New European environmental program: an impetus to reach for SDGs

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In May 2022 the EU institutions adopted the eight in a row European environment action program (8th EAP), which provided the EU member states with the legal background for the continental environment policy up to 2030. The action program reiterates the EU’s long-term vision to 2050 of “living well, within planetary boundaries”. 

The new environmental action program sets out long-term priority objectives for up to 2030 and formulate conditions needed to achieve them; the program is built on the European Green Deal, and aims to speed up the transition to a climate-neutral, resource-efficient economy, while recognising that human wellbeing and prosperity depend on healthy ecosystems.
The 8th EAP calls for active engagement of all stakeholders at all levels of national governance, to ensure that EU climate and environment laws and goals are effectively implemented during next seven years; in this way it forms the EU’s basis for achieving the UN-2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.

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Six environment-related priorities
The general long-term priority’s objective is that, by 2050 at the latest, Europeans live well, within planetary boundaries, in a well-being economy where nothing is wasted. The Commission’s message is clear: growth will be regenerative, climate neutrality will be a reality, and inequalities will be significantly reduced.
There are six environment-related priority objectives up to 2030:
• achieving the 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction target and climate neutrality by 2050;
• enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change;
• advancing towards adopting in the member states regenerative growth models with the decoupling economic growth from resource use and environmental degradation: new growth models shall be aimed at accelerating the transition to a circular economy’s patterns;
• pursuing a zero-pollution national plans, including for air, water and soil, while protecting the health and well-being of European citizens;
• protecting, preserving and restoring biodiversity, and enhancing natural capital;
• reducing environmental and climate pressures related to national production and consumption modes, particularly in the areas of energy, industry, buildings and infrastructure, mobility, tourism, international trade and the food system.

The EU-wide circular economy action plan should aim to reduce developmental real environmental impacts as a priority: for example, in supporting the packaging and waste Directive revision the states do not penalise renewable and fully recyclable paper-based packaging by setting the wrong incentives.

Vital present issues in the EU environmental law
Latest developments regarding European environmental legislation include actual laws, case law and best practices in this field; legislation facilitate implementation of law in the governance and exchange of best practices among the member states. Legal practitioners and judges as well as sectoral regulators can use environmental law in dealing with modern challenges and facilitate optimal implementation of the EU environmental law.

Actual alterations and supplements to the Unions environmental law include: – EU Green Deal implementation, – Union’s justice reforms, – developments of the “Fit-for-55 Package”, -measures in renewable energy and energy transition, in general; – climate litigation across EU-27. – impact of climate law and litigation on business, – EU sectoral policies in combating climate crisis with the focus on trade, agriculture and sustainable investment, as well as the latest CJEU case law, etc.
Besides, other key topics in the EU environmental law are vital too: origins, principles and sources of EU environmental law, EU environmental law-making, implementation and enforcement of EU environmental law, public participatory rights.
For example, substantive legislation include: nature and species protection, water protection, air pollution, waste management, climate change measures and energy law; some cross-cutting topics are included too: environmental impact assessment, environmental liability, procedural rights, civil and criminal laws in environmental protection.

Environmental issues and actions often include a variety subjects and sectors of national development, for example:
= in politics, it is education, national governance and policy-making, as well as budgeting, financing and investment;
= in economics, it is energy and alternative sources, diversification and circular economy, as well as science, research and innovation, audit and cost-benefit analysis, etc.
= in sustainability, it is general issues in reaching SDGs and sustainable cities and communities, green ecosystems, waste and pollution management and resource security;
= in market forces, it is about recycling and use of natural resources.


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