Towards an EEB review of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy

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Courtesy of European Environmental Bureau

In this period in history, the general political climate is not very favorable to the major changes that are required for sustainable development. At the time of the publication of the Commission's Communication ‘A Sustainable Europe for a Better World’ political ambitions were higher than nowadays. Nevertheless, the urgency to act has not decreased but increased, as trends on environmental burden and impact are for the larger part still negative, despite several decades of environmental policy making. In the past years, we have seen a pattern emerging of promoting sustainable strategies and policies in theory, while afterwards sectoral and/or national interests in Commission and Councils preventing proper implementation. This is a governance issue as much as an environmental problem and is a major barrier to achieving our goals. Even proper, comprehensive, monitoring of all commitments was not done. In this paper the EEB, with help of sister and member organisations, begins an evaluation of what has happened to the commitments made in the EU’s sustainable development strategy (SDS). The EEB has repeatedly called for comprehensive overviews of all objectives, as background for the yearly Spring Summits, but although a commitment under the SDS, this has never happened. By the end of 2004, the new Commission will have to draw conclusions from what the existing Commission called a ‘comprehensive review’ (see commitment 80). For the EEB it is essential that the new Commission commits itself to this Strategy and to the improvement and speeding up of its implementation.

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