Regional Consultations

"The global economic crisis is an opportunity to change our consumption and production patterns and move towards a more sustainable model of development." Ms. Michèle Pappalardo, French Commissioner-General for Sustainable Development.

Europe has expressed its strong commitment to promoting sustainable consumption and production (SCP) patterns. The EU member states and the European Commission have been actively engaged in the Marrakech Process, taking the lead, and building North-South cooperation supporting through the Task Forces and the national roundtables on SCP under the Marrakech Process.

In Europe, several regional meetings on the Marrakech Process have been organised in:

Sub regional meetings on SCP have also been held.The next subregional meeting will be held in 2009.

Various SCP activities are taking place at the regional and sub-regional levels. Main activities include:

Regional initiatives

European Union Action Plan on SCP

In 2006, the European Union (EU) included SCP as a priority issue in their revised Sustainable Development Strategy. As a response, the European Commission developped an EU Action Plan on SCP, improving synergies between the existing policies and tools and addressing the potential gaps.

Europe is also supporting the seven Marrakech Tasks Forces. Which have shown to be effective mechanisms in building North-South cooperation and supporting the implementation of SCP projects.

The European Commission and the European Environmental Agency (EEA) have identified the SCP priority areas which are: housing, food and drink, and mobility. These are the areas that lead to the highest environmental impacts over their full life cycle.

Europe has organised several regional meetings on SCP: the European Stakeholder Meeting on SCP, in Ostend, Belgium (November 2004) inviting EU's neighbouring countries, the European Conference on Sustainable Energy Consumption, in Berlin, Germany (December 2005) and the European regional meeting in Prague, Check Republic (June 2008).The next subregional European meeting on SCP will be held in September 2009. For more information on the last regional meeting in Prague, please click here.

Another important initiative was the Conference on 'Time for Action - Towards SCP in Europe' organised by the EEA, the Slovenia Government, and CSCP.

Pan-European Collaboration and Partnership: The Sixth Ministerial Conference 'Environment for Europe'
Belgrade, Serbia (October 2007)

At the Sixth Ministerial Conference 'Environment for Europe' held in Belgrade in October 2007, the Ministers called for development of national programmes, sub-regional and regional partnerships to promote SCP in the pan-European region.

UNEP and EEA jointly produced the report 'SCP in South East Europe and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia'. The report identifies the current trends on SCP for these sub-regions as well as to identify opportunities for and barriers to more sustainable consumption and production in the SEE and EECCA countries. The main part of the report provides detailed information and a review of SCP initiatives in key production and consumption areas: industry, food, buildings, transport and waste.


South Eastern Europe (SEE) and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA)

Many countries in SEE and EECCA highlighted the importance of and expressed their interest in working towards more sustainable consumption and production patterns. In SEE, there was sub-regional multi-stakeholder meeting to raise awareness and hold dialogue among key stakeholders.

EEA and UNEP jointly review the trends on SCP related sectors and policy development in order to identify opportunities for and barriers to more sustainable consumption and production in the SEE and EECCA countries. These economies are facing the common challenges to break the link between economic growth and environmental impacts from production and consumption, resource use and waste generation. Their primary need is to increase the efficiency and address social sustainability.

The report highlights the promising opportunities for SEE and EECCA to leapfrog and some of the consumption-related problems common in more affluent society. Some elements of the legacy of the past have a major potential to support a society towards with more SCP. Many of the countries have policies and initiatives to address SCP-relevant issues, however they exist in isolated faction and lacking overall coordination.

European Regional Meetings on SCP

Fourth European Meeting on SCP
Prague, Czech Republic (June, 2008)

"It is time to move to an energy and resource efficient society" mentioned Mr. Jan Dusk -Deputy Minister of Czech Republic- at the opening of the European Regional Meeting held in Prague (30 -31October 2008).The objectives of the meeting were to assess the role and elements of the EU-SCP Action Plan as a key European contribution to the 10YFP. Working groups provided comments for both the EU SCP Action Plan and the draft 10YFP, suggesting that the 10YFP should build on the experience of existing regional plans, such as the EU SCP Action Plan, which is a key regional plan under the Marrakech Process. The meeting stressed the need for a clear communication strategy on SCP and supported the development of targets and indicators to help implement SCP policies. The importance to provide incentives for all stakeholders was also highlighted, particularly regarding Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). For more information, please click here.

Conference on 'Time for Action - Towards SCP in Europe'
Ljubljana, Slovenia (September 2007)

The UNEP/Wuppertal Institute Collaborating Centre on SCP (CSCP) and the European Environmental Agency (EEA), with support of the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning of the Republic of Slovenia, jointly organised the expert conference Time for Action - Towards SCP in Europe. The main objective of the conference was to provide recommendations for the development and implementation of the EU action plan on SCP, focusing on housing, food and drink, and mobility that have been identified to cause the highest environmental impacts. The conference also aimed to provide input to the Marrakech Process as well as to encourage collaboration and partnerships among stakeholders.


European Conference on Sustainable Energy Consumption

Berlin, Germany (December 2005)

The European Conference on Sustainable Energy Consumption is considered as the 2nd regional meeting in Europe. It focused on sustainable energy consumption, particularly on the production and the use of energy-using products. The positive impact of small and inexpensive improvement measures was emphasised. The global perspective of energy efficiency and energy poverty as a phenomenon prevalent in developing and developed countries was stressed. It was also proposed to intensify the promotion of green public procurement as a positive example to effect much-needed changes in consumption patterns.

Concrete actions proposed include inter alia:

  • Promote performance targets for energy efficiency products (e.g. Top-Runner-Approach) using instruments such as the EuP Framework-Directive

  • Conduct a product panel on light bulbs at the European level to improve energy efficiency


The European Stakeholder Meeting on Sustainable Consumption and Production

Ostend Meeting , Belgium (2004).

The European Stakeholder Meeting on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) was held in Ostend, Belgium (25-26 November 2004). Over 120 experts representing governments, business, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), retailers, banks, trade unions, consumer and environmental organisations, local authorities and research institutes from 30 European countries participated in the meeting.

The Ostend Meeting discussed priorities for further work on SCP for all key actors in Europe. It also considered how Europe could cooperate with other regions to promote SCP. Participants from 30 European countries identified the key SCP challenges in the region, and suggested the following policy recommendations:

  • Coherent strategic framework for sustainable development and SCP, such as embedding growth, competitiveness and jobs creation in a framework of sustainable development

  • Consumers' and producers' decisions, i.e. paving the way for SCP decisions by individuals, by promoting a change in mindset and behaviour. To this end, a comprehensive communication, education and information strategy is urgently required at local, national and European level

  • SCP on the global market by supporting other regions, especially developing countries, in achieving sustainable development including SCP

The participants recommended concrete actions for implementation. Some of them are:

  • Launch Task Forces on specific issues on SCP with champions/lead countries or stakeholders

  • Set up specific targets and timetables for sustainable public procurement at local, sub-national, national and EU levels

  • Create a forum or board of governments and stakeholders to monitor progress towards SP and the establishment of a fund to support SCP activities

  • Increase investments by the financial sector in sustainable infrastructure

The meeting was jointly organised by UNEP and the European Commission, in consultation with UN-DESA and hosted by the federal government of Belgium. The European Commission and the governments of Belgium, Finland, Germany and Sweden provided financial support.


Subregional meetings on SCP

South-Eastern European Meeting on Sustainable Consumption and Production
Zagreb, Croatia (5-6 December 2005)

The Workshop was organized by the Ministry of Environment, Physical Planning and Construction of the Republic of Croatia in collaboration with the Centre for Cleaner Production in Croatia, UNEP and the Central European Initiative. The workshop highlighted the three key areas for the future work including: cleaner production, education and awareness raising, and promoting SCP at local authorities.


Baltic States Multi-stakeholder Workshop on SCP
Vilnius, Lithuania (June 2004)

The sub-regional meeting of the Baltic States identified production efficiency, transport, and waste management, information for consumers and policy framework as sub-regional and national priorities for SCP. National resources taxes and labelling were among the instruments mentioned to improve consumption and production patterns. Based on the SCP priority areas identified, the workshop recommended a series of actions as beneficial for the promotion of SCP in the Baltic sub-region. Priority actions include:

  • Establish a High level multi-stakeholder body at the national level to facilitate the promotion of SCP and a multi-stakeholder SCP network in the Baltic sub-region

  • Integrate SCP considerations into sectoral and regional action plans

  • Develop more environmentally sustainable transport modes with special emphasis on the development of public transport

  • Introduce modern waste management systems




Upcoming events
European meeting on SCP back to back to the UNECE RIM, 30 November 2009, Geneva, Switzerland

Catherine Day
'Europe - in the concept of eco-footprints - has very big feet. There is a need to take responsibility, with the main challenge being to de-couple economic growth and environmental damage. It is important to engage society as a whole, including ordinary citizens and businesses'
Catherine Day, Director General Environment, European Commission

New brochure on
EU level Sustainable Consumption and Production policies
Read how the change towards sustainable consumption and production can happen. The EU is implementing an Action Plan to ensure sufficient natural resources and a better environment for future generations by becoming smarter, cleaner and more energy and resource efficient.