In this issue:
1. UN-ECE REGIONAL IMPLEMENTATION MEETING IN PREPARATION TO THE 14TH
SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (CSD- 14)
2. THE FIRST MEETING OF THE UNECE STEERING COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION FOR
3. MEETING OF THE EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH COMMITTEE (EEHC) 12 -13
DECEMBER 2005, HELSINKI
4. FIFTH MEETING OF THE WORKING GROUP ON WATER AND HEALTH
1. UN-ECE REGIONAL IMPLEMENTATION MEETING IN PREPARATION TO
THE 14TH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (CSD-14)
The UN-ECE Regional Implementation Meeting (RIM) in preparation to the 14th
Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) took place in
Geneva, 15-16 December 2005.
Representatives of member states, international organisations, business,
NGOs, trade unions took part in the RIM. European ECO- Forum was represented
at the meeting by Gunnar Boye Olesen, INFORSE, Denmark, ECO-Forum Energy and
Climate Issue Group Coordinator. Other NGOs participated were: ANPED, German
Forum for Environment and Development, Norwegian Forum for Environment and
Development, WWF, Helio International, the UK development organisation
Practical Action (ITDG).
RIM is part of a new CSD structure, where each two-year thematic cycle is
prepared with regional meetings in all regions. In the UNECE region (Europe
+ North America) NGO-participation was welcomed; but it seems that NGOs were
not invited for the meetings in the other regions, at least their
participation was very poor. The general effects of the RIMs are not clear
yet as there are no negotiated conclusions from them.
The UNECE RIM was focussed mainly on energy issues and related themes (those
on the agenda of CSD-14) and consisted of an introduction, three thematic
sessions on energy, industry with link to energy, and air pollution with
link to energy, and finally a general discussion. All speeches and
discussions were very positive.
On 15 December the main focus of presentations was made on energy production
and sustainable consumption of energy resources. Many countries noted the
need to use renewables, but had different positions on the issue of the oil
and coal share in the resources usage. Some social issues were also raised,
including energy demands, population access to energy, transportation, etc.
The second day discussions were focussed on industrial development, air
pollution and climate change. Some painful issues were raised by
participants, especially on air pollution. Unfortunately the situation is
not improving and, as WHO mentioned, the mortality from the air pollution
will even grow in coming years. Education was also mentioned as one of the
very important areas to develop further.
Different opinions were expressed during the discussion. Gunnar Boye Olesen
spoke on behalf of NGOs (see:
http://www.inforse.org/europe/conf05_UNPrepCSD.htm). The speech was
prepared in consultation with other participating NGOs. In addition ANPED
participants and WWF made several shorter interventions. ANPED did not
participate in as a network in the political discussions, but two ANPED
working groups were active, on nuclear and on sustainable consumption and
production patterns respectively. WWF was active on climate and on a
proposal of using outcome of the UN Summit 2005 as an input for CSD. The
industry kept back from specific reference to nuclear but called to "keep
all options open".
The outcome of the meeting is a Chairman's Summary, which will be available
on the UNECE website along with other details and
documents of RIM
NGO Preparatory Meetings
NGO preparatory meeting to RIM, which took place on 14-15 December in Geneva,
was organised by .ANPED - The Northern Alliance for Sustainability -one of
three NGOs that are facilitators for NGOs for CSD (the others are ELCI in
Nairobi and Third World Network). Participants included a representatives of
several international and national NGOs - WWF, German Forum for Environment
and Development, INFORSE, a number of ANPED member organisations as well as
representatives of trade unions and business.
The status of preparations for CSD and the new internal UN energy
cooperation"UN Energy" (see
http://esa.un.org/un-energy/) was presented at the meeting. Participants
were informed that the call from UN-DESA for inputs to CSD from countries
and Major Groups in 2005 (major groups deadline 1/9-05) had only given
almost 20 inputs from countries and 4 from major groups.
On the 15th ANPED had organised a meeting with the EU countries that are
coordinating their efforts towards CSD. EU has distributed the tasks.
Denmark became lead country on energy towards CSD14, and then they will
re-distribute the roles. There is a common EU-paper for CSD as well as
background papers. NGOs received a copy of the EU paper and did not get
background ones yet. During CSD14 Austria will have the presidency of EU,
and probably may take a leading role.
The question on international structures for sustainable/renewable energy
was raised, and the NGOs were prompted to present a proposal to the Austrian
NGOs will continue preparation and participate in CSD-14 (May 1-12, 2006,
New York). It is planned that NGOs preparatory meeting will take place on
April 30 (organised by ANPED and other coordinators). NGOs plan to keep
networking and cooperate on main priorities for CSD. CURES has also
announced a CSD group. Several big national and international NGO will
attend the CSD sessions. Participation of NGOs from developing countries and
those with economies in transition will depend on funding available.
For more information contact:
Gunnar Boye Olesen, INFORSE-Europe/ European ECO-Forum Energy
and Climate Issue Group Coordinator at
2. THE FIRST MEETING OF THE UNECE STEERING COMMITTEE ON
EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Representatives of 39 countries, the European Union and
observing organizations (including the European Eco-Forum) took part in the
First Meeting of the UNECE Steering Committee on Education for Sustainable
Development (ESD) on 13 to14 December 2005 in Geneva. European ECO-Forum was
represented by Vadim Kalinin, ASEKO (Russia).
All documents for the meeting, including information on coordinating body
for implementation of the Strategy, are available through the web-site on
ESD in the UNECE Region
www.unece.org/env/esd/SC.Meet.htm (in English, French and Russian).
Mr. Kaj BARLUND, Director of the Environment and Human Settlements Division
of UNECE, delivered an introductory speech. He emphasized particularly that
social, environmental and economic aspects of sustainable development should
not confront, but strengthen each other. This mutual strengthening forms the
culture of sustainable development.
The Steering Committee elected Mr. Andreas KARAMANOS (Greece) as the Chair
and Ms Violeta IVANOV (Republic of Moldova) as a Vice- chair. The Bureau of
the Steering Committee was elected. European ECO-Forum will take an observer
position in the Bureau. The Draft Work Plan for the implementation of the
UNECE Strategy for ESD, 2005-2007, was adopted.
The majority of member States reported on the progress made in their
countries after the High-level Meeting of Environment and Education
Ministries (Vilnius, March 2005) with regard to the following issues:
- translating the Strategy into official and other relevant
- establishing a coordinating body for implementation of the Strategy;
- designating national focal points;
- developing national action plans;
- preparing national policy documents specifically dedicated to ESD.
Prior to the meeting, the Secretariat disseminated the
Questionnaire regarding the above issues and prepared an information note on
the basis of the responses received. The Answers to the Questionnaire (English
only) are available on the above-mentioned web-site on ESD in the UNECE
Among activities aimed at strengthening capacity and sharing experiences in
the UNECE Region thematic meetings in Vienna, Austria, (March 2006); Eastern
Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia (2006) and Canada (2007) were
mentioned. Suggestions on agendas are welcomed. Copernicus-Campus will
arrange the Conference on sustainable development in European education in
Germany (October 2006).
Mr. Roel VAN RAAIJ (The Netherlands) on behalf of the Expert Group made a
brief presentation on the progress in developing indicators to measure the
effectiveness of the implementation of the ESD Strategy. The Steering
Committee provided comments on the Progress Report on the work of the Expert
Particularly, representatives of Belgium, Germany, Spain and the United
Kingdom mentioned that indicators are excessively complicated and their
application especially in federal states and countries with decentralized
educational system is difficult. The representative of Iceland noted that it
is easer to answer on quantitative questions, so, probably, it is reasonable
to diminish the number of descriptive indicators. The representative of
Israel suggested dividing indicators on obligatory and optional. The
representative of Armenia proposed to work out the glossary. Norway,
Slovenia and Israel favoured indicators and suggested their countries to be
experimenters/pilot projects for application of indicators and invited other
states to participate in testing. Mr. Roel VAN RAAIJ in his response message
noted that the number of indicators will be reduced to 20-25. Main
indicators will be marked.
The Chair suggested testing indicators in each country from May 2006 and
submitting national experience (as well as sets of good practices) for
presentation on the sixth "Environment for Europe" Conference (Belgrade,
October 2007). The Secretariat will prepare guidelines for presentations. Ms
Ella BEHLYAROVA, Secretary to the UNECE Steering Committee on ESD, asked to
send suggestions on indicators by 20 January 2006. Indicators will be
approved In December 2006. Sweden and Italy mentioned that there is a
necessity in measuring effectiveness of ESD as well. The meeting of donors (including
those who can provide support for the Conference in Belgrade) will be
arranged on December 2006, the day before next meeting of the Steering
Committee in order to ensure financial support to the Strategy
The upcoming meetings of the Bureau of the Steering Committee will possible
take place at the following dates:
- End of February -- beginning of March 2006;
- 7-8 June 2006 (in conjunction with the WGSO session, the agenda
includes preparation for the Conference in Belgrade);
- October 2006 (in conjunction with the CEP).
For additional information on the meeting and its outcomes
or contact Vadim Kalinin, ASEKO Director, at
3. MEETING OF THE EUROPEAN ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH COMMITTEE
The European Environment and Health Committee (EEHC) held its meeting in
Helsinki, Finland 12 -13 December 2005.
The EEHC mandate is to follow-up on the agreements of the Budapest
Environment and Health Ministerial Conference "Future for our Children",
June 2004. European ECO-Forum is a member of EEHC; it is represented by
Sascha Gabizon, Director WECF, European ECO-Forum Environment and Health
Issue Group Coordinator, who attended Helsinki meeting.
The 1st day of the meeting was devoted to special presentations on the
latest scientific evidence on Regional Priority Goal 4 "Chemicals and
Radiation". The 2nd day was used for n planning and reporting on the
implementation of the Budapest commitments.
At the first day Prof. Grandjean (Harvard) presented pre-results of largest
study on neuro-toxins ever done in the US, which showed that 1 out of 6
children have defects. EU presented its draft regulation on Chemicals, REACH,
and how it would finally put the burden of proof on industry "no data - no
market". Trade Unions spoke on the study of Sheffield University on the
economic benefits of REACH, up to 30 billion Euros saving just on reduction
of respiratory and skin diseases among workers. Prof. Izmerov of Russia
informed EEHC about increases of birth defects and infertility probably
related to pollution. WECF/ Eco- Forum presented toxic products from the
next door supermarket, and asked for a strategy on improving chemical
management and legislation in EECCA countries. WHO-Geneva, presented its
controversial study of health effects from Chernobyl.
Day 2 of the meeting focused on planning and reporting
EEHC members discussed progress on Children's Environmental Action Plan for
Europe (CEHAPE) and planning of the inter- Ministerial 2007.
The CEHAPE Task Force (TF) started it work with great enthusiasm. Focal
points from 50 countries came to the CEHAPE meeting in Edinburgh, and worked
in working groups and with English-Russian translation. The recommendations
and requests to the EEHC from the TF are:
- strengthening twinning activities between countries -
transferring knowledge of the burden of disease methodology to EECCA
- intensifying work on case studies on environmental health impacts
- involving more youth in doing case studies
The EHIS project has received funding for its second phase
and will further develop the 30 selected indicators on health and
environment for policy processes and technical processes. The Dutch
delegation mentioned that even if the Ministry of Health develops a good
science-based policy, it is still not easy to get it implemented if the
implementation depends on another ministry. This is the case of a new
regulation for the city of Rotterdam. Health studies had shown that children
at schools were exposed to the equivalent of up to 70 cigarettes a day from
car exhausts. The new regulation stipulates speed limits near schools of max.
80 km/hr. But the ministry of transportation shows no sign of implementing
The WHO press officer, Ms. Viv Taylor Gee, presented the new web-map, a
reporting and monitoring tool for the Budapest Conference decisions
implementation. The web-map can be found at
http://www.euro.who.int/eehc/ctryinfo/ctryinfo It shows data on
children's environmental health, and the EEHC work in all EU and EECCA
countries. Apart from contact persons at ministries and NGOs, it contains
also information about legislation, case studies and publications for each
In turn EEN developed its own web-map presenting activities of NGOs. This
can be found at www.env-health.org
The next EEHC meeting will discuss the format of reporting for the mid-term
Ministerial meeting in June 2007.
The calendar of upcoming events in this area is as follows:
30-31 March 2006, Dublin, CEHAPE meeting. Theme: Regional
Priority Goal (RPG) 2 "Accidents, Transport, Urban Environment".
15 - 16 May 2006, Oslo, EEHC meeting. Theme RPG 2.
October 2006, CEHAPE meeting RPG 1 "Water and Sanitation".
November 2006, EEHC meeting , RPG 1 "Water and Sanitation" and preparation
of the Ministerial 2007
June 2007, Inter-ministerial Conference, mid-term reporting. WECF /
Eco-Forum would like to organise a back-to-back NGO
For more information contact Sascha Gabizon, Director WECF ,
European ECO-Forum Environment and Health Issue Group Coordinator at
4. FIFTH MEETING OF THE WORKING GROUP ON WATER AND HEALTH
The Fifth Meeting of the Working Group (WG) on Water and
Health took place on 5-7 December 2005 in Geneva. Following main issues were
1. Progress in ratification process
2. Legal and administrative aspects of the Protocol implementation
3. Indicators and timelines
4. Review of the progress
5. Preparation to the First Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol.
European ECO-Forum was represented at the Meeting by Serhiy Vykhrist (Ukraine).
16 countries are currently the Parties to the Protocol. Croatia, Germany the
Netherlands, Serbia and Montenegro, Switzerland and UK plan to join the
Protocol by the end of 2006. In order to facilitate the development of the
ratification Strategy Parties were invited to submit by 31 January 2006
national information, including national preparatory documents for
ratification, comparative analysis of Protocol advantages for each Party,
description of main barriers in ratification process.
WG also discussed a possibility to open the Protocol for accession to the
non-UNECE countries. Secretariat was asked to prepare a document containing
positive and negative consequences of such decision.
On the issue of legal and administrative aspects of Protocol implementation
the most contradictory questions were discussed. In particular :
+ Compliance Procedure
+ Rules of procedure for the Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol
+ Focal Points
+ Coordination of work on the Protocol with WHO.
The importance of the first two procedures for the European
ECO- Forum is first of all related to the public participation
component, in particular, participation in establishment of the Compliance
Committee and citizens' right to appeal to the Committee, as well as
public participation in Meetings of the Parties (NGOs with observer
position), NGO representation in the Bureau, etc. Negotiations will
continue at the 6th Meeting of the WG at the end of May 2006.
In course of further discussion ECO-Forum called for a more active
work of Focal Points with public. This was included in the Draft
Decision of the Meeting. WG asked Secretariat to update the Decision
of Focal Points and submit it to the 6th Meeting of the WG. Secretariat
also asked ECO-Forum to assist in compiling a list of NGOs interested in
receiving the electronic information from the Secretariat.
European WHO Secretariat presented the main results of its work in UNECE
region, including implementation of bi-annual projects and initiatives in
EECCA countries. In course of discussion WHO agreed with ECO-Forum
intervention on the need to strengthen a public participation component,
including participation in development of programs and plans and their
realization. WHO stressed significant influence of NGOs on the organisation
and results of the Yerevan Ministerial Conference on Water and Sanitation
The majority of interventions on indicators and timelines noted that while
being moved forward the preparation of realization of Protocol goals faces
a number of problems to be solved. In particular, Belgium stressed
difficulties to define the sources of pollution and infection, Hungary
spoke on problems with ensuring access to drinking water, Norway and
Ukraine noted too short deadlines.
On the progress review the WG decided to nominate by 31 January 2006
experts that will finalise the reporting framework on the Protocol
including state of the environment and water resources management. The
framework will be discussed at the 6th Meeting
of the WG.
The WG established also a special temporary Working Group for the
preparation to the 1st Meeting of the Parties (MoP) to the Protocol. The
first meeting of the Working Group will be held in the beginning of 2006,
most likely in Bonn. Further to that the preparation to MoP will be
discussed at the 6th Meeting of the WG 31 May - 02 June 2006 in
Geneva. Delegates asked the Secretariat to prepare the Draft Declaration
of the MoP-1, Draft Agenda and a consolidated Draft Plan of activities
on the Protocol (the latter will be made on the basis of the results of
temporary Working Group work). The First Meeting of the Parties will take
place at the end of 2006.
For further information contact Serhiy Vykhrist, European ECO- Forum expert
of the Protocol on Water and Health, at