EU leaders urged to promote policy integration

Conference calls for major EU sustainability report, blocking of unsustainable policies

Participants at a major European conference on sustainable development which ended in Helsinki on Saturday have called for EU leaders to "forcefully" support the integration of environmental considerations into sectoral policy making when they meet in December. At their Helsinki summit, heads of government are due to review the "Cardiff process," and will be presented with progress reports from six EU ministerial groupings led by energy, agriculture and transport. Drawing together prominent European politicians, policy makers and business and NGO leaders, the conference made an urgent call for strong actions, including preparation of a major "sustainable development strategy for the EU" by 2002, the tenth anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit which launched a worldwide push for sustainability. The report should include both short and long-term targets as well as timetables, indicators and benchmarks, participants agreed, and should look up to 30 years into the future. All EU institutions should develop mechanisms to ensure sustainability considerations are integrated into policy making. The conference suggested a system of "red flags" for unsustainable policies as one such mechanism, but without giving details of how this might work. Participants also called on EU leaders to request European Commission president Romano Prodi to champion integration and to take an "active, central role" in making it work in practice.

Follow Up:
European Commission, tel: +32 2 299 1111. References: Sustainability 21 Conference; (meeting recommendations due to be posted).

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