European environment agencies publish position paper on EU Resources Strategy
At the seventh meeting of the Network of Heads of European Environment Protection Agencies in Dessau-Roßlau, September 14.-15, 2006, a group of members of the network published a position paper on the future of the EU Resources Strategy. These member agencies underline the importance of the European Union (EU) taking up the critical field of sustainable resources use. The goal of the EU strategy to use natural resources – such as metals, minerals, fossile fuels and soils – more productively is a ”necessary although insufficient step towards sustaining natural resources.” The consumption of resources must ease off in absolute terms, according to the 10-page paper. The interest group on the sustainable use of natural resources which submitted the paper is presided over by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA).
The group of environment agencies is proposing better transfer of knowledge and technology to both developing countries and the new EU member states, which is meant to boost the productivity of especially resource-intensive economic sectors. In addition to technical measures, consumption and production patterns of the past must also change: the state itself can act as a role model and acquire products whose production and use require fewer resources, e.g. low-energy printers and copiers. The paper also encourages the EU to consider phasing out ecologically counterproductive subsidies in its Resources Strategy.
The informal grouping of European environment protection agencies and institutions was founded in 2003 and represents a total of 30 institutions from various Member States. It also includes the European Environment Agency headquartered in Copenhagen, and the European Commission sends a delegate to its conferences as well. The network delegates from Germany come from the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) and UBA.
The aim of the network is to achieve better exchange of views and experiences on issues of common interest. In addition to semi-annual meetings of the whole network, several interest groups also convene to focus on specific topic areas.