The proposed programme builds on the significant achievements of 40 years of EU environment policy, and draws on a number of recent strategic initiatives in the field of environment, including the Resource Efficiency Roadmap, the 2020 Biodiversity Strategy and the Low Carbon Economy Roadmap. It should secure the commitment of EU institutions, Member States, regional and local administrations and other stakeholders to a common agenda for environment policy action up to 2020.
General environment action programmes have guided the development of EU environment policy since the early seventies. The Sixth EU Environment Action Programme covered the period 2002-2012.
While many EU Member States are struggling to cope with the economic crisis, the attendant need for structural reforms offers new opportunities for the EU to move rapidly onto a more sustainable path. The new environment action programme points the way towards making the most of these opportunities.