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Decision No 182/1999/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 December 1998 concerning the fifth framework programme of the European Community for research, technological development and demonstration activities (1998 to 2002)

THEME 4

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Research and technological development in the field of the environment, energy and the sustainable management of ecosystem resources is essential for the implementation of Union policies. Making use of the knowledge and technologies needed will make it possible to meet a wide range of needs. The results of this research will provide the basis for the framing of policies at Community level or deriving from international treaties.

This objective goes hand in hand with economic development and industrial competitiveness that respects the environment and quality of life. It necessitates clean, efficient, economic and diversified energy systems and services, including the introduction of new and renewable energy technologies. In particular, these should contribute to a substantial reduction in emissions of CO 2 and other greenhouse gases.

Although research and technological development in the field of environment and energy are closely related, they remain distinct areas, each requiring specific financial and administrative arrangements.

1. Environment and sustainable development

(a) Key actions

(i) Sustainable management and quality of water

The aim of this key action is to produce the knowledge and technologies needed for the rational management of water resources for domestic needs and those of industry and agriculture. Among the priority fields concerned are:

- treatment and purification technologies to prevent pollution, to purify water and to use and/or reuse water rationally (including closed loops; reliability of distribution networks); integrated approach to management of water resources and wetlands,

- technologies for monitoring and preventing pollution and the protection and management of groundwater and surface-water resources, including ecological quality aspects,

- surveillance, early warning and communication systems,

- technologies for the regulation and management of stocks and technologies for arid and semi-arid areas and generally water-deficient regions.

(ii) Global change, climate and biodiversity

The aim of this key action is to develop the scientific and technological basis and tools necessary to underpin implementation of Community policies, notably the EC environmental action programmes and the biodiversity strategy, and to support the research obligations stemming from international treaties and conventions signed by the European Community and its Member States. Overall, the key action seeks to increase understanding in these areas in order to help deliver the Community goal of sustainable development, where possible in interaction with industry. In this context priorities are:

- to understand, detect, assess and predict global change processes, with an emphasis on the European and sub-regional causes and impacts, with respect to both natural and anthropogenic phenomena and in the context of the sustainable use of natural resources. The natural, the socioeconomic and, where relevant, the cultural sciences will be used,

- to foster better understanding of the terrestrial and marine ecosystems and the interactions between them and other ecosystems,

- to develop scenarios and strategies for the prevention and mitigation of and adaptation to global change, climate change and conservation of biodiversity in the context of sustainable development,

- to support the development of a European component of the global observing systems for climate, terrestrial ecosystems (including biodiversity) and oceans (for example, Euro-GOOS).

(iii) Sustainable marine ecosystems

The aim of this key action is to promote sustainable integrated management of marine resources and to contribute to the marine aspects of the fifth action plan on the environment. Synergy with other relevant activities of the framework programme will be ensured through a specific coordinating mechanism.

Research will be directed towards:

- developing the necessary scientific knowledge base on marine processes, ecosystems and interactions for sustainable use of the marine environment and resources,

- reducing the impact of human activity upon the biodiversity and sustainable functioning of marine ecosystems and developing the technologies required to facilitate safe and economic, yet sustainable, exploitation of marine resources,

- monitoring and managing coastal processes in order to alleviate pollution, flooding and erosion, in particular of fragile coastlines, and to facilitate land reclamation from the sea,

- enabling the operational forecasting of environmental constraints on safe sustainable offshore operations, including the necessary components of an appropriate marine observing system.

(iv) The city of tomorrow and cultural heritage

The aim of this key action is the harmonious development of the citizens’ urban environment from a global, innovative and resource-saving viewpoint in an environmentally sound manner, using advanced models of organisation bringing together in particular the improvement of the quality of life, the restoration of social equilibria and the protection, conservation and enhancement of the cultural heritage for the sustainable exploitation of its socioeconomic potential for employment and tourism. Action will focus as a matter of priority on:

- new models for the sustainable development of European cities and city regions, the elaboration of medium- and long-term socioeconomic scenarios and research, development and demonstration activities focusing in particular on supporting and accompanying economic competitiveness, town planning and architecture, social integration, safety, energy efficiency and energy saving (in particular in buildings and in urban transport) and information networks (the concept of ‘digital cities’),

- development and demonstration of technologies and products for diagnosis, protection, conservation, restoration and sustainable exploitation of the European cultural heritage, focusing on both movable and immovable cultural assets with a view to promoting their value and the quality of life,

- development and demonstration of technologies for economic, clean, effective and sustainable preservation, recovery, renovation and construction, in particular for large groups of buildings,

- comparative assessment and cost-effective implementation of strategies for sustainable transport systems in an urban environment.

(b) Research and technological development activities of a generic nature

- the fight against major natural and technological hazards through the development of forecasting, prevention, impact assessment and mitigation techniques,

- the development of generic Earth observation technologies, notably satellite-borne technologies (1) for environmental monitoring and resource and ecosystem management applications,

- the study of the socioeconomic aspects of development of environmental change within the perspective of sustainable development (impact on society, the economy and employment).

(c) Support for research infrastructures

In accordance with the general objectives outlined above, activities should focus, for example, on databases, marine-research facilities and computer centres for climate studies.

2. Energy

The activities carried out in this area will be closely coordinated, as appropriate, with the activities of the fifth Euratom framework programme for research and training, while respecting the different legal bases of these two programmes.

(a) Key actions

(i) Cleaner energy systems, including renewables

The aim of this key action is to minimise the environmental impact of the production and use of energy in Europe. Action will be taken to investigate cleaner, most notably renewable, energy sources, as well as to help reduce the environmental impact of existing fossil fuel use. Work will focus by way of priority on:

- large-scale generation of electricity and/or heat with reduced CO 2 emissions from coal, biomass or other fuels, including combined heat and power,

- development and demonstration, including for the purposes of decentralised generation, of the main new and renewable energy sources, in particular biomass, fuel-cell, wind and solar technologies,

- integration of new and renewable energy sources into energy systems,

- cost-effective environmental abatement technologies for power production.

(ii) Economic and efficient energy for a competitive Europe

The aim of this key action is to provide Europe with a reliable, efficient, safe and economic energy supply for the benefit of its citizens, the functioning of society and the competitiveness of its industry. Action will need to be taken at every stage of the energy cycle — production, distribution and final use — to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Work will focus by way of priority on:

- technologies for the rational and efficient end-use of energy,

- technologies for the transmission and distribution of energy,

- technologies for the storage of energy on both the macro and the micro scales,

- improved exploration, extraction and production efficiency for hydrocarbons,

- improving the efficiency of new and renewable energy sources,

- the elaboration of scenarios on supply and demand in economy/environment/energy systems and their interactions, and the analysis of the cost-effectiveness (based on whole-life costs) and efficiency of all energy sources.

(b) Research and technological development activities of a generic nature

- The study of the socioeconomic aspects of energy within the perspective of sustainable development (impact on society, the economy and employment).

(1) There will be specific coordination of the activities relating to ‘space technology’ application carried out within each of the thematic programmes.

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