Activities of the Ministry of the Environment are focused on ensuring operation of the system to achieve balanced development of economy, social sphere, environmental exploitation and environmental protection and targeted and thought use of instruments allocated to the environmental protection.
Framework of environmental protection and environmental use is established in The Estonian Environmental Strategy 2030 and in its implementation plan The National Environmental Action Plan of Estonia 2007-2013 providing long-term objectives in areas of decreasing waste, residual pollution and pollution load, water, mineral resources, energy, transportation, forestry, fisheries, hunting and maintaining landscape and biodiversity.
In order to ensure achieving objectives from environmental area strategic documents and Development Plan of the Ministry of the Environment, organisation is strengthened continuously. Management processes, knowledge-based management is developed and strategic planning is improved. Regulation impact assessment is conducted and quality of public services is developed.
Development and strategic planning of the Ministry of the Environment is coordinated by Development Department.
The Environmental Strategy 2030 is a strategy for developing the sphere of the environment which builds upon the principles of the National Strategy on Sustainable Development "Sustainable Estonia 21" and serves as the basis for the preparation and revision of all sector-specific development plans within the sphere of the environment.
The sphere of the environment comprises various sectors that differ from each other materially in terms of contents, scope and specific features. Therefore, in order to plan the consistent development of these sectors, development plans need to be prepared for the sectors even if an environmental strategy as a general framework document exists.
The Estonian Environmental Strategy 2030 aims at defining longterm development trends for maintaining a good status of the natural environment, while keeping in mind the links between the sphere of the environment and economic and social spheres and their impact on the natural environment and people. As the Environmental Strategy has been prepared for a long term (25 years), the connections between causes and consequences (causal relations) and the recommended measures (line of actions) suggested by working groups, set out in the Environmental Strategy, can be taken into account when updating the development plans of other spheres. Following the lines of action necessary for achieving long-term development goals has an impact on the various sectors of the state both now and in the future and requires consistency and concordance between the activities of the legislative and executive powers. The Environmental Strategy is an essential national issue and must pursuant to subsection 12 (6) of the Sustainable Development Act (RT I 1995, 31, 384; 2005, 15, 87) be approved the the Riigikogu.
Environmental Action Plan
The National Environmental Action Plan of Estonia 2007-2013 serves as the implementation plan of the Estonian Environmental Strategy 2030.
The principal aim of the Environmental Action Plan is to present a consensual list of nationally prioritised activities aimed at achieving the primary goals of the environmental policy specified in the national Environmental Strategy, indicating the financing needs and discussing the most optimal use of non-budgetary funding sources.
The National Environmental Action Plan of Estonia 2007-2013 was approved by the Government of the Republic on 22 February 2007.
Environmental Action Plan will be amended and corrected currently in case of need. Annual overviews of compliance with the Estonian Environmental Strategy 2030 of activities carried out under the Environmental Action Plan will be submitted to the Government of the Republic. The Environmental Action Plan has been prepared for the years 2007-2013. During that period, thorough monitoring must be carried out twice - in 2010 (the monitoring period 2007-2009) and in 2013 (the monitoring period 2010-2012), i.e. every 3 years.
European Commission started to prepare environmental activity programmes in the early 1970s. Through the programmes, legislative proposals were made regarding the EU environmental policy and discussions were initiated over broader perspective of environmental policy.
The EAP, which was in force during the period of 2002-2012, gave rise to the preparation of the Estonian Environmental Strategy until 2030 and the Environmental Action Plan for 2007-2013. The Programme formed strong basis for environment-related legislative drafting in Estonia. The Programme gave priority topics and goals to be achieved at member state level. Although it was not mandatory for member states, the 6th EAP had enough capacity to create a long-term framework at the field of environment in Estonia.
At the moment, the 7th Union Environment Action Programme (EAP) to 2020 ‘Living well, within the limits of our planet’ is in force:
The most important goals for 2020 are the following:
to protect, preserve and enhance the Union’s natural capital;
to turn the Union into a resource-efficient, green and competitive low-carbon economy;
to safeguard the Union’s citizens from environment-related pressures and risks to health and well-being;
to maximise the benefits of Union environment legislation by improving implementation thereof;
to improve the knowledge and evidence base for Union environment policy;
to secure investment for environment and climate policy and address environmental externalities;
to improve environmental integration and policy coherence;
to enhance the sustainability of the Union’s cities;
to increase the Union’s effectiveness in addressing international environmental and climate-related challenges.
Last updated: 13.07.2021