integration in Europe
- the role of administrations
Environmental policy integration
(EPI) means including environmental considerations into other policies
- with a view to achieving sustainable development. While political
commitment to this has received much attention, there has been less
focus on support for EPI from administrations.
A new report from the Agency presents an overview
of administrative culture and practices for environmental policy
integration in Europe, including the EU-25, the candidate and applicant
countries, the EFTA countries and the countries of eastern Europe,
Caucasus and central Asia. The report builds on EEA's
recent state of play review on environmental integration in Europe.
To be effective, EPI has to be developed and implemented
as a long term and continuous process. This underlines the importance
of changing administrative cultures in order to institutionalise
EPI and protect it from sudden change. Administrations ensure that
policy goals continue to be respected - long after politicians have
moved to other issues.
The general picture that emerges from this review
is one of a smal,l but growing body of practice in getting commitments
to EPI reflected in administrations. Various mechanisms are being
employed in these efforts. Use of EPI mechanisms is highest in a
small group of EU and EFTA countries - notably the Anglo-Saxon,
Nordic (including the Netherlands) and German-speaking countries.
Within this group, the UK, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands stand
out as having made special efforts to imbed EPI in their administrations.
The EEA's evaluation uses four questions to evaluate
to what extent administrations reflect environmental policy integration
in their daily work.
Do regular planning, budgetary and
audit exercises reflect EPI priorities?
In the Netherlands, Norway and the UK, attempts are made to use
budgetary, planning and audit processes to support EPI. However
even these countries have difficulties making it work.
The greatest scope for making strategic processes
work for EPI, is in countries that emphasise strategic management
initiatives - including new public management. Here, the Netherlands,
Norway and the UK are amongst the frontrunners.
Little has been made of the potential to use auditing
systems to evaluate progress in relation to EPI. The UK is an exception
- going even further by extending beyond a purely financial remit.
Are environmental responsibilities
reflected in the administration's internal management regime?
There is no evidence that EPI is included systematically within
management systems. EMAS and similar systems could have a positive
Countries do not seem to allocate responsibility for
EPI in all departments and at all levels, though this is important
for promoting EPI in administrations. Development of strategic bodies
has, however, led to more senior persons being involved. Some restructuring
has been done - with environment units now found in several countries'
sectoral ministries. All countries have environment ministries,
though in some countries these ministries also have other roles.
It is hard to say if such models promote EPI.
Programmes to build up capacity to cope with EPI are
rare. Some countries have earmarked money for sector integration
activities, but funding does not keep pace with new demands. Overall
figures for investment in EPI have not been assessed.
Is there a strategic department/unit
to guide and support EPI?
Some countries - notably in the EU-15 and EFTA - have established
new bodies to ensure that EPI is promoted at a strategic level,
although these bodies are frequently dealing more with sustainable
development strategies than EPI. Senior politicians are not always
involved in these bodies on a continuous basis and the bodies also
seem to play a relatively passive role. A large number of advisory
councils have also been created. Not all EU countries have strategic
or advisory bodies, however, nor are there equivalents at the EU
Are there mechanisms to ensure environment/sector
coordination and communication - i.e. between departments and between
levels of governance?
EPI communication and coordination mechanisms are rather widespread
and some countries have permanent networks to aid communication.
Coordination and communication between levels of governance
is a challenge - particularly the downwards communication and coordination
in federal countries. Communication can be easier where the environment
ministry has a decentralised structure.
Technical report 5/2005 -
policy integration in Europe - Administrative culture and practices