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INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN ESTONIA

Click here to go to these sections: Integrated Decision-Making Major Groups Science Information International Law

INTEGRATED DECISION-MAKING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The Ministry of the Environment was reorganized to take over responsibilities for national branches of some former Soviet organizations. It governs all aspects of society which are related to the environment. A National Council of Sustainable Development and a Joint Council of Nature Societies on Sustainable Development have also been established.

For the implementation of the Act on Sustainable Development and principles of Agenda 21, the following bodies have been established:

High-level Commission on Sustainable Development with 27 members (November 1996) including the Prime Minister as Chair and the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of the Economy as Vice-Chairs. Members include representatives of the Ministries of Education, Environment, Economy, Transport and Communication, Agriculture, Social Affairs, members of the Parliament and representatives of scientific society; Executive Commission of the Ministry of the Environment; and Steering Commission in the Ministry of the Environment.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In February 1995, the Parliament passed the Act on Sustainable Development. In accordance with this Act:

As an economy in transition, Estonia's focus has been on property and land reform during recent years. Both the Government and the Parliament have concentrated on the preparation of laws and implementation of reforms. Recent years have not been very favorable for promoting environmental policy. Nevertheless, at the beginning of 1994, the Ministry of Environment created a framework law of sustainable development which has been ratified by Parliament. The law is intended to state the main principles of sustainable development and to establish responsibilities on the enforcement of various activities, which include: the obligation of the government to develop master plans for the most important branches of the economy (e.g. energy, transport, and agriculture); and the obligation of the government and local authorities to organize physical planning in regions and municipalities. Environmental protection considerations must also be part of any national or regional plan.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The Estonian Parliament ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Biodiversity Convention in 1994. For the implementation of these conventions, interministerial working groups have been established involving civil servants, scientists, and NGOs. National reports based on broad scientific research have been published. Principles of these conventions have been included into several national legal acts, as well as national and regional action plans.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status

National Decision-Making Structure
1. National Sustainable Development Coordination Body: YES
2. National Sustainable Development Policy: IN PROCESS
3. National Agenda 21/other strategy for SD IN PROCESS
4. Local/Regional Agenda(s) 21: IN PROCESS
5. Environmental Impact Assessment Law: YES
6. Major Groups involved in Sustainable Development Decision-Making: IN PROCESS
National Instruments and Programmes
1. Sustainable. Dev. or environmental education incorporated into school curricula: YES
2. Sustainable Development Indicators Program: IN PROCESS
3. Ecolabel Regulations: YES
4. Recycle/Reuse Programs: YES
5. Green Accounting Program: YES
6. Access to Internet: YES
7. Access to World Wide Web: YES
8. National World Wide Web Site for Sustainable Development:
http://www.agenda21.ee
or State of the Environment:
http://www.envir.ee./neap
YES
Policies, Programmes and Legislation
1. Combatting poverty: YES
2. Changing consumption and production patterns: IN PROCESS
3. Atmosphere: YES
4. Land Use Planning: YES
5. Forest and Deforestation: YES
6. Desertification and Drought: NO
7. Sustainable Mountain Development: NO
8. Sustainable Agriculture: YES
9. Biological Diversity: IN PROCESS
10. Biotechnology: IN PROCESS
11. Oceans and Coastal Areas: YES
12. Freshwater Management: IN PROCESS
13. Toxic Chemicals: IN PROCESS
14. Hazardous Wastes: IN PROCESS
15. Solid Wastes: IN PROCESS
16. Radioactive Wastes: YES
17. Energy: YES
18. Transport: IN PROCESS
19. Sustainable Tourism: IN PROCESS

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

A popular edition of the Agenda 21 has been published in Estonian and introduced to members of the Parliament, members of the Government, civil servants and local authorities, entrepreneurs, and the public

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing   

No information is available.

Cooperation  

No information is available.

* * *

This information is based on Estonia's submission to the 5th and 7th Sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development. Last November 1998.

Estonian Ministry of the Environment

Structure of the Ministry of the Environment

Estonian Environmental Home Page

National Environmental Action Plan

State of the Environment Report

Pages of Estonian Institutions related to environment protection.

Project Estonia 21

Green Cross Estonia

The Estonian State of the Environment Report may be accessed by clicking here:

For information on Environmental Law around the World, click here:

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MAJOR GROUPS

WOMEN

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was signed on 20 November 1991, and accession by Estonia occurred on 21 October 1991.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Policies and strategies are being drawn up for achievement of equality in all aspects of society, including a strategy by year 2000 to eliminate obstacles to full participation of women in sustainable development. Mechanisms are being developed to assess implementation and impact of development and environment policies and programmes on women. 

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status   

Women took a very active part in political processes during the period of preparation for independence from 1988-1991. Movements such as the fight against mandatory conscription in the Soviet army had their start and ultimate realization due to the instigation of women's organizations. The 1995 parliamentary elections demonstrated the worldwide tendency towards decreased numbers of women in higher decision-making bodies. There is an established commission between various Estonian Ministries which deals with gender-relevant problems.

In 1992, the percentage of women in the national government was 22% and in government at the local level, 20.7%. The percentage of women in parliament was 11% in both 1992 and 1996.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Curricula and educational material already promote gender-relevant knowledge.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing   

No information is available.

Cooperation  

No information is available.

* * *

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

For information on Women Watch in different countries, click here:
For information on national plans of action in the follow-up to the Beijing Conference, click here:

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CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Although their role in the national Agenda 21 process is advisory, the Estonian Children Organisation, Ayfa Estonia, Forest Youth, and the Tartu Students Society for Nature are the most important fora establishing processes that promote dialogue between the youth and government at all levels and mechanisms that permit youth access to information and opportunity to present their views on implementing Agenda 21.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status

The goal set in Agenda 21 of ensuring that by the year 2000 more than 50% of youth -- gender balanced -- has access to appropriate secondary education or vocational training has been reached. Youth unemployment in 1996 was 3% (though the government does not have exact statistics about it yet).

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.

* * *

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

Tartu Student Nature Protection Circle

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INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Indigenous people participate fully in appropriate national processes for strengthening arrangements for active participation in national policies and are fully involved in resource management strategies and programmes at the national and local level. A mechanism for establishing a process to empower indigenous people and their communities -- through policies and legal instruments is in place. 

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status   

No information is available.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing   

No information is available.

Cooperation  

No information is available.

* * *

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

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NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

There is mutually productive dialogue between NGOs and Government. An important role for implementing Agenda 21 is filled by the Estonian Green Movement and by the Estonia Branch of the Stockholm Environmental Institute. These organizations are participating in the conception, establishment and evaluation of official mechanisms. They are also involved in the elaboration of a Regional Agenda 21.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status   

No information is available.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing   

No information is available.

Cooperation  

No information is available.

* * *

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

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LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Government plans to support local agenda 21 initiatives.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status   

No information is available.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing   

No information is available.

Cooperation  

No information is available.

* * *

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

For information on regional environmental authorities, click here:

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WORKERS AND UNIONS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

Estonia ratified 21 conventions between 1922-1938 and 7 conventions between 1993-1996. 

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Workers take some part in National Agenda 21 discussions and implementation.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status   

No information is available.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing   

No information is available.

Cooperation  

No information is available.

* * *

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


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BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

To implement its policies, one of the steps the Government has taken towards sustainable development is the use of economic instruments. The prices for the use of natural resources and pollution charge rates were raised pursuant to the rise of the consumer price index (by 1.417). All revenue collected from taxes and charges are allocated to the environment fund.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

There are governmental policies encouraging efficient resource use and requiring reuse, recycling, and reduction of waste. A few enterprises of all sizes have adopted sustainable development policies.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status

Pollution charges are a complex indicator of pollution extent (range). According to this indicator, 80% of the total pollution volume in Estonia originates from twenty enterprises. 

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

All of the enterprises that have to pay charges, revenues and taxes for the use of natural resources or for pollution have to act in a sustainable manner. Taxes and other charges will increase annually where the behaviour of enterprises has not improved. Where positive results for environmental protection have taken place, the tax burden decreases. Rates increase each year for those businesses that pay pollution charges, revenues and taxes.

Cooperation  

No information is available.

* * *

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

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SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available.

Status   

The scientific community has already established ways in which to address the general public and deal with sustainable development.

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.

* * *

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

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FARMERS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

Government policies are promoting and encouraging sustainable practices and technologies. In cooperation with the Board of Education, the Ministry of Environment prepared teaching materials for environmental education and organized a seminar on water protection problems in agriculture for the teachers of agricultural schools.

Information 

No information is available.

Research and Technologies 

No information is available.

Financing 

No information is available.

Cooperation  

No information is available.

* * *

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


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SCIENCE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status

Estonia is currently undertaking reform in the area of higher education and research - the primary aim of which is to restructure research and technological development and raise the international competitiveness of Estonian higher education and research. The research is mostly state-funded, non-military, concentrated in universities and research institutions, and directed at basic and applied research. The specific priorities of the ongoing reform are:

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

There are five different types of research and development funding by the state:

A decision was made recently to increase state investments in technological development activities and to encourage the generation of additional resources for research and development from the private and foreign sectors.

Cooperation  

No information is available.

* * *

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

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INFORMATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status

Availability of sustainable development information at the national level.

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.

* * *

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

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INTERNATIONAL LAW

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available. 

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available. 

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available. 

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available. 

Status

No information is available. 

Challenges  

No information is available. 

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available. 

Information   

No information is available. 

Research and Technologies   

No information is available. 

Financing   

No information is available. 

Cooperation  

Conventions ratified by Parliament are as follows:

Other environmental convention in force in Estonia are as follows:

The following convention has been signed by Estonia:

 

* * *

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

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