The issue as to what degree there is a trade-off between economic growth and environmental quality was one of the topics discussed at the recent “Environment for Europe” Ministerial Conference held in Belgrade in mid-October 2007. This paper provides an overall assessment of that conference in Belgrade and describes its conclusions and decisions. The paper evaluates the “Environment for Europe” as a political process and generally concludes that it has been a success although he provides several suggestions as to how the process might be reformed in order to increase its overall effectiveness. In regard to the substantive issues concerning the state of the environment in Europe, the conference concluded that significant progress is being made but that the results obtained so far in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia have fallen below expectations. The problem there seems to be related to the failure to strengthen environmental institutions in these economies and the need to focus more on the implementation of commitments. The importance of donor support and private sector involvement are likely to be additional important components in improving this situation.
competitiveness, Europe, transition economies, environmental policy, climate change, sustainable development
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