The European Commission has appointed 32 members to the European Consultative Forum on the Environment and Sustainable Development, otherwise known as the Green Forum. The new Forum will hold its inaugural meeting on 5 June 1997, World Environment Day. The European Consultative Forum brings together senior figures from the business world, professional organizations, trade unions, consumer bodies, regional and local authorities, the academic and research world, as well as from other sectors of society. The tasks of the Forum are to discuss how, within the Union and in Europe as a whole, it is possible to move towards the kind of environmental protection and sustainable development in Europe targeted by the Union's action programme on environment and sustainable development, "Towards Sustainability". Announcing the appointments Mrs Ritt Bjerregaard, Commissioner for the Environment, said she had high hopes for the Forum. She stressed that she hoped it would be an independent driving force for new ideas and initiatives, free to speak its mind and to stimulate the Commission's policy and actions in favour of the environment and sustainable development. Equally, she said, it had a key role to play as a channel of communication between the Commission and its key partners in the protection of the environment and the creation of a more sustainable Europe. The new European Consultative Forum on the Environment and Sustainable Development replaces the previous Consultative Forum on the Environment, whose mandate ran from 1993 through to 1996. The Commission has sought to strengthen the role of the new Forum, by giving it an independent chairman (Mr. Thorvald Stoltenberg, former Norwegian Foreign Minister and former UN envoy to Bosnia), as well as by providing for members from the European Economic Area and the associated countries of Central and Eastern Europe.