SINGLE COUNTRY PROFILE
Tuesday, 18 August 2020
The Spanish National Sustainable Development Strategy, SNSDS was adopted by the Council of Ministers in November 2007. It was developed within the framework of the renewed EU-SDS by an Inter-ministerial Group for the SNSDS under the coordination of the Economic Department of the Prime Minister’s Office with the participation of other ministries.
The strategy focuses on the environmental, social and economic dimension of sustainability, and approaches the high-priority areas defined in the European Strategy according to the three above mentioned dimensions. It also proposed the development of a set of indicators as a primary goal of the strategy.
To obtain an independent evaluation of its progress the Permanent Commission of the Government for Economic Matters (CDGAE in Spanish) would order monitor and assess the degree of application and success of the policies contained in the SNSDS.
SNSDS covers all three dimensions of SD: environmental, social and economic dimensions in a indicative manner.
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The first draft of the SNSDS (prepared by a working group consisting of all government ministries) was distributed to the regional authorities for comments and feedback. Moreover, the SNSDS was discussed with regional representatives in the so-called ‘sectoral conferences’ in which the national and regional Administrations discuss sectoral policy issues.
Regional representatives were also invited and participated in the ‘Conference on Sustainable Development’ which was held in July 2007. Several stakeholder groups participated and discussed in working groups on various dimensions of the SNSDS. Many comments were received during this conference which would then be included in the SNSDS.
Most of the 17 autonomous regions have developed their own regional SD strategies, although with different degrees of formality.
Regions mainly include their own particular circumstances in these strategies. However, they have to take into account the SNSDS as well as the EU SDS objectives.
Although no formal body for the coordination between national and sub-national levels has been established (there is no National Council for SNSDS), sectoral policies are coordinated by the national government and agreements are discussed and eventually signed in those areas for which the regions have implementation responsibilities. The main concern here is to include environmental issues (i.e. SD issues) in sectoral policies.
The renewed EU Strategy for Sustainable Development (EU SDS) adopted in June 2006 foresees that Member States bi-annually report about how they address the priorities of the EU SDS. Spain published its first national report on implementing the EU SDS in July 2007. Since then, regional and sectoral surveys take that commitment in charge.
The SNSDS included seven high-priority areas: climate change and clean energies; sustainable transport; sustainable production and consumption; public health challenges; management of natural resources; social inclusion, demography and migration; and the fight against world-wide poverty.
The SNSDS was elaborated through the coordination of all Government ministries led by the Inter-Ministerial Commission for the Coordination of the SNSDS.
Important initiatives related to sustainable development are:
- Sustainable Economy Bill (Ley 2/2011, de 4 de marzo, de Economía Sostenible):
Approved in 2011, aims to turn Spain’s productive model , characterised by excessive labour-intensive, low-skilled activities, especially in the construction sector, towards another model that promotes high added-value, technology-intensive activities. This would be achieved through a regulatory framework and tax incentives directed at promoting increased competitiveness among companies in a knowledge-based economy. The three fundamental axes around which the law is built are the improvement of the economic environment, competitiveness and environmental sustainability.
- The Spanish Strategy for Sustainable Mobility:
Adopted in 2009, setting up the guidelines and measures regarding land use planning, transport and infrastructure, climate change and reduction of energy dependence, air quality and noise, security and health and demand management, giving special attention to fostering alternatives to private vehicles and the use of more efficient and sustainable ways of transport.
In addition, two separate networks provide an important support to environmental offices of the Regions. The first - Environmental Authorities Network (Red de Autoridades Ambientales, RAA) - is a forum for cooperation between the regional environmental authorities and the authorities responsible for programming and management of EU funds and it is co-financed by the ERDF in the framework of the EU Technical Assistance Operational Programme.
The second network – Environmental Inspection Network (Red de Inspección Ambiental – REDIA) brings together enforcement officers from regional environmental authorities and the MAGRAMA. This relatively new network has become instrumental in promoting the exchange of information and experiences between environmental authorities of the Regions on environmental inspections and developing joint technical projects in this field.
The Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP) has also been proactive in mobilising environment-related activities at the local level. The FEMP has a network of Local Authorities on Biodiversity that supports municipalities in projects related to the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity in urban environments, and restoring damaged or degraded areas. And has signed with the MAGRAMA a three-year agreement with the FEMP to collaborate on climate change mitigation.
The integrated assessment of the SNSDS of 2007 (undertaken by the Spanish Observatory for Sustainable Development).
The SNSDS explicitly state a set of 74 indicators for its monitoring. The set of indicator was developed in 2007, and follows the work of the Spanish Environmental Profile (PAE in Spanish), the indicators based report in the field of the environment in Spain.
The first edition was in 2004, and latest, to be published in Autumn 2014 (its 10th edition), will be an electronic version with an “App” developed for tablet and smart phone in iOS and android platforms. It describes 85 indicators organized in 17 environmental and sector areas: Air Quality and atmospheric emissions, Water, Land, Nature, Coasts and marine environment, Green Economy, Environmental Research, Development and Innovation, Waste, Agriculture, Energy, Industry, Fishing, Tourism, Transport, Households, Urban environment, Natural and technological disasters.
There will have a chapter dedicated to Autonomous Regions with 19 descriptive fact sheets of selected environmental data. It also includes references to the socioeconomic framework and other issues of interest, a synthesis of the main messages and a final annex with abbreviations and indicators. The report complains with the information requested of the Aarhus Convention, adopted in Spain by Law 27/2006, about the rights of access to the environmental information, public participation and access to justice in environment.
Since 2008, the MAGRAMA produces another separate detailed annual statistical yearbook that offers detailed regional and national statistics on various aspects of the environment. The Public Data Base on Environmental Indicators, which lists 68 key environment indicators selected in co-operation with the European Environment Information and Observation Network (EIONET).
On July 19, 2006, Act 27/2006 of July 18 came into force, governing the rights to access to information, public involvement and access to justice on environmental matters. The Act, which adapts Spanish law to the Aarhus Convention and Community legislation on the matter, incorporates a whole series of legislative provisions designed to put into practice rights of access to information, public participation and access to justice on environmental matters.
On environmental matters, the convening of Sectoral Conference meetings enables coordination between the General State Administration and the regional Administration, as well as smooth relations with the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (also present at the Sectoral Conference), and also facilitates relations between the general and local levels of Administration. The Sectoral Conference is the highest cooperation body, comprising the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment (and the State Secretary of Environment which is integrated in that Ministry, and the heads of the environmental departments of the Autonomous Regions and cities of Ceuta and Melilla, plus a representative of the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP).
The Environment Advisory Council (CAMA in Spanish), is the main institutional channel for civic involvement in plans, projects, drafting and monitoring of general environmental policy promoted by the Environment Ministry. It was included in Act 27/2006. By turning this regulation into law, its status has been raised, thereby endowing the body with greater stability. Since 2004, the Council includes: 5 non-governmental environmental protection organisations, 2 union organisations, 2 business organisations, 2 consumer and user organisations, 3 professional farming organisations and the National Federation of Fishermen´s Associations.
The main role of the Council includes issuing reports on draft laws and royal decrees; advice on state plans and programmes, issuing of reports and proposals on environmental matters, and coordination between public and private initiatives.
The Climate National Council (Royal Decree 1188/2001) brings together several Ministries, the Autonomous Communities (regional governments), the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces, researchers, social partners and non-governmental organizations.
Its tasks are related with processing, monitoring and evaluating the Spanish strategy of climate change, making proposals and recommendations for defining policies and control measures against climate change adaptation measures or strategies.
Natural Heritage and Biodiversity Council is the public participatory body in the field of nature conservation and biodiversity. Its composition, functions and rules of procedure are regulated through the Royal Decree 948/2009 modified by the Royal Decree 649/2011. Among other functions, the State Council informs the rules and plans related to the natural heritage and biodiversity; takes note of the annual reports on the situation of the Spanish Natural Heritage and Biodiversity; encourages the dialogue and collaboration with administrations, institutions and economic and social actors involved in the sustainable use of biodiversity; and advise, when required, on technical and scientific matters in preparation to international meetings on biodiversity conservation.
National Park Network Council (Act 5/2007 and Royal Decree 12/2008) for Environment Minister and representatives of state administration, Autonomous Communities, Local authorities, NGOs and presidents of boards of trustees of the national parks
Genetically Modified Organisms Interministerial Council (Royal Decree 178/20) which ensures the participation for representatives of industrial sectors, ONGs, farming organisations and consumer organisations.
Waste Coordination Commission (Act 22/2011), gathers the General State Administration, Autonomous Regions and Local Authorities.
Boards of Trustees of the National Park Net (Royal Decree 1760/1998), comprises representatives of the General State Administration, Autonomous Regions , Local Authorities and different social organisations and bodies.
National Biosafety Commission (Act 9/2003 Royal Decree 178/2004), representatives of the General State Administration, Autonomous Regions and people and institutions which are experts in the subject.
Technical Commission for Prevention and Reparation of Environmental Damage (Royal Decree 2090/2008), for representatives of the General State Administration, Autonomous Regions and Local Authorities.
In order to ensure civil society participation in other environmental matters, the Ministry organizes meetings of a number of other participation bodies: the National Water Council, River Basin Waters Councils, National Large Dams Committee, Inter-ministerial Commission for Climate Change, National Woodlands Council, National Commission for Nature Protection. In addition, a meeting between the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment and the Secretary of State for the Environment on the one side with the most relevant environmental NGOs present in Spain on the other, takes place every 45 days, to following-up the state of Spanish environment.
Sub-national activities are the responsibility of the Regional Governments which are very active promoting green growth and other SD activities in their regions; for a follow up of regional activities, it is advisable to consult the links the Strategy for Sustainable Development of each region.