Environment and sustainable development in the EU structural funds: a review of Nordic performance

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Series Details Vol.15, No.5, September-October 2005, p294-312
Publication Date September 2005
ISSN 0961-0405
Content Type

The EU Structural Funds represent a major economic instrument with substantial resources and a history of negative environmental impacts. However, over the past decade, a culture of positive environmental integration has evolved within regional programme implementation, and the European Commission has encouraged regional partnerships to give greater consideration first to environment and latterly to sustainable development. This article reviews progress in the Nordic Structural Funds, examining environment and sustainable development integration in 26 programming documents related to Objective 1, Objective 2, Interreg 3A and Interreg 3B. A thematic comparison across programmes indicates good performance in areas such as identifying regional environmental strengths and weaknesses and ensuring continuity of environmental concerns, but tasks such as estimating environmental impact and incorporating environmental gain are under-represented. Achievements in sustainable development integration are very limited, partly as a consequence of the strong emphasis on environment within the Nordic culture.

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