organizations (NGOs) and international financing organizations such as the World Bank and the Nordic Environmental Financing Company also participated. That meeting decided to prepare an Agenda 21 for the Baltic Sea, for presentation as a declaration to be adopted during spring 1998 at the highest political level. The ministers also agreed that the ultimate goal for an Agenda 21 for the Baltic Sea should be sustainable development. The Agenda is to be prepared through active participation of several groups and actors including international organizations, development banks, and NGOs.
Sweden continued its active participation in HELCOM during 1996. One important result was the adoption by HELCOM in March of a strategy of comprehensive cooperation for the construction, development and harmonization of reception systems for vessel-generated waste in the ports around the Baltic ((→) Report of the Activities of the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission).
Shortly after the Republic of Lithuania regained its independence in 1990, a Department of Environmental Protection was set up under the direct oversight of the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas). In 1994, the Department was transformed into the current Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP). On May 28, 1996, the Seimas adopted Law No. I-1352, which amends and supplements the 1992 Law on Environmental Protection. The new law formalizes the transfer of functions from the former Department to the MEP.
In 1996 the Seimas ratified the European Agreement between Lithuania and the European Union (EU), thus bringing the country one step closer to its goal of becoming an EU member. The task of approximating Lithuania's environmental legislation with EU requirements is considered of highest priority within the MEP.
The Seimas approved the NES on September 25, 1996. The NES proposes, inter alia, a number of priority actions aimed at developing Lithuania's framework of environmental law: (1) an analysis of the effectiveness of existing environmental laws and regulations with reference to EU requirements; (2) a review of enforcement measures and steps to increase efficiency in this area; and (3) more attention to the implementation of environmental laws.
An Action Programme aimed at implementing the NES was approved on August 5, 1996, via Government Decree No. 938. The Action Programme sets forth detailed plans for establishing measures to address Lithuania's environ-