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NATURAL RESOURCE ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN ESTONIA

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AGRICULTURE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The Parliament, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Ministry of the Environment (Information Center) are the institutions primarily responsible for sustainable agriculture and rural development policy in Estonia.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Integrated Pest Management

For the promotion of more sustainable agricultural management on farm level, the Act on Organic Agriculture was enacted in 1997. This year, the draft Codes of Good Agricultural Practice and the draft Plant Protection Act were prepared. The Organic Agriculture Act was passed on June 11th 1997, entered into force on July 17th 1997 and was amended in 1999.

Sustainable plant nutrition

In Estonia, the use of fertilizers is regulated by the regulation of the Estonian Minister of Environment.

Water resource policy

With the Land Amelioration Law and the Water Law (approved in 1994); the Shore and Coastal Protection Law and the Law on Sustainable Development (approved in 1995). The Estonian Government prepared water resource policy.

Diversification of farm and non-farm employment

This year the draft of the Codes of Good Agricultural Practice and the draft of the new Plant Protection Act were prepared.

Transfer of productive arable land and other issues

The national legislation specifies that a change in the type of land use can be provided on the basis of an application written by a landowner and if it fits into the 'general zoning plan' or when applied, into the 'detailed zoning plan'. The change of the type of land use is then registered into the cadastre (according to the owner's application plus the approval of the local government). However, those zoning plans can be reviewed but must be accepted by an elected municipal council. The zoning plans also include restrictions, forbidding certain land use types in certain areas for environmental reasons for instance. Unfortunately general legislation, protecting valuable agricultural land from being used for other purposes is missing so far.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Agricultural policy aims at the achievement of such a situation where agricultural producers are able to manage on their own. The activities of the Government should guarantee such an economic environment that there will be no outflow of agricultural inputs from the agricultural sector of optimised size to the other sectors.

As a result self-sufficiency in the agricultural products of a comparative advantage for Estonia should be achieved. Methods of agricultural policy preferences and the selection of means should be based on the analysis of the reasons of problems while the accent should be on the relations of agriculture with resources, rural development and processing industry. The improvement of the living standard and life quality of rural people of all regions together with the establishment of a relevant social environment and the approximation of the living standards of rural and urban population is first of all a problem of social and regional policy.

At the same time it has to be considered that the final date of the present development plan actually coincides with the political position of the Republic of Estonia, concerning the accession to the EU (01.01.2003). Proceeding from the above mentioned, the objective of agricultural policy can be formulated as follows:

Preparation of the Estonian agricultural sector for the accession to the European Union, including preparation of economic partners, either directly (food industry) or indirectly (consumers of agricultural products) involved in agricultural sector, for changes on the market of agricultural products.

Therefore, economic conditions enabling the agricultural sector to invest to the extent necessary for competitive participation in the EU internal market after the accession have to be created. Otherwise, the majority of milk and meat producers will have to stop their activities after the accession to the EU as their production will not meet the requirements of the EU internal market. It is important to understand that after the accession a big part of public sector expenses needed for the implementation of agricultural policy measures will be covered from the EU central budget.

The economic policy measures for the support to structural changes have to be channelled for the development of entrepreneurship, the improvement of competitive ability and the quality of products but the used means should not cause market distortions. The supporting measures compensating for the income deficit caused by poorer economic and regional conditions have to work in the system which stimulates initiative and self-managing. From budget resources the Government supports the initiative of local governments in the development of rural infrastructures and in making supporting services accessible to rural population.

In order to decrease environmental stress, the Estonian National Environmental Strategy, NES has set the following important goals for the sector of agriculture:

The detailed National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) was developed within the period of April 1997 to April 1998. The wider objective of the NEAP is to pave the road for the further progress towards sustainable development by the efficient implementation of the policy goals stipulated in the NES.

Sustainable plant nutrition

The Agrochemical Service was established in 1959. Fertilisers are used according to soil analyses and the plants' actual need for a nutrient.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Scientific institutes are major actors in this area.

In 1992, active rural communities initiated the Estonian Village Movement with appealing to the Estonian Government in order to get assistance for rural development issues. In April 1996, the first Rural Assembly for Villages was held. The final report of the Assembly was published and sent to the Parliament, to the Government and to local communities. The Assembly decided to build up a non-governmental organisation Estonian Movement of Villages and Small Towns KODUKANT (countryside), which was founded before the second Rural Assembly in October 1997. The movement involves branch organisations from all the 15 counties.

Programmes and Projects 

During the process of preparing the Agenda 21 for the Baltic Sea Region - Baltic 21, the Action Programme for the sector of agriculture was worked out by June 1998. This programme contains urgent actions to reduce nutrient emissions and leakage as well as the goals, targets and activities to achieve sustainable development in rural area. The Action Programme consists of nine different Programmes supported by seven Actions.

1) Agri-Environmental Programme (AEP)

Duration: March 1999 - Dec. 1999

Preparation of the AEP is a prerequisite for the overall harmonisation of the Regulations No 2078/92/EEC and No 746/96/EC.

The objectives of the AEP are to support agricultural practices which meet environment (and landscape) protection requirements, to protect and increase biological and landscape diversity and at the same time to contribute to providing appropriate income for farmers.

To participate in the programme a farmer has to follow Good Agricultural Practice.

2) Rural Development Plan (RDP)

Duration: preparation was started in 1998, the draft in Oct. 1999.

Preparation of the RDP is a prerequisite for the usage of the pre-accession SAPARD support funds for the application of the EU agricultural policy and to solve the priority problems of agriculture and rural life upon accession.

RDP is a programme document for a period of 7 years (2000-2006), defining the agricultural and rural development measures. The measures should also contain components for the improvement of agri-environmental situation and sustainable development in primary sector.

The implementation of the RDP is foreseen through individual projects which should be approved by an Estonian authority, responsible for the implementation of the SAPARD.

3) Water resource management

Estonia has built up the drainage system with subirrigation, where necessary. Most attention has been paid to drainage rehabilitation. With the World Bank loan (Loan no-3983-EE for years 1997-2000) drainage has been rehabilitated in 68 100 ha and 73 land and water associations have been organised. Polders on 6452 ha, water protection zones (520 km) and wetland buffer areas (15 objects) for the purpose of surface water protection and the creation of an ecological micro-network on the landscape have been established.

4) Diversification of farm and non-farm employment

In order to support alternative activities and the development of non-agricultural entrepreneurship in rural areas the Government has so far given main attention to the improvement of entrepreneurship environment there. Through the budget of the Ministry of Agriculture money has been allocated for the repair of local roads, for the improvement of electricity supply and for amelioration.

Beginning from the year 2000 in connection with the application of the EU SAPARD program (The Rural Development Plan) the possibilities to develop non-agricultural entrepreneurship in rural areas will broaden considerably in Estonia. The Rural Development Plan made for the implementation of the above mentioned program gives much attention to the support to the development of comprehensive entrepreneurship. In the fields of rural tourism, forestry, fishery and other non-agricultural entrepreneurship the investments made into the development of an establishment are being supported.

5) Production-support services by the rural poor

The state agricultural advisory service programme was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture in 1995. There are two direct support schemes in Estonia (milking cow direct support and grain direct support payments). The 1998 State Budget Act prescribed 20 million EEK as interest compensation for long term loans granted to agricultural producers and 52 million EEK as capital support, which was divided between counties on the basis of statistical data about arable land area. Rural life development is supported through the Estonian Regional Development Foundation in the administrative field of the Ministry of Social Affairs, mainly in the form of two regional policy programmes B peripheral areas programme and village movement programme.

Status

1995 - 1999 net income from Agriculture in Estonia

 

 

 

 

(thousand EEK)

 

 

 

 

 

 

1995

1996

1997

1998

1999

Agricultural netprodaction

247 585

264 425

298 342

273 532

240 735

Crop prodaction

54 040

64 908

68 238

50 112

54 247

Livestock prodaction

193 546

199 517

230 104

223 420

186 488

Intermediate consumption

144 947

148 986

178 491

192 346

199 611

Gross value added (market prices)

102 638

115 439

119 852

81 186

41 124

Taxes

2 073

5 169

4 153

4 153

4 153

Subsidies

3 599

4 990

7 288

36 579

25 660

Gross value added (factor cost)

104 164

115 260

122 986

113 612

62 631

Depreciation

52 492

53 666

61 214

67 335

69 356

Net value added (factor cost)

51 672

61 594

61 772

46 277

-6 725

Rent

7

7

8

9

9

Intrest

3 804

4 311

3 729

4 409

4 365

Net income from agriculture

47 862

57 276

58 034

41 859

-11 099

Number of Employees

56

52

47

47

45

Month income per employer (EURO)

72

92

103

74

-21

Data is calculatory

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Estonian rural areas the accessibility to energy and energy resources is good. Nevertheless, it is not possible to talk of any growth as due to the decrease of agricultural production on the one hand and the application of modern equipment of lower energy capacity on the other hand energy consumption decreases. However, it has to be stated that anyone willing to use any form of energy or primary energy (fuel) or broaden its use will be free to do it. Natural gas is an exception as the piping network is rather rare in Estonia.

In rural region the technical level of electricity network is satisfactory. In the last 8 years due to the territorial rearrangement of agricultural production, there are places where the quality of electric energy for consumer does not meet the established standards or there is no electricity supply at all. There are no integral relevant data but the studies made in one county (Põlva) and in some municipalities (Järva, Paide and Väätsa) indicate that there can be about 2500 places of deficient energy supply in Estonia, including about 400 places, which do not have electricity at all. According to the collection issued by the Statistical Board A Energy balance 1998@ in 1998 agriculture consumed 906 million kWh which accounts for about 4,9% of the total electric energy consumption in Estonia. The total rural electricity consumption is not known.

Sun energy is not used in Estonia. Some equipment of low capacity and built as a result of private initiative and interest have been built mainly to produce warm water in summer.

Wind energy is not used either. In rural areas bio-mass (wood, bark, branches, peat, peat briquette) is mainly used to heat living rooms both in the distance heating boilerhouses of settlements and in the fireplaces of living rooms. In all, in 1998 15 200 terajoules were used in Estonia, which is 14% of the final energy consumption. The volume of biofuel consumed in rural areas not known. The above mentioned Long-Term National Development Plan for Fuel and Energy provides the increase of the use of biofuel by 2/3 or to 33315 terajoules compared with the level of 1996 (19989 terajoules). Its share in final energy consumption and the quantity of biofuel used in rural areas until 2010 is not known.

Challenges  

In Estonia, the number of environmental problems to be solved is big today. The Estonian National Environmental Strategy, NES (adopted by the Government in 1997) identifies environmental problems, establishes short-term (up to 2000) and long-term (up to 2010) objectives and activities addressing those problems by sectors. Accordingly, it was stressed that agriculture pollutes and threatens ground and surface water and causes changes in landscape structure as a result of which large areas overgrow with brushwood.

So far, nothing has been done to increase the production of Aenergetic bio-mass@ in agriculture. However, it is possible in idle lands, which have emerged due to the decrease of agricultural production and which can be used to grow cereals, oil crops and other energy crops that can be used as energetic bio-mass. A political decision and tax incentives for the fuel produced out of local raw material would be needed.

The Ministry of Agriculture does not have information about energy-substitution strategies to use bio-mass produced by agricultural producers as those questions are under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. As the Long-Term National Development Strategy for Fuel and Energy provides the increase of the use of bio-mass as fuel it can be regarded as one part of the CO2 emission reducing strategy.

Today, the Ministry of Agriculture has no plans or programs especially focused on the sequestration of CO2 into soils but this year the draft of the Good Agricultural Practice was prepared to improve agricultural management on farm level. The planned actions are very closely related to the above mentioned problem.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

In 1995, a Phare Advisory Service Project was launched in Estonia to support the Ministry of Agriculture in the process of developing an advisory service system. The National Advisory Service Programme and the Phare Advisory Service Project in co-operation with the British Know How Fund prepared a scheme for the utilisation of advisory subsidies. This work was regarded as preparation for the utilisation of the World Bank agriculture project advisory service component, which accounts for about 15% of the entire project. In Estonia, agricultural extension service funding comes from the following sources:

1. The Agricultural Advisory Services Extension Programme - State Treasury;

2. The EU PHARE Agricultural Advisory Service;

3. The World Bank project.

The target areas of advisory service are the following: legal questions, plant production, plant protection, animal production, animal protection, agricultural economy, bookkeeping, housing. Extension serves the interests of many groups such as producers, processors, agribusinesses, public sector, environment protectors, banks, etc.

Information   

Every half a year and annually agricultural analysis on EAA basis: http://www.agri.ee/.

Research and Technologies 

The use of energy and all the activities in the field of energy are regulated by the Law of Energy, passed on June 11th, 1997 and enforced on January 1st, 1998. On the basis of  13 of the Energy Act the long-term National Development Plan for the Fuel and Energy Sector was composed (ratified on 18.02.1998). The two documents establish the energy sector national policy and the development directions for institutional, environment protection and energy saving.

The problems concerning the implemented programmes and their developments in the field of energy saving, environment friendly power engineering and institution building are being worked at, though the sector is under the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture does not have any adequate information.

Financing

At the negotiations of 1998, between the Government and producers it was agreed to assign 0,8% of GDP for agricultural support payments and for the development of rural regions. The Government supports the development of agriculture with the following measures:

In 1998, to support agriculture and rural life the Government assigned 797 million kroons in all out of which direct support payments accounted for 190 and compensation for weather damage for 227 million kroons. In 1999, the Government plans to pay up to 597 million kroons of agricultural support payments out of which 256,5 million kroons will be allocated for direct payments.

In the framework of the pre-accession programme SAPARD, Estonia plans to co-finance the following investments into agricultural production:

Cooperation

Estonia cooperates with the other Baltic States, the European Union, and the Council of Europe.

* * *

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

To access the FAOSTAT Data Base for information by country, item, element and year, click here:
Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to link to Country and Sub-regional Information on Plant Genetic Resources of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
Click here to go to Web Site of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which includes information on the Codex Alimentarius and the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme.
Click here to access the Web Site of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).
Click here to access the sixteen international agricultural research centers that are members of the CGIAR.

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ATMOSPHERE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The Ministry of Environment has the prime responsibility for climate change-related matters. An interministerial committee on the implementation of the Convention was established in January 1995. It includes representatives from the Ministries of Economy, Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Foreign Affairs and Transport, as well as several individual scientists. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Estonia signed the Montreal Protocol in 1996 and prepared the latest report to the Montreal Protocol Secretariat in 1995. It signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. The Parliament ratified the Convention on May 11, 1994, and the Act on Ratification of the UNFCCC was declared by the President on May 26, 1994. The Convention then entered into force for Estonia on October 28, 1994. Estonia submitted the latest report to the UNFCCC Secretariat in 1995.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Both NGOs and the scientific community participate in decision-making in this area.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available. 

Status

Estonia presented its first national communication to the first Conference of the Parties (COP1) in March 1995. In 1996, the In-depth Review Team, composed of the Secretariat of the UNFCCC, visited Estonia in order to review the National Communication and gather additional information on the implementation of the Convention. The Report of the results of this visit was expected to be ready by the end of 1996.

Estonia's domestic energy resources consist of oil shale, peat and wood. Oil shale, a sedimentary rock which decomposes to yield oil when heated, is the country's main energy resource, making up more than half of Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) in 1992. It is mined on a large, although declining, scale. Production fell from 5.0 Mtoe to 4.2 Mtoe between 1990 and 1992. It is used mainly in electricity generation, processing industry and cement production. Oil shale-based electricity production accounted for 90% of Estonia's electricity output. TPES stood at 6.78 Mtoe in 1992, down 33% from 1990. The decline in energy supply was due to a combination of reduced demand for energy as a result of the economic recession and shortages of imported supplies.

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

Financing for this area is mainly international.

Cooperation

Currently, Estonia also participates in two UNEP/GEF Projects: "Country Case Studies Programme on Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation Assessment, Phase I", and "Economics of Greenhouse Gases Limitation, Phase I". See also under Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations.

* * *

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.

Click here for Atmospheric air in Estonia

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

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BIODIVERSITY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The Governmental Commission on Biodiversity and Ministry of the Environment are the institutions primarily responsible for the conservation of biodiversity in Estonia. The Government of Estonia established a special Governmental Commission to deal with issues related to biological diversity, and developed a concrete agenda for its implementation. The ministerial ad hoc group on sustainable development - the Committee on Sustainable Development - has been involved in issues related to the Convention of Biological Diversity since 1993. The main task of the group has been to influence government policies towards greater consideration of sustainable development principles in national policy. In 1995, Estonia also established a national ad hoc Task Group on CBD.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Estonia signed the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1992, ratified it in 1994, and submitted the latest report in 1996.  It ratified the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in 1992 and submitted the latest report in 1996.

According to the Government, one of the most important goals in this area was to draft and pass the Act on Sustainable Development which was approved by the Riigikogu on February 22, 1995. The Act states, "Preservation of biological diversity shall be guaranteed through a national programme and an action plan approved by the Government of the Republic of Estonia, the implementation of which shall be financed from the national budget..." (Art.9).

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

A National Biodiversity Strategy has been approved by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), will help Estonia establish a comprehensive cross-sectoral framework which can be used in the future for project identification and acquisition of funding for activities aimed at the preservation and sustainable management of biodiversity. The document will also be important for the preparation of background documents for an integrated biodiversity management planning process, the promotion of public involvement and participation in this process, and encouraging local initiatives. A Biodiversity Country Study is defining basic needs for the effective conservation and rational use of national biodiversity at a desired level, estimating the costs and benefits related to these basic needs, identifying the necessary support measures required to fulfill them, and providing the foundation for the preparation and implementation of the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan.

In the autumn of 1995, two important national policy papers were drafted: the Estonian Environmental Strategy and the Estonian Forest Policy. Both of them included a biodiversity section, and the draft versions of the documents position the biodiversity issue rather highly. Both documents were finished by the Fall 1996 and presented to the Government for approval.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available. 

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available. 

Status

As for the implementation of the Convention on Biodiversity at the national level, contacts have been promoted between authorities in different sectors which deal with issues related to biodiversity: e.g., agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and scientific institutions. Various activities have been implemented in those sectors in regards to the in situ and ex situ conservation of species, the maintenance and breeding of local animal breeds and cultivars of plants, and spatial and land use planning in areas with protected landscapes, etc. Existing infrastructure includes a well-developed network of protected areas, databases concerning local cultivated plant species and animal breeds, seed banks of forest trees, gene banks established for different purposes, specific programmes for species protection managed by botanical gardens and the zoo, and national monitoring programmes concerning fisheries, forests, and biological resources in general. All of the above-mentioned activities would have been impossible without learning from international experience and participating in processes at the international level.

Challenges  

No information is available. 

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available. 

Information

The monitoring system, supported by state financing, was established in Estonia to monitor the use of natural resources (forest, fish, mineral resources, water), as well as for monitoring protected and endangered species and communities.

Research and Technologies 

No information is available. 

Financing

Funds are derived from the State Budget, the Environmental Fund, and the Fisheries Fund. The application for support for the preparation of the National Biodiversity Strategy, Action Plan (NBSAP), and First National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity was approved by the GEF.

Cooperation

A very significant step in implementing the requirements of the Convention was the signing of the Association Agreement between Estonia and the European Union in 1995. This led, inter alia, to a resolution to develop legislation on biotechnology and genetically modified organisms (GMO) in 1997.

Cooperation with UNEP, the World Bank, and a number of bilateral partners has been of high importance. Among the most important initiatives are:

Also important have been three international seminars:

* * *

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.

Click here for Protected Areas in Estonia

For access to the Web Site of the Convention on Biological Diversity, click here:
For access to the Web Site of the CITES Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the CMS Convention, click here:
For the Web Site of the Convention on the Protection of the World's Cultural and Natural Heritage, click here:
For the country-by-country, Man in the Biosphere On-Line Query System, click here:
Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.
Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP's International Register on Biosafety.
Click here for the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Biosafety WebPages

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DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT

No information is available. 

* * *

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

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ENERGY

No information is available. 

* * *

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FORESTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The Ministry of the Environment and the Forestry Board are the institutions primarily responsible for sustainable forestry in Estonia.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available. 

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

In order to accelerate the development in the forest sector and to improve the basis for legislative reforms, the Ministry of Environment decided in early 1995 to launch the Estonian Forestry Development Programme, which includes the task of formulating a National Forest Policy. The objectives set for the policy formulation process were to define the general objectives for the development of the forest sector, and to determine the action to be taken by the public sector in order to reach these objectives. The process has been under way since September 1995.

When formulating the final draft, the Government will draw on public input and debate on the revised draft of the Forest Policy. The final draft will be approved as the National Forest Policy, thus constituting the basis for formulating new legislation as well as development and investment programmes for the forest sector. It is anticipated that the National Forest Policy will be approved in 1997.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Working Groups have been the main vehicle for examining various issues. Their members represent all main interest groups including the Forestry Department, various Government Ministries, Forest Industries, Private Forest Owners and non-governmental organizations. The main task of the Working Groups has been to identify and analyze suitable development alternatives in their special field. To support the analysis, a number of special studies have been carried out. Based on recommendations of the Working Groups, the National Coordinator's Office prepared the first draft of the Forest Policy and submitted it to the Steering Committee, which is an official body appointed by the Government. The Committee is headed by the Minister of Environment, and the members include civil servants from key ministries as well as representatives of the private sector and non-governmental organizations. The Committee produced the second revised draft focusing on issues requiring political decision-making, and will later submit it for the Government's consideration.

In the early 1990s, the Estonian forestry sector was organized largely on the basis of administrative structures inherited from the Soviet era. The adjustment to a market economy and new environmental standards proved to be slow and difficult, and gradually it became apparent that a thorough overhaul of the sector was needed. The principal issues were related to organizing public forest administration, establishing an appropriate balance between forest production and conservation, and providing support to private forest owners.

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

Estonia also cooperates with the Helsinki Process and Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)/Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

* * *

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.

Sustainable Forest Management in Estonia

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FRESHWATER

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

The Ministry of Environment is the body mainly responsible for issues related to freshwater resources.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans   

Several relevant plans and programmes have been elaborated during recent years in Estonia to: implement the Declaration on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea, (1988); meet Helsinki Commission recommendations; improve water quality of the Baltic Sea and inland water bodies; and supply the population with high quality drinking water.

The Estonia Water Management Development Plan is a document in which general principles and goals of water protection and water supply are formulated.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available. 

Programmes and Projects 

Concrete measures to fulfill international obligations and internal water policy goals are defined in the Estonian Water Protection Programme for the years 1995-1998. Based on this programme, detailed Water Protection Programmes for each year have been elaborated. The programmes contain investment plans for the construction and reconstruction of waste water treatment plants, sewerage systems and drinking water supply systems, as well as plans for financing applied research and the elaboration of legislation concerning water management.

Through the Water Protection Programme, the construction and reconstruction of 54 wastewater treatment and drinking water supply projects were financed in 1996. Of main importance were projects that included investments in Tallinn, Tartu and Haapsalu water management systems and small municipal projects. Approximately US$ 30 million is needed per year for the qualitative modernization of Estonian water management. The main domestic sources of financing include the state budget (5.4 MECU), Environmental Fund (1.4 MECU) and local budgets (ca 7 MECU). Of foreign sources, loans from the World Bank and IBRD, assistance from Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) and PHARE must be emphasized. Although the Estonian Water Protection Programme for the 1995-1998 period is not completely financed at this time, it is expected that in 1988, almost all Estonian towns with a population over 10,000, can meet the requirements of HELCOM recommendation 9/2 concerning BOD7 (<15 mg/1) and phosphorus (<1.5 mg/1).

Assuming that the Water Protection Programme will be more or less successfully implemented, and taking into account the remarkable decrease in water consumption and pollution from municipalities, industries and agriculture (due to decrease of production and reorganization of the economy), it is expected that Estonia can generally meet the 50% reduction goal of the Ministerial Declaration of 1988.

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

It is estimated that investments on a scale of approximately 100 MECU are needed for solving water management problems in Estonia. At present, only 1/3 of these needed finances are guaranteed by allocations from budgets, loan agreements, assistance from foreign countries, and PHARE.

Cooperation

Estonia was the first of the newly independent Baltic states which acceded to the Baltic Sea Convention (signed originally in 1974) which was revised in 1992. Estonian scientists have regularly participated in the technical activities of the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM) since 1974. Estonia has cooperated in fulfilling its responsibilities regarding joint decisions made in the Convention.

* * *

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 national information on freshwater, click here:

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LAND MANAGEMENT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

New legal acts (e.g. Planning and Building Act, 1995; Local Government Act, 1994; Land Reform Act, 1996) and planning regulations and norms (e.g. order of design permit issue, 1996; draft norms of Estonian street design) have been implemented. 

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

For the dissemination of skills and knowledge required for the production of comprehensive plans in compliance with principles of sustainable development and democracy, the Ministry of Environment, in cooperation with municipalities and foreign partners (Nordic countries), organizes the work of pilot projects. The overall objective is to complete up-to-date comprehensive plans for all municipalities by the year 2005.

In accordance with valid legislation, comprehensive planning for municipalities and towns is generally financed by local government. County and national planning schemes are financed by the state. Planning in rural municipalities and towns is financed by local governments. Pilot projects are supported from the state budget. Foreign aid has been available for training and advanced training (Finnish Ministry of Environment, Swedish SIDA, IFHP, PHARE).

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Local and county governments, as well as various interest groups (NGOs), are active in this area. See also under Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available. 

Status

Over the 1945-1989 period, plans for all Estonian towns and rural settlements were produced, as well as district and national plans. With the re-establishment of independence in Estonia, revision of all the plans proved necessary. The objective of the revision was to create an awareness of planning problems at all administrative levels and to exert pressure on local governments to deal with development problems. Local governments have revised the existing plans and, proceeding from legal acts, reached the following decisions:

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

Financing has been insufficient for planning. County governments would require approximately 200-300 000 EEK per year from the state budget for targeted financing. Rural municipalities and towns would require targeted planning support of approximately 200-400 000 EEK per county annually (1 USD = 12,2 EEK).

Cooperation

The first phase of the joint project of all the countries around the Baltic Vision & Strategies around the Baltic Sea 2010 (VASAB 2010) was completed as an international plan in 1994. In the second phase of the joint project, the Estonian Ministry of Environment is participating in five theme projects. Through VASAB 2010, a continuous and integrated planning process in cooperation with Baltic countries has evolved. The production of country plans has been initiated in each of the 15 countries. According to the legal acts, these must be completed by the year 1998. Work on the national plan ESTONIA 2010 was initiated in cooperation with county governments and ministries in 1995 and is envisaged to last for three years.

Other examples of cooperation by Estonia include the programmes: Tampere-Helsinki-Tallinn-Riga Development Corridor; Via Baltica; Larger Baltic Islands Development; Baltic Compendium of Planning Legislation; Network of Cities; Opening Estonian Coastal Zone for Tourism; various county, urban and municipal planning schemes with involvement of foreign experts and instructors; joint project of the border town Valga-Valka with ECOS Overture (EU) and with Finland and Sweden; municipal cooperation, i.e. Räpina town and Räpina municipality, planning cooperation between Pepsi Region municipalities, and others.

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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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MOUNTAINS

No information is available. 

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OCEANS AND COASTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The Ministry of the Environment, Environmental Management Division and Physical Planning Division, and the Environment Information Centre are responsible for coordination of ICZM data collection activities. The Estonian Environmental Inspection and Estonian State Sea Inspection are responsible for issues related to marine environmental protection, and particularly discharges of ballast from shipping and oil spills. Responsible for the sustainable use and conservation of marine living resources are the Ministry of Environment, Department of Fishery, the Estonian Marine Institute, the Estonian State Sea Inspection, and County Governments. Scientific advice is provided by Tartu University and Estonian Agricultural University.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Coordination is achieved through various means. All of the institutions regularly meet at the highest level at the Ministry of the Environment. The Fisheries Act requires cooperation between the Fisheries Department and the Sea Inspection and Counties.

Legislation relevant to integrated coastal zone management and sustainable development include: an Act on Sustainable Development; an Act on the Protectionof Marine and Freshwater Coasts, Shore and Banks; and the Water Act. The Water Act with regulations, along with the Port Act, with regulations, also concerns marine environmental protection. The use and conservation of marine living resources is governed by: the Act on Sustainable Development; the Act on Protected Nature Objects; the Estonian Fisheries Act; Estonian Fishery Rules; IBSFC Fishery Rules and other Government and Ministry Regulations; the Code of Conduct for Responsble Fisheries; and by the Convention on Northwest Atlantic Fisheries NAFO Organization. Full harmonization of Estonian fisheries legislation with relevant EU acts is in process, and domestic laws have always taken into account the international laws and standards.

The Codes of Conduct for responsible fisheries have been established by both Government and industry, and they are both mandatory and voluntary.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The National Estonian Marine Oil Spill Contingency Plan describes the coordination scheme between Sea Inspection, the Rescue Board, the Boarder Guard, the Maritime Board and many others. An Agreement on cooperation has been signed by the Sea Inspection and the Boarder Guard, among others. The Estonian Fisheries Council also acts as a coordination body.

In March 1997, the National Environmental Strategy of Estonia was approved by Parliament. A year later, the National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) followed. One of the main goals is the protection of surface water bodies and the coastal sea. In addition, the National Estonian Marine Oil Spill Contingency Plan for Combating Oil Spills from the Sea addresses issues of marine environmental protection. Both an Estonian Fisheries Policy and an Estonian Environmental Action Plan govern the sustainable use and conservation of marine living resources.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Among the Major Groups involved in decision-making in this area are Local Authorities (Country Governments), which participate through the planning process and oversee the use of coastal fishing groups. Non-governmental Organizations (Fishermen Association, Fishfarmers Associations, Lake Peipus Project), Local Authorities and scientists make their proposals to change the legal acts in force and to make new ones, where necessary.

Programmes and Projects   

There are several programmes that address integrated coastal zone management, marine environmental protection, and sustainable use and conservation of marine living resources. These include the following: the National Monitoring Program (Marine section); the PHARE Project entitled, Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Baltic States and Poland, which is considered a prerequisite for the establishment of Regional Master Plans for ICZM; a number of activities carried out under coordination of the Helsinki Commission (HELCOM); the Salmon Action Plan of the International Baltic Sea Fisheries Commission (IBSFC); and Agenda 21 for the Baltic Sea Region (Baltic 21) fishery sector. This last contains long-term strategies for cod, salmon, herring and sprat; restoration of habitats important to fish and fisheries in inland waters; and achieveing sustainble acquaculture.

Status

Estonian coasts are relatively undeveloped. Major cities on the coast are Tallinn (> 430 th inh.), Pärnu (52 th. inh.) and Kuressaare (16 th. inh. fishing, tourism). A few industrial towns are also located on the coast: Kunda (cement), Loksa (shipyard), Sillamäe (metal processing). Eight percent of the economy is contributed by fishing.

Sustainable use and conservation of marine living resources is encouraged through enforcement of legislation and codes, including the imposition of fines in the case of non-compliance. All sources of land-based pollution are accounted in the framework of the waste water discharge inventory system. Annual reports are available in the Environment Information Centre. The Estonian Marine Inspection is keeping track of vessels, which may be the potential polluters. Vessels are required to bunker at sea.

Challenges  

No information is available. 

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

Fisheries education is provided for all interest groups, including fishermen, processors, teachers, and civil servants. Support to this is given by the Estonian Fish Capital Fund.

Information   

Information available for the sustainable management of fishery resources includes National Fisheries Science; International Scientific cooperation (ICES, NAFO); National and international fisheries statistics (FAO, ICES, NAFO,EUROSTAT); FAO Committee on Fisheries; and FAO EASTFISH. Information on marine pollution is provided by the National Estonian Marine Oil Spill Contingency Plan.

Estonia has established recently the national database on sea shores and banks. The Phare ICZM project is to be completed by 1999. An Information Centre for integrated coastal zone management is planned to be establishd in 1999. The centre will take use of GIS and remote sensing technology. GIS is under development at the moment to monitor fishing activities; a computerized Oil Spill Drift program forecasts the movement of oil slicks in the case of pollution.

There is no special web site dedicated to the coastal agenda. Some related information can be found on the Estonian Environmental Home Page at http://www.envir.ee/ehp.

A set of environmental indicators has been developed and published at the Aarhus conference. The work on sustainable development indicators is still ahead.

Research and Technologies 

No information is available. 

Financing

There is no earmarked funding for the coastal agenda. Monitoring of shoreline dynamics and coastal landscapes has been moderately financed since 1996 from the national environmental monitoring program based on the national budget. Sustainable management of fishery resources is financed from special funds, the national budget and external assistance, a Fisheries Fund and an Environmental Fund.

Cooperation

Estonia is a Member of the following Agreements: the Gdansk (1973) Convention on Fishing and Conservation of the Living Resources in the Baltic Sea and the Belts; the Helsinki (1992) Convention on Protection of the Marine Environment of the Baltic Sea Area; Helsinki (1992) Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes; the International Council Exploration of Sea (ICES); the European Inland Fisheries Commission EIFAC; the Convention on Future Multilateral Cooperation in the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries (NAFO) the Estonian- Russian Lake Peipus Fishery Commission; and the Estonian-Latvian Fishery Commission.

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This information is based on Estonia's submission to the 7th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: November 1998 .

Agenda 21 for the Baltic Sea Region

The Baltic Sea Environment Home Page

To access the Web Site of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, click here:

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TOXIC CHEMICALS

No information is available. 

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WASTE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

Solid Waste and Sanitation

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The Ministry of Environment is responsible for solid waste and sanitation.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The main legislative document is the Waste Act (1992) in which principles of waste prevention, minimization and source reduction are determined. Several lower-level regulative acts have been issued as regulations of the Government or of the Ministry of the Environment, e.g.: the Estonian Waste Classifier (1991); On Issuing of Waste Permits (1992); and On Export, Import and Transit Movements of Hazardous and Other Waste (1992). Private companies also have an important role in the management and minimization of solid waste.

To encourage use of recyclable materials, particularly packaging materials and wastes, the Packaging Act has been approved by the Riigikogu (Parliament) in 1995.

One of the Government's main goals is to extend and improve waste collection and transportation systems. Privatization processes in Estonia are having an impact in this area. Privatization will promote the application of the Polluter Pays Principle in waste management through the establishment of service charge rates which will ensure that generators of waste cover the full cost of their disposal in an environmentally sound manner.  

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available. 

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available. 

Programmes and Projects   

In order to promote waste minimization technologies and procedures, programmes for some industries are being developed and implemented in cooperation with experts from the USA and Estonia.

Status

Solid household wastes, including commercial waste, street sweepings, construction debris, etc., form a relatively small part of total waste generated annually in Estonia. Approximately 533 thousand tons of solid waste were disposed of in 1995 by waste collection and transportation companies in landfills and waste deposit sites. Waste-related services organized by municipalities and private companies cover areas with a population of about 900,000 people, approximately 60% of the population.

The main means of handling municipal waste is disposal at landfills. There are no facilities for incinerating or composting domestic waste. According to the inventory of landfills in 1995, there were 279 functioning municipal landfills in Estonia, most of them in rural areas. The majority of rural landfills are small, insufficiently managed and often do not meet environmental quality criteria. New landfills for the biggest cities (Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu, Johvi) are planned to be designed and constructed according to international environmental criteria. For this purpose, new guidelines and standards will be introduced in accordance with European Union legislation.

Challenges

Due to economic constraints, currently some companies, as well as a part of the population, cannot afford to pay the full-scale costs of waste disposal.

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

International partners in the field of Estonia's waste management are the countries of the Baltic region, mainly Estonia and Finland.

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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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Hazardous Wastes

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The Ministry of Environment is responsible for issues related to hazardous waste. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Estonia signed the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal in 1992 and ratified it in July 1992. The latest information was provided to the Basel Convention Secretariat in 1995.

The main legislative document is the Waste Act (1992). In this Act, principles of waste prevention, minimization and source reduction are determined. Several lower-level regulative acts have been issued as regulations of the Government or of the Ministry of the Environment, e.g.: the Estonian Waste Classifier (1991); On Issuing of Licenses for Handling of Hazardous Waste (1992); On Issuing of Waste Permits (1992); On Labeling of Hazardous Waste (1992); and On Export, Import and Transit Movements of Hazardous and Other Waste (1992).

Larger industrial enterprises are encouraged to treat, recycle, re-use and/or dispose of their wastes, at the source. Economic regulatory incentives have been implemented to stimulate waste minimization, re-use and recycling. The Government of Estonia has established special fees for waste disposal and rates, depending on the degree of hazard. The fees paid by companies are directed to the Environmental Fund and used as financial resources for investments, research and implementation programmes in the field of waste management.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available. 

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available. 

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available. 

Status

In recent years, a number of companies have been established whose main activity is the disposal of hazardous waste. Currently, they are able to treat only small amounts of the waste generated. Annual limits for waste deposits are established for enterprises with waste permits issued by local environmental authorities. The classification of hazardous wastes is based on the Estonian Waste Classifier (1991), the International Waste Identification Code (IWIC), and on the principles used for waste identification according to the Basel Convention. Using this system, the Ministry of Environment has begun to cooperate with the State Statistics Board to collect information on waste generation, treatment and disposal.

Annual waste generation in Estonia (according to data registered in 1995) was 13.4 million tons. Of this sum, approximately 7.3 million tons can be characterized as hazardous waste. The greatest amount of wastes are generated in oil-shale mining, chemistry and oil-shale based power production activities. 

Challenges  

At present, there are very few specialized hazardous waste treatment facilities in Estonia. In the absence of treatment facilities, the majority of hazardous wastes is deposited in special repositories or disposed of in common domestic waste landfills. 

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

Existing education and training systems in the field of hazardous waste management are insufficient. The establishment of centers providing training and information on environmentally sound technologies and hazardous waste management will be necessary in the near future.

Information   

No information is available. 

Research and Technologies   

The inventory of contaminated sites in former Soviet military areas has been carried out in order to identify measures required for their clean up.

Financing   

No information is available. 

Cooperation

The Ministry of Environment, in cooperation with Estonia and EU-PHARE Cross Border Cooperation Programme, is currently implementing the first phase of establishing a nation-wide system for collection, transport, treatment and final disposal of hazardous waste. 

Estonia cooperates internationally within the framework of the Basel Convention, and takes part in the preparation of technical guidelines for environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes with UNEP.

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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 direct link to the Web Site of the Basel Convention, click here:

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Radioactive Wastes

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The operating authority in Estonia for the storage of radioactive waste is ALARA Ltd., and the controlling authority is the Estonian Radiation Protection Centre.

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

Although Estonia is a non-nuclear country, because of uranium processing at Sillamäe, there is a large uranium milling tailings depository. Geotechnical investigations of the depository have shown that the dam's stability does not meet international requirements. Initiatives are being taken to strengthen the dam.

There are currently two sites for the management and storage of radioactive wastes in Estonia. One was established for low and intermediate level waste at Tammiku, 12km south from Tallinn. It used to serve as a central treatment and storage facility for the radioactive waste in Estonia. The Tammiku facility was designed in accordance with criteria developed in Moscow at the end of the 1950s. Approximately 55% of the vault's capacity is presently occupied. The other is situated at the former Soviet Navy training centre at Paldiski, 45 km WNW from Tallinn. There are two storage facilities for radioactive waste at the site, one for liquid and another for solid waste. The storage of radioactive wastes at the Paldiski facility is now performed by using concrete containers from Sweden. In the near future, the Government intends to close the Tammiku facility and to store the radioactive waste at the Paldiski facility exclusively.

Challenges  

No information is available. 

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available. 

Information   

No information is available. 

Research and Technologies   

No information is available. 

Financing   

No information is available. 

Cooperation  

No information is available. 

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

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