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You are here: Home / Media / News / The European Commission's Joint Research Centre and the European Environment Agency join forces for the benefit of Europe's environment

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre and the European Environment Agency join forces for the benefit of Europe's environment

NEWS RELEASE
Embargoed for 29 September 1999

The European Commission's Joint Research Centre and the European Environment Agency join forces for the benefit of Europe's environment

Today, Herbert J. Allgeier, Director General of the JRC, and Domingo Jiménez Beltrán, Executive Director of the EEA, met in Ispra, Italy, and signed a new memorandum of understanding which covers scientific and technical co-operation between the two organisations on the environment. The EEA provides information of direct use for policy makers and the public, while the JRC, as a service of the European Commission, functions as a centre of scientific and technological reference for the Union.

Both Directors emphasised the importance of providing support to policy making through dedicated joint activities related to issues such as climate change, the monitoring of chemicals of concern and their effects on the environment, and the protection and recuperation of Europe's natural resources, space and land. This joining of forces will help improve the links between knowledge and decision making in responding to European and international commitments.

As part of the Kyoto agreement, in 1998, the EU committed itself to reducing by 2010 its emission levels to 8% less than levels registered in 1990. Besides enhancing the monitoring capacities, EEA-JRC co-operation will help bring to light and test developments in research and technology to face the increasing challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions including the required changes in production and consumption patterns.

In the area of chemicals of concern to the environment, the focus is on building up more appropriate monitoring and assessments of chemical pathways and exposures for humans and the environment.

Concerning spatial issues and those related to land, the JRC and the EEA are developing and updating mapping systems to reflect the changes in the uses of land and its main features. This is related in particular to the multifunctionality of soil, ground coverage and forestation, nature and biodiversity, the availability of space and fragmentation. This information is an important basis for ensuring a more rational use of these important environmental and socio-economic assets under great pressure.

The JRC and the EEA will work on concrete projects in these and other areas supporting sustainable development and environmental policies. The joint work plan, to be finalised in three months, will include the development of a special dissemination programme for progress in research, technology and outlooks. With JRC's knowledge base contributing to the sound scientific basis for EEA's reporting activities, and with the development of joint products and services making research and technological developments accessible and relevant to policy makers and socio-economic agents, the two organisations aim to improve the reach of information from technical knowledge and monitoring data to policy-relevant information for the benefit of the European Community, the Member States and the international community.

This new agreement comes at a particularly significant time with the run up to the Helsinki summit in December. At this summit the European Council of Ministers are expected to discuss steps towards sustainable development and new strategies for the integration of environment into sectorial policies. This ambitious project will require a strong commitment from European organisations, and the new agreement between the JRC and EEA will directly contribute to, and support, this important task.

Notes:

The European Environment Agency (EEA) was established by the European Union in October 1993 in Copenhagen, with a mandate to provide sound environmental information to those concerned with the framing and implementation of European and national environmental policy. The EEA aims to support sustainable development and to help achieve significant and measurable improvement in Europe's environment, through the provision of timely, targeted, relevant and reliable information to policy-making agents and the public. The EEA is funded by the European Union; its coverage extends beyond the EU15 countries to include Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. A strong co-operation also exists with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

The JRC is a service of the European Commission. Its mission is to provide customer-driven scientific and technical support for the conception, development, implementation and monitoring of EU policies. The JRC functions as a centre of science and technology reference for the Union. Close to the policy-making process, it serves the common interest of the Member States, while being independent of special interest, private or national.

For more information, contact:

Dr David Stanners,
Programme Manager for Integrated Assessment and Reporting
European Environment Agency,
Kongens Nytorv 6,
1050 Copenhagen K, Denmark

david.stanners@eea.europa.eu,
tel. (+45) 33 36 71 00,
fax (+45) 33 36 71 28

Palle Haastrup,
Head, Technology Assessment Section
EC Joint Research Centre,
21020 Ispra (VA),
Italy

palle.haastrup@jrc.it,
tel. (+39 0332) 785 562,
fax (+39 0332) 785 238



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