Press Release

New Phase of Environmental Co-operation between UNEP and EEA on the road to the 1998 Ministerial Conference in Denmark

Press Release Published 10 Jun 1996 Last modified 28 Jun 2016
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New Phase of Environmental Co-operation between UNEP and EEA on the road to the 1998 Ministerial Conference in Denmark


European Environment Agency, Copenhagen,

10 June, 1996

In order to improve access to environmental data and information for the countries with economies in transition, the EEA and UNEP have agreed a new phase of co-operation and co-ordination of their activities. This will reinforce the activities of UNEP and EEA in the preparation of the next Conference of European Environment Ministers to be held in Denmark in 1998.

Harmonisation of UNEP's ENRIN (1) Programme and the EEA's extended EIONET (2) are at the heart of the unique partnership announced today by Hans Alders, UNEP's Director and Regional Representative for Europe and Domingo Jiménez-Beltrán, Executive Director of the EEA.

In order to make the most efficient use of existing capacities and resources, the EEA and UNEP are proceeding with all possible speed to harmonise their activities, contacts, network structure and technical bases of their respective networks and capacity building programmes. This co-operation will be to the benefit of all their European partners, particularly in the CIS, Central and Eastern countries.

The extension of the EIONET to Central and Eastern European countries is being made possible through the funding of the European Commission's PHARE programme (3). The harmonisation of ENRIN and the extended EIONET network, will therefore mean that UNEP, EEA and PHARE will be able to work more closely together to improve the quality of environmental information for the countries in transition.

The EIONET-ENRIN harmonisation will provide a better means of addressing Europe's environmental problems. Their activities will help Central and Eastern European countries both improve access to and promote the use of environmental data and information within and between countries and at the European level. The harmonisation of networks will contribute significantly to the strengthening and consolidation of the technical base needed to support data gathering and dissemination, and result in more open access to data, improved data quality and standards, and lead to harmonised reporting on the state of Europe's environment.

In particular, the EEA-UNEP co-operation will directly contribute to the development of the assessment requested at the Sofia pan-European Environment Ministers Conference in October 1996, to plot the progress and prospects of European environmental problems. This report is a key input for improved understanding and decision making at the next Ministerial conference to be hosted by the Danish government in May 1998.

Notes for Editors

  1. The UNEP ENRIN programme (Environment and Natural Resource Information Networking), which began in 1994, was established to improve access to environmental data and information for governments and decision-makers, and to promote the development of national and sub-regional capacities for environmental data management, through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and similar computer technologies. The activities are regional, sub-regional and national in scope, and where appropriate may be used to develop further Global Resource Information Database (GRID)-compatible centres in Central and Eastern Europe. The ultimate aim is to improve capabilities to access and use environmental data for State-of-Environment reports, assessments and decision-making for sustainable development. Thus far, significant progress has been made in the Baltic States, Georgia, Hungary, Russia, Ukraine and the Black Sea region.
  2. The EEA's European Information and Observation Network (EIONET) links together the EEA, the EU Commission, the national environment centres of EEA countries (EU + Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and European Topic Centres in a computerised web of data monitoring and analysis. The overall aim is to provide objective, reliable and comparable environmental information for the European Community and Member States to enable them to take the requisite measures to protect the environment and to ensure that the public is properly informed. The extended EIONET to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) is focused on providing practical tools to improve the quality of environmental information from CEE countries. The activities include: personnel training; technical back-up with hardware, software and other equipment; and help with disseminating information via workshops, publications etc. Part of the new programme involves extending the EEA European Topic Centres on Air Quality, Air Emissions and Inland Waters to the PHARE countries.
  3. The European Union's PHARE programme provides grant finance to support its partner countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CCEE) to the stage where they are ready to assume the obligations of EU membership. Apart from the CCEE co-operation with the European Environment Agency, launched today, the multi-country environment programme of PHARE supports projects in a wide number of areas including the Black Triangle, Danube Basin, the Black Sea and the Baltic.

For further information from UNEP the EEA or PHARE please use the following contacts:

Press Officer

United Nations Environment Programme
11, chemin des Anemones
CH-1219 Chatelaine
Tel/Fax: +41-22-97.99294 / 99029

Mr. Gee

The European Environment Agency
Kongens Nytorv 6
DK-1050 Copenhagen
Tel/Fax: +45.3336.7100 / 7199

Mr. Griepink

The European Commission
Rue de la Loi 200
B-1049 Brussels
Tel/Fax: + / 68040


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