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INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE NETHERLANDS


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INTEGRATED DECISION-MAKING

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

A formal National Council for Sustainable Development does not exist in The Netherlands. This is because the Netherlands was already applying policy planning procedures involving various governmental and non-governmental actors and agencies well before the term 'Sustainable Development' was coined and spread internationally in 1987. The best illustration of this approach is the way in which

In connection with the integrated approach to planning, various coordination mechanisms have been established at different levels. While these generally have not been set up with a view to promoting sustainable development, many of them incorporate considerations of sustainability in their normal activities.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The National Environmental Policy Plan (NEPP) contains the equivalent of a national strategy on sustainable development. Prior to publication, intensive discussions are held with all those concerned, both within and outside government. The NEPP is updated every four years (the third one is due at the end of 1997).

It is signed by the Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment, the minister of Economic Affairs, the Minister of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries, the minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management and the minister for Development Cooperation.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

A large number of NGO's from all Major Groups are involved in many coordination mechanisms at different levels. Furthermore, some fifty NGO's from all sectors of society participate in the National Commission for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development, which has been established with a view to stimulate the debate on sustainable development on the national and local level. This Commission also liaises with the government on issues concerning international meetings such as the CSD.

Programmes and Projects 

Impact assessments are usually used for policies and projects, not for programmes. For large projects likely to damage the environment, an impact assessment is mandatory. For small projects this is not the case. Policies with legislative consequences, likely to damage the environment, are also assessed on their impacts.

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 

Central government expenditure decreased by US$ 13 million between 1992 and 1995. "Environmental expenditures" (according to the OECD definition) increased by US$ 3.5 million between 1992 and 1995.

Cooperation

Several functional ministries have regular consultations to review and coordinate all the activities resulting from international agreements that have called for national strategies, plans and programmes in the field of sustainable development.

* * *

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

The Netherlands' Third National Environmental Policy Plan
For the Statement by PM Wim Kok at UNGASS, click here.
For the History of Environmental Policy and Planning in the Netherlands, click here.
For NEPP2, click here.
For Measuring Environmental Progress (several sectoral areas)in the Netherlands, click here.
For information on Environmental Law around the World, click here:

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MAJOR GROUPS

 

WOMEN

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects

No information is available. 

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was signed on 17 July 1980 and ratified on 23 July 1991.

 

* * *

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

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

 

CHILDREN AND YOUTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The relevant youth fora include the National Youth Council for Environment and Development, which includes a 'youth coalition' (political youth parties, united for sustainable development.), Vereniging 31 (national youth council on all issues), internationally oriented and JOPLA (association of various youth-organizations for education and employment).

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available.

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

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

 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

No information available.

 

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

A National Commission for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development has been established in which some fifty NGOs from all sectors of society participate. The Platform stimulates public debate on sustainable development. Major Group organizations (farmers' associations, business representatives, environment and nature protection organizations) also participate in environmental impact assessments at the national and local level and occasionally contribute to the design and implementation of sustainable development projects. Major Group representatives were included in the National Delegations to the CSD, to the Social Summit in Copenhagen, to the World Population Conference in Cairo and to the World Conference on Women in Beijng and to HABITAT II in Istanbul. They will also join the National Delegations to CSD 1997.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

 

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

 

LOCAL AUTHORITIES

No information available.

 

* * * 

WORKERS AND UNIONS

No information available.

 

* * *

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY

No information available.

 

* * *

To access Environmenal Covenants with Industry, click here.
For Measuring Enviornmental Progress: Industry, click here.

 

SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Dutch universities have signed a Charter for Sustainable Development which serves as a basis for making sustainable development an integral part of research and education programmes and for internal environmental policies. A number of institutes have drawn up a joint declaration, which places sustainable development at the centre of their strategies.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available.

Status 

No information is available.

Challenges

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available.

Information

No information is available.

Research and Technologies

No information is available.  

Financing

No information is available.

Cooperation

No information is available.

 

* * *

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

 

FARMERS

No information available.

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* * *

SCIENCE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is primarily responsible for this chapter.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Higher Education and Research Act (1992) is the most important legislation.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The National Environmental Policy Plan addresses the promotion of science for sustainable development. In 1993, Dutch universities signed a Charter for Sustainable Development that should lead to integration of sustainable development into their strategies.

The goal of Dutch policy is to optimize and strengthen national research infrastructure and promoting international scientific cooperation in relevant fields. There is a general policy to promote women in public service, including governmental research institutes and universities.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

Several institutes and advisory bodies participate in decision-making for environment and development, e.g. in the evaluation of research programmes. These include the Advisory Council for Research on Nature and the Environment, the Advisory Council on Development-Related Research, and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science.

Programmes and Projects 

Integration of knowledge and scientific assessment of highly multidisciplinary and international fields, require more programmatic coordination both at the national and international level. Interdisciplinary cooperation between social scientists and between social and natural scientists needs to be improved. Well-coordinated, longer-term national and international multidisciplinary networks and programmatic frameworks are vital in this respect and need further development and support.

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 

Since the streams of additional money are drying up, reprioritization and reorientation of ongoing research activities are necessary. Cuts in research budgets are creating problems particularly in nature, environmental and energy research.

In the social sciences sector, much of the environmental research undertaken is still going on in relatively small, short-term projects of local significance. Some promising developments are emerging in this field.

Cooperation

The Netherlands participates in many international scientific programmes and initiatives, e.g. in the EU Framework Programme / Special Programme on the Environment and in the EU 5th Action Programme on the Environment, in GEF -initiatives and in many UN-programmes, especially those related to Environment and Global Change. It hosts the IPCC secretariat for the coastal zone and small island subgroup, the Coastal Zone Management Centre and the International Coordination Office of the Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone Programme of IGBP. Numerous courses and training activities have been offered. It also participates in the Tropical Rainforests Programme of the Tropical Rainforests Organization and in the Special Programme for the Sustainable Management of Coastal Areas of SW Sulawesi and carries out a National Research Programme on Global Air Pollution and Climate Change.

* * *

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

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INFORMATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM) is responsible for the co-ordination of information in the area of environment and sustainable development, in co-operation with several Ministries of:

Furthermore social, institutional and economic information are the responsibility of the Ministries of Economic Affairs (i.e. through the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS)) and the Ministries of Social Affairs and employment, and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) (i.e. through the Central Planning Bureau (CPB)).

Several policy plans are formulated for information and knowledge in which the related bodies of the government (ministries, etc.) are involved and/or consulted, i.e.: the Memorandum Knowledge in movement (Nota Kennis in beweging; OcenW 1995) the Memorandum Knowledge is power (Nota Kennis is Kracht, 2000), and Science Budget 2000 (Wetenschapsbudget 2000, OcenW 1999). The "hard" infrastructure for information and communication technology is laid down in the National Transport and Traffic Plan by the Ministry of Transport and Water management.

The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science is responsible for the overall policy on research, knowledge and education. On an interdepartmental level there is a Working Group Knowledge Infrastructure installed of the Interdepartmental Co-ordination Commission for Economic Structure Strengthening (ICES / KIS). GAMIN is a platform of the departments of VROM, LNV, V&W, and OC&W for integral research programmes for social-scientific research on environmental and nature management, coordinated by the Council of Environmental and Nature Research (RMNO).

In the Environmental Management Act (environmental reporting, chapter 12) an Environmental Planning Office function (Milieuplanbureau) has been formalised. This Environmental Planning Office (coordinated by the RIVM: National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection) publishes a yearly Environmental Balance Sheet (www.milieubalans.rivm.nl/index.html) since 1995 to inform the government and policy makers on the development and quality of the environment (as is laid down in the Environmental Management Act). This Environmental Balance Sheet is the result of co-operation with several colleague institutes and planning offices to collect and evaluate information on the environment.

Furthermore every four years an Environmental Exploration is published, with a description and a more long-term analysis of the development of the environmental quality. The environmental exploration is part of an interactive process between RIVM as Environmental Planning Office and the ministries (shared responsibility of VROM, EZ, LNV and V&W) involved in the NEPP3 (Third National Environmental Policy Plan). The Environmental Compendium -the environment in figures-, is a shared publication of RIVM and national Statistical Office (CBS), with a creation of the Environmental Balance Sheet in figures: www.rivm.nl/milieucompendium.

Provinces and municipalities are encouraged to translate the national environmental policy in their regional and local plans, in for example Provincial Environmental Policy Plans and Schemes. Municipalities and provinces are also responsible for granting environmental permits to companies and implementing environmental policy on a local and regional level (Establishment and Licenses Decree enacting under the Environmental Management Act).

InfoMil, or the Environmental Licensing Information Centre, was set up by the Ministry of VROM, in co-operation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Association of Provinces, and the Association of Municipalities, to support and provide information to licensors to enable them properly to apply the ALARA (as low as reasonable achievable) principle when issuing or updating environmental licences under the Environmental Protection Act. Furthermore it supports consultation processes between governments and private sector; it provides a telephonic helpdesk; and it has a function as a knowledge centre.

Local Agenda 21 is an initiative to stimulate on a local level the design of policy for sustainability. Important surplus values of Local Agenda's 21 to the environmental policy of municipalities are:

Furthermore the programme Learning for Sustainability, an environmental education program oriented, is coordinated and worked out on a provincial level.  Because of the increased freedom municipalities have to set local policy, there is also an increasing need for quantitative data to backup policy. The Association of Municipalities provides special guidance for setting up a monitoring project (Environmental Monitoring by Municipalities, 1996).

Since 1997 provinces co-operate in the framework of the Inter-provincial Environmental Report that is published yearly by the IPO. The Association of Provinces published a joint monitoring report (project IPO-A900) to make a systematic analysis of the monitoring needs of the provinces arising from the statutory requirements to draw up a Provincial Environmental Policy Plan (PEPP) every four years. They have now agreed on the co-ordination, and where possible, standardisation of their monitoring activities. From 2000 on cooperation will be more structured and the RIVM will have responsibility for the data management and logistics of the new IPO-Report Environment, Water, Nature and Agriculture, which will have also a broader scope.

Also the water boards carry out detailed monitoring of the quality of the aquatic environment. Agreements have been made at the provincial and national level about the co-ordination and where possible standardisation of parameters and monitoring networks of the water system surveys.

A cross-administrative memorandum produced in 1995 serves as a general framework to discuss monitoring. It lays down the assumptions, process and co-ordination structure. The inter-ministerial Committee for Environmental Policy Monitoring (CCO) is responsible for the coordination and development of a set of (38) indicators for environmental monitoring. For 2001 they set up a project for developing indicators for monitoring sustainable development. Furthermore there is the Committee for Target Group Monitoring (CCDM) coordinating and developing emission indicators for monitoring specific target groups (also following international commitments in this area).

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

The Netherlands has adopted an integrated approach to environmental management: that means that when tackling environmental problems all the environmental aspects (such as soil, water, air, waste etc.) are looked at in conjunction. The legal framework that prescribes this integrated approach is the Environmental Management Act. The Environmental Management Act is primarily framework legislation: many subjects are not actually regulated in the act itself but in general administrative orders, provincial environmental bylaws or local authority bylaws.  The Environmental Management Act is due to be adapted in the years ahead.

For the management of environmental information there are specific decrees or articles in the Environmental Management Act. For example the Environmental Planning Office function, or the obligations of monitoring and the environmental impact assessment.

·        Environmental Management Act, Environnemental Impact Assessment (EIA). The implementation of the European directive on EIA 97/11/EC has led in 1994 to several changes in the EIA regulations of the Netherlands together with a general scheme of the Dutch EIA procedure. With Environmental Impact Assessment more and better information about environmental impacts and alternatives is available before deciding on projects and plans with potential significant negative impacts. (http://www.minvrom.nl/minvrom/pagina.html?id=1306)

Separate sets of indicators have been developed in the past, for example the Central Bureau of Statistics developed indicators that integrate environmental and economic information. A set of indicators for sustainable development is now being developed by the Committee for Environmental Policy Monitoring (CCO), in the framework of the national strategy for sustainable development (NSDO) to be developed for Rio+10. Furthermore there is the Committee for Target Group Monitoring (CCDM) coordinating and developing emission indicators at a high aggregation level for monitoring specific target groups (also following international commitments in this area).

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

A Masterplan for Environmental Information is being implemented and the National Environmental Policy Plan addresses information for sustainable development. Under the plan, several ministries have responsibility for information in their respective areas, and the overall coordination is done by the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment.

Policy aims and instruments for knowledge (for environment and sustainable development) are laid down in the Policy documents "Third National Environmental Policy Plan" (NEPP3) and the Policy document on the "Environment and the Economy" (PDEE) (i.e. ICES / KIS).  The Policy documents "Knowledge in movement", "Knowledge is power" (2000), and "Science Budget 2000" (1999) of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (1995), in cooperation with the ministry of Economic Affairs, and the ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries, address to the knowledge infrastructure policy in general.

A working group under the Committee for Target Group Monitoring (CCDM) has recently inventoried all international commitments and is working on the harmonisation and standardisation of the indicators in this area.  Nationally the RIVM is responsible for collecting, processing and harmonization of environmental data in the yearly Environmental Balance Sheet. The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) and the Social and Cultural Planning Office (SCP) are responsible for the economic, respectively social numbers.

Furthermore agreements were made with the provinces in 1991 to raise standards of licensing and enforcement to an adequate level. In 1996 an Action plan was presented by the Association of Provinces in which it indicated how the subject of quality of licensing and enforcement will be addressed, with particular attention for the planning/implementation/evaluation cycle. The Association of Provinces has undertaken to develop a format for minimum information requirement which will allow the different provincial efforts to be aggregated and compared with one another.

At the request of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the General Directorate of Environmental policy, the RMNO made some recommendations on ways of strengthening the emphasis on sustainable development in organisations in the knowledge infrastructure (http://www.rmno.nl/ukindex.htm). Furthermore the RMNO analysed a number of bottlenecks in the knowledge infrastructure of environmental and nature research in order to make recommendations for improvements.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

In the Netherlands there is a whole network of institutions collecting, assessing and managing information in the area of sustainable development, each in their own area of expertise. Only a few are mentioned here:

According to Chapter 12 of the Environmental Management Act on environmental reporting, some companies are required to report on their environmental effects and measures to protect the environment. They are required to provide a governmental report as well as a public report. Furthermore they are required to provide certain information, for example filling in specific CBS-questionnaires, and are emission data collected and registered.

Aim is that environmental information and education services are delegated more to the private sector, the government providing the framework. The role of the private sector in information and communication is stimulated. The Dutch government's view is that institutes of learning have their own responsibility in bringing about sustainable development. This responsibility of theirs has for example been recognised (at least in the case of universities and schools of higher education) by the signing of a declaration of intent.

In the Programme Economy, Ecology and Technology (EET) of the Ministry of Economical Affairs and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, financial support is given to cooperation forms between companies and knowledge institutes.  Furthermore the Dutch communication (ICT) network is undergoing privatisation.  Major public groups have not involved in the development of indicators for sustainable development, but local sustainability indicators are being discussed by major groups representatives in the Local Agenda 21 Steering Group.

Programmes and Projects 

The Inspection service of VROM is responsible for the coordination and monitoring of governmental performances, in which governments themselves are responsible to fill in the indicators for monitoring.  The environmental planning office takes care of the yearly monitoring of the environmental quality, with the Environmental Balance Sheet and the four yearly Environmental Exploration. This is done in close co-operation with knowledge and research institutes in their corresponding expertise's.

Less oriented on information for decision making, but more on the development of better access of environmental information to the public, is the environmental customer information point "Environment Central" (MilieuCentraal) which has been established as an independent information point for citizens for the environment and environmental aspects of consumer products.

Data collection in the area of sustainable development information of environmental information is done in the framework of the Environmental Planning Office (yearly Environmental Balance, and 4-yearly Environmental Explorations). This is done in close co-operation with knowledge and research institutes in their corresponding expertise's. The statistical data collection is done by the CBS. RIVM strives to come to a consensus of the several contributions of these institutes.

Furthermore there are numerous other programmes and projects aimed at improving the data collection, assessment, etc., some already mentioned above.  

In 1997 the National Institute of Public Health and Environmental Protection (RIVM), the Association of Provinces (IPO) and the Directorate-General of Environmental Management of the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment have signed an Agreement for cooperation on research in the area of environmental policy and the integration of environment in other policy fields. The cooperation is amongst others oriented on:

Since 1997 there is also co-operation in the framework of the Inter-provincial Environmental Report that is published yearly by the IPO (Association of Provinces). From 2000 on the cooperation will be more structured and the RIVM will have responsibility for the data management and logistics of the new IPO-Report Environment, Water, Nature and Agriculture, which will have also a broader scope.

Also interesting to mention is the Memorandum Dynamics and Innovation (Nota Dynamiek en Vernieuwing) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries concerning information for rural development, which has a strong focus on information services, research and innovation, and knowledge management

A lot of attention is paid to the development of the information and communication technology (ICT). The Netherlands has the ambition to be part of the European top group of the electronic highway: The Netherlands as Digital Delta. The Action Program Information Super Highways (Actieprogramma Elektronische Snelwegen, recalibration in 1998) and the ICT-memorandum "The Digital Delta" (‘De Digitale Delta’ 1998) describe policy in the framework of ITC and communication networks. The five pillars are: (Tele)communication-infrastructure, Knowledge and innovation, Access and skill, Regulation, and ITC in the public sector. Some other programmes in this framework are the Action Program Electronic Government (Actieprogramma Elektronische Overheid), and the Programme Infodrome (the knowledge society).

A knowledge infrastructure working party has been set up as part of the Interdepartmental Committee for the Coordination of Economic Restructuring. The working party has established an investment fund which will be used to support innovations which break with past patterns. They include a 'National Sustainable Development Initiative' (NIDO).   The Sustainable Technology Development Programme came to an end in late 1997, and will be continued as a knowledge transfer programme. The 'Environmental Technology' programme is being broadened, with a focus on breakthrough technologies.  Since 1999 the CBS and RIVM together publish the Milieu compendium (www.rivm.nl/milieucompendium) on the internet.

Status

On an international level an inter-ministerial coordination group for Sustainable Development input in the framework of the UN (VNDO) has been set up. Furthermore an inter-ministerial project group has been set up under the chairmanship of the Minister-president to develop a National Sustainable Development Strategy for 2001.  On a regional and local level sustainable development is discussed in Local Agenda 21 projects, hosted and co-ordinated by the NCDO. The NCDO (National Commission for International Co-operation and Sustainable Development) has an important role to inform citizens and support NGOs in the Netherlands on international cooperation and sustainable development issues by organising discussions and debates, and hosting programmes as the Local Agenda 21 and the Environmental Education Programme "Learning for Sustainability".

The Dutch availability, accessibility, and the level of usage of information on sustainable development is relatively high. Especially through internet there are several programmes aimed at providing information on the environment or sustainable development. For example the OneWorld (www.oneworld.nl) of the NCDO (National Commission for International Co-operation and Sustainable Development) providing information to the public on sustainable development and international cooperation. Also the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment has several programmes providing environmental information to the public through internet, for example the "Sustainable Building" programme (Duurzaam Bouwen). The Environmental compendium information of the RIVM with information on the environmental situation of the Netherlands is only accessible by internet (www.rivm/milieucompendium).

The issue of freedom of access to environmental data is addressed at European level. Revision of the Directive of Freedom of Access to Information on the Environment is currently being discussed. It will implement the Aarhůs Convention of the community, with implication for better access of environmental information to citizens in the future. Also the EMAS (Environmental Management and Audit Scheme) has recently been revised.

Indicators have been developed for Governmental Monitoring and Target groups (emission indicators). These are for example used when monitoring for the yearly Environmental Balance Sheet (Environmental Planning Bureau, RIVM), or for Environmental Impact Assessments when deciding on projects and plans with potential significant negative impacts.

The availability and quality of data and information suitable for decision-making is summarized in the following table.

Agenda 21 Chapters

Very

good

Good

Some good data but many gaps

Poor

Remarks

2. International cooperation and trade

x

       
3. Combating poverty  

x

     
4. Changing consumption patterns    

x

   
5. Demographic dynamics and sustainability

x

       
6. Human health

x

       
7. Human settlements

x

       
8. Integrating E & D in decision-making

x

       
9. Protection of the atmosphere

x

       
10. Integrated planning and management of land resources  

x

     
11. Combating deforestation  

x

     
12. Combating desertification and drought  

x

     
13. Sustainable mountain development          
14. Sustainable agriculture and rural development  

x

     
15. Conservation of biological diversity  

x

     
16. Biotechnology

x

       
17. Oceans, seas, coastal areas and their living resources

x

       
18. Freshwater resources

x

       
19. Toxic chemicals

x

       
20. Hazardous wastes

x

       
21. Solid wastes

x

       
22. Radioactive wastes

x

       
24. Women in sustainable development  

x

     
25. Children and youth  

x

     
26. Indigenous people  

x

     
27. Non-governmental organizations  

x

     
28. Local authorities

x

       
29. Workers and trade unions  

x

     
30. Business and industry

x

       
31. Scientific and technological community  

x

     
32. Farmers  

x

     
33. Financial resources and mechanisms  

x

     
34. Technology, cooperation and capacity-building

x

       
35. Science for sustainable development  

x

     
36. Education, public awareness and training  

x

     
37. International cooperation for capacity-building  

x

     
38. International institutional arrangements

x

       
39. International legal instruments

x

       
40. Information for decision-making  

x

     

Challenges  

In general there is a high accessibility of information. There are however some gaps in the area of  access to local governmental and administrative information (municipalities) for the public.  Furthermore the access to the internet by Primary and Secondary Schools has recently been a political item.  Also elderly people, women groups and volunteer groups are in need of more access to the internet .

A system of indicators or a national information system for sustainable development is currently being developed in the framework of the CCO. Furthermore the need for a more integrated strategy for sustainable development is now being fulfilled by developing a National Sustainable Development Strategy in preparation to the Rio plus 10 in 2002, as agreed during Rio plus 5 in 1997.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

Some campaigns and programmes in this area have already been mentioned above. Here are some other examples:

·        The Local Agenda 21 projects (www.ncdo.nl/la21) promote new initiative in the Netherlands to test the sustainability of local governments. The Local Sustainability Mirror is a tool which has been developed by the National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development in the Netherlands for local groups. The mirror gives them an insight into the sustainability of their municipal council. For example, how does a municipality score with regard to energy or international cooperation. The Local Sustainability Mirror can be used to examine such matters and carry out comparisons with the performance of other councils. And local groups can use that information to influence local government policy.

The Sustainable Technology Development Programme started in 1993 as an interdepartmental research programme to study whether and how technological innovations can be organised such a paradigm shift towards sustainable development can be made and  came to an end in late 1997. The programme will be continued as a knowledge transfer programme. The 'Environmental Technology' programme has been broadened, with a greater focus on breakthrough technologies.

A knowledge infrastructure working party has been set up as part of the Interdepartmental Committee for the Coordination of Economic Restructuring. The working party has established an investment fund which will be used to support innovations which break with past patterns. A number of proposals have been made and decisions will be taken shortly. They include a 'National Sustainable Development Initiative' (NIDO), which started in 1999. Its aim is to stimulate and support inspirational technical innovations for sustainable development through changes of production en consumption patterns.

The Dutch government's view is that institutes of learning have their own responsibility in bringing about sustainable development. This responsibility of theirs has been recognised (at least in the case of universities and schools of higher education) by the signing of a declaration of intent.  The RMNO runs the secretariat for the interdepartmental project GAMIN (Gamma environmental and nature research in the Netherlands). GAMIN is directed at improving the use of strategic social-scientific knowledge in developing policy relevant to the environment and nature.

Information   

There is no national central sustainable development data point, however there are several entries to sustainable development information. On policy information there are some thematic policy sustainable development sites accessible through the ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment  (www.minvrom.org), for example on sustainable building (www.duurzaam-bouwen.nl).

For public information and Local Agenda 21 there is the NCDO site: www.ncdo.nl.

The Netherlands has developed indicators for specific topics and for "target groups" at a highly aggregated level. The Central Bureau of Statistics is developing indicators that integrate environmental and economic information. The annual environmental assessments use approximately 150 indicators. A core set of indicators is being developed for the OECD's Environmental Review Programme. Obstacles have been encountered with standardization of data.

In 1995, a "data dictionary" for environment policy was published with special reference to waste management, soil and water and environmental quality licenses.

Research and Technologies   

In the framework of the National Transport and Traffic Plan, paragraph 3.1.8 Information and (tele)communication; and the interdepartmental Memorandum Digital Delta some (ICT) technologies and measures have been initiated. Furthermore important in this framework is the knowledge infrastructure working party that has been set up as part of the Interdepartmental Committee for the Coordination of Economic Restructuring. The working party has established an investment fund which will be used to support innovations which break with past patterns. This includes a 'National Sustainable Development Initiative' (NIDO).  The RIVM has developed and is managing several technologies and programmes for data collection: http://www.rivm.nl/ieweb/ieweb/index.html?databases.html.

The RIVM / Environmental Planning Bureau is responsible for the data collection, storage, processing, management and assessment, a.o. for the yearly Environmental Balance Sheets. Several models and techniques are used. Some focus points are for example:

422511

Future infrastructure

422516

Management IT-Infrastructure

481508

IMAGE adaptations and management (model to support the Dutch climate policy development)

482516

Harmonisation of MPB-Models (INFRA-NU)

 

251701

Environmental Balance Sheet

259101

UN/ECE-LRTAP mandate and EU support

402001

Global Environment Outlook

408129

Environmental explorations

408660

European integrated Environmental Analysis for safe fail-free environmental policy.

408671

Scenario management

422508

Collective Information logistics for the Environment

461502

IMAGE Development

481505

European Environmental Explorations

728001

Support Climate policy

For more examples or information see the research section of RIVM: http://www.rivm.nl/index_en.html and http://www.rivm.nl/ieweb/ieweb/index.html?databases.html

In 1999 there was a review of the RIVM instruments for the Dutch National Environmental Balance (Milieubalans 1999). National external experts carried out a review of methods and models used for the production of the 1999 Dutch National Environmental Balance. This to ensure an independent assessment of the scientific quality and degree of uncertainty pertaining to several themes presented in the Balance. These parts were the environmental themes Acidification, Eutrophication, Disturbance/Noise, CO2 emissions and Emissions in general. The main conclusions drawn by the reviewers are that:

Financing   

Involving the public sector and industry in for example environmental innovation research programmes by providing initial funding (for example the Sustainable Technology Development Program, and the National Sustainable Development Initiative (NIDO)).

Cooperation  

The Netherlands is active at a number of international levels to promote the development of indicators as a tool for monitoring and policy making.  Within the OECD the Netherlands have been active in promoting the harmonisation of environmental indicators. This has led to the development of a limited set of (generally aggregated) environmental indicators which can be used in the OECD programme of country reviews. Environmental indicators are also being developed within the EU, both at community level and member state levels. Work is also being done within the UN on indicators, in accordance with the recommendations contained in Chapter 40 of Agenda 21, work has been carried out on a set of indicators for evaluating progress achieving the objectives of Agenda 21. 

The UN/ECE Convention on Access to Information, Public participation in Decision making and Access to justice in Environmental Matters (Convention of Aarhůs, 25 juni 1998) has been signed in 1998 by the Netherlands and the EU.

Sustainable Development Agreements (SDAs): During the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, 1992) Costa Rica, Bhutan, Benin and The Netherlands signed a co-operation agreement for sustainable development. These are bilateral, trilateral and quadrilateral agreements for implementing UNCED agreements, based on equality, reciprocal effort and the mutual acquisition of knowledge and experience.  Furthermore there are some bilateral relations and Memorandums of Understanding in countries of Central and Eastern Europe in the framework of their joining to the EU on the following themes of mutual interest and their:

·        Joint Implementation agreements in the framework of the Climate Convention (e.g. Romania, Poland, Ukraine and Russia);

·        Access to environmental information, participation in environmental issues, and support for environmental groups and local governments.

The RIVM has an important role as a National Focal Point and Technology Transfer Centre (for the EU, WHO, UNEP, ECE/VN, UNICEF and the Worldbank) for environmental information.

One of the focus points is transfer of technology and knowledge in the framework of Agenda 2000 of the EU for the joining member countries, through existing MoUs in the area of environmental policy development (EIA, access to environmental information, etc.).

The Netherlands did not participate in the CSD Work Programme of Indicators of Sustainable Development, but are developing a set of indicators for sustainable development under the co-ordination of the CCO. Some preparatory work for this has been done in the framework of the Sustainable Development Agreements (SDAs) with Benin, Bhutan and Costa Ricca, however a follow-up of this definition study has not been carried out yet. The estimation is that the to be developed set of indicators will have a lot of similarities with the list of the CSD. While the Netherlands did not participate in the CSD Work Programme of Indicators of Sustainable Management, they where however present at most meetings of the Working group. Also the Netherlands where actively involved in the development of environmental indicators in the framework of the OECD.

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This information is based on The Netherlands's submission to the 5th and 9th Sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development.  Last update: May 2001.

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