The 2003 Environment Policy Review now published by the European Commission
First Environment Policy Review highlights need to speed up reforms to better protect the environment and promote sustainable development. The European Commission on 3.12.2003 adopted its first Environment Policy Review on developments since 2001, highlighting current priority issues in the EU and national environmental policies. The Review emphasises the need to speed up reforms to improve the state of the environment both in Europe and internationally. The key message is the necessity to achieve a decoupling of economic growth from environmental pressures in line with sustainable development. The press release can be found at: http://europa.eu.int/rapid/start/cgi/guesten.ksh?p_action.gettxt=gt&doc=IP/03/1648|0|RAPID&lg=EN&display=
The 2003 Environment Policy Review sets out the new political context of EU environmental policy since the adoption of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy in 2001 and the entry into force of the 6th Environment Action Programme in 2002. It looks at the most pressing threats to the environment and policy responses at EU level to date and outlines the environmental policy mix required to make sustainable development a reality: integration of environmental concerns into other policies, implementation and information. Important issues for the coming years will be enlargement and developments at an international level. The Review is foreseen to become a central Commission instrument to regularly follow up and review EU environmental policy, address major implementation gaps and identify new policy challenges. The Review reports on progress for four priority issues: climate change, nature and bio-diversity, environment and health and resources management. On Nature and Biodiversity the Review states, that the EU goal is to develop policy initiatives to be consistent with the target of halting the decline in bio-diversity in Europe by 2010. The Review report conclusion is that progress has been mixed with serious implementation difficulties under the Birds and the Habitats Directive. The Commission has increased guidance to Member States such as on sustainable hunting and on better use of existing financial instruments to support nature conservation objectives. In the coming years the management of Natura 2000 sites will be a major issue and proper funding will be a key factor. The Commission together with the European Environment Agency is developing policy-relevant indicators on bio-diversity to get a clearer picture of current trends. Integration of the biodiversity targets for 2010 into the Common Agriculture and the Common Fisheries Policies is of crucial importance. Facts and figures are found in the Annex. Figure 8 illustrates the sufficency of Member State proposals for the Natura2000 Network (June 2003). The full text of the review can be found here in the EC CHM at: http://biodiversity-chm.eea.eu.int/convention/cbd_ec/F1067953781. It also is accessible at the Commission: http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/industry/com2003_745_en.pdf .