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Regional Profile

ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR EUROPE

REGIONAL REPORT

IMPLEMENTATION OF AGENDA 21:
REVIEW OF PROGRESS MADE SINCE THE
UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON
ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT, 1992

Information Provided by the Economic Commission for Europe 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 Regional Profile is also available on the World Wide Web, as follows:
http://www.un.org/dpcsd/earthsummit

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACRONYMS
OVERVIEW
AGENDA 21 CHAPTERS
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

ACRONYMS

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)

OVERVIEW

In the framework of its preparation for UNCED, the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) adopted sustainable development as a guiding principle for all its relevant activities. Following the Conference, it called upon its Subsidiary Bodies to take full account of the conclusions and recommendations of both the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21. Accordingly, the Environment Programme of the Commission has been consolidated and environmental concerns and considerations have been integrated into the respective programmes of work of other ECE sectors, namely transport, energy, industry and technology, trade, timber and human settlements. The cross-sectoral structure of the ECE offers member Governments an effective mechanism to respond to the challenges of environment and development issues and to adapt universal precepts to the specific circumstances prevailing in the region.

In the light of recent dramatic changes in Europe, ECE is playing an increasingly important role in providing assistance to countries in transition from centrally planned to market economies, with particular emphasis on building and strengthening their national capacities regarding sustainable development, reviewing their performance in meeting domestic environmental policy objectives and relevant international commitments, and strengthening their environmental management and planning capabilities. The multilateral, legally-binding, regulatory instruments on air pollution, water management, enviornmental impact assessment and industrial accidents negotiated under ECE auspices are part of an expanding regional legal framework to facilitate sustainable development. Environmental impact assessment, in particular, is an effective tool for incorporating environmental considerations into economic decision-making.

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 2: INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION TO ACCELERATE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES AND RELATED DOMESTIC POLICIES (with special emphasis on TRADE)

STATUS REPORT: The ECE Trade Division collects statistics on foreign investment in transition economies and analyses various aspects of foreign investors' activities in those countries, including their impact on the host economies. Moreover, it prepares various legal guides which spell out legal conditions for attracting foreign investment and privatizing state-owned enterprises. In this way, the Division explores the ways to promote foreign direct investment and privatization and analyses their contribution to the market transformation and economic stabilization. Economic stabilization being a short-term form of sustainable development, one can say that the Trade Division contributes to analyzing certain aspects of sustainable development in transition economies, in particular the role of external resources.

Some of the activities of the Trade Division include: (1) an analysis of trade policy measures; (2) the promotion of foreign direct investment; (3) the role of small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) in sustainable development; (4) the need for business training and education of human resources at governmental levels, in private and state-owned enterprises and for people dealing in joint ventures; (5) environment, economy and the role of environment in trade and FDI promotion and development; and (6) transfer of environmentally sound technologies.

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 3: COMBATING POVERTY

STATUS REPORT:

Focus of national strategy

The statistical work of the ECE, approved by the Conference of European Statistics (CES) and carried out in the Statistical Division, comprises a number of activities. Programme elements relevant to sustainable development are in the field of social and demographic statistics and environment statistics, including: (1) gender statistics; (2) health statistics (with WHO); (3) demographic statistics (with EUROSTAT); (4) human settlements and housing statistics; and (5) statistics of household income and expenditures, of the welfare of the population, and of poverty and income statistics, as well as of statistics on population groups of special interest.

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 4: CHANGING CONSUMPTION PATTERNS

STATUS REPORT:

No information

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 5: DEMOGRAPHIC DYNAMICS AND SUSTAINABILITY

STATUS REPORT: In preparation for the HABITAT II Conference, the Committee on Human Settlements prepared "Guidelines for Sustainable Human Settlements Planning and Management." Work will continue on practical adaptation of the Guidelines in ECE countries, in particular on analyzing different national approaches to the formulation of national policies for a more sustainable human settlements planning and their implementation at the local level. The aim of the Strategies to implement urban renewal and housing modernization policies was to draw together the most recent thinking on urban renewal. Given the importance of the housing issue in central and eastern Europe, the Committee has decided that work should continue on such issues, so as to assess the progress made in adjusting policies and their means of implementation.

A pilot project on changes in consumption patterns and individual lifestyles will begin for the EURO-HABITAT Conference, co-organized by ECE, Eurocities and the Council of European Municipalities and Regions to promote partnership in the development and implementation of new human settlements strategies.

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 6: PROTECTING AND PROMOTING HUMAN HEALTH

STATUS REPORT: No information

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 7: PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE HUMAN SETTLEMENT DEVELOPMENT

STATUS REPORT: No information

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 8: INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT IN DECISION-MAKING

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

STATUS REPORT: The Economic Commission for Europe adopted the terms of reference of the Committee on Environmenal Policy in 1994, recognizing that the political conditions prevailing in the region provided a unique opportunity for an innovative and collective approach to the prevention and solution of environmental problems. The Committee on Enviromental Policy constitutes a multilateral pan-European forum for environmental cooperation and the promotion of sustainable development in the ECE region where all ECE member States participate on an equal footing. In 1995, at Sofia, the Ministers of the Environment from 49 countries in the ECE region underlined the urgent need for the further integration of enviornmental considerations into all sectoral policies in the region, so that economic growth takes place in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. The Ministerial Conference at Sofia focused on measures for the improvement of environmental conditions in countries with economies in transition, in particular on environmental financing, and on the harmonization and convergence of environmental policies in the entire ECE region, including policies to involve business and industry in securing environmentally sustainable economic development, conserve biological and landscape diversity, and enable public participation in environmental decision-making.

The Ministers declared that the "Environment for Europe" process remained essential as a political framework for cooperation in environmental protection in Europe. They called for an efficient and cost-effective structure for the process that would emphasize concrete actions and enable all countries of the European region to play a full and equal part in the further development of that cooperation and take account of related activities at the pan-European level, notably on environment and health, environment and transport, and sustainable management of forests. The ECE Committee on Environmental Policy will oversee this process, in close cooperation with relevant agencies, organizations and institutions.

The Committee on Environmental Policy has provided general policy guidance on the promotion of the follow-up to Agenda 21 on a regional level and undertaken some specific activities according to the ECE Action Plan to Implement Agenda 21. For example, the environmental performance reviews undertaken by the ECE are an excellent opportunity to evaluate the integration of environmental goals and sectoral policies on a national level.

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 9: PROTECTION OF THE ATMOSPHERE

STATUS REPORT:

Introduction: The Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution is one of the central means for protecting our environment. It has, over the years, served as a bridge between different political systems and as a factor of stability in years of political change. It has substantially contributed to the development of international environmental law and has created the essential framework for controlling and reducing the damage to human health and the environment caused by transboundary air pollution. It is an outstanding example of what can be achieved through intergovernmental cooperation.

Status of implementation of the Convention: The Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, ratified as of 1 November 1996 by 40 Parties, has since its entry into force in 1983 been extended by five specific protocols:

(i) The 1984 Protocol on Long-term Financing of the Cooperative Programme for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Long-range Transmission of Air Pollutants in Europe (EMEP), ratified by 35 Parties; (ii) The 1985 Protocol on the Reduction of Sulphur Emissions or their Transboundary Fluxes by at least 30 per cent, ratified by 21 Parties; (iii) The 1988 Protocol concerning the Control of Emissions of Nitrogen Oxides or their Transboundary Fluxes, ratified by 25 Parties;(iv) The 1991 Protocol concerning the Control of Emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds or their Transboundary Fluxes, signed by 23 and ratified by 14 Parties; and (v) The 1994 Protocol on Further Reduction of Sulphur Emissions, signed by 28 Parties and ratified by four.

Results of implementation of the Convention: The 1994 Major Review on Strategies and Policies for Air Pollution Abatement and its 1995 and 1996 updates have confirmed that the implementation of the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution has had a substantial impact on reducing overall sulphur emissions and on stabilizing nitrogen oxides emissions in the ECE region.

Taken as a whole, the 21 Parties to the 1985 Sulphur Protocol reduced 1980 sulphur emissions by 50 per cent by 1994 (using the latest available figure, where no data were available for 1994). In the whole of Europe, including non-Parties to the Protocol, that sum of emissions is well below 30,000 kt which corresponds to a reduction of 49 per cent compared to 1980. Also individually, based on the latest available data, all Parties to the Sulphur Protocol have reached the reduction target. Four non-Parties to the Protocol have as well achieved sulphur emission reductions of 30 per cent or more. Eleven Parties have achieved reductions of at least 60 per cent; two of these have actually reduced their sulphur emissions by 80 per cent or more.

Given the target year 1993 for the 1985 Sulphur Protocol, it can be concluded that all Parties to that Protocol have reached the target reducing emissions by at least 30 per cent.

Concerning the emissions of nitrogen oxides the general reference year is 1987 (with the exception of the United States that chose to relate its emission target to 1978).

STATUS (Cont'd)

For all Parties to the Convention, overall emissions of NOx had been stabilized by 1990 at the 1987 level and by 1994 (or an earlier year, where no figures are available for 1994) they had been reduced by 4 per cent. Taking the sum of emissions of Parties to the NOx Protocol in 1994, or a previous year, where no recent data are available, also a slight reduction of 4 per cent compared to 1987 can be noted. Twenty-one of the 25 Parties to the 1988 NOx Protocol have reached the target and stabilized emissions at 1987 (or in the case of the United States 1978) levels or reduced emissions below that level according to the latest emission data reported. Among the other cases, two cannot be evaluated because of a lack of data for the base year and the two remaining Parties to the Protocol have increased emissions by 5 to 37 per cent above 1987 levels. Five Parties to the Convention (including one non-Party to the NOx Protocol) have reduced NOx emissions by more than 25 per cent. All of these are countries with economies in transition. It can also be noted that, in general, in southern Europe NOx emissions have increased, in some cases significantly, above 1987 levels.

Future implementing strategy for the Convention: After finalization of the new Sulphur Protocol, highest priority is now given by the Executive Body to the development of the second step to the 1988 Protocol concerning the Control of Emissions of Nitrogen Oxides or their Transboundary Fluxes. Applying the multi-pollutant, multi-effect critical load approach, the new instrument should provide for further reduction of emissions of nitrogen compounds, including ammonia, and, if appropriate, volatile organic compounds, in view of their contribution to photochemical pollution, acidification and eutrophication, and their effects on human health, the environment and materials, by addressing all significant emission sources. Negotiations will start in 1997 for a Protocol.

In addition to the further steps to control the emissions of sulphur, nitrogen and volatile organic compounds, the available knowledge on the presence of heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants in the environment and on their possible adverse effects also points towards the development of relevant international measures. The Executive Body confirmed in November 1996 the initiation of negotiations proper in 1997 on these substances.

The preparatory work, carried out under the Convention, on persistent organic pollutants has been recognized by the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety as a stepping stone for possible global action under UNEP on those substances.

TRANSPORT

Preparatory work for the Regional Conference on Transport and the Environment is continuing. After reaching agreement on a text of draft guidelines for a common strategy regarding transport and environment, the Preparatory Committee identified a number of issues on which binding agreement could be achieved: environmental standards for vehicles in international transport, periodic technical inspections of vehicles in use and the development of combined transport on inland waterways and coastal shipping. It was felt that the relevant legal instruments could be adopted or signed on the occasion of the Conference, in November 1997, in Austria.

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 10: INTEGRATED APPROACH TO THE PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT OF LAND RESOURCES

STATUS REPORT: No information

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 11: COMBATING DEFORESTATION

STATUS REPORT: After UNCED, for the ECE region, there has been the 1993 Helsinki Ministerial Conference on Protection of Forests in Europe, widely perceived as the pan-European manifestation of UNCED follow-up for forests, which adopted four quite far reaching resolutions, and has since concentrated on developing and applying "criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management" valid for the pan-European region. This process led to other processes, notably the Montreal process of non-European temperate and boreal forest countries, including Canada, USA, Russian Federation, and a number of non-ECE countries (the Russian Federation is a member of both processes). In 1995, the CSD decided to set up an Intergovernmental Panel on forests (IPF) which has met twice and will meet two more times before reporting back to CSD in 1997. FAO is the task manager for forests and the Timber Section (as secretariat for the FAO European Forestry Commission) is responsible for FAO European forest activities. In 1993 the joint session of the ECE Timber Committee and the FAO European Forestry Commission attached highest priority to supporting the UNCED and Helsinki processes, and we have reported on this annually.

With respect to sustainable development, the invisible but possibly most important contribution of the ECE timber section is to provide the information and analytical infrastructure for the discussion: which provides information on the forest resource, production or trade of forest products. A particularly important aspect is the study of the long term outlook for supply and demand of wood and forest products to 2020, which provides an invaluable data set and reference frame for considering whether Europe's forest management is sustainable in the long term.

Recently, however, the Timber Section has received a new mandate, from the Helsinki process, to collect, on a comparable international basis, and in cooperation with all other relevant organisations (e.g ICP Forest and the Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution), data on as many as possible of the Helsinki indicators of sustainable forest management, for transmission to the next ministerial conference (Lisbon 1998). This will essentially be done by combining and adapting existing data collection activities, notably ICP Forest and the FAO/ECE Forest Resource Assessment (Temperate and boreal zone). For some indicators, data collection is impracticable with present means and these will be the subject of research.

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 12: MANAGING FRAGILE ECOSYSTEMS: COMBATING DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT

STATUS REPORT:

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

Particularly in Africa

Each party shall file reports on implementation with the Conference of Parties, as often and in the form to be determined. Parties are to report on development of national action programmes. The Conference shall assist affected developing countries to make reports.

Convention

Signed: Not applicable

Ratified: Not applicable

Additional comments relevant to this chapter

No information

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 13: MANAGING FRAGILE ECOSYSTEMS: SUSTAINABLE MOUNTAIN DEVELOPMENT

STATUS REPORT: No information

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 14: PROMOTING SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

STATUS REPORT: No information

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 15: CONSERVATION OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

STATUS REPORT:

Convention on Biological Diversity

Parties are to develop national strategies, plans and programmes for sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity and integrate them into general development plans.

Parties shall identify, monitor and maintain data on components of biodiversity.

Parties shall introduce appropriate procedures requiring EIAs for projects likely to have significant adverse effects on biological diversity.

Parties shall submit reports on measures which it has taken for the implementation of the Convention, at intervals to be determined.

Convention

Signed: Not applicable

Ratified: Not applicable

Latest report submitted in 19--.: Not applicable

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

Parties to take appropriate measures to enforce regulatory provisions and prohibit trade in specimens in violation thereof. Convention also governs treatment of animals in shipment.

Each party to prepare periodic reports on its implementation of the convention and to prepare: (a) an annual report listing export permits issued and species involved, and (b) a biennial report on legislative, regulatory and administrative measures taken.

Convention signed in 19--. : No information

Latest report submitted in 19--.: No information

Additional comments relevant to this chapter: No information

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 16: ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND MANAGEMENT OF BIOTECHNOLOGY

STATUS REPORT:

Biotechnology

Since 1987, the Senior Advisers to ECE Governments on Science and Technology has maintained an inventory of existing safety guidelines in biotechnology. They have collected information on existing laws and regulations and, where relevant, any planned measures in order to identify developments and national experience gained in this field. This information is collected in the form of national submissions and submissions from international organizations as well as their updates which are regularly issued in a special series of unrestricted documents in the three UN/ECE official languages. By the end of January 1997, the secretariat, acting as a depository for the national reports, regulations and legislation concerned, has in its possession contributions from 34 Governments and three international organizations (UNIDO, EC and OECD). In 1995, the UN/ECE secretariat produced a widely distributed publication entitled "ECE Inventory of Safety Guidelines in Biotechnology" (ECE/SC.TECH./47) which contains the latest submissions for the inventory.

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 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

STATUS REPORT:

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

Signed in 19--: Not applicable

Ratified in 19--: Not applicable

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 18: PROTECTION OF THE QUALITY AND SUPPLY OF FRESHWATER RESOURCES: APPLICATION OF INTEGRATED APPROACHES TO THE DEVELOPMENT, MANAGEMENT AND USE OF WATER RESOURCES

STATUS REPORT: The implementation of chapter 18 of Agenda 21 is closely related to the implementation of the ECE Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes, adopted at Helsinki on 17 March 1992 just three months before the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), as this Convention recognizes conflict prevention, the precautionary principle, the polluter-pays principle and the sustainability principle as guiding principles to protect and conserve not only water resources but also soil, flora, fauna, air, climate, landscape and cultural heritage. In addition, work under the auspices of ECE on water issues is based on the ECE Action Plan to Implement Agenda 21, submitted in May 1994 to the Commission on Sustainable Development at its second session.

Following the adoption of this Convention and of Agenda 21, ECE and its member countries have drawn up and are implementing a number of related soft-law instruments, such as guidelines and recommendations to Governments on the ecosystem approach in water management, water-quality criteria and objectives, pollution prevention from hazardous substances and industrial sectors, good agricultural practice, licensing waste-water discharges, and monitoring and assessment of transboundary waters. Assistance to countries in transition is a specific programme area of ECE under which training courses, workshops and pilot projects are carried out. Other organizations of the UN system (UNEP, WMO, WHO, FAO) as well as the European Environment Agency are being involved through memoranda of understanding or other arrangements.

With the entry into force of the Convention on 6 October 1996, Parties are currently preparing a draft action plan which will include other specific responses to activities set out in chapter 18, such as the eradication of water-related diseases and safe drinking-water supply which are expected to be jointly carried out by ECE and WHO-EURO and will lead to an international instrument.

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 19: ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND MANAGEMENT OF TOXIC CHEMICALS, INCLUDING PREVENTION OF ILLEGAL INTERNATIONAL TRAFFIC IN TOXIC AND DANGEROUS PRODUCTS

STATUS REPORT:

Toxic chemicals

ECE Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents

The ECE Convention on the transboundary effects of industrial accidents aimed at the strengthening national capacity building and international cooperation in the prevention of, preparedness for and response to industrial accidents capable of causing transboundary effects through establishing and functioning points of contact for the purposes of industrial accident notification and mutual assistance, concluding bilateral and multilateral agreements, carrying out research and development in safety management and safety technology as well as exchange of experience and information in this field.

The activities under the Convention considerably contributes to two priority programme areas of UNCED, Agenda 21, Chapter 19: (a) Establishment of risk reduction programmes and (b) Strengthening of national capabilities and capacities for management of chemicals.

The Convention provides the procedures for the identification of hazardous activities capable causing transboundary effects and industrial accident notification and mutual assistance in the event of an industrial accident.

Strengthening of national capabilities and capacities for management of chemicals

Taking into account needs and priorities countries in transition (CIT) the meeting of the Signatories to the Convention has established two regional accident coordinating centre aiming at the setting up a network of relative national centres in CIT in order to enhance overall capacity building to prevent, prepare for and response to industrial accidents in the ECE region.

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 20: ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND MANAGEMENT OF HAZARDOUS WASTES, INCLUDING PREVENTION OF ILLEGAL INTERNATIONAL TRAFFIC IN HAZARDOUS WASTES

STATUS REPORT:

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

Parties shall cooperate to disseminate information on transboundary movement of hazardous wastes. Parties shall cooperate to promote environmentally sound low-waste technologies, to transfer technology and cooperate in developing codes of practice. Parties to assist developing countries.

Parties shall immediately inform affected parties as to accidents. Prior to the end of each calendar year, parties shall provide the following information on the preceding calendar year: (a) the authorities handling Convention matters; (b) information regarding the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes; (c) measures adopted to implement convention; (d) available statistics on human health and environmental effects of generation, transport and disposal of hazardous wastes; (e) information on agreements entered into; (f) information on accidents; (g) information on disposal options; and (h) information on development of waste-reduction technologies;

Basel Convention

Signed in 19-- : Not applicable

Ratified in 19-- : Not applicable

The latest information was provided to the Basel Convention Secretariat in 19--.: Not applicable

Additional comments relevant to this chapter: No information

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 21: ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND MANAGEMENT OF SOLID WASTES AND SEWAGE-RELATED ISSUES

STATUS REPORT: No information

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 22: SAFE AND ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE WASTES

STATUS REPORT: No information

AGENDA 21 CHAPTERS 23-32: MAJOR GROUPS

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 promotion of broad public participation in decision-making has taken two forms: namely, the participation of representatives of major groups in ECE meetings and the promotion of their participation in the decision-making process in the context of the implementation of legally binding instruments. For more details, please refer to Chapter 39, on International Legal Instruments.

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 33: FINANCIAL RESOURCES AND MECHANISMS

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)

STATUS REPORT: No information

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 34: TRANSFER OF ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND TECHNOLOGY, COOPERATION AND CAPACITY-BUILDING

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

STATUS REPORT ON LINKS BETWEEN NATIONAL, REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL INFORMATION NETWORKS/SYSTEMS:

Technology cooperation and capacity building

The Senior Advisers to ECE Governments on Science and Technology maintain an ECE inventory of existing safety guidelines in biotechnology as a contribution to developing environmentally sound biotechnologies.

Work in this field is aimed at increasing awareness about and need to introduce modern, environmentally sound technologies in the chemical industry, in particular among the countries in transition and promote and facilitate the introduction of cleaner production technologies, more efficient use of energy and raw materials and reduction of industrial waste.

Initiated in 1990 by the Bergen Ministerial Declaration on Sustainable Development in the ECE Region as a regional preparation for UNCED, the Energy Efficiency 2000 project is to enhance trade and cooperation in energy-efficient, environmentally sund technology and management practices between formally centrally planned economies and market economies.

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.

No information

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.

No information

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.

No information

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 35: SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

STATUS REPORT ON NATIONAL SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE, RESEARCH NEEDS AND PRIORITIES: No information

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 36: PROMOTING EDUCATION, PUBLIC AWARENESS AND TRAINING

STATUS REPORT:

Promoting education, public awareness and training

Effectively implementing the objectives, policies and mechanisms for sustainable development agreed to by Governments requires the commitment and genuine involvement of all social groups. More specifically, one of the fundamental prerequisites for the achievement of sustainable development is broad public participation in decision-making. The promotion of this involvement has taken two forms, namely the participation of representatives of major groups in ECE meetings and the promotion of their participation in the decision-making process in the context of the implementation of legally binding instruments.

In the context of the legally binding instruments prepared under the auspices of the ECE, detailed provisions have been made for public involvement in environmental decision-making both at national and transboundary levels. In accordance with the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), for example, Parties will be obliged to establish an EIA procedure that permits public participation. Parties to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes will be obliged to ensure public access to the information on water-quality objectives, permit conditions, the results of monitoring and assessment, and on the results of checking compliance with water-quality objectives or permit conditions. Parties to the Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents will have to ensure that the public in the areas that may be affected by an industrial accident are given the information specified in the Convention. This applies not only to the public of the country in which the activity takes place, but also to the public of other countries likely to be affected. These provisions will serve as possible models in the further elaboration of international environmental laws.

Pursuant to the pertinent provisions of the Ministerial Declaration adopted at the 1995 Ministerial Conference "Environment for Europe" (Sofia, Bulgaria), in January 1996 the Committee on Environmental Policy decided to establish the Ad Hoc Working Group for the preparation of a draft convention on access to environmental information and public participation in environmental decision-making, taking into account relevant provisions of the recent ECE Conventions and of the Rio Declaration. The negotiations on the draft convention have been initiated in 1996. A large number of NGOs are taking part alongside governmental representatives. The NGO representatives, brought together in a coalition of national, European and international environmental NGOs, have decided to launch a two-year campaign to promote their ideas at the negotiations of this new Convention. The NGO delegation includes representatives of Friends of the Earth (FOE), the European Environmental Bureau, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) International, Ecojuris (Russian Federation) and others. The Convention should enable the public not only to have access to information on the environment, but above all to participate actively in environmental decision-making. This Convention, the fifth on the environment negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, could apply to the Commission's 55 member States.

STATUS (Cont'd)

Effectiveness of existing international agreements or instruments

However, these instruments would not fully achieve their purpose if they were to remain mere expressions of goodwill on the part of member States. The significance of legal instruments agreed upon with the UN/ECE lies in the fact that they are rapidly and efficiently implemented and complied with by as many member countries as possible, and translated into practical rules and regulations at the national level. By its decision F (48), the Commission called on all UN/ECE member States and the European Community to consider, if they had not already done so, ratification of or accession to the Conventions on environmental impact assessment, industrial accidents and transboundary waters, as appropriate, in order to make them fully operational on a region-wide level as soon as possible.

The above mentioned Conventions and Protocols are open for member States of the Economic Commission for Europe as well as States having consultative status with the Economic Commission for Europe pursuant to paragraph 8 of Economic and Social Council resolution 36 (IV) of 28 March 1947, and by regional economic integration organizations, constituted by sovereign States members of the Economic Commission for Europe. The official languages of these instruments are English, French and Russian. The secretariat functions are carried out by the secretariat of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 37: NATIONAL MECHANISMS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION FOR CAPACITY-BUILDING IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

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.

STATUS REPORT ON NATIONAL ENDOGENOUS CAPACITY BUILDING:

ECE is the only organization in the region that can provide such a forum where cooperation is on an equal footing for all member countries including countries in transition. Since UNCED the main focus has evolved towards harmonizing the economic and sectoral development within the region. The ECE being the prime forum for intergovernmental review of sectoral priorities, identification of evolving problems and convergence of environmental quality and standards towards sustainability. There is also greater awareness particularly on the part of countries in transition on capacity building for sustainable development. Problems are better defined and countries are keenly aware of the absence of capacity to tackle them. The ECE provides the platform to address these problems and help these countries develop their own capacity (institutional and know-how) to resolve them.

Since UNCED, the ECE has implemented a new programme which support and promotes sustainable development: the Environmental Performance Reviews (EPRs) of member countries, in particular countries in transition. An EPR is an important tool for capacity building as it examines the extent to which a country meets its domestic objectives and international commitments in the area of environment. It is an efficient tool to assess the environmental situation in a country, and it facilitates the task of the country's authorities in further taking appropriate decisions to improve the environment. The EPR focuses upon all levels of capacity building; it evaluates national plans and policy, legislation, organizational capacity, enforcement, compliance and monitoring. It also assesses the success of integrating environmental and sectoral policies, as well as cross-sectoral communication e.g. with industry, NGOs and other public interest groups. ECE has carried out these activities in cooperation with OECD for Poland, Bulgaria and Belarus. ECE has finalized its review of Estonia and is now reviewing Slovenia. Albania and Moldova are next on the list of countries to be reviewed.

The Energy Efficiency 2000 project with funds from UNDP-GEF is coordinating activities for sustainable development . Work is underway to develop a joint project, Global Efficiency 21, with all five regional commissions. However, the global approach is dependent upon funding . ECE cooperated with UNEP in the context of the joint ECE/UNEP project on Strengthening Environmental Management Capabilities in Eastern and Central European Countries. The WHO Regional Committee for Europe and the ECE Committee on Environmental Policy cooperate under the European Environment and Health Committee established as a follow-up to the second European Conference on Environment and Health (Helsinki 1994). As part of its activities aimed at promoting sustainable industrial development, the ECE prepared and hosted a Round-table Conference on cooperation and industrial development.

The Gas Centre is supporting economic development through capacity building in the eastern countries. ECE is the coordinating body for the Centre which is supported by governments and industry. Capacity building is enhanced through training seminars, workshops and symposia. Under the framework of the ECE Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents, Regional Coordinating Centres have been established in Hungary and Poland aimed at enhancing capacity building to prevent, prepare for and respond to industrial accidents with particular emphasis on countries in transition.

STATUS (Cont'd)

Since September 1994, ECE has provided regional advisory services to countries in transition thus significantly increasing it's direct role in capacity building through missions undertaken by regional advisors which provide first-hand expertise, information and coordination. The direct contact between the regional advisors and government officials assures that capacity building is demand driven and not dictated from desk studies. The ECE regional advisors cover the various sectors (transport, energy, environment, industry, and trade). Collaboration and coordination between these advisors enhance the possibilities of ECE to provide a multi-sectoral approach to capacity building. Increased importance must be given the preparation of country strategy notes which should form the foundation for capacity building needs and requirements. These notes were primarily coordinated by UNDP and the Consultative Committee on Programme and Operational Activities (CCPOQ) recommended that the Regional Commissions be given a major role in their preparation.

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 38: INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS

Ch. 38: Brief summary of any particular UN System response affecting this country/state: No information

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 39: INTERNATIONAL LEGAL INSTRUMENTS AND MECHANISMS

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:

The multilateral, legally-binding, regulatory instruments on air pollution, water management, environmental impact assessment, industrial accidents and public participation negotiated under ECE auspices are part of an expanding regional legal framework to facilitate sustainable development. Environmental impact assessment, in particular, is an effective tool for incorporating environmental considerations into economic decision-making. Countries with economies in transition are actively participating in the development of these regional conventions and related protocols and in their implementation. These internationally legally binding instruments administered by ECE are playing an important role in integrating these countries into a pan-European legal and economic space.

In addition, in the context of the legally binding instruments prepared under the auspices of the ECE, detailed provisions have been made for public involvement in environmental decision-making both at national and at transboundary levels. In accordance with the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), for example, Parties will be obliged to establish an EIA procedure that permits public participation. Parties to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes will be obliged to ensure public access to the information on water-quality objectives, permit conditions, the results of monitoring and assessment, and on the results of checking compliance with water-quality objectives or permit conditions. Parties to the Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents will have to ensure that the public in the areas that may be affected by an industrial accident are given the information specified in the Convention. This applies not only to the public of the country in which the activity takes place, but also to the public of other countries likely to be affected. These provisions will serve as possible models in the further elaboration of international environmental laws.

Pursuant to the pertinent provisions of the Ministerial Declaration adopted at the 1995 Ministerial Conference, "Environment for Europe," (Sofia, Bulgaria), in January 1996, the Committee on Environmental Policy decided to establish the Ad Hoc Working Group for the preparation of a draft convention on access to environmental information and public participation in environmental decision-making, taking into account relevant provisions of the recent ECE Conventions and of the Rio Declaration. The negotiations on the draft convention will be initiated without delay so that the convention can, as far as possible, be finalized by the Committee on Environmental Policy before the 1998 Conference, "Environment for Europe," in Denmark and open for signature by the Ministers during the Conference.

AGENDA 21 CHAPTER 40: INFORMATION FOR DECISION-MAKING

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
Very
good
Good
Some good
data but
many gaps
Poor
Remarks
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

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Department of Economic and Social Affairs
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Last updated 1 November 1997