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Launching the European Environmental Agency

Following the Commission's Decision of 29.10.1993 on the location of the seat of the European Environment Agency (EEA) in Copenhagen, Denmark, steps are being taken to implement the EEA so that it can begin activities. Pending the appointment of the first Executive Director o...

Following the Commission's Decision of 29.10.1993 on the location of the seat of the European Environment Agency (EEA) in Copenhagen, Denmark, steps are being taken to implement the EEA so that it can begin activities. Pending the appointment of the first Executive Director of the Agency, it is vital that the scientific and technical aspects of the EEA's work be actively pursued. Interim arrangements will therefore be adopted at the first EEA Management Board meeting to ensure the smooth transfer of knowledge and expertise and the continuity of ongoing projects. These arrangements will include, in particular: The appointment of a "mandataire" to act as temporary executive officer; the steps to be taken to prepare the multiannual work programme; and appropriate measures concerning an interim team and its tasks for the transition period. The EEA and the "European environment information and observation network" which it will coordinate, are intended to provide the Community and the Member States with objective, reliable and comparable information to enable them to take the measures necessary to protect the environment, as well as to be able to assess the results of these measures. Equally important is the aim to ensure that the public is properly informed about the state of the environment. For all these purposes the EEA will also provide the necessary scientific and technical support. Its principle activities will cover all areas of work necessary to enable the EEA to describe the present and foreseeable state of the environment from the point of view of: - The quality of the environment; - The pressures on the environment; - The sensitivity of the environment. In supplying information which may be used directly in the implementation of environmental policy, the EEA in its first years will give priority to the following areas: - Air quality and atmospheric emissions; - Water quality, pollutants and water resources; - The state of the soil, of the fauna and flora, and of biotopes; - Land uses and natural resources; - Waste management; - Noise emissions; - Chemical substances which are hazardous for the environment; - Coastal protection. Special consideration will be given to transfrontier, pluriannual and global phenomena, and the socio-economic dimension shall also be taken into account. The EEA shall actively seek the cooperation of other Community bodies and programmes, notably that of the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the Statistical Office (EUROSTAT) and the programmes of environmental research and development. Cooperation with international bodies will be developed, as will the participation of third countries in the work of the EEA. A report on "Europe's Environment" was requested by the European Ministers of the Environment in June 1991. This is being prepared by the EEA Task Force (created in 1990) in collaboration with the UNECE and other international bodies (the Council of Europe, IUCN, OECD, UNEP, WHO). It will assess the state of the whole European environment and the pressures caused by human activities, and provide an analysis of prominent environmental problems of concern for Europe. Publication is scheduled for early 1994. The report will be accompanied by a joint data compendium prepared with EUROSTAT, OECD, UNECE and WHO. Other products envisaged include an environmental atlas and a version for the general public.

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