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At the core of all of Jean's work is the goal of creating a "sustainable society", which encompasses economic, environmental and social sustainability. A healthy society can only exist if these three mutually-dependent elements are integrated into policy-making.

- April 2002: Coming up - research commissioned by Jean on "Integrating Social Inclusion, Employment and the Environment: Exploring the potential for joined-up thinking"

How Can Cities become Sustainable - Jean on Sustainability - The EU and Sustainability - Related Sustainability Initiatives and Events


What is Sustainability/Sustainable Development?

The term has no legal definition, but in 1987, The World Commission on Environment and Development chaired by the Prime Minister of Norway, Mrs Gro Harlem Bruntland, published a report Our Common Future (The Bruntland Report) which brought the concept of sustainable development onto the international agenda. It also provided the most commonly used definition of sustainable development describing it as

"development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

This principle has been incorporated in the Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties on European Union, as well as in the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21, adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), meeting in Rio de Janeiro 3 to 14 June 1992. The European Community and its Member States subscribed to the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21 and committed themselves to the rapid implementation of the principal measures agreed at UNCED.

Click here for Jean's briefing on the concept of Sustainable Development

Click here for the Green Group in the European Parliament's Sustainability Strategy. The aim of a sustainable development strategy is to achieve a successful integration of environmental, economic and social policy. The economy should serve the needs of society, while both economy and society can only successfully exist within a healthy natural environment.


HOW CAN CITIES BECOME SUSTAINABLE? Seminars held by Jean Lambert in London (Spring 2002)

One of the big challenges currently facing cities like London is to consider strategies for how they can best be sustainable - environmentally, socially and economically. Europe's biggest cities such as London can also play an important role in improving Europe's sustainability overall.

Jean ran a seminar series on the role of European Cities in achieving sustainability. The seminars considered four themes: climate protection, waste minimisation, urban planning and impact assessment, and planning for traffic, transport and air quality.

Each seminar heard from European policy experts and elected representatives from major European cities and discussed initiatives in each area, international networks that encourage the exchange of experience and dissemination of good local practice, examples of best practice in Europe and strategies for the future.

Click here for information about the seminars and their conclusions

Click here for useful links on sustainable cities


Jean on Sustainability

- Jean's contribution to a European Parliament debate on sustainability, May 2001

- Jean's speeches on sustainability to the Parliament, March and April 2001

- Jean drafted an Opinion on behalf of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee which focussed on sustainable development and the role of the EU's chemicals strategy in this April 2001

- Briefing by Jean Lambert and Caroline Lucas MEPs evaluating the Sustainability Summit in Johannesburg in summer 2002

See also the Environment page and Employment and Social Affairs page


The EU and Sustainability

Coming Shortly



Related Sustainability Initiatives and Events


Sustainable Cities

European Sustainable Cities & Towns Campaign

Sponsored by the European Commission, the objective of this Campaign is to encourage and support local authorities in working towards sustainability by promoting development towards sustainability at the local level through Local Agenda 21 and similar processes.

This objective is being achieved by strengthening partnership among all actors in the local community as well as inter-authority co-operation, and relating this process to the European Community's action in the field of urban environment, and the work of the Urban Environment Expert Group. The Campaign may in this sense be viewed as the European 'Local Agenda 21 Campaign'. Any local authority including city, town or network of local authorities from any part of Europe may join the Campaign by adopting and signing the European Sustainable Cities & Towns charter, also called the Aalborg Charter, and implementing the Lisboa Action Plan. To date (July 1997), more than 320 European local authorities have committed themselves to the campaign by signing the Charter.


Energie-Cités is an association of European local authorities, mainly municipalities. One of the aims of the association is to provide its members with information on the promotion of sustainable local energy policies. The network extends over 20 European countries and includes about 100 municipalities, the majority having between 100,000 and 300,000 inhabitants.

International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI)

ICLEI is the international environmental agency for local governments. Its mission is to build and serve a worldwide movement of local governments to achieve tangible improvements in global environmental and sustainable development conditions through cumulative local actions. Building a worldwide movement requires that ICLEI functions as a democratic, international association of local governments. Serving a worldwide movement requires that ICLEI operates as an international environmental agency for local governments.

Stockholm Partnerships for Sustainable Cities

In focus for the Stockholm Partnerships for Sustainable Cities are the respective roles of industry, local government and communities in enabling sustainable urban development, and how these roles evolve and influence each other. Stockholm Partnerships aims at bringing together stakeholders from local government, business and non-governmental organisations from all over the world to try - in a collective effort - to bring new energy into the process.

Climate Action Network Europe

CAN is a coordinating office, based in Brussels, for environmental groups in Western Europe working on climate change issues. It is a non-profit organisation receiving funding in the present financial year from Commission of the European Communities, the Dutch Government and the Belgian Government. CAN Europe runs an information service on climate change and coordinates policy on climate change at a European level as well as liaising with other groups in the global organisation of Climate Action Network.




The Earth Summit 2002

Johannesburg, South Africa.
26th August 6th September 2002

Johannesburg 2002: The World Summit on Sustainable Development (also known as Rio + 10), gathered together world governments, concerned citizens, United Nations agencies, multilateral financial institutions and other major actors to assess global change since the historic United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), of 1992. Unfortunately, the Summit fell far short of the hopes of NGOs, civil society organisations and others and the opportunity to make a big step forward, especially for the world's poorest, was lost. The interests of big business were paramount and governments failed to muster the political will to bring about real change,

Click here for more on the Earth Summit




LA21 or Local Agenda 21

Local Agenda 21 is the action plan for a sustainable development of a municipality, set up by local authorities, together with the local stakeholders and citizens. The mandate for setting up a Local Agenda 21 was given to local communities world-wide at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.

The International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), acting on behalf of municipalities, had brought in this mandate which was incorporated into chapter 28 of Agenda 21, the final document of UNCED.

Each Local Authority should enter into a dialogue with its citizens, local organisations and private enterprises and adopt "a local Agenda 21. Through consultation and consensus-building, local authorities would learn from citizens and from local, civic, community, business and industrial organisations and acquire the information needed for formulating the best strategies. The process of consultation would increase household awareness of sustainable development issues. Local authority programmes, policies, laws and regulations to achieve Agenda 21 objectives would be assessed and modified, based on local programmes adopted. Strategies could also be used in supporting proposals for local, regional and international funding
(Agenda 21, 28.3)

Click here to read more about LA21










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