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National Implementation of Agenda 21




Information Provided by the Government of BELGIUM 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:


Submitted by:

Mailing address:




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)



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

Since 1993, Belgium is a Federal state with several levels of power (the Federal and the 5 Federated levels : the Flemish Community and the Flemish Region which have been merged, the Walloon Region, the Brussels Capital City Region, the French-speaking Community and the German-speaking Community. Each level of power is entitled to create its own co-ordinating structure for implementing the action plans of Agenda 21.

1. Contact Points

a. International Features :

-Diplomatic Focal Point : Miss M. Claeys, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Topical Coordination P62.A, Rue Belliard - Belliardstraat, 65. B 1040 Brussels.

Tel : 00 32 2 501 37 10

Fax : 00 32 2 230 02 80

-Sustainable Development Focal Point : Mrs N. Gouzée/Mr. J. Verschooten, p.a. Federal Planning Office, Kunstlaan/Avenue des Arts 47-49 B 1040 Brussels.

Tel : 00 32 2 507 73 11

Fax : 00 32 2 507 73 73

b. National Features :

-Federal level :

* M. F. Chemay, Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Public Health and Environment, Service of Environmental Affairs, Service of Studies and Coordination, C.A.E./R.A.C Vesalius/Vésale 722

Pachecolaan/Boulevard Pachéco, 10 Bus/Bte 7 B 1010 Brussels Tel : 00 32 2 210 45 43 Fax : 00 32 2 210 48 52

* M. Ziarko, Federal Office for Scientific, Technical and Cultural Affairs (OSTC), Wetenschapsstraat/Rue de la Science, 8 B 1000 Brussels Tel : 00 32 2 238 34 11 Fax : 00 32 2 230 59 12

* M. J. Buys, Belgian Agency For Development Cooperation, Brederodestraat, 6, Rue Brederode, B 1000 Brussels

Tel 00 32 2 500 63 11. Fax 00 32 2 500 65 30

-Regional level :

* Flemish Focal Point : Mr. M. Merckx, Ministry of the Flemish Community, Environment, Nature, Land and Water Management Adminstration (AMINAL), Belliardstraat, 14-18 B 1040 Brussels. Tel : 00 32 2 507 30 30 Fax : 00 32 2 507 6732

* Walloon Focal Point : Mr M. Pignolet, Ministry of the Walloon Region, Directorate General for Natural Resources and the Environment (DGRNE), Avenue Prince de Liège, 15 B 5100 Jambes. Tel : 00 32 81 32 57 84 Fax : 00 32 81 32 59 84

* Brussels Focal Point : M. A. Lesne, Brussels Institute for Environmental Management (IBGE/BIM), Gulledelle, 100 B 1200 Brussels. Tel : 00 32 2 775 76 06 Fax : 32 2 775 76 11

-Community level :

* Flemish Community : see above.

* The French and the German-speaking Communities : no mechanisms

2. Membership/Composition/Chairperson

a. International Features : (environmental aspects) Coordination Committee for International Environmental Policy (CCIEP). Chairperson : M. J.P. Samain, Director general, Federal Ministry of the Environment ; 15 official members ( 4 representatives of the Federal and Regional Ministers of the Environment, 1 representative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1 representative of the Minister for the Development Cooperation, 1 representative of the Topical Coordination mentioned above as diplomatical focal point, 1 representative of the Permanent Mission of Belgium at the European Union, 6 civil servants of the Federal and Regional Ministries of the Environment and 1 representative of the Belgian Agency for Development Cooperation ; several invited members of other Ministries (Agriculture, Economical Affairs, Scientifical Policy, Federal Planning Office, etc.)


b. National Features

- Federal level : Interdepartemental Commission on Sustainable Development (proposed to Parliament). Chairperson : State Secretary for Environmental Affairs. Co-Chairs : representatives of the Federal Minister for Scientific Policy and the State Secretary for Development Aid. Members : representatives of each Federal minister and state secretary, representatives of the governments of Regions and Communities.

- Flemish Region : coordinating Ad Hoc Working Group of the Flemish Government and its 19 subgroups. Chairperson :

M. H. De Wel, Environment, Nature, Land and Water Management Administration. Members : representatives of the entire Flemish Government and the Flemish representatives in the National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD)

- Walloon Region : an Environment Plan for Sustainable Development exists and will be updated every five years

- Brussels Capital City Region : a Regional Development Plan does exist since 1995.

3. Mandate/Role of above Mechanisms/Councils

a. International Features, (environmental aspects) CCIEP : political decision-making body based on a intersectoral and interdepartemental cooperation and coordination initiated between the Federal and Regional Governments since April 1995 on environmental matters, nature conservation, and sustainable development.

b. National Features, Federal level : the Interdepartemental Commission (proposed to Parliament) will give guidelines to the Federal Planning Office in its mission as laid down in the draft of law on the Federal coordination on sustainable development for the preparation of a preliminary draft of a quadriannual Federal Plan of Sustainable Development. The Federal Planning Office will establish every two years a Federal Report on Sustainable Development.

c. National Features, Flemish Region : examine the possibilities for new concrete policy measures and implement the recommandations of the UNCED and the Agenda 21.

B. Key National Sustainable Development CONSULTATIVE Mechanisms/Councils.

1. Contact Points

a. National Council for Sustainable Development (NCSD) ; Mr.G.Vansintjan, permanent secretary, Ms Catherine Mertens, permanent secretary, Mailing address NCSD, Wetstraat/Rue de la Loi 56 B1040 Brussels

Tel. : 00 32 2 287 06 76 Fax : 00 32 2 280 14 27 e-mail:nrdo

b. Milieu en Natuurraad Vlaanderen (MINA-Raad) ;

Kliniekstraat, 25, 4de verdieping, B.1070 Brussels

Tel.: 00 32 2 219 96 40 Fax : 00 32 2 219 97 15

c. Conseil Wallon de l'Environnement pour le Développement durable (CWEDD)

CWEDD, rue du Vertbois 13 C, B.4000 Liège

Tel. : 00 32 4 232 98 61 Fax : 00 32 4 232 98 10

d. Conseil de l'Environnement pour la Région de Bruxelles-Capitale/Raad voor het Leefmilieu van het Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest (RLBHG/CERBC)

Hertogstraat/rue Ducale 61, B1000 Brussels

Tel. : 00 32 2 513 17 87

Fax : 00 32 2 513 91 41


2. Memberships/Compositions/Chairpersons


Chairman : His Royal Highness Prince Philip

-Federal ministers : Prime Minister and Ministers for Economic Affairs and Telecommunications, Internal Affairs, Finance and External Trade, Budget, Scientific Policy, Public Health and Pensions, Foreign Affairs, Employment, Social Affairs, Agriculture and Small & Medium-sized Business, Transport, Justice, the Civil Service, Defence, State Secretaries for Development Aid, Security, Social Integration and Environment;

-Regiogal ministers : Minister-Presidents of Flanders, of the Walloon Region, and of the Brussels' Capital City Region;

-Business and industry: 2 companies;

-Scientific community : 3 Dutch-speaking universities, 3 French-speaking universities;

-Non-governmental organizations : 6 NGO's for environmental protection, 6 NGO's for development aid, and 2 NGO's for consumer protection;

-Workers and trade unions : 3 major trade unions;

-Federations of employers : 6 major federations.

b. MINA-Raad

Chairman : Prof. R. Verheyen

24 members of the Environmental Nature Conservation associations ; 6 of the trade unions, 2 of the employers'organizations, 2 of the business community, 2 of the agricultural organizations, 8 of the environmental councils, 4 of the Association of Flemish Provinces, Towns and Municipalities, and 10 of the Flemish Research Policy Council.


Chairman : Mr. J. Smitz

3 members representing the Walloon employers' organization, 2 the national union of farmers, 2 the trade unions, 2 the most representative organizations of the business community, 4 the nature conservation organizations, 1 the most representative consumer associations, 2 the Association of Walloon Towns and Municipalities, 3 French-language university institutions, the chairmen or deputy-chairmen of the Regional Waste Commission, the Advisory Commission on the Protection of Surface Water against Pollution, the Regional Town and Country Planning, the Regional Consultative Commission on the Exploitation of Quarries, the High Walloon Nature Conservation Council, the High Walloon Forest and Wood Council, the High Walloon Agriculture, and the Food Industry and Foodstuff Council.


Chairman : Mr. R. Gillet

5 members representing the non-profit association, 3 officials representing the Ministries dealing with town and country planning, the protection of historic monuments and areas of outstanding natural beauty, and public transport, 3 members representing the most representative workers' organizations, 3 the most representative employers organizations, 1 the business community , 3 experts in environmental protection problems, appointed by the universities, 3 members representing the Union of Towns and Municipalities, 3 the waste incinerators, the water purification plants and the water companies , 3 the consumer associations, 3 members appointed by the Regional council because of their scientific expertise.

3. Mandate/Role of above Mechanisms/Councils

a. NCSD ; advises the Federal Government on each measure concerning sustainable development, particularly for the implementation of the European Unions Fifth Action Program on Environmental Issues and the implementation of Agenda 21. It proposes studies on all subjects related to sustainable development, organizes discussion fora, and will obtain the broadest possible public participation concerning sustainable development.

b. MINA-Raad ; advises the Flemish Government and the Flemish Parlement on all matters relating to the environment or the protection of nature. It carries out research.

c. CWEDD ; assesses the impact on the environment in the Walloon Region, the annual "State of the Environment in the Walloon Region" report, gives its opinion on the draft Environment Plan for Sustainable Development.

d. BHG/CERBC ; the Brussels Regional Government on all environmental matters.


STATUS REPORT: Belgium is committed to a high level of environmental protection and to an open equitable and non-discriminatory multilateral system. These are equally important objectives. In this respect, Belgium considers that trade and environment policies can play a mutually and supportive role in favour of sustainable development.

In OECD, UNEP, UNCTAD and WTO, Belgium positioned definitely in favour of the adoption of core labour standards and social standards within trade agreements in order to accelerate sustainable social development in developing countries.

The country has therefore played an active role in economic and trade fora such as OECD and WTO (CTE), as well as in international and environmental oriented fora like CSD and UNEP.

1. WTO (CTE)

Since the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment (CTE) has been set up in 1995, Belgium together with all European member states has considered the principle 12 of the Rio Declaration as a central reference in the CTE discussions, considering that the most effective way of dealing with transboundary environmental problems is through international and multilateral agreements (MEA's), not by unilateral trade measures.

We believe that the multilateral trading system, and the WTO framework rules, should be supportive of MEA's when they include restricted trade measures that may be necessary for the achievement of the environmental goals they intend to protect.

Further work will be required to determine whether any modifications of the WTO provisions are necessary to accommodate, among others, with MEA's and new instruments of environmental policy like eco-labelling. Belgium gives also great attention to further market access for LDC's with a view to support development prospects and improve export performance of LDC's.


Concerning non-binding analytical work in international fora, Belgium participates in OECD joint session on trade and environment, asking for quantitative analysis exploring the linkages between DC's market access improvements and tariff escalation, international trade in waste, DPG's, competitiveness.


Belgium supports the UNEP activities as complementary activities of the CTE work program, especially these concerning the assessement of the trade measures of the main MEA's (Basel, Montreal & Cites), and these concerning the studies and workshops on well targeted sectors.

4. CSD

Belgium welcomes the fact that the Declaration of Rio and Agenda 21 have broadened the scope of discussion on trade and environment and sustainable development. Belgium believes that the debate on trade and environment could be based on the principles provided in Chapter 2 from Agenda 21.

Within this context, Belgium attaches special importance to the decisions from CSD IV. Especially the decision on the relationship between environmental policy and competitiveness, in which the lack of indication that environmental policy in general has detrimental effects on competitiveness is acknowledged, and the problem that environmental regulations from importing countries may cause to developing countries in transition, is underlined. The principle of cost internalisation is explicitly referred to and green countervailing duties are firmly rejected.

Concerning future work, Belgium would like to introduce the precautionary principle (Rio Declaration, Principle 15) in the debate on the accomodation of the multilateral trade system to the environmental needs.

Belgium supports enhanced policy coordination at the national level in the area of trade and environment, and, at the international level, whishes to develop a holistic approach between international organisations; WTO/CTE, OECD, UNCTAD, UNEP and CSD.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure

According to article 113 of the Treaty of the European Union, trade policy is an exclusive competence of the Commission. In its legally binding aspects, the trade and environment policy is defined by the European member states in the so called "113 Committee".

The Committee for Coordination in International Environmental Policy (CCIEP) has established a Working Group Trade and Environment in 1995 under the presidency of the Ministry of Foreign Trade. Its missions are the preparation at the national level (with the Federated entities) and the follow-up of the decisions and activities of the Committee 113 of the EU as well as the CSD sessions, the UNCTAD, UNEP and the OECD work related to trade and environment.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues

See Chapter 34/37

3. Major Groups

As a reminder

4. Finance

See Chapter 33

5. Regional/International Cooperation

See Status Report.




Poverty in Belgium

In Belgium 6 % of the population is poor. This percentage was calculated according to the usual EU norm, indicating that 6 % of the households do not have half the average income of a single at their disposal. This figure is low in European perspective. It is mainly due to the system of Social Security that exists in Belgium, insuring employees and their families for unemployment, sickness and retirement. For those who cannot work or could not work long enough there is a system of social assistance, that guarantees a minimum income that is fixed by law and in case of dispute is settled in labour court.

Policies for minimum allowances are a Federal competence, while next to it the Regions are competent for many policy issues related to poverty such as educational policies, housing, culture and welfare, all of them important parts of employment policy. In order to allow for a coordinated poverty policy the ministers competent for poverty on Federal and Regional level meet several times a year to decide on policy proposals concerning poverty.

Last year a variety of measures was taken and implemented. A law was passed allowing for debts to be centralized with one particular judge who can impose a plan for debt relief and who can cancel debts.

In several Regions laws were past to guarantee a minimum provision of electricity, gas and water in case of payment difficulties.

Measures were elaborated to better protect people in case of eviction procedures for non-payment of their rent.

For the time being, negotiations are conducted on several proposals to improve the access of the poorest to public health and the administration of law.

Measures were taken to stimulate social employment.

Within each Region considerable budgets were freed in order to cope with social discrimination in the cities.

Poverty policy in Belgium is developed in close cooperation with the poorest themselves, and relies on a combination of improvement of the income position and of abolishment of social discrimination in different sectors.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

As a reminder

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues:

As a reminder

3. Major Groups:

As a reminder

4. Finance:

As a reminder

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.

Unemployment (%)
Population living in absolute poverty
Public spending on social sector %
Other data



1. National Policy Objective/Focus

The Federal ecotax law was introduced in 1993 and acts as a "stick behind the door" pressing stakeholders to take environmentally friendly actions such as selective waste collection and recycling, ecologically acceptable waste treatment and more rational use of consumer goods. As the tax is levied at the earliest possible stage of the distribution cycle, this new law does not impose any constraint to trade. On the other hand, energy levies and charges were introduced and others raised during 1993; this led to a significant reduction in CO2 emissions in 1994. Part of the additional proceeds is used to protect employment in the context of market competition.

Furthermore, in the whole area of ozone depleting substances, Belgium actively applies the EU regulations phasing out or reducing ozone depleting substances and contributes actively in toughening these standards on EU level, which happens almost every two years.

A decree of 19 April 95 of the Flemish Region should also be mentioned which stimulates and regulates "responsible-care" initiatives by enterprises. An analogous initiative in the Walloon Region, to integrate environmental concerns in firms' behaviour, is in a well advanced stage.

2. National Targets

The Federal eco-tax law contains a general framework and time table for the introduction of a number of eco-taxes. The timetable was found to be too stringent to be feasible and had to be eased by Parliament.

In 1991, Belgium decided to reduce its CO2 emission in 2000 by 5% compared to 1990. This decision is to be seen in the light of the European Union Strategy to limit CO2 emission, whereby :

- CO2 emission in the EU need to be stabilised in 2000 at teir level of 1990;

- EU measures are needed to achieve that target. In particular, Belgium

considers that a carbon/energy tax, coordinated at least at the EU level, is needed to reach in Belgium the target of 5% reduction by 2000.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

Decision-Making Structure

The Federal Government has tried to integrate environmental and fiscal policy through inter alia the eco-tax law of 1993. The Eco-tax Commission has broad powers to propose amendments to the existing law, to propose new eco-taxes, and to propose eliminating others. Parliament takes the final decision, with no legal obligation to consult the Eco-tax Commission. Parliament is presently reviewing a third revision to the Eco-tax law. The Regional Governments have the authority to regulate impacts of eco-taxes on their revenue.

The Government of the German-speaking Community set up a consumer's information (Verbraucherschutzzentrale East-Belgium). It informs about eco-consumption as well as about environment and the protection of nature.

Capacity-Building/Technology Issues

The Federal Government is preparing a framework programme for research on specific topics pertaining to sustainable development, such as marine sciences, transportation systems, and social and economic issues aimed at helping develop measures to change production and consumption patterns. An information campaign is part of the implementation and enforcement of the eco-tax law.

Major Groups

A policy debate on consumption and production patterns was held at the Federal level involving most Government ministries, Parliament, industry, consumer groups and media. NGOs, universities and local authorities were less involved. It resulted in the adoption of some pieces of legislation.


A few programmes have been implemented to help the poor, including measures to guarantee a minimum supply of electricity to all households, subsidies for home improvements for energy efficiency (max. of Bfr. 50,000 or US$ 1,500) and measures to limit the total amount of loans.

Regional/International Cooperation

The Federal Government is involved in the implementation of the EU's Eco-labelling Scheme. An appropriate agency would grant producers the authorization to use the EU logo.

Initiated by the German-speaking Community, a frontier-crossing, euregional consumer's information has been set up. EUROKON informs consumers in the Province de Liège and the German-speaking Community in Belgium, the Limburg Provinces in Belgium and the Netherlands and Aachen Region in Germany.

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

(1) 1989

(2) 1993



Belgium does not have explicit and integrated population policies. However, many policy measures, especially within the framework of social security and family policy, have direct and indirect repercussions on demographic dynamics. In general, policies for welfare, family, health, education, environment, immigration, data collection, research and development aid are largely in accordance with the recommendation of the three international conferences on population.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1.Decision-Making Structure

The decline in the immigration rate is largely due to restrictive measures taken within the framework of immigration legislation.

2.Capacity-Building/Technology Issues

As a reminder.

3.Major Groups

As a reminder.


As a reminder.

5.Regional/International Cooperation

Belgium is an active member of the Commission on Population and Development which is responsible for the follow-up of the International Conference on Population and Development or ICPD (Cairo, September 1994). At its yearly meetings, the country is represented by the Head of the Population and Family Study Centre (CBGS, Centrum voor Bevolkings- en Gezinsstudie) or his replacement.

Population (thousands) on 1st january
Kingdom as a whole
Brussels Region
Flemish Region
Walloon Region
Annual rate increase (1990-1996)
Surface area (Km2)
Population density (inhabitants/Km2)
Other data
TFR (Total fertility rate per woman)
Mortality (life expectancy at birth in years)





(Source : "Recent Demographic Developments in Europe", Strasbourg : Council of Europe)



Belgium consists of three language communities : the French Community, the Flemish Community and the German-speaking Community. The Communities are responsible for the policy of care in and outside hospitals, with exception of the responsibilities of the Federal Government. The Communities are also responsible for health education and promotion, as well as for preventive medecine (except national measures of profylaxis).

The Communities are specifically responsable for :

- the application of agreement standards,

- the application of program standards,

- subsidization,

- preventive medicine (AIDS, alcoholism, vaccinations, ...),

- frontline care,

- inspections,

- sport medical controls,

- school medical controls,

- follow-up programs for little children.

The responsibilities of the Federal Government are :

a) organic legislation,

b) finance requirements by organic legislation,

c) national health insurance,

d) base rules for program standards,

e) base rules for financing infrastructure and expensive medical equipement,

f) national agreement standards, only when repercussion on b) c) d) and e),

g) fixing conditions university hospitals.

The policies for institutional care are undergoing a continuous dynamic evolution. Over the past ten years different major reforms have been aimed at reducing the supply of hospital services, i.e. the number of beds and hospitalisation days, in favour of alternative and better adapted forms of health care, more particularly for chronic patients. These reforms have been implemented at the same time in acute hospitals, institutions for ongoing care or chronic hospitals, and in psychiatric hospitals.

However, modifying only hospital structures was not enough : the financing system is also being revised, although this onerous task is far from completed. The financing system which took into account hospitalisation days was replaced by a system of budgets per hospital.

The former budget based only on structural elements has gradually made way for an adapted budget based on structural elements as well as on activity-related data.

The implementation of this financing system required the installation of various databases, such as the registration of minimum nursing data, minimum clinical data, and minimum psychiatric data. At this moment, one is considering to which point social data should be included. The registration of these data should not only be useful for the fine tuning of budgets, but should eventually lead to better management and improved health care practice.


The creation of special structures to promote the dialogue between hospital managers, doctors and insurers brings another challenge, and that is harmo-nizing the policies of health insurance and the policies of the Ministry of Social Affairs, Public Health and the Environment. In addition, these policies should benefit from a more efficient use of available data.

During the past years the Directorate of Medical Practice has also proposed several important new laws, such as the law on blood and the law on physio-therapy. The regulations for general practitioners too have undergone impor-tant modifications. In addition, new specialities have been created such as emergency specialist and intensive care specialist. The art of nursing has not been neglected : new titles and special professional qualifications have been created.

A permanent evaluation of the number of doctors and dentists needed in function of the demografic and sociological developments is planned since 1996. Rules concerning the evaluation of medical practice can be fixed.

Several important projects are being developed and should be implemented in the years to come, such as the High Council for Dental Care, management of available medical services and the evaluation of medical practice. The Directo-rate of Medical Practice also has the task of examining important questions of bioethics.

Norms for accrediation of emergency services, MES services (Medical Emer-gency Services), and intensive care units will be developed. Furthermore, the law relating to the "Emergency Service 100" has been modified with a view to create provincial schools for ambulance paramedics. The policy for emergency services is supported by the National Council for Emergency Services and by the future Provincial Councils, which are currently under development.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure

See above-cited

2. Capacity-Building/Technology-Issues

Official hospital beds 1 January 1993 : 75.360

i.e. 7,43 beds for every 1.000 inhabitants :

- 5,75 in general hospitals

- 1,68 in psychiatric hospitals.

3. Major Groups

Subdivided in

a) general hospitals :

- general hospitals,

- general hospitals with a university character,

- university hospitals

- exclusively geriatric hospitals

- specialized hospitals

b) psychiatric hospitals

c) rest homes and homes for the elderly

d) psychiatric rest homes and protected living systems

4. Finance

Overall national hospital budget; 144,88 billion Bfr in 1977

5.Regional/International Cooperation

Almost the entire budget for Belgian bilateral cooperation concerning population is comprised of programmes for primary health care in gene-ral, and for maternal and infant health care in particular. The Belgian contribution to UNFPA in 1993 was Bfr.75 million (US$ 2.3 million)

Life expectancy at birth








Infant mortality (per 1000 live births)
Maternal mortality rate (per 100000 live births)
3 1
Access to safe drinking water (% of population)
Access to sanitation services (% of population)
Other data

1 1986



Belgium has a strong and unique human settlements and habitat identity (high degree of urbanization ; urbanization of rural areas ; predominance of medium-size and small towns ; a regionally differentiated approach to human settlements and habitat policies ; tradition of socially redistributive human settlements and housing policy with high infrastructural services...).

Although the population may be slow in growth, household unit requirements are still substantially growing.

Urban physical expansion, to the detriment of agricultural land and green areas, has been considerable in the past through the sub-urbanization tendency and undiscriminating commercial expansion.

The principles of Sustainable Development, particularly since the 1992 Rio UNCED conference, are increasingly influencing the national decision-making in its international responsibilities as well as in its role of co-ordinating Regional Government initiatives.

The 1993 Constitution explicitly states the "right to decent housing" as a constitutional right in Belgium. Each Region further details the modalities and implementation priorities.

The Regions are to a very large degree responsible for policies and implementation related to human settlements, housing matters and urban development.

International co-operation in the human settlements and habitat field is, in Belgium, organised on several institutional levels : the Federal Government, the Regional Governments, the local governments (municipalities, provinces) and a good number of non-government organizations.

All these bodies provide substantial contributions to habitat through multilateral and bilateral co-operation channels. The Belgian development co-operation stimulates training and capacity-building programmes and assists international courses and research programmes initiated by universities and contributes to other training and educational activities (f.e. localising Agenda 21 programme).

In execution of the decisions of the United Nations a Belgium National Committee for Human Settlements was established under the chairmanship of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues:

3. Major Groups:

4. Finance:

5. Regional/International Cooperation:

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: The review and revision of legislative, regulatory and administrative guidelines have, since UNCED, been a permanent process. The Regional Governments of Flanders and Wallonia have adopted Regional laws as the framework for the integration of this process regarding environment. The main environmental competence of the Federal Government is coordination and interface with international authorities and a part of social and economic responsibilities lies at the Federal level. The Regional Governments are also responsible for a large part of social and economic affairs and the Community Governments for personal and cultural affairs.

At the end of 1996, the Federal Government has decided to propose to the Federal Parliament a new law improving the planning and management of sustainable development at the Federal level. This law brings institutional changes and introduces new procedures so as to facilitate the integrated consideration of social, economic and environmental issues. Its main innovation is the organization of the quadrennial planning of Federal policies and measures for sustainable development under the leadership of a Federal Interdepartmental Commission. The Federal Planning Office will be in charge of the secretariat of this commission, of publishing a Federal report on sustainable development, monitoring the state of development every other year (including business as usual and their impacts compared to alternative scenarii), and of planning a sustainable development Federal strategy. This strategy will be subjected to the examination and advice of the National Council of Sustainable Development, where major groups of the society are represented, and take this advice into account before being adopted by the Government.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a Topical Coordination Division (TCD) which coordinates consensus on environmental matters among Federal, Regional and Community authorities. It also coordinates the drafting of the Belgian report on sustainable development. Cross-sectorial and inter-departmental cooperation and coordination was initiated between the Federal Government and the three Regional Governments in the context of the cooperation on international environmental policy. The Coordination Committee for International Environmental Policy (CCIEP) was established to systematically review the relationsship and overlaps between international agreements, and became fully operational in 1995.

It is charged with coordination and consultation activities to ensure vertical and horizontal integration regarding environmental policy. It also decides on Belgium's international environmental policy.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

As described above, the decision-making stuctures regarding sustainable development are far from being fully integrated in Belgium. At the regional level, though, Regional laws and frameworks regarding environment policy in Belgium have been permanently improved since UNCED, and a coordinating mechanism decides on Belgim's international environment policy with the Federal level. Regarding integration between environment and development, the Federal Government has decided at the end of 1996 to propose to the Federal Parliament a new law improving the planning and management of sustainable development at the Federal level. This law brings institutional changes and introduces new procedures so as to facilitate the integrated consideration of social, economic and environmental issues.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues:

An interdepartmental commission is in charge of the scientific aspects of sustainable development. The Federal Office for Scientific, Technical and Cultural Affairs (OSTC) is preparing a framework for research on sustainable development. One programme under this framework aims to improve communication on the subject of implementing sustainable development among scientists, decision makers and NGO's. Activities include a discussion platform for policy proposals, carrying out studies and small research projects to integrate results for multi-disciplinary approaches, and all-inclusive database pertaining to sustainable development.

3. Major Groups:

As a reminder

4. Finance:

As a reminder

5. Regional/International Cooperation:

As a reminder



Status Report-The Vienna Convention (1985) signed in 1985 and ratified in 1988.-Montreal Protocol (1987) signed in 1987 and ratified in December 1988.-London Amendment (1990) signed in 1990 and ratified in October 1993.-Copenhagen Amendment (1992) signed in 1992.-The latest report to the Montreal Protocol Secretariat was prepared in 1996.

1.Depletion of the Ozone LayerThe Federal and the Regional Governments actively support the development of more progressive EU legislation for control measures on ozone depleting substances and are actively involved in EU working groups, i.a. concerning illegal imports of CFCs. In coordination with the Regional authorities, a system for monitoring and data gathering on imports, exports and use of ozone depleting substances is being put in place in view of improving the waste management of used ODS (recovery, recycling and destruction) as well as the control on illegal import of CFCs. A transition strategy is being developed for CFC containing MDI's. Moreover, a number of studies have been undertaken on ozone depletion.

Status Report

-UNFCCC signed in 1992. Ratified in January 1996.

-The latest report to the UNFCCC Secretariat was submitted in 1997.2.Climate ChangeClimate change policy is focussed on CO2 emissions, with no policy objectives as yet determined for the other GHG. While a number of measures have been taken in the energy and transportation sector, by industry and by local authorities, no significant changes have been observed in the emissions from these sectors.The Belgian National Programme for the Reduction of CO2 emissions (NPRCE) was adopted in 1994 to reduce emissions by 5% by the year 2000,as related to 1990 levels, based on a mix of policies and measures, including fiscal and non fiscal measures. Apart from those some measures exist, aimed at reducing GHG emissions, other than CO2, and include, for example, incineration and methane recuperation systems at landfills. A new national policy plan on the reduction of GHG emissions will be prepared by 1999. This plan will also contain policy objectives and measures for other GHG than CO2.Within the context of the first Belgian national communication under the UNFCCC, both CO2 emissions and carbon sink inventories have been established for the 1990-1994 period, as well as inventories for CH4 and N2O emissions. The Federal Government has committed itself to the adoption of a carbon and energy tax in close consultation with other European countries concerned. Non-fiscal measures such as energy efficiency standards regulation,voluntary agreements and promotion of mass transit systems are proposed in the NPRCE. Some energy standards have been implemented. Flanders has a tax allowance scheme to encourage energy saving investments by enterprises. Wallonia has developped local energy offices to inform the public on rational use of energy.

(Cont.)Status Report-Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution (1979) signed in 1979 and ratified in July 1982.

-EMEP Protocol (1984) signed in 1984 and ratified in July 1987.-Helsinki Protocol on SO2 (1985) signed in 1985 and ratified in April 1989. -Sofia Protocol on NOX (1988) signed in 1988.-Geneva Protocol on VOC (1991) signed in 1991.-Oslo Protocol on SO2 (1994) signed in 1994.

3.Transboundary Air PollutionBelgium follows the EU directives on air quality and pollutants emission control from mobile and fixed sources. For tropospheric ozone, the Ministers Council adopted (summer 1996) a set of measures related to the ozone problem and its effects on public health, including measures concerning air pollution modelling, use of solvent containing products, the transport sector, industrial emissions etc. Belgium participated at the Ministerial Tropospheric Ozone in North West Europe Conference (May 1996) where the ministers or their representatives adopted a common statement in which they commit themselves to take measures now to eliminate ozone episodes in the region by 2005.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1.Decision-Making Structure

The Coordinating Committee on International Environmental Policies (CCIEP) is a forum for negotiation between the various Federal and Regional Government Departments involved in environmental policy and has a number of working groups, e.g. on climate change, depletion of the ozone layer, protection of the atmosphere and emission inventories.

The Federal Government carried out activities to sensitize industry by means of voluntary agreements in specific sectors and a number of studies have been undertaken. Parallel to the Federal actions to protect the atmosphere, the Regional Governments of Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia are implementing their own programmes and regulations, such as EIA. In the Flemish Region the maximum allowed emission and immission levels of different air pollutants are given by the official environmental legislation Vlarem, the latest updated version of which was published in 1996. A decree of the Flemish Government calls for an Environmental Policy Plan (EPP) every 5 years and an Environment Report every 2 years. The first report, published in 1994, describes the different social activities causing pressure on the environment and their effects and gives an overview of possible improving measures. A second version, published in 1996, is based on a more strictly structured and modellation-driven approach. The first EPP was drafted in 1996 and will be officially approved in the beginning of 1997. The 1994 Wallonia Environmental Plan for Sustainable Development develops actions in the field of climate change, air pollution, energy and transport among others. Each year a report of the environment in Wallonia in a specified area is published. In 1993 air pollution has been addressed, in 1994 climate change ; in 1995 the sectors energy, industry and transport have been examined.

The Federal Government is adressing aspects such as the cost-effectiveness of alternative transportation systems and the environmental impacts and safety of transportation technologies. Flemish traffic policy is aimed at improving safety, and the efficient transport of passengers and goods in order to reduce traffic congestion and an environmentally sound transportation system. Railroads and inland waterways are to be developed as alternative transportation systems. The goal of Wallonia's transportation policy is to reduce energy consumption and detrimental environmental impacts. Overall, progress has been slight to fair in improving the transportation systems in Belgium.

2.Capacity-Building / Technology IssuesThe Regional Governments carry out emission and air quality inventories according to international obligations, especially with respect to EU directives for the CORINAIR database and international conventions such as EMEP. The Regions have developed a network of stations measuring ambient air pollution. They also established an Interregional Cell for the Environment (IRCEL) whose main duties are the supervision of atmospheric emissions, the management of a data bank for ambient air quality and which serves as focal point for the European Environment Agency. IRCEL is the National Reference Center for the thematic Centers "Air quality" and "Atmospheric Emissions" of the EEA. The Cell also monitors pollution episods and particularly tropospheric ozone.The National Impulse Programme on Global Change contributes to the international research effort and is done in collaboration with projects of the IGBP, WRCP, the Network for the Detection of Stratospheric Changes and the EU programme Environment and Climate. In the Flemish Region, a centre of excellence for best available technologies is carrying out a number of research projects for developing clean technologies as well as a monitoring system for GHG for the IPCC.


3.Major GroupsIndustry and transport are the major targets of government efforts to use new and environmentally sound technologies. Environmental NGO's, business and professional organisations and trade unions participate on both the Federal and the Regional levels in policy making on sustainable development, through a number of advisory bodies, such as the National Council for Sustainable Development (Federal), the Environment and Nature Council (MINA-Raad, Flanders) and the Walloon Environment Council for Sustainable Development (CWEDD, Wallonia).


The Federal Government contributed US$ 8.59 million towards the implementation of developing country efforts under the Montreal Protocol for the period 1991-1996.National Research Impulse Programmes are Global Change (US$ 16.4 million for the period 1991-1996 and US$ 17.1 million for a second phase), Transport and Mobility (US$ 11.3 million for 1990-1996) and Sustainable Mobility (US$ 10.9 million for 1996-2000).5. Regional/ International CooperationBelgian scientists have participated in various IPPC assessments, the WMO's Panel for the Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion and the European Programme on the Transport and Transformation of Trace Gases in the Troposphere over Europe (EUROTRAC). This last programme provides substantive input into other international negotiations on transboundary air pollution and ozone depletion. One spot in the Walloonforest is also a study center for the EUROCRAFT and EUROFLUX EU research programmes in the field of the impact of climate change on forestal ecosystems.

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



The Regional Governments are carrying out a number activities to manage land resources sustainably, including formulating appropriate policies, improving information systems, public awareness campaigns, and pilot projects.

The evolutionary options of Regional policies concern the management of land resources in the following way ;

- define territorial planning zones and infrastructural zones and defining their relations

- define town and village planning, in order to reinforce the densification of urban areas, in order to obtain more urban and rural specificity

- organize parsimonious management of soil and natural resources while allowing for a harmonious life style development

- propose the localization of transport infrastructure, a hierarchy of transport modes and the implementation of complementarity between them.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure

The Regional Governments of Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels Capital City are each responsible for the integrated planning and management of land resources. The Regional Governments are the most competent authorities as regards territorial planning ; however, the local authorities do have certain important prerogatives in this area, in a context of participation and decentralization.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues

Education and training on integrated approaches to land management, instutitional strengthening and strengthening of technological capacities are important activities which are not being implemented by all Regional Governments.

3. Major Groups

As a reminder.

4. Finance

As a reminder.

5. Regional/International Cooperation

The BADC contributed Bfr. 24 million (US$ 720,000) for the establishment of a centre for remote -sensing under the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture and Agrarian Research. The Federal Government also co-financed a project on aerial photography of Cambodia to the order of Bfr.16.5 million (US$ 500,000). The Regional Governments participate in a number of European initiatives, such as the elaboration of a framework for the development of the European Area, among others. They participate in a number of inter-regional projects within the framework of the European region and have cooperative agreements with the cities of Berlin and Beijing.



There is not one definition of forest for Belgium as a whole at the Federal level. Forestry is a fully regionalised matter wich means that the three Regions of the country are politically responsable for forestry affairs. Forests in general are considered to be surfaces covered with trees which function as ecosystems and that can fulfill several functions (wood production, recreation, nature conservation, landscape, soil- and/or water protection, shelter functions,...). However, the simple alignment of trees, orchards and gardens are not considered as forests.

The forest area in the Brussels Capital City Region has been classified as a forest zone. Forests can have in the land use management programmes several protected statuses (reserve, nature area, forest area). In addition to these zoning plans forests can have a juridical status such as protected landscape, forest reserve or nature reserve. Next to these regulations in the Walloon Region there is a working definition for forests that is used for the forest inventories according to the international agreed definitions. In the Flemish Region there is a juridical definition as well.

The primary obstacle to reforestation and afforestation efforts are the attitude of agriculturalists, limited available land areas and limited financial rentability of forest estates. This is aggravated by the long-term nature of forest investments, high maintenance charges, inappropiate taxation structures, fragmentation of forests and silviculture practices not always adapted to the site.

Forest inventories have been prepared for the three Regions, carried out annually for the Brussels Capital City Region, and about every ten years for the Flemish and Walloon Regions. Wallonia's forest inventory is presently being updated. The first overall Flemish forest inventory programme started in 1996.

Wallonia's forests do not suffer significantly from deforestation. In fact, the forest cover has increased from 300,000 hectares to 500,000 hectares over the past 150 years. Although the Flemish Region's forests also have shown a continual increase in area, particular attention is given to afforestation and forest protection in the urban areas and around historically old forests. Flanders still remains a Region with low forest cover (about 8%).

Since UNCED, (Rio, June 1992) a number of forest-related activities have been fully addressed by the Regional Governments, including promoting extension services, public awareness campaings, research projects, geographical information systems, remote-sensing, national plans, multiple roles of forests, land classification and EIA's.

The adoption of EU regulation on forestry measures on agricultural land is expected to encourage more agricultural land to be forested.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure

The Regional Governments are the focal points of authority and competence with respect to managing forests, with forest services being fairly decentralized. The various Ministries of Environment of each Region are represented in the National Council for Sustainable Development. Forests and related legislation have been in existence in the regions since as early 1854. Since 1992 several amendments and specifications have been adapted (e.g. public accessibility, inventarisation, forest reserves, support for private forest sector). A number of Regional laws ensure that conflicting uses of the forests do not occur. The Environmental Plan for the Sustainable Development of the Walloon Region has given particular attention to forest issues. The Flemish Government developed in 1993 a long-term strategic forestry plan. A Forest Actionplan is due to be approved in early 1997.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues

Efforts have been undertaken to improve the qualifications of forestry personnel. The Flemish and Walloon Regions have institutions which focus on forestry research and high level education (university level). Training and extension services are important in the three Regions.

3. Major Groups

The private forest owners, rural cooperatives, local authorities and communities, youth and NGO's are among those which play an important role in sustainable forest management. Women, however, do not play a role as a special group in forestry. Overall social actions for equality and emancipation include the forest sector.

Consultative mechanisms have been created, such as the ministerial advisory councils in both the Walloon and Flemish Regions, in wich also stakeholders of the wood sector are represented.

4. Finance

The 1996 budget for forest management (wages and research not included) was Bfr. 1.22 billion (US$ 39.40 million). In 1995 this was Bfr 1.15 billion (US$ 37.21 million). The national revenue from the forest sector (including wood processing industries) is approximately Bfr. 117 billion (US$ 3.55 billion). The Regional Governments provide subsides under objective criteria for the sustainable management of forests.

5. Regional/International Cooperation

Belgium participates actively in a number of regional and international organisations on forest policy, such as the EU, BENELUX and International Tropical Timber Organization ITTO. Belgium also participates actively in the Ministerial Conference for the Protection of European Forests to develop criteria and indicators for the sustainable management of forests. The Federal and Regional Governments carry out a number of programmes and projects in other countries on a bilateral basis, such as with Morocco on forest information systems and an afforestation and forestry research projects in China. Special attention is given to countries with economies in transition.

Forest Area (Km2) 1
Protected forest area 2
1,798 ha
Roundwood production (solid volume of roundwood without bark in mill m3)
Deforestation rate (Km2/annum)
Reforestation rate (Km2/annum)
Other data

1 Belgium-Luxembourg

2 Strictly forest reserves. Some forests also have a nature reserve status (see chapter 15)

3 Estimation based on forest inventory of the Walloon Region. In the case of land subject to

forestry regulations, reforestation is obligatory.



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

Particularly in Africa

Although Belgium wasn't able to sign the Convention before the deadline, the process of accession is well underway. Deposition of the instruments of accession is expected in the first semester of 1997, in order to participate in the First Conference of the Parties as a Party to the Convention.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure

The Belgian Agency for Development Co-operation (BADC) is in charge of elaborating bilateral development projects and of co-ordinating Belgian contributions to multilateral interventions. It does so through government to government agreements or agreements with international organizations. BADC has a long-standing record of actions in the field of combating desertification and drought within both frameworks, especially in Africa.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues

In its bilateral projects BADC usually includes activities that relate to capacity development and technology transfer, either locally, through training programmes in Belgium, or both.

As a result of the Convention, the Belgian scientific community has established a national group of desertification experts to be included in the future European network that will contribute to the Committee on Science and Technology (CST) of the Convention.

3. Major Groups

Target populations of development projects in the field of combating desertification and drought are mainly situated at the grass-root level, with an increasing attention being paid to women. Local governments are also the aim of capacity building, through an objective oriented project cycle which intends to take up all major groups in the decision-making process, thus promoting the participatory approach at all levels. In addition to its direct bilateral projects, BADC also finances NGOs that are active in combating desertification and drought.

4. Finance

New projects financed by BADC from 1992 on, i.e. disregarding projects started before 1992 and completed after that year or still running, can be summarized as follows :

-direct bilateral 11.22 million US$ (excluding SADC, see below)

-NGOs 2.04 million US$

-multilateral 5.00 million US$ (excluding IFAD, see below)

-universities 1.27 million US$ (see below)

-financial 14.24 million US$

The total BADC funding for combating desertification and drought for the period 1992-1996, thus amounts to 94.42 million US$, including all expenditures cited under 5. below.

5. Regional/International Cooperation

For the period 1987-1996 Belgium has contributed a total amount of 52 million US$ to IFAD's Special Programme for Sub-Saharan Africa, of which many projects belong to the realm of combating desertification and drought.

The SADC region has received financing for water programmes, drought monitoring, forest inventory and soil improvement to the overall amount of 8.65 million US$ for the period 1993-1996.

Belgian universities also participate in international projects, such as the conservation of pastoral resources and integrated approach to combat desertification in Tunesia. These two projects have budgets of 750,000 US$ and 515,000 US$ respectively.

Land affected by desertification (Km2)
Other data



As a reminder

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues:

3. Major Groups:

4. Finance:

5. Regional/International Cooperation:



The pursuit of sustainable agriculture is the basis for agricultural policy for Belgium. Particular attention is given to integrating the linkage between environnement and agriculture into economic and political objectives. To this end, a number of activities have been implemented, including regulation (for exemple the approval of phytopharmaceuticals), agronomic research, training and financial assistance.

The European Commission approved in 1994 an agri/environmental programme which contains Federal and Regional measures. The Federal measures consist in assistance for organic farming and for demonstration projects on reduced use of fertilizer and pesticide in agriculture and on organic farming. Regulations were taken to enforce the evolution towards integrated pest management in apple and pear production. In the Flemish Region new regulations entered into force in 1995 to encourage investments in agricultural production with sound environmental practices. In 1996 the new regulation on fertilizer use is being implemented. Flanders at this moment is preparing a code of good agricultural practices which consider sustainability to be one of the key elements of a sound and responsable agriculture. The Walloon Governement is developing an Environmental Plan for Sustainable Development, which includes sustainable agriculture.

Many of the recommendations of Agenda 21 for activities promoting sustainable agriculture have been or are being implemented. These include measures which take account of demographic trends, studies on land taxation structures, linkage with international trade and agricultural production, strengthening farmers' rights, developing databases and developing policy to rehabilitate degraded lands, among others. These are being achieved by legislative and regulatory reforms, pilot projects, training and the development of national plans.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

Agricultural and rural development policies are the responsibilities of the Middle Class and Agriculture (MMCA), the Ministry of the Walloon Region and the Ministry of the Flemish Region. The MMCA is represented in the National Council for Sustainable Development. The reformed Common Agricultural Policy provides the basis for new activities for agricutural production methods compatible with the environmental protection. The three Communities are responsible for the post-schoolish education of the regional farmers. This education integrates especially the sustainable agriculture.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues:

As a reminder

3. Major Groups:

The Belgian Survival Fund is responsable for a cooperative programme with Belgian NGOs to implement international projects. The objectives of these projects are food security and awareness-building of local communities in rural areas about sustainable development.

4. Finance:

Agricultural development in 1993 costed the BADC 7,25 % of its budget, down from 10,5 % in 1992. The international projects being implemented with Belgian NGOs have a budget of Bfr. 1 billion (US$ 30 million). The BADC provided Bfr. 1.1 billion (US$ 34 million) for rural development in nine African countries.

5. Regional/International Cooperation:

The BADC implemented agricultural projects in 11 African countries, 3 Asian countries and 3 Latin American countries. Belgian universities also contribute to international projects. The Belgium Governement participates in a number of international organizations with sustainable agriculture objectives, such as IFAD, FAO, the WFP and the International Rice Research Institute, among others.

Agricultural land (Km2)
Agricultural land as % of total land area
Agricultural land per capita
Consumption of nitrogen fertilizers (Kg N/Km2 of agricultural land)
Consumption of fosfate fertilizers (Kg P2O5/Km2 of agricultural land)
Consumption of potase fertilizers (Kg K2O/Km2 of agricultural land)



Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) signed in 1992, ratified on 22 November 1996, Contracting Party on 20 February 1997.
First national report to be submitted not later than 1st January 1998

Additional comments relevant to this chapter

The decline of animal diversity is due primarily to human activity, especially land-use, leading to natural habitat destruction. Pollution and the introduction of exotic plant species are also threats to maintaining animal diversity. Over-exploitation appears to play a minor role but the introduction of exotic animal species is a problem.

Natural habitat desctruction and pollution are the primary causes for the loss of plant diversity in Belgium. The introduction of exotic plant species is also considered a threat. The introduction of exotic animal species and over-exploitation are considered minor to the loss of plant diversity.

Scientific studies demonstrate that from 1950 onwards certain invertebrate groups showed a significant and sometimes dramatic decline in populations and in numbers of species. The phenomenon was particularly well documented for vertebrates, diurnal butterflies, some families of beetles and wasps, dragonflies and damselflies, terrestrial snails and spiders. A similar trend exists for plants, fungi and lichens. On the other hand, there are many scientific papers dealing with recently introduced invertebrate species, some of which are invasive species e.g. wasps and other insects, terrestrial slugs, crustaceans, etc.

A number of measures are undertaken for the in-situ conservation (and restoration) of ecosystems and their components and ex-situ conservation of biological and genetic resources. At the Regional level, the in-situ conservation of ecosystems is mainly assured by the creation and management of nature reserves. These were and are being developed by the three Regional Government and by private organizations as well. Each year, new areas are designated as nature reserves or existing ones are enlarged. A complementary nature conservation policy has also been developed outside reserves in order to notably maintain or restore the ecological corridors. In the Flemish Region efforts are being made to create a Green Main Structure, that can be integrated in the development of an Pan-European Ecological Network. This Flemish Structure is designed as a coherent network. It will be built from core areas, rich in biodiversity, corridors or steppings stones and areas where nature conservation, forestry and agriculture are combined in a sustainable way. In the Walloon Region, an ecological network has been set up as well as a partnership for managing the rural environment. The Brussels Capital Region developed a bio-indicator information network based on birds, amphibians, reptiles, higher plants and mosses.

A number of institutions play an important role in the ex-situ conservation of biological and genetic resources. Conservation is maintained in botanical and zoological gardens. As regards to micro-organisms, four collections form the basis of an important network coordinated by the Federal Office for Scientific, Technical and Cultural Affairs.

The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels, has been designated as the CBD-National Focal Point. This Focal Point has launched in October 1996 a Belgian Clearing-House Mechanism on the Internet. The homepage address is :

The first part of the homepage deals with Belgium : on one hand, services given by the National Focal Point (e.g. addresses and competences, expertise, bibliography, collections); on the other hand, the ratification process and in future, step by step, the whole story of the Belgian implementation of the CBD. The second part presents a selection of useful hyperlinks.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

The Regional Governments and the Federal Ministries of the Environment, Science Policy, Social Affairs, Public Health and Environment, Agriculture and Development Cooperation are the principal bodies in charge of different aspects of the conservation of biological diversity and genetic resources. A number of Regional laws on the conservation of nature include provisions for the conservation of biological diversity and the Regional Governments have developed strategies and action plans dealing with conservation of biological diversity. The follow-up of these action plans at the national level is coordinated by the Steering Committee "Biodiversity Convention" under the authority of the Coordination Committee for International Environmental Policy; it is carried out in the context of implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues:

National capacities for studying, assessing and monitoring biological diversity need to be strengthened; Belgian research institutes and universities do carry out a large number of activities at the Regional, national and international levels. An inventory of Belgian professionals participating in studying, assessing and monitoring biological diversity is available (1995). The possibilities of biotechnology in assessing biological diversity are being considered.

3. Major Groups:

The participation and input of local authorities is considered to be essential to the success of efforts for the conservation of biological and genetic resources. A public awareness campaign is under way in rural areas for the conservation of landscapes, species and varieties within species.

4. Finance:

The Belgian Agency for Development Cooperation contributed :
- to the GEF : Bfr 85 million in 1994; Bfr 235 million in 1995; Bfr 390 million in 1996;
(the contribution for 1997 will be Bfr 390 million);
- to the CGIAR and its international research centers : US$ 6.7 million in 1994.

5. Regional/International Cooperation:

Belgian universities and research institutes carry out many projects at the Regional and international level, the most distinctive of which are the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, the National Botanical Garden, the Royal Museum for Central Africa, the Institute of Nature Conservation and the Scientific Centre of the Walloon Region. Long term scientific studies under national and international collaborations are carried out in the tropics (e.g. Central Africa, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Galapagos, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean), the Lake Baïkal, the Antarctic, Atlantic archipelagos, the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and in Europe. Belgium participates actively in the CGIAR.

Protected area as % of total land area
Number of threatened species
Many more

Other data
- Number of species known to live in Belgium (*)
- Number of species known to have disappeared from Belgium
(*) Will be assessed inter alia in the first national report to COP-4 (1998)



The management of biotechnologies has been coordinated at the Regional and Federal levels by setting up and implementing an integrated biosafety regulatory framework. It also includes the implementation of the European Union's directives on the contained-use and the deliberate release of genetically-modified organisms (GMO's) in the environment. Indeed, not only the European provisions have been integrated but also all uses of human, animal and plant pathogens and the protection of biodiversity for when GMO's are used in the environment or placed on the market.

Extensive coordination with sectorial regulations on medicinal, food/feed and raw material products was carried out. The center of this coordination is the Advisory Biosafety Council, whose executive staff coordinates within the Service for Biosafety and Biotechnology (SBB), located in Brussels.

The Council is a collegium of representatives of the various competent authorities from Regional and Federal levels. The Council is sustained by ad hoc experts groups focusing on specific areas of biotechnology.

The SBB is a contact point for both internal and international scientific and regulatory interactions. Governmental experts of the SBB are national contacts for UNEP, OECD and the EU. The experts of the SBB are responsible for the risk assessment of all contained-use activities, on mandate of the Regional authorities. Occasionaly, the advice of the Biosafety Council is requested for sensitive matters such as gene therapy and recombinant viruses. The introduction of GMO's is presently being reviewed by the Biosafety Council, noteworthy the experimental GMO's tested in Europe and the GMO-based products submitted to the consent of the European Commission.

The SBB is a scientific center helping all scientists involved in recombinant DNA pathogen research to fulfil the regulations where applicable. It is also a center for biosafety documentation and archives. As information provider, the SBB is currently managing Internet services to the public and the users, on matters of local and international interest (http : // Whereas contained-use activities are now fully controlled on basis of Regional regulations, some juridical acts must still be finalized for field testing and placing on the market of GMO's. All in all, a very flexible and speedy, users- and public-friendly regulatory interface has been developed.

Such a coordinated regulation fully complements the important investments and R&D networking management made by the Flemish Government. The Flemish biotechnology has a coherent structure from academic research up to patent technology and biotechnological financement mechanisms, based on R&D-industry networking, including technolgy assessment at its disposal. Noteworthy is the special emphasis laid on transgenic plants, diagnostics and gene therapies.

A similar management of biotechnologies is carried out in Wallonia around the genome research program, the recombinant vaccines, the bioremediation, the heteroprotein production and the bioluminescence technologies.

In Brussels, the same occurs for gene- and immuno-therapeutics, for GMP production of transplantable human cells and for gene therapy vectors intended for clinical research and therapies.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

The Regional Governments are responsible for economics, science policy, prenormative-research and environmental regulations of the contained use of GMO's and pathogens. They provide for the safety of the field testing of GMO's together with the Federal Government. The Federal Government is responsible of norms, normative research, implementation of international norms and the related coordination with specific ad hoc bodies.

As the Federal ministries are responsible for product and market regulations, they are more and more involved in international experts meetings and coordinate the information fluxes through common contact points. The Regional Ministries of the Environment control the application of the biosafety regulations through focal agencies. All contained installations are submitted to environmental clearance, whereas any projected activities must be either declared or authorized according to the biosafety level involved.

At the Federal level, all experimental releases of GMO's must be authorized before they are carried out. Consent must also be delivered for GMO-based products proposed to be placed on the European market

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues:

A Biosafety Council comprised of competent Belgian authorities on environment and biotechnology products is charged with providing advice on biotechnology safety, such as on the use of appropriate technology and techniques. The Walloon Region has over three hundred clinical laboratories, universities and companies, as well as high schools which are active in the biotechnology sector. The presence of the European Commission in Brussels catalyses the interaction between the local scientific community and the international scientific and biotechnology milieux. Three large universities and five scientific institutions have made important contributions to the education and training in related sciences. The Brussels Capital City Region has some 40 public and private institutions which carry out activities related to state-of-the art technology on biology, genetics, pharmacology and medicine, among others. About 2.000 academic and industrial researchers work in the Brussels Capital City area, of which about one-quarter come from the European Union member countries, Eastern Europe and developing countries.

3. Major Groups:

As a reminder

4. Finance:

As a reminder

5. Regional/International Cooperation:

At the international level, businesses and research centers are subjected to administrative controls to ensure protection of the environment. This is also in keeping with directives of the European Union. The Walloon Government participates in a number of bilateral initiatives.




The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

The precautionary approach is the leading principle upon which Belgium bases its commitments, and particularly in the international conferences on the protection of the North Sea. The dialogue between the Federal authorities and the Regional Governments has improved considerably because the contamination of the sea from land-based sources is the major factor and most of the related actions are responsibilities of the Belgian Regions.

Important activities to protect the oceans include, among others :

- the development of Best Environmental Practice (BEP) concerning dredging activities. This was approved by the OSPAR Commission in 1993;

- the development of Best Available Technology (BAT) to reduce polluting effluents from the textile industry in 1995. This work resulted in the approval by the OSPAR Commission in 1995 of a recommendation on BAT and in 1996 of a recommendation on emission limits for that sector;

- the establishment of an extensive aerial surveillance programme to monitor illegal discharges by ships, with further attention being paid to the follow-up, including lawsuits;

- the fulfillment of a programme for the reduction of inputs of 36 hazardous substances (metals, solvents, pesticides, dioxines) in the North Sea (50 % reduction between 1985-1995). The opportunity has been taken in this context to develop a comprehensive dataset of the emissions of these substances in the environment which is now considered as a basis for further decision-making processes;

- the establishment of a multi-year research programme on marine sciences related to the protection of the North Sea.

A number of sustainable development indicators pertaining to the coastal and marine environment are applied in Belgium (e.g. algae index; releases of nutrients, metals and POP's; contamination of biota; quality of bathing water).The indicators related to marine species have been developed and quantified by the European Union.

There are no Belgian vessels which fish the High Seas.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

The Federal Government and Regional Governments share responsibilities for ensuring integrated planning and implementation of Belgium's national policy on oceans. To a large extent, the Technical Commission for the North Sea coordinated this work, and participates on an ad hoc basis in the National Council for Sustainable Development.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues:

Belgium carries out an assessment of the major types of land-based sources of marine pollution through the use of appropriate monitoring technology and mathemathical modelling. Belgium's marine database of the Management Unit of the North Sea Mathematical Models (MUMM) is considered as an adequate integrated coastal zone management database. It does not cover cultural and socio-economic activities or protected areas. Comprehensive assessments on the state of the coastal and marine environments are carried out every five years (Quality Status Reports of the North Sea).

3. Major Groups:

Industry associations and official organizations of fishermen, representing small-scale artisanal fishermen mainly, participate in an advisory capacity in national processes.

4. Finance:

A number of eco-taxes recently entered into force which aim to reduce polluting effluents and to promote investments in environmentally sound technology. See chapters 4 and 34 for further information. Belgium submits a number of projects to the EU for funding.

5. Regional/International Cooperation:

Belgium participates actively in regional conventions (e.g. the OSLO and PARIS Conventions - OSPAR Convention), International Conferences on the Protection of the North Sea, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and the European research programmes "Environment and Climate" and "Marine Sciences and Technologies (MAST)".

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



Framework of the water policy in Belgium

Water policy in Belgium follows the competences of the Flemish, Walloon and Brussels Regions. This leads to Regional differentiation in the field of legislation, administration and monitoring systems. European and international legislation in the various aspects of water policy remains however a common basis to all Regions.

Quality and monitoring of fresh water, groundwater and drinking water are based on Regional ministerial orders or decrees, which do implement EU-directives

a. Flanders

Water policy is an integrated part of the global environment policy of Flanders. The policy options are outlined in a Five Year Environment Policy Plan, called MINA. Every two years a State of the Environment Report is made, called MIRA. Each year an Environment Programme is issued. Especially for surface water General Water Treatment Programmes, called AWP, are being designed.

Drinking water supplies resort under the authority of the municipalities. However the larger part of drinking water is supplied by 5 major companies. Total drinking water consumption in Flanders amounts to 439 mio m3 per year (40 % from surface water, 40 % from ground water and 20 % from the Walloon Region).

b. Wallonia

The Walloon Environment Plan for Sustainable Development (PEDD) was passed on 9 March 1995 setting in particular the guidelines for a Water Action Programme. The PEDD also introduced the principle of the actual water price.

In the Walloon Region about 400 mio m3 of water are annually abstracted (320 mio m3 of ground water and 80 mio m3 of surface water) for supply to the drinking water distribution network. 242 mio m3 are distributed in Wallonia through 90 public companies. 148 mio m3 are supplied to the other two regions in Belgium.

The installed water treatment capacity amounts to 1,800,000 i.e. for a population of 3,200,000 inhabitants.

c. Brussels

One of the major objectives of the Brussels Region is the construction of adequate sewerage and waste water treatment facilities. The Region has to take care of the quality of small watercourses, e.g. a section of the river Senne, a sub-basin of the river Scheldt, in the framework of regional programmes and international commitments. Frequent local innundations reflect water quantity problems. This will be resolved by the construction of reservoirs.

The construction of the main water treatment plant for the northern part of the Region is foreseen by the year 2010 (1,3 mio i.e.). The plant for the Southern part of the Region (360,000 i.e.) is under construction.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

a. Flanders

In Flanders decision-making is rather decentralized. Policy-making and policy-shaping in environmental matters takes place in various public bodies in charge of different sectors. Environment and water policy is integrated via programmes rather than by a centralized body. Policy options are formulated by the Flemish Governement and enacted by the Flemish Parliament.

b. Wallonia

Water policy in Wallonia is based on the decree of 7 Octobre 1985 for the protection of surface water and on the decree of 30 April 1990 for the protection and use of ground water.

c. Brussels

Legislation was passed regarding integrated permits for the release of waste waters (Ordonnance 30/07/92) and taxation of waste water (Ordonnance 29/03/96).

The construction programme for sewerage and waste water treatment plants is covered by the Planning Decree of the Brussels Region.

Decisions regarding legislation and investment are taken by the Regional Council based on proposals from the minister in charge of water policy.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues:

a. Flanders

The Environment Department (LIN) is in charge of policy-making for drinking water, ground water and fresh surface water quantity. Fresh surface water quality is being covered by the Flemish Environment Agency (VMM). Investments in the necessary infrastructure are handled by Aquafin.

b. Wallonia

The General Direction for Natural Resources and Environment (DGRNE) is the competent authority enforcing the Walloon water policy and legislation (permitting, monitoring, control of water supply and waste water treatment companies, etc).

c. Brussels

The Brussels Institute for Management of the Environment is the competent authority enforcing the water policy of the Brussels Region.

3. Major Groups:

a. Flanders

The main target groups are : households, agriculture, industry, transport, energy supply and water supply. When major environmental decrees are launched the Flemish Governement provides for a period of consultation of the general public, prior to finalizing the formulation and prior to enactment by the Flemish Parliament.


The various target groups (industry, agriculture, water companies, NGO's) are consulted through the Water Commission. The Walloon Region favours "river contracts", where all parties can contribute to achieve sustainable improvements of the condition of these rivers.


The different target groups aimed at in the Water Programme are consulted through the Committee for Environmental Affairs. Industry is consulted through the local sectoral professional associations.


4. Finance:

a. Flanders

The budget for drinking water companies in Flanders can be estimated to exceed 20 bn Bfr. per year. The investment and operating budget for water treatment and sewerage amounts to 10 bn Bfr. per year.

b. Wallonia

The Walloon Region intends to spend 40 bn Bfr. during the next ten years in municipal waste water treatment. At the moment a waste water release tax of 16 Bfr./m3 is raised. This tax will in future increase as a consequence of internalizing all the cost components of water.

c. Brussels

The global budget for investment and operation of the water infrastructure amounts to 25 bn Bfr. for the next ten years. The major part is covered by the Regional budget. The other part comes from collection of waste water release taxes.

5. Regional/International Cooperation:

Co-ordination among the Regions, in the field of water policy takes place whenever a "Belgian" standpoint shall be communicated in a European or international forum. This co-ordination has been institutionalized by the creation of a Co-ordination Committee on International Environment Policy.

Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels are Parties in the International Commissions for the Protection of the Rivers Meuse and Scheldt, together with the Netherlands and France.

Federal and Regional authorities participate in the activities of PARCOM and the Northsea Conferences.


Figures for Belgium (estimated)
L.t. annual average
Precipitation (mio m3)
Evapotranspiration (mio m3)
Annual inflow (mio m3)
Annual outflow (mio m3)
Ground water available for abstraction (mio m3)
National resident population (000)

Fresh water availability (total domestic/external in million m3)
Annual withdrawal of freshwater as % of available water
Other data


STATUS REPORT: Belgium's activities within the six programme areas presented in Chapter 19 are developed in the first place in the context of the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety (IFCS) and are for the most part carried out within the European Union (EU) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

1. Expansion and acceleration of international risk assessment as a result of exposure to chemical substances

Belgium takes part in this programma through its participation in the assessment of risks caused by existing chemicals within the framework of the EU and of the OECD's High Production Volume programme. This involved, inter alia, the establishment of a group consisting of experts from various universities, scientific institutes and the scientific and administrative units of government bodies.

In the context of CICAD (Concise International Chemical Assessment Documents), Belgium organised and co-financed one of the meetings held in Brussels.

2. Harmonisation of classification and labelling of chemical substances

Belgium engages in this action programme as a member of the Senior Officials Group of the EU and of the Advisory group on Harmonisation of Classification and Labelling Systems of the OECD; it shoulders the responsibility, with other members, for clarifying long-term toxicity criteria.

With regard to the future international instrument for the implementation of relevant rules, Belgium is of the opinion that the strictest possible obligation should be applied rather than a non-committal choice, otherwise the objective of this item of Agenda 21 will not be attained.

3. Exchange of information on dangerous substances and risks as a result of exposure to substances

The London Guidelines for the Exchange of Information on Chemicals in International Trade and the procedures relating to the Prior Informed Consent are implemented within the relevant EU rules and regulations. In addition, Belgium organised and financed the first meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee charged with the task of establishing a legally binding instrument for the implementation of the PIC procedure in Brussels in March 1996.

4. Introduction of risk reduction programmes

In this area also, Belgium participates in the work undertaken at EU and OECD levels (Ad Hoc Group on Risk Reduction). In addition, a national machinery was set up - the Coordinating Committee on International Environmental Policies -, under which a number of working parties closely monitor the environmental problems; a working party on Risk Reduction, for example, is part of the larger umbrella group on Dangerous Products and Chemical Risks. Another initiative involves a draft law imposing product standards to protect health and the environment; once enacted, these provisions should make it possible to mount a quick and efficient - both preventive and curative - response to any harmful substance.

5. Extension of national capacities and potentialities for managing chemical substances

In 1996, a study called "Crossroads Bank" was initiated, whose primary aim was to make an inventory of the needs for information about chemicals (environmental affairs, public health, health of workers, intoxications, accidents,...) and on the available information. This is an initiative in the context of GINC, the Global Information Network on Chemicals of the IFCS. Belgium participates in the work of the OECD/UNEP Group on Information Management.

6. Preventing international illegal trade in dangerous products

We think that provisions on measures should be considered, such as export notification requirements, phase-out mechanisms and framework provisions for the possible adoption of protocols on further measures. One may seize the opportunity offered by the negotiations in the context of the binding PIC instrument to ensure that such an instrument should be sufficiently forward looking and provide a flexible legal framework that is capable of responding to new needs and challenges as they arise, without having to go through a whole treaty-making process again.

7. Improving international cooperation on the various programme areas

Belgium takes part in international cooperative efforts mainly through the European Union; it also participates in the relevant actions initiated by the OECD and the IFCS. It supports the IOMC (Interorganisation Management Committee) coordination efforts.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

As mentioned above, there is a Coordinating Committee on International Environmental Policies (CCIEP), which has a number of working groups acting as a negotiating forum between the various Federal and Regional Ministries involved. Political decisions are approved at ministerial level by the Interministerial Commission for the Environment.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues:

Extending staff, getting expertise from universities and scientific institutions; establishing technical interdepartmental working parties.

3. Major Groups:

Federal Departments of Health, Employment, Environmental Affairs, Economic Affairs, Transport, Regional Environmental Units; also industry, particularly the Federation of Chemical Industries.

4. Finance:

Financing or co-financing some international initiatives; introducing a system of fees to be paid by the persons responsible for marketing dangerous substances or preparations; the proceeds are intended to contribute towards the costs of the Risk Control Division of the Ministry of the Environment.

5. Regional/International Cooperation:





The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal

Basel Convention signed in 1989, ratified in 1993.

The latest information was provided to the Basel Convention Secretariat in 1997.

In Belgium, the environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes is consistent with the regulations and with the directives of the European Union, as well as with the international legal instruments to which Belgium is a party.

This especially includes the implementation of the regulation concerning the shipments of waste within, into and out of the European Union, the European directives concerning waste, dangerous waste, used oils, PCB-PCT's batteries, animal waste, incineration of hazardous waste.

The Belgian waste management plans, elaborated by the Regions, are in line with the European strategy on waste management.

The first priority is the prevention of waste and the reduction of the hazardousness of wastes. The introduction of new techniques and technologies that reduce the use of dangerous products, is one issue in the prevention of dangerous wastes.

Ecotaxes are applied on i.a. pesticides and batteries. Material recovery, production of secondary raw materials and development of new waste treatment techniques are encouraged.

The landfilling of non-treated dangerous waste is prohibited if the dangerous waste does not comply with the severe acceptance criteria of the authorized landfill.

Environmental taxes on the landfilling and the disposal by incineration of waste are used to encourage the prevention and the recovery of waste.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

Dangerous waste management, including import and export of dangerous waste, is a competence of the Regional Governments of Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels Capital City. The transit of waste through Belgium is a competence of the Federal Government.

The Coordinating Committee of International Environmental Policy (CCIEP) is charged with coordination and consultation activities between the different actors.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues:

An agreement between the three Regional Governments and the Federal Government regulates the control of the transboundary movements of hazardous waste. Customs and national Gendarmerie are fully involved in the control system.

A data collecting system is developed. The Flemish Region has developed and uses a full-automated system (ASB) for the administration and control on import and export of waste, including on-line consultation by all maintenances forces and on-line fulfillment of administrative requirements by waste producers and treatment plants.

The Region of Wallonia develops a waste management and control system based on the automated registration at the waste treatment plants.

3. Major Groups:

Industry, business and individuals as citizens and as consumers on the one hand, local and Regional public authorities on the other hand, are involved in dangerous waste management, based on the precautionary and prevention principles as well as on the principle that the polluter should pay and environmental impairements should be rectified at their source.

4. Finance:

As a reminder

5. Regional/International Cooperation:

An interregional network of installations for the environmental sound disposal of dangerous waste is negotiated, based on the proximity principle. International contacts with the neighbouring member states of the European Union are achieving the same goal.

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



Regional Governments are responsible for waste management policies. The transit of waste through Belgium and some prevention policies (product norms, ecotaxes,...) are the competence of the Federal Government. The Coordinating Committee for International Environment Policy (CCIEP) has decided to create a working group charged with the coordination of advice concerning international waste policy.

The first priority of the Regions has been the adoption of a serie of general legislative measures establishing the legal framework for the waste management policy.

An important precondition was the establishment of a sustainable legal framework of basic definitions and concepts as well as the incorporation of the EU definitions of waste and hazardous waste and their respective lists.

The general objective of waste management policies is to ensure a high degree of environmental protection, taking into account economic and social costs, with a view to promote sustainable development.

Therefore, the key objective of our waste policies, based on the precautionary and prevention principle, is to prevent the generation of waste and furthermore to reduce the content of hazardous materials in waste.

Prevention has led to the adoption of new instruments such as ecotaxes on products, promotion of clean technologies and products, actions on consumer information and education.

Prevention of waste is also the priority of the Federal Government which will adopt instruments such as the eco-label scheme and regulation such as Product Norms aiming at reducing the content of hazardous materials in waste.

Recovery of waste is the second priority of any sustainable waste management policy and has to be considered in its triple

dimension : reuse, recycling and energy recovery. Until scientific progress is made and life cycle analyses are further developed as regards recovery operations, reuse and material recovery are encouraged.

The waste management plans of the three Regions define, by name, the selective collection systems (their organization, the actors concerned, the sharing of the responsabilities, the financing system, the creation of outlets for recovered materials,...).

Producer responsibility is another basic principle, which aims at implementing a closed loop waste management policy. According to this principle, reponsibility rests with the economic operators who may make the most efficient contribution towards the protection, preservation and improvement of the quality of the environment. Practical applications of this principle are envisaged for batteries, end-of-life vehicles, wastes from electrical and electronic equipment as well as for packaging.

The last priority is to minimize waste disposal, which must comply with very strict environmental standards. Taxes on landfill (and incineration in the Flemish Region) help to achieve the ultimate objective of turning waste management into a generally accepted, economically viable and environmentally sound practice.

Prevention of waste is also the priority of the Federal Government which will adopt instruments such as the eco-label scheme and regulation such as Product Norms aiming at reducing the content of hazardous materials in waste.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

An international agreement on packaging and packaging waste has recently come into force. And as mentioned before, Belgium has a Coordinating Committee for International Environmental Policy (CCIEP) that coordinates between the relevant Federal and Federated authorities, and that has decided to create a working group charged with the coordination of advice concerning international waste policy.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues:

The production of reliable and comparable statistics on waste, the development of management instruments such as waste management plans, an appropriate enforcement of legislation and the increasing use of evaluation techniques (LCA, monitoring systems,...) are and will be the basis of sound waste management policies.

3. Major Groups:

Public authorities (Federal, Regional and local level), private and public companies, environmental organizations and individuals as citizens and consumers are the main actors concerned.

4. Finance:

As a reminder.

5. Regional/International Cooperation:

As a reminder.


Walloon Region
Flandres Region
Brussels Region
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
- generation of municipal waste (t)
- municipal waste recycling (kg/capita)
- municipal waste recycling rates (%)
8,2 %
7,9 %


STATUS REPORT: Belgium, being largely dependant on importations for its primary energy supplies, has sought safe and reliable energy sources, and therefore developed nuclear energy. It has now 7 nuclear power plants in operation with an installed capacity of 5,6 GWe, as well as two fuel fabrication plants (one for UO2 - fuel and one for MOX-fuel). Belgium has also a nuclear research center with a material testing reactor and several research facilities.

Other activities relate to the production and use of radio-isotopes in medecine, industry and research . Actual dismantling activities relate to the prototype BR3-reactor of the nuclear research centre, the old Eurochemic reprocessing plant and old waste treatment facilities.

All these activities produce radioactive wastes for which the projected quantities up to the end of the life span including dismantling of facilities related to the actual Belgian nuclear programme are estimated as follows:

a. Waste of category A (low-level waste with short-lived isotopes, resulting from the nuclear power plants, the fabrication of radio-isotopes and their medical and industrial applications) :150 000 m3.

b. Waste of category B (low-level waste with long-lived isotopes and medium-level waste, resulting from the nuclear fuel cycle and related research): 25 000 m3.

c. Waste of category C (high-level waste, resulting from the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel: 5000 m3

Belgium has introduced a complete management programme for its radioactive waste. This management considers several steps, from production to final disposal:

a. Limitation of waste quantities at the production site by sorting, identification, decontamination, etc...

b. Chemical stabilisation and volume reduction by chemical treatment, incineration, supercompaction;

c. Conditioning of the treated waste in a stable matrix, to limit its dispersability;

d. Temporary storage in appropriate buildings with adequate shielding and safety provisions;

e. Envisaged final disposal facilities based on a multi-barrier concept;

The measures taken by Belguim to reduce the waste volumes will result in a downward revision of the above mentioned estimated quantities of waste.

Belgium planned all necessary installations for the treatment , the conditioning and temporary storage for all types of wastes produced in the country (the waste resulting from the reprocessing of the Belgian spent fuel being conditioned abroad on the reprocessing site).

With respect to final disposal , important R & D programmes are carried out in view of :

a. Near surface disposal for waste of category A. A recent report concluded on the feasibility to dispose of about 60% of the waste of category A in a near surface repository, under strict respect of the safety recommendations issued by the international competent bodies ;

b. Geological disposal for waste of categories B and C. An underground laboratory is available to examine the disposal in deep clay layers. An interim safety and feasability evaluation report has been examined by an international group of experts, which concluded that clay seemed to be an adequate candidate environment for the geological disposal. Ongoing research must give rise to a preliminary safety assessment report in the next century, to be submitted to the safety authorities.

With repect to spent fuel management, Belgium had opted in the past for reprocessing. In 1993 Parliament and Government decided to freeze any new reprocessing decision and existing options for future reprocessing for a period of five years. During this period a report has to be prepared for a new Parliamentary debate, which has to compare the reprocessing and non-reprocessing options. In order to support this report a programme has been started about the conditioning of the spent fuel and the research programme on the geological disposal of waste has been extended to the disposal of conditioned spent fuel.

Cross-Sectoral Issues

1. Decision-Making Structure:

The management of radioactive waste in Belgium is the reponsability of the National Agency for Radioactive Waste and Enriched Fissile Materials (Niras/Ondraf). This Agency is managed by a Governing Board, nominated by a Royal Decree on the proposal of the Council of Ministers. Two Government commissioners are residing in the Governing Board. They can object against any decision of the Board they deem contrary to the law and the general interest. Their objection has to be submitted to the competent minister, who can approve or disapprove it.

The management of the nuclear fuel cycle is in the hands of the private company Synatom. This includes amongst other things the reprocessing or the conditioning of the spent nuclear fuel. The Government has two representatives in the Governing Board of Synatom. They have the same rights as the Government commissioners at Niras/ Ondraf.

Each installation in the field of nuclear waste has to be authorised by the competent safety authorities. The procedure includes the consultation of the local community and a national expert commission and in some cases the European Commission.

2. Capacity-Building/Technology Issues:

As a reminder

3. Major Groups:

As a reminder

4. Finance:

All costs incurred by the management of the waste are borne by the waste producers or by those who are financially responsible for it.

5. Regional/International Cooperation:

Belgium participates in the programmes and activities of international bodies such as the European Commission, the Nuclear Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency.



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 on 17 July 1980 and ratified on 10 July 1985

24.a Increasing the proportion of women decision makers.

Percentage of women in government in 1996

Federal Government 10.5% Regional Governments 11%

Chamber 11,3 % (17 women on 150) Senate 23,6 % (17 women on 72)

Total 15,3 % (34 women op 222)

Regional Parliaments 17,6 %

Municipalities : Walloon 20%, Flemish 20%, Brussels 27%

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 knowledge.

24.c and 24.d 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. Policy/strategies etc. are being drawn up.

24.e establishing mechanisms by 1995 to assess implementation and impact of development and environment policies and programmes on women. Mechanisms are being developed.

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

The Belgian Government is taking the necessary measures to review projects and programmes proposed within the framework of the Agenda 21 to improve women's conditions, to eliminate gender-stereotyping, to get women and their organisations involved in environmental policy processes, and to increase women's influence in environmental decision-making processes.

The Government provides financial assistance for international programmes were women are the main concern. A Commission "Women and Development" formed by members of the Belgian Administration for Development Cooperation (BADC), the National Centre for Development Cooperation NCOS ("Nationaal Centrum voor Ontwikkelinggssamenwerking"), the National Councils of Women and the Inter-university Councils, gives advice in formulating policies concerning women and development and backs up the activities and initiatives concerning women.

The "Women's Council" organisation is formed of many NGOs. Their actions are focused on women development, highlighting the special role of women in society. Steps have been taken for the co-ordination of operational programmes to ensure that gender considerations are fully integrated into all policies and activities. Recent initiatives are: the presence of women in advisory and management committees, education and training and health institutions among others.

Both the Social Democratic and the Christian Democratic trade unions are involved in the organisation of programmes aimed at the improvement of women in labour market conditions and the social needs to achieve this.


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.

Name relevant youth fora :

- Federal Sitting for Youth Help

- Youth's Community Councils for the Environment

Describe their role in the national process: ad hoc

25.b reducing youth unemployment

youth unemployment : 25 years old and younger, in 1992 14.9%, beginning 1996 21%

25.c 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):

Two law projects were started in 1995 to reinforce the existing laws on the exploitation of children. The government is working to create new laws to reduce the incidence of child abuse and neglect. It is proposing strategies to prevent sexual and physical abuse of children and to promote strategies to identify factors which contribute to child abuse. A national centre for missing children will be created in the near future.

The Youth's Community Councils for the Environment were created in the Walloon Region to involve youth in the decision-making process. Specific projects conducted by the youth are funded by local authorities.

Important NGOs include the Flemish Consultation on Sustainable Development, the World Workgroup Training and the Youth for Development Platform. These NGOs are very active in areas such as networking with other NGOs to reinforce their involvement in the decision-making process by focusing on specific topics such as the role of youth in environmental issues and community groups, education campaigns and work with youth groups to make them aware of the realities of developing countries by changing the image of these countries often related to misery.


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

non applicable.

26.b strengthening arrangements for active participation in national policies

non applicable.

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

non applicable.

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

The Belgian Administration for Development Co-operation (BADC) participates to the Indigenous People Fund. This fund is intended to finance projects for the benefit of South-American indigenous people and their communities. These programmes specially focus on the identification of settlement areas, the strengthening of institutional representation and the encouragement of political communication and organisation.

Some NGOs in Belgium are working in programmes aimed at indigenous people and their communities. Through the Climate Alliance, the Flemish Organisation for Sustainable Development (VODO), cooperates with the Coordinating Organisation of Indigenous Communities of the Amazonian Region (COICA) whose action is aimed at defending land rights, human rights, indigenous culture and representation at the national level.

The Confederation of Christian Trade Unions of Belgium (CSC/ACV) in collaboration with the organisation Solidarité Mondiale/Wereld Solidariteit, works on programmes concerning the social emancipation and well-being of indigenous people in several areas of the world.

The Social Democratic trade union (FGTB/ABVV) is involved with Bulgarian trade unions to integrate cultural and ethnic minorities into trade union structures and actions.


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

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

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

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

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

NGOs participate in a wide range of special programmes at the local, regional and national levels in programmes such as women in development, maternal and child health, assistance for developing countries, community development, development education, indigenous people and their communities, etc. NGOs in Belgium provide a bridge between the government and the community for the exchange of views and information on national and international environmental issues.

The Belgian Government encourages participation by NGOs on Belgian delegations to major international conferences. NGOs have been represented in the national delegations to the Commission on Sustainable Development.

The Federal Government provides financial and technical assistance to NGOs with a view to raising community awareness and understanding of environmental issues and ecologically sustainable development principles.

Many of the NGOs' actions are related to Agenda 21: training and educational programmes on North-South issues, political actions related to national and international policy and support of development programmes in developing countries. Although there is much work to support representatives of major groups in their sustainable development efforts, much still needs to be done.


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

28.b Government support of local Agenda 21 initiatives; Yes.

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

Local authorities establish local environmental policies and regulations and assist in implementing them. They are also involved in operational programmes to allow a dialogue amongst themselves, the citizens and the private enterprises, concerning sustainable development.

Local authorities actions are aimed at strengthening social responsibility, improving the social and cultural quality of life, preservation of village structures, rehabilitation and revival of rural communities, biological diversity contracts, river contracts, noise pollution regulation, waste pollution regulation, containment of land use for construction purposes, environmental impact assessment and educational programmes.

In 1995, the Belgian Administration for Development Cooperation (BADC), in collaboration with local authorities started a public awareness campaign focused on South American countries. Local authorities also worked with universities to organise conferences on Belgian development cooperation policies, environmental education and status of Algerian women.

Municipal authorities have established a number of actions for the coordination of operational programmes and projects to ensure environmental infrastructure, to establish local environmental policies and regulation, to assist with the implementation of national environmental policies and to help coordinate programmes for infrastructure development.


29.a full participation of workers in implementation and evaluation of A21. Workers take some part in the Agenda 21 discussions/implementation; Yes.

29.b By year 2000:

(a) promoting ratification of ILO conventions; yes.

(b) establishing bipartite and tripartite mechanisms on safety, health and sustainable development; yes.

(c) increasing number of environmental collective agreements; yes.

(d) reducing occupational accidents and injuries; yes.

(e) increasing workers' education and training efforts; yes.

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

Belgium trade unions are committed to preventive occupational health and safety. They play an important role in the tripartite mechanisms of safety, health and sustainable development and participate in the environmental, economic, and social policies of the country.

Trade unions are involved in the design of operational programmes and projects aimed at strengthening the rights of individual workers such as industrial strategies, International Labour Organisations conventions, employment policies, collective mechanisms to achieve sustainable development and educational programmes.

Belgian trade unions participate in the Council of Scientific Policy where issues of technology assessment and transfer are discussed. They have independently initiated a certain number of actions for the promotion of sustainable development.

Both the Social Democratic and Christian Democratic trade unions are members of the National Council for Sustainable Development. The unions collaborate with the Federal and Regional Governments in actions such as elaboration of projects at the Regional level, elaboration of sustainable development projects for the Walloon and the Flemish Region and to the design of educational and training programmes.


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 there are governmental policies requiring recycling, etc.

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

List any actions taken in this area:

The Federal Government provides assistance to industry, primarily to integrate environmentally sound technologies in production processes and technology transfer. Belgium provides international development assistance with a view to promote the use of environmentally sound technology in foreign industries. Priority areas include emissions reduction, waste reduction, alternative methods of energy production, state-of-the-art production standards and efficient resource utilisation.

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

Most big enterprises have adopted sustainable development policies and several small and medium sized enterprises have adopted sustainable development policies.

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

Belgian business and industry are closely involved in developing initiatives to promote sustainable development and attend national and international meetings related to environmental issues.

The Belgian business community is developing a progressive environmental policy supported by information campaigns and environmental strategies.

Business and industry perform public information activities such as awareness campaigns in order to involve the population in discussions on environmental issues and sustainable development.

The Belgian Federation of Enterprises has been actively involved in the promotion of sustainable development production patterns through actions such as design and organisation of an environmental management system training program, with the support of the European Commission and coordination of a pilot studies program aimed at the integration of quality systems (ISO 9000) and environmental management systems (ISO14000 and EMAS regulation), with a consortium of 8 industrial companies.

The Walloon Federation of Enterprises has kept informing and sensitising SMEs on environmental management thanks to its team of environmental consultants.

The Walloon Directorate General for Natural Resources and the Environment created the Clean Technologies Cell particularly for the industrial sector. It aims, among other things, to implement an R&D programme on pollution prevention, provide assistance to the Walloon Federation of Enterprises, particularly SMEs, to adopt more environmentally responsible production methods and to provide financial assistance to help industry invest in environmentally sound technology.

Flemish enterprises can get financial assistance for investments in environmental technologies through the Flemish Ministry of Economic Affairs within the framework of economic expansion laws.


31.a improving exchange of knowledge and concerns between the scientific and technological community and the general public. There is some effort in this direction : the Federal Office for Scientific, Technical and Cultural Affairs (OSTC) is developing an information crossroad on sustainable development.

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.

Belgium develops, improves and promotes 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 scientific community is conducting research on sustainable development; much however, remains to be done. Areas of research include climatic change mobility, human rights abuses, food strategies and food security, sustainable agricultural development, soil fertility conservation, land management, indicators of sustainable development, technology transfer, biological diversity, poverty, health, indigenous people and gender issues, among others.

The Belgian Administration for Development Cooperation (BACD) provides financial assistance to R&D efforts. The Institutional Reform of 1993 has put the Regional Governments and local authorities in charge of the majority of policies for R & D, and several programmes were created in recent years to obtain funding for R & D.

The National Council for Sustainable Development allows for scientists to examine science-related issues of national importance and to provide advice on specific issues. The Federal Ministry of Science Policy undertook a round of consultations with the scientific community and the Council, with the hopes of bringing new and innovative programmes to promote sustainable development.


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

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

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

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

The Federal Government, Regional Governments and municipalities have all started activities which involve farmers to protect biological diversity on their land such as design of operational programmes that provide incentives to the farmers to manage their natural resources efficiently and in a sustainable way, sustainable farming practices and technologies, and low input and low energy processes.

There are a number of NGOs which represent farmers and rural communities in issues such as social welfare, animal health issues, education, trade and transport, among others. Activities are also being implemented to involve NGOs in the decision-making process, e.g. on sustainable agriculture, production and consumption patterns and regional quality production.

Other activities being implemented by NGOs focus on issues such as food security, sustainable agricultural policy, North-South agricultural impacts and reorientation of agricultural and environmental policies. A number of farmers' unions are involved in many activities, including the design of projects (e.g. on cleaner production and water conservation), EIA projects, workshops and training courses at the local, Regional and Federal levels.

The Federal Governement and the Regional Governements provide financial assistance to a number of these activities. Farmer organisations are regularly consulted in the policy-making process.


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)


The Status Report hereunder reflects exclusively on official development help provided by the Belgian Agency for Development Cooperation and therefore cannot be considered an exhaustive list of all financial resources and mechanisms.


As a reminder


As a reminder


With respect to development assistance projects in developing countries, the Belgian Agency for Development Co-operation (BADC) has put into place a project cycle in which the systematic screening of future projects on their environmental impact, will soon be integrated.

ODA policy issues

The BADC is that body which facilitates Belgian investments and capital transfers to developing countries insofar as they contribute to their social and economic development. Other main missions of the BADC are to coordinate Belgian development policy, to implement bilateral and multilateral agreements, to organize mechanisms for technology transfer and to promote public awareness. The BADC also provides bilateral assistance indirectly, e.g., by providing support to NGO volunteers, co-financing NGO development projects and providing subsidies to developing country university students. The BADC contributes to the budgets of a number of international organizations and funds, such as the EDF, FAO, GEF, IFAD, UNDP, UNICEF, WFP, WHO, among others.

About 15 % of development cooperation assistance goes to the European Fund for Development, i.e., approximately Bfr. 3 billion (US$ 91 million). Belgium continues to demand greater clarity in the use of the development cooperation assistance and a greater cohesion and complement among the European Fund for Development's programmes and the bilateral programmes of the 15 member countries.

While the BADC has projects in 47 countries, it co-finances projects in 111 countries. In order to rationalize the limited funds and human resources to which the BADC can effectively contribute to development projects, criteria of economic, socio-political and geopolitical nature were developed to help identify a list of countries and regions to receive bilateral assistance in 1994.

ODA funding provided or received (Total US$million)
834.8 727.4 1,034.5 NA
Average for 92-93
Average for 94-96
Net flow of external capital from all sources as % of GDP
Other data

Percentage of ODA/GNP 1992=0.42%, 1993=0.40%, 1994=0.38%.


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.


The Regional Governments are the competent authorities on technology policy, with the Federal Government only being involved in some specific cases. The Regional bodies are also responsible for elaborating the necessary, regulatory framework to develop and use environmentally sound technologies. This implies that the institutional setting as well as the instruments used to foster sound technologies can (and do) differ from one Region to the other.

In all of the three Regions initiatives were taken by the Regional Governments to promote the utilisation of environmentally sound technology. These initiatives include the setting up of special bodies inside (1) and outside (2) the administration.

Their main goal consists in informing all interested parties on sound technologies (what does exist, how can it be implemented, what special government aid is available, and so on...) Therefore these institutions develop databases, on, for example, legislation, reference material and environmental sound technologies, among others. These databases can be consulted by all interested persons or institutions. By the way, environmental legislation prescribes the use of best available technology (BAT). For several selected sectors, BAT guidelines are now in preparation. These guidelines are developed in co-operation between the authorities, the sector and the research institutions previously mentioned.

Two initiatives deserve some special attention.

The first consists of the utilisation of Internet. There are several attempts by the different authorities to disseminate all kind of information related to sound technologies, environment policy aspects or sustainable development through Internet (3). These websites are quite often linked to all relevant international relevant sources of information.

The second initiative consists of the links with the European initiatives. Environment data networks were being set up by European authorities in collaboration with the different Belgian Regional (and Federal) authorities.

----------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------

(1) A good example is the Wallonian "Cellule Technologies Propres" inside the Walloon environmental

administration DGRNE

(2) For example the knowledge center on Best Available Technologies (BAT) based in the Flemish institute for

technological research (VITO)

(3) See forr example the Flemish website


The following are the instruments used by the different authorities to foster the implementation of sound technologies :

- financial aid programs to enterprises to encourage environmental investment;

- public awareness campaigns are an important activity being implemented in this area, and are especially focussed towards SME's;

-information packages are available to companies on financial aid programmes to enterprises designed to encourage environmental investment, on environmental audit systems; on how to reduce the environmental impact of industrial activities; on product policy such as eco-labels and eco-consumption; on sectoral agreements between Regional authorities and the private sector; and on financial support to business federations to enhance their dissemination of environmentally related information specific to their industry;

- R&D-programs run by the different Regional bodies;

- pilot programs in different sectors. The knowledge gained in these pilot programs is then disseminated to all companies in the sector.


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.

Lack of information, collaboration and communication are of course the key obstacles to the use of environmentally sound technologies. A number of efforts have been made during the last years to improve the quality and accessibility of information on environmentally sound technologies through a wider use of the global information networks, the improvement of the functioning of the local centers for information exchange between government and enterprises (already mentioned above), research, appointing environmental coordinators in enterprises and promoting the European Eco-label, among others.

Part of the question has allready been answered above. Besides this, it is well worth mentioning the efforts made by the Walloon Region to establish sectorial dossiers. These describe the technological state-of-the-art in relation to its incidence on the environment. More then 300 companies have been helped in 1996. Quite innovative is also the idea of having a convention signed with the trade unions.

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.

Adoption of environmental management systems is slowly seeping through. Some major production companies have been certified in 1996. The expectation is that it will take some more years before SME's will follow.

Pilot cases, run by the European Commission with the support of the Walloon and Flemish environmental ministries, were put up to implement the European environmental management system. In Belgium there is an institution, Belcert, in charge of the ISO 14000 en the EMAS regulation.

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.

Most of the instruments mentioned above are also being used to help SME's :

- subsidy for environmentally sound technology: companies that invest in environmentally sound technology (EST) can get a subsidy of 15% of the extra costs
- part of the investments in EST can be deducted from the profit before taxes
- sponsored pilot projects to introduce EST in certain sectors
- subsidy for environmental consultancy to young and small enterprises
- diffusion of knowledge on clean technology on the Internet
- subsidies for research on clean technology.



Belgium is a country with a long scientific tradition. In several fields (like for example life sciences and materials sciences) it has a well-known reputation. The science policies adopted in Belgium are comparable to those shared by other industrialised countries. They are based on the conviction that research can play a major role in ensuring social and economic progress and in improving the quality of life.

A few main objectives of Belgian science policy are :

-to ensure a sufficient volume of human and financial resources to maintain and reinforce the high-level basic research (which is basically done in the university institutions);

-to encourage the industrial research in companies and collective research centres;

-to stimulate through publicly financed impetus programs, research contributing towards the pursuance of objectives of general interest.

Besides this it is important to know that as Belgium is a Federal country, the competences for the science policy are spread over the different levels of public authority (the Federal State, the Regions and the three linguistic Communities). As a principle each authority is responsible for the research falling within its general competences. To give a few examples : basic and applied research (in the universities and research institutions) is mainly financed by Regional bodies (more specifically the Government of the French or Flemish Community); the pure environmental related research is funded by the Regional authorities; space research is funded by the Federal Government;...

The Federal state may also intervene in support of international agreements, or when its action relates to activities which go beyond the interest of one Community or Region. In these cases, the Federal state acts on the base of cooperation agreements with the other Belgian authorities.


Several steps have been taken in Belgium during the recent years. Most (but not all) of the research initiatives financed by the different authorities are described in detail in a document 2 published by the science policy department at the Federal level (OSTC). This document was made in order to give an advisory body (a working party on research and sustainable development depending on the National Council for Sustainable Development) some insights in the relationship between sustainable development and research and resumes all Belgium activities. These activities intend to foster the long term assessment capacities in the research institutions.

1 Based on the brochure "Comparison of scientific and technological policies of Community Member States, Belgium"
European Commission, Crest, 1993, Report EUR.55035 EN.See this brochure for more details

2 "Science policy and sustainable development", OSTC, 1996. It is not available in English, but is available in French and Dutch


A short overview should address the following activities :

At the Federal level :

In the science policy department at the Federal level (OSTC) a framework program called "Plan for Scientific Support of a Policy Aimed at Sustainable Development" was launched in 1996. Its budget totals the amount of 2.4 billion Bfr for the next six years. This framework program consists of seven research programs; some of these are new, others prolong activities which already launched in previous years. These programs are :
-global change and sustainable development (basically addressing the question of climate change);
-sustainable management of the North Sea (aimed at a better understanding of the ecosystem of the North Sea and the consequences of the human activities);
-Antarctic sciences (in order to contribute to a better understanding of what is needed to protect the Antarctic ecosystem and to assure an interface with the Antarctic treaty);
-sustainable mobility (the existent research program was reoriented in order to give more attention to the environmental aspects as well as traffic safety aspect);
-food products and its normalisation (with special attention given to environmental assessment instruments and the enhancement of the access to existing data);
-social aspects of sustainable development (policy instruments and analysis of the causes explaining the absence of a sustainable development);
-teledetection (improve the usage made of an important instrument for decision-making);
Besides the activities listed here, there are other activities which were already described in last year's document.

At the Regional level :

-In Flanders there are three research programs of special importance in the context of sustainable development : a program on environmental technologies (in Dutch abbreviated as VLIM), a program on energy technologies (abbreviation : VLIET) and a program focused on "nature'" (abbreviation VLINA).

* VLIM aims to enhance the development and implementation of those techniques that make ecologically sound and economically efficient production possible.

Five major areas were developed : the development of environmentally sound production processes; integrated measure and interpretation techniques for environmental technologies; treatment of specific waste aimed at reusage or recycling; techniques for prevention or remediation of diffuse pollution; techniques for the disposal of historic pollution. A separate part of the VLIM-program was dedicated to socio-economic studies. These studies addressed questions like how to stimulate environmentally sound behaviour; how to augment responsibility; the enlargement of policy instruments;...

* VLIET addresses the following issues : the traditional energy sources, renewable energy sources, final utilisation of energy technology and all kind of policy aspects. Sustainable development is present in all of the program.
* VLINA is oriented on research concerning the different components of the ecosystem.
- In Wallonia the main program to be mentioned here is the "Environmental Technology's Program". This program is jointly managed by the Walloon research (DGTRE) and the Walloon environmental (DGRNE) department. It covers two types of financial help : subsidies as well as reclaimable financial aid. Subsidies can cover up to 70% of the cost of a research project of a private firm if the project tackles: fundamental research; research preceding the development of products, processes or services; feasibility studies prior to the introduction of technologically advanced processes. Reclaimable aid is granted for the development of processes, products or services when their industrial exploitation is imminent; for demonstration projects and for general engineering studies.


Five sectors are concerned : prevention of industrial pollution and limitation of waste (especially packing materials); recycling of effluents, industrial waste, residential waste and agricultural waste; treatment of industrial effluents and industrial waste; control of industrial emissions; methods to intervene effectively in case of industrial pollution.

Besides this, the DGTRE developed a broad information campaign directed towards the industry, by the publication of very detailed sectoral technology and environment files. These files tackle the reduction of disturbances (prevention as well as curative) with special attention to environmental, technological and economical aspects.

When it comes to enhance the scientific understanding of sustainable development, one should mention also all activities like exhibitions, publications of all kind, promotion campaigns (like the one of the Brussels Capital City Region) etc... which were organised and sponsored by a very broad variety of institutions, state owned as well as private institutions.

Number of scientists, engineers and technicians engaged in research and experimental development
Total expenditure for research and experimental development Bf 116.773 million

- with an US$ at +/- 31 Bfs this equals


million US$
Other data



a) Reorientation of education towards sustainable development

The Flemish, French and German-speaking Communities are responsible for education at all levels, professional training and scientific research.

In the Flemish, the French and the German-speaking Community, school curricula are being revised at all levels to incorporate environmental issues. Environmental health, safe drinking water, sanitation, food, ecosystems, recycling and energy savings are issues covered at all levels of school curricula.

There exists a large number of initiatives which respond to the present need for environmental education within the education system. An example is the educational package on air and water, put together by the Flemish Environment Agency, which can be used for support in all subjects where environmental education may arise, such as biology and other science subjects, and social education. These packages have been sent to the heads of the 2500 Flemish primary schools.

Aiming to coordinate and filter the huge amount of initiatives public and private organizations offer to the schools, the Flemish Minister for Education has created a yearly renewed compilation of the most valuable initiatives entitled "Dynamo".

Herein, one major part gives an overview of a number of the most interesting environmental projects schools can subscribe to.

The "Green School Project" stands for a system of environmental care inside the school as a whole, regarding subjects such as waste management, water pollution, energy and paper saving, green area, ... . This project has been developed by the Free University of Brussels by order of the Flemish Minister for the Environment and is now being implemented within a larger number of secondary schools after a testing-period in a small number of pilot schools.

Also in the French Community tools have been developed to introduce concepts required to understand the physical and socio-economic aspects of environmental problems. For instance, educational files for the teachers of the final years of primary education have been drawn up around various topics connected to environmental protection. These files contain cards which develop constructive actions, in a multi-disciplinary framework, to inform, sensitize and provoke reflection and a more responsible attitude in young pupils towards their environment.

Several schools in the German-speaking Community set up so-called "Zukunftwerkstätten" (future-workshops). Here, pedagogy and technique are employed in the strict sense of sustainable development: e.g. by working out an Eco-audit or waste- and energy-balance sheets etc. A wide environmental education is practiced in all primary and secondary schools in the German-speaking Community.

A working group on education and Agenda 21, active in the Flemish Region, has been investigating how the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) should be implemented in the Flemish Region and Community. The report of this working group, composed of representatives of the various interested departments of the Flemish Community, indicates that an important task for the Government and for the administration lies in stimulating and actively supporting environmental education within education as a whole. This should be done by spreading environmental information, providing advice, recycling and supporting in-service training programs for teachers, producing and making available reading materials. According to the same report, the difficulties encountered while attempting to introduce environmental education in primary and secondary schools include the lack of time as a consequence of the overloaded curriculum and the general use of the timetable system (in secondary schools). Both these elements are a hindrance to the promotion of effective environmental education in schools, which should be the subject of interdisciplinary project education.

Creating a network of Centers for Environmental Education run by different authorities and private organizations, new working models and interdisciplinarity in schools should be promoted. Collaboration and training should increase the degree of professionalization in environmental education, which is, in practice, in many cases a voluntary occupation.

For the same reason, scientific research is made to define profiles of environmental educators, so that specific needs can be answered by modular-concept courses of lectures which are being developed.


b) Increasing public awareness

The Federal State and, to a larger extent, the Regions, took a number of initiatives to inform the general public on environmental issues. In the area of energy use and climate change, for instance, a first campaign on the greenhouse effect and possible measures to limit it was set up by the environment administration of the Federal Government, following the drawing up of a Belgian National Program for the reduction of C02 emissions.

Also in this area, the Walloon Region published a number of informative files aimed both at secondary education and the general public, in the period after the Rio Conference. The brochures, "Effet de serre et changement climatique" and "l'Ozone, un bien précieux et fragile (Ozone stratosphérique)", are currently being revised and will be published again in 1997. Both in Flanders and Wallonia, a number of actions exist directed at informing the general public in the area of rational energy use. As far as the energy-saving measures in the household sector are concemed, the recent "Draft Plan for a C02 / REG Policy Plan for the Flemish Region" attaches importance to thorough information of the population and to the supply of energy advice. In addition to media campaigns which are anticipated, the draft plan also mentions energy officials, energy offices and the energy-information system "BBT-EMIS", which can also be reached over the Internet.

In order to spread environmental information a large official Flemish Internet-site (URL: offers a wide scale of both static information and on-line data.

More specialized target groups are reached by information both on Internet and on more traditional carriers: engineers, technicians and municipal authorities can apply techniques from the two elaborate and practical guides concerning Ecological Engineering, developed by the Environment Administration in search of ecological methods of building and managing roads and waterways.

The principle of good management, included the transparency of government, is put into practice by, for instance, public hearings and investigation on the plan for the environment policy 1997 - 2001.

Among the range of instruments put in action in Wallonia to inform individuals on energy saving are television and radio spots, a system of 13 energy offices distributed over the Region, and the publication of energy guides and brochures. As far as Wallonia is concerned, environment information can be gathered from a Regional Internet-site (URL:

c. Promoting training.

Specific training, e.g.,. concerning rational energy use for energy managers and agents in the building and construction sector, were organized in Wallonia as well as in Flanders.

Above-mentioned Centers for Environmental Education in Flanders also provide workshops and symposia for professionals on ecological themes like, for example, small-scale wastewater treatment.


The Flemish authorities involved are the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Education. Thanks to an agreement between both departments, teachers are sent to secondment in Centers for Environmental Education. Provincial authorities as well as municipalities often develop all kinds of environmental education-initiatives. An important number of NGO's participate in the consultation and practice on environmental education.

Networking inside Flanders and across the borders is getting more and more attention from several actors in the field of environmental education.


Ministry of the Flemish Community
Adult literacy rate (%) Male no data
Adult literacy rate (%) Female no data
% of primary school children reaching grade 5 (1986-97) no data
Mean number of years of schooling
% of GNP spent on education
Females per 100 males in secondary school
Women per 100 men in the labour force
Other data

39,1 % of males attended college or university in 1993/4, while for females, that figure was 41,0 %

The number of people with only primary schooling decreased from 73 % (1970) to 47 % (1991)
* : obligatory education from 6 to 18 years of age.

Ministry of German-speaking Community
Adult literacy rate (%) Male
no data
no data
no data
Adult literacy rate (%) Female
no data
no data
no data
% of primary school children reaching grade 5 (1986-97)
Mean number of years of schooling
% of Community budget spent on education
Females per 100 males in secondary school
Women per 100 men in the labour force
no data
no data
no data
Other data

In 1995, 50,89 % of primary school attendees were male, and 49,11 % were female.
In 1995, 48,56 % of secondary school attendees were male, and 51,44 % were female.
* : obligatory education from 6 to 18 years of age.


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.


National Capacity-Building

Flemish Region

In its policy document "Vlaanderen internationaal" of 1O November 1995 the Flemish Government has given attention to a number of general principles regarding its emerging development policy. Based on particular features of its societal strenght as a Region these principles include implicitly possibilities for capacity-building initiatives. The implementation of this aspect of the Flemish development policy shall make use of the expertise of the Flemish governmental Organisation for Training and Technical Assistance which is actually involved in a number of capacity-building projects. Concerning its external affairs the Flemish Government has a fund for sustainable development which offers possibilities for capacity-building initiatives next to its budget for implementing existing cooperation agreements with countries such as South Africa and Chile.

Capacity-Building in Developing Countries

In order to increase the capacity-building regarding sustainable development in developing countries, the Belgian Agency for Development Co-operation (BADC) usually includes, in its bilateral projects, activities on grass-root and Governmental levels by promoting the bottom-up and participatory approach.

Additionally, BADC finances international course programmes and training grants at Belgian universities and institutions in a wide variety of disciplines that tackle problems such as research and management of natural resources, health, education, environmental pollution, rural and urban habitat, demography, among others.

Finally, BADC is funding training programmes that stem from private organization initiatives in the fields of transport, infrastructure, management, industry, agriculture, fish farming and the social sector.


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

As a reminder


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:

Major agreements entered into and relevant to Agenda 21

Framework Convention on Climate Change, ratification instruments deposited in January 1996.

Convention on Biological Diversity, ratification instruments deposited in November 1996.

Global Environmental Facility (GEF)

After participating in the GEF-Pilot Phase (1991-1994), contributing 4.42 million SDR to the Core Fund and co-financing projects in Tunesia and Burkina Faso/Côte d'Ivoire for an amount of 5 million SDR, Belgium has, since 1995, fully joined the restructured GEF. Through the Belgian Agency for Development Co-operation, Belgium is contributing its 1.68 % share of the GEF Trust Fund, i.e. close to 24 million SDR, for the period 1994-1997.


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

1. Questionary

See "Comments" hereunder.


Belgium hosted in 1995 an International Workshop on Indicators of Sustainable Development for Decision-Making organized with the Government of Costa Rica, UNEP and SCOPE (Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment). A Working List of Indicators (in the form of a set of methodology sheets) was proposed in this first workshop, from which countries could select the indicators that they may use in their national policies, according to their own problems, policies and targets. This has been adopted by the Commission on Sustainable Development in 1996. The same year, Belgium hosted a second International Workshop which welcomed the methodology sheets as a valuable basis for aiming at some harmonization in methodological approaches and commended the Department for Policy Co-ordination and Sustainable Development for their publication. The second Ghent meeting marked the launch of the testing of indicators of sustainable development and produced guidelines and timetable for this testing phase.

Belgium does not yet have a core set of indicators of sustainable development but, in 1996, Belgium decided to become a "testing country" in the CSD Program on Indicators of Sustainable Development. The Interministerial Conference on the Environment (ICE) of the 4th of June is responsible for the testing of the environmental part of the Working List. It has, therefore, created a working group methodology sheets of the indicator's working list of the CSD. The working group has examined the list and concluded that data are, in principle, available for 20 of the 57 environmental indicators of sustainable development. The ICE of the 12th of November 1996 decided that Belgium was to start with the in-depth analysis and filling-in of the methodology sheets of three indicators: domestic consumption of water per capita, use of agricultural pesticides, household waste disposed per capita.

At the Federal level, there are research programs mostly aimed at developing institutional indicators of sustainable development, in particular, and other indicators, in general. Their results were discussed in seminars and open meetings during the year 1996. At the Regional level (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels), work on indicators is carried out in the framework of Regional environmental reporting and policy-making. At the Regional level also, legislation has been adopted in the framework of European legislation aimed at enforcing the evaluation of environmental impacts of projects. A volontary system of environmental evaluation for firms is being implemented by the Regions, in accordance with the European Directive on EMAS.

Regarding Flemish Regional indicators, demographic and environmental indicators are published annually in VRIND. The Flemish Government created a database - Functional Regional Database, FRED - to cover all types of policy relevant indicators. All Flemish agencies concerned with environment and sustainable development policies are connected to this database. The Walloon State of the Environment, published each second year, has proved an excellent tool for decision-making to both the public and private sectors in the Walloon Region. The Walloon Government is also developing a central database of environmental data and indicators. Particular importance is given to the maintenance and improvement of networks to control environmental quality and inventories of polluting emissions. In collaboration with the Walloon Association of Enterprises, the Walloon Government has initiated a programme to provide small and middel enterprises with environmental advisors. In the Brussels Region, the implementation of existing plans includes the use of indicators to assess the performance of policies and actions launched in those fields (waste management and promotion of the biological inheritage - plans for the management of air quality and noise data, are in development). About fifteen environmental and social indicators included in a "dashboard" are published regularly as well as Reports about the State of the Environment (1990,1994). Since October 1996, an environmental statistical observatory has been created to collect data and produce indicators. A report of the notion of "indicators of sustainability", which has different interpretations, has been published.

Bodies involved here include the Federal Planning Office, the Ministry of the Flemish Government, the Walloon Directorate General for National Resources and the Environment and the Brussels Institute for Environmental Management. Science Policy is financing a research program on the application of satellite remote-sensing data and geographical information systems. This includes activities to raise public awareness on satellite datas and to demonstrate, through case-studies, its use as a tool for decision-making.

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1 November 1997