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Reviewing the Fifth Environmental Action programme

Following a conciliation procedure between the European Parliament and the Council, a Decision on the review of the Fifth Action programme on the environment and sustainable development entitled "Towards sustainability" has recently been published in the Official Journal. Taki...
Following a conciliation procedure between the European Parliament and the Council, a Decision on the review of the Fifth Action programme on the environment and sustainable development entitled "Towards sustainability" has recently been published in the Official Journal. Taking into account the conclusions of a progress report on the programme presented by the Commission in January 1996, and on the updated State of the Environment Report published by the European Environment Agency in November 1995, the review is aimed at speeding up the achievement of the programme's objectives and at ensuring a more efficient implementation of its approach.

The Decision identifies five key priorities and five other issues as those which will give an added impetus to the implementation of the programme. The key priorities outlined are as follows:

- The integration of environmental requirements into other policies;
- Broadening the range of instruments in order to bring about substantial changes in current trends and practices;
- Ensuring better implementation and enforcement of environmental legislation;
- Increasing efforts to make Community citizens more aware of and better informed about sustainable development issues;
- Strengthening the Community role in the development of international obligations and its approach to cooperation with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean.

The other issues which will be given particular attention are outlined as being:

- Ensuring that Community environmental policy is based on reliable and comparable data, statistics and indicators, on sound scientific information and on an assessment of the costs and benefits;
- Facilitating and enhancing innovation in industry in relation to sustainable development and promoting sustainable production and consumption patterns;
- Encouraging practical ways of improving shared action and partnership approaches;
- Encouraging activities at the local and regional level on issues fundamental to the achievement of sustainable development;
- Developing policies in relation to environmental themes of the programme on the basis of high standards of environmental protection.

Source: Official Journal of the European Communities

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