Tag Archives: Environment policy

Cooperation and dialogue between the EU, Africa and China

Cooperation and dialogue between the EU, Africa and China

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Cooperation and dialogue between the EU, Africa and China


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Development > African Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP)

Cooperation and dialogue between the EU, Africa and China

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 17 October 2008 entitled The EU, Africa and China: Towards trilateral dialogue and cooperation [COM(2008) 654 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The Commission proposes a new tripartite approach to reinforce cooperation and dialogue between the European Union (EU), Africa and China. The Commission recognises that adding to bilateral partnerships in order to promote the stable and sustainable development of Africa is of mutual interest.

The EU, Africa and China should base this cooperation on common objectives, which are defined progressively and consistent with national and regional development strategies.

This new approach should lead to joint working on questions of development and increasing the effectiveness of aid. Sharing experience and good practice should contribute to this aim, in particular with regard to financial instruments, Official Development Assistance (ODA) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Firstly, the partnership could concentrate on five priority objectives:

  • reinforcing security and support for peace-keeping operations;
  • developing affordable and sustainable infrastructures to reinforce interconnectivity and regional integration. The EU-Africa partnership for infrastructures (FR) could contribute to this objective;
  • protection of the environment and management of natural resources within a context of economic and commercial growth. The Commission proposes to cooperate with the African Union (AU) and African countries in order to promote sustainable management, technology transfers and investments;
  • the increase in agricultural production, the quality of production and food security, in particular with a view to meeting the objectives of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (FR).

The tripartite partnership is an extension of bilateral political dialogues between the African Union (AU), the EU and China, as well as dialogue between the EU and China. The partnership will be based on regular strategic dialogue as well as specific consultations.

The Commission proposes to establish a network of exchange and information between the competent national and regional authorities. Organising an annual coordination meeting of development partners should contribute to the evaluation of priorities for cooperation whilst integrating the initiatives of international organisations, funding providers and civil society.


During the summit held in Lisbon in 2007, the heads of state and government of the EU and African countries adopted a new joint strategic partnership. This strategy provides a global framework for strengthening relations between the EU and Africa and an action plan for the period 2008-2010. The EU is the largest provider of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and the first commercial partner for Africa. This partnership also aims to establish synergies with other partners and international funding providers.

Cooperation between China and Africa is mainly directed at commercial exchange, investment, infrastructure projects and aid in social domains and training. This partnership was reinforced by the adoption of a new strategy in 2006 during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

Their respective methods for cooperation contribute to meeting the objectives of the partnership for development (MDGs) and the integration of Africa into the world economy.

Pure air for Europe

Pure air for Europe

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Pure air for Europe


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Air pollution

Pure air for Europe

Document or Iniciative

Directive 2008/50/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2008 on ambient air quality and cleaner air for Europe.


This Directive lays down measures aimed at the following:

  • defining and establishing objectives for ambient air quality * designed to reduce harmful effects on health and the environment;
  • assessing the ambient air quality in Member States on the basis of common methods and criteria;
  • collating information on ambient air quality in order to monitor long-term trends, in particular;
  • ensuring that such information on ambient air quality is made available to the public;
  • maintaining air quality where it is good and improving it in other cases;
  • promoting increased cooperation between the Member States in reducing air pollution.

Member States shall designate the competent authorities and bodies responsible for evaluating the quality of ambient air, approving measurement systems, ensuring the accuracy of measurements, analysing assessment methods and cooperating with other Member States and the Commission.

Air quality assessment

This Directive establishes a system for the assessment of ambient air quality in relation to sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter (PM10 and PM2,5), lead, benzene and carbon monoxide as well as ozone.

Member States shall establish areas or zones (urban, suburban, rural, rural background) throughout their territory, and assess and manage the air quality.

This Directive sets thresholds for assessment for each pollutant, criteria for the assessment method (in particular the siting of sampling points), reference methods for measurement, limit values * for the protection of human health and the environment, the target and the obligation of reducing exposure for the population to PM2,5, information thresholds * and alert thresholds *, critical levels * for the protection of vegetation and the list of information to be included in action plans for improvement in air quality.

Each Member State shall set up at least one measuring station and may, by agreement with adjoining Member States, set up one or several common measuring stations.

Air quality management and action plans

Where the levels of pollutants in ambient air are below the limit values specified in this Directive, Member States shall maintain the levels of those pollutants below the limit values and shall endeavour to preserve the best ambient air quality, compatible with sustainable development.

Where, in given zones or agglomerations, the levels of pollutants in ambient air exceed any limit value or target value *, plus any relevant margin of tolerance in each case, Member States shall ensure that air quality plans are established for those zones and agglomerations in order to achieve the predefined limit value or target value.

In the event of exceedances of those limit values for which the attainment deadline is already expired, the air quality plans shall set out appropriate measures, so that the exceedance period can be kept as short as possible and can include additional specific measures to protect sensitive population groups. Measures similar to those laid down in short-term action plans may be considered.

Where there is a risk that the levels of pollutants will exceed the alert thresholds, Member States shall draw up action plans indicating the measures to be taken in the short term in order to reduce the risk or its duration. These actions plans can in particular suspend activities which contribute to the risk of exceedance (motor-vehicle traffic, construction works, the use of industrial plants etc.). In addition, these action plans may include specific measures aimed at the protection of sensitive population groups, in particular children.

Where thresholds are exceeded due to transboundary transport of air pollutants, the Member States concerned shall cooperate and coordinate their work in order to remove the exceedance.

Public information

Member States shall ensure that up-to-date information on ambient concentrations of the pollutants covered by this Directive is routinely made available to the public and the bodies concerned. Where alert thresholds and information thresholds are exceeded, Member States shall publish:

  1. information on the exceedance or exceedances observed (place, type of threshold, time and duration of the exceedance, highest concentration observed);
  2. forecasts for the following hours and days;
  3. information on the type of population concerned, possible health effects and recommended behaviour;
  4. information on preventative measures and measures to reduce the emissions.

Member States shall also make available to the public annual reports for all pollutants covered by this Directive.


Member States shall lay down the rules on penalties applicable to infringements of the national provisions adopted pursuant to this Directive and shall take all measures necessary to ensure that they are implemented. The penalties must be effective, proportionate and dissuasive.


This Directive repeals and replaces Directive 96/62/EC on ambient air quality assessment and management, Directive 1999/30/EC relating to limit values for sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and oxides of nitrogen, particulate matter and lead in ambient air, Directive 2000/69/EC relating to limit values for benzene and carbon monoxide in ambient air, Directive 2002/3/EC relating to ozone in ambient air and Decision 97/101/EC establishing a reciprocal exchange of information and data on air pollution within the Member States.

Key Terms of the Act
  • Ambient air: outdoor air in the troposphere, excluding workplaces as defined by Directive 89/645/EEC.
  • Limit value: a level fixed on the basis of scientific knowledge, with the aim of avoiding, preventing or reducing harmful effects on human health and/or the environment as a whole, to be attained within a given period and not to be exceeded once attained.
  • Target value: a level fixed with the aim of avoiding, preventing or reducing harmful effects on human health and/or the environment as a whole, to be attained where possible over a given period.
  • Information threshold: a level beyond which there is a risk to human health from brief exposure for particularly sensitive sections of the population and for which immediate and appropriate information is necessary.
  • Alert threshold: a level beyond which there is a risk to human health from brief exposure for the population as a whole and at which immediate steps are to be taken by the Member States.
  • Critical level: a level fixed on the basis of scientific knowledge, above which direct adverse effects may occur on some receptors, such as trees, other plants or natural ecosystems but not on humans.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2008/50/EC [adoption COD/2005/0183]



OJ L 152 of 11.6.2008

The Africa-EU partnership at work

The Africa-EU partnership at work

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The Africa-EU partnership at work


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Development > African Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP)

The Africa-EU partnership at work

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 17 October 2008 entitled “One year after Lisbon: the Africa-EU partnership at work” [COM(2008) 617 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The Commission notes progress accomplished in the first year of implementation of the strategic partnership between the European Union (EU) and Africa. This evaluation should allow the partners’ action to be targeted and to produce early and concrete deliverables.


The Africa-EU Action Plan consists of 8 sectorial partnerships (pdf ). It will be revised in 2010 at the next summit of Heads of State and Government from the EU and African states.

Partnership on Peace and Security

Cooperation supports the role of the African Union (AU) in the area of peace and security. First deliverables will focus on planning, control, management and funding of peacekeeping operations. The African Standby Force should be rendered completely operational by the AU, and its capacity for early warning and to combat terrorism and the trafficking of firearms should be consolidated.

The second Peace Facility for Africa, with a budget of EUR 300 million for the period 2008-2010, funds peacekeeping, preventative and post-crisis operations. Its impact will be reinforced by a rapid response scheme for emergency operations.

Africa-EU Partnership on Democratic Governance and Human Rights

Projects within this framework should enhance the existing pan-African set-up, support local governance, electoral and post-electoral processes, the pluralism of the media and cultural cooperation.

A platform for dialogue on democratic governance and human rights should be established in 2009 to promote the involvement of civil society and all stakeholders.

Partnership on Trade and Regional Integration

Within the framework of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), the partnership encourages the development of trade and services offered at regional level. It supports the harmonisation of laws, regulations, norms and standards in order to remove customs barriers in Africa.

The partners should increase the funding which is allocated to the Africa-EU partnership for infrastructures (FR) with the aim of developing regional interconnections.

Partnership on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

The partners have identified the areas of food security, health and education as being priorities for the achievement of the MDGs. This is in line with the recommendations of the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG), and to ensure the coherence of national, regional and multilateral action.

EU Member States have committed to increase official development assistance (ODA) for 2010 and 2015.

Partnership on Energy

In 2008, the partners adopted a Joint Statement on the Implementation of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership. This sectorial agreement aims in particular at modernising regional infrastructures and interconnections, supporting public and private investment, and improving access to energy services and energy efficiency.

Projects within this framework are funded under the EDF and through other financial instruments particularly in the areas of energy, infrastructures and the sustainable management of resources.

Partnership on Climate Change

Political dialogue on climate change is on a multilateral level, mainly within the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) (FR). The use of climate forecasts for development is one of the priorities of the GCCA through the ClimDev Africa programme.

The partners have strengthened their cooperation and this will come to fruition in an international post-Kyoto agreement at the Copenhagen summit in late 2009.

Partnership on Migration, Mobility and Employment

The Partnership will provide holistic responses with the objective of creating more and better jobs in Africa, advancing the Decent Work agenda and better managing migration flows. This Partnership builds upon the Tripoli Declaration, the Africa-EU Plan of Action on the trafficking of human beings and the Ouagadougou Declaration and Action Plan on Employment and Poverty Alleviation.

Amongst these priorities, the Commission supports the creation of an African Remittances Institute and a network of observatories in Sub-Saharan Africa to collect more reliable data on migration. It intends to establish a structured dialogue with representatives of the African Diaspora in Europe.

Partnership on Science, Information Society and Space

Science, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Space applications are factors for growth and socio-economic development. Africa-EU cooperation takes place in particular within the framework of the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security initiative (GMES). Satellite surveillance must be developed as an instrument for disaster prevention and the sustainable management of natural and food resources.


Following discussions between the AU and the Commission, this Communication states priorities for the implementation of the Africa-EU strategy and its Action Plan. It invites partners to:

  • renew their political and financial commitment;
  • to adopt a roadmap, and to complete mappings of cooperation initiatives and available resources;
  • consult civil society;
  • encourage continent-wide projects, policies and legal frameworks;
  • identify existing synergies between strategy and financial and technical programmes;
  • enhance coordination of partners within international organisations and in multilateral negotiations;
  • have regular and structured dialogue between the European Parliament and the Pan-African Parliament.

Related Acts

Commission Working Document of 17 October 2008 annexed to this Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 17 October 2008 entitled “One year after Lisbon: the Africa-EU partnership at work” [SEC(2008) 2603 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Environment and health strategy

Environment and health strategy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Environment and health strategy


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Public health > Health determinants: environment

Environment and health strategy

Document or Iniciative

European environment and health strategy of 11 June 2003 [COM(2003) 338 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Key elements and implementation of the strategy

The objective of this strategy is to integrate the information on the state of the environment, the ecosystem and human health. The ultimate objective is to establish a framework to help produce a better understanding of the cause-and-effect relationships between the environment and health and to make available the information needed to develop an integrated Community policy. Other objectives of the strategy are to identify and reduce any new health threats caused by environmental factors and to strengthen the Union’s capacity for policymaking in this area. As the acronym indicates, the strategy is based on science, focuses on children, aims at raising awareness, uses legal instruments and includes continuous evaluation.

The plan is to implement the strategy incrementally in successive cycles. The first cycle, from 2004 to 2010, will focus on the link between environmental factors and:

  • childhood respiratory diseases, asthma and allergies;
  • neurodevelopmental disorders;
  • childhood cancer;
  • disruption of the endocrine system (glands which secrete hormones).

The strategy will pave the way for a Community information system for assessing the overall impact of the environment on human health and the cause-and-effect links and for developing an integrated policy on the environment and health. In the first cycle three pilot projects will be launched to develop a method for putting in place a European system for integrated environment and health monitoring. These projects will focus on three priority pollutants for which data collection and monitoring are already well underway: dioxins, heavy metals and endocrine disrupters. The possibility of developing a harmonised European bio-monitoring system for children will also be considered during the first cycle.

Other research activities will be undertaken in order to gain a better understanding of environment and health issues.

Additional efforts will be made to reduce exposure to environmental hazards. These will concentrate on air quality, heavy metals, electromagnetic fields and a healthy urban environment in particular.

Implementation of this strategy will demand full stakeholder involvement. The Commission will set up technical working groups plus a consultative group on environment and health. Three regional conferences were planned up to 2004. In spring 2004 a major stakeholder conference was held to define the action plan for 2004-2010, which set out the goals and action for the first cycle as the Commission’s contribution to the Fourth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health in Budapest held in June 2004.

Previous activities on environment and health

Hitherto the political responses on environment and health have taken no account of the interaction between the two. Nevertheless, the Union has already put in place legislation on health hazards, such as chemicals, endocrine disrupters, pesticides, air and water pollution, noise, waste, industrial accidents and ionising radiation.

A Community action programme on public health, covering the period 2003-2008, has been under way since 1 January 2003. Other activities are in progress on tobacco control, food safety, electromagnetic fields, radiation protection and health impact assessment.

Research on the environment and health has been included in the European Framework Programmes for research and development activities since 1995.

The Community also has a strategy on health and safety at work.

The Union is participating in international activities such as the European Charter on Environment and Health and the “Healthy Environment for Children” project, both in collaboration with the World Health Organisation. It is also helping with the preparations for the next pan-European Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health, which will be held in Budapest.


Communication of 9June 2004 from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament and the European Economic and Social Committee – “The European Environment & Health Action Plan 2004-2010” [

COM(2004) 416

final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The European Environment & Health Action Plan 2004-2010 is designed to reduce the burden of disease caused by environmental pollution. The added value of the action plan is that it will improve information and understanding and step up coordination between the health, environment and research sectors.

The plan provides for 13 actions geared towards the following objectives:

  • better information on the environment-health link;
  • stepping up research activity in Europe, particularly on the four priority health effects: asthma/allergies, neurodevelopmental disorders, cancer and endocrine disruption;
  • setting up mechanisms to improve risk assessment, as well as a system for early detection of emerging issues such as the effects of climate change on health;
  • drawing conclusions from the improved information and action, via awareness-raising campaigns, better risk communication, and training and educational activities.

Kyoto Protocol on climate change

Kyoto Protocol on climate change

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Kyoto Protocol on climate change


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Environment: cooperation with third countries

Kyoto Protocol on climate change

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2002/358/EC of 25 April 2002 concerning the approval, on behalf of the European Community, of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the joint fulfilment of commitments thereunder.


On 4 February 1991 the Council authorised the Commission to participate on behalf of the European Community in the negotiation of a United Nations framework convention on climate change, which was adopted in New York on 9 May 1992. The European Community ratified the Framework Convention by Decision 94/69/EC of 15 December 1993. The Framework Convention entered into force on 21 March 1994.

The Framework Convention made a large contribution towards the establishment of key principles of the international fight against climate change. In particular, it defines the principle of “common but differentiated responsibility”. It also helped to make people the world over more aware of the problems linked to climate change. However, the Convention does not contain commitments in figures, detailed on a country by country basis, in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

At the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Berlin in March 1995, the Parties to the Convention decided to negotiate a Protocol containing measures to reduce emissions for the period beyond 2000 in the industrialised countries. After much work, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted on 11 December 1997 in Kyoto.

The European Community signed the Protocol on 29 April 1998. In December 2001 the Laeken European Council confirmed that the Union wanted to see the Kyoto Protocol enter into force ahead of the Johannesburg world summit on sustainable development (26 August – 4 September 2002). To that end, this Decision approved the Protocol on behalf of the Community. The Member States were to coordinate their action to deposit their instruments of ratification at the same time as the Community, and as far as possible by 1 June 2002.

Annex II to the Decision sets out the commitments to limit and reduce emissions agreed by the Community and its Member States for the initial commitment period (2008 to 2012).

The contents of the Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol tackles emissions of six greenhouse gases:

  • carbon dioxide (CO2);
  • methane (CH4);
  • nitrous oxide (N2O);
  • hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs);
  • perfluorocarbons (PFCs);
  • sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).

It represents an important step forward in the effort to tackle global warming as it includes binding, quantified objectives for limiting and reducing greenhouse gases.

Overall, the Parties to Annex I to the Framework Convention (i.e. the industrialised countries) undertake collectively to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, to reduce the total emissions of the developed countries by at least 5 % below 1990 levels, during the period 2008 to 2012. Annex B to the Protocol contains the quantified commitments given by the Parties.

The States which were members of the EU before 2004 must collectively reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 8 % between 2008 and 2012. Member States which joined the EU after that date undertake to reduce their emissions by 8 %, with the exception of Poland and Hungary (6 %), and Malta and Cyprus, which are not listed in Annex I to the Framework Convention.

For the period up to 2008, the Parties undertake to make demonstrable progress in achieving their commitments by no later than 2005.

Parties who so wish, may make 1995 a reference year for emissions of HFCs, PFCs and SF6.

The Protocol suggests various means of attaining these objectives:

  • stepping up or introducing national policies to reduce emissions (greater energy efficiency, promotion of sustainable forms of agriculture, development of renewable energy sources, etc.);
  • cooperation with the other Contracting Parties (exchanges of experience or information, coordination of national policies through emission permits, joint implementation and a clean development mechanism).

No later than one year prior to the start of the first commitment period, each Party must have set up a national system of the estimation of emissions of human origin and removals by sinks of all greenhouse gases (not controlled by the Montreal Protocol).

Commitments will be reviewed by 2005 at the latest, for the second commitment period.

On 31 May 2002, the European Union ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Following its ratification by Russia, the Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005. Several industrialised countries have refused to ratify the Protocol, including the United States and Australia.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2002/358/EC


OJ L 130 of 15.5.2002

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2006/944/EC of 14 December 2006 determining the respective emission levels allocated to the Community and each of its Member States under the Kyoto Protocol pursuant to Council Decision 2002/358/EC [Official Journal L 358 of 16.12.2010].
Amended by:
Commission Decision 2010/778/EU of 15 December 2010 [Official Journal L 332 of 16.12.2010].