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21.8.

2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 235 E/157

(2001/C 235 E/182) WRITTEN QUESTION E-0228/01


by Caroline Lucas (Verts/ALE) to the Commission

(5 February 2001)

Subject: Trade, development and EU forest policy

Ninety percent of the world’s 1,2 billion extreme poor  those living on USD 1 a day or less  depend on
forests for their income or are significantly dependent on forest resources. How is the Commission going
to ensure that no EC projects go ahead without a rigorous environmental and social impact assessment
and that EC aid is given after consultation not only with receiving country governments, but also with civil
society?

Answer given by Mr Nielson on behalf of the Commission

(6 April 2001)

The Commission is fully aware of the importance of forest resources to the livelihoods of the most
disadvantaged inhabitants of our planet and of the need to ensure that the projects it finances in the
developing world do not adversely impact on them.

In 1993 the Commission decided to phase in environmental impact assessments for all proposals for
development projects. An Environment Manual describing the procedures and environmental methodology
governing Lomé IV development cooperation projects was accordingly introduced in the Commission.
Similar methods were applied to cooperation projects with the countries of Latin America, Asia and the
Mediterranean. A new guide on integration of the environment, merging and updating the contents of the
two previous documents, is currently under development and due to start initial testing in the coming
months.

The guidelines in these documents are intended to establish whether the implementation of a project
might be detrimental to the environment. If so, the project proposal must include an impact study to
a level of detail which depends on the complexity of the project. The results of this study, which must be
conducted independently, should enable the Commission either to recommend specific measures to
prevent or mitigate the project’s adverse impact on the environment or, if that impact is excessive, to
conclude that the project should not be financed. The new guide currently being prepared also
recommends analysing not only the project’s impact on the environment, but also the environmental
improvements to which it might contribute.

Environmental impact analysis also involves public consultation of interested parties and, in particular, of
target groups. Consultations must be held to obtain the opinions of regulatory bodies (e.g. national
ministries responsible for environmental protection), NGOs and representatives of the general public and
other interest groups involved. Appropriate and recognised methods must be used for this purpose to
ensure that the opinions of interested parties are identified and taken into account.

The process recommended by the Environment Manual is complex and demands substantial human
resources. The Commission endeavours to apply its provisions before any decision is taken on contributing
to the financing of development projects.

(2001/C 235 E/183) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0230/01


by Gunilla Carlsson (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(30 January 2001)

Subject: Commissioner Kinnock’s letter to former Commissioner Gradin

The former Commissioner, Anita Gradin, and the former head of her private office, Christer Asp, have
both recently received letters from Commissioner Kinnock.