What is claimed to be the world's first set of indicators measuring progress towards sustainability in a coherent region of several countries has been produced for the Baltic Sea states, according to the first review of a programme to achieve sustainable development in the area. The ground-breaking Baltic 21 programme was launched last year and features joint actions in seven key sectors by the EU countries and former communist states bordering the sea, plus Norway (ENDS Daily 23 June 1998). Goals, sector action programmes and timetables have been developed in areas such as agriculture, transport and energy, where ministers recently pledged to develop an environmentally-friendly energy sector (ENDS Daily 26 October). According to the first preliminary review of the programme published this week, however, the major achievement so far is a set of core indicators that is the "first regional attempt ever at monitoring commonly agreed goals by using indicators and statistics." The indicators include measurements such as the level of eutrophication of the Baltic sea, the number of seals and sea birds which inhabit it and the level of energy self-sufficiency in the region. The indicators were based on similar work done by organisations such as the UN Commission for Sustainable Development and have been followed by a similar initiative in the Mediterranean region (ENDS Daily 6 July).
Baltic 21secretariat, tel: +46 8 405 24 19. References: The newsletter incorporating the first review is available at the secretariat's web site.
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