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Economic Aspects | Natural Resource Aspects | Institutional Aspects | Social Aspects |Iceland

ECONOMIC ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN ICELAND

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INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies 

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is responsible for international trade issues and for development aid.  International relations and cooperation is generally the task of the central government. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Iceland is a member of the WTO and has undertaken and put into law the obligations resulting from that membership.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

See under Programmes and Projects

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Recently, the Foreign Ministry concluded an agreement with the New Business Venture Fund in Iceland and the Icelandic Development Agency on what is called trade development. The idea is to assist Icelandic companies in discovering business and investment opportunities in developing countries. This work is connected with Iceland's co-operation with the World Bank, that has expressed an interest in co-operating with enterprises in Iceland on economic development in developing countries.

Programmes and Projects 

Iceland participates in the Nordic Development Fund, financing projects in developing countries and in the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO), a risk capital institution financing environmental projects in Central and Eastern Europe.

 ICEIDA has for many years provided ODA to some southern African countries in managing their living oceanic resources and determining the sustainable yield of fisheries resources in their waters.  Fisheries scientists from Africa have been trained in Iceland for this purpose.   ICEIDA supports SADC co-operation units in marine and inland fisheries.  Among the goals of these units is to secure the sustainable harvesting of fish resources.  

Status 

The Icelandic Government decided in 1998 to triple its contributions to bilateral aid over a period of 5 years.  Multilateral ODA is also increasing slightly, mainly due to participation in more international organizations.  Iceland has decided to take full part in the HIPC initiative despite the fact that Iceland is not and has never been a lender to poor developing countries.

 Iceland is a party to the recent Nordic Strategy for Sustainable Development. It also takes part in Baltic 21, an Agenda 21 for the Baltic Sea Region.  The Icelandic International Development Agency handles co-operation between Iceland and developing countries. Iceland participates in IDA and the Nordic Development Fund.

Challenges

No information available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

The United Nations University's Geothermal Training Programme (UNU GTP) has operated in Iceland since 1979, under the auspices of the National Energy Authority. Its goal is to assist developing countries with significant geothermal potential to build up or strengthen groups of specialists that cover most aspects of geothermal exploration and development. This is done by offering six months specialized courses for professionals who have minimum of one year's practical experience in geothermal work in their home countries. The UNU Fisheries Training Programme is also located in Iceland since 1997, offering six months of coursework and training working professionals in developing countries.

Information

The Icelandic WWW-sites most relevant for multilateral cooperation are:  ICEIDA: http://brunnur.stjr.is/interpro/utanr/thssi.nsf/pages/iceida

UNU Geothermal Training Programme: http://www.os.is/unugtp/index.html 

Research and Technologies 

Iceland's priorities in transfer of technology for sustainable development are in the sectors in which the country has most technological expertise. These include fisheries technology and fisheries management, as well as know-how in the field of geothermal energy.  Iceland's priorities in transfer of technology for sustainable development are in the sectors in which the country has most technological expertise. These include fisheries technology and fisheries management, as well as know-how in the field of geothermal energy.

Financing

The annual ODA of Iceland in the last years has been just over 0.1% of GNP. About one third (approx. 2.5 million USD) of the State contribution goes to bilateral aid, which is administrated by the Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA). ODA has increased in recent years and it is government policy to increase it further.

ICEIDA's policy is to focus its efforts on areas where Icelandic expertise is thought to be most useful and where Icelanders are well advanced. All major projects are related to training and capacity building in fisheries, as well as fisheries research and institution strengthening in the fisheries sector. In all co-operation countries ICEIDA is supporting small projects in the health, education and social sectors. More emphasis is now being placed on such activities.

Cooperation

Iceland is an active member of the ICES and other international bodies to protect the marine living resources and secure their sustainable utilization.  ICEIDA is providing support to developing countries in Africa in fisheries biology and fisheries management.  Presently    ICEID is engaged in development cooperation with three countries in Africa; Malawi, Namibia, and Mozambique.  Also, a long-standing cooperation with Cape Verde is being phased out.

Iceland supports debt reduction for the poorest countries as part of the policy to enable them to build a sustainable economy. Icelandís contribution to the HIPIC initiative is expected to be approximately US $3million.

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This information was provided by the Government of Iceland to the fifth, eighth, and ninth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: February 2001.

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TRADE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies 

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is responsible for international trade issues and for development aid. The Ministry of Industry and Commerce is responsible for issues concerning foreign investment.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Iceland is a member of the WTO and has undertaken and put into law the obligations resulting from that membership.

Comprehensive legislation reflecting the environmental and economic character of the country - using environmental impact assessments very similar to those in the EU - plays an important role in regulation of planning procedures for industrial and power developments. This legislation offers clear principles for arbitration, simplified licensing procedures and benefits for the environment, for Iceland and for developers alike. Environmental policy does not serve to deter investment, but rather to harmonize it along progressive and imaginative lines, by co-operation between environmental authorities and developers.

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 

Iceland is highly dependent on international trade. Iceland trades primarily with Europe and North America. However, Iceland has taken steps to increase trade relations with the developing countries and the countries with economies in transition. Iceland's imports from the developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America exceed its exports to these countries. The main products imported from developing countries are fruit and textiles, and there are no customs duties or other charges levied on them.

Iceland has stressed the importance of linking international trade and environment. In this work, particular emphasis should be placed on:

- encouraging trade practices which are consistent with environmental conservation;

- ensuring that unjustifiable, arbitrary or unilateral trade restrictions are not applied to further obscure environmental objectives;

- adjusting the international trading system to the needs of the developing countries; and

- building win-win-win strategies that bear positive results for trade, environment and sustainable development.

Iceland has in the various fora, including the CSD, WTO and FAO, drawn attention to the importance that the global market be conducive to sustainable fisheries. In particular Iceland has noted how trade restrictions and government subsidies distort trade, hamper sustainable development and undermine the possibilities for effective conservation and sustainable utilization of fish stocks.

Many fisheries subsidies contribute to fisheries overcapacity and thereby over fishing. Also, the encouragement of the use of fisheries resources beyond normal economic rates of exploitation creates supply distortions that place downward pressures on world seafood prices and this affects the ability of all countries, but particularly developing countries to achieve adequate economic returns from their fisheries resources.

Given the fact that the industrialized countries are responsible for the bulk of the subsidies granted to the global fisheries sector, the negative trade distorting effects of these subsidies affect first and foremost the fish-exporting developing countries. The removal of these subsidies would therefore benefit the developing countries most and their prospect of sustainable development.

Challenges

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available

Information 

Information related to trade, investment and economic growth is made available to potential users through publications, by request and through the Internet by Statistics Iceland, the National Economic Institute, the Trade Council of Iceland and by Invest in Iceland Bureau. The World Wide Web Sites of these are the following:

- Statistics Iceland: http://www.statice.is

- National Economic Institute: http://www.ths.is/eng/english.htm

- Trade Council of Iceland: http://www.icetrade.is

- Invest in Iceland Bureau: http://www.invest.is

- The Foreign Ministry of Iceland: http://www.utn.stjr.is

- ICEIDA: http://brunnur.stjr.is/interpro/utanr/thssi.nsf/pages/icei

Research and Technologies

No information is available

Financing 

No information is available

Cooperation

Iceland reports on issues related to trade, investment and economic growth to various intergovernmental bodies, including the UN Statistical Division, UN-ECE, WTO, IMF, IBRD, OECD and EFTA.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Iceland to the fifth and eighth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last Update: January 2000.

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CHANGING CONSUMPTION PATTERNS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies 

The Ministry of Environment is the body mainly responsible for this topic.  Consumer affairs are the responsibility of the Ministry for Industry and Commerce.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Several economic instruments have been used to promote recycling of solid wastes. The return rate of beverage containers was over 70% in 1993. Fees on single-use plastic shopping bags have also been introduced. There are special charges levied on commercial enterprises for waste collection on the basis of nature and quantity. This provides an incentive for commercial establishments to reduce waste (such incentives do not apply to households which pay a flat fee).

A new law was being prepared in 1993 to improve the collection, disposal and recycling of scrap-metal. The law will, among other things, introduce deposit-return fees on automobiles to encourage more environmentally sound disposal of outdated vehicles.

Since 1993,Environmental Impact Assessment has been, by law, an integral factor in physical planning (EIA Law 63/1993), Pollution Control Regulations have been implemented, and a standard for environmental management systems has been developed. Polluting industries are required to obtain individually designed operating licenses. The companies are inspected regularly.

The national environmental strategy, Towards Sustainable Development (1993), emphasizes that environmental problems should be resolved at source and by adopting sustainable consumption and production patterns. Several actions that will be initiated within the Action Plan for Sustainable Development in Iceland, which is expected to be adopted in early 1997, will promote more sustainable consumption and production. Indicators most commonly used to assess the change in production and consumption patterns are natural resource management and the state of natural resources, waste generation and release of pollutants to the environment.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects 

A new initiative has recently started as a pilot project involving the Ministry for the Environment, the Technological Institute of Iceland and a number of NGOs. This project is aimed at changing consumer behavior.

 

Status 

In 1994, Iceland began the process of taking the following additional measures to achieve the objectives of Agenda 21 in this area:

- to pass a green tax reform to promote the adjustment of consumption, sectoral developments, and economy as a whole to the principles of sustainable development;
- to increase application of selected economic and market instruments;
- to change Government administration and institutions policies and daily operations;
- to make eco-auditing part of the management in the businesses;
- to encourage businesses to integrate environmental policies into their management policies and make environmental education part of their staff training policies; and
- to allocate more money to research and development in the areas of cleaner technology, recycling, waste disposal, pollution control and sustainable natural resource management.

By 1996, several actions had been taken in accordance with this plan. For instance, the Government has designed a special plan for "greener government", new economic instruments have been designed and are about to be implemented, and EU's Council regulation on Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) was adopted in 1996 and is being implemented.

Challenges

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

Measures have been taken within both the education system and businesses to raise public awareness. Iceland participates in the Nordic eco-labeling scheme. In accordance with the Act on the Obligation of the Government to Provide the Public with Information on Environmental Affairs, the Government of Iceland Iceland publishes a report on the state of the environment annually.

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 Government of Iceland to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: April 1997.

Click here for information on environmental issues in Iceland, including encouraging recycling and better waste management.

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FINANCING

 Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

A law adopted in 1996, introducing environmental fees on hazardous materials to finance the collection of hazardous waste (amended since to include new types of hazardous waste) has succeeded in increasing the recycling and safe disposal of hazardous waste. Several economic instruments have been used to promote recycling of solid wastes. The return rate of beverage containers was around 86% in 1996, thanks to a return fee on used containers. Fees on single-use plastic shopping bags have been introduced, with the proceedings going to a special Environmental Fund, which finances projects in afforestation, environmental education etc.

There are special charges levied on commercial enterprises for waste collection on the basis of nature and quantity. This provides an incentive for commercial establishments to reduce waste. Such incentives do not apply to households at the present time, but some municipalities plan to introduce waste collection fees in the coming years.

Differentiated import levies are used to promote the use of lighter and more efficient cars and import levies on electric and other non-polluting vehicles was lowered in 1998. A differential tax favoring unleaded petrol helped phase out leaded gasoline, which is not sold anymore in Iceland.

The use of subsidies, including in the agricultural sector, has been substantially reduced in recent years. The environmental impact of subsidies has not been estimated.

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 

Information about the Environmental Fund, financed by the sale of single-use plastic bags, is found at: http://www.umhverfi.is A 1996 report outlining the use of economic instruments for environmental policy in theory and practice can be accessed at the website of the Ministry for the Environment: http://www.stjr.is/umh.

Research and Technologies 

No information is available

Financing 

No information is available

Cooperation

The aim of Iceland's ODA policy is to improve the living conditions of the poorest, especially women and children. Emphasis is placed on co-operation with the least developed countries. Assistance is primarily given in areas in which Icelanders have special knowledge and experience and which can be transferred by teaching and training. The aim is to assist people to become more self-sufficient and to promote sustainable development, protection of the environment and natural resources, increasing productivity as well as equality of individuals, democracy and human rights.

From 1992 to 1993, the Government of Iceland increased its development assistance by 20%, reaching 0.13% of GNP in 1993. The goal is 0.7% of GNP, but due to the stagnant economy, Iceland has not been able to reach it. The increase was limited to bilateral development assistance which increased by 45%, while multilateral assistance remained the same. Further increase has not been materialized.

Bilateral aid is provided by the Icelandic International Development Aid Agency (ICEIDA), mostly under programmes related to natural resources, e.g. research, education, and training in fisheries. Furthermore, Iceland participates in the Nordic Development Fund. Iceland also supports the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO), which provides financial assistance to environmentally favorable projects in Central and Eastern Europe.

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This information was provided by the Government of Iceland to the fifth and eighth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: January 2000.

Click here to access Iceland's Ministry of Finance.

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

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TECHNOLOGY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available

Status 

The concept of Environmentally Sound Technologies (ESTs) is not generally in use in Iceland. In industry, especially new energy-intensive industry, there has been an emphasis on demanding the Best Available Technology (BAT) with regard to pollution control. There have also been government programmes on integrating "Cleaner Production" methods in industry, especially in the fish and food industries.

ISO 14000 has been introduced in Iceland.

Challenges

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

The Geothermal Training Programme of the United Nations University was established in Iceland in 1979, and it is run by the National Energy Authority of Iceland. The aim of the programme is to assist in building a cadre of specialists in the geothermal departments of developing countries. The programme trains approximately 16 students per year. A programme for fisheries with the UN University is now being prepared and will begin in 1998.

Information 

No information is available

Research and Technologies 

No information is available

Financing 

No information is available

Cooperation

In recent years, ICEIDA, the Icelandic International Development Aid Agency, has concentrated its aid to biological research on fish resources of the developing countries and on experimental fishing of under-exploited species. At present, ICEIDA cooperates with Namibia, Malawi and Cape Verde. Since 1992, the assistance granted to these countries has amounted to some US$ 7,1 million. Technical assistance has also been focused on fisheries.

Iceland has also increased its assistance to the economies in transition through cooperation for capacity-building. A special relationship has been formed with the three Baltic States. Iceland has established a US$ 1 million payment facility for them and provided training for the nationals of these countries, including the award of grants to study at the University of Iceland. In cooperation with the business community, business management and training possibilities have been provided.

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This information was provided by the Government of Iceland to the fifth and sixth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: April 1998.

 

BIOTECHNOLOGY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Ministry of Environment is responsible for the legal and policy issues related to biotechnology. The competent authority is the Food and Environment Agency. New legislation was adopted in early 1995 to promote biotechnology safety mechanisms and procedures.

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 

Research and development in the field of environmentally sound biotechnology is carried out by the Technology Institute and by the Iceland Council of Science, which also seeks to enhance biotechnology research through competitive research grants

Financing 

The financial support allocated to biotechnological research is approximately US$ 730,000 annually (1994). In the Technology Institute, the budget for biotechnology for 1991 was US$ 228,500.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Iceland to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: April 1997.

Click here to link to the Biosafety Information Network and Advisory Service (BINAS), a service of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which monitors global developments in regulatory issues in biotechnology.

Click here to go to the Web Site of UNEP's International Register on Biosafety.

Click here to link to biosafety web sites in the European Union.

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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  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available

Status 

ISO 14,000 has been introduced. A number of individual companies have implemented an environmental management system and introduced cleaner production processes, for example, in the fish and printing industries.

Challenges

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available

Information 

No information is available

Research and Technologies 

In industry, especially new energy-intensive industry, there has been an emphasis on demanding the Best Available Technology (BAT) with regard to pollution control. There have also been government programmes on integrating "Cleaner Production" methods in industry, especially in the fish and food industries.

Financing 

No information is available

Cooperation

No information is available

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Iceland to the fifth and sixth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: April 1998.

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TRANSPORT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

The Ministry of Communications and Transport. Organizations under the supervision of the Ministry dealing with transport are: the Public Road Administration; the Icelandic Maritime Administration; and the Icelandic Civil Aviation Administration.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The main laws regarding transport are: The 1994 Public Roads Law; the 1991 Law on the Icelandic Maritime Administration; the 1998 Aviation Law; and the 1987 Law on Airport Construction. The effect of the Rio Summit and its decisions on transport can be seen for example in that most transport projects now undergo EIA.

 A new law was being prepared in 1993 to improve the collection, disposal and recycling of scrap-metal. The law will, among other things, introduce deposit-return fees on automobiles to encourage more environmentally sound disposal of outdated vehicles.  Iceland follows emission standards set in the European Economic Area. Lead in gasoline has been phased out in Iceland, partly thanks to a tax measure favoring the use of unleaded gasoline. Import levies have been lowered on vehicles with low or zero-emission engines (such as electric, hydrogen fuel cell or "hybrid" engines) in order to create greater incentives for their use.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Four-year plans are made for construction and repair of roads, harbors and airports, and they are reviewed every two years. The plans are drafted under the auspices of the Ministry for Communications and its specialized agencies, in consultation with municipalities, Members of Parliament, public and private stakeholders. The drafting of transport-related legal bills is also done in extensive consultation with all major stakeholders.  Work has started on an integrated transport plan for Iceland, combining current plans for roads, harbors and air traffic.

According to a long-term plan for road transport, it is considered that in the period 2005-2010 all parts of Iceland will have reached the stage of having adequate modern road infrastructure. There will still be isolated local problems of inadequate transport services, and the capital urban area will still need an upgrade in infrastructure to deal with the growth of traffic.  There are already differentiated import levies which promote the use of lighter and more efficient cars and a differential tax favoring unleaded petrol. Due to these levies, leaded petrol is practically not used any more.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Decisions regarding roads and airports are made at the national level. Work relating to harbors are a joint responsibility of the national government and municipalities and local governments as a general rule initiate proposals for work relating to harbors.  All government funding for transport has to be agreed upon by the Parliament, where groups and individuals can bring their opinion into the debate. The law on environmental impact assessment ensure that everyone can make suggestions regarding major individual transport projects.

The interests of the fishing industry is a prime concern in decision-making on harbors. The building and operation of Iceland's main road tunnel is privately run, while the tunnel will in due time be handed over to the government. It is foreseen that the private sector will get an increasing role in the transport sector in coming years, although decision-making will continue to be a role of the government.

Programmes and Projects 

There are programmes to increase safety of seamen and road traffic safety. Many of the above concerns will be integrated in the overall transport strategy to be adopted next year.   According to law, 1% of government funds for road construction and other transport projects goes to research and development in that field. Over 100 projects in this field are launched each year.

Status 

There has been a great influx of people to the capital area from other parts of the country in recent decades. This creates a twofold need for improved transport systems. The capital region needs to invest in improved roads and transport infrastructure to deal with growing population and traffic. Meanwhile, it is understood that  a key government priority is to help secure settlement in rural areas. Better road and tunnels can connect small villages with each other and with bigger population centers, thus improving access to services and create a bigger market for jobs and goods. A big increase in tourism in Iceland also creates pressure for better transport.

The fact that Iceland is sparsely populated, with a rugged terrain, means that there is a need for a proportionally greater transport infrastructure than in countries more densely populated. The road system has improved greatly in recent years and decades. There is, however, still great demand for the improvement of the system, especially for improved roads and new road tunnels. The improvement of roads has resulted in a diminished role of internal aviation, although air travel is still crucial for many areas. Overall, it can be said that the current transportation system in Iceland is efficient, although there is pressure for its improvement.   The estimated use of gasoline in the transport sector is 142.000 tons and the use of diesel oil is 64.000 tons (1999). The use of other fuel types is negligible.

In the year 2000, the government doubled its financial contribution to public transport as a measure to reverse the trend of citizens relying more on private transportation verses public.

The transport sector is responsible for about one-third of carbon-dioxide emissions in Iceland. Air pollution in Iceland is generally minimal, although there is some local air pollution in the capital area. Local air pollution is mainly due to cars and other vehicles, as stationary energy is produced by clean and renewable sources (hydro and geothermal power).

Challenges

Road transport is by far the most used mode of transport in Iceland followed by domestic air transport and transport at sea is third. There is continuing pressure to improve the efficiency of road transport. All major road construction is subject to Environmental Impact Assessment, hence there is limited damage to eco-systems.  It is illegal to drive off  the road especially in areas with fragile vegetation but, monitoring is difficult due to large uninhabited area in Iceland.  Domestic shipping transport has declined in the last decade, with only 10 harbors served by domestic shipping, compared with almost 40 a decade ago. Possibilities of halting this trend are being studied, as shipping is considered to be less polluting than other types of goods transport.

The rugged terrain and sparse settlement in Iceland are obstacles to building railways in Iceland, and make the construction and upkeep of transport infrastructure costly. The population shift from rural to urban areas creates pressure on traffic infrastructure in and around Reykjavik. The spread-out layout and low population density of the Reykjavik metropolitan area has been cited as an obstacle to developing a more efficient public transportation system.  Practically all stationary energy in Iceland is produced from clean and renewable sources, so mobile sources (vehicles and the fishing fleet) account for about two-thirds of emissions of greenhouse gases and most polluting air emissions. Iceland relies on imported technology for the engines of vehicles and fishing ships, which means that limited progress can be made in those fields through domestic policy making, although there are programmes to encourage the use of alternative low or non-polluting fuels.

Declining services in public transport would primarily affect the young and the elderly.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

The Ministry for the Environment, in cooperation with car importers and the Car Owners Association, sponsors a programme to publish and disseminate information on car mileage and pollution, that is available at car sales.

The use of public transport has been declining in recent years. Public authorities have strived to halt this decline to ensure that certain groups (young people and the elderly) enjoy adequate transportation service.

Information 

No information  is available

Research and Technologies 

With regard to different means the government can use in the energy, transport and industry sectors to protect the atmosphere, Iceland prefers the use and development of safe technologies, research and development relating to appropriate methodologies, modernization and rehabilitation of power systems, development of new and renewable energy systems, use of endogenous technologies and raising public awareness and participation, i.e. through environmental impact assessment and product labeling aimed at informing the public about energy and fuel efficiency. Product life-cycle analysis and eco-audits are already under preparation.

 Icelandic authorities have sponsored a joint venture, which will explore possibilities for using hydrogen as a fuel for vehicles and fishing ships. Another programme, sponsored by local authorities in Reykjavik, runs vehicles on methane gas collected from a landfill. Import tariffs favor non- and low-polluting engines and vehicles.  The has developed transportation technologies and considered the relative cost-effectiveness of alternative energy systems. The Government Working Group addressing this issue has submitted policy proposals which will be included in the National Agenda 21 (National Programme of Action).

Financing 

A special tax on fuel is used to finance road construction and improvement. Harbor projects are financed 70% by government funds. Total government expenditures for transport and transport-related projects amount to almost 12 billion ISK, which is almost 6% of government expenditures.

Cooperation

Iceland participates in the planning phase of TEN-transport in the European Union. Iceland is party to a number of aviation-related agreements, and is an active member of IMO.    

 

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This information was provided by the Government of Iceland to the fifth and ninth sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: February 2001.

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SUSTAINABLE TOURISM

No information is available.

 

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