Nordic states push environmental integration

Regional grouping seeks to take the lead through prime ministerial declaration, action plan

Environment ministers of the five Nordic countries are drawing up a joint declaration on integrating environmental issues into all areas of policy making, ENDS Daily has learned. At a meeting yesterday of the Nordic Council of Ministers - a regional co-operation body - in Nyköping, Sweden, ministers agreed the wording of a draft declaration on sustainable development in which policy integration will be the key element. The draft is intended to be signed by the countries' prime ministers. If heads of state sign the declaration at a meeting of the Nordic Council on 12 November, the Copenhagen-based secretariat of the Nordic Council of Ministers will be charged with putting together an action programme. A Swedish environment ministry official said that this could involve each economic sector auditing its environmental impact and "seeing what can be done" to improve. The declaration reflects pressure by Sweden - which currently holds the presidency of the Council - to promote its policy of environmental policy integration. After prompting by Sweden (ENDS Daily 11 December 1997), the European Union heads of state signed a similar commitment to environmental integration at their Cardiff summit in June (ENDS Daily 17 June). By moving ahead with this latest action plan, the ministry official said, the Nordic countries were looking to lead the way in Europe, both within the EU context and also in the Baltic 21 sustainable development grouping, which includes non-EU states such as Poland, Latvia and Lithuania.

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