Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Programme funding

EUR 45 million

Official Journal Reference

L 108 of 1997-04-25

Legislative Reference

722/97 Regulation of 1997-04-22
To provide financial assistance and technical expertise for activities conducted in developing countries which enable the people in these countries to integrate environmental protection and sustainable development concepts more easily into their daily life.


The purpose of the Regulation is to establish a budgetary instrument (budget heading B7-5040) which is to be used to finance selected environmental measures in developing countries. The budget heading, to be known as "Environment in the Developing Countries", is based on Article 130u of the Treaty on European Union which states that Community policy in the sphere of development cooperation "shall foster the sustainable economic and social development of developing countries" and Article 130r, which identifies one of the objectives of Community policy in the area of the environment as contributing to the promotion of measures at international level to deal with regional or world-wide environmental problems. It is also established in the context of the international undertakings made by the Community, notably at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Rio, June 1992).

Once established, the budget heading would ensure that all cooperation programmes carried out in partnership with developing countries are sensitive to the environment, while at the same time achieving better social and economic conditions and maximizing existing budgetary instruments covering this area. With this in mind, financing under the "Environment in the Developing Countries" budget heading is designed to:

- Take account of the environmental dimension in development cooperation through training schemes and by studying the impact on the environment of Community cooperation projects;
- Help developing countries acquire the necessary institutional capacity to draft and implement improved projects, taking particular account of initiatives proposed by local population groups which, through their experience, have an awareness of environmental concerns;
- Use these pilot projects to test and promote innovatory methods and approaches relevant, for example, to the urban environment, coastal/moisture retentive ecosystems, or to situations in which typical North-South problems arise over compatibility between the environment and international trade rules.

The programming of these activities is to be tailored to individual geographical situations and priorities, with greater emphasis being placed on strengthening operational capacity (particularly in Latin America), conserving fragile ecosystems (in Asia and Africa) and combating pollution (in the Mediterranean and Asia).


Activities centre on:

- Assisting developing countries in designing and implementing national strategies for sustainable and equitable development, including global environmental issues and strategies arising from international conventions;

- Improving policies and practices for management and conservation of ecosystems, sustainable use of renewable natural resources and for environmentally sensitive use of non-renewable natural resources;

- Preserving biological diversity:
. By the promotion and the development of methods designed to ensure sustainable and equitable use of biodiversity resources;
. Through the conservation of the ecosystems and habitats necessary for maintaining species diversity and for the survival of endangered species;
. By identifying and assessing biodiversity resources;

- Preserving areas of high environmental pressure and/or transregional ecosystems such as marine ecosystems and coastal areas, watersheds, river/lake basins, underground water, by preventing pollution and reducing sources of pollution and supporting initiatives for their sustainable management;

- Improving practices for soil conservation and management in agriculture, livestock farming, forestry and the fight against desertification;

- Improving the environment and regional planning through urban development planning and the implementation of technologically adapted plans and pilot projects for transport, waste, waste water, the provision of drinking water and air pollution;

- Applying and transferring technologies adapted to local environmental constraints and needs, especially in the field of energy and more particularly the field of renewable energies bearing in mind the long-term effects on the environment and adaptation to the traditional life of each region;

- Activities aimed at avoiding emissions harmful to the climate;

- Facilitating the adaptation of production processes in developing countries and making economic agents and social operators aware of the environmental constraints that may have an impact on trade (for example, standards, labels, certification);

- Making local populations more aware of the notion of sustainable development, in particular through assisting information campaigns;

- Initiatives aimed at protecting ecosystems and habitats and maintaining biological diversity.


The Commission is responsible for appraising, approving and managing operations covered by this Regulation, assisted by an advisory committee which varies in function of the recipient country or region:

- In the case of ACP countries, the EDF (European Development Funds) Committee;
- In the case of Mediterranean countries, the MED Committee;
- In the case of the Asian and Latin American countries, the ALA Committee.

The Community provides financial assistance and technical expertise for activities aimed at facilitating the integration of an environmental dimension into the sustainable development process in the developing countries. This may include studies, technical assistance, training or other services, supplies and works, and evaluation and monitoring of missions and audits. According to the needs of the operations concerned, Community financing may cover both capital investment (other than the purchase of real estate) and operating costs. However, with the exception of training programmes, operating costs may normally be covered only during the start-up phase and, then, on a degressive basis.

Financial support takes the form of grants which may cover up to 100% of the costs of a particular operation. However, a systematic effort is to be made to obtain a contribution, particularly a financial one, from the project beneficiaries. The possibility of establishing cofinancing arrangements with Member States and other multilateral organizations is also to be investigated. Projects eligible for financing include:

- Pilot schemes in the field likely to contribute to sustainable development, environmental protection and long-term management of natural resources;
- Establishment of guidelines and instruments aimed at promoting sustainable development and environmental integration, particularly in the form of plans and integrated management programmes and economic instruments;
- Environmental impact studies on sustainable development projects, programmes, strategies and policies, and assessment of their repercussions on social and economic development;
- Inventory, accounting and statistical work in order to improve environemntal data and indicators.

Particular attention will be given to:

- Projects arising from local initiatives and low-cost projects involving innovative measures aimed at sustainable management;
- Schemes to build up the operational and institutional capacities of developing countries at national, regional and local level, with the support also of non-governmental organizations (NGOs);
- Prior consultation of the local populations, including the indigenous communities, and to their involvement and support in identifying, planning and implementing projects. In particular, the role and specific situation of women shall be taken into account;
- Regional activities or activities which contribute to the strengthening of regional cooperation in the field of sustainable development.

Aid recipients and cooperation partners include not only states and regions, but also decentralized departments, regional bodies, public agencies, traditional and local communities, private operators and industries, including cooperatives and non-governmental organizations and associations representing local people. Participation in invitations to tender and the award of contracts are to be open on equal terms to natural and legal persons of the Member States and of the recipient country. In certain cases, this may be extended to other countries. Save for exceptional circumstances, supplies are to originate in the Member States, the recipient country or other developing countries.

The financial resources allocated to the budget heading from which operations are to be financed is decided on an annual basis.

At the end of each financial year, the Commission is required to present a report to Parliament and the Council summarizing the operations financed during the course of that year and evaluating the implementation of the Regulation during this period. In particular, the report is to contain information on those aid recipients and cooperation partners with whom contracts have been concluded. Summaries of any independent evaluations of specific operations which were conducted are also included.
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