On 2 May 2022 the 8th Environment Action Programme entered into force, as the EU’s legally agreed common agenda for environment policy until 2030.
The action programme reiterates the EU’s long-term vision to 2050 of living well, within planetary boundaries. It sets out priority objectives for 2030 and the conditions needed to achieve these. Building on the European Green Deal, the action programme aims to speed up the transition to a climate-neutral, resource-efficient economy, recognising that human wellbeing and prosperity depend on healthy ecosystems.
The 8th EAP 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 long-term priority objective is that, by 2050 at the latest, Europeans live well, within planetary boundaries, in a well-being economy where nothing is wasted. Growth will be regenerative, climate neutrality will be a reality, and inequalities will have been significantly reduced.
There are six priority objectives 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 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
- reducing environmental and climate pressures related to production and consumption (particularly in the areas of energy, industry, buildings and infrastructure, mobility, tourism, international trade and the food system)
In line with the European Green Deal’s oath to ‘do no harm,’ the 8th EAP supports an integrated approach to policy development and implementation. Article 3 of the action programme sets out the enabling conditions needed to achieve the priority objectives. Among others, it highlights the need for
- a full implementation of existing legislation
- significantly decreasing the Union’s material and consumption footprints
- achieving environmental fairness
- boosting sustainable finance
- making use of economic and tax incentives to facilitate the sustainability transition
- phasing out fossil fuel subsidies
- developing a summary ‘beyond GDP’ dashboard
- uptake by and cooperation at all levels of policy-making between different levels of actors
- harnessing the potential of digitalisation
- ensuring that policy action is firmly anchored in latest science and knowledge
Monitoring and reports
On 26 July 2022, the Commission adopted a list of headline indicators to monitor progress towards the EU’s environment and climate goals, as foreseen in the 8th Environment Action Programme (EAP). This monitoring framework will inform European citizens about the impact of EU climate and environmental policy and facilitate an exchange between policy-makers on where further efforts are needed, in order to stay within the safe and just limits of our planet. The headline indicators follow the structure of the 8th EAP building on the European Green Deal.
In line with the article 4.4 of the 8th EAP and as outlined in the Communication, the Commission, supported by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) monitors, assesses and reports annually on progress on the priority objectives. Based on the selected headline indicators, the EEA assesses progress towards the 8th EAP objectives in annual reports published every December, from 2023 onwards.
A mid-term review will be carried out by 31 March 2024 (Article 5.1), and a full evaluation by 31 March 2029. This will be followed, if appropriate, by a proposal for the next environmental action programme by 31 December 2029 (Article 6).
- 26 July 2022Commission adopts monitoring framework with headline indicators
- 2 May 20228th EAP enters into force
- 2021Commission consults on monitoring framework with headline indicators
As part of the preparation of a monitoring framework with headline indicators for the 8th EAP, the Commission will consult Member States and external stakeholders - find out more.
- 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
21 September 2021: Stakeholder Workshop on the 8th EAP Monitoring Framework
- 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.
- Decision (EU) 2022/591 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 April 2022 on a General Union Environment Action Programme to 2030
- 8th Environment Action Programme Proposal
- Consultative paper on the proposed approach and architecture for the 8th EAP monitoring framework
- Study to support the development of a monitoring framework for the Eighth Environment Action Programme (8EAP)