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Other policy developments

Improvements in the state of the ozone layer, air and water quality, have mainly been brought about through policy measures that have regulated products such as lead in petrol, sulphur in liquid fuels or catalytic converters on cars and controlled release of emissions from power plants, industry and waste incinerators. In Central and Eastern Europe, economic restructuring was a major force behind the reductions in emissions that have been recorded. The loss of biodiversity and habitats has been reduced by protecting important nature sites.
Much of the environmental progress by 2003 is unlikely to be sustained with continuing or renewed economic growth, while many of the negative impacts are likely to be exacerbated. This trend is already apparent in the transport field. Clearly, the implementation of more integrated approaches to policy making needs to be accelerated if Europe is to ensure proper protection of its environment and meet its aspirations on sectoral integration and sustainable development throughout the region (EEA 2003c). One aspect of such integration is the need to further streamline environmental data and reporting across Europe (Box 2).

Box 2: Integration and sustainable development in Europe: monitoring and reporting

The search for more integrated approaches to policy-making directly relates to the need to improve reporting on the environment and sustainable development. Assessment and reporting is hindered by the continuing lack of comparable data and indicators across the whole European region. This applies for both environmental and socio-economic data. Recent efforts have been made to streamline monitoring at EU, pan-European and sectoral levels.
On sectoral integration, the most advanced examples are related to activities to streamline reporting on transport, environment and health:

  • The European Environment Agency (EEA) (in cooperation with the European Commission) has developed an indicator-based reporting system, the Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism (TERM), to monitor integration of environmental concerns into EU transport policies. Since 2002, the 10 EU accession countries have also been included in the assessment. Eurostat and UNECE are the major providers of the statistics on which the reports build.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) European Centre for Environment and Health is implementing an environmental health indicator system, to facilitate the assessment of health effects related to environmental conditions. The system will be recommended for endorsement to the 4th Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, in Budapest, in 2004. The indicators have been developed in collaboration with EEA to maximize the possibility of data exchange between the two organizations and member states.
Source: UNECE 2003g

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