EU environmental targets inventory planned

European Environment Agency to extend database to national targets, allow public access

The European Environment Agency (EEA) is to catalogue all environmental and sustainability targets set by the EU and individual member states. The database is intended to offer a launching point for more detailed studies of environmental trends.

The idea arose from a review of the EU fifth environmental action programme, which the EEA presented to the European Commission in 1995. In the review, the EEA assessed the state of the environment in the EU and indicated how far it had to go to meet its targets.

For its next progress report to the Commission, due in 1998, the agency wants to extend its work to include national targets. Project manager for the inventory, Keimpe Wieringa, told ENDS Daily: "Apart from the state of the environment, we want to give some trends for the future....To do that we have to identify what are the existing targets in the EU. We know the most well known ones, such as climate change targets, but most people do not have a complete overview."

By the autumn, Mr Wieringa hopes to have tapped the EEA's network of national environmental information centres, EIONET, to compile data for the inventory. The EEA plans to make the database publicly available on its Internet site from December, in the hope that it will serve as a "pool of ideas" for governments and other organisations.

Another new feature of the 1998 progress report will be analysis of the targets themselves. Mr Wieringa said the agency will be considering whether these are based on the best available scientific knowledge and their adequacy in relation to the overall goal of sustainable development. "For instance, a target for stabilisation of carbon dioxide emissions is just one small step to what is needed", Mr Wieringa said.

In addition, the agency intends to invite leading environmental scientists to a seminar in the autumn to discuss linkages between targets, such as the objectives for climate change and acidification.

Follow Up:
European Environment Agency , tel: +45 33 36 71 00.

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