COUNCIL OFBrussels, 4 January 2006
THE EUROPEAN UNION
5032/06 ADD 1
ENV 3 ENER 1
ADDENDUM 1 to COVER NOTE
Secretary-General of the European Commission, signed by Mr Jordi AYET PUIGARNAU, Director
date of receipt: 26 December 2005
to: Mr Javier SOLANA, Secretary-General/High Representative
Subject: Commission Staff Working Document Annex to the Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions Thematic Strategy on the sustainable use of natural resources
Delegations will find attached Commission document SEC(2005) 1683.
COMMISSION OF THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES
Brussels, 21.12.2005 SEC(2005) 1683
COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT
Annex to the
COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE COUNCIL, THE
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, THE EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL
COMMITTEE AND THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
Thematic Strategy on the sustainable use of natural resources
TABLE OF CONTENTS
COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT
Impact Assessment of the Thematic Strategy on the sustainable use of natural resources........ 4
1.Introduction .................................................................................................................. 4
2.What issue/problem is the policy/proposal expected to tackle?................................... 4
2.1. Definitions.................................................................................................................... 4
2.1.1. Natural resources.......................................................................................................... 4
2.1.2. Resource productivity .................................................................................................. 5
2.1.3. Resource specific impact.............................................................................................. 6
2.1.4. Eco-efficiency .............................................................................................................. 6
2.1.5. Material intensity ......................................................................................................... 6
2.1.6. Decoupling ................................................................................................................... 6
2.2. What is the issue/problem expressed in economic, social and environmental terms including unsustainable trends? ................................................................................... 7
2.3. What are the underlying driving forces? .................................................................... 11
2.4. What would happen under a "no policy change" scenario?....................................... 12
2.5. Who is affected by the problem? ............................................................................... 12
2.5.1. Policymakers at EU, Member State, local and international level............................. 12
4.3.1. What is the basic approach to reach the objective?.................................................... 22
4.3.2. The policy options considered ................................................................................... 23
4.3.3. What should the High-Level Forum cover?............................................................... 24
4.4. Integration at sectoral level sectoral initiatives....................................................... 25
4.5. The international dimension of resource use ............................................................. 25
4.5.1. What is the basic approach to reach the objective?.................................................... 26
4.5.2. What options were considered? ................................................................................. 26
4.6. Awareness-raising ...................................................................................................... 27
5.How to monitor and evaluate the results and impacts of the proposal after implementation?......................................................................................................... 28
6.Stakeholder consultation ............................................................................................ 28
6.1. Expert meetings and studies....................................................................................... 28
6.2. Open stakeholder consultations.................................................................................. 29
6.2.1. Knowledge gathering ................................................................................................. 30
6.2.2. Awareness-raising on resource issues........................................................................ 30
6.2.3. Developing indicators for resource use...................................................................... 30
6.2.4. Spurring progress towards decoupling....................................................................... 31
6.2.5. International Panel on the sustainable use of natural resources................................. 31
7.Commission draft proposal and justification ............................................................. 31
COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT
Impact Assessment of the
Thematic Strategy on the sustainable use of natural resources
This Impact Assessment is designed to explain the rationale for the Thematic Strategy on the sustainable use of natural resources (`the strategy'), the policy choices made and the impacts of these choices.
The strategy aims to underpin a process that can be faster or slower depending on Member States' capacity and readiness to implement the measures identified in the strategy. This process implies new thinking on policymaking and natural resource use. It is also a work in progress and, as such, needs regular checking to ensure that it delivers the expected results. Should different or stronger measures be needed in the coming 25 years of validity of the strategy, they will be subject to a specific assessment of their impacts.
Many of the measures necessary to ensure that the strategy's goal is reached will need to be taken in other policy areas, as and when these come up for revision over the next 25 years.
1 At that point, these revisions will be subject to their own impact
assessments. This impact assessment will therefore confine itself to assessing the individual measures that are put in place as a direct result of the strategy.
2.WHAT ISSUE/PROBLEM IS THE POLICY/PROPOSAL EXPECTED TO TACKLE?
resources, such as timber.3 However, some of these resources used as raw
materials can be exhausted if they are overexploited.4 This is an acute threat
to certain commercially fished marine species, for example.
(2) environmental media such as air, water and soil. These resources sustain life and produce biological resources. In contrast with raw materials it is their declining quality that causes concern. It is not a question of how much there is (with the notable exception of soil), but what state they are in. For example, the total quantities of air and water on earth do not change within human time scales, but because of pollution their quality is often poor. Moreover, the biological diversity of environmental resources is of vital importance.
(3) flow resources such as wind, geothermal, tidal and solar energy. These resources cannot be depleted, but require other resources to exploit them. For example, energy, materials and space are needed to build wind turbines or solar cells.
(4) space, as it is obvious that physical space is required to produce or sustain all the above-mentioned resources. Land-use for human settlements, infrastructure, industry, mineral extraction, agriculture and forestry are some examples.
2.1.2. Resource productivity
This measures the value added per unit of resource input (/kg). An example of resource productivity calculation on a national level is dividing the total economic activity of a country (expressed in GDP) by its total material use (DMC).
1 . R e s o u rc e p ro d u c tivity:
G D P /R e s o u rc e in p u t
3 . E c o -e ffic ie nc y
R e so u rc e u se
2 . R e s o u rc e s p e c ific im p a c ts :
e n v iro n m e n ta l im p a c t p e r u n it E n viro n m e n ta l
im p a c t
o f re s o u rc e u s e
2 0 0 02 0 3 0
2.1.3. Resource specific impact
This measures the environmental impacts per unit of resource use. These impacts should include the entire life cycle, i.e. from extraction or harvesting upstream of the economic activity, to its final disposal to air, water and soil downstream of the economic activity, as well as recycling, re-use and energy recovery.
This indicator measures the added value per unit of environmental impact and can be derived by dividing resource productivity by resource specific impacts.
2.1.5. Material intensity
This is the reverse of the quotient used for resource productivity, i.e. material use divided by economic activity. If the material intensity of the economy decreases, dematerialisation is said to occur.
Decoupling refers to de-linking one parameter from another. It is absolutely essential to know what is being decoupled from what. There are two sets of parameters that are relevant in the strategy: economic growth versus resource use and economic growth versus environmental impacts. Decoupling resource use from economic growth can mean two things: 1) the economy grows faster than resource use, while the absolute quantity of resource input is still increasing; 2) the economy grows, while total resource input remains stable or decreases. These different degrees of de- linking are commonly referred to as relative and absolute decoupling respectively. Similarly, decoupling of environmental impact from economic growth means that the economy grows at a faster rate than environmental impact (relative decoupling) or while environmental impact stabilises or decreases in absolute terms (absolute decoupling). Box 1 illustrates the latter.
B o x 1
A bsolute and relative decoupling of environm ental im pact from econom ic grow th.
1,5G row th of econom y
1,0G row th of overall im p acts
D ecoup ling
0,5D ecrease o f overall im pacts
T he upper grow th lin e represents econom ic grow th. T he m iddle (dotted) line show s an annual grow th of enviro nm ental im pacts related to reso urce use. T he low er (dashed ) line show s a decrease in env ironm ental
2.2. What is the issue/problem expressed in economic, social and environmental terms including unsustainable trends?
Developed economies are based on flows of natural resources to produce food, materials and energy. In addition to raw materials, they need large areas of land for forestry, agriculture, buildings and transport. While generating wealth from natural resources, economic activities also exert pressures on their resource base. The resulting environmental impacts can disrupt supply chains (for example over- fishing), hamper the regenerative capacity of environmental media that are needed for economic activities (for example soil, clean water and clean air as well as a stable climate), and negatively affect biodiversity.
Increasing resource demand has meant that at least one quarter of important commercial fish stocks are over-harvested. Extraction and mining activities have led to severe water pollution and direct risks to human health in many parts of the world. The over-exploitation of tropical forests is accelerating the loss of biodiversity. From 5% to possibly 25% of global freshwater use exceeds long-term accessible supplies and is now met either through engineered water transfers or over exploitation of groundwater supplies.
In the period 1980-2000 the resource productivity of the EU-15 economy increased from EUR 867 per tonne to EUR 1,316 per tonne, which is an increase of 52%, or
2.1% per year.
7 In the same period the EU-15 economy grew slightly faster, resulting
in a net increase of resource use. Despite this increased use, a number of associated emissions were reduced, such as NOx and SO
2.On the other hand, climate change
continued and built-up areas expanded by 20% during those two decades, which is much faster than population growth (6%). There are many reasons for this, such as the decentralisation of urban land use, the demand for bigger houses and out-of-town developments (like supermarkets and leisure centres), and the provision of transport infrastructure. These trends are causing increasing amounts of soil to be sealed, leading to losses of bio-productive land and the fragmentation of natural areas in most of Europe.
Further increases of CO
2 emissions will lead to changes in various natural hazards,
such as increased flood/landslide/soil erosion problems, as well as increasing risks of drought and a reduction in the available amount of water. These hazards in themselves, combined with greater vulnerability due to pressures from industrial activities and urbanisation, will lead to an increase in natural disasters which will impact both the quality of life and the economy.
If these trends continue, this will ultimately risk undermining the potential for future economic growth, as well as potentially irreversibly affecting human land use and biodiversity and endangering human health, thereby influencing social well-being and the quality of life. The recently published UN report `The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment'
10 underlines this observation. The report contains the
(1) Over the past 50 years, humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period of time in human history, largely to meet rapidly growing demands for food, fresh water, timber, fibre and fuel.
(2) The changes that have been made to ecosystems have contributed to substantial net gains in human well-being and economic development, but these gains have been achieved at growing costs in the form of the degradation of many ecosystem services, increased risks of nonlinear changes, and the exacerbation of poverty for some groups of people. In particular, 15 out of 24 ecosystem services that provide raw materials and support life on Earth are being degraded or used unsustainably, threatening the planet.
(3) The degradation of ecosystem services could grow significantly worse during the first half of this century and is a barrier to achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
There is therefore a need to reduce negative environmental impacts while at the same time ensuring economic growth, and to measure such progress during the strategy's life-time with adequate indicators.
Many environmental problems are rooted in resource flows through the economy and the use of land. However, the exact nature of these flows and their potential interactions with the environment (where and how they impact on the environment) are often not well documented and require comprehensive data collection and continuously updated knowledge on material flows. Much work is already being conducted by national, European and international bodies including the OECD and the European Commission;
11 however, many material flows need to be examined in
much more detail to support policymaking. For example, a better understanding of how materials like heavy metals are dispersed from short-lived consumer products, housing or infrastructure into the environment is needed.
There is a need for a better knowledge-base for the policy decisions taken at European, national and regional level.
Negative environmental impacts due to resource use can be generated not only within the EU borders, but also in third countries. Imports of, for instance, oil, timber, food crops and feedstuffs, may result in exporting "environmental externalities" to our trading partners, including developing countries, and there are negative impacts, such as climate change, which have a global impact.
The international dimension of resource use needs to be considered at EU level and factored into European policymaking.
Apart from environmental policies that address biodiversity, health and the state of particular environmental media, there are many others that affect the use of resources sometimes unintentionally. These include:
Indeed, the 2003 reform of the CAP12 represents a significant step forward in
further integrating environmental concerns, with on the one hand measures that integrate environmental concerns into agricultural market and income policy and on the other targeted environmental measures in rural development programmes. Moreover, agricultural support has been decoupled from production and input use. This should contribute to a more sustainable use of agricultural land. The next step is to use the new and extended policy instruments now available to Member States in the best possible way to concretely improve the environmental performance of agriculture;
-fisheries policy, where the Common Fisheries Policy aims to provide for coherent measures concerning the conservation, management and exploitation of living aquatic resources. This includes limiting the environmental impact of fishing consistent with other Community policies, in particular with environmental, social, regional, development, health, and consumer protection policies;
-energy policy, where the aims are to ensure security of energy supply, address energy demand management and improve energy efficiency;
-transport policy, where the use of land for transport infrastructure can, for example, lead to habitat fragmentation.
These policies contain instruments that can increase resource use and associated environmental impacts (e.g. subsidies), and also instruments to reduce undesired environmental impacts. Price mechanisms of functioning resource markets in which costs of environmental damage are internalised, for example, could efficiently discourage negative environmental impacts of resource use by stimulating substitution or technological innovation. The key, therefore, is to integrate resource use issues and their impacts into these policies in a coordinated way.
(2) insufficient or inappropriate use of this information; and
(3) insufficient integration of environmental concerns in many policy areas.
This means that there are potentially unseen economic, social and environmental consequences to public and private actions.
There is a need for further integration of natural resource use issues and their environmental impacts into other policy areas, including at sectoral level (e.g. transport, energy, manufacturing industry) and at national level.
2.3. What are the underlying driving forces?
In the past economic growth was a strong driver for the use of natural resources and without adequate environmental regulation of environmental impacts due to resource use. Relative decoupling of resource use from economic growth is now happening as the economy in certain regions is gradually shifting from manufacturing to services
15 and some parts of manufacturing industry have made
considerable progress in relative decoupling.16 The renewed Lisbon Strategy
reinforces this trend: "In order to do this we must ensure that Europe is a more attractive place to invest and work; knowledge and innovation are the beating heart of European growth; we shape the policies allowing our businesses to create more and better jobs".
17 However, it is likely that in the EU the absolute level of resource
use will increase in the next decades and on the global level it will possibly quadruple. It was therefore concluded that "we need to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation."
18 Without breaking the link between the use of
resources and the associated environmental impacts ("no policy change" scenario) increased environmental degradation is inevitable, as recognised by the UN.
Population growth, particularly in the developing world, and changes in demographic patterns in industrialised countries (more single households, ageing of population) are also potential driving forces. Aside from notable exceptions, however, they are not really the subject of explicit policies and there is also evidence that the rate of population increase is reducing.
2.4. What would happen under a "no policy change" scenario?
Under a "no policy change" scenario (i.e. without the strategy) the measures taken to encourage growth or ensure environmental protection will be taken on the basis of insufficient knowledge of the relationship between the use of natural resources and its negative environmental impacts. This in turn will make it difficult to efficiently tackle the unsustainable trends that have already been identified at EU level, for instance in the area of biodiversity, waste management, climate change, chemicals and clean energy. There is therefore a need to ensure a better knowledge-base for policymaking at European, national and regional level.
An example of the concrete effects of the strategy's new thinking is the Commission's proposal to abolish the priority given to regeneration in the Waste Oils Directive.
20 Regeneration does not really benefit the environment, whilst it has
serious consequences for public authorities in administrative terms. By waiving this obligation, the limited human and administrative resources available at Member State and EU level can then be better focused on more pressing environmental policy needs. This will, without any cost increase and without any increase in human resources improve environmental protection.
Under a "no policy change" scenario the EU will not have the means to meet the challenge of improving its resource productivity in a world where there is increasing demand for raw materials which can put some industry sectors in difficulty. Unless accessible information on global material flows, reserves of natural resources and their life-cycle impacts exist, the EU will not be able to steer research and eco- innovation in the right direction. Ultimately this will have a detrimental economic effect as the social (e.g. human health) and environmental (e.g. biodiversity) conditions on which growth depends will have been degraded. There is therefore a need for reducing environmental impacts while at the same time ensuring economic growth, and to measure such progress during the strategy's lifetime with adequate indicators. At the same time, the international dimension of resource use needs to be considered and factored into European policymaking.
into inefficient policies would also remain because the causal relationship between resource use and environmental impacts are insufficiently understood.
2.5.2. The European citizen
Eurobarometer surveys show that European citizens are concerned with the quality of the environment in which they live in want an improvement in the current situation.
Citizens are affected by poor management of natural resources in different ways. On the one hand, they may benefit from higher incomes and purchasing power, enabling them to afford better houses, domestic appliances, travelling, and so on. On the other hand, they may suffer from trade-offs such as an increasing risk of extreme weather events, or living close to motorways, airports or other areas with a low environmental quality. And although a number of indicators show positive trends these are often related to selected pollutants such as SO2 or NOx; a number of other environmental impacts related to climate change, transport, fisheries and land use are still worsening, resulting in a further decrease of biodiversity, both in the EU and in other parts of the world that export natural resources.
All European citizens have a right to a healthy environment in a growing economy and therefore public decisions concerning environmental trade-offs need to be taken on an informed basis. The ultimate goal is the welfare of the population (including a high level of employment) and good public health for all.
Industry is also hampered by environmental problems it has contributed to. A notable example is the fisheries sector which is negatively influenced by the depletion of fish stocks. Another example is energy generation from waste, where, in many areas, the environmental impact of inadequate practices has damaged the basis for further development of this industry. Increasing public concern over the further development of traffic infrastructure would be another example, as is soil erosion, which may damage domestic producers and may result in off-site damage to rivers and hydro- electric dams.
3.WHAT MAIN OBJECTIVE IS THE POLICY/PROPOSAL EXPECTED TO ACHIEVE?
The policy, together with other EU policies, aims to contribute to achieving sustainable development. In operational terms, for environmental policy, this can be defined as reducing environmental impacts in a growing economy.
3.1. What is the overall policy objective in terms of expected impacts?
The aim of the strategy is to reduce the environmental impacts of resource use, thus enabling growing economies to use resources efficiently, from both an economic and an environmental point of view. Its objective is to help deploy knowledge of resource use and related environmental impacts in EU policymaking, in order to set a frame for economic actors, consumers and institutions to develop and adopt sustainable production and consumption patterns.
In practical terms this means:
∑ Reducing resource-specific impacts: reducing the environmental impacts per unit
of resource use. This can be supported by the knowledge-base made available by the Data Centre, complemented in its external dimension by the International Panel, and made operational by the implementation of national measures, where appropriate;
∑ Improving resource productivity: using fewer resources per unit of GDP. This can
be supported by the development of sectoral actions targeting specific resources and monitored by appropriate indicators.
Both of these will contribute to an economy-wide reduction in environmental impacts as well as to the achievement of the Lisbon objectives and hence to sustainable development. By using fewer resources to create the same product or service, industry has an opportunity to become more competitive. Reducing the environmental impacts per unit of resource use should reduce overall environmental impacts and hence safeguard the natural resources on which industry depends for its supplies. Together they can result in a reduction of environmental impacts in a growing economy.
The strategy builds on the Sixth Community Environment Action Programme (Sixth EAP),
22 which sets "decoupling between environmental pressures and economic
growth" as one of its objectives, aiming among others "at a general improvement of the environment" and "restoring and developing the functioning of natural systems". Internationally, in the context of sustainable production and consumption, the WSSD plan of implementation has called for a "10-year framework of programmes in support of regional and national initiatives to accelerate the shift towards sustainable production and consumption to promote social and economic development within the carrying capacity of ecosystems by addressing and, where appropriate, de-linking economic growth and environmental degradation through improving efficiency and sustainability in the use of resources and production processes and reducing the resource degradation, pollution and waste".
The strategy will also contribute and work towards the Gothenburg goal of halting biodiversity loss and to aiding its recovery (objectives of the Sixth EAP and the Sustainable Development Strategy), the Environment and Health Strategy, the aims of air, water, soil, and climate change policies including the EU's international commitments.
In addition it is important to underline that many ongoing initiatives will also contribute to reaching the strategy's objective. For instance, the concrete measures in the context of Integrated Product Policy (for example, the framework directive for the eco-design of energy-using products), and those contained in the Environmental Technologies Action Plan to promote the potential of innovation will also contribute. Outside of environmental policies, land-use policies, such as on rural development and the reformed Common Agricultural Policy are also important, as are initiatives promoting fuel and energy efficiency in transport and energy policies.
Not least, the proposed strategy supports the EU's objectives regarding economic competitiveness, given that there is increasing evidence in support of the view that strong environmental performance appears to be positively correlated with competitiveness.
(3) There is a need for further integration of natural resource use and its environmental impacts into other policy areas, including at national and sectoral (e.g. transport, energy, manufacturing industry) level.
(4) The international dimension of resource use needs to be considered at EU level and factored into European policymaking.
4.1. Ensuring a better knowledge base for policymaking
Improving access to knowledge on natural resource use and its analysis will increase the level of awareness of current and potential environmental impacts, most particularly in the policy-making process. This will help focus policy decisions on the most significant actions necessary and feasible to achieve decoupling and, ultimately, improved environmental quality. Ideally, there would be more environmental protection for the same cost, thanks to a better focused and tailored policy that builds strongly on the analysis of cause/effect relationships. A better knowledge base for policymaking is a step in this direction.
In addition any new measure should be shaped in such a way that compliance costs are minimal and that it allows maximum scope for innovative technological solutions to the environmental problems involved. This in turn could help industry efficiently allocate financial resources, freeing up capital for other purposes, such as investment and research and development.
4.1.1. What is the basic approach to reach the objective?
The basic approach is to support policymaking by a readily available "knowledge- base" as effectively as possible. The current situation is one where:
(1) Our knowledge of the environment is increasing: we now have considerable networks of monitoring and are better at interpreting it. This is both a response to existing problems such as air pollution and a response to exploiting new possibilities, such as satellite imagery.
(through monitoring and reporting) new information, or even carrying out additional research. To the extent possible, existing information should be standardised, including data collection methods. The strategy will contribute to any future EU initiative on reporting and monitoring.
In the resources field, the possible areas where policymakers would require knowledge could be very broad. Examples are knowledge to:
understand the relationship between resource production and use and their
associated environmental impacts at material level. For example, aluminium can be transformed into goods as diverse as window-frames, aircraft bodies and beverage cans, and these all interact in very different ways with the environment;
understand the relationship between land use and environmental impacts at global,
European and national level;
be aware of the reserves, production rates and availability of resources including
the productive capacity of renewable resources, such as biomass and fish (i.e. can renewable resources satisfy growing demand or is there a danger of them being `run down'?);
interpret environmental accounting results to assess whether existing policies
achieve the environmental policy objective of decoupling environmental impacts from economic growth.
Given the aforementioned factors, it is virtually impossible to have one overall expert for all fields; instead it is important to have access to a network that can be coordinated by individuals who can pull this information together and supply it to policymakers in an accessible way.
The knowledge provided should:
4.1.2. The proposed "Data Centre for natural resources"26
The Data Centre will operate as a kind of "information hub" to improve policymaking by basing it on a greater level of knowledge. It will increase the efficiency of policies aiming at improving resource productivity by reducing wasted resources and operating more efficiently. For the same reason it will help reducing the environmental impacts per unit of resource use by providing greater knowledge of the likely impacts of particular decisions. Work will be closely coordinated with the data centres for Waste and Integrated Product policy (IPP).
The objective of the Data Centre would be to:
be aware of the sources of relevant information and their limitations, taking into
account the problems posed by data validation and harmonisation;
interpret the available information to provide a rapid and as simple as possible
input to policymaking;
update this information and associated interpretations;
support the development and implementation of the strategy's objectives with
technical and scientific expertise, in fields such as indicator development, drafting of national plans, and reporting.
4.1.3. Policy instruments considered
Five options were considered:
(1) doing nothing;
(2) creating a virtual network of existing bodies, perhaps including Eurostat, the EEA, national geological services and others; its structure could be similar to the network of European Topic Centres, but with access to a large network of, for example, institutes and databanks;
sources of information and ensure that up-to-date knowledge is available to policymakers;
Option (1) Do nothing (2) Virtual Network (3a) Eurostat/JRC (3b) EEA (4) European Resources Institute (5) Ad-hoc consultancy services
Establishment costs +++
No cost - Effort by co-ordinators; infra-structure exists + Eurostat MFA- network and JRC scientific networks exists, use of existing infrastructure - Efforts by co-ordinator, most infra-structure exists --- Considerable cost. New regulation and associated costs. All infra-structure to be purchased, personnel to be recruited + Efforts to manage tendering procedure.
Running costs +++
No cost -- Efforts required by co- ordinators to bring together knowledge, may be high due
to informal structure. + `Standing' coordination/ communication lines between JRC and ESTAT to be established, no additional administration -- Efforts required by co- ordinators to bring together knowledge, may be high. --- Independent structure requires own administration. -- Management inside Commission and cost of contract itself.
Establishment time +++
No time required. + Should be able to be up and running within 4 months + Should be able to be up and running at short notice + Should be able to be up and running within 4 months --- Requirement for new regulation, coupled with potential discussions about set mean likely to take considerable time. - Tendering procedures mean that likely to take at least 8 months
Credibility --- Nothing to be credible - Depends on ability to co- ordinate output and not to be hijacked by certain interests. Risks being disparate ++ Data quality assurance and scientific independence guaranteed ++ Largely independent of EU policy-makers. Independent of private interests, with growing reputation. ++ Largely independent of EU policy-makers. Independent
of private interests. +/- Independence would depend on organisation selected but this is not determinable in advance because of tendering procedures.
Ability to provide knowledge ---
No knowledge provided + Has potential, but difficult to manage and co-ordinate. ++ Has potential due to readily available data sources in ESTAT combined with scientific expertise in the JRC ++ Has existing networks of expertise and proven management capability from topic centres ++ Considerable potential. +/- Depends on consortium's abilities.
Potential response times ---
No response ++ Could be rapid. Would depend on refinement of question. ++ Could be rapid, when thematic data and scientific networks are prepared, short communication lines within the Commission ++ Could be rapid. Would depend on refinement of question. ++ Could be rapid. Would depend on refinement of question. ++ Could be rapid. Would depend on refinement of question. Would also be legally enforceable due to contract.
In addition to the considerations above and after the analysis of the options, it should be underlined that experience proves that databank maintenance and updating as well as quality control and analysis of datasets cannot be carried out by networks. The analysis of data has to be performed by scientists, with enough statistical and thematic background, to give credibility to the results. Therefore the final responsibility of data quality and accessibility should be with the proposed "Data Centre for natural resources" (Eurostat).
Eurostat will pull together the scientific expertise, knowledge and networking capabilities of the European Statistical System (ESS), the JRC and the EEA's Environmental Information and Observation Network (EIONET) to develop ways of taking this concept forward. The Intelligent Energy Executive Agency (IEEA) and the IST programme of the Information Society and Media Directorate-General of the Commission, which supports research and development activities for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), could also contribute to the operations of the Data Centre. A particular effort should be put in establishing synergies with existing research initiatives, e.g. the Group on Earth Observation (GEO) and the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES). Once operational, the INSPIRE (INfrastructure for SPatial InfoRmation in the European Union) initiative,
27 to harmonise uncoordinated national approaches to mapping the EU's
geographical features, will also be of use for the Data Centre daily work.
The objective is to have the Data Centre up and running within 6-12 months from the adoption of the strategy.
4.2. Measuring progress with adequate indicators
Policymakers need to be able to assess the strategy's effects and further steer the development of associated measures during its life-time of 25 years. Thus, indicators are necessary to show whether the objectives of the strategy are being met or not; they can also help with setting priorities for action. Without suitable indicators it will be difficult to know whether political decisions for more or less action need to be taken and hence whether the objectives of improving resource productivity and reducing resource-specific impacts will be achieved.
productivity, resource specific impacts, and eco-efficiency, as mentioned in section
Clearly, when developing such indicators appropriate use will be made of existing indicators that can be helpful (for instance, those included in the Sustainable Development Indicator set). Furthermore, it is unlikely that developing these new indicators will require any new monitoring or reporting, instead they will aggregate and adapt existing information. Any indicators should always be backed up by the availability of sampling methods to collect the necessary data.
The development of this set of three indicators has been estimated at EUR 450,000 over three years for supporting studies and further investigation by the Commission.
4.3. Integration at national level the High-Level Forum
Most natural resources do not fall under exclusive Community competence, as do agriculture under the CAP, and fisheries under the CFP. Moreover, many environmental impacts of resource use are best tackled at national level as the Member States have certain policy tools at their disposal, such as economic instruments, that are difficult to deploy at Community level. Environmental externalities are not always internalised in the costs of goods and services, meaning that the prices paid by consumers do not reflect the full societal costs. The use of market-based instruments at Member State level can address this situation and provide a tailor-made solution to the problems encountered at national level. Member States also have responsibility for educational curricula and have the advantage of being closer to the citizen than the EU and so have a better idea of the action required
to change behaviour.
There is therefore a need for Member States to take on their responsibility for the sustainable use of natural resources and achieving the strategy's objectives of improving resource productivity and reducing resource-specific environmental impacts.
indicators and the International Panel) will help Member States by ensuring further development of the existing knowledge base on which the measures to achieve the strategy's objective will have to be built.
In other areas of environmental policy at EU level, for instance in the development of the implementing measures under the Water Framework Directive,
29 the Commission
has already proven the usefulness of establishing a partnership at senior level with Member States and stakeholders in what has been called a Common Implementation Strategy.
4.3.2. The policy options considered
Three policy options were considered:
(1) no policy change;
(2) stimulating the achievement of the strategy's objective by discussing at a senior level the national measures affecting resource use;
(3) a Natural Resources Framework Directive, with mandatory plans for the sustainable use of natural resources.
The potential for reaching the strategy's goal of reducing negative environmental impacts generated by the use of resources in a growing economy will vary locally as it depends on, for example, economic growth, industrial structure, maturity of the economy, and the type of prevailing environment. Furthermore, specific information and instruments are needed to influence decisions taken at production process, management, design and consumer levels. Therefore, options based on stringent regulatory approaches such as binding targets or mandatory resource use measures were discarded at an early stage. Such options do not meet the need for natural resource policies to be flexible and adapted to local circumstances. In addition, it is important that whatever policy option is considered it encourages a focus on a selection of measures that have the highest potential to reduce negative environmental impacts associated with the use of resources.
Therefore, some form of flexible coordination among Member States was identified as the most suitable option for the time being. This could take the form of a High- Level Forum coordinated by the Commission allowing for political agreement on the common goals and a large degree of flexibility in drafting and implementing measures at the national level. The Commission will play a facilitating role, ensuring an exchange of information and best practice on natural resources within the EU. In turn, this flow of information will allow any possible threats due to a fragmentation of the Internal Market to be detected at an early stage and may highlight synergies with the sectoral initiatives proposed in the strategy.
4.3.3. What should the High-Level Forum cover?
The High-Level Forum should work on the development of national measures to achieve the strategy's objective. These measures should present new opportunities for the different economic actors, as they should be developed in a concerted manner allowing domestic economic development to continue in line with relevant EU policies. The Commission has already indicated a number of measures that should be part of the national Lisbon Action Plans
31 to be developed by Member States in order
to achieve the goal of the Lisbon Strategy. Measures on the sustainable use of natural resources are contained in Central Policy Area 6.
In light of the above, the High-Level Forum should cover:
concrete actions and measures to be introduced or pursued at national or regional
level, drawing on existing planning requirements at EU or national level, for instance under the national or regional sustainable development strategy, biodiversity action plan or waste management plans. This approach will bring all these aspects of resource use together, where they would otherwise risk being neglected;
economic and market-based measures, as they are flexible, can be adapted to
the International Panel on the sustainable use of natural resources (see section 4.5).
4.4. Integration at sectoral level sectoral initiatives
To complement action at national level ("vertical approach"), there is a need to continue to develop and implement measures based on a "horizontal approach" that take into account the particularities of different sectors involved in natural resource use across the EU within the Internal Market.
The Commission intends to develop sectoral initiatives for specific economic sectors in the context, inter alia, of the EU Strategy for Growth and Jobs
32 as well as the
initiatives announced by the Commission in its recent Communication on "Implementing the Community Lisbon Programme: A policy framework to strengthen EU manufacturing - towards amore integrated approach for industrial policy".
33 In addressing specific sectors, the Commission expects to set out concrete
actions for the sector to reduce the environmental impacts of resource use while ensuring the sector's competitiveness. These initiatives will be agreed between the Commission and the sector concerned with the possible participation of interested stakeholders (environmental NGOs, consumer organisations, trade associations, academia and researchers, etc.).
As the participation of a sector in this Commission-led initiative is voluntary, the likely costs of such an exercise are entirely dependent on the quantity and quality of the sectors willing to launch and participate in such an exercise. It is likely, however, that they would be very small and limited to some administrative expenditure, at least in an initial, exploratory phase. The benefits, on the contrary, will probably be substantial, as the inclusion of such a focused sectoral approach will make attaining the strategy's objective of improving resource productivity and reducing resource- specific environmental impacts easier.
the potential of different approaches to "sustainable materials management", supported by material flow accounts.
35 In Japan a resolution on a plan for
establishing a Recycling-Based Society was adopted in 2003, including the aim to curb the use of natural resources and reduce the environmental load as much as possible.
36 China is developing a concept of "Circular Economy".37 At the World
Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002, all countries committed themselves to changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, by addressing and de-linking economic growth and environmental degradation through improving efficiency and sustainability in the use of resources and production processes and reducing resource degradation, pollution and waste.
Realising that the EU does not operate in a vacuum is important not only from an ethical point of view, but also because any changes over the next 25 years, for example in demographic trends, levels of economic growth and geopolitical shifts, will directly influence our resource use. Integrating these types of consideration when developing resource-specific policies will help attain the strategy's objectives of improving resource productivity and reducing resource-specific environmental impacts.
4.5.1. What is the basic approach to reach the objective?
The basic approach is, therefore, to ensure that the EU is provided with advice on the environmental impacts outside the EU of natural resource use. It would:
a)advise the EU on natural resources use in a global context;
b)monitor progress on decoupling at international level;
c)develop sustainability benchmarks for materials and products; and
d)build knowledge capacity on natural resources in developing countries.
(3) a multidisciplinary team with a permanent membership, analogous in intent and purpose, not necessarily in size, to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The no-change option was discarded because it does not improve the situation. The ad hoc network was also discarded because it does not offer the necessary work continuity and build-up of know-how which is needed in such a vast area as international environmental impacts. The formal international panel will provide this continuity, but will have to be closely linked to existing international work on material flow analysis, fiscal instruments
39 and initiatives such as the Group on Earth
Observation (GEO) and the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES). In particular, the panel will be able to make use of the facilities offered by the Data Centre, which in turn will profit from the specific expertise of the panel in
an international context.
In cost/benefit terms, it has been estimated that the running costs of the Panel would be less than EUR 0.5m per year. Although it is much more difficult to quantify the benefits, one should consider the fact that overexploitation of global biotic resources may cause serious problems to security of supply. This in turn would result in economic problems which may be avoidable if the Panel functions well and its advice is built into European policy making.
Efforts to improve the environmental impacts of natural resources will benefit from greater awareness of the related issues within society. Awareness of the full life- cycle of resources is low amongst the general public and often also among key actors in resource use, such as those involved in land use planning, mining permits and farming.
Initially it was thought that awareness-raising measures put in place at the European level might be a way to increase public awareness and, as a result, reduce the environmental impacts of resource use. This could have been through a European newsletter and educative website, to be accompanied by supporting educational curriculum activities from Member States, through support to awareness campaigns addressed to target audiences, e.g. local authorities, producers, consumers and retailers or through a web-based exchange facility for professionals.
there already being too much information available to citizens, with limited
evidence that they act on it;
the need to rely on local level actors for effective delivery.
For reasons of subsidiarity and proportionality, this area for action was dropped from the final strategy, although awareness-raising is included in the list of national measures to be considered by the High-Level Forum.
5.HOW TO MONITOR AND EVALUATE THE RESULTS AND IMPACTS OF THE PROPOSAL
The policy will be implemented by developing each of the actions mentioned above. The Commission will monitor the actions and will submit a progress report to the Council and Parliament every five years during the life of the strategy.
6.1. Expert meetings and studies
In preparing the Sixth EAP a number of prominent experts were invited to give their views on the issue of resource management, to explain a number of fundamental concepts and to provide suggestions for appropriate measures to improve resource efficiency. A study by GUA (Austria) was also commissioned to give an overview of the main scientific concepts in the field of resource management both from the perspectives of classical economics and alternative schools.
40 The main schools of
thought described were: dematerialisation (eco-efficiency, factor 4/10), mass flow analysis (MIPS and rucksacks, carrying capacity, ecological footprints), thermodynamics (entropy, energy), classical and neo-classical resource economics, externality valuation, resource accounting and welfare cost-benefit analysis. The study was undertaken to provide the basis for discussion at an expert workshop held on 13 July 2000. A second expert workshop was held on 11 October 2001. The basis of this workshop was a study by COWI in which different views were presented on what should/could be done to promote sustainable resources use.
Resources, a dynamic view. Through this study an attempt was made to devise a
methodology which can be used to assess the dynamics of use patterns for individual resources, including the relationship between use and environmental impacts at various stages of the life cycle. The study was commissioned from Entec UK Ltd.
Policy review on decoupling and development of resource productivity indicators.
This study aimed to develop resource productivity indicators taking into account the environmental impacts of resource use. The study was done by the University of Leiden, CE Delft and the Wuppertal Institute.
6.2. Open stakeholder consultations
A first stakeholder meeting was held on 10 April 2002. The results of this fed into the Commission's Communication "Towards a Thematic Strategy on the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources".
41 Following this, a further meeting was held on 14
November 2003, where the Communication was discussed, as well as how to proceed with future stakeholder participation. This led to the establishment of an Advisory Forum and two Working Groups.
Each of the Working Groups prepared a report43 with in total 186 recommendations
in the following categories: 1) Communication, 2) Sectoral approach, 3) Monitoring and evaluation, 4) Prioritisation, 5) Enforcement, 6) Research and innovation, 7) Knowledge gathering, 8) Policy integration, 9) Developing countries, and 10) Instruments and measures. The reports also contained recommendations on specific
areas: energy, water and waste.
The Commission considered the Working Groups' recommendations and decided to consult on several of the main ideas that came up which were within the remit of the strategy. This internet consultation, which was also designed to provide a basis for this impact assessment, began on 1 December 2004 and finished on 30 January 2005.
In total, 48 responses were received: 23 from industry; 10 from governmental organisations; 7 from academia or consultants; 5 from NGOs, 2 from individuals and 1 from the trades unions. The response rate of Member States was very low, with only Finland, the Netherlands and the UK responding. In general, this consultation did not provide much new information, and that which it did provide is almost completely qualitative.
some stakeholders believe that decoupling is already occurring in their specific
some stakeholders do not think that the proposed actions meet the requirements of
the Sixth EAP, as concrete measures, target-setting and a timetable for identifying priority areas for action are missing.
On the specific actions:
6.2.1. Knowledge gathering
The overwhelming majority of stakeholders from all areas confirm the need for
better informed policy-making and knowledge-gathering.
With regard to the Data Centre, national governments were all in favour of a
combination of the EEA and Eurostat while industry group responses were more mixed, no group was in favour of immediately setting up a European Resources Institute.
Most organisations that commented said that they would either participate or
contribute in a virtual network.
6.2.2. Awareness-raising on resource issues
The environmental NGOs are sceptical of the value of communicating on the
strategy as it lacks what they see as the appropriate goals and targets. Industry opinions are split, with many feeling that the consumer should take more responsibility.
Of the three options the web-based exchange probably had most support overall
and the newsletter the least, but there was general scepticism towards the options proposed.
6.2.4. Spurring progress towards decoupling
There is general agreement that the proposed content of the national plans is
relevant; however, some stakeholders would like to see more, and many expressed concern about the possible administrative burden.
No quantitative estimates of the cost of these or of similar plans exist.
In general, industry and governments believe that voluntary plans will be
sufficient, while NGOs consider that they are not.
Only the cement and potash industries showed specific interest. Most NGOs
would be prepared to be involved. A number of sectors say that they are already involved in sectoral discussions with the Commission. There is therefore a need to link into this ongoing work.
6.2.5. International Panel on the sustainable use of natural resources
Generally respondents are positive and point towards an IPCC like organisation or
an ad-hoc approach. They also stress the importance of working with the UN and WTO.
Need to see what UNEP's input to such a panel could be. Whichever option is
chosen there needs to be balanced stakeholder involvement, with appropriate funding arrangements.
7.COMMISSION DRAFT PROPOSAL AND JUSTIFICATION
Achieving the strategy's objective means putting in place a series of measures that will build the foundations for implementing the suggested approach to policymaking over its 25-year life. The expected impacts of the measures taken now are:
it will not attempt to implement specific initiatives in areas that are already covered by well-established policies. Likewise, the strategy will attempt to reduce the pressures on the environment by helping other policies to include cost-effective measures.
7.1. Expected impacts on stakeholders
7.1.1. Policymakers at EU, Member State, local and international level
The ultimate aim of the information gathered and assessed is to improve policymaking at all levels; however, initially the main benefits should be felt at the European level as the information is integrated into the policymaking process. The main costs of this information will be borne by the Commission in the initial phases.
7.1.2. The European citizen
European citizens will be able to enjoy an improved environment and the improved potential for public health that it brings. They will also benefit from the social and economic opportunities presented by sustainable economic growth. Resource-related policies will become more efficient, delivering more environmental protection for their administrative and regulatory effort.
There should also be positive social impacts on governance and public participation, as one of the focuses of the strategy is on improved availability and access to information and better policy assessment. Through the awareness-raising and educational measures to be considered by the High-Level Forum, the strategy would contribute to increased consumer knowledge of resources.
It is likely that the strategy will contribute to a policy framework that benefits frontrunners in technology development and new production and consumption patterns. It will also offer opportunities for the emergence of new technologies that are more environmental friendly and the development of new firms. Depending on the level of relative decoupling already achieved by the different industrial and service sectors, the strategy will give an impulse to further diminish environmental impacts. This will open up new perspectives in the expanding "green" technological market outside the EU.
7.2. Expected financial impact
Since the strategy does not provide for binding legislation, at this stage the costs are limited to the operational costs of e.g. the Data Centre, the International Panel and to the costs of developing indicators.
These costs have been estimated (rounded up estimates) as follows:
∑ to the EU budget: EUR 500,000 a year for setting up and running the International
Panel; EUR 1.5 million a year for the first three years for setting up the Data Centre and than EUR 1 million a year to run it; EUR 300,000 for studies and expert meetings per year; EUR 800,000 administrative costs per year for Commission staff working on the follow-up to the strategy;
∑ to Member States' budgets: between EUR 300,000 and EUR 550,000 per year in
administrative costs (staff needed for analysing existing data, gathering extra information, attending the High-Level Forum and other EU meetings devoted to the strategy, etc.) for small and big Member States respectively.
Follow-up costs, i.e. those arising from the implementation of the national measures to be considered by the High-Level Forum, cannot be evaluated at this stage. The reason is that the measures will vary from one Member State to another, depending on a number of factors (structure of the economy, prevailing environmental impacts, effectiveness and timeliness of actions, etc.) that cannot be determined a priori. However, overall and in the long run the strategy's influence on environmental policy initiatives and legislation is expected to create major savings compared to the present situation. The reason is that its approach of focusing initiatives on the most important environmental problems will enhance coherence between the different policy areas affected and cut costs related to less environmentally effective initiatives for industry, administrations and citizens.