Environment Directorate

OECD's Environmental Performance Review of Sweden


29/09/2004 - A new OECD report praises the innovative and effective environmental policies of Sweden. For instance, Sweden makes good use of economic incentives to protect the environment, including environmental taxes, and is on track to meet its Kyoto Protocol commitment to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The OECD notes, however, that Sweden needs to further progress towards its environmental objectives and to better integrate environmental concerns into the industry, energy, transport, forestry, and agriculture sectors.

Sweden’s Minister of the Environment, Lena Sommestad, and the OECD’s Environment Director, Lorents Lorentsen, will release the OECD Environmental Performance Review of Sweden at a news conference at Rosenbad, Stockholm, at 10.00 a.m. on 1st October 2004.

The report recommends that Sweden could better manage its environment by:

  • strengthening the inspection, compliance, and enforcement of environmental regulations at regional and local levels,
  • improving water management to reduce nitrates and pesticides, and comply with the EU water framework directive,
  • better protecting nature and biodiversity, including through increasing the number and quality of protected areas for marine, forest, and wetland areas,
  • reviewing trade controls on the export of ozone depleting substances and the illegal trade in endangered species,
  • providing more economic information on the environment (e.g. on environmental expenditures and energy prices) and economic analysis of climate change policies.

Sweden gives high priority to sustainable development, and the report offers a number of recommendations to further integrate environmental concerns with economic and social policies including:

  • addressing the management of marine resources (e.g. problems of nutrients, dioxins, environmental inspection of foreign ships, overfishing),
  • increasing energy efficiency through flexible mechanisms and energy pricing practices,
  • decoupling municipal waste generation and road traffic expansion from economic growth,
  • promoting access to green spaces to promote physical exercise, health and well being,

The report notes considerable environmental achievements by Sweden over the past 10 years, including:

  • the adoption of 15 ambitious, long-term, strategic environmental quality objectives (EQOs),
  • decoupling of some environmental pressures from economic growth (e.g. improved energy, material, and pollution intensities) and lowest level of CO2 emissions per unit of GDP among OECD countries,
  • a strategic national environmental planning approach, including the setting and monitoring of environmental objectives and targets,
  • development of a national sustainable development strategy, with a secretariat to oversee its implementation in the Prime Ministers’ office,
  • an active role in global and European environmental co-operation, including international leadership on chemicals management,
  • implementation of the Polluter Pays Principle, extensive use of market-based instruments (e.g. in agriculture, transport, energy), and green tax reform,
  • progress with environmental democracy and environmental education,
  • integration of health and environment policies, with a national environment and health action plan, and reductions in pesticide, heavy metals, and persistent organic pollutants.

This publication is part of the OECD regular series of Environmental Performance Reviews of OECD member countries and extensively uses environmental indicators. The report reviews Sweden’s progress in the context of its domestic policy objectives and international commitments, including the OECD Environmental Strategy for the First Decade of the 21st Century.

To obtain the OECD Environmental review of Sweden, under embargo until Friday 1st October, journalists are invited to OECD’s Media Relations Division . For information about the OECD’s Environmental Performance Reviews, journalists are invited to contact Helen Fisher (tel. (33 1) 45 24 80 97).

For further information on Environmental Performance Reviews


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