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Brussels, 25 February 2011

Environment: Commission launches consultations on Resource Efficiency, Rio+20 Summit and sustainable development

The European Commission has launched two online consultations in the field of environment. The first consultation is on policy options that might encourage a switch to a more efficient use of natural resources in the European economy. A second consultation is on the position to be taken by the EU at the United Nations conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012. A related consultation has also been launched to gather opinions on the European bio-based economy, which also includes aspects of resource efficiency. The consultations run until mid-April 2011.

The first consultation, on resource efficiency, will feed into a Roadmap for a resource-efficient Europe expected in the summer of 2011. The consultation asks for opinions in three areas – general views on resource use, scarcities, current obstacles and major areas of concern; policy areas that could be included in the roadmap; and options for encouraging individual shifts of behaviour. The views of public authorities, the private sector, environmental stakeholders and interested citizens are being sought on 22 questions. On 26 January this year, the Commission adopted a Communication on a Resource-Efficient Europe – one of the flagship initiatives of Europe 2020, the EU’s strategy for jobs and growth – setting the scene for a number of Commission initiatives to be adopted in 2011 and 2012. The Roadmap is one such initiative. The consultation, in English, French and German, closes on 17 April 2011.

The second consultation will help elaborate the EU position for the United Nations conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012. The conference, also known as Rio+20 as it coincides with the twentieth anniversary of the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, is intended to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development. It will assess progress to date, identify gaps in the implementation of commitments and address emerging challenges, with a focus on two major themes: "a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication" and "the institutional framework for sustainable development". The consultation, which consists of 13 open questions, in English, runs until mid-April.

Responses to the consultation will feed into a Communication on the EU position to be published in the spring of 2011, and in subsequent discussions with the other EU Institutions. It is open to all stakeholders in the EU and in third countries. Contributions may be sent in the form of answers to some or all of the questions asked in the paper. Once the replies have been assessed, a report on the consultation will be published on the DG Environment website.

Finally, a consultation has been launched by DG Research and Innovation which relates to resource efficiency and other aspects of Europe 2020 and focuses on the state and future potential of Europe's biobased economy. In addition to looking at resource efficiency issues, the consultation asks questions about the potential of the bio-based economy to foster innovation and address societal challenges. The results will support the preparation of the "European Strategy and Action Plan towards a sustainable bio-based economy by 2020".

All consultations can be found on the Commission’s website:

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