Environmental information network extends across Europe, Central Asia and Russian Federation
Bayterek tower, Astana, Kazakhstan Image © peretzp / flickr.com
The Ministerial Declaration is an important turning point for environmental protection in the region. Countries have recognised the need to both develop and sustain their environmental monitoring systems, and also create the right policies for greening the economy by sharing data.
Prof. Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director
Ministers agreed to extend the Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS). SEIS is a system for bringing together huge volumes of data and information from governments, scientific organisations, businesses and citizens. The European Environment Agency (EEA), the European Commission and Member States have been using the ideas underpinning SEIS to gather data over the last 5 years.
In the Ministerial Declaration, the EEA was given the mandate to develop the future of environmental reporting in the region.
Professor Jacqueline McGlade, EEA Executive Director, said: “The Ministerial Declaration is an important turning point for environmental protection in the region. Countries have recognised the need to both develop and sustain their environmental monitoring systems, and also create the right policies for greening the economy by sharing data.”
The summit had two major themes: green economy and sustainable management of water and related ecosystems. The EEA supported the conference with a report entitled 'Europe's Environment — Assessment of Assessments', which aimed to demonstrate the quantity and quality of environmental information.
A large number of countries committed to improving water management through diverse actions. Examples include water treatment plants (Moldova), increasing water efficiency (Finland) and new planning regulations for flood plains (Hungary).
Alongside a commitment to SEIS, the final declaration recommended boosting investment in the water sector. Ministers also confirmed their countries would take the lead in transforming their countries to a green economy, noting the importance of “decoupling of economic growth from environmental degradation”.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the “Environment for Europe” process, which is organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). There are 53 UNECE member countries in the pan-European region, covering the European Union, neighbouring countries, the Caucasus, Western Balkans, Central Asia, Turkey and the Russian Federation. The US, Canada and Israel are also members of UNECE.