Over the past decades, the EU’s environmental policies have delivered substantial benefits, for both people and the planet.
However, Europe currently faces unprecedented environmental, climate and sustainability challenges. These include biodiversity loss, climate change, resource use and pollution.
As a response to these, the European Commission published a proposal for an 8th Environment Action Programme (EAP) on 14 October 2020.
The proposal supports the environment and climate action objectives of the European Green Deal. It provides an opportunity for the EU as a whole to reiterate our commitment to the 7th EAP’s 2050 vision: we want to ensure wellbeing for all, while staying within the planetary boundaries.
The 8th EAP proposal calls for active engagement of all stakeholders at all levels of governance, to ensure that EU climate and environment laws are effectively implemented. It forms the EU’s basis for achieving the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals.
The proposal for an 8th EAP aims to accelerate the transition to a climate-neutral, resource-efficient and regenerative economy, which gives back to the planet more than it takes. It recognises that human wellbeing and prosperity depend on the healthy ecosystems within which we operate.
Building on the European Green Deal, it has the following six priority objectives
- 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 a regenerative growth model, decoupling economic growth from resource use and environmental degradation, and accelerating the transition to a circular economy
- pursuing a zero-pollution ambition, including for air, water and soil and protecting the health and well-being of Europeans
- protecting, preserving and restoring biodiversity, and enhancing natural capital (notably air, water, soil, and forest, freshwater, wetland and marine ecosystems)
- reducing environmental and climate pressures related to production and consumption (particularly in the areas of energy, industrial development, buildings and infrastructure, mobility and the food system)
In order to measure and communicate whether we are on track to meeting these objectives, the 8th EAP proposal suggests setting up a new monitoring framework. This will help the EU and its member countries to determine to what extent we are living well, within planetary boundaries.
Previous and upcoming actions
- 2021 (TBC)Adoption of the 8th EAP
- 14 October 2020European Commission presents proposal for 8th EAP
- 20 November 2013Adoption of the 7th EAP
More information about the history of the EAP can be found on the 7th Environment Action Programme website
- Air: EU action to improve air quality and reduce air pollution.
- Chemicals: EU action to ensure chemicals are safe, for health and the environment.
- Circular economy: The EU’s transition to a circular economy with a focus on green growth.
- Industry: EU action to make industry more sustainable and reduce industrial emissions.
- Marine and coastal environment: EU action to protect Europe’s coasts, seas and oceans.
- Nature and biodiversity: EU action on environmental conservation and protection.
- Noise: EU action to reduce environmental noise pollution.
- Plastics: EU action on plastic production and pollution to contribute to a circular economy.
- Soil and land: EU action for the sustainable use of soil and land.
- Sustainable development: EU commitment to sustainable development in Europe and worldwide.
- Urban environment: EU action to promote the sustainability of European cities.
- Waste and recycling: EU action on waste management, treatment and recycling.
- Water: EU action on water issues, to protect water resources.