Eleven Baltic states and the European Union have formally adopted a programme to create an Agenda 21 programme for the Baltic region. Meeting yesterday in Nyborg, Denmark, foreign ministers from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russia and Sweden formally adopted a common vision for sustainable development in seven areas: agriculture, energy, fisheries, forests, industry, tourism and transports. Sectoral working groups which issued reports earlier this year (ENDS Daily 4 March) will begin meetings again in Autumn and issue a further report in two years' time. Baltic Agenda 21, which is one of the first regional initiatives to implement the United Nations plan for sustainability in the 21st century agreed at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, sets out a 30-point programme for cross-sector and single sector actions. Of these, increased production of energy from biomass and the promotion of sustainable forest management were signalled out today by Baltic Agenda 21 general secretary Lars Kristoferson as potentially the most significant. Speaking on the opening day of the fourth pan-European conference of environment ministers in Århus, Denmark, Professor Kristoferson described Baltic Agenda 21 as a "unique initiative". His enthusiasm was echoed by a number of Baltic environment ministers attending the conference, with the Latvian environment minister calling the programme a "big step forward" in international cooperation for sustainable development.
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