Bridging the Gap


Responding to Environmental Change – from Words to Deeds, 14-16 May 2008, Portorož, Slovenia


The Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia was delighted to host the 4th Bridging the Gap Conference: Responding to Environmental Change – from Words to Deeds, which took place in Slovenia in Portorož from 14 to 16 May, 2008. We were looking forward to welcoming representatives from many countries and European institutions to this exciting event in Portorož. The conference was held under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Slovenia Dr Danilo Türk. 

This conference was the fourth in the series, with the previous three Bridging the Gap events having been in London 1998, Stockholm 2001 and Dublin 2004. It has been 10 years since the first conference was organised. The activity emerged from the enthusiastic engagement of people who had recognised the importance of joining forces with various actors (policy-makers, researchers, experts) and thinking innovatively to resolve environmental problems. While the conferences have been strongly led by countries, they have also been substantially supported by some European institutions (the EEA, DG Research, DG Environment and the Joint Research Centre) and sometimes other organisations such as the WHO, have been involved. During this 10-year period, the Bridging the Gap has become a brand recognised and embraced by a wide network of people beyond the Eionet and EEA working in environmental research, assessment, monitoring and reporting.

The conference's headline issues were:


  • The need for urgent action
  • Economic decision making 
  • Communication between scientists, policy-makers, politicians and civil society


In times of growing complexity and uncertainty policies we need to look more broadly and further into the future. Two important elements in this context were: the driving forces of change and uncertainties of future developments and their environmental implications.


The conference addressed five high priority areas to identify gaps in policy, research, technological development and capacities of society to respond to emerging issues and future uncertainties and to be better prepared for possible future surprises in order to move towards more sustainable development.

The leading themes of the Bridging the Gap 2008 conference were:


This conference is organised by Environmental Agency of the Republic of Slovenia in co-operation with the European Commission (DG ENV, DG RTD, DG JRC), the European Environment Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency of Ireland, the Environment Agency for England and Wales and the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.



Slovenian Presidency of the EU

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