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National Implementation of Agenda 21




Information Provided by the Government of Austria to the
United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development
Fifth Session
7-25 April 1997
New York

United Nations Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development
Division for Sustainable Development
The Information contained in this Country Profile is also available on the World Wide Web, as follows:


This country profile has been provided by:

Name of Ministry/Office: Federal Ministry of Environment, Youth and Family Affairs

Date: 10 January, 1997

Submitted by: Rosa-Anna Weiss

Mailing address: Stubenbastei 5, A-1010 Wien

Telephone: +43-1-51522 1628

Telefax: +43-1-51522 7626


Note from the Secretariat: An effort has been made to present all country profiles within a common format, with an equal number of pages. However, where Governments have not provided information for the tables appended to Chapters 4 and 17, those tables have been omitted entirely in order to reduce the overall length of the profile and save paper. Consequently, there may be some minor inconsistencies among the formats of the different country profiles.

All statistics are rendered as provided by the respective Governments.


2. International cooperation to accelerate sustainable development in developing countries and related domestic policies
3. Combating poverty
4. Changing consumption patterns
5. Demographic dynamics and sustainability
6. Protecting and promoting human health
7. Promoting sustainable human settlement development
8. Integrating environment and development in decision-making
9. Protection of the atmosphere
10. Integrated approach to the planning and management of land resources
11. Combating deforestation
12. Managing fragile ecosystems: combating desertification and drought
13. Managing fragile ecosystems: sustainable mountain development
14. Promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development
15. Conservation of biological diversity
16. Environmentally sound management of biotechnology
17. Protection of the oceans, all kinds of seas, including enclosed and semi-enclosed seas, and coastal areas and the protection, rational use and development of their living resources
18. Protection of the quality and supply of freshwater resources: application of integrated approaches to the development, management and use of water resources
19. Environmentally sound management of toxic chemicals, including prevention of illegal international traffic in toxic and dangerous products
20. Environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes, including prevention of illegal international traffic in hazardous wastes
21. Environmentally sound management of solid wastes and sewage-related issues
22. Safe and environmentally sound management of radioactive wastes
23-32. Major groups
33. Financial resources and mechanisms
34. Transfer of environmentally sound technology, cooperation and capacity-building
35. Science for sustainable development
36. Promoting education, public awareness and training
37. National mechanisms and international cooperation for capacity-building in developing countries
38. International institutional arrangements
39. International legal instruments and mechanisms
40. Information for decision-making


APELL Awareness and Preparedness for Emergencies at Local Level
CFC chlorofluorocarbon
CGIAR Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research
CILSS Permanent Inter-State Committee on Drought Control in the Sahel
EEZ exclusive economic zone
ECA Economic Commission for Africa
ECE Economic Commission for Europe
ECLAC Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
ELCI Environmental Liaison Centre International
EMINWA environmentally sound management of inland water
ESCAP Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
ESCWA Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
GATT General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
GAW Global Atmosphere Watch (WMO)
GEF Global Environment Facility
GEMS Global Environmental Monitoring System (UNEP)
GEMS/WATER Global Water Quality Monitoring Programme
GESAMP Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Pollution
GIPME Global Investigation of Pollution in Marine Environment (UNESCO)
GIS Geographical Information System
GLOBE Global Legislators Organisation for a Balanced Environment
GOS Global Observing System (WMO/WWW)
GRID Global Resource Information Database
GSP generalized system of preferences
HIV human immunodeficiency virus
IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency
IAP-WASAD International Action Programme on Water and Sustainable Agricultural Development
IARC International Agency for Research on Cancer
IBSRAM International Board of Soil Resources and Management
ICCA International Council of Chemical Associations
ICES International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
ICPIC International Cleaner Production Information Clearing House
ICSC International Civil Service Commission
ICSU International Council of Scientific Unions
IEEA Integrated environmental and economic accounting
IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development
IGADD Intergovernmental Authority for Drought and Development
IGBP International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (ICSU)
IGBP/START International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme/Global Change System for Analysis, Research and Training
ILO International Labour Organisation
IMF International Monetary Fund
IMO International Maritime Organization
INFOTERRA International Environment Information system (UNEP)
IOC Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
IPCS International Programme on Chemical Safety
IPM integrated pest management
IRPTC International Register of Potentially Toxic Chemicals
ITC International Tin Council
ITTO International Tropical Timber Organization
IUCN International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources
MARPOL International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships
OECD Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
PGRFA plant genetic resources for agriculture
PIC prior informed consent procedure
SADCC South African Development Co-ordination Conference
SARD sustainable agriculture and rural development
UNCTAD United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
UNDRO Office of the United Nations Disaster Relief Coordinator
UNEP United Nations Environment Programme
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNFPA United Nations Population Fund
UNICEF United Nations Children's Fund
UNIDO United Nations Industrial Development Organization
UNU United Nations University
WCP World Climate Programme (WMO/UNEP/ICSU/UNESCO)
WFC World Food Council
WHO World Health Organization
WMO World Meteorological Organization
WWF World Wide Fund for Nature (also called World Wildlife Fund)
WWW World Weather Watch (WMO)



1. Name of Key National Sustainable Development Coordination Mechanism(s)/Council(s).

Oesterreichische UNCED-Kommission (Austrian UNCED-Commission)

Contact point (Name, Title, Office): Rosa-Anna Weiss, Dept. for International Relations/European Union, Federal Ministry of Environment, Youth and Family Affairs, Austria

Telephone: 43 1 51522 1628

Fax: 43 1 51522 7626


Mailing address: Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Jugend und Familie, Stubenbastei 5, A-1010 Wien

2. Membership/Composition/Chairperson: Irene Freudenschuss-Reichl

2a. List of ministries and agencies involved: All federal ministries, the Federal Environmental Agency, the Federal Provinces

2b. Names of para-statal bodies and institutions involved, as well as participation of academic and private sectors: The Social Partnership organizations, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Graz Academy, Forum of Austrian Scientists, Institute for Human Ecology Vienna,; Austrian Research Foundation for Development Aid

2c. Names of non-governmental organizations: ECOROPA; Four Directions Council; Society for Threatened Peoples; Global 2000, Greenpeace Austria; Institute for International Collaboration; Catholic Youth of Austria; Coordinating Office of the Austrian Conference of Bishops; Austrian Society for Nature Conservation and Environmental Protection; Austrian Society for Environment and Technology, ÖIE - Austrian Information Service for Development Policy; Austrian Environmental Consultancy; World Wildlife Fund for Nature Austria; Ökobüro

3. Mandate role of above mechanism/council: Established in 1991, the National UNCED Commission coordinated national preparations for UNCED and continues as the designated forum for the post-UNCED process.

4. If available, attach a diagram (organization chart) showing national coordination structure and linkages between ministries:


STATUS REPORT: Austria fully supports the objectives of a further liberalization and expansion of world trade and the establishment of a common institutional framework (WTO) as a secure basis for international trade. To promote exports from developing countries, Austria has guaranteed duty-free treatment for many tariff lines (Austrian Scheme of Generalized Preferences, 1972) and enforced additional tariff preferences. Austria also tries to ensure that technical regulations, standards, testing methods, certification systems and the determination of conformity with technical regulations and standards do not create unnecessary obstacles to exports from developing countries by paying special attention to the developmental, financial and trade needs of these countries.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

Decision-Making Structure: The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is responsible for development cooperation with

developing countries and the Federal Chancellery is responsible for development cooperation with countries in transition.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Capacity-building and technology issues are integrated into the three-year Programme of Austria's Development Cooperation.

3. Major Groups: Dialogue among all relevant institutions (in the field of the environment, consumer protection, business and agriculture) is an integral part of the decision-making processes in Austria.

4. Finance: See figure in absolute terms in the three-year programme of Austria's Development Cooperation 1995.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Austria takes active part in the trade and environment discussions in such fora as the WTO, OECD and UNCTAD.




Focus of national strategy

Austria recognizes it is one of the world's richest countries and, remembering the misery brought about by past world wars, it accepts its responsibility in regard to hunger and poverty. However, anxiety is also growing about increasing impoverishment at the domestic level, especially affecting socially underpriveleged groups. Some social security benefits require certain minimum periods of employment under the social insurance scheme, which is difficult to obtain for some groups of persons, e.g. mothers with many children, women in agriculture and handicapped persons.

The poverty level in 1994 was 15.5% of individuals, of which 72% were women (indicator: recommended rate for equalisation benefits).

Highlight activities aimed at the poor and linkages to the environment

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The Federal Ministry of Environment, Youth and Family provides financial assistance to families and pregnant women affected by special hardship. The General Social Security Act from 1955 and the Family Burden Equalisation Act from 1984 are the most important acts under this chapter and have been reviewed after UNCED. The Social Welfare Acts of the Laender have not been reviewed.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: No information

3. Major Groups: No information

4. Finance: No information

5. Regional/International Cooperation:

NB: Developed countries, where domestic poverty alleviation is not a major concern may wish to briefly describe their position regarding global poverty alleviation.

Austria's development policies are designed to promote viable economic growth that reduces poverty in a direct way, meets the basic needs of growing populations, provides a basis for viable economies and enables the recipient countries to participate in and benefit from the world economy. Austria's development cooperation activities focus, above all, on the poorest developing countries as a whole and on the poorest regions and population groups in other developing countries. It promotes the development of poor majorities, paying particular attention to the fair sharing of resources and means of production by such measures as land and agricultural reforms and the elimination of discriminatory practices. Education and training also play a particularly important role in developing countries. Programme and project proposals are scrutinised in terms of their effects on and importance for women.

Latest 1994
Unemployment (%)
Population living in absolute poverty
Public spending on social sector %



National policy objectives/ focus: National policies to reduce waste and to promote energy and material efficiency have been initiated in Austria. Public procurement policy and provision of enabling facilities and infrastructure have been changed to be more sustainable. In addition to the central government, local authorities can introduce regulatory instruments in Austria. The government of Austria favours non-regulatory instruments to implement its policies. With these instruments, including information and education, voluntary agreements, eco-label and quality label for timber and timber products, as well as economic instruments, the governement tries to influence consumption and production. There are action campaigns to monitor the implementation. The environment label is a quality label awarded by the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Youth and Family Affairs upon approval by a state-authorised testing institute. The first eco-label criteria guidelines were approved in 1991.

In the field of waste management, in particular, voluntary agreements have been concluded between a number of economic sectors and the ministries in charge, under which the sectors concerned agree to take back the waste material generated by them. The following represent examples of the recycling rate in some sectors:

- cars: recycling share of some 90% of annual total 210,000 wrecked cars;

- paper: return rate of some 66%;

- tyres: annual volume some 50,000 tons; 80% used for energy production;

- batteries: backflow is about 60% of all batteries sold;

- credit cards and other cards made of PVC: collected since 1991, possible recycling rate is 100%, return rate 80%; and

- glass: return rate about 72%.

Voluntary agreements are complemented by the EU regulation on the voluntary participation of business enterprises in the Community Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) which entered into force in April 1995. The success of these voluntary measures depend on the incentives the government can offer to the enterprises so as not to cause considerable costs for installing an eco-management system in their enterprises. In 1994, twenty-five small and medium sized enterprises received approx. 38 million ATS (US$ 3.5 million) within the framework of the Innovation and Technology Support Programme. Environmentally friendly companies can also be included in the EU Register of Sites. The EMAS Regulation has been supported by the national Eco-Auditors and Register of Sites Act (1 Oct. 1995). The Eco-Auditors have been appointed and more than 25 enterprises have been audited.

Measures to promote efficient use of energy include the use of bio-energy (e.g. wood, straw, rapeseed oil). In 1993, the total bio-energy output in Austria amounted to 12% of the country's primary energy output and approx. 14% of its energy consumption.

Among the fiscal measures introduced in Austria are the following: mineral oil tax, special levy on crude oil (until 1995), standard consumption charge (NOVA) levied on purchase price of new cars, engine-related insurance tax, road traffic charge, motor vehicle tax, energy tax on electricity and natural gas (since 1 July 1996) and contribution to the cleaning up of contaminated sites. (See also Chapter 9.)

Cooperation with NGOs in projects on sustainable lifestyles has also increased.

National targets. Some examples are

- stabilisation of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions at 1990 levels by 2000 and a national target to reduce CO2 emissions by 20 per cent by the end of 2005 compared to 1988;

- 80 per cent reduction of sulphur emissions by 2000 compared to 1980;

- stabilisation of NOx emissions to 1987 levels by 1994 with additional reduction of the order of 30 per cent by 1998 compared to 1986 and a three-step national target to reduce NOx emissions by 40 per cent by the end of 1996, by 60 per cent by the end of 2001 and by 70 per cent by the end of 2006 compared to 1985

- 30 per cent reduction of VOC emissions by 1999 compared with 1988 and a national three-step target to reduce VOC emissions by 40 per cent by the end of 1996, by 60 per cent by the end of 2001 and by 70 per cent by the end of 2006 compared with 1988;

- mandatory collection targets of packaging: first, 40 per cent of the packaging on the market, with further increases until 2000: 50 per cent by July 1995, 70 per cent by July 1998 and 80 per cent by January 2000.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: Federal Ministry of the Environment awards eco-labels and makes voluntary agreements with industry. Various measures come under the responsibility of the federal laender and municipalities such as energy efficiency, district heating, and traffic reduction measures. The basis for this is Art. 15a of the Federal Constitutional Law agreements. For more information, see status report.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: National awareness programmes on consumption and production and its consequences have been initiated. The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has supported the utilisation of bio-energy by improving the necessary facilities and processes. Funds are made available to encourage its use for individual space-heating installations and small-scale district heating systems.

3. Major Groups: There is a NGO project on sustainable lifestyles together with the Austrian UNCED-Commission.

4. Finance: No information.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: An expert workshop on sustainable consumption is under preparation with UN/ECE. Within OECD cooperation activities have concentrated in the field of environmentally sustainable transport.

Latest 1995
GDP per capita (current US$)
Real GDP growth (%)
Annual energy consumption per capita (Kg. of oil equivalent per capita)
Motor vehicles in use per 1000 inhabitants
Other data

a = 1989, b = 1993, c= 1994

Government policies affecting consumption and production.

1. Goals and Agents (Stakeholders)

Indicate with a () those agents which your Governments policies are meant most to influence.



Civil society
Material efficiency _ _
Energy efficiency:
Transport _ _ _
Housing _ _ _ _
Other _ _ _ _ _
Reduce _ _ _ _ _
Reuse _ _ _ _ _
Recycle _ _ _ _ _


2. Means & Measures and Agents (Stakeholders)

Indicate with an (R) those agents who assume primary responsibility for any of the policy measures indicated; indicate with an (I) the agents for which the impact is expected to be especially significant.


Means & Measures

Improving understanding and analysis
Information and education (e.g., radio/TV/press)
Evaluating environmental claims
Form partnerships
Applying tools for modifying behaviour
Community based strategies I R
Social incentives/disincentives (e.g., ecolabelling) I R I
Regulatory instruments I R I
Economic incentives/disincentives I R I
Voluntary agreements of producer responsibility for

aspects of product life cycle

Provision of enabling facilities and infrastructure

(e.g., transportation alternatives, recycling)

Procurement policy I R
Monitoring, evaluating and reviewing performance
Action campaign
Other (specify)



STATUS REPORT: There is no formal national population policy in Austria. Family policy and social policy measures support families materially and institutionally.

A national debate on linkages between population and environment was initiated during the preparations for the ICPD. The Austrian National Committee for the Preparation and Implementation of the International Year of the Family (IYF) set up two working groups which were the broadest forum for discussing family policy issues, including all major groups, federal and regional authorities, as well as representatives of cities and local communities, interest groups, research organizations and NGOs. The findings of these workshops were put together into a common family policy programme in 1994. This programme is designed to chart the course of the Austrian family policy into the next century.

Among the questions discussed in the working groups were the specific ecological and socio-economic problems associated with urban development, which are increasingly becoming detrimental to the quality of life of people and children, especially in the modern industrialized countries. For example, little is known about the time-frame in which the accumulated effects of urban pollution sustain negative impact on the physical, mental and social integrity and health of people. Another important aspect is the concept of adequate living space, which must correspond to the needs of humans and be designed in harmony with the natural environment.

A public competition on "Ways towards Commonness" was undertaken to foster grass-root participation in the IYF. A State Prize for Journalism for publications on family issues has been instituted and is designed to raise the level of awareness on the importance of family for society at large and its function in the process of sustainable development. An Austrian Institute for Family Research was established to provide empirical data for family policy decision-making.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The following ministries and bodies are engaged in integrated policy development under this chapter: the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Family and Youth, the Ministry of Women's Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Health and Consumer Protection. The Institute for Family Research provides empirical data for family policy decision-making.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: No information

3. Major Groups: Major Groups have participated in the national debate about population and environment and in the discussions about family policy issues. The Government has supported seminars at the community level organized by NGOs. An NGO delegate has been financed for ICPD in the field of family planning. See also status report above.

4. Finance: In 1993, Austria contributed some US$ 180,000 to maternal and child health projects and family planning projects of UNFPA and some US$ 730,000 for basic health stations in Nicaragua.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: See status report and finance above.

Latest 1994_
Population (Thousands) mid-year estimates
Annual rate of increase (1990-1993)
Surface area (Km2)
Population density (people/Km2)
Other data


STATUS REPORT: Integration of health-care and social services in Austria is achieved by creating integrated health-care and social districts (IHCSDs). This helps to relieve the burden of hospitals, reduce costs and serve humanitarian objectives by allowing people to remain in their familiar environment as long as possible.

Among measures taken in the field of communicable diseases, strategies and concepts aimed at the prevention of AIDS have received particular attention since 1987. These measures include, for example, information campaigns and production of teaching material for schools.

With regard to health and safety at work, the protection of employees is within the domain of federal, and to some extent, provincial legislators. Preliminary work aimed at incorporating basic social rights in the Austrian Constitution, such as the right to safe and healthy working conditions, has been going on for years. Currently, the representative bodies of employees and employers have the right to be heard before the adoption of laws and regulations relevant to their health in the work place.

As a part of WHO's Healthy Cities Project, the Austrian Healthy Cities Network was established in 1992, and a coordination office for this network was set up in Vienna in 1993. The project is intended to create healthier living conditions in Austrian towns, develop new approaches to health promotion and exchange information at all levels.

Recognising the interdependence of health, socio-economic conditions and the environment is one of the guiding principles of Austria's development cooperation. Austria supports local health-care and planning activities through cooperation with decentralised institutions and partners particularly in the field of primary health-care. Traditional knowledge and experience in modern health-care systems have been integrated and support is given to autonomous health-care centres of indigenous groups. Special emphasis is laid on on-site health-related measures, above all through advice and counselling, installation of drinking-water systems, and efforts to reduce the use of pesticides.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: Austrian Federal Institute for Public Health is responsible for creating guidelines for the introduction of integrated health-care and social districts (IHCSDs). The IHCSD Model and IHCSD Manual were finalised in 1993. The provinces translate the recommendations of the guidelines into specific objectives and create the organisational framework for their operation.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: On behalf of the Austrian Ministry of Health, the Austrian Federal Institute for Public health organises information meetings in the provinces. (See also status report above about Austria's development cooperation.)

3. Major Groups: Local authorities (provinces) play a key role in the IHCSD operation, thus providing for the necessary adjustments to regional requirements, particularly in rural areas.

4. Finance: No information

5. Regional/International Cooperation: See status report on the WHO and Austria's development cooperation.

Life expectancy at birth







Infant mortality (per 1000 live births)
Maternal mortality rate (per 100000 live births)
Access to safe drinking water (% of population)
Access to sanitation services (% of population)
Other data


NATIONAL PRIORITY: The objectives of Chapter 7 are fully accepted and supported in Austria.
STATUS REPORT: There are three main instruments in Austria to control human settlements, namely, state aid for housing construction, a targeted policy of village renewal, and physical planning. State aid for housing construction is used to prevent excessive migration into urban agglomerations, to create a rural infrastructure equivalent to that of urban areas, and to facilitate the construction of housing for people from all social classes. The targeted policy of village renewal is used to prevent the exodus of population from village centres and the sprawl of new settlement areas over large peripheral regions. By making village centres more attractive for residential purposes, village renewal also serves to enliven village communities and strengthen social ties within them. Physical planning is the instrument to be used to contain land use for construction purposes and to preserve landscape in its natural state.

In accordance with the principle of federalism, local authorities are responsible for the implementation of key measures in the field of environmental protection. Local authorities also work together, in the field of waste management, water-supply and waste-water processing associations. Numerous local authorities in the Province of Burgenland cooperate with the local authorities of Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia to build and operate such facilities. In their operations, local authorities are encouraged to use their own resources, e.g. thermal and curative springs and district-heating networks operating on renewable sources of energy.

Eco-tourism is applied in sensitive regions. In the Province of Lower Austria, there are several provincial laws in addition to federal laws to regulate land use and construction, e.g. Lower Austrian Building Regulations and Physical Planning Act. A great effort is also being made in Austria to strengthen regional identities and to preserve the ethnic and cultural diversity of the country and its population.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The main federal legislation regulating human settlement development include the Mining Law, the Trade Law, the Road Law, the Forestry Law and the Water Resources Law. See status report about the federal laws applicable in the Province of Lower Austria.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: No specific information

3. Major Groups: See status report about the role of local authorities.

4. Finance: No specific information. See status report about the state aid for housing construction.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: See status report about the cooperation between the local authorities of the Province of Burgenland, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Austria also participated actively in Habitat II and its preparations.

Urban population in % of total population
Annual rate of growth of urban population (%)
Largest city population (in % of total population)
Other data


(See pages vii and viii at the beginning of the profile)

STATUS REPORT: Environmental impact assessments are usually used for projects, but not for programmes and policies. In 1994, the Federal Act on Environmental Impact Assessment and Citizens' Involvement (UVP Act) entered into force. The UVP Act calls for active participation of citizens in EIAs and requires a concise approval procedure to be carried out by the Laender governments for i.a. in waste treatment plants, power plants, certain industrial plants and skiing areas.

In 1995, Austria adopted its first national environmental plan (NUP). The NUP was prepared by the Ministry of the Environment with the help of seven working groups. The key objective of the National Environmental Plan is to define the necessary structural changes needed to integrate environmental concerns into all political levels of the society.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure (please also refer to the fact sheet):

Since 1992, the following legislation in the area of sustainable development entered into force:

- Ozone Act;

- Environmental Assistance Act;

- Environmental Information Act;

- Environment Accident Information Regulation;

- Federal Act on Environmental Impact Assessment and Citizens' Participation;

- Federal Act on the Establishment of an Environmental Board;

- Trade Regulation Act;

- Genetic Engineering Act;

- Fertilizers Act;

- Act on Eco-Auditors and Register of Sites;

- Packaging Regulation.

Amendments have been added to the Regional Planning Acts, the Environmental Protection Acts and the Construction Codes of the Laender.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Inter alia, public information, training, workshops are provided for decision-makers and multiplication at all levels.

3. Major Groups: Compliance with the UVP Act is controlled by the Environment Council consisting of representatives of the political parties, organizations of the Social Partnership, as well as federal, provincial and local governments.

4. Finance: No information

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Austria takes actively part in the CSD process and related UNCED follow-up, and has a leadership role in the ECE and in the "Environment for Europe" process.


NATIONAL PRIORITY: National priority given to the issues under chapter 9

The Montreal Protocol and its Amendments

Montreal Protocol (1987) ratified in 1989

London Amendment (1990) ratified in 1992

Copenhagen Amendment (1992) ratified in 1995

The latest report(s) to the Montreal Protocol Secretariat were prepared in 1995.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

UNFCCC was ratified in 1994.

The latest report to the UNFCCC Secretariat was submitted in 1994.

Additional comments relevant to this chapter: The Government promotes policies and programmes in the area of energy efficiency, environmentally sound and efficient transportation, industrial pollution control, sound land-use practices and management of toxic and other hazardous waste. The Austrian Academy of Sciences has published a study on the air quality criteria, and a GAW monitoring site has been established i.a. for total ozone column at the Sonnblick (3,105 m a.s.l.). The government participates actively in the strengthening of the Global Climate Observing system at the national level. Austria supports the findings of the second assessment report of the IPCC concerning threshold levels of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.

The Government provides exchange of data and information on transboundary atmospheric pollution control at the national and international level. The national capacity to predict atmospheric changes and fluctuations is good. Early warning systems have been strengthened. There are ten background air quality monitoring sites (mostly near borders) and more than 300 sites for a nuclear radiation early warning system.

Governmental activities in the field of energy, transport and industry concentrate on the development of safe technologies, R&D, development of new and renewable energy systems, public awareness-raising including product labelling, EIA and life-cycle analysis and environmental audits as well as introduction of economic instruments. The Austrian Federal Government publishes Energy Reports containing reviews of current energy supply mixes.

The following energy and emission-related taxes are already in place: a mineral oil tax, a car registration tax and a motor vehicle tax. The introduction of a CO2/energy tax on natural gas and electricity is planned for 1996. The Government encourages industries to develop safe technologies through strict legislation and incentives such as subsidies and tax exemptions.(For more information on economic instruments, see Ch.33.)

The implementation of the 1991 Master Transportation Concept is in progress, and transportation issues are an important part of the Austrian National Environment Plan. In order to have a less polluting and safer transportation system, issues such as relative cost-effectiveness of alternative systems, transportation technologies, mass transit systems, environmental impact assessment and safety have all been comprehensively addressed. After UNCED, Austria signed the EU treaty to reduce on-road transit traffic through Austria. Strict emission thresholds and very low sulphur content in diesel fuel (0.05%) were established and, in 1993, leaded gasoline was phased out. There are obligatory annual emission controls of on-road vehicles and continous controls of important (large) emitters.

The Government supports the conservation and enhancement of sinks and reservois of greenhouse gases by promoting biological farming without the use of mineral fertilizers and by reforestation activities. The use of biomass is promoted through subsidies.

There is no production of CFCs in Austria, and the Government provides information on refrigerator maintenance. As of 1 January 1995, CFCs were completely phased out. The target date for completely phasing out H-CFCs is 1 January 2002.

The ratification of the Copenhagen amendments of the Montreal Protocol is underway. Austria has already fully complied with the obligations of the amendments, and national legislation concerning timetables for the reduction of ozone depleting substances is even stricter than in the Copenhagen amendments.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The Federal Ministry of Environment is responsible for activities under this chapter. Legislation to protect the atmosphere has been reviewed and revised in part in the light of Agenda 21.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Training opportunities are provided in the area of transboundary atmospheric pollution control.

3. Major Groups: 137 municipalities and communities (including almost all major cities) as well as eight Austrian laender have formed a "Climate Alliance". Municipalities in the neighbouring countries also participate in this Alliance. They have committed themselves to reducing their carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2010 through concrete measures in the field of traffic, energy, procurement, etc. and to supporting their partners in the Amazon region in the active preservation of rainforests.

4. Finance: Austria contributes US$ 1.5 million per annum to the Vienna/Montreal trust funds and the interim multilateral ozone fund (1996).

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Austria hosted the 1995 Conference of the European Transport Ministers, and will also be the host of the UN-ECE Conference on Transport and Environment (November 1997).

In 1982, Austria ratified the LRTAP-Convention and its protocols. The government participates in the Global Observing System. A bilateral project with Romania was planned in 1996.

CO2 emissions (eq. million tons)
SOx "
NOx "
CH4 "
Consumption of ozone depleting substances (Tons)
Expenditure on air pollution abatement in US$ equivalents (million)
Other data: Austria participates in the Global Climate Observing system with 7 observation stations (1990:7) and in the Global Ozone Observing System with 1 observation station (1990:0).

1 = 1993


STATUS REPORT: The national (Federal Chancellery/Department for Regional Planning and Regional Policy and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry) and regional authorities (Governments of Federal Provinces), together with the local communities have only recently begun to develop land management in an integrated, ecosystem-friendly way. New policy instruments have been designed, and planning and management systems developed. Efforts are also underway to raise public awareness and participation and to strengthen institutions.

Austria is fully involved in multilateral, regional and bilateral cooperation in this field, and participates in the work of the OECD, UN/ECE and CEMAT. It has also established regional commissions or contacts with the neighbouring countries (Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic). Special cooperation is undertaken within the framework of the Alpine Convention.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The Federal Chancellery/Department for Regional Planning and Regional Policy is responsible for the integrated approach to the planning and management of land resources at the national level. Governments of Federal Provinces are primarly responsible for physical planning and land use development at the regional level. In the field of forest land development, it is the Forestry Department of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and the Forest Departments of all Federal Provinces of Austria. The relevant legislation and recommendations covering these fields is the following:

- Austrian regional planning concept (recommendation) of the Austrian Regional Planning Conference (1991; reviewed periodically);

- Sectoral laws (i.e. traffic, agriculture, industry) at the national level and regional planning legislation at the regional level;

- Austria - Forest Land Use Plan - Forest Act (1975) (Ordinance Nov. 18, 1977 to Forest Land Use Plan);

- Land Reform Legislation (Land Constitution Fundamental Act 1951, amended 1993).

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Technological capacity in integrated planning and management of land resources has been strengthened. Further measures to strengthen education and training in this field are being planned. The Austrian-Hungarian Regional Planning Commission has given a recommendation on the transfer of technology and on the areas for technology transfer centres.

3. Major Groups: Local communities together with governmental and regional authorities implement different measures in the field of integrated planning and management of land resources.

4. Finance: No information

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Austria participates in the work of the OECD, UN/ECE and CEMAT in this field. It has established bilateral Regional Planning Commissions with Germany, Hungary and Slovakia and contacts with Italy, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. Member States of the Alpine Convention in Europe have initiated recommendations towards integrated protection of the Alps supplemented by a regional policy protocol. Austria has also established regional desertification monitoring centres in Senegal and in Burkina Faso.


STATUS REPORT: Forests, covering some 47% of Austria's territory, are the core element of the country's landscape, economy and culture. In the mountain region, forests have a protective function against geological hazards. The expansion of wooded areas in Austria (1961: 3.61 million ha, 1990: 3.88 million ha) has mostly been due to the natural reforestation of former agricultural land, to the afforestations in the protected forest region, and to the ban on clearing (Austrian Forestry Act, 1975), which may only be lifted by the authorities where public interest in the utilisation of a specific area for purposes other than preservation as a forest dominates. More than 80% of Austria's forests are privately owned, with the share of small rural forest holdings of up to 20 ha being approx. 25%. Only one-fifth of the forests are owned by the public authorities, mostly by the Federal Forest Authority.

There is a variety of reasons for the impairment of the protected forests. As production costs have risen under sustainable forest management, farmers have abandoned necessary logging operations, and this has led to the overmaturing of many forests. In addition, many years of environmental strain exerted on the forests by air pollution, browseing by game bites and forest grazing have damaged the forests, and management measures need to be taken to regenerate them.

A Protective Forest Restoration Framework has been developed in Austria with the following measures: continuation and strengthening of clean air policies; restoration of a balanced stock of wild game; and separation of forests and pasture in ecologically sensitive protected and mountain forest regions. Suitable forest management measures will be taken to reduce regeneration intervals. It is also intended to raise the tree line by means of new plantations at higher altitudes. More detailed regional plans are elaborated by the federal provinces in close cooperation with competent authorities and forest owners. A great importance is given to the Mountain Forest Protocol currently under preparation within the framework of the Alpine Convention. Small-scale and naturalistic forest management projects have been promoted by means of intensive counseling and by providing financial support which has led to a decrease in the proportion of non-deciduous tree species and pure forests. In the new forest inventory, covering all types of forests, ecological parameters are now taken into account in addition to yield related parameters.

To safeguard forest biodiversity, the Austrian forestry authorities have adopted i.a. the following measures: naturalistic forest management and reforestation (where possible), biotope mapping in forests, separation of natural forest reserves (for example, by nature protection agreements), establishment of integrated projects for the further improvement of all functions performed by forests, including non-economic functions. Within the 1992 MAB Project "Hemerobia of Austrian Forest Ecosystems", the geographical distribution and the share of original, manipulated and artificial forest ecosystems are examined. The results of this study will serve as the basis for new development concepts in forest management and will facilitate estimates of future capacities of forest areas (tourism etc.), the choice of necessary forest management activities (stock conversion, maintenance measures) and the designation of natural forest reserves and biotopes.

Twenty-five per cent of Austrian forest can be considered as natural or nearly natural. Forty-one per cent have been moderately changed compared to the optimal state. This means that one-third of Austrian forest correspond to the modern concept of an intact ecosystem.

In order to comply with the Resolution on General Guidelines for the Conservation of the Biodiversity of European Forests in Europe, adopted within the framework of the second Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (Helsinki, June 1993), as well as with the Convention on the Protection of the Alpine Region, Austria has initiated the development of a network of natural forest reservations. This network aims at maintaining and increasing the biodiversity of forests in view of their sustainable existence and the fulfilment of their functions. Apart from their functions as study and demonstration objects they serve first and foremost the purposes of silvicultural research, but also of natural science field studies.

STATUS: (Cont'd)

As a rule, any human intervention in these nature protection zones is forbidden. These forest sections are strictly protected and are to provide an optimal overview of the great variety ot natural vegetation systems in terms of tree species and the structure of stands. In order to cover the 125 forest communities existing in Austria, the establishment of about 430 natural forest reservations with a total area of 10,000 ha is aimed at.

As the establishment of a network is of particular interest for the public, long-term service contracts between the Republic of Austria and forest owners will be concluded, which stipulate a compensation for the tending of these areas and for the economic losses incurred, in order to ensure that this plan can be realised.

For more than 15 years, Austria has been active in attempts to reduce air-borne forest pollution by introducing comprehensive technological measures in the power stations and industrial plants and by making the use of catalytic converters mandatory. Consequently, sulphur dioxide emmissions have been reduced by approx. 75% from the 1980 level. However, due to significant quantities of transboundary pollutants, no reduction of sulphur dioxide emmissions could be observed in Austrian forests. Nitrogen oxides were reduced only by 12% because of the increase in traffic emmissions. The Austrian Forestry Act is currently being amended (third amendment) to extend the list of airborne pollutants hazardous to forests and to reduce the limits of emmissions with special emphasis on the synergistic effect of pollutants.

Austria has been both nationally and internationally active in establishing qualitative and quantitative criteria and indicators for the sustainable use of forests. It has introduced a voluntary quality mark for sustainable timber and timber products from tropical, temperate and boreal sources.

With regard to the international institutional arrangements for the effective implementation of the Rio Forest Principles, Austria supports the creation of a legally binding instrument. The development of a global strategy towards the realisation of these principles is also considered important.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is primarly responsible for forestry sector in Austria. The Federal Ministry of the Environment takes active part in these matters, as well. Other important national institutions working in the sector are the following: Forestry Division for Torrent and Avalanche Control; Agrarian authorities, Chambers for Agriculture and Forestry (autonomous body representing farmers' interests and providing counseling), Austrian Union of Agricultural and Foresty Associations (representing major forest owners), regional forest-farmer associations (representing smaller forest owners) and the Austrian Forestry Society. Relevant national laws and plans in the field include the following: National Forestry Act (1975; amended in 1993; Plant Protection Law (1995); Law providing for measures for the safe drainage of mountain waters (amended in 1985) and the Forest Development Plan as part of the forest land use planning (reviewed every 10 years). More than a thousand forest experts at the district, regional and federal level implement the decisions and ensure compliance with forestry legislation.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Forestry is taught in three forestry colleges and 12 agricultural colleges. Five forestry training centres are responsible for the education and training of foresters and for holding information seminars for rural forest owners. Counselling for forest owners is mainly provided by the experts of the Chambers of Agriculture and Forestry. In close cooperation with FAO, Austrian forest education centres have organized training courses for foresters with a special focus on forest technology. The Division for Torrent and Avalanche Control has trained experts in the mountain regions of the developing countries in the implementation of methods for the technical and biological stabilization of erosion and for its prevention.

3. Major Groups: All major groups are fully involved in the forestry planning at all levels in Austria. The Advisory Board responsible for the setting up of a labelling scheme for timber and timber products, and of the elaboration of criteria for sustainable forest management, consists of representatives of governmental organizations, timber industry, social and economic partnership organizations and environmental NGOs. The Forestry Act (1975) enables concerned citizens to take part in the drafting of regional forest plans and danger zoning plans.

4. Finance: In 1990, an additional 13% was allocated to the forestry sector (including torrent and avalanche contol).

5. Regional/International Cooperation: As a supplement to Austria's development assistance, a special programme has been designed to provide support for the developing countries wishing to establish a system of sustainable forest management. Austria has a global rainforest budget line of ATS 200 million for special development projects. There are 35 projects in 16 countries in Latin America, Africa and South-East Asia. Austria has financially supported the FAO Tropical Forestry Action Programme, the Agricultural Forestry Research Centre established within the framework of the Consulting Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). As a founding member of the International Union of Forestry Reseach Organizations (IUFRO), Austria also lends its support to the Special Programme for Developing Countries (SPDC). Austria participates as well in the GEF capacity-building Si-A-PAZ programme in Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

Forest Area (Km2)a
Protected forest areaa 7.400
Roundwood production (solid volume of roundwood without bark in mill m3)b
Deforestation rate (Km2/annum) clearing of woodland
Reforestation rate (Km2/annum)a
Other data

a = Austrian National Report to the CSD 1995

b = UN Statistical Yearbook (40th edition)



International Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Drought and/or Desertification

Particularly in Africa

Additional comments relevant to this chapter

There are no deserts or areas in danger of becoming deserts in Austria.

Austria is in the process to ratify the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: Not applicable

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Not applicable

3. Major Groups: Not applicable

4. Finance: No information

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Austria has established regional desertification monitoring centres in Senegal and in Burkina Faso.

Latest 199_
Land affected by desertification (Km2)
Other data


STATUS REPORT: The Alpine regions comprise 67.1% (56,244 km2) of Austria's total land area. 32.850 km2 of the area is forests; 23,500 km2 is cultivated land; 8,900 km2 is pasture land; 9,100 km2 is high mountains with no significant use, and 6,800 km2 is water surface and building areas (information from 1993).

Tourism is a major source of income for people living in the Alpine Regions. This area accounts for some 85% of the overall tourism and tourism-related business. Major obstacles to sustainable mountain development are caused by local or transfrontier emissions of air pollutants, excessive game populations, forest pasture, avalanches, local overstraining of the physical region through outdoor sports, large number of second homes, leisure time facilities and development of infrastructure.

Sustainable tourism requires efficient and careful use and management of the scarce natural resources and commodities taking into account cultural and social aspects as well the specific ecological factors of the region concerned. In the Austrian national tourism policy, protection of the environment is of prime importance. Recommendations and guidelines for action to make tourism and leisure time industry more sustainable have been prepared within the framework of the National Environmental Plan. In 1994, in cooperation with experts from the Laender, federal authorities and interest groups, efforts to design guidelines for a Federal eco-label for tourism began. At the regional level, such labels already exist.

Several social, economic and cultural incentives for farmers and mountain communities have been designed to undertake conservation and regenerative measures. To ensure sustainable agricultural management of mountains, increased use of local resources is promoted (e.g. further processing and direct marketing of indigenous products, alternative cropping, use of handicraft skills, conservation of cultivated alpine pastures). Compensation mechanisms for landscape conservation and regeneration have also been introduced based on the principle of true costs under the precautionary and the polluter pays principle. Overconcentrations of tourist facilities are no longer favoured by public investment assistance. The Tourist Promotion Scheme and ERP (European Reconstruction Programme) have been modified accordingly to keep down the number of overnight stays per year and to include environmentally relevant investments and loans for waste management, energy saving and environmentally friendly use of energy, as well as fire protection and noise abatement. New development of areas for recreational and sports activities is allowed only within the development limits set forth in the regional policy schemes.

To prevent forest damages and to maintain biodiversity in the mountain regions, a high altitude reforestation and protected forest safeguarding programme has been introduced, as well as area cultivation projects for safeguarding the protected forests in areas of torrents and avalanches. Forest damages in the mountain regions were considered insignificant in 1993.

The most important instrument for the regional international cooperation in sustainable mountain development is the Convention on the Protection of the Alps.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The Federal Ministry of the Environment is responsible for sustainable mountain development in Austria as the coordinating body of environmental activities. Other bodies closely involved in the planning and implementation activities are the following:

- The forest authorities (incl. Forest Technical Service for Torrent and Avalanche Control as well as the Federal Forest Research Institute employing a staff of 1378 with the budget of USD 138.3 million (1993);

- Federal Institute for Matters concerning Mountain Farmers (staff: 13, budget USD 0.5 million in 1993);

- Federal Institute for Alpine Agriculture (staff 147, budget USD 5.1 million in 1993);

- Federal Institute for Alpine Dairy Industry (staff 65, budget USD 3.7 million in 1993).

The main legislation and plans related to sustainable mountain development are the following:

- Austrian Forestry Act (1975);

- Torrent Control Act (1884);

- Hydraulic Engineering Development Act (1979);

- Austrian Regional Policy Concept 91:

- Convention on the Protection of the Alps and its protocols;

- woodland development plan;

- danger zone plans;

- protective forest plans;

- environmental and regional policy laws of the Laender;

- regional planning programmes and specific regional plans;

- specific plans for the whole Land;

- case studies on the settlement development and sustainable tourism in the Alpine Region.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Guidelines for the Preparation of Tourist Strategies have been prepared for entrepreneurs, managers and local and regional authorities responsible for preparing or commissioning local and regional tourist schemes. According to the guidelines, the development of tourism must not neglect the population, other sectors of the economy and ecology of the region concerned.

The Austrian Regional Planning Institute has prepared a study on the use intensity in communities and areas affected by tourism. On the basis of the information, local authorities may formulate area-specific priorities when drawing up strategies for limiting or reducing existing strains.

3. Major Groups: Major groups involved in mountain issues in Austria are IUCN, CIPRA and Alpenvereine (climbing and mountaineering clubs).

4. Finance: Within the framework of the Mountain Shelters Restoration programme, some ATS 30 million are spent annually on the ecologically consistent adaptation of shelters important for tourism in the Alpine regions. See status report for more information on the economic incentives introduced to undertake conservation and regenerative measures.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: The most important instrument governing international regional cooperation in sustainable mountain development is the Convention on the Protection of the Alps (signed 1991, entry into force 6 March 1995). It promotes transregional cooperation among the Alpine countires and the EU, taking into account the special needs of this European mountain range through comprehensive and transboundary protection of the environment and thus preserving the Alps as a human habitat.

There are also various relevant activities under the Austrian Development Assistance Programme.


STATUS REPORT: The number of farmers in Austria has decreased from 6.7% (1981) to 5.0% (1994) of the total population. According to the latest information, some 398,000 people were working in agriculture. At the same time, the output of the agriculture sector has also decerased from 4.5% of GNP to 1.6 % of GNP in 1995.

The Austrian agricultural policy and the Federal Agricultural Act (1992) are the main legislative instruments covering sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD) in Austria. The aim of the Federal Agricultural Act is to preserve the economically sound and efficient state of agriculture and forestry in a functional rural environment, taking into account social orientation, ecological compatibility and regional balance particularly in the mountain and other disadvantaged areas. Other objectives of the law include the development of a variety of income and employment possibilities between agriculture and other economic sectors, and making agricultural production, processing and marketing more market-oriented. The Act also includes provisions to protect land, water, and air to conserve and shape the cultural and recreational landscape, and to protect against natural hazards .

The productivity and competitiveness of agriculture have been increased mainly by structural measures: In additon to land reform (introduced over 100 years ago), the Rural Ownership Structural Fund for Agriculture and Forestry was set up as early as in 1969 to improve the ownership structure of farming operations. The precautionary purchase of agricultural and forest land and farms by the Structural Fund, and their subsidized sale to local farmers, allows farmers to expand their activities and secure their existence. Moreover, a large number of other assistance measures have been taken to keep farms alive, i.e. to ensure farming of all agricultural land, to maintain the state of settlements, and to prevent regional and single-enterprise concentration of production. There is also a special assistance scheme for mountain farmers, whose agricultural and forest management is difficult due to their location in mountain areas. In 1993, assistance of some ATS 1.9 billion was made available to farms, paid out primarly as grants to mountain farmers in the form of income-effective direct payments (containing both the social and performance components). Within the framework of yearly subsidies of some ATS 700 million spent on the provision of transport services in rural areas, particular importance has been given to constructing roads and paths in harmony with nature.

Food security was ensured completely by 1988 (except in the case of oil seeds). Rural welfare has been addressed. Productivity has been improved while minimizing risks to the ecosystem by implementing and monitoring pilot projects, legislation and policy measures (adoption of EU Regulation 2078), by providing training opportunities, seeking external funds and establishing databases. Initial meetings have been held to survey land degradation by the year 2000.

Action to improve and implement plant protection, integrated pest-management practices and animal health services is continuing. These objectives are to be met by raising public awareness, by legislative and policy instruments, by education and training as well as by seeking external funding.

A national programme is being developed to initiate and encourage transition to environmentally sound energy use in rural communities by the year 2000. Action has begun to implement programmes favouring renewable energy and energy efficiency by raising awareness, implementing pilot projects, amending legislation, and developing regional programmes. Expert advice is being sought and awareness-raising activities have been launched to undertake research on the effects of UV radiation on agriculture.

Action with regard to the information on the conservation and sustainable utilization of plant and animal genetic resources, development of networks for IN SITU and EX SITU conservation and the drawing up of breed development strategies is reported under Chapter 15.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is primarly responsible for agricultural and rural development in Austria.

The Agricultural Act (BGBl. 375/92) from June 1992 is the main law covering the SARD containing i.a. measures for securing the food supply and for preserving the efficiency of agriculture in all rural areas.


2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: There are initial plans to increase input to rural households through appropriate technology transfer and development.

3. Major Groups: Nine Chambers of Agriculture representing all farmers.

4. Finance: See status report.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Austria participates in the specific agriculture and fisheries programme of the 4th Framework Programme of R&D of the European Union and in the OECD Joint Working Parties on Sustainable Agriculture.

Latest 1995
Agricultural land (km2)
Agricultural land as % of total land area
Agricultural land (per m2 capita)
Latest 199_
Consumption of fertilizers (Kg/Km2 of agricultural land as of 1990)
Other data



Convention on Biological Diversity

Austria signed the convention in 1992 and ratified it on 18 August 1994. The first report will be submitted in 1997.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

Austria acceded to the Convention in 1982.

Latest annual report submitted in 1995.

Additional comments relevant to this chapter: In Austria, regional governments are primarly responsible for nature conservation legislation and its implementation. Among the protection categories under the various regional nature protection laws (species protection, natural monument, landscape protection zone, nature park, national park), nature protection zones are the strictest form of territorial protection, emphasizing the protection and preservation of natural, self-regulating and self-maintaining ecosystems and ecosystem complexes with a high level of biological and structural diversity. As of 1991, some 375,000 ha were officially registered as nature protection zones in Austria.

The objectives of the nature conservation programmes, which have to be approved by the local authorities and population, are the preservation and enhancement of biodiversity and the conservation of habitats, creation of combined biotope systems and preparation of biotope conservation programmes, water protection, biotope mapping and the mapping of endangered animal species. Particular attention is being paid to the identification of the RAMSAR reserves (Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitats) and biogenetic reserves as well as the creation of national parks.

The latest comprehensive base line survey on the state of biodiversity in Austria was conducted in 1993. A survey on the biodiversity in forests is being carried out within the Austrian Forestry Inventory. There is a special project (Hemerobia of Austrian Forest Ecosystems) gathering data for evaluating the anthropogenic impact (natural occurance of various forms of vegetation) on the ecosystems of forests. The red lists provide information on territorial losses and endangered animal and plant species. In addition to the federal list of Endangered Plant Species in Austria, several federal regions have compiled their own red lists. Of the 790 species of fern and flowering plants growing mostly in forests, 12% are listed as endangered. The estimates on the seriousness of the biodiversity loss of flora and fauna, gathered from the Federal States and from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, vary because species which are generally not at risk at the national level may still be endangered at the regional level if they are isolated in small enclaves. At both regional and local levels, loss of fauna has been primarily the result of habitat destruction and pollution. Loss of flora has also been caused by habitat destruction as well as by the introduction of foreign plants and animals.

There is a national strategy for the preservation of traditional local varieties of plants, endangered biotopes and symbioses, agricultural fauna, and seven breeds of cattle. A Research programme called Sustainable Development of the Austrian Man-Dominated Landscapes aims at minimizing the substance flow and exploitation of energy resources caused by humans. There is another research programme on soil resources and soil biology the objectives of which are to improve the basic knowledge about the functions of soil organisms and interactions between different species of soil organisms. The Research Against Forest Decline programme, on the other hand, focuses on the development of a central integrated stress hypothesis which will help to understand the multiple causes of forest decline. This theoretical understanding will be translated into practical methods of stress diagnosis, stress evaluation and forest stabilization. There is also a programme for the preservation of the genetic diversity of forest tree species. Top priority is given to the establishment of an indigenous regeneration reserve which is not subject to external sources and favours natural regeneration in conjunction with small-scale forest management.

Austria became party to the Convention on the Preservation of European Wild Plants and Animals and their Natural Habitats in 1993.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The Federal Ministry of the Environment, regional governments, the Austrian National Association for Gene Reserves (OeNGENE) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (Federal Agricultural Institute and Reseach Centre and Federal Forestry Experimental Institute) are primarly responsible for the conservation of biological diversity and genetic resources in Austria. Regional governments are responsible for the nature conservation legislation and implementation.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Public financial support has been provided to private initiatives aiming at the assessment, study and systematic observation of agricultural flora. With regard to the agricultural fauna, continuous evaluation is undertaken by blood-samples. Austria cooperates with other European institutes (in the case of capacity-building for agricultural flora) and has established contacts with the Danube riparian countries. With regard to the global capacity-building cooperation, Austria participates in the GEF capacity-building Si-A-PAZ (Nicaragua/Costa Rica) and in different programmes for indigenous self-administration.

3. Major Groups: Nature conservation programmes are implemented only if approved by local authorities and local population. Breeder organizations and individual farmers are involved in the decision-making when conserving agricultural fauna. The authorities also work in close cooperation with research associations and nature conservation societies.

4. Finance: See status report above and regional/international cooperation below.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: A series of international programmes has been launched for Central and Eastern Europe within the framework of the OECD and with the support of international financing institutions. The most important of these are the Danube River Basin Programme, the Black Sea Programme, the Black Triangle Progamme, and the Danube Delta Programme. Within the framework of these programmes, Austria has tried to increase the input of its environmental technologies and know-how. Furthermore, it has attempted to make Austrian financing facilities available for international programmes through the ECO Fund (foreign assistance) and within the financing mechanisms of the EBRD and World Bank trust funds.

Latest 199_
Protected area as % of total land area
Latest 1996
Number of threatened species
over 40
Other data

Approx. 100 institutions are involved in biodiversity programmes. They carry out 124 protection and 644 conservation projects.


STATUS REPORT: The Genetic Engineering Act (1994) is the main act governing activities with genetically engineered organisms in closed systems and their release, gene analysis and gene therapy in humans. It contains the principles on biotechnology risk assessment and risk management. The relevant authorities in the member states of the European Union, the European Commission and, when necessary, international organizations exchange information on the procedural requirements for the safe handling and risk management and about the conditions of release of biotechnological products. The Act also provides for security classification of activities involving genetically engineered organisms or licensing procedures. The Genetic Engineering Act transforms EU Directives 90/219 and 90/220 into Austrian law. To achieve the objectives of the Act, the following research activities have been intensified:

- safety reasearch;

- research on health specific aspects of genetic engineering in Austria;

- research on the possibilities of a complete assessment of health;

- research on the environmental and social compatibility of the release of genetically engineered organisms; and

- research on the use of genetic engineering for substitute and supplemental methods in animal experiments.

Many of the projects are cooperation projects conducted by several institutions and univeristies (see decision-making structure).

The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs promotes research projects which contribute to the environmentally sustainable management of biotechnology, such as extraction of aromatics with supercritical CO2 and abandoning hot sealing in the case of returnable glass packages.

In the field of forestry, the research has been strengthened on new biochemical methods to improve the analysis, identification and monitoring of trees (measurement of genetic parameters).

The Federal Environmental Office in preparing a study on biotechnology in Austria. There is also a study on biological exhaust air decontamination.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The main institutions specialized in biotechnology research in Austria are the Federal Ministry of Science and Research; Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (responsible for the EU Framework Programme on Biotechnology); Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs (promotes research projects which contribute to an environmentally sustainable management in the field of biotechnology); Inter-university Research Institute for Agricultural Technology (Tulln); Institute of Applied Microbiology of the University of Agriculture; and the Institute of Biotechnology of the University of Technology (Graz). There are also several other institutes, societies and companies working in this field, such as the Institute of Molecular Pathology of the University of Vienna; Institute of Molecular Biology of the University of Vienna; Austrian Academy of Sciences, Institute for Technological Impact Assessment; Institute of Microbiology and Genetics of the University of Vienna; Austrian Society for Biotechnology (Vienna); Working Group for the Promotion of Test-Animal-Free Substitute and Supplemental Methods (Linz); Austrian Nuclear Research Center (Seibersdorf); Institute for Food Reasearch (Vienna); Austrian Beverage Test Institute (Vienna); Austrian Textile Research Institute (Vienna); Biochemie GmbH (Kundl); Sandochemia conglomerate; Bender & Co.; The Genetic Engineering Act (1994) governs activities with genetically engineered organisms in closed systems and their release, gene analysis and gene therapy in humans. It contains the principles on biotechnology risk assessment and risk management. (For more information see status report.)

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: No information

3. Major Groups: Public hearings are organized in the case of a release of and activities involving genetically engineered organisms in closed systems at high security levels.

4. Finance: No information

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Participation in the OECD Expert Group on Biotechnology for a Clean Environment, the OECD Biosafety Working Group, and Panel 4 of the UNEP under the Convention on Biological Diversity. With regard to access to biotechnology through international cooperation, Austria participates or has participated in the following programmes:

- European Community Programme on the Development and Adaptation of Rapid Molecular Screening Techniques for Assessing Genetic Diversity in Forest Trees (1991-1996);

- Micropropagation of Spruce programme, Unilever Colworth House, UK (1986-1992); and

- Molecular and Morphological Markers for Juvenility, Maturity, Rejuvenation and Somatic Embryogenesis in Woody Species - the Biotechnological Approach, Concerted action no. PL 94 2202 (1994-1996).

Austria has also proposed a multidisciplinary chestnut research programme under the COST Initiative. (5 years if approved).




Austria ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on 14 July 1995.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: No information

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: No information

3. Major Groups: No information

4. Finance: No information

5. Regional/International Cooperation: No information

Latest 199-
Catches of marine species (metric tons)
Population in coastal areas
Population served by waste water treatment (% of country's

total population)

Discharges of oil into coastal waters (metric tons)
Releases of phosphate into coastal waters (metric tons)
Releases of nitrate into coastal waters (metric tons)
Other data


STATUS REPORT: The objectives of water resources management in Austria are to secure a reliable water supply over the long run, to maintain or to improve the quality of both surface waters and groundwater, and to preserve or restore the ecological function of water bodies, and at the same time, to protect human settlemens and properties against water hazards.

Thanks to Austria's favourable hydrological conditions, a sufficient supply of drinking water is guaranteed. Ninety-nine percent of the total volume of raw water for the country's drinking water supply comes from groundwater of porous aquifers and of spring water. According to the Water Law Act, the suitability of groundwater for use as drinking water without special treatment has been defined as a general quality target. Nevertheless, groundwater protection through bans and restrictions on land use (for example, on the use of pesticides) in clearly defined water protection zones (approx. 6% of the national territory) is important to safeguard Austria's drinking water supplies.

In addition to these zones, use of environmentally sound crop-growing methods is promoted, including the reduction of maize and wheat growing areas, restriction of the use of fertilizers, encouragement of organic agriculture and integrated plant protection.

Austria intends to put up 6,400 measuring points to collect data on the quality and quantity of Austrian water resources. By 1994, 3,800 measuring points had already been put up. To monitor water quality, water samples of surface waters are taken at 1,750 measuring points at two-month intervals. On the basis of the information, water quality maps are produced every two or three years.

There are general and sector specific emission standards, e.g. for paper and pulp industry and metal finishing plants, intended to diminish the overall pollutant burden, to reduce fluctuations of pollutant emissions over time and to ensure a higher degree of plant reliability. Because of improved waste and water management in Austria, the total level of emissions has declined considerably in recent years. More than 85% of the total daily output of chemical oxygen demand of approx. 2,250 tons are subjected to sewage treatment, which results in an 95% reduction of loads. Following an alarming spread of water bloom in the Austrian lakes in the early 1970s, comprehensive measures of rehabilitation, (for example the installation of closed-circuit sewerage networks), were taken, which led to a noticeable improvement in water quality. Approximately 72% of the Austrian population is connected to community sewage treatment. With the volume of sewage sludge from waste-water purification continuously increasing, ecological criteria will have to be applied to sludge disposal. Moreover, particular attention will have to paid to reducing pollution loads from diffuse sources of pollution (agriculture and forestry, leakage from households, trade and industry, leaking sewer pipes, contaminated sites, landfills and sludge pumps).

A main point of current activities in the Austrian water management is restoring and preserving the ecological function of surface water bodies.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The Water Act (amended in 1990) defines an ambitious quality target for all bodies of flowing water, and calls for measures to guarantee the suitability of groundwater as drinking water throughout the country. Austria also prepared emission regulations on the quality of running surface waters. Recent intensive efforts are directed towards re-naturalisation of flowing surface-waters in order to improve the ecological function as required by the respective law.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Apart from the competent water department in the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and water related service units in the Ministry of Environment and within the administrations of the nine federal laender, expert advice, investigations, monitoring and research work is available at the Federal Office of Water Management and the Federal Environment Agency. An intensive programme for further professional training and education takes place every year.

3. Major Groups: The major expert and professional association in the field of water management in general is the Austrian Waste and Water Management Association, and in the field of water supply the Austrian Gas and Water Association.

4. Finance: Funding for residential water management, focusing on maintenance, modernization and expansion of existing sewage collection and treatment systems, is expected to be approx. ATS 183 billion in the coming 15 years, of which 3.9 billion/a plus 1 billion (non-recurring) are being contributed by the environmental funding programme of the Ministry of the Environment.

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Bilateral and multilateral transboundary water commissions for the protection of transboundary bodies of water and the settlement of water management problems have been established with neighbouring countries. Austria takes particular interest in international cooperation for the protection of the Danube and participates actively in the Environmental Programme for the Danube River Basin. Moreover, Austria has set up a Permanent Secretariat for the Danube Water Protection Convention in Vienna.

Latest 1995
Fresh water availability (total domestic/external in million m3) 84.000 84.000 84.000
Annual withdrawal of freshwater as % of available water approx. 3 % approx. 3 % approx. 3 %
Other data


STATUS REPORT: Austrian regulations concerning the classification and labelling of chemicals are in harmomy with European Union regulations in this field and in some cases even stricter. The testing of substances as a prerequisite for classification has to be performed according to the relevant OECD guidelines, and Austrian testing bodies have to meet OECD criteria. The Chemical Safety Card, which has to be handed out to commercial users of hazardous chemicals according to Austrian legislation, is based either on the US standard or on the relevant EU regulations.

The Prior Informed Consent (PIC) procedure was included in the Chemical Substances Act in Austria in 1992. A number of implementing regulations supplement the Act to make the PIC procedure fully operational. Austria welcomes the proposal to incorporate the PIC procedure in a binding instrument of international law and is in favour of sanctions in the case of non-compliance.

Austrian authorities keep a chemical register listing all the newly registered substances, and this will be developed into a complete product register in the next few years. Communication of information on hazardous chemicals, incidents and accidents is obligatory by law.

In additon to legal instruments (see decision-making structure), there are a number of non-regulative measures. An environmental label, to be awarded by the state, has been created to promote environmentally sound (chemical) products. Austrian companies participate also in the Responsible Care Programme sponsored by the chemical industry.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The Chemical Substances Act, including the polluter pays principle (to be extended) and the PIC procedure; regulations supplementing the PIC procedure (concerning designated national authorities in charge of the procedure, chemical substances to be included in the procedure, decisions to be taken on future imports of these chemicals and the type, scope, substance and form of communications to be exchanged with the designated national authority of the importing country on the chemical substance concerned in case of an import enquiry). Communication of information on hazardous chemicals, incidents and accidents is obligatory according to the Austrian Industrial Accident Regulation and the Environment Information Act (1993). The polluter pays principle is laid down as the manufacturer's responsibility under the Chemical Substances Act. There is also a comprehensive Product Liability Act. For the polluter pays principle to be recognized under civil law, the Environment Liability Act will first have to adopted.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: No information

3. Major Groups: No information

4. Finance: No information

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Within the OECD waste-substance processing programmne, Austria is studying two high-volume chemicals. Austria participates also in the waste-substance programme of the European Union

and takes part in the activities of the European Chemicals Office. A great effort is also being made to keep up with international developments in the field of analysis covering the whole life-cycle of chemical substances. Austria implements the ILO and OECD programmes on this question. Active participation in global PIC-Convention negotiations and in ECE negotiations on POPs.




Austria ratified the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal in April 1993.

Additional comments relevant to this chapter: Hazardous waste substances are to be classified in the same manner as hazardous new chemical substances. For waste and waste disposal, additional specific criteria are to be considered.

Concerning the classification of hazardous waste, Austria carries out the relevant EU legislation. Some 600;000 tons of hazardus waste were generated in 1995. Since the amount of waste classified as hazardous depends on the definition used, a significant increase has been recorded in many sectors in the recent years in spite of successful waste prevention efforts.

In addition to legal instruments governing the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes, there is a Federal Waste Management Plan (1992) setting specific targets on the reduction of the volume and the pollutant load of waste streams, the environmentally sound and economically viable reuse of waste, on the disposal of non-avoidable or non-reusable wastes and on the regional distribution of waste-treatment facilities throughout the federal territory. The plan is revised every three years. The last revision was effected in 1995.

Sector-specific waste-management strategies have been prepared for agriculture, leather industry, medical sector, for the production and use of paints and varnishes, electro-plaiting industry and textile industry. To strengthen the institutional capacity in hazardous waste management, potential locations for landfills and thermal treatment plants have been identified.

To prevent illegal international traffic of hazardous wastes, several measures have been taken in Austria in accordance with proposals made by the ad-hoc Committee of the Basel Convention. Certain waste-relevant industrial facilities have been inspected and random border checks have been performed. Austria is also actively involved in the Liability and Compensation Protocol of the Basel Convention.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: Waste Management Act; Chemical Substances Act and a number of regulations concerning the reduction of pollutant load in waste streams, waste prevention and recycling (e.g. Batteries regulation, Lubricants Regulation, Lamp Regulation, Asbestos Regulation).

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: Customs officers have been trained in accordance with the Waste Management Act to prevent illegal international traffic of hazardous wastes.

3. Major Groups: No information

4. Finance: No information

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Within the framework of the Technical Working Group of the Basel Convention, Austria participates in the elaboration of guidelines for environmentally sound treatment of wastes and supports these activities through a voluntary contribution to the Trust Fund of the Basel Convention. Austria also intends to contribute to the work done within the OECD in this field.

Latest 199-
Generation of hazardous waste (t)
Import of hazardous wastes (t)
Export of hazardous wastes (t)
Area of land contaminated by hazardous waste (km2)
Expenditure on hazardous waste treatment (US$)
Other data


STATUS REPORT: Austria generates about 44 million tons of waste per year (estimate from 1994), a major part of which (22.5 million t/a) is construction residues. Residues from sewage treatment (sewage sludge) account for another 6.6 million t/a, which are disposed of in an environmentally sound manner in accordance with provincial sewage sludge regulations. Legislative measures have been taken to minimize the amount of particularly dangerous pollutants in waste streams. There are several regulations supplementing the Waste Management Act (see decision-making structure). Inter alia, enterprises with more than 100 employees have to appoint a waste-management officer, and companies exceeding a certain size are obliged to draw up their own waste-management plans.

There are also sector-specific strategies, e.g. for medical wastes, waste paint and varnish, disposal of old cars, and reprocessing of residues from electroplating.

In addition to legislative measures, voluntary agreements have been made with trade and industry to ensure separate waste collection and recovery such as the voluntary agreement concerning the recycling of used cars. (For more information, see Ch.4.)

Country-wide collection systems for waste paper, glass, hazardous waste, packaging waste and biogenic waste have been set up. With regard to beverage vessels, a step-by-step plan has been drawn up providing the following reuse and recovery targets to be reached by the year 2000: 96% for mineral and soda water, 94% for beer, 83% for non-alcoholic soft drinks, 80% for fruit and juices, milk and milk products, wine, champagne and liquors. High reuse percentages have already been reached with beer and mineral water.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The Waste Management Act and a number of measures and regulations complementing it are to diminish the overall volume of waste generated in Austria. The Packaging Regulation, for example, requires certain percentages of packaging materials to be reused and recycled. At the local level, there are provincial sewage sludge regulations. The Plastics Labelling regulation and the PCP Regulation, for example, facilitate waste separation and collection for recycling purposes. A regulation has also been adopted for the reuse of construction debris and there is a Regulation on the Separate Collection of Biogenic Wastes. Emissions from thermal waste-treatment plants are subject to the Clean Air Regulation for Boiler Plants. The Landfill Regulation makes it obligatory for landfill sites to be built and operated according to the most recent state of art.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: No information

3. Major Groups: No information

4. Finance: No information

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Seminars and workshops on waste issues have been organized for various neighbouring countries in Central and Eastern Europe.

Latest 199-
Generation of industrial and municipal waste (t)
Waste disposed(Kg/capita)
Expenditure on waste collection and treatment (US$)
Waste recycling rates (%)
Municipal waste disposal (Kg/capita)
Waste reduction rates per unit of GDP (t/year)
Other data


STATUS REPORT: Since Austria is a country without nuclear power plants, radioactive wastes are generated only for medical, research and industrial purposes. Minimizing the amount of radioactive waste is a declared objective in the Austrian radiation protection policy. Provisions made for the disposal of radioactive wastes are subject to regular examinations and inspections in accordance with Austrian radiation protection legislation.

There is a research programme to study the health and environmental effects of a long-term storage site for low and intermediate level radioactive wastes.

With regard to their import restrictions, Austria is committed to the principle that radioactive wastes generated in Austria are to be disposed of in Austria.

Concerning the spent fuel elements of Austrian research reactors, the supplier state has assumed a contractual obligation to take them back in compliance with all the relevant safety regulations.

To control radioactive emissions, 300 sites of nuclear radiation early warning systems have been set up in Austria.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure: The Radiation Protection Regulation.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues: No information

3. Major Groups: No information

4. Finance: No information

5. Regional/International Cooperation: Austria supports the efforts made by the IAEA to harmonize standards governing the handling of radioactive wastes and to implement the Code of Practice for transboundary movements of nuclear wastes.


The role of major groups are also covered under the various chapters of Agenda 21. The following is a summary of main objectives outlined in Agenda 21. Please check the appropriate boxes and describe briefly any important steps or obstacles.


The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was signed by Austria on 17 July 1980 and ratified on 31 March 1982.

24.a Increasing the proportion of women decision makers.

24.b assessing, reviewing, revising and implementing curricula and other educational material with a view to promoting dissemination of gender-relevant knowledge.

Curricula and educational material already promote gender relevant information.

24.c formulating and implementing policies, guidelines, strategies and plans for achievement of equality in all aspects of society including issuing a strategy by year 2000 to eliminate obstacles to full participation of women in sustainable development. Policies/strategies etc. are being and have been drawn up.

24.d establishing mechanisms by 1995 to assess implementation and impact of development and environment policies and programmes on women: No information.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): In 1995, advancement of women was included in the Austrian Federal Constitution and the equality principle was extended. The Federal Equal Treatment Act is gradually being implemented. The institution of a women's advocate for equality issues, established under the Equal Treatment Act is also being created at the regional level. Legislation has been enacted for a fair division of labour within the family and to combat violence within the family (Law and Public Order Act, Enforcement Proceedings Act). Education in Austria is based on the principle of equality between men and women. In addition, a special Girls and Technology programme has been initiated.

In the Austrian development cooperation, gender issues have been taken into account in the following way: specific programmes have been created for women; vocational training has been arranged to strengthen the productive role of women, e.g. in agriculture and crafts, courses in business management and self-organization; health-care projects especially for women have been organized, e.g. training and counseling for women on issues relating to birth control, hygiene and nutrition; women's active role in various sectoral policies has been emphasized.


25.a establishing processes that promote dialogue between the youth and government at all levels and mechanisms that permit youth access to information and opportunity to present their views on implementing A21.

Describe their role in the national process:

25.b reducing youth unemployment

25.b ensuring that by year 2000 more than 50% of youth -- gender balanced -- have access to appropriate secondary education or vocational training: The goal set in Agenda 21 has been reached.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): All legislation relevant to children in Austria has been examined on the basis of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The government recognizes the concerns and interests of children as equal to those of adults and promotes increased inclusion of children as partners in the negotiating process. To reduce youth unemployment, Austria promotes part-time work.

In Austrian development cooperation, special emphasis has always been given to the education sector through comprehensive programmes (e.g. World Education Conference, World Bank) and through country-oriented initiatives of international organizations. Austrian projects focus on the establishment, furnishing and operation of technical colleges and training worshops as well as training programmes for the crafts and the provision of teaching staff for crafts-related and commercial training programmes. Austria grants scholarships and provides financial aid for students from the developing countries.

Austrian Youth Organizations are members of the Austrian UNCED Commission.


26.a establishing a process to empower indigenous people and their communities -- through policies and legal instruments:

26.b strengthening arrangements for active participation in national policies

26.c involving indigenous people in resource management strategies and programmes at the national and local level.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): Does not apply.


27.a developing mechanisms that allow NGOs to play their partnership role responsibly and effectively.

27.b reviewing formal procedures and mechanisms to involve NGOs in decision making and implementation.

27.c promoting and allowing NGOs to participate in the conception, establishment and evaluation of official mechanisms to review Agenda 21 implementation.: NGOs are participating fully.

27.d establishing a mutually productive dialogue by 1995 at the national level between NGOs and governments.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): Austrian major groups played an important role throughout the entire UNCED and CSD process. They are represented in the Austrian UNCED Commission. The Government provides financial and technical support to them for their national sustainable development efforts.

Major Groups participate in environmental impact assessments at the national and local levels, and in the design and implementation of sustainable development projects and policies. For example, NGOs have contributed to the design of the Eco-Office project which evaluates the implementation of Agenda 21 in Austria and works for the harmonization of projects in this field. They also participate in the implementation of the Youth Environmental Plan and the National Environmental Action Plan which is a long-term environmental policy concept involving all competent bodies and interest groups.

Contributions of NGOs to the sustainable development process at all levels have been constructive and helpful. Therefore, the Government has included NGO representatives in its national delegations to the major conferences and meetings in the field of sustainable developement. More efforts are needed to involve them better in regional decision-making processes. Austria therefore strongly supports the idea of granting NGOs the status of active observers in the Alpine Convention. It also supports maximum participation of NGOs within the framework of the United Nations. Significant bilateral and multilateral NGO initiatives in which the government has been involved are the following: Climate Alliance, Anti Atom International, East-West Cooperation of ARGE Umwelterziehungand the IUCN Convenant Project.

Government support to Major Groups: The Government of Austria has provided substantial support to a number of NGOs. For example, during the years 1994 and 1995, the Ministry of the Environment contributed over US$19 million; the Ministry of Economic Affairs, over US$35,000 (in the form of contracts or fees for services); and the Ministry for Science, Research and the Arts, over US$200,000, plus an additional US$1.33 million for cooperation with regional authorities.


28.a encouraging local authorities to implement and monitor programmes that aim to ensure participation of women and youth in local decision making.

Three Austrian cities (Vienna, Graz, Linz) signed the Charter of Aalborg to draw up a local Agenda 21, Vienna has also signed the Charta of the European Regions for the Environment (Valencia).

The Government supports local agenda 21 initiatives.


Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): In accordance with the principle of federalism, as laid down in the Austrian Constitution, municipal and local authorities play an essential role in public administration and policy formulation in Austria. Many local authorities have entered into partnerships with local authorities of other Austrian provinces or even beyond national borders. The increasing number of partnerships with local authorities of Hungary and the involvement of Austrian territorial administrative bodies in the field of climate control are particularly noteworthy.

Some 101 municipalities and communities as well as eight Austrian Laender together with municipalities from the neighbouring countries have formed a "Climate Alliance". They have committed themselves to reducing their carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2010 through concrete measures in the field of traffic, energy, procurement etc. and to supporting their partners in the Amazon region in the active preservation of rainforests.

Initiatives taken by the Provinces and aimed at the rehabilitation and revival of rural communities are of special importance. The village renewal strategies focus on the social, economic and cultural revival of village life.

The Federal Laender, Federation of Austrian Towns and Federation of Austrian Municipalities are members of the Austrian UNCED Commission.


29.a full participation of workers in implementation and evaluation of A21.

29.b (By year 2000, (a) promoting ratification of ILO conventions; (b) establishing bipartite and tripartite mechanism on safety, health and sustainable development; (c) increasing number of environmental collective agreements; (d) reducing occupational accidents and injuries; (e) increasing workers' education and training efforts.

Most ILO Conventions have been ratified

Workers take full part in National Agenda 21 discussions/implementation.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): The Federal Chamber of Labour and the Austrian Trade Union Federation are members of the Austrian UNCED Commission.

In the framework of Social Partnership, the Federal Chamber of Labour and the Austrian Trade Union Federation as representatives of workers and employees seek to promote high environmental standards in all matters of environmental policy. They recognize that the working environment and the environment beyond plant level form an inseparable unit. The principle of combating risks at their source, central for occupational safety and health legislation, helps to promote integrated protection of the environment and consequently sustainable production patterns.

At the level of the company, staff representatives have certain participatory rights concerning the working environment. Beyond that level, the Federal Chamber of Labour and the Austrian Trade Union Federation are actively involved in the legislative process.


30.a increasing the efficiency of resource use, including reuse, recycling, and reduction of waste per unit of economic output.

There are governmental policies encouraging the above objective and requiring recycling etc.

30.b encouraging the concept of stewardship in management and use of natural resources by entrepreneurs.

List any actions taken in this area:

30.c increasing number of enterprises that subscribe to and implement sustainable development policies.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): The Chamber of Commerce Austria and the Association of Austrian Industrialists are members of the Austrian UNCED Commission. Employers' representatives take part in federal decision-making on an equal basis with the represenatives of the workers. The business community in Austria has taken several measures to diminish the burden on the environment through strategic, organizational and technical activities. There are sectoral strategies, information campaigns etc. The government has concluded voluntary agreements with many economic sectors (se more Ch. 4). The capital expenditure by industry for sustainable development activities amounted to approximately ATS 30 billion in 1994, and the amount was expected to increase in the future.


31.a improving exchange of knowledge and concerns between s&t community and the general public.

31.b developing, improving and promoting international acceptance of codes of practice and guidelines related to science and technology and its role in reconciling environment and development.

Brief comments on this chapter not already described in chapter 35 (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): The Forum of Austrian Scientists for the Environment and the Austrian Society of Environmental Technology are members of the Austrian UNCED Commission.

In its Technology Policy Strategy (1989), the Austrian Federal Government stipulated that research and technology policies must take into account their respective environmental impact. At the national level, a Council for Technology Development has been established to improve communication among various bodies and institutions. This council concentrates on environmental aspects. In 1994, it was opened to the public by the appointment of a representative of citizens.


32.a promoting and encouraging sustainable farming practices and technologies.

32.b developing a policy framework that provides incentives and motivation among farmers for sustainable and efficient farming practices.

32.c enhancing participation of organizations of farmers in design and implementation of sustainable development policies.

Brief comments on this chapter (maximum 100 words) (please, do not exceed this page): The Standing Committee of the Presidents of the Austrian Chambers of Agriculture is a member of the Austrian UNCED Commission.


Financial resources and mechanisms are also covered under each sectoral chapter of Agenda 21 where relevant. This summary highlights broader national financial policies, domestic and external (including ODA)



NEW ECONOMIC INSTRUMENTS: With regard to the introduction of national economic instruments in the traffic sector, a new car registration tax was introduced in January 1992. While the tax base is the selling price, the tax rate depends on the standard fuel consumption of the car. Since May 1993, the tax on motor vehicles has been based on the power of the engine instead of the cubic capacity. Since January 1995, non-catalyst cars have been taxed an additional charge of 20%.

Heavy-load vehicles are subject to tolls and road maintenence tax. For the management of transAlpine traffic, a so-called eco-points system was introduced which produces results similar to an emission-permit system. A scheme of toll stickers for motorways will be introduced on 1 January 1997.

In January 1994, the mineral oil tax was raised by ATS 0.6 per litre and again in 1995. An energy tax for electricity and natural gas has been introduced on July 1, 1996. 11.835 per cent of its revenue are earmarked for environmental and energy efficiency measures to be carried out by the federal laender (Federal provisional budget (BVA) 1996: ATS 355 million, BVA 1997: ATS 691 million). 2.5 per cent of total tax on electricity and natural gas or ATS 215 million/a are granted to municipalities earmarked for the financial support of low-distance public passenger transport enterprises (BVA 1996: ATS 290 million, BVA 1997: ATS 361 million). In addition, municipalities recive 2.5 per cent /a of the tax or ATS 226.8 million for investments in low-distance passenger transport (BVA 1996: ATS 301.8 million, BVA 1997: ATS 373 million). In addition to the financial transfer based on the tax on energy, the federal laender receive 4.888 per cent of the mineral oil tax revenue minus ATS 4441.8 million earmarked for public passenger transport (BVA 1996: ATS 1.269 million, BVA 1997: ATS 1.196 million). Both the tax on energy and on mineral oil may at least partly be considered as environmental incentives.

An environmental liability law in accordance with the polluter-pays principle is under discussion. In 1993, total revenue from environmental taxes was estimated to be ATS 42.2 billion or 8% of total Federal tax revenue.


ODA policy issues: Austria uses the following channels to finance the implementation of Agenda 21 in developing countries and in countries with economies in transition:

With regard to official development assistance (ODA), the Austrian ODA in 1994 amounted to ATS 7.483 billion 1ATS 10 is about US$ 1 (October 1996) which is 0.33% of GDP. This means an increase of ATS 1.16 billion from 1993. The ODA distribution per sector since 1992 has been the following: (1) Integrated planning and management of land resources, ATS 24 million; (2) Combating desertification, ATS 6 million; (3) Sustainable agriculture and rural development, ATS 20 million; and (4) Environmentally sound management of biotechnology, ATS 7 million. As a result of UNCED, the Austrian Government spent a total of US$ 20 million on a global programme (35 single projects) for the development and conservation or rehabilitation of forest biotopes in developing countries. During the pilot phase of the GEF (1991 - 1993), Austria contributed ATS 400 million and from 1994 to 1996 another ATS 231,51 million to the fund. The Austrian Global Environment Cooperation Trust Fund was initiated in 1995, and endowed with a maximum of ATS 4.5 million in special drawing rights from 1995 to 1997.

Since 1992, Austria has provided US$ 1.071 billion new and additional grant funds for sustainable development and US$ 340 million in loans.

By 1994, Austria had concluded bilateral debt-relief agreements with 11 African and 2 Latin American countries. Relative to the total period of rescheduling, the debt relief granted was equivalent to ATS 1 billion. Austria has also granted ATS 8.4 million of debt-relief to Poland. In total, Austria committed itself to provide financial assistance of ATS 11.3 billion in 1992 to the countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In 1993, public assistance to economies in transition was 0.22 % of GDP, mainly consisting of debt reduction schemes agreed upon by the Club of Paris. In 1994, all the rescheduling schemes amounted to a total of ATS 63.8 million.

Support for the economies in transition is primarily aimed at assisting economic and political transformation, largely in neighbouring states. Austrian support measures include i.a. humanitarian assistance, environmental rehabilitation and improvements of the economic and social infrastructure, support of market-oriented sectoral reforms, transfer of know-how, macro-economic financial assistance, export credit and investment guarantees. Austria participates also in the EU assistance programmes to the Eastern Europe (e.g. PHARE and TACIS).

Within the frame of the specific environment support scheme, the Federal Ministry of Environment supported a total of 103 projects in the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, Hungary and Slovenia with over 786 mio ATS. During the last years emphasis shifted from end-of-pipe to integrated pollution prevention and energy saving projects.

In the context of the PanEuropean environmental process, Austria was involved in the review period of a study examining the effectiveness of financial instruments for environmental investment in CEE countries, and in the development of innovative financing instruments, especially in the context of environmental funds in the Central and Eastern European countries.

ODA funding provided or received (Total US$million)
ODA in % of GDP
Average for 92-93
Average for 94-96
Net flow of external capital from all sources as % of GDP
Other data


Transfer of environmentally sound technology, cooperation and capacity-building is also covered under each sectoral chapter of Agenda 21 where relevant. This summary highlights broader national policies and actions relating to chapter 34.

STATUS REPORT ON LINKS BETWEEN NATIONAL, REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL INFORMATION NETWORKS/SYSTEMS: The Seibersdorf Environmental Technology Database for products and processes has been set up to facilitate the access of Austrian enterprises to modern environmental technologies. Support is provided, i.a.. for extended cooperation with the Eastern European neighbours, for linking up the database with the Network for Environmental Technologies Transfer (NETT-Brussels) and for cooperation with domestic and foreign banking institutions.

Austrian development cooperation promotes primarily capacity-building for independent technology development, including, above all, the promotion of independent R&D activities, strengthening R&D institutions, and support for education and training in technical and management disciplines. In cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Austria has organized three seminars in 1993 - 1995 for participants from developing countries (Egypt, India, Jamaica, the Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Brazil, China, Cuba, Malaysia, Mexico, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan) to help establish or strengthen environmentally sound technology (EST) centres in those countries. Between 1993 and 1995, altogether 102 development assistance research projects aimed at the promotion of technology transfer, financed by Austria, were carried out in developing countries. Austria has also been financing south-south scholarships, e.g. Nicaragua to Brazil and Mexico, Cape Verde to Brazil.

In 1994, financial support for plant-specific measures in Eastern European countries amounted to US$ 15.4 million. Management and professional training are the core elements of Austrian economic aid to the countries of Eastern and Central Europe. A meeting on energy-related issues was held in Slovakia and a counseling and training project on the use of energy was conducted in the Czech Republic. Austria participates also in the EU assistance programmes to Eastern Europe.

MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION: The Government supports R&D on EST as well as the increased use of environment and energy related technologies. In 1992, the Energy Technologies programme (ATS 50 million in 1993) and the Industrial Design programme (ATS 15 million in 1993) were established and the programm for environmental technologies was renewed within the framework of the Innovation and Technology Fund (ITF) with the aim of promoting the development and use of cleaner technologies, production-integrated environmental protection, recycling logistics and new, environmentally compatible product and material use. Both in 1993 and 1994, product competitions (Ecodesign) were organised to stimulate new ideas and innovative solutions for environmentally sound product design and development and to raise awareness on these issues. In 1994, a junior research category was added to enable students and young designers to participate in the competition.

In 1995, a total of 288 million ATS was made available through ITF of which about nearly 40% were earmarked for precautionary environmental measures, 53 million ATS to energy efficiency and enviroment friendly technologies and the use of renewable energy sources, and 50 million ATS to develop environmentally sound transportation technologies.

The Austrian Economic Research Institute carried out a study called Environmental Technologies - a Growing Market (1995) providing an overview of environmental technologies currently available in Austria, including end-of-pipe technologies and clean technologies. According to the study, environmental industries spend more on research (6.7%) than other sectors (average 3.1%). The share of innovative activities in the environmental sector is also bigger than average: 90% of the companies surveyed stated that they had invested in product innovation during the past 3 years.

Austria has participated in 21 transnational research projects under the 3rd EU Framework Programme on R&D. The total cost of these projects was ECU 16.7 million of which ECU 3.8 million was spent on Austrian projects. Austrian enterprises and research institutions have also participated in the COST (21 projects) and EUREKA (31 projects) Programmes of the European Union, e.g. in EUROENVIRON, a project that has investigated safe ways of utilising industrial waste.

Describe any work being undertaken at the national or local level regarding efforts to promote clean production processes and/or the concepts of eco-efficiency. These processes may include training, preferential financial arrangements, information dissemination and changes in legal or regulatory frameworks.

In summer 1996, the first Austrian Cleaner Production Centre was established in Graz under the supervision of the Ministry of the Environment. The activities include providing environmental technology and management information, initiating and supporting regional and local cleaner production and toxic waste/emissons reduction programmes, stimulating research and development as well as transferring cleaner production technology .

Austrian consultancy companies are active in establishing environmental management systems (EMAS and ISO 14000) in Austria and the eastern neighbouring states (STENUM).

Provide information on the adoption of environmental management systems. National reaction to environmental management system standards such as the ISO 14000 Series and others. Please note efforts made at the national level to promote their adoption and the creation of certification infrastructure in order to facilitate access to these standards to local industry.

List and describe programs or work under way to facilitate the transfer of ESTs to small and medium sized enterprises. Please note efforts to facilitate access to financial resources and other transfer strategies.

A federal environmental funding system was initiated in 1987 and modified in 1993 to support environmental activities. It provides interest payment grants, investment grants and loans for water protection projects in municipalities, pollution control by industry and contaminated site clean-up.


STATUS REPORT ON NATIONAL SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE, RESEARCH NEEDS AND PRIORITIES: The Federal Ministry of Science and Research is primarly responsible for natural and social sciences and related legislation and policies in Austria. It is also represented in the national coordination mechanism for sustainable development. The Science and Research Council, Technological Development Council and the Conference of Austrian University Presidents are the other bodies directly involved in national decision-making in this field.

Major groups involved in science for sustainable development are: World-wide fund for Nature, Greenpeace, Global 2000, the Austrian Scientific Forum for Environmental Protection, the Austrian Society for the Protection of Nature and the Environment, and the Austrian Society for the Environment and Technology.

According to the information received from the Federal Ministry of Science and Research, the most important post- Rio projects related to sustainable development are the following:

- Sustainable development of Austrian Man-Dominated Landscapes aiming at minimizing the substance flow and exploitation of energy resources caused by human beings;

- research and development requirements for the transition to a sustainable economy in Austria;

- Austrian PREPARE Initiative (EUREKA/EUROENV - European research programme)

The public funding for scientific research on environment and development has more than tripled from 1980 to 1994. (From ATS 5,332,879,000, in 1984 to ATS 15,529,501,000 in 1994). There is no national target to increase the number of scientists working in this field. Sustainable development is a well established topic in science and politics, with increasing importance.

The Austrian Federal Government has passed a resolution to increase the quota of women in science. In case of equal qualifications, women should be favoured.

Brain-drain is not a significant problem in Austria.

STEPS TAKEN TO ENHANCE SCIENTIFIC UNDERSTANDING, IMPROVE LONG TERM SCIENTIFIC ASSESSMENT, BUILDING OF CAPACITY AND CAPABILITY: In a programme that ends in 1998, Austria is participating and investing in several multilateral and bilateral programmes addressing science for sustainable development1/, including the European Union 4th Framework Programme for Research and Development; approx. (US$ 70,000,000), the exchange of students from Nicaragua (ATS 2.6 miilion); the IGBP of ICSU; US$ 200,000, promotion of South-South cooperation (ATS 6.9 million); and the Man in the Biosphere, Natural Disaster Reduction and Hydrology Programmes of UNESCO (US$450,000, 320,000 and 270,000 respectively).

1/ Please clarify the names of the programmes, agencies responsible for their implementation and the currencies of the money spent by Austria to the implementation of these programmes.

Number of scientists, engineers and technicians engaged in research and experimental development #
Total expenditure for research and experimental development (US$eq.) $ 19--
Other data


STATUS REPORT: The Federal Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs is primarily responsible for education, public awareness and training. The Working Group on Environmental Education of the Austrian Society for Nature Preservation and Environmental Protection is an advisory body to the Ministry. Members of the working group are teachers, scientists, representatives of NGOs, administration officers and forestry experts.

In Austria, girls have in principle the same enrolment opportunities as boys for all schools and training facilities. The government has adopted a basic decision to this end (Education aimed at the Equality of Men and Women). Other supportive measures include the Girls and Technology programme with adequate vocational guidance and the Equal Treatment Act.

a) Reorientation of education towards sustainable development: Printed material and audiovisual tools for environmental education are often used at all school levels. During the past ten years, considerable efforts have been made to include environmental projects in the curricula. In 1992, an Environmental Education Fund was established. Advanced training seminars for teachers have been introduced. Topics, such as environmental health, safe drinking water, sanitation, food, ecosystems, recycling and energy saving, are fully dealt with at all educational levels. In cooperation with the Austrian UNICEF Committee, a package of materials on environment and development has been published and distributed to all medium and higher-level schools. The Government participates in the OECD/CERI project called Environment and School Initiatives, in the GLOBE project and in the WHO Healthy Schools project.

b) Increasing public awareness: Periodic reports on environmental issues have been published in all mass media. Counselling and consultation centres for environmental, waste and energy issues have been established and do-it-yourself groups for solar plant construction have been founded.

c) Promoting training: The Austrian Information Service for Development Policy has initiated a campaign on Sustainable Development Policy, and offers a training course on development policy (including environmental issues) to teachers and trainers.

ROLE OF MAJOR GROUPS: Major groups have participated in the publishing of educational material, in campaigns and competitions, such as Ecology in Every-day School Life and The Environment and Its History as well as in advanced training seminars for teachers and youth counsellors. They also participated in the distribution of Guidelines for the Protection of Climate at the Local Level. The government has launched climate and ozone campaigns together with the NGOs.

NGOs have also participated in the setting up of counseling and consultation centres for environmental, waste and energy issues and in the founding of do-it-yourself groups for solar plant construction.


(% of GNP) was 5.8% in 1980; 5.4% in 1990; and 5.7% in 1994.

Adult literacy rate (%)
Population reaching grade 5 of primary education (%)
Mean number of years of schooling
% of GNP spent on education
11 (1995)
Women per 100 men in the labour force
72 (1993)
Females per 100 males in secondary school
Net enrolment rate at primary school level (%)








Net enrolment rate at secondary school level (%)1








Net enrolment rate at university level (%)2








1 including vocational schools; 2 reference age 19-25

Primary school age covers ages 6 to 9, secondary school age covers ages 10 to 17/18. There are nine years of compulsory schooling.

* All informations derived from Austria - Guidelines for National Information, 1996.


National capacity building is also covered under sectoral chapters.

Donors: You may wish to describe here how Agenda 21 has influenced your ODA policies in this area.

Developing countries: You may wish to describe any new national mechanisms for capacity building - and any changes in technical cooperation.


See Chapter 34.


Ch. 38: Brief summary of any particular UN System response affecting this country/state:


Ch. 39: International Legal Instruments are covered under the relevant sectoral chapters. This is a listing of major agreements/conventions (not already covered) entered into and relevant to Agenda 21: Austria plays an active role in the further development of international environmental law. Austria has submitted several concrete proposals and taken appropriate initiatives both in the course of the follow-up process of the Rio Conference as well as within the framework of UNEP, especially in connection with the assessment of specific environmental agreements (e.g. the Montreal Protocol, FCCC, the Basel Convention).

Austrias interest is focused towards effective implementation of existing multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) and of MEAs yet to be designed. Of special importance among such measures are mechanisms of procedures to monitor and to ímprove implementation of and compliance with MEAs by helping and encouraging parties to fulfill the obligations and commitments arising under them by simple, cooperative, non-judicial and transparent means. Austria has raised its voice in favour of the elaboration of such mechanisms, tailored to the specific requirements of the instruments they serve.

Austria has repeatedly underlined the potential value of identifying generally recognized principles of international law as they pertain to sustainable development and welcomes the continuing discussion of those principles and overall objectives which should be taken into account in decision-making at all levels, giving special attention to principles on cooperation in a transboundary context, such as the precautionary principle, prior informed consent, access to information, public participation or environmental impact assessment.

In 1994, an international symposium on Sustainable Development and International Law was held in Baden, near Vienna. The symposium took stock of progress achieved and obstacles encountered in the implementation of legal instruments in the field of sustainable development and discussed the role of various stakeholders in this respect.

At a regional seminar on Trade and Environment Processing and Production Methods, organized in Austria in February 1994, the issue of present and future possibilities of applying environmentally relevant legal instruments and mechanisms was discussed.

In 1995, the Austrian Government organized within the framework of the 7th Conference of the Contracting States of the Montreal Protocol an international workshop on "the Ozone Treaties and their Influence on the Building of Environmental Regimes". It dealt with important legal questions such as scientific uncertainty and the role and importance of implementation monitoring and non-compliance procedures.

Austria has been actively contributing to the review of the Montevideo Programme for the Development and Periodic Review of Environmental Law. As a result of an Austrian initiative, the 18th Meeting of the UNEP Board of Governers adopted resolution 18/9 on International Environmental Law and Sustainable Development. Austria participates actively in the follow-up process of resolution 18/9.

Austria is willing to participate actively in the follow-up of Decision 4/6 of the Commission on Sustainable Development ("International legal instruments and mechanisms"), especially with a view of its due reflection in the results of UNGASS 1997.

Austria has taken the necessary legislative measures for the implementation of the ECE Convention on Transboundary Environmental Impact Assessment and has instituted the ratification procedure for the ECE Convention on Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents. On the basis of the ECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Waterways and International Lakes, work on a specific convention on the hydrological cooperation for the protection of the river Danube has begun. The signing of the framework convention took place in Sofia in June 1994. In 1994, Austria ratified the Convention on the Protection of the Alpine Regions.


This chapter is also covered under sectoral and other chapters of this profile. The matrix below gives an overview of how national authorities rate the available information for decision making.

Rating of available data and information suitable for decision-making

Agenda 21 Chapters
Some good
data but
many gaps
2. International cooperation and trade
3. Combating poverty
4. Changing consumption patterns
5. Demographic dynamics and sustainability
6. Human health
7. Human settlements
8. Integrating E & D in decision-making
9. Protection of the atmosphere
10. Integrated planning and management of land resources
11. Combating deforestation
12. Combating desertification and drought
13. Sustainable mountain development
14. Sustainable agriculture and rural development
15. Conservation of biological diversity
16. Biotechnology
17. Oceans, seas, coastal areas and their living resources
18. Freshwater resources
19. Toxic chemicals
20. Hazardous wastes
21. Solid wastes
22. Radioactive wastes
24. Women in sustainable development
25. Children and youth
26. Indigenous people
27. Non-governmental organizations
28. Local authorities
29. Workers and trade unions
30. Business and industry
31. Scientific and technological community
32. Farmers
33. Financial resources and mechanisms
34. Technology, cooperation and capacity-building
35. Science for sustainable development
36. Education, public awareness and training
37. International cooperation for capacity-building
38. International institutional arrangements
39. International legal instruments
40. Information for decision-making

Additional Comments

All Federal Ministries in Austria, in particular the Federal Chancellery, Ministry of the Environment, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry for Science and Research and Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry and the governments of the Laender are responsible for the different activities on information for decision/making. Informal reviews of the existing information mechanisms for decision-making in the light of Agenda 21 have been organized.

Austria has a long tradition in collecting and evaluating data for decision-making in various fields, e.g. economy, environment, demographics, and health. Information is collected by institutes, industry and the private sector, researchers at univeristies and NGOs. In recent years, the Austrian Central Statistical Office, together with other institutions, has been engaged in a number of activities to develop Green Accounting.

In accordance with the relevant activities at the international level (OECD, EUROSTAT - European Union Statistical Office), the Austrian Central Statistical Office (OESTAT) has carried out a set of environmental indicators for some areas. Some of these data can be used as sustainable development indicators, but experience has shown that the main problems which have to be overcome are due to the fact that neither the concept of sustainable development nor the carrying capacity of various ecosystems are understod in sufficient detail. A more detailed and, in most cases, analytical understanding will be required to identify and define indicators for sustainable development and subsequently collect and evaluate pertinent data. Austria is ready to contribute to international efforts to this end and supports in particular the work done under the CSD Work Programme on Indicators for Sustainable Development.

Austria is one of the founding members of the Regional Environmental Centre in Budapest (Hungary) and the Central European Initiative. The Central European Data Request Facility (CEDAR) was founded in 1990 to support the efforts of the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries by supplying these countries with information, quality status of expert knowledge and access to a worldwide information network. It is based in Vienna. In 1993, CEDAR intensified its activities by becoming a UNEP/INFOTERRA Regional Service Centre for the CEE countries. In addition, Austria is one of the six donor countries participating in the UNEP/ESA (European Space Agency) Mercure Project. This programme will provide a global satellite telecommunication connection between various countries. A modern network will allow access to and exchange of environmental data such as UNEP/GRD. Moreover, it will be connected to the CEDAR network by means of a ground station in Vienna (operational as of 1997).

Latest 199-
Number of telephones in use per 100 inhabitants
Other data

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1 November 1997