, the system of taxing mineral oil is harmonized in the EU, although the rates differ between the Member States. The Commission recently proposed a new framework for the taxation of energy products in the Member States of the EU. The proposal will increase the scope of the energy tax to cover not only oil, but also natural gas, coal and electricity. It is also proposed that the minimum rates will increase.

The European Commission fosters the application of full cost recovery to environmental services (e.g. water treatment plants) supported by Community funding to ensure that the operation and maintenance are self financed once the plants have been built, as a way to translate the polluter pays principle into practice.

All investment in the EU, whether by foreign companies or not, has to respect Community Environmental Impact Assessment legislation.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In November 1995, the European Commission adopted a Communication on Cohesion Policy and the Environment, reviewing past performance and making proposals for future action by both the Structural and Cohesion Funds. The Communication stressed the complementarity of resource conservation and sustainable socio-economic development. It found that a high quality environment had been a factor in attracting investment to the poorer and more peripheral parts of the Union and that activities related to the environment could be a substantial source of new jobs. The Communication noted that the Funds had an important role in promoting environmental assessment of programmes and projects. The Communication also highlighted the role of the Structural Funds in helping poorer Member States to improve their environmental infrastructure particularly in order to meet Community standards in sectors such as the protection and management of water resources, waste water treatment and the collection, treatment and recycling of waste.

Following the Communication, the 1995 Annual Report on the Structural Funds also had an environmental theme and gave further details of the Funds' role in environmental protection. The Funds play an important role in actions to clean up coastal areas and river basins, rehabilitate old industrial sites and upgrade deprived urban areas. In addition to these curative measures, the Funds finance preventative measures including incentives to promote environmentally friendly technology, especially in small and medium sized enterprises, and provide support for renewable energy, energy conservation, public transport and environmental training.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

Action to fight poverty and social inclusion is mainly the responsibility of Member States. The European Community has however regularly contributed to Member State initiatives via internal and external Community programmes.

<Internal >

Particular attention has been given to the importance of improving operational coordination between fighting poverty and other social exclusion factors through, in particular, initiatives under the Structural Funds. The European Union has at its disposal four Structural Funds through which it channels financial assistance to address structural economic and social problems in order to reduce inequalities between different regions and social groups. The European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund are particularly effective. The European Regional Development Fund finances structural aid through regional development programmes targeted at the most disadvantaged regions, with a view to helping reduce socio-economic imbalances between the regions of the Union. The European Social Fund is the main instrument of Community social policy and provides financial assistance for training and job-creation schemes targeted particularly at unemployed youth, the long-term unemployed, socially disadvantaged groups and women.

<External>

Article 177 of the Treaty establishing the European Community sets the campaign against poverty as one of the three main objectives of the Community’s development co-operation. As a result, poverty is now an overarching goal of EC development cooperation and an integral principle of both geographical and sectoral programmes. Within the post-Lomé negotiation process, an Action Plan on Capacity Building for Poverty Reduction is currently being prepared by the European Commission.

The European Commission has endorsed the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) target of reducing by at least one-half the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by 2015. The Commission is also an active member of the DAC Poverty Network.

Status

The development policy of the European Community was incorporated in its basic texts for the first time in 1992, in the Treaty on European Union. The Community and its 15 Member States provide more than 50% of world development aid. That aid represented more than 0.38 % of Union per capita GNP in 1995, well above the Development Assistance Community (DAC) average of 0.27%. The share of European Union aid channelled through the Community itself has increased from 7.7% in 1972 at the time of the Stockholm Conference to 14.8% in 1992 and 17% in 1995.

The increasing share and the expansion in its membership means that the Community has had one of the fastest growing aid programmes in recent times. The disbursement of Official Development Assistance increased by 19% in ECU terms between 1992 and 1995 and by 20% in dollar terms although disbursements fell back in 1996. Figures on the total volume of aid since 1992 are given in the table below. By 1992 the European Community had become the fifth largest donor in the Development Assistance Community and the second largest multilateral donor after the International Development Association of the World Bank; a ranking it retains to this day.

The Community's aid is highly concessionary with nearly 98% provided on grant terms. About 90% of European Community aid is channelled bilaterally with most of the rest taking the form of multilateral food aid and emergency aid. Food aid in both cash and kind used to play a major part in the Community's overall aid effort, representing about a quarter of all aid in the 1980s; in recent years that has fallen to something closer to 10%. Emergency aid has been another major component of assistance and has absorbed a greatly increased share of resources since 1992, peaking at over 14% of total aid in 1994 and still accounting for more than 10% in 1995 compared with only about 1% in the late 1980s.

An average of 37% of European Community aid in 1994 and 1995 went to the UN's list of least developed countries, a figure well above the average of all DAC states who allocated 25% of their aid to these countries. The Community spent a further 14% on other low income countries with a GNP per capita of less than $675 in 1992 and here its performance was well below that of DAC members who averaged 33%. The Community spent an average of 43% of its aid for 1994 and 1995 on lower middle income countries (with a per capita GNP of $676 to $2,695).

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

It is important that young people are made aware of sustainable development issues and concerns. One of the best means of reaching young people is through education. Promoting awareness in education of the need for official development assistance will be an effective vehicle for generating the necessary political will to push this issue forward.

Information

Information related to the financing of sustainable development can be accessed via the Commission’s Web Site Europa. Please see in particular Development DG and Environment DG at the addresses indicated below:

For Development DG see:

http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/dgs/development/index_en.htm . Please note that the address and site will be updated in order to take into consideration the recent organisational restructuring (new Development Directorate General).

For Environment DG see:

http://www.europa.eu.int/comm/dgs/environment/index_en.htm  

A guide to ‘Funding from the European Union’ has been published by the European Commission Representation in the United Kingdom. The guide presents an overview of all possible sources and provides practical advice on the different EU funding schemes. The publication may be downloaded from the following web site:

http://www.cec.org.uk/pubs/funding/index.htm

In addition, EC publications on a variety of sustainable development activities can be requested from the EC’s Publications Office. For further information see:

http://www.eur-op.eu.int/indexen.htm

The European Commission Development DG reports to the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC), which is one of the key forums in which the major bilateral donors work together to increase the effectiveness of their common effort to support sustainable development. The Creditor Reporting System (CRS) focuses on project information on individual aid activities regarding the amount committed, the purpose, the terms and the tying status. Data is published electronically on http://www.oecd.org/dac/htm/crs.htm.

The Environment DG periodically submits ‘National Communications’ to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat, which contain information on financial assistance and technology transfer. So far, two national communications have been made; these can be found on the web site: http://www.unfccc.de/resource/natcom/index.html.

The European Commission submitted a comprehensive analysis and assessment of programmes on biodiversity conservation to the CBD Secretariat in 1998. ‘The First Report on the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity by the European Community’ includes initiatives within the EU as well as EU sponsored activities for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in third countries. The European Environment Agency is developing a Clearing House Mechanism (as requested by the CBD). It is expected to be launched in spring 2000. Please see http://www.eea.eu.int.

The European Union’s role in combating desertification and promoting sustainable development of dry land regions is reflected in the report "The European Community’s Policies, Financial Instruments and Projects relating to Combating Desertification in Developing Countries and in EU Member States". The report was brought out in May 1997 and presented at the COP1 to CCD in Rome. An updated version of the report will be available by the end of 1999.

The European Commission’s Development DG funded a project on "Assistance to Developing Countries in Implementing the Basel Convention and in Preparing National Hazardous Waste Management Plans". The final report was published in 1998 by the Secretariat of the Basel Convention as "SBC NO. 98/004 Final Report". Copies of the Report may be obtained from the Secretariat http://www.unep.ch/basel.

Research and Technologies  

Details of the European Community's 13,100 million ECU Fourth Research Framework Programme which covers the period 1994 to 1998 are given in Chapter 35. Sustainable development is a horizontal theme in most areas of research funded under the Framework and a recent internal study done by the European Commission suggested that up to 17% of the total Fourth Framework Programme had been allocated to environmental purposes. This figure included two specific environmental research programmes covering Environment and Climate, and Marine Science and Technologies which have a combined budget of ECU 1,150 million. The Fourth Framework also includes an ECU 147 million Socio-Economic Research Programme. These three programmes are targeted on European research priorities. In addition there is an ECU 575 million International Cooperation Programme for joint research with third countries in which environmental research is a significant focus of support.

Financing

Structural Funds

The primary objective of the Structural Funds is to promote better-balanced socio-economic development and improve cohesion within Europe. The Funds are targeted on the weakest regions of the European Union, and on problems of unemployment and structural adaptation in industry and agriculture. In all 152,000 million ECU at 1994 prices will be made available from the Structural Funds to the 15 Member States in the period 1994 to 1999. With the Cohesion Fund as well (see below), allocations for structural policies will absorb one third of the European Community budget or 0.45% of Community GDP annually.

There are now six main Objectives for the Structural Funds:

Following the 1993 review of the Structural Funds, a series of key amendments were made to the Fund Regulations to strengthen the integration of the environmental dimension in the programming process. Environmental objectives now have to be considered systematically in all programming documents and environmental profiles of the area covered have to be prepared for all regional programmes. National environmental authorities must be involved in the development and monitoring of programmes, and environmental indicators are used as part of programme evaluation.

Cohesion Fund

The Cohesion Fund was established for the 1993-1999 period to help those Member States with a national GNP per capita of less than 90% of the European Community average. The Fund intervenes exclusively in two sectors; transport, where the emphasis is on Trans-European Networks; and environment where support is primarily aimed at enabling Cohesion countries to implement European Community legislation. Spain, Portugal, Greece and Ireland qualify for Cohesion Fund support and the total sum available for the period 1994 to 1999 is 14,454 million ECU in current prices. Over that period 7,192 million ECU or almost 50% of the total will be used for environmental purposes. Particular emphasis is being given to water supply and waste water treatment projects, although solid waste management and schemes to combat erosion and prevent forest fires have also received support.

LIFE

LIFE was established in 1992 and is designed to contribute to the development and implementation of Community environmental policy and legislation. Unlike other Community financial instruments it can provide aid both throughout the Community and in neighbouring regions, making it well placed to tackle transboundary environmental issues. Now in its second phase, with a budget of 450 million ECU for the period 1996 to 2000, the focus is on the priority areas of nature and habitat conservation; preparation and implementation of Community legislation; the integration of environment into industrial activities; help to local authorities to integrate environmental requirements into regional activities; and measures for countries from the Mediterranean, the Baltic and central and eastern Europe. While resources are modest in relation to the sums available through the Structural and Cohesion Funds, LIFE plays an important catalytic role.

Cooperation

The following sections describe the European Community's main aid programmes to different groups of developing countries. An overall evaluation of Community aid and details of the level of environment funding follow these regional descriptions.

The Lomé Convention with the African Caribbean and Pacific States

The European Union has a long-standing and fruitful relationship with the ACP States. This has its expression through the series of Yaoundé and Lomé Conventions, the first of which was signed in 1963. The series of Lomé Conventions started in 1975 and cover both aid and trade matters. At present the Convention represents about 40 to 45% of annual Community aid, although its share has decreased as the Community has also reached out to other developing countries. Lomé IV covers 70 countries including most of the independent states in the Caribbean and Pacific regions and all of Sub-Saharan Africa, except South Africa with whom a special relationship linked to Lomé is currently being developed. Funding for the Lomé Convention is not part of the European Community budget but is provided separately by the Member States through the European Development Fund (EDF) and via subsidised loans from the European Investment Bank (EIB) which contributes about 10% of Lomé resources.

While earlier Conventions were agreed for five years, Lomé IV was approved for the period 1990 to 2000 subject to a mid-term revision and a new Financial Protocol which were agreed in 1995. The Convention's strategic objective is achieving a 'sustainable balance between economic objectives, the rational management of the environment and the enhancement of natural and human resources'. As with all the Community's cooperation agreements, respect for human rights is regarded as an essential element of the accord. For the first time Lomé IV introduced a specific chapter on the protection of the environment into the Convention, making it one of the agreed areas of cooperation. The agreement also banned the shipment of hazardous and radio-active wastes to ACP states.

The 1995 revision also introduced a Protocol on Sustainable Management of Forest Resources into the Convention. This builds explicitly on the Rio Declaration, the Conventions linked to UNCED (Climate Change, Biodiversity and Desertification) and the Rio Statement of Forest Principles. A manual to assist European Commission staff both to put the Forest Protocol into effect and to implement forest projects in other regions was issued in 1996.

Total funding for the first period (1990 - 1995) of Lomé IV was set at 12,000 million ECU which represented a 45% increase in nominal terms over Lomé III. The 1995 revision agreed a further 21% increase to 14,625 million ECU for the period 1995 to 2000. 12,967 million ECU will be provided through the EDF 8 and 1,658 million ECU from the EIB. As part of the revision, the Community also agreed to transform all the unspent highly concessional special loans from earlier Conventions into grants.

Lomé aid operates through a number of different instruments. These include some unique to Lomé, such as Stabex (14% of EDF 8), a scheme for the stabilisation of ACP export earnings from a number of agricultural commodities, and Sysmin (4%), a similar scheme for minerals exports. Some 8% of EDF 8 will be provided as risk capital to help overcome the shortage of start up finance for potentially profitable ventures in ACP states. Lomé IV introduced support for structural adjustment and 11% of EDF 8 will be available for this.

However, the bulk of Lomé resources are channelled through National and Regional Indicative Programmes (N/RIPs) which identify key areas of support. 11 ACP countries and all 7 regions have made environmental protection a focal area in their 1995 - 2000 Indicative Programmes and environmental integration in other priority sectors is mentioned in 20 NIPs. These programmes can draw on environmental profiles which have been prepared for 40 African countries.

As explained in Chapter 2, in November 1996 the European Commission issued a discussion document, known as the Green Paper, on future relations with the ACP countries. This argued that greater priority had to be given to promoting the integration of the ACP economies into the global economy, that aid in the social sphere should be stepped up, that protection of the environment should also be given greater prominence in Community aid and that the European Union could play a more active role in institutional development.

Asian and Latin American States (ALA)

European Community financial and technical cooperation support for Non-Associatedion Countries (ie those not linked through Lomé or the Mediterranean Agreements) started in 1976 when some 40 countries were declared eligible. Some of these have since joined Lomé and the focus of the programme is now exclusively on Asia and Latin America with priority being given to the poorer countries. The ALA programme, which is additional to other aid to these regions, such as food aid, support through NGOs and emergency help, is provided through the Community budget. Allocations are made annually, but in 1990 it was agreed to establish a five year planning figure to allow better programming of ALA support and this was set at 2,750 million ECU for the period to 1995. A planning figure of 4,685 million ECU has been agreed for 1996 to 2000. Annual disbursements have accounted for about 10% of the Community aid budget since 1990 with about 40% of that going to Latin America and 60% to Asia.

The Council agreed a new ALA regulation in 1992 which specifies that at least 10% of aid to Asia and Latin America should be spent on meeting environmental needs. This target has been exceeded as is explained in the section on the environmental evaluation below. Use of the ALA programme is governed by the 1992 regulation and by more recent strategies which the European Commission has adopted in relation to both Asia and Latin America.

The strategy for cooperation with Asia was adopted in 1994 and includes amongst its priorities contributing to sustainable development and to poverty alleviation in the least prosperous countries of Asia. The activities to be undertaken include strengthening higher education and training links, promoting decentralised cooperation between civil society in Asia and Europe, scientific cooperation and research, environmental protection and support for the private sector. Since the overall strategy was adopted, further strategy documents related to energy and to the environment have been prepared. Both the energy strategy and the national strategy for India recognise the importance of helping Asian countries to participate in global efforts to reduce CO emissions.

The Strategy prepared for Latin America in 1996 has three main priorities for cooperation; management of north/south interdependence; the fight against poverty; and economic reform and international competitiveness. All the Community's cooperation agreements with individual Latin American states and with regional groupings contain specific sections on the environment. For example the 1993 regional agreement with the Andean Pact makes environmental protection, sustainable management of natural resources, and conservation of biological diversity the three priorities for cooperation. A country specific strategy on the environment has also been developed for China.

A "Europe - Asia strategy in the field of Environment" is currently under preparation. This strategy seeks to identify key measures in Europe - Asia environmental cooperation, in areas where it is felt that Europe has special experience, know-how and expertise to offer.

In addition to the ALA budget, agreement was reached in 1992 on extending EIB loans to the two regions and 250 million ECU a year was allocated for an initial three-year period.

Mediterranean (MED)

Cooperation with the Mediterranean countries outside the European Union dates back to 1958. Over time Association Agreements were signed with the individual Maghreb and Mashreq countries as well as with Turkey, Cyprus and Malta. These mostly governed trade relations, but also provided modest amounts of development assistance through multi-annual financial protocols.

In 1990 the Community adopted an action programme to strengthen and increase the level of financial resources available to the region and to promote economic reform. While most of the aid was for traditional projects, the action programme included a number of innovative regional initiatives, for example tackling urban issues, promoting higher education links and strengthening the local media. A five-year aid package of 2,375 million ECU was allocated to implementing the action programme in eight Maghreb and Mashreq countries and for economic cooperation with Israel. As a result of the action programme, support to the Mediterranean rose from an average of less than 5% of Community aid to 10% in 1993. The programme included 105 million ECU for interest subsidies on 600 million ECU's worth of environmental lending by the EIB.

At the end of 1995 cooperation with 11 countries and the Palestinian Authority was further strengthened by the adoption of the Euro-Mediterranean Barcelona Declaration. The Declaration outlined three areas of partnership and established a Work Programme to implement them. The Political and Security Partnership was to define a common area of peace and security while the Economic and Financial Partnership was to build a shared zone of prosperity and the Social, Cultural and Human Partnership was to develop human resources. The partners committed themselves to sustainable socio-economic development and to the gradual establishment of a free-trade area by 2010. They stressed the need for regional economic integration and underlined their environmental interdependence. The European Union confirmed its willingness to make 4,685 million ECU available from the Community budget for the period 1995 to 1999 to support the partnership.

The agreed Work Programme covers some twenty areas of activity including environment, transport, energy, fisheries, science and technology, water and land-use planning. Ministers agreed that cooperation on water was a major priority. They undertook to prepare a short and medium term programme of action on environment dealing, inter alia, with integrated management of water, soils and coastal zones, and the prevention of atmospheric pollution. Energy cooperation was to focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy and environmental questions.

The specific Environment and Tropical Forest programmes

In addition to its main regionally based programmes, the European Community has a number of thematic aid programmes often established at the behest of the European Parliament. One of these, Environment in Developing Countries, was first established in 1982 with very limited funding. The budget grew substantially in the 1980s and peaked at 26 million ECU in 1993, before falling to 15 million ECU for 1996. The overall objective of the programme is sustainable development and it concentrates on integrating the environmental dimension into development often through small scale participatory pilot projects. Latin America and the Mediterranean have been the main beneficiaries while the leading sectors have been urban environment and the protection of biodiversity. In 1996 the programme financed a major study of the environmental effects of structural adjustment carried out by an NGO. A Regulation setting out orientations for the programme was due to complete its legislative passage by mid 1997.

The Regulation on Operations to Promote Tropical Forests was adopted in December 1995. This formalised a programme which started in 1991 and has been allocated approximately 50 million ECU a year since 1992; a level of commitment which is due to continue until 1999.

More than half of total resources to date have been allocated to Latin America, while ACP received a quarter and Asia 16% of the budget. Support has been given to capacity building, institutional reform, projects involving local people, research, forest monitoring and fire prevention.

The 1995 Development Assistance Committee Review of European Community Aid

Considerable efforts have been undertaken since Rio to improve the quality of European aid. The progress made in aid management since its last review in 1991 was recognised in the 1995 OECD Development Assistance Committee review of European Community cooperation programmes. The Committee characterised the Community's aid programme as having distinctive and ambitious goals and noted that it was expanding faster than that of most DAC donors. The Committee welcomed the introduction of an integrated approach to project cycle management based on logical framework analysis which is to be applied to all aid projects and programmes as well as the training provided for staff in these techniques and the expansion of the European Commission's capacity to evaluate the implementation of aid.

While accepting that progress had been made since 1991, the Committee considered that further attention needed to be paid to elaborating country strategies to ensure all of the Community's aid instruments were integrated towards common goals. The strategies for Asia and Latin America and the Green Paper on future relations with ACP states demonstrate the European Commission's determination to continue to improve strategic thinking.

The Committee also expressed concern that while some of the staffing constraints identified in the 1991 review had been addressed through increased staffing levels, shortages remained with respect to key cross-cutting issues such as participatory development, poverty alleviation, gender, population and environment.

Since the review the European Commission has continued to make efforts to tackle this issue and has provided further guidance manuals and training to promote the mainstreaming of cross-sectoral concerns so that they become the responsibility of all staff. Environmental manuals for projects financed from Lomé and from the Community budget have been drawn up since Rio and staff have received training in their use. A new set of guidelines stressing the integration of environment and development was prepared to assist in the programming of EDF 8. Equally guidance notes have been prepared on key global environmental problems such as desertification, climate change and biodiversity to explain their relevance to development cooperation. The Council adopted a resolution on Environmental Impact Assessment in June 1996 and discussion is underway with the Member States on follow-up action.

The Evaluation of the Environmental Performance of European Community Programmes in Developing Countries

An evaluation was commissioned in January 1996 with the objective of identifying opportunities to improve the integration of the environmental dimension of the Community's cooperation with developing countries, and to enhance support for environmental priorities. The evaluation which is due for completion in the course of 1997 also assessed the amount of aid going to environmental projects in the ACP, ALA and Mediterranean states. The first phase of the study which looked at 70 environment projects and at the operation of environmental policy in other projects, including through an analysis of 10 environmental appraisals, was completed in December 1996. A series of field visits to six countries is now underway. A complementary evaluation of support for tropical forests has also been launched.

The evaluators experienced considerable difficulty in drawing up an inventory of environmental projects financed by the Community because of the lack of standard definitions for classifying such projects. Indeed, the figures for all multilateral and bilateral donors produced by the OECD for the Commission on Sustainable Development do not really identify environmental aid as such. Instead the CSD figures give details of all aid broken down by the broad themes of Social and Economic Dimensions, Conservation and Management of Resources, Strengthening the Role of Major Groups and Aid for the Means of Implementation, which are then further subdivided into sectors and themes such as energy, transport, combating desertification or science. Only 15 categories within some subdivisions are included in the OECD's pour memoire figure for environmental protection. These completely exclude spending on major environmental priorities such as education, renewable forms of energy, forests (except in relation to natural reserves) or sustainable agriculture.

The evaluators drew up the inventory on the basis of their own definitions of primary and secondary environmental projects. Primary environmental projects were defined as those whose purpose and activities are aimed at achieving environmental improvements or managing and conserving natural resources. All projects under 21 OECD codes were included in the primary projects while a further analysis was made of projects under another 17 OECD codes before deciding on their inclusion. Secondary environmental projects were defined as those economic sectoral projects which incorporated funding directed towards specific environmental activities. The inventory only took account of the environmental component.

The inventory looked at expenditure on environmental projects financed by the EDF, the ALA and Mediterranean programmes and the specific environmental and tropical forest budgets in the period 1990 to 1995. Summary details of the findings are given in the tables below which show, inter alia that disbursements on environmental projects have increased steadily over the five years. The overall figure for cumulative primary and secondary environmental disbursements represented 5% of total disbursements from the relevant programmes while the commitments represented 8.5% of the total allocated between 1990 and 1995.

Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs)

Fundamental change in central and eastern Europe since 1989 has brought a new era of cooperation with the European Union aimed at sustainable development. Cooperation on environment first developed through the multilateral Environment for Europe process launched in 1991 at the Dobris Ministerial Conference in which the Community played a leading role. The Community has continued to be actively involved in the evolving process and welcomed the 1995 Sofia Conference endorsement of the Environment Programme for Europe (EPE) which provides a framework for improved coordination of national and international efforts.

Since Rio the European Union has developed Europe Agreements with Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Slovenia which lay the foundations for preparing these countries for membership of the Union. To further this process a pre-accession strategy was initiated in December 1994 and the Community's assistance programme for the CEECs, known as Phare, will increasingly be devoted to implementing it. To make this possible a system of multiannual planning has been initiated for Phare and the rules governing its use are being amended to allow greater promotion of infrastructure development and cross border cooperation.

As far as the environment is concerned the pre-accession strategy will assist the CEECs to work on adopting the Community's environmental legislation and standards, as well as building the capacity to monitor and enforce their implementation. A 10 million ECU Technical Assistance Information Exchange Office has been set up. Another facility, DISAE has been established specifically to help bring local law into line with that of the Community.

The Phare programme

Financial support for the countries of central and eastern Europe started in 1990 and by 1995 some 5,417 million ECU had been committed. Disbursements began rather slowly and although they are now catching up, at a cumulative figure of 2,897 million ECU, they still lag behind commitments. In June 1995 the European Council announced its intention to provide 6,693 million ECU for the CEECs from the Community budget between 1995 and 1999.

The environment has been a priority area since Phare's establishment in accordance with the wishes of the CEEC countries themselves. So far particular attention has been given to air pollution, waste water and water supply, waste management and the conservation of biodiversity. The emphasis has shifted gradually from technical assistance and institutional strengthening to include more support for investment. Phare's multi-country programmes have been of particular importance in encouraging regional environmental cooperation particularly in the Black Triangle, the Black Sea, the Danube river basin, the Baltic Sea and through the Regional Environmental Centre in Budapest.

The Tacis programme

Since 1991 Tacis (Technical Assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States, Georgia and Mongolia) has fostered the development of links between the European Union and the New Independent States by providing grant finance to support the process of transformation to market economies and democratic societies. Know-how is delivered by providing policy advice, consultancy teams, studies and training, by developing and reforming legal and regulatory frameworks, institutions and organisations and by setting up partnerships, networks, twinning and pilot projects.

By 1995 2,268 million ECU had been committed to Tacis programmes. As with Phare disbursements lagged behind in the beginning but are gradually catching up and had reached a cumulative total of 888 million ECU by the end of 1995.

The Regulation covering Tacis support in the period up to 1995 required environmental considerations to be integrated into all programmes but did not make environmental protection a sectoral priority. As a result specific commitments to environmental projects as such were rather modest. However, over the last two years the Tacis programme has been required to spend 10% of its budget on the environment. For the first time some country programmes, notably those for Russia and Ukraine, have environment as a priority sector. Russia will be committing 5 million ECU a year for the next four years from their Tacis allocation for training, institution building and regulatory development. Inter-State programmes also have a substantial environment allocation for 1996-1997, and the focus of Tacis is shifting further towards the environment. For example, Tacis recently launched a programme to place policy advisors in each New Independent State Ministry of the Environment, including Mongolia. A Tacis awareness raising programme for the public and environmental NGOs started in February 1997.

Assistance for Nuclear Safety to Economies in Transition

In addition to the environmental cooperation through Phare and Tacis, the Community has been very active in reducing possible ecological and health risks through the most important nuclear safety programme in the world. Details of the types of support given are set out in Chapter 22. In all some 515 million ECU was committed for the period 1991 to 1995, including 62.5 million ECU for the EU/G7 Action Plan for Ukraine aimed at the early closure of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

SIDS

The EU is an active donor in the SIDS programme.  

Table 1. EU spending on independent SIDS through the European Development Fund for the year 1996 (in ECU).

COUNTRY DECISIONS PAYMENT
Antigua & Barbuda -123 397 785 449
Bahamas 4 405 000 19 131
Barbados 4 139 892 1 894 167
Cap Verde 2 064 730 8 956 591
Comores 179 409 4 807 204
Dominica 14 747 625 14 171 749
Dominican Republic 21 450 554 11 022 766
Grenada 2 817 419 723 692
Haiti 51 641 545 27 852 549
Jamaica 12 829 309 23 460 563
Kiribati 288 405 698 142
Mauritius 2 388 417 6 583 503
Papua New Guinea 11 227 476 17 551 915
Sao Tome 1 133 968 758 698
Seychelles - 400 650 1 530 925
Solomon Islands -619 940 2 840 540
St Kitts-Nevis - 416 672 240 999
St Lucia 19 967 804 18 726 582
St Vincent grenadine 14 291 515 13 952 872
Tonga 854 501 1 379 619
Trinidad 8 609 164 5 953 511
Tuvalu 342 960 792 165
Vanuatu 1 201 852 2 379 581
Western Samoa -216 926 900 580
Oceania 230 000 109 845
TOTAL 173 033 960 168 093 338

 

Table 2: EDF Funding to non independent SIDS (colonies and DOM-TOM)

COUNTRY DECISIONS PAYMENT
Anguilla 115 000 169 938
Aruba 145 715 712 824
Falklands 0 2 100 000
Fiji 1 147 564 6 817 568
French Polynesia 1 688 422 2 444 973
Mayotte 1 892 825 4 562 588
Montserrat 385 049 16 668
Netherlands Antilles 9 495 454 3 377 035
New Caledonia 464 467 3 463 146
St Helena 0 186 208
Turks & Caicos 0 170 527
Virgin Islands 600 000 58 617
Wallis and Futuna 75 000 1 205 630
TOTAL 16 009 496 25 285 722

 

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This information was provided by the European Commission to the 5th, 6th, and 8th sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: December 1999.

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TECHNOLOGY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Structural Funds and Research Framework Programme play a major role in transferring technology within the EU.

The Sprint Programme aims to improve industrial effectiveness and efficiency by helping the smooth diffusion of new technologies throughout the EU. It published a new manual on Good Practice in Managing Transnational Technology Transfer Networks in 1997.

The Innovation Programme also aims to stimulate a European open area for the diffusion of technology and know-how thereby creating an environment favourable to innovation. This programme also encourages the supply of appropriate technologies.

The European Commission is also working to develop better systems for communicating environmental best practice in business. It is agreed that intermediaries’ networks have to be created to facilitate the transfer of technology. Among these projects, one is linked to the PREPARE Network which is European wide network of 40 experts from government, industry and research involved in demonstration projects and R&D on cleaner production industry. The main objective of the project is to create a forum or network of European initiatives for further exchange of information and stimulation of best environment practice in industry, including the development of an European information system on the Environmental Best Practices.

The European Community also transfers technology to developing countries through its aid programmes.

The promotion of ESTs specifically in the area of freshwater resources management is done through the Structural Funds, and the implementation of the Directives that require high level of waste water treatment.

The 1996 legislation on Integrated Pollution Prevention Control promotes the use of ESTs and is expected to reduce the emission of waste based on the best available techniques. Further details of the IPPC Directive are given in Agenda 21: the First Five Years.

The two other pieces of legislation which are likely to encourage ESTs are:

-The Draft Framework Directive on Waste Disposal: this will harmonise technical standards for all categories of waste product in the Member States (see Agenda 21 the First Five Years).

-The proposal for a Council Directive on End-of-life Vehicles: reuse/recycling of 80% of total end of life vehicle mass by 2005 and 85% by 2015, and reuse/recovery targets (and energy recovery) of 85% and 95% respectively.

According to the 5th Environment Action Programme, the priorities should be to develop actions in order to enhance the awareness of industry on environmental issues, such as tools for better business information, including information on best available technologies, inter alia, by the use of EuroBAT documents, improvement of the diffusion of cleaner technologies as well as the promotion of best environmental practices.

Common and highly polluting industrial processes, such as the chemical, paper and leather industries, the energy and transport sectors are the first sectors in the need of ESTs. The Kyoto Protocol will require intensive efforts to develop energy efficient ESTs.

Small and medium size enterprises

The European Commission Euro-management project seeks to increase their participation of the small and medium size enterprises (SME) in the Community’s Environmental Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) by developing a European-wide uniform methodology for SMEs who wish to develop an environmental management system in line with EMAS.

The EU Structural Funds Programme (1994-1999) will provide 1 billion ECU for SMEs, channelled through grants to Member States and aimed at developing clean technologies and clean production within highly competitive markets. Moreover, the Environment and Growth Initiative for SMEs will also provide funds to cover loan guarantees for small companies investing in energy-saving or other environmental improvement.

The Research &Technological Development Framework Programme has programmes targeted at giving SMEs access to research and innovation. 12 out of 15 Member States have introduced subsidies programmes in the areas of environmental management and technological improvement.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs)

The EC has subscribed to the WTO TRIPs agreement. For the transposition of its provisions into community law, a number of regulations have been enacted covering, inter alia, copyrights and trademarks.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Please refer to the paragraph titled Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Please refer to the paragraph titled Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

Please refer to the paragraph titled Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies.

Programmes and Projects 

Please refer to the paragraph titled Decision Making: Coordinating Bodies.

Status  

No information is available.

Challenges 

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

The EC has developed a database which gives details of European companies producing technologies, goods and services for environmental protection. Seventy different techniques are distinguished, dealing with water treatment, air pollution control, waste management, soil decontamination and environmental impact assessment.

Click here for more information and to access the database

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

General background on the European Community’s efforts to promote technology transfer to developing countries and economies in transition are set out in Agenda 21: the first five years:

 

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This information was provided by the European Commission to the 6th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: January 1998.

 BIOTECHNOLOGY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Overall Strategy

Biotechnology and its widespread commercial use is a relatively recent development. However, the huge potential that lies within this new science is already apparent. The themes set out in Agenda 21 sought to foster internationally agreed principles on the environmentally sound management of biotechnology; to engender public trust and confidence; to promote the development of sustainable applications of biotechnology; and to establish appropriate enabling mechanisms, especially within developing countries.

European Community action has taken a three-track approach:

  1. international agreements;
  2. The implementation of Community legislation ensuring the adequate protection of human health and the environment. The legislation covers the contained use and release to the environment of genetically modified organisms, both for research and development purposes and for the purpose of placing such organisms on the market;
  3. the enhancement of financial support and promotion of specific Programmes for research and development.

In 1994, the Commission adopted a Communication on Biotechnology and the White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment which proposed actions aiming at better exploiting the European Union's potential in the field of biotechnology, while ensuring continued respect for safety requirements. This potential includes aspects of relevance for sustainable development, such as clean technologies and bio-remediation.

International Activities

The European Community considers the safety of biotechnology ('biosafety') crucial to sustainable development. The Community also seeks to ensure that biosafety concerns are integrated into the transfer of biotechnology in the implementation of the Biodiversity Convention and Agenda 21. The Community supports the development of internationally agreed common approaches and standards for biosafety in order to protect the global environment and establish a 'level playing field' for competition.

International cooperation for the sound management and use of biotechnology is being supported by the Community through:

The European Union is participating in the process which will consider the need for, and modalities of, a protocol on biosafety under the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Union also supports the UNEP International Technical Guidelines for Safety in Biotechnology agreed in Cairo in December 1995.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The main elements of the European Community regulatory framework for biotechnology have been in force since 1991, and have been regularly updated as technical knowledge has improved. At present a comprehensive review of all relevant legislation is under way.

While recognising biotechnology's potential for useful applications in a wide range of areas, the Community is also aware of the need to ensure its safe development. Therefore, and in the light of the precautionary principle, the Community's legislation lays down notification procedures and requires any person intending to use, release or market a genetically modified organism to carry out risk assessments. Community legislation in the field of biotechnology is not restricted to horizontal instruments, but also includes product-specific legislation. For example, the Community has recently adopted a Regulation on Novel Foods and Novel Food Ingredients.

The European Commission has also established a high level independent Group of Advisors on the Ethical Implications of Biotechnology to monitor questions such as those raised in Chapter 16 of Agenda 21.

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

Since the adoption of Agenda 21, the Commission has considerably expanded its relevant research programmes within the Life Sciences and Technologies Programmes. In order to make the most of available resources there has been a focus on specific research areas (biotechnology; biomedicine and health; agriculture and fisheries) and on increasing coordination between Member States and the Community's research programmes. The Biotechnology Research Programme has addressed the potential risks of biotechnology, particularly in relation to the impacts of the release of genetically modified organisms into the environment.

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 was provided by the European Commission to the 5th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: March 1997.

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INDUSTRY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Industry is one of the priority sectors under the European Union’s Fifth Action Programme. The Reviewed Fifth Action programme (Art. 2.4) proposes a strategy to:

  1. develop the eco-management schemes, to review the Environmental Management and Audit Scheme and develop environmental awareness within the industry (especially Small and Medium Enterprises), vocational training and technical support;
  2. to develop a framework for an integrated, life-cycle oriented product policy, which will address the further development of life-cycle analysis;
  3. improve legislation for the coherent and comprehensive control of pollution from industrial installations, develop a complementary framework for integrated pollution control taking account of the particular problems of smaller installations and encourage a better integration of external costs;
  4. develop tools for better business information on best available techniques, and the diffusion of cleaner technologies;
  5. facilitate the development of eco-businesses;
  6. give priority to the problems of SME as regards technical and financial obstacles to the use of clean technologies.

As part of this main strategy, a number of European policies promote sustainable industrial development. The most important are:

- several Regulations for chemical products (to promote information and safety though regulated packaging, labelling, transport and marketing standards for all hazardous substances);

- a Directive on major accident risks (‘Seveso’ Directive);

- the compulsory Environmental Impact Assessment Directive;

- the Environmental Management and Audit Scheme Regulation provides a voluntary scheme for European companies to apply for certification of compliance with European environmental legislation from the production process to the final product and its recycling;

- the Packaging Directive (recycling standards for packaging); and

- the Directive on Integrated Pollution Prevention Control (to minimise emissions at all stages of the production process).

The Reviewed 5th EAP proposes that the European Union should develop and operationalise policies aimed at sustainable development, involving the formulation of the concept of eco-efficiency and focus on partnership between government and industry using industry’s capacity for innovation and appropriate incentives and stimulating conditions, on both the demand and supply side.

There are many action programmes at both national and Community level which concentrate on research and development for cleaner production, dissemination of best practice to small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) and the development and enforcement of legislation on standards.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

According to the Estimate of the Eco-Industries in the EU, published by the European Commission in 1994, eco-industries represent a turnover of 90 billion ECU and over one million jobs. Investment in eco-industries in the EU each year totals 35 billion ECU with consequent benefits for construction (18 billion ECU), capital goods industries (15 billion ECU) and associated services (3 billion ECU). The ratio of eco-industries expenditure to EU GDP is some 1.4 %. It is estimated that there are from 20,000 to 30,000 large and small firms which make up the eco-industries sector.

So far there are no specific policies to promote green industries, but this is likely to change with the future implementation of the Reviewed 5th Environmental Action Programme. As part of the approval process of the Community Budget, the European Parliament has made non binding "greening" commentaries on a number of lines in the 1998 budget including transport and energy sectors. These commentaries focus on environmental impact assessment for significant projects and "green" technologies. They represent political orientations and may influence a future green industry policy.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) account for 99.8% of all EU enterprises, thus they play a key role in the economy. At European level, there is a clear policy framework for environment and SMEs, which includes the Reviewed 5th Environmental Action Programme, the Integrated Programme for SMEs, the Craft Sector and the Third Multiannual Programmes for SMEs (1997-2000).

However, current EU legislation has to become more effective to reach the target audience. As a voluntary instrument, the Environmental Management and Audit Scheme has so far had limited success in SMEs and has mainly been taken up by large companies. Therefore, to promote small and medium green industries, future policies have to be designed in an accessible and flexible way. Voluntary agreements will play an increasing important role to that regard, and more SMEs information networks are to be developed.

According to the joint European Environment Agency/UNEP research, 53% of abstracted water is for industry, 26% is for agriculture and 19% for household use in Europe as a whole but with wide variations between countries.

Water shortages and restrictions on industrial and other uses are already occurring in many parts of Europe as a result of the above pressures on water supply. For example, river basin authorities are increasingly restricting the rights of industry to abstract water. However, water pricing is often too low (and does not cover the total cost of supplying and treating water). The EU Directive on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (1996) will encourage cleaner production patterns and a more efficient use of water by industry while the proposed Framework Directive on Freshwater will provide an overall strategy for tackling growing water problems in the EU.

The Directive on Dangerous Substances Discharge and the Groundwater Directive both regulate the discharge of polluting substances by industry.

Challenges

Some of major problems associated with industry are:

- climate change due to CO2 emissions (industry in the EU emits 27% of total EU CO2 emissions), NO emissions (share of 24% of total NO emissions);

- destruction of the ozone layer: industry is responsible for 80% of total CFC emissions

- acidification: 29% of SO2 emissions and 13% of NOX emissions;

- air pollution: 30% of VOC emissions;

- waste materials: 29% of waste production;

- water resources: 53% of water consumption, 7% of phosphorous discharges, 10% of nitrogen discharges; and

- urban environment: 10% of noise emissions.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

 No information is available.

Information

The European Commission is developing better systems for communicating environmental best practice in business to show industries how to combine environment and economic benefits. It is important to create a network of intermediaries that can provide the necessary information to industrial actors and especially SMEs (such as information on clean technologies and on how to implement eco-efficient production methods). Together with UNEP and the WBCSD, the European Commission will promote the dissemination of information on environmental best practice and cleaner production in industry.

The European Commission is developing at the moment a case-study database on successful eco-efficiency experiences by industries

For more information on industry, please click here

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing 

No information is available.

Cooperation

The EU participates in the OECD work programmes related to industry and provides information to three groups:

- OECD Sustainable Consumption and Production Programme Group

- OECD State of the Environment Group

- OECD Pollution Prevention and Control Group

 

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This information was provided by the European Commission to the 6th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: January 1998.

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TRANSPORT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Community has made some progress towards a less polluting and safer transport system since Rio, but more remains to be done.

Vehicle emissions have been regulated by the Community since 1970, and emissions per vehicle-kilometre have been cut significantly. The latest limit values for air-polluting emissions have come into force for all new vehicles; in 1994 for light-duty commercial vehicles, in 1996 for lorries and buses and in 1997 for passenger cars. In addition, requirements for regular vehicle emission inspection have been extended as from 1997. However, as the 1995 Review of the 5th Environmental Action Programme confirmed, increasing levels of road traffic have largely offset the gains made per vehicle, and air quality standards are frequently exceeded especially in urban areas in the Union. Against this background, the European Commission carried out a major research programme (the "Auto-Oil Programme"), in cooperation with automobile manufacturers and the oil industry, to determine by which combination of measures (including both new vehicle and fuel standards and local transport policy measures) air quality standards elaborated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) could be met by 2010 at least cost to society. The European Commission made proposals in 1996 for vehicle emission standards and new legislation on fuel quality to be applied in 2000/2005 based on the results of this programme. The proposals are currently being discussed by the Council and the European Parliament.

Road transport is also a major source of CO2 emissions in the European Union, and a sector where such emissions have grown continuously. Therefore, in early 1997 the European Commission launched a strategy for reducing CO2 emissions from passenger cars through improved fuel-efficiency. The European Commission is currently discussing with the auto industry an agreement to lower substantially the average fuel consumption of new cars over the next few years. However, it has been recognised that further measures to reduce CO2 emissions, especially from land and air transport, will still be needed. The growth in transport CO2 emissions is considered a major challenge in the context of Community policy on climate change.

As part of its strategy to encourage alternatives to the car, the European Commission is working to promote awareness and encourage best practice in urban transport policies by enhancing the exchange of experience between local authorities and practitioners at a European level. The work involves close cooperation with groups of cities, such as the Car-Free Cities Network, and support for demonstration programmes for new technologies. The Community also provides substantial funding for transport research and development through the Fourth Framework Programme.

The European Commission has furthermore launched policy debates with the Member States and other stakeholders on a number of new initiatives which should in the longer term lead to a reduction in the environmental impact of transport. The issues covered include the internalisation of the external costs of transport, the revitalisation of European railways, urban public transport and future noise policy.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Please refer to the above paragraph.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status

Transport Infrastructure in Europe

In the area of transport infrastructure, the European Community and the Member States are working together to develop multi-modal Trans-European Transport Networks (TETNs). Community financial support is being provided through different Funds and particularly through the 16,000 million ECU Cohesion Fund established in 1993 to provide help to the four poorest Member States for the period up to 1999. Approximately half of the Fund will be spent on TETNs and most of the priority projects identified relate to alternatives to road transport. Studies suggest that 60% of the costs of new investments needed to complete the basic TETNs networks will be required for railways, including high speed lines, 5% for inland waterways and 30% for roads. The European Commission is currently starting work on methodologies for assessing the environmental impact of the TETNs.

In addition to the Cohesion Fund, the Structural Funds will contribute very substantially (in excess of 10,000 million) to the construction and improvement of transport infrastructure in the period 1994 to 1999. The European Investment Bank lent a further 12,000 million ECU to such projects in the Community in 1994 and 1995 alone. As a result of the Community support some 17,000 km of roads will be constructed or improved in the Union's four poorest Member States in the decade from 1989. Support is also being given for the construction of metro and light railway systems in Athens and Dublin to ease urban congestion.

In recent years attention has also been paid to improving transport links with the Union's eastern neighbours. Initially projects focused on upgrading major border crossing points to cope with the vast increase in traffic after 1989. In all, projects costing 100 million ECU have been funded under the Phare programme to develop the transport infrastructure of central and eastern European states as part of the programme's strategic work in the modernisation of partner countries' economies.

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

The first three Lomé Conventions (1975-1990) spent about 20% of the programmable aid or 2,500 million ECU in the transport sector. Almost as much, 2,000 million ECU or about 25%, is being disbursed in the first half of the Fourth Lomé Convention (1990-95). Allocations have risen dramatically for the period 1995-2000, the second half or the Fourth Lomé Convention,. Approximately 40% of the National Indicative Programmes, 2,500 million ECU, are committed to transport infrastructure. This support makes the Community the leading donor to the transport sector, alongside the World Bank, in the Lomé countries.

Such investments need periodic evaluation. An evaluation in 1993 concluded that overall the investments in primary infrastructure were generally of a good quality. But much more needed to be done to match the overall objective of aid and the purpose of transport investments. Furthermore, a sectoral approach had not been adequately applied, and recipient countries had not adequately maintained their infrastructure. The findings of the evaluation were based on an analysis of 200 projects financed by the European Development Fund and visits to 40 projects in 13 countries. Many of these projects formed part of multi-donor transport programmes which included Member States' bilateral support. Overall, the evaluation recommended the development of a sectoral approach which would address the sustainability of the benefits of Community aid and the transport infrastructure networks.

A sectoral approach has been developed. In September 1996, transport sector guidelines entitled "Towards sustainable transport: a sectoral approach in practice" were published. These guidelines define the sectoral approach as matching transport infrastructure to economic and social demands, and providing a framework for sustaining the network and benefits to stakeholders. Implementation of the sectoral approach requires:

The guidelines support project cycle management by providing a practical way of applying the sectoral approach and addressing sustainability issues at each stage of the project cycle. Additional tools for developing and monitoring projects are provided. While the guidelines build upon experience in the Lomé countries, they are equally applicable in other regions.

 

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This information was provided by the European Commission to the 5th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: March 1997.

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SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The following bodies are responsible for sustainable tourism:

Directorate General (DG) XI: Environment, Nuclear Safety and Civil Protection, Unit D2 (Nature Protection, Coastal Zones and Tourism); and DG XXIII: Enterprise Policy, Distributive Trades, Tourism and Co-operatives, Directorate D (Co-ordination of Community measures, and concerted actions, in relation to Tourism).

DG XXIII pursues its activities in close co-operation with other services of the Commission (Inter-Services Group on Tourism), with Member States (Advisory Committee), as well as with the European institutions - the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. In line with an approach based on consultation and partnership, the Directorate also maintains a close relationship with representative tourism organisations especially when dealing with specific issues.

DG XI plays a main role by ensuring that the principles of sustainability are fully taken into account in the preparation of legislation and in the operation of programmes and policies which are not themselves conceived in terms of environmental protection objectives. In practice most of the tourism projects and programmes either include an environmental dimension or have a significant impact on the environment.

DGIB and DGVIII work in the field of development co-operation as what concerns tourism projects and other projects, which are somehow linked to tourism.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Amendment to Directive 85/337/EEC (Environmental Impact Assessment) concerning tourism in skiing areas, marine, holiday villages, camping areas was adopted in March 97 and has to be ratified by Member States by March 1999. The Commission, in making its proposal to extend the Environment Impact Assessment Directive, Annex II, has included a wider range of potentially damaging tourism projects amongst those which will have to be covered in future.

A pilot project within the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) examines the viability of applying EMAS on the tourist sector, in particular at hotels. See closer in section ‘Technology’.

The EU Ecolabel Scheme, as laid down in Council Regulation (EEC) No.880/92 is a voluntary, market based instrument. It is regarded as a valuable tool in helping to achieve sustainable consumption goals. The scheme ensures that products bearing the Eco-label achieve a high level of environmental performance. It is designed to enable consumers to make informed choices on the environmental impact of their purchasing patterns.

The Commission currently considers developing criteria for an eco-label in the field of tourism. The revision of Regulation 880/92 - Ecolabel for products is very likely to open up the scheme to services. In order to make a clear distinction with the EMAS-system the Commission envisages a strictly product-related label for tourist accommodations. This label should prevent confusion between EMAS and Eco-label in the eyes of the consumer. Criteria will be ready by autumn 1999, whereas the possibilities to apply for the label are conditional on the completion of the revision of the Regulation.

The BERLIN, CALVIA and LANZAROTE Declarations as well as the special declaration for islands of MENORCA provide guidance for the activities of industry in sustainable tourism.

The tourism industry itself has drawn up voluntary guidelines and priorities for action by governments and by the travel and tourism sector; for example, to assess the environmental implications of tourism, create sustainable tourism programmes and develop tourism products with sustainability at the core.

A general code of conduct has been established by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), including an ICC Business charter.

Furthermore, many regions and countries have established their own environmental schemes for the travel and tourism industry.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Treaty on European Union, signed by all Member states in 1992, has introduced as a principle objective the promotion of sustainable growth respecting the environment. It includes among the activities of the Union a policy in the sphere of the environment (Art. 3(k)), specifies that this policy must aim at a high level of protection and that environmental protection requirements must be integrated into the definition and implementation of other Community policies. Article 3t of the Treaty of Maastricht included, for the first time, measures in the sphere of tourism in the list of Community activities foreseen in support of the Community’s overall objectives. The Treaties give no particular guidance for a community tourism policy and there is no specific legal base for Community measures on tourism.

However, the European Community programme of policy and action in relation to the environment and sustainable development (5th environmental programme of action) sets tourism as one of its five target sectors. Target sectors are chosen because of the particularly significant impact that they have on the environment and because by their nature they have crucial roles to play in the attempt to achieve sustainable development.

The European Commissions Progress report and action plan on the fifth programme of policy and action in relation to the environment and sustainable development states evidence of some progress in integrating the environment and tourism, but the objectives of the fifth programme and the measures have not yet been implemented thoroughly. Therefore the progress report again outlines the necessary priority actions:

Integration: Public authorities in the Member States should work together to better integrate environmental considerations into their tourism policy at the most appropriate level; public authorities in the Member States need to develop integrated land-use planning at local or regional level; public authorities in the Member States need to implement stricter control measures on land-use; at EU level approaches to sustainable development in the tourism sector need to be strengthened, building on suggestions in the Green Paper on Tourism and using principal instruments such as the Structural and Cohesion Funds, to support Member States in their efforts to protect the quality of the environment, to change attitudes and approaches and to promote sustainable development.

Protection of sensitive areas: Member States need to develop frameworks for the protection of the environment particularly in sensitive areas such as the Mediterranean, the Baltic, the Alps and coastal zones.

Information for tourists: Public authorities in the Member States and the tourist industry should make available to the public better information on the state of the environment in order to enable public pressure to act as a driver towards sustainable tourism; the success of the Blue Flag initiative demonstrates the importance of the public's role.

Management of tourist flows: Public authorities in the Member States and the tourist industry need to examine the carrying capacity of tourist sites and take appropriate measures to manage tourists flows to the lasting benefit of the sector and the environment. The LIFE instrument can be used to demonstrate the benefits of more sustainable approaches.

The Resolution embodying the opinion of the European Parliament on the proposal from the Commission to the Council for a resolution on a Community programme of policy and action in relation to environment and sustainable development in paragraph 35 on the Tourist sector calls on the Commission to:

European Parliament and Council Decision, Article 2 "Integration of the environment into other policies", says that, in relation to tourism, the Community will focus on the following priorities where action can be carried out most effectively at Community level:

  1. to provide for regular reporting on the pressures and effects on the environment of tourism practices, including in relation to the sustainable exploitation of coastal zones;
  2. to support awareness campaigns in order to promote an environment-friendly use of tourism resources, including the means of transport to and from tourist resorts;
  3. to promote the implementation of innovative good practices in the field of sustainable tourism development.

The European Community Biodiversity Strategy (COM (1998)42 final) provides the framework for developing Community policies and instruments in order to comply with the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Community Biodiversity Strategy identifies Tourism as one of the key sectors where biodiversity objectives should be integrated. The Community Biodiversity Strategy identifies horizontal objectives on conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity; sharing of benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources; research, identification, monitoring and exchange of information; and education, training and awareness that should be achieved through each sector.

In addition, the Community Biodiversity Strategy sets three specific objectives for tourism:

The Council in its decisions of 16-17 June 1998 requests the Commission to report on the implementation of the Community Biodiversity Strategy by mid 2000.

Commission Documents:

The Commission Green Paper on The role of the Union in the field of tourism COM (95) 97 final of 04/04/1995 highlights environmental issues and the need to develop tourism in a sustainable way. In particular it states that "the future of European tourist activity fits perfectly into the pursuit of the objective laid down in Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union, i.e. to promote "a harmonious and balanced development of economic activities, sustainable and non-inflationary growth respecting the environment". On the basis of the comments given by the tourism industry and other interested parties, a proposal for a multi-annual programme was prepared.

The conclusions of the High Level Group (HLG) on tourism and employment (created by the Tourism Directorate and involving representatives of the tourism industry) highlight the importance of encouraging sustainable development of tourism. In particular, the HLG recommends to the European Community and to the Member States to utilise available Community funds to ensure the full integration of sustainable development principles into tourism development plans and strategies, and to ensure that an environment impact assessment is made in the case of projects supported by public funds provided by them in Europe and abroad.

Tourism is also basic to the considerations in the Commissions White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment, of which one of the keystones would be to make the economic-ecological relationship a positive instead of a negative one.

Commission Working Document on Support for Indigenous Peoples in the Development Co-operation of the Community and the Member States

Produced by the European Commission on request of the Council of Ministers of Development Co-operation in June 1997 this document is the basis for a resolution of the Council. The document addresses the relation between indigenous peoples and the development process. It proposes a general policy framework, which should subsequently be implemented through the development of more specific activities and guidelines.

The Commission Communication, A European Community strategy to support the development of sustainable tourism in the developing countries, has been adopted on 14 October 1998. This Communication was subject to Council discussion in November 1998.

The Commission together with the Member States identifies NATURA 2000 sites of Community interest, which could become future tourist destinations. Tourism, Leisure and Recreation was a special topic at the Bath Conference on Natura 2000, 29-30 June 1998. Organised by the UK Presidency of the European Union and the Commission it aimed at decision makers in connection with the setting up of the Natura 2000 network at national, regional and local level.

The European Charter on Sustainable Tourism in Protected Areas was presented at the Bath Conference. The European Community aims at applying this charter to protected areas especially in the Natura 2000 proposed sites with a scope for tourism. The charter consists of 5 sections giving the 10 principles of sustainable tourism in protected areas and describing the objectives for authorities, businesses and tour-operators and transport companies. In the Charter, the sustainable tourism is defined as: "any form of development or management of tourist activities which ensures the long-term protection and preservation of natural, cultural and social resources and contributes in a positive and equitable manner to the economic growth and well-being of individuals living in, working in or visiting the protected area".

The European Environmental Agency is in its second assessment on Europe’s Environment (1998) describing trends in the tourism sector. The EEA is serving the European Community with a report every three years.

Eco-tourism is an integral part of the Commissions activities on tourism as it is an economical chance in particular for small and medium enterprises in rural areas.

Deterrents in these strategies to control damaging environmental practices on the part of businesses and visitors are provided by the Treaties establishing the European Union that provide for infringement procedures against Member States who do not implement Community legislation.

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement

The main stakeholders involved in the decision making process in the EU are the environmental NGOs and representative organisations for business and industry, agriculture and fisheries. The scientific community is indirectly involved through the research programmes supported by the Commission.

The European Commission has a Consultative Forum on the Environment and Sustainable Development that addresses a wide-ranging service of issues. The Forum is made up of representatives of all major groups.

Programmes and Projects 

Further to the UN-Rio Conference on sustainable development in 1992, DG XXIII of the Commission put a more specific emphasis on the integration of environmental concerns in the area of tourism, in close co-operation with DG XI, the Member States, the tourism industry and other interested parties.

In 1996, the Commission proposal for a multi-annual programme to assist European tourism, Philoxenia (1997-2000) emphasised the contribution of tourism to the achievement of the broader objectives of the European Union, in particular the need to respect the principle of sustainable development. All Member States agreed on the objectives and working methods, but two of them stated it was not necessary to have a programme and a budget. DG XXIII continues to defend the position that our action must be in the context of a longer-term outlook. Such a strategy has to rest on a coherent and effective working framework and on the availability of the essential logistical means.

Status 

The European Union still maintains its leading position in world tourism with a growth rate in 1996 of 4.2% in terms of international arrival and of 4.5% in terms of receipts. Despite EU’s declining world market share, which between 1990 and 1996 reduced by 7% in terms of receipts and 4% in terms of arrivals. Europe continues to be bolt the main source of origin as well as the principal destination of international tourist flows, in terms of arrivals and departures, of receipts and of international commercial exchanges. EU Member States account for 12 out of the 40 leading tourist destinations in the world, and in 1996 they accounted for 40% of arrivals, 38% of receipts and 42% of expenditure in international world tourism.

It is currently estimated that tourism-related activities directly employ 9 million people in the European Union. The direct contribution of in terms of jobs is particularly significant in some tourism-intensive economies, it also has an important indirect effect on employment in related services. Tourism is seen as a major source of job creation over the coming years, in particular in less developed and peripheral regions. Some sources estimate that travel and tourism jobs will increase by 2 million by the end of the next decade, and will represent over 9% of total employment in the European Union, in comparison with 6% now.

In terms of job creation, small and medium-sized tourism enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role. European tourism is largely an SME-dominated sector, with over 99% of firms employing fewer than 250 individuals. These contribute significantly to Member States’ Europe, 94.2% of which were enterprises employing fewer than ten persons. 6.5% of the total turnover of European SMEs is generated by tourism SMEs.

The economic contribution of tourism is not the only indicator of its beneficial impact. Travel and leisure activities are also social indicators, since tourism is no longer an activity for the privileged few, but rather a widespread experience for the great majority of EU citizens. This is illustrated by the results of the Eurobarometer survey Facts and Figures on the Europeans on Holidays (March 1998), which was carried out on behalf of Directorate General XXIII and has been made available widely.

Through the progressive development of the European Statistical System on Tourism, the European Commission is raising awareness about tourism’s contribution to the economies of the Member States. Its work in establishing common methods and definitions to ensure meaningful assessment and comparison of the structure and impact of tourism activities is essential.

Another essential issue for tourism is the introduction of the Euro (&#128). Since the tourism sector is extensively globalised and is obliged to work in various currencies, it will benefit greatly from the introduction of the euro. Over 22% of Europeans travel within the EU each year and expenditure by tourists amounts to 169 billion ECU (excluding transport services). A large number of Europeans therefore likely to have their first real contact with the euro during their holidays. The new single currency will greatly reduce costs arising from exchange commission in inter-European tourism and travelling from non-EU countries will be made easier by the reduced number of currencies needed to visit countries in the euro area. In addition, the early changeover to the euro by tourist companies is expected to be fairly smooth as the tourism sector is one in which payments using scriptural money (credit cards, travellers cheques and Eurocheques) are very common - estimated at 50% of overall expenditure.

According to the Dobris Assessment based on data from the World Tourism Organisation, by 2000, tourism is likely to become the largest single economic activity in the EU and currently accounts for 5.5% of the EU’s GNP. Over the last decade tourism has grown enormously and travel distances have increased. In 1993, the number of tourism arrivals in Europe was 296.5 million. The average growth rate from 1985 - 1993 was just over 3.5% annually and this is expected to continue.

It is currently estimated that tourism-related activities directly employ 9 million people in the European Union. Some sources estimate that travel and tourism jobs will increase by 2 million by the end of the next decade, and will represent over 9% of total employment in the European Union, in comparison with 6% now.

The EEA technical report on Tourism and Environment gives in Annex 1 comments to identified simultaneous influence from tourism and other sectors on the environment. The chapter refers to the environmental impact of tourism, in particular to transport, energy consumption, land and water use, emission of air pollutants with regard to transport, ski lifts, elevators, motor boats and taxis, competition between the tourism sector and industry concerning the use of land and coastal areas, competition between the tourism sector and forestry sector, competition with residents concerning land areas, biological resources with regard to hunting, bird watching; dams and water regulations for hydropower generation concerning their impacts on media and biological resources downstream reservoirs; land use as such for skiing, tracking and riding; use of chemicals in agriculture and forestry and for the preparation of golf courses and similar areas; and land area conflicts between tourist activities and residentials.

Tourism projects and studies related directly or indirectly to the environment

Integrated quality management in tourism: Three studies were launched related to coastal, rural and urban destinations, taking into account the impacts of tourism on the environment. They aim to identify best practice, analyse success factors and provide guidelines. Results will be available in 1999. In addition, a conference was held in Mayrhofen, the conclusions of which underline that integrated quality management has to be recognised as an essential element in a strategy for actions aiming at the competitiveness of European tourism, in order to contribute to growth, to employment and to the sustainable and balanced development of the European Union.

Urban tourism: A working group was set up to promote the exchange of experience and good practice at European level and deliver operational conclusions.

Tourism and employment: A High Level Group on Tourism and Employment (HLG) was set up in 1998 as a result of the European Conference on Employment and Tourism held in Luxembourg in November 1997. Its mandate is to examine the conditions in which tourism could make a greater contribution to growth and stability in employment in Europe and to make recommendations. One of the topics covered is creating attractive tourist products, facilities and services (including the protection and use of the natural and cultural environment).

Challenges

Constraints to pursuing sustainable tourism include the following:

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

Training on environmental issues is widely available but that tailored to the needs of the travel and tourism industry is more scarce. However some organisations within the industry produce their own materials some of which are available on a regional or national level.

The following organisations provide text-based and/or individually delivered training materials designed specifically for travel and tourism industry and available internationally:

- Ecotourism Society provides training programmes for operators in the ecotourism sector;

- International Hotels Environment Initiative (IHEI) is an international network of hotel companies which promotes continual improvement in the industry’s environmental performance.

The European Commission organised an awareness campaign on sustainable tourism, The 1995 Prize for Tourism and the Environment. It involved tourism industry and consumers.

The Commission (Information Unit) supported a pilot project (97/690) on the integration of the management of alpine refuges in the protection of mountain environment operating on four sites - France, Spain, Austria and Slovenia.

According to the High Level Group Report on Tourism and Employment, Chapter 5: Encouraging sustainable development of tourism from October 1998, a number of product features and marketing approaches have been developed which are well suited to promotion and tourist development, with a strong focus on cultural heritage, nature and the environment. The guiding principle is that the grater the concern and response to sustainability issues, the grater will be the long term employment opportunities and benefits for the competitive position of European destinations. Furthermore, there is great awareness of environmental pollution among European holiday makers, who give it a high priority in their choice of holidays. The evidence shows also that the environment is a leading concern when tourists come to rank their level of satisfaction with their holidays.

Information

Information available to assist both decision-makers and the tourist industry in promoting sustainable tourism include conclusions of international conferences, recommendations and declarations. Furthermore DGXI financially supports UNEP, which runs a Tourism Programme within the framework of UNEP Industry and Environment’s mission and goals to promote cleaner and safer industrial production and consumption patterns. The Tourism programme assists decision-makers in the public and private sectors as well as in developing and implementing policies and tools for environmentally sound tourism.

Mapping and inventorying of natural resources and ecosystem characteristics in tourist areas has taken place. The inventory process of the NATURA 2000 - net, where the Commission receives proposals from member states concerning what sites to accept and list, will after completion contain all the important habitats and natural sites within the European Community.

The NATURA 2000 is foreseen to be published via the Internet. Approximately two more years are needed for completion - nevertheless the Commission gives access to the current state of listing already now, at specific requests.

The Commission is aware of the necessity of the development of indicators and encouraged the European Environmental Agency to include indicators for Sustainable Tourism in their working programme for 1999.

The project "Ecological Tourism in the Web" faces the development of links between promoters of eco-tourism and potential consumers, which is foreseen to reach a self-financing status after the project. It faces also research about the structure of target groups, which could be addressed by using the WWW for tourism offers and therefore evidences about benefits for tourism services using new media for promotion.

Research and Technologies  

The Commission co-financed a project for the pilot application of EMAS to the sector of hotel installations, which started in December 1996 and was operated in six phases:

Furthermore the EMAS regulation is being extended to all organisations including the European Commission itself.

The Commission, DGXI, through its information and awareness budget funds a Prince of Wales Business Leader Forum activity aiming at improving hotel management, in particular waste and water management.

Financing

The last few years have been an important period in the progressive involvement of tourism in programmes supported by the European Community.

While the absence of a specific tourism budget for direct tourism activities means that DG XXIII's Tourism Directorate is not providing any funding for individual projects, numerous tourism initiatives have received support from other EU programmes.

Many different schemes exist which provide funding for suitable proposals.

Sources of possible funding for tourism projects are as follows:

The single largest source of European Union funding for tourism, in particular in the less prosperous regions, are the Structural Funds (the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF)). It is widely recognised that tourism is contributing to regional development and job creation, and 7.3 billion ECU represents the total Community contribution to tourism projects over the period 1994-1999 through the Structural Funds.

Cooperation

Advisory Group on Tourism (which includes the private sector) chaired by DGXXIII.

The Commission financially supports UNEP IE, which maintains an international presence to help industry and governments work towards sustainable tourism. It provides tools and information for environmentally sensitive areas and promotes proactive approaches in fields such as codes of conduct and the environmental management of hotels.

The activities of the DGVIII: Development Co-operation with ACP Countries include Sustainable Tourism Development Projects such as Namibia Special Programme on Sustainable Tourism and Development of Eco-Tourism in Dominica. There is also an NGO "Groupe Développement" on Indicators for Sustainable Tourism.

 

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This information was provided by the European Commission to the 7th session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: January 1999.



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