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Welcome to the Green Spider Network (GSN) website!
The Green Spider Network was established in 1995 and is supported by Environment DG of the European Commission. It is an active network of around 50 representatives from environment ministries and national environmental agencies/institutes, who are involved in environmental information and communication, in almost all European countries (EU Member States, Accession countries and others that fall outside of these two categories).
One of their main aims is to promote relations between the EU administration and national institutions and to provide a platform for the exchange of information and experience in the field of environmental communication.
The Green Spiders meet once a year in order to exchange professional knowledge. Previous annual meetings have focused on topic such as EU enlargement, the role of NGOs in communicating environmental information, and communicating Natura 2000.
A Core Group leads the Network, and collectively makes decisions on behalf of the Network.
Establishment, Motivation and Membership
European environmental policy making has become a true international phenomenon. All member states of the European Union base their policies on EC directives and regulations. National policies are directly related to the work done in the EU Environmental Council and many policy-makers meet regularly at conferences, workshops and meetings.
The role of communication in the policy-making process is becoming recognised increasingly. Environmental decision-makers view communication as one of the essential instruments in achieving a sustainable society. Many EU documents refer to this instrument as "awareness raising", "the promotion of public participation", "education", "communication and information". One of the ways that the European Commission encourages an increase in environmental communication is by requesting and providing financial support to proposals for campaigns, education and training programmes and so on. With the coming into force of the Aarhus Convention, never has there been a more appropriate time for a network like the GSN to be thriving.
The importance to increase people’s access to reliable environmental information is also stressed in the 6th EU Environment Action Programme 2001-2010, « Our Future, Our choice ». One of its key approaches in order to achieve a cleaner environment is to help people making environmentally friendly choices. People can for example, as consumers, help persuade firms to be environmentally friendly and to develop innovative green products and services. People do also want more of a say in how decisions are made which affect the environment. To do this people need access to reliable information. Environmental education and awareness raising is essential for improving people’s access to environmental information and the European Commission will therefore continue to promote the sharing of good practices and ideas in this domain.
Objectives of the Network
The role, objectives and character of the Green Spider Network include the following:
Actively support and stimulate the communication process and work as an informal network to promote liaison between the EU administration and national institutions.
Ensure a continuous exchange of experience between member states in the field of environmental communication.
Create a platform for exchange of ideas in order to learn from the benefits and mistakes of others.
Endeavour to promote bilateral contacts and cooperation in tangible European projects.
Take part in arranging and organising annual meetings and thematic seminars for environmental information officers.
We are also working to develop a common view within the Network on central communication issues and contribute to raising the individual level of know-how on communication processes, as well as environmental issues, and to exchange information and experiences with countries that have an association agreement with the EU.
The Network could also support and encourage national processes such as:
Taking part in two-way communication about EU environmental policy and its implementation to national target groups according to national strategies;
Evaluating the results of certain communication activities which then have to be collated;
Supplying support, input and market systems to increase access to know-how.
The GSN Secretariat
8 Cavendish Square
W1G 0 ER London
T: 44 20 7465 7359
F: 44 20 7465 7350
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