Meeting of the EC Environment Council Discusses Biofuels Policy, Genetic Resources

21 March 2013: The first Environment Council of the European Commission under the Irish Presidency, held on 21 March 2013, included policy debates on: the European Commission's proposal to minimize the climate change impacts of biofuels; proposed changes to the directive on environmental impact assessments; and access and benefit sharing of genetic resources.

Results also included an exchange of views on the system for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), as well as the follow-up process to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20)and the post-2015 development agenda.

The Council adopted a new venture capital framework aimed at helping European companies gain access to finance. It also adopted a regulation on energy infrastructure, which will advance the modernization and expansion of Europe's energy infrastructure in order to allow the European Union (EU) to meet its core policy objectives of competitiveness, sustainability and security of energy supply.

Finally, the meeting held sessions on "Any Other Business" to inform ministers about, inter alia: the sixteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES CoP 16), which resulted in increased protection for a number of shark and tropical timber species; the Minimata Convention on Mercury; institutional arrangements for the enhanced and upgraded UN Environment Program (UNEP), including the renaming of the UNEP Governing Council to the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA); and first plenary meeting of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES-1). [Council of the European Union Press Release] [EC Memo]