Addressing Environmental Challenges and their Social Implications in Europe

January 2015

Addressing Environmental Challenges

European countries are currently facing many different environmental pressures and this is set to continue in the coming decades. For an effective response, these challenges must be addressed from a holistic perspective so as to meet the needs of present generations without jeopardising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. This means setting immediate and longer-term objectives, taking local and global action and addressing social, economic and environmental issues as interdependent components of human progress.

In the last two decades since the Earth Summit in 1992 and Rio+20 in 2012, “green economy” has emerged as a pathway towards sustainable development, drawing attention to the environmental failings of economic development and to the importance of enhancing social equity.

As a social development bank, the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) has adopted an integrated approach to environmental responses – by targeting vulnerable populations and regions, the social dimension is a key constituent of a CEB-financed environmental project. This study presents this integrated approach and the CEB’s experience to date in environmental financing in its 41 Member States.

While taking into account the CEB’s experience to date, this study is primarily forward-looking, with the main focus being to adapt the Bank’s response to the numerous and diverse environmental challenges Europe will be facing in the coming decades. In this context, the diversity of potential future CEB investments is discussed from both a geographic and a sectoral standpoint.

This study was peer reviewed by Professor Simon Dietz (Professor of Environmental Policy in the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, and the Department of Geography and Environment at LSE).

Client: Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB)

Authors: Lucia Athenosy & Viorica Revenco

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