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Integration of the environmental dimension in developing countries

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Integration of the environmental dimension in developing countries

The European Union lays down the procedure for allocating Community economic and technical aid to promote the full integration of the environmental dimension in cooperation projects between the Community and developing countries (DCs). As of 1 January 2007 those rules have been replaced by the Regulation establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation.


Regulation (EC) No 2493/2000 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 November 2000 on measures to promote the full integration of the environmental dimension in the development process of developing countries.


1. Because of the direct impact they have on economic development, the depletion of natural resources and the impairment of the environment may thwart efforts to alleviate poverty in developing countries.

2. This has been recognised in several agreements concluded, with the Community's participation, in the framework of the United Nations (Framework Convention on climate change, Convention on biological diversity, etc.) and the OECD (Shaping the 21st century strategy).

3. The Regulation lays down the rules under which cooperation projects initiated by various players (governments, public bodies, regional authorities, traditional or local communities, cooperatives, international organisations, non-governmental organisations and private stakeholders) in developing countries and intended to promote sustainable development may receive financial aid and technical assistance from the Community.

4. Activities eligible for aid and assistance address, in particular:

  • global environmental issues (climate change, desertification, biological diversity, etc.);
  • transboundary issues (air, water and soil pollution);
  • the environmental impact of the integration of developing countries into the world economy and of their macroeconomic and sectoral policies;
  • the inclusion in development cooperation projects of environmental considerations for evaluating the sustainable management of such activities;
  • conservation of biological diversity, sustainable management and use of natural resources, and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits drawn from these resources;
  • issues relating to fishing and the management of coastal zones, estuaries and wetlands;
  • desertification;
  • urban environment problems (waste, noise and air pollution, water quality, etc.);
  • sustainable production and use of energy;
  • sustainable production and use of chemical products;
  • environmental problems related to industrial activities;
  • sustainable patterns of production and consumption.

5. They may take the following forms:

  • pilot projects in the field;
  • schemes to build up the institutional and operational capacities of actors in the development process (governments, civil society, NGOs, etc.);
  • drawing up of policies, plans, strategies and programmes for sustainable development;
  • formulation of guidelines, operating manuals and instruments aimed at promoting sustainable development (databases on the Internet);
  • support for the development and application of environment assessment tools;
  • inventory, accounting and statistical work to improve the quality of environmental data;
  • making local populations and key actors in the development process aware of sustainable development issues;
  • promotion of trade in environment-friendly products;
  • support for multilateral processes.

6. In selecting activities eligible for support, particular attention is given to the following criteria:

  • linkage with the overall objective of eradicating poverty;
  • local initiatives involving innovative measures;
  • active involvement of indigenous communities;
  • the specific role and contribution of women in the sustainable management and use of natural resources;
  • consistency with other development cooperation programmes;
  • strengthening of regional cooperation on sustainable development;
  • internalisation of environmental costs.

7. For each cooperation activity, the Community requires a contribution from the actors concerned according to their means. Community financial support is provided in the form of non-refundable aid. Such funding may cover technical assistance, studies, training, supplies, minor works, missions and small grant funds.

8. The Regulation emphasises that participation in invitations to tender and the award of contracts is open to all persons and all companies of the Member States and of the recipient country on equal terms. It may also be extended to other developing countries and, in exceptional cases, to other third countries. A guide setting out the criteria applicable in the selection of projects will be published and provided to interested parties.

9. The Commission is responsible for decisions and management relating to projects undertaken pursuant to the Regulation and will take all necessary coordination measures. It reports to the European Parliament every two years on strategic guidelines and priorities for the years ahead. It must also submit an annual report to Parliament and the Council summarising the activities financed during that year and evaluating the implementation of the Regulation. The Commission must regularly inform the Member States of the activities that have been approved, stating their cost and nature, the country concerned and the cooperation partners.

10. In the case of projects involving financing of EUR 2.5 million or more, the Commission is assisted in its management tasks and its decision-making by the geographically determined committee responsible for development.

11. The budget for applying the Regulation over the period 2000-2006 is EUR 93 million.

12. As of 1 January 2007 the Regulation has been repealed and replaced by the Regulation establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation (see "Related acts" below).


13. In Council Regulation (EC) No 722/97 on environmental measures in developing countries in the context of sustainable development [Official Journal L 108, 25.4.1997], the Council lays down a framework for Community aid to help developing countries integrate the environmental dimension into their development process. As Regulation (EC) No 722/1997 ceased to apply on 31 December 1999, the purpose of Regulation (EC) No 1905/2006 is to continue the Community action on the basis of experience acquired during the implementation of the former Regulation.



Entry into force - Date of expiry

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 2493/2000



OJ L 288, 15.11.2000


Regulation (EC) No 1905/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation [Official Journal L 378, 27.12.2006]. In the context of the 2007-2013 financial perspective, this Regulation establishes a financing instrument for development cooperation providing direct support for the Community's policy in this field. The policy is aimed at achieving the objectives of poverty reduction, sustainable economic and social development and the smooth and gradual integration of developing countries into the world economy. The Regulation repeals and replaces Regulation (EC) No 2493/2000 as of 1 January 2007.

Council Conclusions of 31 May 2001: Strategy for the integration of environmental considerations into development policy to promote sustainable development. In this strategy, the Council underlines the importance of integrating environmental considerations into all Community initiatives in the field of development cooperation. Priority should be given to:

  • enhanced policy dialogue with partner countries on environmental issues;
  • systematically incorporating environmental considerations into the preparation of all strategic plans and programmes for EC development cooperation;
  • mainstreaming environmental considerations into the six priority themes for EC development cooperation, namely trade and development, regional cooperation, poverty reduction, transport, food security and institutional capacity building;
  • monitoring the progress made.

Communication from the Commission of 18 May 2000: "Integrating environment and sustainable development into economic and development co-operation policy - Elements of a comprehensive strategy" [COM(2000) 264 final - not published in the Official Journal].

Last updated: 27.03.2007