Ministers from 51 country approve environmental declaration in Belgrade2007-10-12
Ministers from fifty-one country taking part in the sixth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference, which begun on the 10th of October in the Serbian capital Belgrade, accepted the declaration “Bridge for the Future”, which admits that smaller progress was achieved in the environmental field than expected.
As stated in the declaration, about 100 million people in the European region still have no drinking water of proper quality. In many places air pollution with solid particles, underground ozone and nitrogen oxides greatly impacts people's health. Biodiversity is falling into decline with increasing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Much more effort is therefore required to implement environmental requirements along with substantial focus on promoting co-operation between states, non-governmental organisations, business representatives and the population.
The declaration also includes agreement to reform the Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference before the end of 2008. The first such conference was convened in 1991 in the Czech Republic. Then guidelines for the co-operation strategy were developed and a decision was adopted to implement monitoring and to draft status reports on European environment. The next conference was held in 1993 in Lucerne (Switzerland), then in 1995 in Sofia, in 1998 in Aarhus (Denmark), and in 2003 in Kiev. Belgrade hosts already the sixth conference (more information is available from its official website at http://www.efe-belgrade2007.org). The reformed ministerial conference will be most likely approved in 2001 in Kazakhstan. The proposal to hold this conference came from Kazakh representatives.
“The Belgrade conference highlighted some differences between the states which quite recently had a very similar situation. Some countries, including Lithuania, made further progress in the environmental field and raised more resources to implement environmental requirements than, for instance, countries in the South European or the Caucasus region,” said Minister of Environment Arūnas Kundrotas, who presented our country’s experience of developing environmental policy to the conference participants. Lithuania received assistance in seeking this progress, and according to the minister, it should now help other states. Nevertheless, care must be taken that the needs of the growing economy do not overrun the commitment to comply with environmental requirements. “Our region’s experience is well comprehensible and important to other countries, particularly those acceding the EU," Minister Arūnas Kundrotas said. During the bilateral meeting with the Serbian Minister of Environment Sasa Dragin he proposed that Serbian experts visit Lithuania and learn about our country’s experience gained during both pre-accession and implementation of the EU common policy.
Public Information Division, Tel. 266 3660
12 October 2007