For the Commission of the European Communities
COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL, THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS on the Sixth Action Program of the European Community on the Environment Ambient
'Environment 2010: the future is in our hands'
- VI Environment Program
DECISION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL establishing the Community Action Program for the Environment Environment for 2001-2010
Context of the new program
A healthy environment is essential to maintaining long-term prosperity and quality of life. European citizens demand a high level of environmental protection. The growth that is going to be registered in the future and the level of well-being, which is increasing, will put pressure on the planet's ability to sustain the demand for resources and absorb pollution. In addition, having high environmental standards is a driver for innovation and opens up opportunities for companies. In general, society must strive to decouple environmental impact and degradation, on the one hand, and economic growth, on the other. Companies have to increase their ecological performance, in other words, produce an equal or greater volume of products using fewer resources and generating less waste, and consumption patterns have to become more sustainable.
In the European Union, thirty years of environmental policy have led to a global system of environmental controls. The V Environment Program (1992-1999), ‘Towards a sustainable development’, adopted new measures and opened a broader commitment to integrate the environmental dimension into other policies. The overall evaluation of the program concluded that despite the results achieved in reducing the level of contamination in some areas, problems remained and the environment would continue to deteriorate unless:
- further progress will be made in the application of environmental legislation in the Member States
- the integration of the environment into economic and social policies that exert environmental pressures will be intensified and deepened
- citizens and stakeholders will become more involved in environmental protection work
- new impetus be given to measures aimed at solving serious and persistent ecological problems and other new problems that are beginning to appear.
This context has conditioned the strategic orientation of the VI Environment Program, which establishes the environmental objectives and priorities that will form part of the European Community's strategy in favor of sustainable development. The Program determines the main priorities and objectives of environmental policy for the next five to ten years, and describes the measures to be taken.
A strategy to meet our environmental goals
Environmental policy has to apply an innovative strategy and seek new ways of working with a wide spectrum of society. It is necessary to improve the application of current environmental legislation. Energetic legal actions in the Court of Justice must be combined with support for best practices and with a public information policy to give names and surnames to those who abide by and violate the regulations.
We must deepen the
Working with the market through the interests of companies and consumers will contribute to more sustainable production and consumption models. You don't just have to penalize companies for non-compliance; systems must also be introduced to reward their good results. Consumers need information that allows them to choose environmentally friendly products and thus condition the market. Public grants should serve to promote environmentally friendly practices. Public subsidies that favor practices that are harmful to the environment must disappear. Companies need to be encouraged to innovate, for example by taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the use, development and diffusion of clean technologies.
Every day, citizens make decisions that have a direct or indirect effect on the environment. Better access to better quality information on the environment and practical issues will help you form an opinion and make a decision.
Decisions taken by Member States on land to pay special attention to four priority areas of action. Try to solve climate change
level that does not cause unnatural variations in the terrestrial climate.
2012 emissions of those gases are 8% from 1990 levels. And that's just a first step towards the long-term goal of a 70% reduction.
Nature and biodiversity: protecting a unique resource
Objective: to protect and restore the functioning of natural systems and stop the loss of biodiversity in the European Union and in the world; protect soils against erosion and contamination.
Good health and the balance of natural systems are essential to sustain life and the functioning of society. The pressures exerted by pollution, the unsustainable exploitation of the soil and the sea and the risks to biodiversity must be repaired. The full application of the environmental legislation is the only solution against the threat of pollution. High-value natural areas will enjoy the protection of the Community Natura 2000 Program, which must be fully implemented. Extending protection to broader rural areas requires a deeper and more effective integration of the environment and biodiversity in actions related to agriculture, landscape, forestry and the sea, and new initiatives, for For example, to create a land strategy in Europe. More attention will be paid to protecting the marine environment.
Environment and health
Objective: to achieve a level of environmental quality such that the concentrations of pollutants of human origin, including different types of radiation, do not have significant effects or risks on human health.
It is becoming increasingly clear and proven that human health is affected by environmental problems linked to water and air pollution, hazardous chemicals and noise. A holistic and comprehensive strategy on environment and health is needed that is centered on the precautionary principle and risk prevention and that takes into account particularly vulnerable groups such as children and the elderly. It will be necessary to apply current legislation and adopt other measures in each of these areas.
Sustainable use of natural resources and waste management
Objective: to ensure that the consumption of renewable and non-renewable resources does not exceed the carrying capacity of the environment; decoupling resource consumption and economic growth through a notable increase in resource efficiency, dematerialization of the economy and waste prevention.
wood, bear strong pressure from human society. A strategy focused on measures such as taxes and incentives is needed to ensure a more sustainable exploitation of resources.
The volume of waste generated will continue to increase if corrective measures are not taken. The prevention of waste is going to be a fundamental element of the approach of the integrated policy on products. Other measures must be taken to promote recycling and the use of waste.
The European Union in the world
Program VI is to be applied in an enlarged European Union, and this broader perspective will have to be taken into account when adopting its development measures. It is clear that the first thing the candidate countries are going to have to do is implement Community environmental legislation, with the assistance of Community funding programs. Candidate countries have the opportunity to move towards sustainable economic development and avoid the type or magnitude of ecological problems that Western Europe faces today.
From an international point of view, it will be essential to fully and adequately integrate the environment into all aspects of the Community's external relations. The environment is something that international organizations must take seriously and where appropriate resources must be allocated. International conventions, especially those on climate change, biodiversity, chemicals and desertification must be supported and implemented.
Develop policies based on participation and sound knowledge
The participation of the interested parties will be essential for the success of the implementation of the Sixth Program, as well as in each of the stages of the political process, from the determination of goals to the implementation of measures. The development, implementation and evaluation of the environment policy will be supported by sound scientific knowledge, up-to-date and reliable data and information on the environment, and the use of indicators.
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The proposed decision on a 6th Environment Program will give the enlarged European Union the direction, momentum and instruments necessary to create a healthy and safe environment. In this endeavor, it will require the participation of citizens and companies, and will contribute to the achievement of sustainable development.